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.
Elecont Weather has been updated, increasing the worldwide weather coverage from 41,000 to 67,000 cities. Version 1.3.5 also includes a 10-day weather graph for day and night temperatures, an independent scheduler for weather updates, and added information on moon phases and moonrise/moonsets over a ten day period.
The graphical weather app still retains features such as UV alerts, hourly UV forecasts, severe weather alerts, barometric readings, and "feels like" temperature conversions (factoring in heat index or wind chill).
You can pick up your copy of Elecont Weather over at the WMExperts.com Software Store for $14.95. If you're not sure, there is a trial version available so you can give it a try before you buy.
First up is "Paper Ball" by Jimmy Interactive, which looks stylized enough to be something on an iPhone. Think of it as literally paper-football, where the paper are people cutouts. You direct your offense/defense by drawing their plot and then watch what happens. Looks to be a fun little time-waster and the graphics are just superb. Also check out his other game "Frog Log". Video demos after the break!
Once again, while apps like London Tube are nothing revolutionary, the fact so many developers are making these mini/widget programs with in so little effort, bodes well for when Windows Phone 7, you know, actually comes out five months from now.
As we reported earlier, J Allard is sadly still expected to be leaving Microsoft. The WSJ is also backing up the story that his departure is a result of the Courier cancellation.
Likewise, Robbie Back, who oversees the Xbox Live and Mobile division, may also be part of the re-organization process, reportedly as a result of Microsoft's continued poor performance against Google and Apple. This is especially evident as we are on the eve of Apple surpassing Microsoft for the #2 spot on the S&P 500, which though not ultimately important, is certainly symbolic and revealing.
This may also just be routine with Microsoft preparing for the emergence of Windows Phone 7 and Project Natal in the fall. Either way, we hope it works out.
The Microsoft KIN has been on the market for a few weeks now and we've shared a brief video tour of both KIN models and now we'll take a closer look at the latest Windows Phone from Microsoft.
Reviewing a single Windows Phone has its challenges and looking at two phones at the same time is really challenging. To help maintain sanity and break things down a little better, we'll separate things into three parts: design, software and performance.
The initial impression of the KIN (both One and Two) is that the phones were more like a feature phone with a little more "feature" thrown in. I don't believe either were designed to replace your Windows Phone running Windows Mobile but instead, to offer an alternative to those who don't need as much.
We start with looking at the KIN's design. While the KIN Two has more of a traditional design, the KIN One compactness stands out. Ease on past the break to read more on the design and what impression it left.
We admit, you don't need to fasten your seatbelts to view this application. While not the most exciting thing to grace mobile devices, so-called 'time' or 'project management' applications are very important for those who actually need them.
A few French friends got together to make this program for some competition but now they're committed to releasing it to the Marketplace and overseeing its continued development.
Following the minimal-design principles laid about by the Metro UI, Ahead is not flashy but does enable quick access to basic project management sections including: tasks, time tracking, projects, accounts (funding), clients and settings.
But less talk more action. The developers have made a great demo video which walks you through everything. You can watch that after the jump to get an idea of just how polished the program is at this early stage in Windows Phone 7 development or just go to their website to see it all in action: Ahead--manage your projects on the go
Simply install the HomeScreenJump.cab and tap the icon to run and there you go. Want to go the extra step? Install two more .cab files and now you can map it to your Start button as a long press. Now you can call it up wherever, whenever.
Our thoughts? We highly recommend this mod. And do map it to the Start key. This method makes it very fast, efficient and darn it all it just works well. You now have quick-access to your Home, People, Messages, Mail, Weather, Twitter and Programs tabs.