While we knew some of the details about the LG Panther (GW910), we didn't have all the little nitty-gritty bits.
Granted, this is not the sexiest phone we've ever seen, but functional? Heck yeah, it seems like it'll do quite well with our new OS. The other thing is this is not final and LG might be apt to change or modify things before launch. Of note is the 720p video recording, something which is becoming more and more the norm these days.
But currently, it's not so bad, though we're hoping to see what HTC can bring to the table. Come on guys, leak something already...
In what could be a smart move to both lock in a game developer and spur more development on Windows Mobile (yes, we still talk about it), Microsoft is commissioning Touch Dimensions, a recent gaming startup from Singapore.
Known for creating "natural" interfaces for gaming and having knack for those sweet little simple games that people on mobile phones often prefer, Touch Dimensions has been tasked with bringing roughly twenty games to the Windows phone marketplace and they all will be free for the consumer.
These casual games will range from "...a digital sketchpad to a Whack-A-Mole-type game that lets you smack mosquitoes to oblivion".
Competition is hot these days in the music-download biz and Microsoft's $14.99 a month Zune Pass may instead get chopped down to $9.99, according to senior product manager Terry Farrell in an interview with Business Week.
While Phil and I think the $14.99 a month price is fair (you get to purchase 10 songs a month with that $14.99, in addition to unlimited downloading), others in the industry, notably Amazon and Rhapsody, offer a similar service for $10.
Microsoft does need to position itself here carefully: they want to make a profit and find that sweet spot, but they also want to make sure when you buy an upcoming Windows Phone 7 device, you take advantage of the Zune Marketplace.
Finding just the right combo could be killer, because while Amazon has some presence on mobile (notably Android), Rhapsody is less straight-forward and has less presence. (Plus in comparison, Zune Marketplace is a better experience than Amazon's on Android). This is still the one area that Microsoft can really exploit against Apple, who still don't have a monthly pass subscription.
And while they're at it, we'd like to see Microsoft implement some type of Zune Video Pass, which was rumored to be coming. The idea of having unlimited video streaming/downloading on my Windows Phone 7 would be fantastic.
So what was fixed? Evidently nothing. In T-Mobile's forum they blame the last ROM yanking on server issues. Yeah.
Due to overwhelming demand, some customers experienced slow download times when attempting to access the HTC HD2 software update from the T-Mobile Web site. As a result, we temporarily removed the link from our Web site to ensure the best possible customer experience.
Now that we have solved our server issues, we are happy to announce that the software update for the HTC HD2 is now available on the T-Mobile Web site for customers to download and install on their HTC HD2 smartphone.
If you have already downloaded and installed the software update to their HTC HD2, please continue to use your device as normal. You do not need to reinstall the software.
Just can't wait for a Windows Phone 7 device? Here's the next best thing: use this paper cutout made by Swedish software developer Jayway. Simply download and print out the .pdf file (other formats available) and off you go.
Now on a serious note, this was actually made by a developer for developers so they can get a better idea of how their program would look like on a "life-sized" device instead of a 24" high-resolution monitor. In this case, the Jayway team was interested in font size. Basically you can print out your images of your test application and smack them on. Or even cut out slits and have a pull-through panorama style experience.
Microsoft Tag has moved out of the Beta stages with the release of Version 1. The new release also comes with a new Terms of Service as well. According to Microsoft, version 1 improves the Tag Reader, adds a Heat Map report, and makes it available in Italian, French, Spanish, Turkish and Simplified Chinese. The basic services for the Tag Reader will be offered for free.
The new ToS seems to simply transfer any tags created during the Beta program over to the ToS of the Version 1 release. You can find out more information on Version 1 at the Microsoft Tag website as well as downloading the Tag Reader directly from here.
In looking at the Microsoft KIN, we've taken a look at the design of the KIN and the KIN's software. In this last part of the review, we pull everything together and look at the KIN's performance.
As was mentioned at the start, while the KIN is a Windows Phone I don't think it was ever intended to take the place of a Windows Phone running Windows Mobile or Windows Phone 7. However, after using the KIN for some time now, it is a good alternative for someone wanting more than your standard feature phone but less than a Windows Phone running Windows Mobile.
After the break, we'll run down the KIN's software, camera, phone, and overall performance.
We keep hearing various time-frames for the release of Windows Phone 7. Usually "holiday season" is tossed around, which here in the States stretches from mid-October (if you count Halloween) through January 2nd.
Some of us have been hearing October as the big month, but we're not even sure if that's just announcing products or actual release date. For instance, we can see Microsoft back here in NYC at their "Open House" event kicking off WP7 with a bunch of OEMs and developers, but not releasing till...well later.
We have to deliver devices with our partners this Christmas...We have got our work cut out on Windows Phone 7, but we are good competitors.
We suppose this isn't really news if they do "deliver" by Christmas, after all that is still the Holiday season. But we can't help but wish it was more October-ish? And to throw in a zinger, he also reportedly said this
One of our competitors seems a little confused, has come out with two operating systems that I cannot tell the difference between.
Not much to report here, but for all you old school gamer fans, the classic Arkanoid in the form of XNArkanoid (cute) has been initially ported for us to play...whenever we actually get devices to load it up on.
At this rate, we'll have a nice catalog of apps by July.
Pharos is offering a free swap-out program for those who purchased the company's Windows Phone, the Traveler 137. Pharos will ship for free, replacement phones that will lack the power management issues and faulty power button issues the early production models developed.
According to a company spokesman, some of the Traveler 137 units would require a soft reset or removing the battery to power down the phone. The phone would then operate normally for a few days and then go on the fritz again.
In addition to swapping the problematic phones, Pharos will upgrade the replacement phones (which ran Windows Mobile 6.1) to Windows Mobile 6.5. A nice plus seeing that the current Traveler 137 models are shipping with Windows Mobile 6.5.
So was he just being cagey or legit? It's not like he would just announce a Windows Phone 7-Tablet initiative in such an offhand way. Then again, MS has made some boneheaded moves in the past, and not taking advantage of WP7 + tablets could be one of them.
Update: In a video interview with Fortune, Ballmer clearly states they are going with Windows 7 and not Windows Phone 7 for tablets. Can Windows 7 answer the craving for instant-on, low power, low heat and fast mobile OS that consumers demand?
They note that the processor has been updated from the lackluster TI OMAP 3430 to a Snapdragon (presumably 1GHz) and that this device probably won't make it to production, for obvious reasons.
Their impressions? Very positive noting
As you can see in the video below everything is running smoothly with no sign of lag or stuttering and everything was functional on the handset (GPS, data, and even camera). It’s the smoothies mobile experience I have ever witness (on par with the iPhone) and it definitely feels a lot better when used on a real handset compared to the desktop emulator.
That seems to be the consensus lately on anyone who gets to play with one of these prototypes, which is a great sign considering finalized hardware and software is still months away.
Also, the video game 'Twin Blades' by Press Star Studio was shown off. The game is currently available on Xbox Live Arcade (400 points) and was ported in under 2 weeks by one programmer. It's already fully integrated with Xbox including achievements and this will be available when WP7 launches. Sweet--going to download to XBox right now.
While the KIN is being marketed as a Windows Phone, it doesn't run Windows Mobile or Windows Phone 7. The primary mission, if you will, of the KIN is to keep you in touch with your friends and social networks. While the KIN's OS is a dramatic departure from the traditional appearance of a Windows Phone, it does a decent job of keeping you in touch with your social networks.
The KIN may also give us a feel for the social networking abilities the upcoming Windows Phone 7 may have.
In Part One of this review we looked at the design of the KIN phones. While there are design differences between the KIN One and Two, with respects to the software, I can only think of one (the KIN Two has screen rotation).
Hit the break for more on the software, some screen shots and to find out what's missing.