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4 years ago

Nokia's CTO on changing the Windows Phone UI: Why would you?

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Ever since the Nokia-Microsoft partnership was announced and Nokia CEO's Elop mentioned that this was a "special relationship" where Nokia had the right to manipulate the UI and go deeper on the phone than other OEMs, developers, users and analysts had been concerned with what that would mean to the Windows Phone ecosystem in terms of "build once, build for all".

On Wednesday in Barcelona, Nokia's Chief Technology Officer, Rich Greene, made a surprise appearance at the "Windows Phone Day" seminar for developers. After some softball questions from Matthew Bencke, General Manager Windows Phone, we in the audience had a few moments to ask Greene basically anything. Of course, the UI question came up and his answer is very telling: Nokia has little interest in wrecking the "build once, build for all" ecosystem and there are many more areas where they can innovate rather than "moving tiles around".  Below is his full response from the session:

We certainly do, in the context of this agreement, have the right to manipulate the UX, the UI, etc. but...I'm not speaking for the plan, I'm speaking as the Chief Technology Officer: Why would you?

Let me clarify. There are so many places to innovate, it is critically important to provide the greatest opportunity for you the developer, you build once and everybody gets it, when you create more and more variance it becomes a hindrance. We also want customers to move between devices, preferably towards Nokia devices, but move between devices and not to hinder that in any fashion. The hardware and additional services we can offer will bring people to us, but if there are unfamiliar with a different environment, there may be a barrier to that, so why do it?

The other issue is would I rather invest our resources in building really cool augmented reality applications or move tiles around? It just doesn't make sense. We're going to invest much more of our time, as we should have over the years, building on the platform as opposed to building in the platform. There's unlimited amounts of opportunity to differentiate and innovate in these things.

There's some more after the break...

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4 years ago

Acer producing WP7 devices in Q4 2011?

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Acer producing WP7 devices in Q4 2011?

Pocket-lint have had their ears burnt with the news from an Acer spokesperson that the company is indeed making the move to Windows Phone 7. According to their report, Acer's entry will be timed at around September or October '11.

In a previous article we covered Acer’s commitment to WP7 being internal development only. This update from Pocket-lint’s’ source is potentially fantastic news in an exciting way for a number of reasons, but is actually expected regardless. Acer is a huge Microsoft manufacturer with packing out a huge selection of home computers and laptops. 

The exciting part of this update is how WP7 seems to be able to attract more attention from handset makers that leads to more exposure and hopefully more users. Could this simply be because of the upcoming update later in the year (codenamed Mango) which handset manufacturers are awaiting for the platform to mature? What do you think of the report on Acer? 

Via: Pocket-lint

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4 years ago

Windows Phone 7 Connecter on OS X goes gold on App Store

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Windows Phone 7 Connecter on OS X goes gold on App Store Surprising all Apple focused Windows Phone 7 owners (myself included) with native support for their new platform, Microsoft have had their connector software that allows seamless synchronisation between WP7 devices and OS X in beta for a few months now since October '10. It has now gone gold. Unfortunately, there is still no Zune software available or that has been rumoured to be in active development which would be welcomed with open arms. There are no reportable features that have been added to the Connector, only fixes and enhancements. Still allowing media synchronisation with iTunes & iPhoto and allowing WP7 device firmware updates we don't truly have grounds to grumble. Head on over to the App Store to download the latest instalment for free. Should you have it already and the store is not reporting an update is available, simply drag the Windows Phone 7 Connector icon from your applications list to the trash can and then install from the App Store. Source: Engadget

Surprising all Apple focused Windows Phone 7 owners (myself included) with native support for their new platform, Microsoft has had their connector software that allows seamless synchronization between WP7 devices and OS X in beta since October '10. It has now gone gold.

Unfortunately, there is still no Zune software available or that has been rumored to be in active development, which would be welcomed with open arms. There are no reportable features that have been added to the Connector, only fixes and enhancements. Still allowing media synchronization with iTunes & iPhoto and allowing WP7 device firmware updates we don't truly have grounds to grumble.

Head on over to the App Store to download the latest installment for free. Should you have it already and the store is not reporting an update is available, simply drag the Windows Phone 7 Connector icon from your applications list to the trash can and then install from the App Store.

Source: Engadget

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4 years ago

Dell Wrigley revealed in Dell 2011 Roadmap! [Exclusive]

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A reliable tipster has just sent us Dell's roadmap for 2011 on both the tablet and smartphone fronts. While naturally Windows Phone doesn't make an appearance on the slate side of things (check out sister-site Android Central for that scoop), we do see plenty of awesomeness from Dell for Windows Phone.

To wit: the Dell Wrigley, due out in July 2011 with a 1GHz processor, a 4" WVGA screen, an 8 megapixel camera on the back capable of 720p video recording. What's more, the Wrigley is branded as "Windows Phone 7 Next Gen," which more than implies that a) a big Windows Phone update will come before then and b) the Wrigley will ship with it.

Additionally, we also see the "Dell Venue Pro MLK" (Windows Phone 7): Additional Features and enhancements" landing in mid-April. Near as well can tell, in Dell parlance MLK stands for "Medialess License Kit." Normally that would apply to, say, Microsoft office, but we have a hunch that in this case it applies to a software update - aka the very same software update that Microsoft has been touting all week here at Mobile World Congress.

That's the Windows Phone side of things. For the Android side, check out Android Central on the Dell Tablets and Dell Smartphones

Thanks Anonymous!!

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4 years ago

Microsoft sees a boost in Developer activity

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According to the analytic firm Flurry Inc., Windows Phone 7 development has seen a boost in development activity.  The likely culprit behind this increase is the partnership with Nokia.  Regardless, the boost lifts Microsoft passed Blackberry but still behind Android and Apple with respect to developer activity.

Flurry periodically measures the relative support that developers dedicate to various platforms by tracking new application starts. A week after the announcement of the Nokia/Microsoft partnership, Flurry measured a 66% increase in Windows Phone 7 project starts.

There is still plenty of ground to cover. Apple leads app projects with 69% of the apps and Android has 25%. Blackberry development represents 2% of the app projects. From their blog, Flurry sees the boost in developer activity as a positive.

From Flurry’s point of view, this week’s spike in Windows Phone 7 developer activity shows that developers not only believe Nokia has given Microsoft Windows Phone7 a shot in the arm, but also that Nokia and Microsoft together can build a viable ecosystem.

One of the keys for success that Microsoft identified early on was developer support. Support that seems to be increasing with Microsoft's new partnership with Nokia.

Source: Flurry Via: Bloomberg

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4 years ago

Brewin' up some apps for the Venue Pro [Homebrew]

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Feeling that "the Dell Venue Pro has been neglected by the WP7 homebrew community for a while," XDA user Notebookgrail decided to give it some love.  Using the native COM .dll (OurCOM.dll), he developed DVP Compass and DVP Flashlight.  The names say it all, Compass tells you where to go and Flashlight let's you see it. 

DVP Flashlight also sports the following features:

  • Uses the LED Flash on the device back as a flash.
  • Black out the screen after 10 secs to save power while in 'On' Mode.
  • Uses touch gestures (tap) and Button toggle.

At the moment, you need a developer unlocked or Chevron unlocked Venue Pro to sideload these two gadgets, but Notebookgrail has full registry read/write access in his sights. Just follow the links for the downloads.

DVP Compass

DVP Flashlight

Source: XDA; Via: Notebookgrail (thanks for the tip!)

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4 years ago

Key new Windows Phone tools hinted for Mix11; VOIP?

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This afternoon we attended the "Windows Phone developers day" at Mobile World Congress, during which an extensive Q&A was held that involved various heads of the Windows Phone development team, including Larry Liberman, Bryan Agnetta, Joe Marini, Rob Cameron and Brandon Watson.

A question that Microsoft is commonly asked involves the TCP-socket layer support and whether or not Windows Phone will make it accessible for developers. Socket-layers are critically needed for such services as VOIP aka Skype, Viber, etc. We now know that multitasking is coming to Windows Phone 7 with 'Mango' but now we have a very strong hint that socket-support, in some way, may be coming as well. Those two features are necessary for VOIP. [For a complete background, see J2i.net for relevant points]

Watson does the talking here but dare we say, if you read between the lines you get the feeling that (1) MIX11 will be huge for developers in terms of new features (that are coming with 'Mango') and that (2) Socket-support is a strong contender for a new feature, allowing developers to finally expand beyond simple web-based software. One thing is clear is that Microsoft does not want to disappoint consumers or developers and they are working hard to roll out new features for both, as quickly as possible.

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4 years ago

MSN Video app for WP7 comes to Marketplace

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Microsoft has released an official MSN Video app to the Marketplace, which allows you to browse and search clips from the Bing Videos website. (Think of it as the MS equivalent of the YouTube app).  Fitting nicely into the Metro UI, MSN video offers the option to watch in both regular or high quality.  The HQ vids are obviously much nicer to look at, but as you may imagine, take significantly more time to load up and stream.  One snazzy feature is that videos played from MSN Video will later appear in your history in the Music + Videos Hub.

With YouTube dominating the online video market, we're not sure how much MSN Video will catch on.  That being said, it is great to see MS supporting WP7 by creating their own apps to make it fresh and increasingly useful.

You can download it here for free.

Source: Zune Marketplace; Via: SimpleMobileReview (Thanks, Chris for the tip!)

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4 years ago

Twin Blades pulled from Marketplace over concerns about mature content

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Twin Blades, an Xbox Live game from Press Start Studio, recently disappeared from the Marketplace. We contacted the developer to find out what happened, and the news is not great.

A PSP Minis port of Twin Blades was recently rated 'M' (Mature) by the ESRB. The Windows Phone 7 version of the game never received an ESRB rating. Microsoft has a 'no mature content' policy for Xbox Live games on Windows Phone 7. Because the ESRB decided the PSP version of Twin Blades is too gory for teens (it is fairly bloody, with the zombie decapitations and such), Microsoft pulled the game from the WP7 Marketplace. Twin Blades was never available on the Marketplace in Germany, where more violent games are almost universally banned.

Will Twin Blades return to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace? Press Start Studios is working on a solution with Microsoft to bring the game back, but no decision has been made yet so they can't say when it will come back.

We're disappointed at Twin Blades' loss as it was one of the meatier Xbox Live launch titles on Windows Phone 7. It featured lots of levels, weapons, a lovely gothic visual theme, and a surprisingly mature story. Oh, and plenty of violence against cartoonish zombies.

Will the tale of a gun and scythe-toting nun waging war against the undead return in watered down form? One has to question why mature Xbox Live titles are prohibited on Windows Phone 7 when a child would be incapable of even purchasing a Windows Phone 7 device. It seems Microsoft is trying to protect children from a platform that is almost exclusively available to adults. The iPhone version of Twin Blades, meanwhile, is still available for purchase.

We'll update when Twin Blades' final fate has been decided. In the meantime, people who already bought the game should absolutely not delete it from their mobile devices as it can't be redownloaded.

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4 years ago

Sprint Windows Phone 7 right around the corner?

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Rafael Rivera of CheveronWP7 fame has tweeted that Sprint customers will be enjoying Windows Phone 7 in the first two weeks of March. And the phone of choice for Sprint shall be the HTC 7 Pro. This makes sense as we just saw the leaked, finalized ROM for the Sprint 7 Pro, which hints as near release.

To date, the official time frame for a CDMA Windows Phone 7 is sometime during the first half of 2011 (March would qualify). This time frame also mirrors the release date (early March) for the first WP7 update, "NoDo", that will contain CDMA support as well as copy/paste and performance enhancements.

There was speculation that the "NoDo" update was delayed due to carriers. Could the carrier delay have been to allow Sprint time to get ready for a Windows Phone launch? Nothing official from Sprint or Microsoft confirming this but March will be here before you know it. 

Source: Twitter; Thanks goes out to TimN for the tip!

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4 years ago

Samsung holds strong support for Microsoft & WP7

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Samsunholds strong support for Microsoft & WP7 With Nokia deciding to partner up with Microsoft and jump onto the Windows Phone 7 runaway train with other leading manufacturers, one would consider the possibility that the partnership between Nokia and the software giant could enable them to receive favourable treatment over other manufacturers. At worse, this could cause issues including handset makers pulling support for WP7 or doubting their investment because of favouritism (extremely unlikely but worth the minute consideration). Samsung have reiterated that their support for Microsoft and the platform will continue regardless of what may occur (probably because they are selling well). Chief Strategy Officer at Samsung, Omar Khan, explained in an interview at the Mobile World Congress trade show "You can continue to expect expansion in our Windows Phone portfolio." Moving onto say "Anything that strengthens the Windows Phone ecosystem is good for us," which is ultimately true. As well adding more competition within the WP7 device market, an additional handset manufacturer could well increase developer and carrier interests in the platform itself. For now, Samsung will more than likely sit back and enjoy the sales increase for their devices - particularly the Focus and Omnia 7.

With Nokia deciding to partner up with Microsoft and jump onto the Windows Phone 7 runaway train with other leading manufacturers, one would consider the possibility that the partnership between Nokia and the software giant could enable them to receive favorable treatment over other manufacturers. At worse, this could cause issues including handset makers pulling support for WP7 or doubting their investment because of favoritism (extremely unlikely but worth the minute consideration).

Samsung have reiterated that their support for Microsoft and the platform will continue regardless of what may occur (probably because they are selling well). Chief Strategy Officer at Samsung, Omar Khan, explained in an interview at the Mobile World Congress trade show "You can continue to expect expansion in our Windows Phone portfolio." Moving onto say "Anything that strengthens the Windows Phone ecosystem is good for us," which is ultimately true.

As well adding more competition within the WP7 device market, an additional handset manufacturer could well increase developer and carrier interests in the platform itself. For now, Samsung will more than likely sit back and enjoy the sales increase for their devices - particularly the Focus and Omnia 7.

Source: Forbes

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4 years ago

Motorola: No Moto Windows Phones

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Motorola: No Moto Windows Phones

Motorola left little room for chance that the company would be launching a Windows Phone 7 device. During a press event at the 2011 Mobile World Congress, Christy Wyatt, Motorola's VP of Software and Services Product Management, stated,

"I don't envision us using Microsoft. I would never say never but it's not something we're entertaining now."

Not exactly nailing the door completely shut on the possibility but the statement is strong enough that we won't be holding our breaths in anticipation.

Wyatt cited timing issues and concerns about Windows Phone 7 not being open source as the reasons behind the decision.  Motorola felt that a closed platform did not afford them the opportunity to create unique value. Wyatt added that going with Microsoft would create a situation where the only value Motorola could offer was "commoditized hardware".

All of which raises the question; doesn't it make sense to have the software company (Microsoft) focus on the OS and the hardware company (Motorola) focus on...say...the hardware?

While the prospect of a Motorola Windows Phone does have a certain appeal to it, the company seems well rooted with Android. Wyatt notes that Motorola is the only vendor who is 100 percent Android. It is entirely possible that diversification isn't for everyone but it doesn't appear to be hurting HTC, LG, Samsung and other multi-platform companies.

Source: PCWorld  Via: Engadget

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4 years ago

Yelp! is looking for help

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Yelp! is looking for help

Yelp!, the travel app that connects you with everything from hotels to gas stations to food joints, is looking for a little help. When asked if their popular Windows Phone 7 app would be updated any time soon, their reply:

Unfortunately, not in the near time frame. Believe it or not, we're still a very small team and as such, our priorities lie with the platforms that see the most engagement (iPhone and Android) BUT, we are actively hiring for more mobile developers, so if you know anyone, please send them our way and I'll also tell our team we have some eager folks out there who'd appreciate an update.

Understandably Yelp! is focusing with areas of the most activity but nice to see that they are wanting to effectively handle additional platforms by increasing their staff. No details on the specifics of the developer's position were available, but you can contact Yelp! through their website here for all the details.

And if you haven't tried Yelp!, you can find your free copy here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Source: Facebook Thanks to George (the other one) for tipping us on this!

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4 years ago

Acer still not committed to Windows Phone 7

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Acer has been one of those on again/off again OEMs in regards to Windows Phone 7. They have a very strong  history with Microsoft, having released numerous Windows Mobile devices in the past and are one of their biggest OEMs for laptops and tablets.

We spoke with Acer's Dac Nguyen, Product Marketing Manger, Smart Handheld Business Group about Windows Phone and the prospects of Acer releasing some devices in the future. A few months ago, they spoke positively of the OS and there were even rumors that Acer had already been working on a phone.

From what we're told, Acer is still developing Windows Phone internally (they certainly didn't deny it), but as of yet have nothing to announce and seem still keen on Android (they released 11 Android phones in the last year). So like Asus, they're another OEM who is playing with the hardware and OS on an engineering level, but not officially developing any consumer product just yet.  We suppose once Windows Phone gain more momentum, they'll be ready to commit and bring devices to market quickly, but until then they're sitting on the side lines.

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4 years ago

Tonight's Xbox LIVE game for Windows Phone is Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night

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We've been so busy with this Mobile World Congress thing that we forgot to mention what tonight's Xbox LIVE game is: Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night by Konomi.

Yes, so once again just a single game and it's a puzzler type. We're sure it's not too bad (it's on the iPhone, of course) but we're still hoping for something a little more dramatic/enthralling from Microsoft and their partners.

Source: @KarlStricker

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