It hasn't been a big secret that Microsoft has been trying to woo iPhone developers to its own platforms. We've already seen them doing so with Windows Mobile. Now we're seeing it happen with the Zune HD.
But just how easy is it to port an app? Try 12 hours, as seen with Wordmonger in the video above.
Written in C# with OpenGL for the iPhone and ported with XNA Game Studio 3.1 for the Zune HD, the video above shows Wordmonger running on both devices. Of course, one major drawback to the Zune HD is a that it doesn't have a speaker, which is a big turn-off if you don't want to wear headphones for casual gaming. (Count me in that crowd.) Look for Wordmonger on the iPhone by Thanksgiving. No word on an actual Zune launch.
But either way, this is a sure sign that the Zune HD can and will run third-party apps — just as soon as Microsoft allows.
For those patiently waiting for AT&T's Microcell device, the hope of bringing more bars to your house might become reality shortly. Yahoo [via Engadget] is reporting that the 3G Microcell is expected to launch in the next few days in selected markets. While the full list of markets hasn't been announced, the initial launch is believed to include Atlanta, San Antonio, Seattle and North Carolina.
The Microcell has been in testing phases throughout the summer and full roll-out should be by the end of this year. The 3G tower will boost reception in homes with poor network coverage.
AT&T has been eerily silent the past few months in regards to the Touch Pro 2 (aka Tilt 2) while Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile all got theirs out into the wild. But whoever's feeding the BGR this morning now says that the follow-up to the Fuze will be ready to go on Oct. 6. And everybody's putting two and two together and expecting Windows Mobile 6.5 to be on the phone at release.
We're trying not to be very, very angry toward whomever's hand that is, for it is holding not online an HTC Touch Diamond 2, but the HTC Leo, as well. As a reminder, the Touch Diamond 2's screen is 3.2 inches diagonal (just a shade smaller than the Zune HD, btw), and here we get a real feel for just how massive the Leo's screen is. It could be that dude in the picture just has massive hands, but we're starting to get the feeling that the Leo won't be as unwieldy as we first feared.
Oh, and 10 minutes of video goodness are after the break. And plenty more from the source at ai.rs.
Two juicy nuggets emerged this morning from the Boy Genius Report's ninjas regarding the HTC Whitestone, the sort-of-but-not-really successor to the HTC Touch Diamond (insofar as it's a black slab sans keyboard):
Henceforth it shall be called the Verizon Imagio. (Sounds more like a "Harry Potter" spell, but whatever.)
We reported last week that the Sony Ericsson Xperia X2 had surfaced on Expansys's website for the modest price of 604 British Pounds (about $1,000 U.S.). According the a report by Solapalmari, an Italian website, a Sony Ericsson senior executive who preferred to remain nameless has set the price point for the X2 somewhere between 590 and 600 Euro. That's in the 533 British Pound or $880 U.S. dollar neighborhood.
The Senior Executive's tip came via Facebook which presents several questions on credibility of the source. However, stranger things have happened and if accurate, the X2 still remains a tad on the pricey side and will struggle to compete with the HTC Touch Pro 2 who's price point is about 150 British Pounds less. For us in the U.S. market, there is always a chance the X2 will be picked up by a service provider and offered at a discounted price (along with the customary contract extension).
Windows Marketplace for Mobile is due to launch in a few weeks and there has been some speculation as to whether Microsoft would have the ability to remotely delete apps from handsets. These rumors were put to rest during Microsoft's presentation at the Tech-Ed New Zealand conference.
In the event an application is approved but later pulled, Microsoft can automatically wipe the app from any phone that downloaded the app. At this time, it is not clear if refunds for paid apps will be automatic.
While this may seem heavy handed, other app stores have similar policies concerning downloadable content and the ability to remotely delete apps. Amazon has remotely deleted books from their Kindle readers (Orwell's 1984, of course). Apple has chosen to pull unapproved apps from the store while leaving users' devices alone.
In the presentation, Microsoft also reaffirmed it's ban against certain apps including those that replace "core functionality" as well as rejecting mapping and navigational software from its store. Microsoft did note that they will continue to let users download and install Windows Mobile apps from outside the Marketplace.
We hate to see it happen, but it's really not that much of a surprise:
After pumping out a half-dozen Windows Mobile devices, Palm officially is finished with the operating system and will focus solely on webOS. Our pals at PreCentral.net just broke the news from John Rubenstein himself during a financial conference call:
Due to importance of webOS to our overall strategy, we've made the decision to dedicate all future develoment resources to the evolution of webOS. Which means that going forward, our roadmap will include only Palm webOS-based devices
That's definitely a bummer for all you Windows Mobile Treo fans (and we certainly have our share around here). But strategically, it makes sense. Palm will be able to throw all of its resources into webOS, as it really needs to be doing.
The good news, at least for those of you lugging around Treo Pros, is that you'll still be able to partake in the Windows Mobile 6.5 fun, thanks to custom ROMs.
Fare thee well, Palm. Thanks for many years of solid Windows Mobile devices. You'll be missed.
MobileTechWorld has done some digging and found a recent job posting for Microsoft, specifically for their 'Windows Mobile 7 Communications group' which is seeking to "... bring social networks to life by integrating them into the core experience of the phone".
Now none of this should come as a surprise per se — social networks are the current and next big thing on smartphones. Combined with what I refer to as "personal GPS" (i.e. not just for driving) and you have a method for near universal awareness of location (i.e. Google Latitude), status (Facebook), thoughts (Twitter) of all you friends, family and colleagues.
It would seem natural for this "social hub" to be combined with Microsoft's future cloud-location-service called "Orion" (you heard it here first), which will provide aGPS services for all future Windows Mobile 7 devices, including extremely fast signal locks via various methods (trilateration, WiFi networks, GPS) in ...the storage platform (Unified Store)" a possible reference to Mesh. Finally, the team seems to be interested in defining API's for 3rd party services to build off of for seamless fusion with the core Microsoft is providing.
The somewhat bad news is that this seems to be a recent job posting, meaning WM7, at least in this regard, is still behind a bit from being anywhere near finalized. On the other hand, Microsoft seems serious (if not late) in attempting to redefine social interaction on smartphones. We can't wait.
So above is our own blurry video of a pre-roll ad on the Zune HD. This sometimes (though not always) appears when you launch of of the nine apps. (And it took 24 hours before I even saw one. Thanks, iPhone Live!)
And the question everyone (Ars, DF, TiPB) is asking this morning is "Would you put up with video ads for free games?" Personally, I'd rather see something up front rather than, say, the constant pop-up ads you get in many iPhone apps. (Hey, at least they're not modal.)
Anyway, it's a little early to sound the alarm. We're not expecting anything like this on Windows Mobile anytime soon, but it certainly raises the possibility. And so ...
Good news for those of you looking to snag some of the latest Samsung goodness but were afraid you'd be left off the Windows Mobile 6.5 train. Samsung announced this morning that the Omnia line will, indeed, be receiving official updates to WinMo 6.5 "later this year."
In other news, Samsung officially announced the B7330 and said it would launch in October with Windows Mobile 6.5.
Elecont Software has just released an updated version (v1.0.954) of their popular weather application, Elecont Weather. The features of the new version include richer graphics, animation, multiple color themes, Vibro-effects, and gesture orientation. Additional locations have been added for Canada, France, India, and other areas.
It hasn't been long since Elecont gave their weather application a makeover and we were impressed with the results. If you're already an Elecont Weather user, no need to worry. Upgrading to the latest version is free. If you're on the fence, not knowing if Elecont Weather is for you, head on over to the WMExperts Software store and download a trial version.
Well will ya look at that. While the phone itself remains in the shadows, what you're looking at obviously is the pinch-and-zoom we're used to from multitouch capacitive-screened phones -- and here it is on the HTC Leo.
Things are moving a little fast so it's tough to tell exactly what's running. To my weary eyes it looks like the photo viewer within TouchFLO 3D. That right to you guys?
Either way, take that, you nattering nabobs of negativism. Multitouch on Windows Mobile. Ka-chow!
In case you hadn't heard, yours truly is going to throw himself to the wolves and join the boys and girls tonight on iPhone Live! (that's their exclamation point, not mine) to talk about the Zune HD and what it may mean for the future of Windows Mobile.
So here's what we need from you: Join us in the chat room at 8 p.m. EDT (get there early) and show your WinMo support. There's bound to be more than enough FUD flying around, and I'm only one man.
Time: 8 p.m. EDT tonight. (That's 5 p.m. for you guys on the West Coast.)
Topic: Zune HD, iPhones, and everything in between.
So I'm a few hours into the Zune HD. It's my first foray into the Zune ecosystem, so I have a bit of a learning curve, and bear with me. But without giving away the farm, I'll say this: If this is the direction in which Windows Mobile is moving, we all have much to look forward to. There are going to be endless comparisons of the Zune HD to the iPhone and iPod Touch, and we'll certainly add our share. But, for now, it all comes down to this:
The Zune HD and iPhone/iPod Touch are different devices, with different purposes.
Anyhoo, that's not really why we're here. We want to look at the Zune HD from the Windows Mobile perspective and see what bits and pieces we might see in Windows Mobile 7 and beyond. Join us after the break for our initial hands-on and a very quick look at the new desktop software.