None of us have doubted HTC's commitment to Microsoft and its next-generation OS, nor are we shocked to hear that it will release multiple devices this year, so no news there. However, there is one interesting line that caught our attention:
HTC is working closely with Microsoft to bring the unique HTC experience that customers love.
So what exactly does "unique HTC experience" mean? Call us crazy (no seriously, go ahead), but that sounds like HTC will be customizing something on their Seven devices, no?
The question of whether or not OEMs can alter the UI has yet to be answered by Microsoft. It seems that the end-user (and developers) will indeed be limited on what they can alter (translation: no Today Screen plugins), but it is unclear what OEMs and operators are limited to doing.
For the longest time SPB Mobile Shell was easily the best choice to customize the look and feel of your touchscreen Windows Mobile device. Our review of the most recent version of Mobile Shell (version 3.5) touted SPB’s penchant for putting so much functionality at your fingertips.
Somewhat lost in the shuffle of Microsoft’s big Windows Phone Seven Series announcement at Mobile World Congress, SPB announced version 5.0 of SPB Mobile Shell. Mobile Shell 5.0 introduces a number of new features such as a 3D engine which allows for a number of 3 dimensional graphical effects and 3d widgets. Improved support for social networks such as Facebook and Twitter will allow for status updates as well as contact and photo synchronization. One innovative feature that SPB is introducing is their Natural Interaction Engine which will provide support for technologies for Multitouch and G-sensors.
SPB has made a significant investment in the developer/hardware manufacturer segments with Mobile Shell 5.0. SPB UI Builder 2.0 is a set of tools that allow for customization of Mobile Shell and includes access to a number of APIs and includes a skin builder and plugins for integration for industry tools such as 3DMAX and Microsoft Expression Blend.
Microsoft needed to really turn heads today with their Windows Mobile 7 Series presentation. The presentation was critical to squelch the rumors, silence the critics who have ready to announce the death of Windows Mobile and to remain competitive in the Smartphone industry.
Steve Ballmer gave no context for what was to be presented believing it was important to just get on with the show and let Joe Balifore, Microsoft VP in charge of Windows Phones, lead the way in raising the curtain on the 7 Series. "In the end, this is all about the phones and how consumers will react." Balmer said. "It was important to get it (7 Series) out, show what we have now, rather than have it leaked out."
Microsoft needed to breath new life into one of the oldest mobile platforms still in existence. Based on what we saw this morning during the presentation and the hands-on time spent with the new OS, Microsoft did what it needed to do and did it well. Follow the break for more observations and thoughts on Microsoft's' Windows Phone 7 Series presentation.
Curious for more information on Windows Phone 7 Series? Microsoft has launched a website dedicated to the new Windows Phone where you can see what everyone is saying about the new OS, watch demo videos, tinker with an emulator and throw in your own two-cents worth.
Windowsphone7series.com has a backstage component (registration required) where you can be more active on the site as well as a chance to win monthly prizes ranging from copies of Windows 7 to Windows Phone accessories.
We just snagged some more hands-on time with Windows Phone 7 Series (can we just call it WP7 yet?). Don't pay attention to the hardware or even the occasional slowdown. The hardware is just a dev unit and not what we'll see. The software has plenty of time to simmer a bit before it's pre-holiday 2010 release date.
What you should pay attention to is the fluidity of the interface and how nice it is that the device can pull in from multiple sources to multiple places. Instead of thinking "I want to go to facebook to look at pictures from my friend," you just open the Pictures hub. Hubs and not apps.
Also, looks like there's at least one unannounced feature here - some sort of voice search. About 2:20 in the video (which is after the break, by the way), the voice search pops up and, well, isn't quite ready for prime time. We're ready for it, though, and here's to hoping it's ready by launch.
What do you need to know about Windows Phone 7 Series? It's not Windows Mobile as you know it - the re-branding from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone Series 7 is completely appropriate. Here's the big changes and some (very very early) impressions.
Read on for our early take of this early build of Windows Phone 7 Series
Windows Phone 7 Series is official, and so ends the Windows Mobile era. You undoubtedly have questions, and we have answers. So here we go.
The usual suspects are lined up around the block for Windows Phone 7 Series, including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, and manufacturers Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC Corp., HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm Inc.
Manufacturers include Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC Corp., HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm Inc.
The first phones are expected to be available by the 2010 holiday season.
Xbox Live and Zune are coming to the phone. But don't even think about calling it an Xbox phone or a Xune phone.
The Zune ecosystem is going international (finally!), as is the desktop software.
The Windows Phone 7 Series experience is based around a series of "hubs." The hubs include "People," "Pictures," "Games," "Music and video," "Marketplace" and "Office."
Sorry everybody, but it looks like the list of things that 6.5.3 can do (or will be able to soon) that Windows Phone 7 Series (as we assume it's known) cannot currently stands at one:
So reports Phone Scoop, who quoted Adobe as saying "Microsoft and Adobe are working closely together. While the newest version of Windows Phone won't support Flash at initial availability, both companies are working to include a browser plug-in for the full Flash player in future versions of Windows Phone. More details will be shared at Microsoft MIX next month." Lest you be tempted to think this was a mix-up, Engadget has confirmed the story independently.
We're hours away from Microsoft's big announcement - stay tuned and be sure to keep an eye on http://twitter.com/wmexperts for more updates!
Here we are, folks. It took a couple of tries, but we're on the ground in Spain at Mobile World Congress and will be on hand for Microsoft's big event today. We're all expecting the launch of Windows Mobile 7, at least, and it's a big day, indeed.
So, to celebrate, we did a late-night (in Barcelona, anyway) kickoff podcast with myself, Dieter Bohn and CrackBerry.com's Kevin Michaluk. Listen in as we discuss the first-day hijinx, and what we think we'll see the rest of the week.
Showing up on various forums, the .cab and service is actually very, very polished. It is the official version, but SlackerRadio themselves have not published it on their site yet.
No compromises here as you get album images, lyrics, band bio, reviews and a wide selection of music to choose from. Audio quality is also extremely good, trouncing Pandora's 64kb stream. Plus they got that whole "let me power off the screen without disrupting the stream" thing.
Two negative's we've noticed: landscape support is not there and we've had a few songs cut out towards the end for some reason (not uncommon with Pandora either).
Of course, there is the free "basic" version which limits you to something like 6-skips per hour while the program steers you towards the "full" version with upgrade notices in parts. Likewise, you don't get all those lyric bonuses in the free version.
If you want the subscription, it's $4.99 per month (on a month-to-month basis) or $3.99 a month on a 12-month plan (billed monthly). You can also try out the subscription for 7 days for free. We suppose if streaming is your thing it's not a bad deal: the quality of the product is quite top notch. If you just like streaming your own music (as opposed to the jukebox, random streaming), give nanoGroove a shot.
Edit: Whoops! And just as fast Slacker Radio has remotely pulled the plug. The app currently doesn't work and we have to wait for the fine folks at Slacker Radio to drop this app "officially". Sigh. [Here's their official reasoning]
And when you dive a little deeper, the nuts and bolts line up nicely with that leak Gizmodo scored last year. You can clearly see it's manufactured by Sharp, which, as we all know, also manufactured the Sidekick, which Microsoft later purchased.
We really shouldn't joke about something as serious as this, but the lead-up has been so long and winding -- years, actually -- it's kind of hard not to.
Yes, Microsoft undoubtedly will debut Windows Mobile 7 in some form Monday at Mobile World Congress. We've been saying that for a long, long time now (November, actually). Now that the likes of the Wall Street Journal is saying it, well, then it must be officially unofficial.
At a wireless industry conference in Barcelona on Monday, the company plans to publicly show a new version of its cellphone operating system, Windows Mobile 7, for the first time, according to people familiar with the matter. The operating system sports a revamped user interface that resembles the look of Microsoft's Zune HD music player, people who have seen it said.
As luck (and Delta) should have it, we'll be at that "wireless industry conference," also known as Mobile World Congress. More on that over the weekend. But suffice to say, big things are in store.