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
It's not really news when Microsoft says they think their technology can take on or beat Android or the iPhone--it's the same PR spin you'd expect from any company that is about to enter some heavy competition. So it's a bit odd that this story is getting so much clout, but he were go...
Overall it's quite nice, but dare we say in its current form, hardly revolutionary. In fact, Android's voice control is leaps and bounds beyond what WP7 will be able to do when finally launched e.g. 'Edwin' is pretty ridiculous (see a YouTube demonstration and witness the power of this completely free app). 'Edwin' is so far ahead right now, we're not sure how TellMe is going to catch up, but hey, we're all for a good race.
Recently, TellMe and Windows Phone 7 were demoed and discussed at the SpeechTEK conference. There, MS boasted how TellMe is the largest speech-based natural language processing system in use today. But really, the big news is that Microsoft is planning to really leverage TellMe in Windows Phone 7, expanding its capabilities significantly...over time. For at launch, it will only do some basic things (dial contacts, launch apps and search Bing), but it will go "global" on the phone in the future, allowing widespread control of just about everything.
It's nice to see Microsoft taking voice-control seriously--after all, they did buy a whole company for the tech.
Finally, the last bit of juicy info was talking about Xbox and Kinect, which you can interpret how you want (to us, it sounds like these ideas, remember that rumor?):
"Speech is the core of NUI," he said. Part of the demonstration showed how Microsoft's Kinnect XBox technology could interpret hand gestures to trigger actions on the computer. This technology will be used in Microsoft products beyond the XBox, Bukshteyn said in a subsequent interview with IDG.
On Microsoft's own Channel 9 yesterday, they showed off some of the free apps in the new Marketplace for Windows Phone 7.
Now these are hardly "killer" apps, in fact they are more demo apps with the source-code available for developers to build off of and incorporate into their own programs.
The programs demoed were pretty basic, much like the ones you find on Samsung phones:
2D game based on SilverLight: 'Unite'
The 2D game 'Unite' was kind of neat--it's just meant as brief time killer and is similar to 'Teeter' from HTC except instead of getting the ball in the hole, you need to combine two or more balls. Looks kind of fun actually.
But the real big thing was the demonstration of Bing Translator, which seems to be an expansion of this new service shown off back in May. Basically, you type in what you want to say and it will translate it for you in text; hit the speaker button and it will speak the phrase for you, even with an authentic accent.
The service is a hybrid one: it uses your data connection for new phrases, but stores old ones on the device. This will enable quick playback of phrases without having to constantly reach into the cloud (Android is 100% cloud based with translation, making Microsoft's solution more preferable). The app also already comes with an impressive list of canned phrases which you can quickly access and supports five-languages on launch:
What's neat is like the other apps, Microsoft is making the source-code of this program available to developers, meaning anyone can incorporate and expand upon what they've already offered. This combined with their emphasis on voice could potentially give Android a run for their money (and leave Apple far behind).
Check out the video after the break. It's only 18 minutes of your time.
One thing that keeps surprising us is how good Microsoft's Bing service is and how much better it is becoming (Anyone notice how Google now has similar themes and even re-vamped their image search to look just like Bing?).
Evidently this week, Microsoft did some more upgrades, changing some of the fonts, making the colors "warmer", improving the layouts and even traffic color.
The other cool addition is the ability to calculate your cab fare based on the trip you enter. While not exactly useful for non-city folk on a daily basis, it sure could be useful for when you travel and need to know how to plan your trip. You can try it out by going right here (you need Silverlight installed, shocker).
Of course the not so great news is that none of these features are yet available on the mobile version, something which is not too unexpected unfortunately these days. Still, we can't help but think that things like the cab fare calculator would be awesome on Windows Phone 7--so lets just hope they figure out a way to do that before October.
Verizon Wireless has announced a promotional offer for eligible Texas and Louisiana consumers that will provide unlimited calling to any mobile telephone number in the United States, regardless of the service provider. The "Unlimited Any Mobile" plans will be available for select cities in Louisiana with the 318 area code and select cities in Texas with area codes of 210, 214, 254, 325, 361, 430, 432, 439, 469, 512, 682, 806, 817, 830, 903, 915, 940, 956 and 972.
The new plans will be available from July 30th through October 31, 2010 and will include unlimited text message and Friends/Family options. Monthly rates for single line, Nationwide Unlimited Talk plans range from $59.99 to $79.99. Nationwide Family Share Plans with the unlimited option will range from $99.99 to $129.99 monthly. The plans are broken down as follows:
Single Line Plans:
450 minutes for $59.99
900 minutes for $79.99
Family Share Plans:
700 minutes for $99.99
1400 minutes for $119.99
2000 minutes for $129.99
To find out if you're eligible for these new plans, you can visit your local Verizon Wireless Store or contact Verizon's Customer Support at 1-888-800-6006.
Sigh. We hate to bring this info, but for those who hate the "feature" in Windows Mobile HTML email, whereby images have placeholders until you "agree" to download won't be pleased.
Evidently Windows Phone 7 uses the same approach, requiring an extra step and unsightly image placeholders until you sync up again. For those curious, this unique method is not present on the iPhone nor Android (Edit: Actually, you do have to hit "Show Pictures" on Android), both of which automatically just show the images.
The reason Microsoft chooses this system is security: opening an HTML email with inline images that is potentially malicious can send back information to the originating servers, hence the extra step.
We get that and totally like this ability as we understand the needs of enterprise can run pretty high. But we want it as AN OPTION not a default/you have no choice in the matter feature. Fact is, Windows Phone 7 is a consumer phone at this point and should therefore make email as transparent as possible--why not just give a simple initial warning sigh and give the use choice?
In short, throwing in his AT&T SIM card along with a travel plan, the phone switched to roaming with no problem as evidenced by the traditional roam triangle. Even better, data roaming is off by default--you have to go into settings to enable. While that seems like a not a big deal, Thurrrott compares it to the older iPhone experience, which according to him was far from ideal (it's now fixed).
Now the interesting question is how much data does WP7 consume, especially with automatic syncing to the cloud for email, contacts, backups, photos and social networking?
The T1 is the latest Bluetooth headset offering from BlueAnt. Billed as a durable, reliable device to give high quality audio in the most challenging condition, the T1 is sure to turn heads.
The T1 headset ($79.95) is the first to feature BlueAnt's Wind Armour Technology that boasts clear audio in wind speeds up to 22mph. The BlueAnt T1 also features voice commands similar to the BlueAnt Q1 headset. Instead of pressing a button to answer calls, you simply have to say "Answer" or "Ignore" to handle things. Other voice commands may be available dependent on your Windows Phone.
We had the opportunity to take the T1 out for a test drive and ease on past the break to see how it measured up.