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.
T-Mobile has released its 2010 Second Quarter financial numbers and while revenues increased slightly, the customer base continued its decline.
Total revenues are being reported at $5.36 billion in the second quarter of 2010, up $5.34 billion from 2009's second quarter.
For the second quarter of 2010, total customers declined by 93,000. T-Mobile saw a net customer additions of 325,000 in the second quarter of 2009. The company reported a decline of 77,000 customers during the first quarter of 2010. In the end, T-Mobile is serving 33.6 million customers at the close of the 2010 second quarter.
As we saw with AT&T and Verizon's quarterly reports, T-Mobile experienced an 18% increase in data service revenues. During the 2010 second quarter the company earned $1.17 billion on data. Of the 33.6 million customers, 6.5 million were using 3G capable smartphones, an increase of 25% from the 2010 first quarter and dramatically up from the 2.1 million reported in the second quarter 2009.
“In the second quarter of 2010, customers embraced T-Mobile USA’s industry leading value which makes it simple and affordable for consumers to trade-up to next generation products and services,” said Robert Dotson, President and CEO, T-Mobile, USA. “The number of 3G smartphones in the hands of our customers year-over-year has tripled to 6.5 million supported by a network that offers the broadest reach of 4G speeds in the U.S. as our growth continues through data revenues.”
Your guess is as good as ours as to what Microsoft's currently teasing on Twitter. So far, they've only said "Don’t be so touchy…flat is where it’s at." Maybe it's a new Zune HD. Or maybe it's a Windows Phone 7 device. (But with Microsoft branding!?!?) A tablet? An e-reader? Some sort of trackpad? Search us, but we'll be keeping an eye on it, for sure. [via @msfthardware]
Update: So Neowin is reporting that this lil' gizmo is the new Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse, which supposedly features a multi-touch track pad on top and acts as a mouse otherwise. This is reportedly to take advantage of the multi-touch features of Windows 7 without investing in an expensive screen. Sounds cool. It's supposed to be available in September. -Malatesta