The good news for U-verse subscribers is that you'll have the ability to stream your media content right from your Mediaroom DVR box (we're assuming that you have one of course). That's because Microsoft and AT&T will have a mobile client on or near launch that will support AT&T's system for Windows Phone 7, which should make many media-hungry folks quite pleased.
Exact details and features are not known at this time as it is expected that AT&T will have their own custom version of the software, setup to their requirements.
We're headed into the finial lap for the Windows Phone 7 launch and we think Microsoft still has a few tricks up their sleeves to announce before release.
Next week, Microsoft is confirmed to be at Gamescom, the European version of E3 boasting to be the world's largest gaming conference with "...245,000 visitors, more than 4,000 journalists and 458 exhibitors from 31 countries". Yowza.
While just being there is expected, Microsoft is reportedly confirmed, in addition, to have " a full conference...and that they had several announcements to make".
Easily one of the biggest concerns about Windows Phone 7 is not so much the initial limitations, but rather how often Microsoft updates the OS to address those. Fact is, Microsoft does not have a track record to go by, leaving many potential power users here...skeptical.
Today we have some good news in this regard as Microsoft has already updated the developer release of the OS via the Zune software as evidenced up above (from MobileTechWorld). Of course we won't know how often this will happen after release, but it goes to show how easy the process should be in theory. Looks good to us.
The other good news is that Microsoft is populating the store with more apps, including "NY Times Reader, Yelp, YouTube, AT&T Uverse, Stocks, Weather, Translator". The rest can be seen in the collage below. Before there were maybe 3 or 4 apps (some of which were recently demoed), so this is an improvement for sure. Also worth noting are the icons, there seems to be two themes: basic Metro and full on color.
Awhile back, project 'Menlo' was talked about as a new research area for Microsoft. What it exactly entailed was not so clear and today, well, it's only a little more so...
Evidently a new paper (.pdf warning) was published by Microsoft where they say:
Menlo is a prototype mobile device with a capacitive touch screen (4.1? diagonal, 800×480) running Microsoft Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R2 which incorporates a Bosch BMA150 3-axis accelerometer and Bosch BMP085 digital pressure sensor (barometer).
That device is pictured above. On top of that hardware is a new program called "Greenfield" which is "a sensor-centric program allowing users to retrace their footsteps when seeking to find their cars."
Basically all of this comes down to Microsoft exploring the future of mobile computing and computing in general (e.g. Singularity). Like we've mentioned before, this is cool stuff to learn about and if you can remember it 2-4 years from now, you'll probably see some of the results from this work. But don't look for much of this anytime soon.
And that's the problem. Android's programming schema allows access to power-management features, data, screen, GPS, etc. on the device. A simple coding screw up and you're app is now sucking juice, causing glitches or worse, not working with the latest release of Android OS (whatever this month's silly dessert name is). Who notices this? You, the end user because there is no formal testing system in the Market to prevent this thing from happening in the first place. Then you have those security scares with potentially malicious software.
Recently I upgraded to Android 2.2 'Froyo' (rolls eyes) and now my Gmail on my second account stopped syncing and HTC Sense crashes. Or I upgraded Seesmic to the latest version and its fonts are screwed up. Facebook causes a mystery battery drain. Etc. Don't get me wrong, the HTC EVO is a fun device but Android is very far from a perfect platform (though with 'Froyo' I can at least finally copy text from my own Gmail, weeee!).
Despites all of its limitations (yes, there a lot for v1.0), this is the kind of thing Windows Phone 7 seeks to alleviate and I'm all for it. Listen, I did my time in forums playing "Lets fix the OS!" and "Why does my device suddenly feel laggy?" or "Is it me, or is the latest update to this program terrible?". In WP7, power management is done for developers--they don't touch it because the code itself is managed, so the Facebook situation should never happen. Nor will conflicts between HTC Sense and the OS, or OEM customizations which delay OS updates (and become a source of frustration for users).
Android may be open, it may be growing exponentially, but its model is something even I want to get away from. Spending time in phone forums playing Sherlock Holmes is not my idea of fun anymore, nor is beta testing software.
There’s not much to see here, but we all knew that HTC could only be quiet on the subject of Windows Phone 7 for so long. Granted, there’s not much to see in the FCC filing; but we already know the minimum hardware specs anyway. The phone does support the GSM 850/UMTS I and II bands; AT&T anyone?
We’ve been under the impression for a while that we could expect hardware from HTC, Samsung, LG, and ASUS. Clues about hardware from many of those vendors has already made the rounds, now we’re just waiting for something official.
We can't help but think it's been pulled from circulation as opposed to just out-of-stock. This comes not too long after their second MR update and lets be honest, Verizon wasn't the fastest cat out the door when releasing this phone.
On the bright side: gotta clear stock for Windows Phone 7? Plus we're sure stores probably still have one or two hanging around.
RIP Verizon Touch Pro 2, you were unique amongst the herd.
Who would have thought that one of Asus's prototype (?) phones featuring Windows Phone 7 would show up in Pakistan (via Twitter)?
Nothing is known about the CPU, radio, camera or what carrier--all we can tell is it's a black slab with a nice brushed metal face. Not to shabby, but obviously those specs for Chassis 1 are pretty strict with little in the way of differentiation so far.
Will we ever see Asus in the U.S.? Probably not anytime soon, but hey, we're hopin' they make a deal somewhere, sometime.
Although we've been impressed so far with Microsoft's execution of Windows Phone 7, not all are happy and we're starting to see why.
While some 3,000+ developer devices are out in the wild, that is a drop in the bucket of those who want/need a device to actually test their applications on in time for an October release. Of course, we get it: logistically its hard to make thousands of pre-production devices and make them available to developers and ship them out--it's no trivial problem for Microsoft. Nor is deciding who gets priority for the phones.
Still, at least one enthusiast Silverlight programmer has taken to his Twitter stream to vent some and we kind of see his point too. After all, we have maybe 10 weeks till release (!) and developers are still missing programming tools and hardware to work on. Justin Angel believes this is a recipe for disaster, where there will be a clash between what developers have worked on via an incomplete emulator versus how it actually performs.
Other have noted that this is just run-of-the-mill for any new software platform, as we've seen these type of issues on WebOS, Android and even the iPhone when they were being rolled out. On the other hand, Microsoft may have to do better to get this right, despite keeping on track for a holiday release.
We're not developers, but we do see both sides here. Hopefully Justin and others will be able to get a device soon, Microsoft can deliver some of those features for the emulator and we'll have some solid software come October. We should finally note that "big" developers (Netflix, Foursquare, New York Times, Seesmic, etc.) have long had all the tools and hardware, so this seems more about independent developers at this point.
The Microsoft KIN has now received its second software update since being axed back in June. As with the first update, the second round deals primarily with tweaking the KIN's Twitter interface.
Basically, the update allows for Twitter replies to show up on a tweet and The KIN Loop now shows pictures from picture links directly in the shell without having to open the browser.
If you are one of the few owning a KIN, the updates can be accessed through the KIN's over-the-air update system. Speculation on why Microsoft continues to update a dead device range from testing out Twitter functionality that may land on Windows Phone 7 to testing OTA updates.
Then again, these updates may have simply been close to being finished when the plug was pulled and Microsoft didn't want to leave any loose ends. Regardless of the reasoning it's nice to see Microsoft lending support to those who continue to use the KIN.
Of course what it means exactly is unclear, but with the recent ruling on DRM and 'jailbreaking', there's no reason to think that XDA members won't be able to unlock our devices at some point and support 'sideloading'. Just like we suggested.
footnote: While XDA Market is the product of XDA-developers member davidgiga, it isn't an official XDA-developers product.