The iPhone 4 may be taking center stage over at AT&T but the wireless carrier has been quietly re-affirming its support for Windows Phone 7. Last week, AT&T held a webcast seminar for Windows Phone 7 application development.
The webcast was conducted by Hsuan-Hua Chang, AT&T's Sr. Marketing Manager, and Rob Cameron from Microsoft. In looking at the presentation's slide show, the seminar covered the core development issues (hardware requirements, software architecture, etc.) as well as walking participants through the development tools. AT&T also took the opportunity to highlight their Developer Program. Developer.att.com will give developers access to the latest information on building Windows Phone 7 solutions for the AT&T network.
AT&T further re-affirmed its commitment to WP7 during the follow-up Q&A. Question: Will AT&T carry a Windows Phone 7? Answer: Yes. AT&T is our Premiere Launch partner.
It would have been nice to have heard more details on what phone we'll see, when we'll see it, and how much it'll cost. But, that would be asking for too much. Right?
T-Mobile customers wanting to upgrade their phones through Customer Care will have to pony up for the cost up front. Beginning July 1, 2010 customers will no longer be able to bill the upgrade charges to their T-Mobile account. Instead, they will have to use a credit or debit card to cover the costs.
EIP (Equipment Installment Plan) Customers will be required to pay the first installment only in addition to any upgrade and shipping fees. Government and business accounts are exempt from this policy change.
This will bring consistency to T-Mobile's purchase policies in place with FlexPay and Retail purchases. It is anticipated that this move will give T-Mobile a boost in revenue which may be applied to future promotions. Who knows, we may see another "free phone" weekend.
When AT&T changed their data plans and moved away from those pesky unlimited plans, some were upset while some looked forward to the savings. If you're not sure if tiered data plans are a good thing or bad, Fierce Wireless has stumbled upon research that shines a positive light on these plans.
The Nielson Company reviews more than 60,000 wireless bills each month and analyzes them line by line, including data usage. In looking at that information sampling over a one year period, the average data consumption increased from 90mb to 298mb. While the averages consumption increased dramatically, it was discovered that during the first quarter of 2009 more than a third of smartphone users consumed less than 1mb of data per month. In 2010, this group dropped to a quarter of the smartphone users. Could this mean that smartphone users are relying more on wifi for their data needs?
Other conclusions from the data usage numbers is that the top six percent of smartphone users consume half of all data and that most users in the Nielson sampling would have be better off with a tiered plan.
In looking at the charts, about 70% of the smartphone users in the study could stay within AT&T's Dataplus Plan (200mb a month) and save $15 a month. About 99% of the users in the study could easily stay within the DataPro Plan (2gb a month) and save $5 a month.
So, for those who have gone to a tiered data plan, are you staying within your monthly data allocation and enjoying the savings?
Microsoft has already sent BING to the iPhone and now it looks as if Office Mobile may be following suit. A recent Microsoft job posting for a Business Division Software Engineer reads, in part, "In addition to the current Windows Mobile 6.5 and upcoming WM7 clients, with the recently announced alliance between Microsoft and Nokia we are working to bring Office Mobile to hundreds of millions of Nokia smartphone owners, followed by other leading Smartphone platforms."
One can only assume that the "other leading smartphone platforms" would include the iPhone 4 or possibly Android phones. While expansion isn't necessarily a bad thing, one has to wonder if Microsoft should keep their focus in-house and get Windows Phone 7 finely tuned before branching outwards. Then again, Microsoft is a huge company and having more than one pot on the stove shouldn't be an issue.
While rumors of software updates for the Microsoft's KIN, Verizon is busy slashing prices on the Windows Phones.
The KIN One has been reduced to $29.99 (from $49.99) and the KIN Two's price has dropped from $99.99 to $49.99. These prices reflect an online discount and requires the standard two-year commitment with Verizon. The pricing also makes the KIN more competitive with similar Feature Phones. All that is needed now is that software update to give the KIN a little more functionality and a lower priced data plan.
While the HTC Pure from AT&T hasn't been as successful as planned, it's still a very good Windows Phone. And lately, it looks like you can pick one up for a steal of a price.
AT&T is offering refurbished Pure's for free (with the obligatory two-year contract) on their main website. It's an AT&T web-exclusive and not available through retail stores.
For the AT&T Premiere Customers (available through many employers) you can pick one up for $39.99. You'll need to hurry on this one because the sale ends tonight at midnight (PDT). Oh...and the same sale has the Tilt2 going for $74.99.
While the new Windows Phone 7 is due out in a few months, these price cuts should help if you're looking for an inexpensive way to get into a Windows Mobile Phone.
Microsoft's KIN appears to be scheduled for an update later this summer. ROM aficionado Conflipper picked up on chatter to suggest that updates will add twitter replies, the ability to re-tweet, and the ability to view more than three Facebook pictures. You may even see You Tube support in this update.
Could this be the spark that gets the KIN rolling? Or will it require a data package that fits the scaled down Windows Phone better? Mid-summer is just around the corner and we'll keep an eye out for more information on the potential upgrade. I wonder if Microsoft will remember the calendar app with this upgrade.
In short, we just got word that Office Live Workspace will be combining with SkyDrive to offer that additional 25GB of storage space, as well as further integration with Hotmail and Messenger, allowing seamless manipulation of documents and photos.
The merger is scheduled to occur over the "next few months", no doubt in preparation for Windows Phone 7.
Following up on that Cannes Lions video yesterday, Mobility Digest (and 'Stepehn' in our comments, natch) noticed that when Kostas loads up that Xbox website, the site contains embedded Silverlight material--specifically an HD video.
Now, Microsoft has repeatedly stated, even as little as one month ago, that Silverlight won't be embedded in Mobile IE in WP7, at least not initially Seems odd for them to want to hide such a feature since promoting Silverlight web development would be in their interest. However, the Mobile IE team is working quite hard and perhaps they have been ahead of schedule in building on features?
But to play devil's advocate, we never actually see any Silverlight content load or play. Then again there must be some type of Silverlight recognition going, since we don't get a grey placeholder box or something similar, like when say the iPhone/iPad can't load Flash.
Right now we'll file this under plausible. But until we hear from the Mobile IE team, Microsoft themselves or see it in action, we're going to remain a wee bit skeptical as we don't want to get anyone's hopes up.
Update: Actually, as pointed out in comments and evidenced by the picture below, Silverlight is not embedded. What you get is a notification to download Silverlight (assuming its supported), which is mentioned in the video. The static-image is automatic and nothing unique as can be seen by the screenshot from my Android HTC EVO. So yeah, nothing to see here folks :-/
Time for yet-another-video demonstration of Windows Phone 7, this time at the Cannes Lions advertising festival. What is nice about this video is the HD quality--seriously, it looks gorgeous. The other is for the first time, we get to see the Bing voice-search in action.
Dieter first noticed Bing voice-search waaaaay back in February, but at the time it was a no-go in terms of demonstrations. But now it looks like this function is finally enabled and working. While nothing completely radical, it's still nice to see. It clearly has the same sound-scheme as 'TellMe' which we haven't heard from since the anemic Samsung Intrepid. We're also still hoping that Microsoft's voice technology goes much, much deeper than just Bing search, ahem.
The thrust of the video is from an advertiser's perspective, so forgive the marketing parlance where you're treated as just a sponge-like consumer. All glory to the HypnoToast!
(If you get that joke and its temporal relativity, you're in the club)
The other noteworthy bit is this quote at the very begining:
I’m gonna ask rock star Kostas… to come on. And Kostas has brought with him Windows Phone 7, which we launch this October.
Well, Microsoft did launch Windows Mobile 6.5 last year in New York City in October. So yeah, we're going with that date and location, again, for the official launch of Windows Phone 7. We'll see you there.
Swype has had one heck of a year. First debuting on Windows Mobile, the popular soft-keyboard alternative has quickly grown to be a popular option on various HTC devices including the T-Mobile HD2. More recently, Swype has exploded on the Android scene quickly making an impression on that OS. In fact, 90% of Swype's business is currently on Android.
Now the developers of Swype are boasting to boost their current 'official' availability from 10 devices to a whopping 50 by the end of the year. Some of those will be tablet-type computers, but no plans for the iPhone.
Certainly not an impossible task but the one question we have is this: What about Windows Phone 7?
The question is really two-fold:
Does WP7 even allow third-party keybaords?
If so, does Swype have plans to roll out for our new OS?
Really this all hinges on question #1 and we have no indication if such an add-on will even be possible with Release 1 of WP7 as no one has yet asked--though we have and are hoping to find out soon...
While we don't normally like to throw stones, especially at the competition which pretty much decimated our OS marketshare, who can resist pointing out some of the problems with the new iPhone 4? Sure, when mass-launching such a complicated device, issues are bound to pop up and no doubt 'quality control' is a tough thing--heck Microsoft lost a billion dollars on the Xbox RROD. Holla.
But here are the major ones for the iPhone 4, most of which can be expounded upon by our sister site TiPB.com: