Spotify is quite popular in Europe already and for those who are unfamiliar, its a bit similar to the GrooveShark service: users are allowed to stream music to their device, but instead of Spotify hosting the music files themselves, it relies on a peer-to-peer model. So perhaps it's more like Limewire but without the permanent status.
Reportedly it looks great on a 480x800 device and has the following features:
Save offline audio files to phone, or storage card
Multi resolution support
Multitasking support – Yes you can run Spotify in the background and play Bubble breaker at the same time
Sounds good to us. We'll keep you posted on the release and have a review to boot. Oh and one downside? So far Spotify has yet to launch here in the States, so the availability of this program and service...well it may be limited unless you use some proxy-trickery.
You can never have too much power. As Windows Phones become more versatile, the need for power becomes more critical and sometimes the stock battery isn't enough.
We use our Windows Phones to surf the internet, text, email, watch videos, listen to music, play games on, and in between those activities we make a few calls. While power management has improved greatly with Windows Mobile sometimes the standard battery isn't enough.
For those needing a little more staying power with their Tilt2, the HTC Extended Battery and Cover may be just what you're looking for. You know the drill, to read more on HTC's extended battery and cover, follow the break.
There seems to be a lot of work going on over at Windows Live. We've seen ActiveSync support show up and now LiveSide.net is reporting that the Calendar is now accessible from any web-enabled mobile phone. Supported phones and browsers include: iPhone/iPod Touch with Safari 3.0+, Opera on Windows Mobile 6.1.4+, S 60/5th Gen+, Blackberry 5+, Opera, Palm, Android.
Just type in calendar.live.com into your mobile browser and you will be prompted to enter in your Windows Live ID/password. From there you will either go directly to your calendar or you will receive an interesting message that reads, "Windows Live is designed for you, but maybe not for your browser". The message continues to say "the website works best when viewed using Internet Explorer 6 or later, Safari 4.0 or later, Firefox 3.0 or later, or Google Chrome 4.0 or later". All of which is a little confusing seeing that these are desktop browsers.
You do have the option to disregard this message and continue with the cautionary statement that, "some webpages may not work correctly." In using Opera 9.7 on an AT&T Tilt2, Windows Live Calendar "mobile" crashed the browser about every other time. In using Internet Explorer, while I still received the warning message but continuing worked better.
When Windows Live Calendar "mobile" worked, it worked just as it would by accessing it through a desktop computer. I could not replicate the nicer, cleaner graphics and interface of the "mobile" version on the Tilt2. Oddly though, I was able to access the mobile version using an iPhone.
In a jam, being able to access your Windows Live Calendar via your mobile browser will but the inconsistency of appearances and performance is really disappointing. One would think a Windows Phone would reflect the "improvements" to the Windows Live calendar before another device would.
I just can't help but think Microsoft could come up with a more effective, efficient and easier way of making Windows Live truly mobile.
Microsoft is continuing their desperately needed PR push by presenting this new 'features' video on YouTube. While nothing really new is demonstrated per se, it is nice to see it in all of its glorious action and real life scenarios--gives you a real feel for how it will all work.
Despite some of those initial 1.0 limitations, you have to give Microsfot credit for that UI--it looks nothing like Android or the iPhone. Not an easy accomplishment if you think about how you would design a mobile OS.
Check out the video after the jump, it's worth the 3 1/2 minutes.
AT&T's Microcell is slowly rolling out nationwide adding more cities here and there. The microcell itself will run you about $150 and we know that customers can use package minutes with the microcell. AT&T subscribers can also purchase unlimited minutes through the microcell for an additional $20 a month.
We are now finding out that with the recent changes to AT&T's data packages, any data used through the microcell will go against a customer's monthly data package. Back in the good old days when everyone had unlimited data, this never developed into an concern. Now that AT&T has put limits on data packages, it may become one for some.
According to an AT&T spokesperson who spoke with us:
A 3G Microcell functions as a miniature cell tower, and data transmitted using the Microcell uses the core wireless network just like a call placed while driving down the highway uses the core wireless network. The only difference is how that data or call gets there – via a broadband connection versus via a cell tower. As a result data and voice consumed through that access point are billed according to the users’ plan.
While the microcell will double as a data and voice solution it was primarily intended to be a voice solution for those areas with weak coverage. The optimal data solution likely remains to be wi-fi and nowadays is just about standard on all Windows Phones. Using wi-fi for data downloads won't go against your data package. Granted, not everyone has a wireless network in their home and while the microcell can be a dual solution, just remember it's use will go against both your package allotments.
Then again lets be honest, we are now doing some of the work for AT&T by using our own data-for-data, unloading the stress on their towers--seems odd and sneaky to be penalized. On the other hand, AT&T has a leg up on competition as Sprint doesn't even offer 3G coverage via their AirRave. Thoughts?
For those of you who remember when Windows Phone 7 debuted, you may recall that the Xbox gaming hub was not 'live' at the time--the personal avatar didn't do the little jig as it was just a place-holder, as well as not updating all the gaming achievements that you may have won.
My Windows Phone 7 device has really become my phone. I keep it updated with the latest builds and use it as I would any phone I’ve ever owned. I play games(from App Week), check my email, listen to music, and surf the web. This week started out like most others, I flashed my phone, entered my Windows Live ID, and went into the Games Hub…
Whoa! That’s me! By me of course I mean my Gamertag, Avatar, and latest Achievement in the Games Hub! I couldn’t believe it, we’ve had the Games Hub working for a while, but up until now it’s been on internal networks inside Microsoft. This week was the first time I really got to see my “true” gamer identity on the phone.
... It’s an incredible experience to see something that many of us have been working on really come together and shine
We can't be the only ones who are excited about this Xbox integration and we're pretty psyched to see this all in person at some point. Combined with the re-launch of XBox & Zune in the fall, Microsoft has a great opportunity for synergy here, lets hope they deliver.
As more and more details trickle out in relation to Windows Phone 7 and the different features and such that will be supported, some little features that we take for granted in Windows Mobile 6.x remain noticeably absent. We can now scratch Landscape support on the start screen off of that list.
CNet’s Ina Fried takes fabulous look behind the scenes at some of the people and processes behind Windows Phone 7. In the associated photo gallery, one of the images shows a glimpse of a Windows Phone 7 (displaying a landscape start screen) running on a development board.
Other tidbits in the article include a discussion on how Microsoft came to the decision on leaving out such things as copy and paste, as well as multitasking.
Microsoft is working another Mobile OS for enterprise devices (commercial devices) that is based on Windows Mobile 6.5.
"In the next six months we will release a new embedded OS called Windows Embedded Handheld, based on Windows Mobile 6.5 technologies ... [and] in the second half of 2011, we will release a version of Windows Embedded Handheld based on Windows Phone 7 technology," Microsoft's Steve Ballmer said via video during a Motorola enterprise smartphone launch event.
Ballmer feels this strategy will allow Microsoft to work on a clear path for enterprises to migrate their business applications to Windows Phone 7.
In reading the report over at PCMag, this sounds like a stop-gap measure until Microsoft can put out a version of Windows Phone 7 for enterprise devices sometime in 2011.
Before Windows CE garnered all that attention last month on tablets, it had always been featured prominently on rugged enterprise devices--think factories, out in the field (US Census), warehouses, etc. Forgoing the bells and whistles of the traditional Windows Mobile, Win CE was more stripped down and geared towards business needs. WinCE is the core upon which Windows Mobile is built around.
With WM6.5.x and WP7 embedded (next year), Microsoft will continue this push by working with partners to deliver such rugged phones and devices to large companies. The first up is Motorola's ES400 (see image right) being launched on Sprint through their direct enterprise channels (i.e. you'll never see it in a store).
Interestingly, the ES400 features a skinned version of WM6.5.3 that nicely echoes the WP7 Start screen. The phone also has some nice features including an old-school PocketPC VGA screen
600-MHz ARM11 processor
GSM HSPA, Sprint's CDMA EVDO
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g
3-inch, 640-by-480 touch screen
camera/red LED scanner
Below all of that it is still WM6.5.3, but you'll have to dig deep to get it. It also features some battery-saving enhancements and it is expected to have a 3-year product life cycle (with a software upgrade in the future). See Sprint product listing here: www.sprint.com/ES400
The reason why this is important is two fold:
Demonstrates Microsoft is still committed to enterprise/delivering a tailored experience--this was always their market, they plan to keep it
Shows there is a push back against using high-end consumer smartphones for enterprise e.g. iPhones--sometimes popular consumer devices don't have a place in the real business world
Additional reporting by George Ponder [Thanks, isaacl, for the tip]
Windows Live Hotmail is slated to officially receive Exchange ActiveSync support sometime this summer. However, while nothing has been announced, it appears this support is already active.
Liveside.net is reporting some users are having success in syncing their Hotmail accounts through ActiveSync. Through trial and error, the server address has been identified as m.hotmail.com, SSL should be enabled, and you leave the domain blank. Obviously you enter in your username and password accordingly.
If you're feeling adventurous, give it a try but remember, this isn't an official announcement so there may be performance issues present. Also, with ActiveSync only able to sync with one Exchange Server, you will have to delete your existing data. Make sure you have things backed up before giving it a whirl.
In reading the Windows Live Hotmail FAQ Sheet, calendar and contact support is also present with Exchange ActiveSync. There's no mention of task synchronization which may be a downside for some.
It's nice to see ActiveSync support coming to Windows Live and Hotmail. It may make the choice between Windows Live and Google a little more difficult to make.
Requests for it have outstripped the requests for Blackberry, by a large margin
For those curious, ShopSavvy is a very popular application found on Android, the iPhone and Symbian. It allows you to scan a barcode with your camera and then does a quick price lookup for all local and online stores, giving you their lowest price and allowing you to save the information.
Since we began accepting requests it has been interesting to note that Windows Phone requests have beaten out Blackberry requests two to one. This is despite the fact that Blackberry devices out number Windows Mobile devices more than two to one.
Jealous of the new KIN UI? No? Well, too bad because now you have the option to run a UI overlay on your favorite Windows Mobile phone, but without all the limitations.
Turns out someone at Windows Phone Hacker (yeah, new to us too) has come up with a sophisticated looking KIN UI. Seriously, considering what this is it actually looks pretty darn good.
Called 'KinLauncher', it makes available eight tabs on your homescreen, each linking to a core aspect of your phone: messages, email, phone, music, settings, browser, camera and alarm clock.
It might not permanently replace your Sense UI, but hey, it's free and seems like worth a shot if you're bored. You can grab it right here and after the break, watch a video demonstration of it in action.
Looks like the Verizon Touch Pro 2 just received a maintenance ROM update called 'MR2'. Still a bit early to know all the changes, but so far it looks to be some subtle, under the hood type fixes as opposed to a whole new "experience":
"This is a general software upgrade for the XV6875 that updates VZ Navigator, Contact Cards and the Time Stamp"
So shall we play "what else is different"? If you find anything, hit us up in comments.