We’ve been keeping an eye on Google Visual Voicemail (GVV) for the last week or so. Now that XDA user Sl4sher has gotten some of the kinks worked out, we’re comfortable putting it out there for our readers.
The concept behind GVV is to give you quick and easy access to your Google Voice Voicemail. Messages can be downloaded and cached to allow playback on your device. After you are done with your message it can be deleted or marked as read. The transcript of your message is also available, allowing you to quickly and easily triage your messages. GVV also uses your phone’s Contact List to display who placed the call.
Vodaphone has added an HTC Mini promotional video over at their YouTube channel. It really doesn't reveal anything new about the Windows Phone but does remind us how nice this Windows Phone looks.
There is one oddity about the video in that the Mini is referred to as the Photon. The model name is likely an association with Vodaphone much like Tilt2 and Dash are associated with AT&T and T-Mobile. Regardless of the name, it's still an HTC Mini.
Ever take a trip with friends and when all is said and done, you can't remember who paid for what? How about a party you're planning with friends and you need to track individual expenses and figure out who owes what? More times than not, you likely kept track of things with pencil and paper and more times than not, someone disputes the numbers.
Clevlab.com has developed a Windows Phone app that might help avoid disputes over accounting and do away with the pencil/paper method.Friendly Budget allows you to create events, track expenses and calculate reimbursements.
Friendly Budget takes into account what everyone contributes to the event, divides the cost evenly, subtracts each member's expense from their portion of the budget, and then reports who owes who to balance things out. Expense, event and party entries are straight forward while navigation takes a little getting used to. Friendly Budget does allow for you to add expense categories but there's no way to export the data to a spread sheet or other report (although these features may appear in future releases of the app).
If you need a fairly easy way to track expenses and divide things equally, Friendly Budget is worth considering. The app is available through Marketplace Mobile for $1.99 and you can find more information on the app here. After the break, you can see a video demonstration of Friendly Budget that may rival the World's Record for texting.
It's no secret that T-Mobile is enjoying a lot of success with the HTC HD2. The HD2 is a fantastic Windows Phone and it's surprising that other carriers haven't followed T-Mobile's lead.
Unfortunately, with this success comes supply issues. Supply so thin that T-Mobile had been restricting the HD2 to new customers only and limiting that to only one per customer.
Comments such as "I would think that since loyal customers like me who want to (re)commit for another 2 years that such loyal customers would be at the top of their priority list. I would be wrong." were surfacing over at the T-Mobile Community Site. In response, T-Mobile has offered the following.
"T-Mobile understands the inventory challenges for the HTC HD2 and continues to work diligently in order to supply our customers with this highly popular product. As we receive additional inventory of the HTC HD2, we are giving priority to our existing customers. However, the demand for the device is still exceeding our supply."
"Depending on the location, some T-Mobile retail stores may still have some HTC HD2 inventory available. We suggest that interested customers contact their local T-Mobile store via phone before visiting to see if they have the HTC HD2 available. If they do not have the HTC HD2 available, some stores are taking names and contact information, and will be able to notify customers once that location has product available."
Not exactly a firm commitment to existing customers but it is a start.
Microsoft is having a busy week at the Web 2.0 Expo and TechFest, showing off new UIs, developing technology and things we can hopefully look forward to actually using one day (Microsoft has a reputation of not delivering on some cool stuff, if you recall).
Of interest to mobile users is two fold. First is the ability for live language translation via some new software. The program combines speech recognition, machine translation, and text-to-speech technology into one package, allowing two users speaking different languages to converse in real-time. While occasionally making an error or two, overall the program does a pretty knock up job of acting like a real translator. Watch the video demo from CNet here.
While no time-frame or release schedule was mentioned, it looks to be integrated into Microsoft's Office Communicator, of which there is a mobile version. So hopefully we'll see some of this trickle into our WP7 devices sometime in the future.
The second venture by Microsoft is once again into social networking, but luckily for us they are not "inventing" another new service but rather a smart aggregator. Called 'Spindex' it will take in all your feeds from Facebook, Twitter, etc. and consolidate said streams into an easier read and used service. More interestingly, it does personalized "trending topics" and automatically prefetches articles related to said topics via Bing. It even takes advantage of the popular 'EverNote' (see review here):
Make sense of your social overload, open your personalized Spindex page, and find out at a glance what topics are hot in your social world. You can also keep track of the things you are remembering via Evernote--right inside of your Spindex page. Spindex is not just a social reader--as you browse your friends' updates, Spindex continually suggests related content from Bing--giving you better insight into the topics and trends spinning around you.
Of course between Kin and Windows Phone 7, you can already see some of this social networking consolidation/ease of access in action. No doubt we'll see more of this as Spindex rolls out and works its way onto our devices.
We pretty much new HTC was a major contender in the smartphone industry and now, they've got the revenue numbers to prove it.
HTC's revenues for April 2010 is being reported as NT$18.01 Billion ($571.9 million US Dollars), bringing revenue for 2010 up to NT$55.71 Billion (or $1.75 Billion US Dollars) for the year. The 57.93% increase on the year is a record for the Taiwan-based company and puts them on an easy pace to top its second quarter revenue projection of NT$50 Billion.
HTC's success is being attributed to the company's aggressive marketing of new devices running both Windows Mobile and Android.
While life is good over at HTC, challenges are on the horizon. New phones are due to be released later this year from competing manufacturers such as Apple and RIM. Plus there is still questions on when HTC will have a device to add to the Windows Phone 7 lineup. Speaking of Apple, HTC still has that pesky patent lawsuit lurking in the shadows.
Regardless of all the hurdles HTC is facing, if the success of the HTC HD2 is any indication on what the future will bring, things should stay brilliant for some time to come.
Important safety tip, don't place your HTC HD2 on the roof of you car and drive off.
However, if you do, all might not be lost. The Talk Show host in the above video was loaned an HTC HD2 to review. He was distracted while leaving work and left the Windows Phone on top of his car. Once home, he realized what had happened, traced back his steps and found the HD2 lying face down in the road.
The HD2 didn't look pretty but the overall condition of the phone might surprise you.
So the rumor of the day is something about Nokia making a phone featuring Windows Phone 7. The source, Times Online, mentions this tidbit in passing in a general article about British tech companies stating:
Wolfson suffered a blow in 2008 after it lost a contract to supply components for the Apple iPod. However, some of the pain was lessened last year after it was selected by a leading mobile phone manufacturer — believed to be Nokia — to provide some of the technology for its new Windows Mobile handset.
Yeah, that's not really much to go on. Does anyone really think Nokia, who has been quite happy with the Symbian OS, would do such a thing? Then again, Palm did it a few years ago with some initial success. But there's an important difference: Palm was desperate (having lost control of Garnet), Nokia...not so much.
We should also mention that Microsoft and Nokia did just announce a partnership, with Nokia agreeing to distribute Microsoft's 'Communicator Mobile' a "...unified communications client connects directly with a company's communications systems for mobile collaboration". While certainly a great move for both companies, that really doesn't get us to "ZOMG, Nokia is making a Windows Phone!".
What we think: Microsoft and Nokia are certainly working closely together to dislodge RIM, but to suggest they are swingers with their OS's is a bit of stretch.
Tabs seem to be popping up out of nowhere these days. You have a tabs for Facebook, Call History, Twitter, Documents, eReader, and now there's one for GPS.
XDA Developers Forum member xaoc747 has developed posted a GPS tab designed for Sense 2.5 and the HTC HD2. The tab defines your current position and object motion parameters for calculation between the current and previous points. It will record tracks in a Yandex map format along with an analysis of the tracks (distance, speeds, time, etc.).
In skimming over the discussion on this Sense 2.5 tab, there is no mention of it being compatible with any Windows Phone running Sense 2.5 other than the HD2. The Russian Developer has released a similar tab for the HTC Touch Diamond but there is no mention as to whether or not this tab will function on a Touch Pro 2 running Sense 2.5. There is some discussion that some of the settings menus are not translating from Russian to English as well.
If you're in an adventurous mood, you can find the full discussion on the custom tab as well as the download here. Keep in mind this is a home-grown modification that may or may not have bugs and is essentially in the Beta stages.
Correction: This mod was posted over at XDA by xaoc747. The mod was actually developed by member, MoonNah.
File this under 'stuff we may not see for a long, long time, if ever'. In case you have not noticed, Microsoft has lots of "projects" that they work on that have 5 and 10 year outlooks on them. A lot go nowhere, others get folded into different programs and some are just for research-exploration in computing.
The latest one, via ZDNet is a Microsoft project called 'Menlo', which is headed by Galen Hunt, a fellow who also started MS's 'Singularity' project (which if you haven't read about, you should as it deals with a potential future OS rewrite).
'Menlo' is reportedly an attempt to replace the current WinCE core of Windows Phone/Mobile/Zune with NT, the same core that Windows desktop is built around. However, two sources from Mary Jo (one anonymous, the other an analyst on Microsoft), are doubtful of the idea, noting that WinCE is not really a problem and and that MS is pushing developers into using Silverlight, not WinCE for writing programs.
Still, like a lot of research programs, 'Menlo' could just be an exploration of the feasibility of developing a more powerful and ubiquitous NT core for mobile than an actual 'go ahead' to do so. Mary Jo hints at how having a NT core would allow developers to easily port software from the huge Windows desktop world to the mobile one (phone and tablets) with very little effort--similar to the current XBox/Phone push with WP7.
Finally, like all things dealing with these MS projects, you may not hear about this again for years if ever. But it is fun to get a glimpse into Microsoft's thinking about "...the future of computing when mobiles becomes users primary PCs". A future which is certainly coming fast.
It looks like the KIN has taken center stage today with regards to Windows Phone news. Earlier today, Microsoft released pricing and confirmed availability. We are now seeing a few un-boxing (or should I say un-tubing) videos surfacing for the KIN One (bottom sliding keyboard version).
Initial impressions are that the phone is small and probably feels better with the keyboard extended. Speaking of the keyboard, it appears well spaced and with the clicking sound that is evident in the videos I would imagine the keys aren't soft to the touch. The touch screen seems to be fairly responsive but a fingerprint magnet.
It's difficult to properly gauge this Windows Phone without having it in hand but based on the videos, the KIN's OS seems a little cramped. Items seem to blend together with little separation. Maybe it's the smaller screen or that I'm used to the larger Windows Mobile environment. If we can get our hands on a review unit, we'll have a full review up to give you all the highs and lows of this new phone from Microsoft.
Following the break, you can see the initial set-up for the KIN. It has a comprehensive set-up that will import contacts, emails, and appointments from your Windows Live account or help you setup a Windows Live account.
We've heard rumors that the new Microsoft Windows Phone, the KIN, would be available for pre-order on May 6, 2010 and in stores on May 13, 2010 through Verizon Wireless. Microsoft has now confirmed these dates and released pricing information on the two KINs.
The KIN One (bottom sliding keyboard) will be available for $49.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and contractual discounts. The KIN Two (side sliding keyboard) will be available for $99.99 after the $100 mail-in rebate and contractual discounts.
The pricing is a little bit of a surprise in that the Touch Pro 2 from Verizon is running $79.99 (with discounts/rebates). Granted the KIN is focused for a slightly younger audience, one would think the pricing would be more competitive. You can find the full press release from Microsoft here.