Microsoft had its annual shareholders meeting on Thursday. And reading the press release, it sounds like the biggest snoozer ever.
But apparently things were a little different if you actually were there. A shareholder questioned Microsoft CEO (grilled may be a better term) Steve Ballmer on why Microsoft seems so much less cool than, say, Apple, especially when it comes to younger users. (Let's see: Exhibits A, B and C come to mind.) And the quote of the day:
"I'm just wondering why your marketing group can't do something to try to rein in this next generation, because you've got a real bad image out there."
Ballmer's probably as tired of that question as we are. Of course, he's in a slightly better position to do something about it. And simply deflecting talk about Windows phones — which absolutely don't get a fair shake — to Windows 7 and Office 2010 is a cop-out. The people want their phones, sir. They want their apps. They want their music. They want their video. And they want it now.
We've said it before, and we'll say it again. Microsoft has all the pieces. It's time to put them together and market them smartly. And it's far past time to deliver.
A burning question of late has been when, oh when, will the Samsung Omnia II finally hit Verizon. We'd heard of a November launch, but Engadget (and their snazzy redesigned site) got the goods. It'll launch Dec. 2 for $199.99 after contract and rebate. There also is no doubt now that it'll have Windows Mobile 6.5 on board out of the box, along with the 3.7-inch WGVA AMOLED screen (squee!), 8GB on storage plus a MicroSD slot, a 5MP camera, and all the other bells and whistles.
And speaking of the Omnia II, BLeavellB is shouting from the rooftops on Twitter that a Windows Mobile 6.5 update for phones already out there is ripe for the picking. To snag it, you'll need your Omnia II and Sammy's New PC Studio software. Plug in your phone, run the app and away you go. (That also means that we can't test it for you, 'cause we left our Omnia II in our other pants. So sound off in the comments if you're having trouble.) Thanks, John!
Good question, Chris. Actually, ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley beat you to the punch. She was on hand this week at PDC and asked Microsoft's Ray Ozzie the same question. The answer? Well, um, sort of ...
“We’re pushing the Live platform stuff to Mix. Or I shouldn’t actually say Mix, in terms of that, it is going to be spring….The Live stuff and phone stuff basically is out in that time frame.
Ohhhhh. OK. Mary Jo was less than impressed by that answer, and so are we (for what that's worth). If Microsoft has its stuff together, maybe we'll see Live Mesh and other Live services all rolled in with Windows Mobile 7. Or maybe we won't.
The wireless industry does tend to boggle the mind at times. Wireless providers are spending money suing over how ads are phrased instead of using that funding toward improving services or discounting prices. Understanding the economics of the industry seems to have baffled traditional economic ways of thinking as well. Our friends over at The iPhone Blog shared a New York Times article that tried to make sense of the cellphone industry's economics.
According to Barry Nalebuff, an economics professor at Yale, "The whole pricing thing is weird. You pay $60 to make the first phone call. Your next 1,000 minutes are free. Then the minutes after that costs 35 cents.". In most business models, discounts are given to customers who buy more but the cellphone industry penalizes those who go beyond their plan.
The wireless industry uses the overage fees to motivate consumer to buy a bigger bucket of minutes to avoid the per minute fees. Consumers often choose the plan that avoid monthly penalty regardless of how many minutes are left on the table at the end of the month.
The one thing that stood out in the article was the commentary on subsidized (or discounted) phone prices. According to John Hodulik, an analyst for UBS Securities, the industry is trying to get away from big subsidies and would prefer consumers would pay full price for the phones. Consumers on the other hand like the discounted prices even if it costs them more in the long run.
Take the iPhone example in that AT&T initially wanted to the phone to cost $599, later cut it to $399, and required a $20 data package. Sales were good but when the iPhone dropped to $199 and the data increased to $30 a month, the sales skyrocketed.
So, is the economics of the wireless industry simply unique or an abnormality within the business world? Do you believe it's better to buy a bigger bucket of minutes to avoid overage fees or do you shop for the lowest cost per minute?
"We will be talking about Windows Mobile7, you know, kind of talking about Windows Mobile 7 and where that's heading ..."
So, we were right. Nobody used the word "announcement" or anything like that in conjunction with MIX 2010, which takes place March 15-17.
And file this under "duh," but it reasons to stand that Windows Mobile 7 will be announcedbeforethat. Mobile World Congress (Feb 15-18 in Barcelona) again is a possibility, though CES (Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas) may be a better bet, with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer scheduled to deliver the opening keynote the night before the event starts.
Weatherbug has been cranking out weather apps for years ranging from desktop widgets to mobile applications. They have recently released a Windows Mobile Professional version of their weather app, Weatherbug Mobile.
The application puts a good bit of weather information at your fingertips. Features include:
Live local weather from over 8,000 tracking stations
Severe Weather Alerts in real time
Animated local radar
Live and time-lapse images from over 1,000 weather cameras
International weather information
For our impressions of Weatherbug Mobile follow the break.
If you are anything like me, you are either addicted to your Windows Phone or you’re in denial about it. A side effect of this addiction is that you don’t want to put your phone down any more than you have to, which can sometimes lead to problems. One example would be the fact that using your phone while driving can be dangerous and even illegal. There are however some legitimate reasons to have your phone where you can see it while driving. Being able to see the caller id when a call comes in or using traffic or navigation software are both valid uses of your cell phone while driving. To be able to accomplish this safely you really should have a mount, such as the Universal Fit Flexible Mount from iGrip.
We’ve reviewed iGrip products here before. I use their Sturdy Swivel Mount and have loved it ever since I got it. The Flexible Mount gives you some additional options for use. For one thing it holds the phone farther away from the glass, making it more practical for vehicles with a deeper dashboard.
For the full review of the iGrip Universal Fit Flexible Mount, hit the jump.
Do note that the beta will expire on April 5, 2010, so don't be expecting to use this forever. We'll be tinkering with Office 2010 over the next few days. Share your thoughts in the comments, and let us know what you would like to see.
Although many like to use HTC's TouchFLO3D, using the Sliding Panels (aka Titanium on WM6.5) is sometimes preferable — in fact I often find it more efficient and revealing, which is why I'm taking a well-deserved hiatus from HTC's design.
Case in point, there are lots of really good 3rd party plug-ins that can be added to the sliding panels to augment their functionality. Sure TouchFLO3D may have lots of eye candy, but as far as speed of access, Titanium is faster.
Those of you holding out hope that the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 will get an official update to Windows Mobile 6.5 can let that dream die. An SE rep apparently has told Crave Asia that there will be no update, quit asking, now go buy the Xperia X2. (OK, we made up those last two parts.)
Opera Software has announced the public availability of Opera Mobile 10 for the Windows Mobile platform. According to Opera, "this version for the Windows phones will elevate mobile browsing to a desktop-like experience, helping people to search, socialize and stay connected while on the go." And, really, who doesn't want that?
Some of the Opera Mobile 10 highlights include:
Speed dial feature that serves as a table of contents for your Web
Improved Password Management
Touchscreen or keypad navigation compatible
The Beta version is available as a free download at Opera's website or point your mobile browser to m.opera.com/mobile to download the cab file directly to your Windows phone. We'll take the Beta version out for a test drive and we'll have a review up soon.
If you curious, follow the break for the full press release from Opera Software and a few more screenshots.
If you've been using a desktop browser sync, you already know what we're talking about. Your data is seamlessly synced between one or more computers and the cloud. Weave goes a step further, also syncing the data with the Fennec browser. I've been using Weave off and on with Firefox for a while now, and it's steadily improved. And v1.0b is even faster and more transparent. Now we just need to see Fennec get out the door (and get much faster), and we'll have a real browser war on our hands. [download Weave via Mozilla Labs]
You wanted it, you got it. We now have the Seidio Innocase Surface in stock for the Sprint and Verizon versions of the HTC Touch Pro 2. The case is only 1mm thick, so you get polycarbonate plastic protection with very little bulk. There's also the luscious soft-touch coating and you still have full access to the slider keyboard and buttons. Get one now for $29.95 in the WMExperts Store.