If you are a regular reader of this site, chances are that your Windows Phone isn’t the only gadget you keep around. For gadget lovers, getting your device battery charged is one of the few limitations that constrain our phones. On this site we’ve reviewed portable battery chargers, solar chargers, etc; but we’ve never seen anything quite like The Sanctuary from BlueLounge.
Consolidates device charging. Allows for simultaneous charging of multiple devices.
Wasn't it yesterday we heard rumors of a software update for the Microsoft KIN? Just as we had hopes a software update would breath new life into the KIN, we are now hearing that Microsoft has pulled the plug on the Windows Phone. The official statement from Microsoft reads,
"We have made the decision to focus exclusively on Windows Phone 7 and we will not ship KIN in Europe this fall as planned. Additionally, we are integrating our KIN team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones."
While Microsoft will site the need to focus on Windows Phone 7, poor sales might have played a role in the decision as well. You also had issues of the KIN not having any apps (YouTube would have been nice), no calender, and pricing issues (hardware and data) that didn't help matters.
The one shining feature of the KIN was the KIN Studio. Hopefully, Microsoft will salvage that feature and find a way to incorporate it into the WP7 picture.
Skyfire has announced that they will be scaling back operations and development beginning July 1, 2010.
The decision appears to be the result of demand out pacing resources. Skyfire users have grown 400% in the past year and Skyfire has been approached by several vendors and wireless providers to become default browsers for their handsets.
The scale down will call for a stop for all future development on Skyfire 1.0 (only used on Windows Phones and Symbian phones) architecture and focus on Skyfire 2.0 as the flagship product. Additionally, Skyfire 1.x will no longer be supported outside of North America and Western Europe. Skyfire 1.0 and 1.5 will remain available as a free service in the following countries after July 1st: United States, U.K., Canada, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Korea and Taiwan.
Jeff Glueck, CEO of Skyfire, stated, "We know this decision is an inconvenience to many Skyfire 1.5 users in emerging markets, and while it’s a free service, we appreciate how important and valuable Skyfire has become to people. We have read the many impassioned messages from users in affected countries, and the choice to focus on our flagship product does involve trade-offs which are never easy." Skyfire will move forward with continued development for Android phones, submit a version to the iPhone App Store and hopefully have a product available for the Windows Phone 7.
McObject, developer of data management technology, has announced it will be offering support for its Perst object-oriented, open source embedded database on the Windows Phone 7 platform.
The open source software was successfully ported to WP7 by APPA Mundi, a England-based consulting firm. Andy Wigley, from APPA Mundi, stated, "Using Perst for .NET, developers using Silverlight can now include true database management system features in their Silverlight applications, including adding persistence to this data by storing it in a container file in isolated storage."
According to McObject, there was some doubt from developers that WP7's tight memory, CPU size and storage constraints might limit the use of embedded databases. Perst will see it's greatest impact with business applications that require complex databases and hopefully, this announcement will open the door further for WP7 development.
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.