4 years ago
HomeScreenJump now available for Sense 2.5
For those who don't follow Android news, about a week ago the HTC Wildfire became official. One cool trick that HTC added was the ability to jump to different screens in Sense via multi-selector screen, instead of sliding all over the place. (See Tracy & Matt's hands on at 0:42)
And anyone who's used Sense 2.5 on WinMo can know the feeling of having to slide the tabs all over the place to just find that one you're looking to use right now. It can be frustrating.
Well combine those two ideas and you have HomeScreenJump from XDA member dotcompt!
Simply install the HomeScreenJump.cab and tap the icon to run and there you go. Want to go the extra step? Install two more .cab files and now you can map it to your Start button as a long press. Now you can call it up wherever, whenever.
Our thoughts? We highly recommend this mod. And do map it to the Start key. This method makes it very fast, efficient and darn it all it just works well. You now have quick-access to your Home, People, Messages, Mail, Weather, Twitter and Programs tabs.
[XDA forums via PDA.pl]
4 years ago
Marketplace Spotlight: Glympse vs. Wizi
Some time ago we looked at Glympse, a GPS Tracking app. More recently, we've also taken a look at Wizi, a similar GPS application. While we've reviewed both, we thought a comparative piece was in order. Is Wizi strong enough to lure you away from the Marketplace or does Glympse have more to offer along with the convenience of the Marketplace? (Okay...so it's not like downloading the Wizi .cab is all that inconvient but we needed to tie this into the Marketplace.)
Follow the Break to see how these to GPS location apps measure up.
4 years ago
Settlement proposed in AT&T "locked phone" lawsuits
AT&T has proposed a settlement that will end several class action lawsuits that surrounds the software locks on most AT&T phones. These locks are put in place to prevent AT&T phones from operating on other compatible wireless carriers.
Each of the four lawsuits, in some shape, form or fashion claim it is improper for AT&T to sell phones that have been programmed not to operate on compatible services and that this restriction hasn't been properly disclosed to customers (still scratching my head on the latter claim).
The proposed settlement allows customers owning eligible phones who have completed a minimum of 90 days of active service with AT&T and be in good standing, upon request, receive an unlocking code. Phones that have an exclusivity sales contract with AT&T of ten months or longer (e.g. the iPhone) are excluded from this settlement. Phones with an exclusivity sales contract of less than ten months the exclusive period mush have expired before the unlocking code is released.
Customers are limited to five unlock codes per year and AT&T will pick up the attorney's fees, on the litigation, up to $5.7 million. The settlement proposal now goes to those suing AT&T to allow anyone not interested in the proposal to opt out or object to the terms. The Court will determine whether or not to approve the settlement on July 2, 2010.
No word if this includes or excludes Windows Phones such as the Tilt2, Samsung Jack and Pure. While these phones are offered by other carriers, the name is unique and possibly exclusive to AT&T. While one can hope that this might lead the way for more unlocked phones to appear in the U.S. market, one also has to wonder if this development is related in any way to AT&T recently increasing their early contract termination fees?
4 years ago
HTC Huashan and Hengshan: probably WM6.5 devices for China, not WP7
Conflipper recently posted some info about two HTC devices slated for 2010: Huashan and Hengshan, named after mountains in China.
Sinces these reference-names are Chinese and not very Western e.g. Mondrian, Rhodium, Whitestone, it's a pretty good indication that these are devices that we'll never see here in the U.S. or Europe for that matter. Well that and they're on Dopod's release schedule.
Going further, Engadget are calling these Windows Phone 7 devices which is incorrect (WMPoweruser was savvy enough not to make this mistake). The following reference is inside the files:
Microsoft Internet Explorer Mobile 6
In case you forgot, this is Internet Explorer Mobile 6 (5.2), the same one that debuted with WM6.1.4 and is in WM6.5. That browser is quite at odds with the Windows Phone 7 browser based on the IE7 and IE8 Trident rendering engines. Just going by screen resolution (480x800 and 320x480) tells you nothing meaningful to differentiate between the two OSes.
So here's the deal: HTC and other lower-tier manufacturers will continue to churn out WM6.5 "Classic" devices in certain markets, namely Eastern as a low-cost alternative to the high-end Windows Phone 7 experience. Sure, both of these new HTC devices could be bumped to Windows Phone 7, but right now there is zero evidence that they are currently planning it. In fact the 320x480 device is probably just a HTC HD Mini spin off.
In other words HTC Huashan and HTC Hengshan: nothing to see here
4 years ago
LG Panther (WP7) now shipping to developers. Plus packaging, a camera shot and more!
Looks like that LG Panther (GW910) is getting around these days. 'Innovative Singapore' received not one but two of the prototype devices to actually start developing their WP7 software. If you recall, we reported on how Windows Phone 7 devices will be going out to developers soon and sure enough, that time has come.
Not only do they show more images of the phone, but they have some of the not-yet-finalized packing and even a sample shot from the camera. Their brief hands on is repeated verbatim below. Needless to say, developers must be getting excited at the prospect of using actual WP7 hardware. We know we can't wait.
- This is definitely still a prototype device, and there are still quite a few rough edges to be fixed. The device OS is still being updated with new builds almost every other day.
- Even the packaging and box is expected to be different before the final product ships. For example, the current box is not even using the correct Windows Phone 7 logo.
- Despite it’s prototype status, the phone appears to be more or less feature complete and incredibly responsive and fast. The animations are all very smooth.
- For the time being, you need a special build of the desktop Zune software (Dorado) to sync with the device; the current released version of desktop Zune software won’t work.
- The camera works pretty well, and the resulting photo is sharp, as you can see below:
[via Innovative Singapore; Thanks Jonathan!]
4 years ago
Verizon announces LG Fathom, in stores June 3 for $149.99
Verizon today announced the LG Fathom, a 3.2-inch horizontal slider running Windows Mobile 6.5.3. The Fathom will be available at business channels on May 27 and in stores June 3. It will cost $149.99 after the usual two-year contract and $100 mail-in rebate. Monthly plans begin at $39.99 for voice and $29.99 for unlimited data.
Other specs of note:
- 1GHz Snapdragon processor.
- WiFi 802.11b/g/n.
- Bluetooth 2.1.
- MicroSD up to 16GB.
- 3.2MP camera.
Full presser after the break.
4 years ago
Bolt Browser updated with Facebook integration
Bitstream has recently updated it's Windows Phone browser, Bolt, to version 2.1. The update adds support for HTML 5 Video and throws in a little Facebook integration. The Facebook integration in Bolt 2.1 allows users to paste links directly to Facebook accounts and work the Facebook's instant messaging.
Bolt 2.1 continues to utilize the server-side rendering of pages to speed things up. Version 2.1 has a little more zip to it than previous versions. The first 25% of pages does take a few seconds to load, then the remaining portions load in a flash. Also, remember that Bolt is a Java App and will be installed within your Java program.
The layout still needs some work (fonts still a little on the small size even when set to XXLarge) but the speed is definitely present. You can download your free copy of Bolt 2.1 by going to http://boltbrowser.com/bolts2.jad from your mobile browser. Additional installation instructions can be found at the Bolt Browser website.
4 years ago
T-Mobile pulls HD2 update--cites problems with ROM
In regards to the latest ROM update to the T-Mobile HTC HD2, people's reaction fell into two camps:
- It made it better
- It made it worse
Guess who won?
T-Mobile has pulled the ROM update due to complaints, one of which is that touch-sensitivity starts out very high but then degrades to the point where you have to mash the screen to get it respond. Another is dialing 611 reportedly screws up the speakerphone till you soft reset. Others complain of freezing and general instability (see this thread at HTC.com)
It is unclear when T-Mobile will release an updated version or what they plan on fixing, but most of seems to focus around Sense 2.5 and areas of customization. We'll keep you posted on any changes.
[via T-Mo News]
4 years ago
Mobile IE is upgradeable, independent of Windows Phone 7
One area that is crucial for Microsoft's success with Windows Phone 7 is in the browser. As the iPhone has demonstrated and Opera fans know, if you have a good browsing experience, you'll have a dedicated following.
Mobile IE has never really been great and while it's better on WP7 e.g. containing
...four-point multitouch fully enabled, zooming in and out by a pinching finger gesture on the screen, so-called "deep zoom" for extreme, high fidelity closeups, a remarkably clear typography, and very smooth, fast operation
...well, it doesn't inspire that much confidence. In fact, with greater enthusiasm for the desktop IE9, the mobile version (based on IE7, little bit of 8) seems like last-year's technology (and that's being generous).
Luckily, Microsoft may have a trick up their sleeves. It was revealed in the comments on the Mobile IE Team blog that the browser can be independently updated of the whole OS i.e.firmware.
Q:Will the browser in Windows 7 get more updates more frequently than only with full firmware updates?
Yes, we are building in the ability to update the browser independently of firmware.
While we knew OTA updates for the OS were a big deal, selectively upgrading just the browser can give Microsoft more flexibility in getting Mobile IE current. Of course that doesn't guarantee that those updates will give us a killer browser, but hey...options are good.
4 years ago
Windows Phone 7: Weekly recap
In case you missed it, here's all of the major Windows Phone 7 news from the week. Seems as if Microsoft can't stop talking about their new OS!
4 years ago
Best of Smartphone Experts, 23 May 2010
4 years ago
More info on WP7 Marketplace, Gaming and Development revealed
Yesterday at IndyTechFest, William Steele of Microsoft held a session on "Building Applications on Windows Phone 7 with XNA" which was recorded on UStream for all to watch.
While geared for developers, there were a few nuggets of information made available that many of you may find interesting. And once again, we'll save you the hour with a summary of the new information:
- Regarding orientation, Silverlight is portrait by default; XNA is landscape, though of course they can be altered
- XNA games are limited to 30 FPS, but that's also the limit on the physical screen's refresh rate
- Only Silverlight can use on-screen keyboard; not yet available for XNA but you can write your own custom keyboard in XNA
- Games built on XNA 4.0 will NOT run on the Zune (there's a "real reason" and one they're telling us publicly. Hmmm...)
- Silverlight app shows up in the Apps Menu; XNA apps shows up in the Games Menu or some special hub
- XNA is obviously geared towards gaming; Silverlight is "user event driven", but both can basically do the same things
- For buying software, Windows Phone Marketplace will be in dollars; Xbox Marketplace will be Points ("funny money")
- Two separate markets (Xbox and Windows Phone Marketplace), meaning you'll have to buy the same game/different platform twice, no way to link (?)
- "Featured" area of Marketplace = paid promotion of application by developer
- Trial-ware will provide link to buy, pause game, hop to marketplace to buy and then continue game (like Xbox)
- No in-game purchasing yet (e.g. bonus levels, avatars, etc.), but definitely something they are looking at
Some revealing tidbits there.
We're not at all thrilled with the purported fragmentation of the Marketplace between Xbox and Windows Phone. While developers will only have to write the software once for PC, Xbox and Phone (the first two go to one market, the latter to another) there seems to be no way to connect purchases for the consumer. That seems like a bad idea. It's also baffling as to how you can't purchase the two together but they can interact across platforms (we suppose it has to do with the backbone "cloud services"). We suggest one solution would be for developers to offer "redemption codes" to consumer who buy on one platform, to "purchase" on the other. That system already exists on Xbox, though it could be a hassle.
We also now have confirmation that the Zune HD appears to be locked out of all of future development, despite being able to run XNA 2D (and unofficially 3D with some tricks). Evidently Microsoft has a real reason, which they are not telling the public--we speculate that it's because the Zune hardware has an expiration date.
4 years ago
Brandon Watson of Microsoft: highlights of his live Q&A on WP7
Brandon Watson, Microsoft's Director of Developer Experience hosted an online question and answer "backstage" event on the official Windows Phone 7 site yesterday.
The questions were mostly geared for developers, but even you non-programmer types will be able to make heads and tales of the conversation. We have to say, Brandon seems to be a stand up guy and he was more than honest in answering questions, not using typical PR language. Plus he was pretty darn entertaining (watch for his "joke" 46 mins in).
For those who want the gist, we've summed up the 60 minute talk below:
- Final version of developer tools will be available "months" before final release of hardware. Plenty of time for developers to feel comfortable.
- New builds of WP7 developer tools every month or two
- Developers: Do expect access to WP7 phones! More info coming soon...
- Hundreds of thousands of downloads of WP7 dev tools already
- 2 million C# developers in the US --> all potential WP7 developers
- If you're a competent Silverlight developer, you should be able to build WP7 apps in just a few hours. (But read this -Mal)
- 3rd party apps won't be able to use email attachments
- No support for in-browser Silverlight at this time, didn't make the cut
- Business experience was not "main concern" with this initial release; consumer UX was (Translation: business focus coming later -Mal)
- Rejection of apps will feature a bullet list of things to fix to get it in, no vagaries (Clear shot at Apple's policies -Mal)
- OEM applications can't multitask either
- No restriction on programming tools as long it compiles down to their common language runtime (C# only, more languages later)
- Socket support for WP7 will come later but is not in initial release. (Hint: those are need for Skype -Mal)
- Markets of availability have not yet been announced (i.e. U.S. release vs. Europe)
Watch the whole thing here, it's good stuff. (Registration required)
4 years ago
Dell says it's still 'very much working' with Windows Phone 7
We've been hearing rumors about Dell working on a Windows Phone 7 device, the Lightning, for a while now. During a recent earnings conference call, Dell CEO Michael Dell kept hopes alive that Dell hasn't given up on the Lightning.
Dell stated, "We're very much working with Android and Windows Mobile 7 and we see those platforms as more attractive alternatives to other suggestions that you may have offered." The alternative he is referring to is likely the option for Dell to buy or develop their own OS.
It's rumored that Dell's Android phone is likely headed to AT&T later this summer and if the renderings do the Lightning any justice, it would be a nice addition to the Windows Phone 7 lineup this Fall.
[read: wmpoweruser.com photo via: engadget.com]
4 years ago
Has J Allard left Microsoft?
For those who don't know (shame!), J Allard is, or perhaps was Microsoft's Chief Experience and Chief Technology Officer for the Entertainment and Devices Division.
Primarily he was responsible for Zune and a lot of aspects of the Xbox platform, including Live, various add ons and the overall direction of the system. Most recently he was heavily associated with the wildly-popular "in incubation" product known as the Courier. If Microsoft has a 'Steve Jobs', i.e. someone who put as much effort on design as well as functionality, it would be Allard.
Of course you're aware that the Courier was recently killed off by Microsoft and some of us (well, me at least) thought perhaps it was undergoing a reshaping to make it more consumer-viable (as opposed to a professionally-orientated).
Well, it seems that Mr. Allard has gone MIA at Microsoft and the latest speculation was that he in on sabbatical but has no plans to return. Reportedly the reason: he was none to happy with the Ballmer's decision to nix the Courier, which evidently was past just being a "research project" and had real potential for being picked up for production. True? False? We may never know.
But if Allard has left Microsoft (for whatever reason), dare we say we're pretty crushed as his role and influence in Microsoft, at least from our perspective, seemed like a breath of fresh air. His indirect influence on Windows Phone should be evident from WP7. Lets hope cooler heads prevail and something positive comes from this situation.
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