4 years ago
Windows Phone Summary of the Week: May 30-June 06, 2011
This week has been fairly quiet, but we must kick off this weekly summary with wishing our Dieter Bohn a fond farewell. Onto serious business, Windows 8 was shown in a demo video featuring the Windows Phone 7 live tiles, which shows positive signs on combining the look of Windows on multiple platforms - hopefully building WP7 sales too.
A backup tool is being developed within the homebrew community allowing users to take and apply backups of their devices via Zune. Kik Messenger is to be with us within the month of June after being first heard of at MIX '11. We recently ran an editorial on the amount of spam being added to the Marketplace, Microsoft has responded to all the complaints and states they will add caps. Speaking of the Marketplace, we had the pleasure in interviewing Luke Lowrey, the developer behind Phonealytics.
Many of our readers have been complaining and mentioning about how negative the sales team are at network/retail stores around the world with regards to WP7. You can share your experiences and opinions to unite all detail for it to be channeled to Microsoft so they can look into it with partners and carriers.
Gaming wise, we've had an interview for an insight into Pixelbite Studios and Hydro Thunder GO with CEO Mattias Olsson. U.N.I MEGA Pack is now available for download which includes seven penny arcade style games - perfect for killing time. Both Harbor Master and Haypi Kingdom have been updated, however Haypi Kingdom is experiencing some performance issues on WP7 since updating. Good news is a fix is presently available.
Onto Mango for a small rumor, according to the leaked shots of a HTC device equipped with a 12MP camera, there is a "save settings" button in the camera settings slide. We touched on security this week in light of recent attacks on Gmail accounts. Google have provided resources to help users enable 2-step verification and OTP (One Time Password) and is coupled with a neat little video. For the cloud, SkyDrive is beginning to receive some attention with proposed support coming in Mango, but wouldn't a SkyDrive stand-alone app with music streaming be great? Speaking of music Microsoft have also detailed music & video hub changes.
Acer have been in the spotlight with their W4 making a few stories with specification reports and hands-on videos. The Verizon Trophy (now it's actually out) has been slashed to $49 at AmazonWireless, an unbelievable price. The AT&T HTC HD7S is now availoable at Amazon, among other locations.
Quiet week for developers, but Telerik have their WP7 webinars on the go, not to mention some devices to give away and licenses for one of their products.
Surf on past the break for highlights.
4 years ago
AT&T CEO comments on WP7
Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, has spoken about their support for Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 and how it hasn't been selling as well as both companies had hoped. This is a slightly more accurate picture being painted by the network operator than the previous statement from Jeff Bradley (AT&T senior vice president of mobile devices) of "just fine".
"We actually like that software very, very much. It hasn’t sold as well as Microsoft or us would want it to. I think for the first thing out of the chute it is pretty good. I think they just need to make it better… Giving customers more application choices, having a bigger app store with more functionality on the phone–I think that is all that it needs."
Positive thoughts from the CEO and a good acknowledgement that it's still early days yet. It's good to know they actually like the product, although we don't know who "we" covers in the company, and whether it's more than two personnel or not. AllThingsD carried out an interview with Ralph, asking a few questions, including one about WP7 and Nokia and another about the platform being simply hard to sell. Check out the questions and answers after the break.
4 years ago
AT&T HTC HD7S now available at Amazon (and elsewhere)
Well, AT&T made good with their June 5th launch date for the HTC HD7S (see our full review here). Not only is it available at retail stores and AT&T's online store, it is also available over at AmazonWireless.
Through Amazon, the HD7S out of contract, will run you $489.99, as an upgrade $149.99 and as a new phone with contractual discounts $99.99 ($149.99 if it's a part of a Family Account).
Depending on the purchase you may also be eligible for free two-day shippin and additional instant discounts from Amazon.com. Unfortunately, it hasn't appeared on AmazonWireless's $25 gift card promotion. We're hoping that will change later today.
4 years ago
Bad WP7 sales experience? Express your concern
We have received some comments from you guys about the Windows Phone 7 platform being run down by the staff at network/retail stores etc. While I would assume I'm one of the lucky few with the member of staff at the London Three store being super optimistic about WP7 and sold it well, there are those who view the platform as a disaster from a personal point of view, not a professional perspective.
As one would agree with me saying this - that's wrong. No platform should be down pitched at all, a customer should always receive what product they wish to purchase based on personality, requirements and personal preference, not what the member of staff making the sale wants the customer to buy.
If you have noticed this occurring while in a store or have experienced this yourself, Robert McLaws (a Windows enthusiast) has begun a campaign of sorts to highlight the problem to Microsoft, which is currently an accessible OneNote folder.
Simply fill out the information in the default template example as a new note and post it. Robert also mentions that he may look into creating a web site that publishes this information. It's the few baby steps in the right direction at least.
4 years ago
Another version of Sony Ericsson WP7 Prototype "Julie"
We previously covered leaked photos of the Sony Ericsson device being spread like wildfire, but were later confirmed (as we believed) to be of a cancelled prototype from last year prior to the Windows Phone 7 launch. Sony Ericsson wasn't at the launch party for cookies, neither have they been announced as a future OEM for the platform since it looks like the company have continued doubts.
We have now seen photos of a white version of the prototype "Julie" on a Polish forum, but this device lacks the functionality of the previously leaked handset with bootable ROM. Nice to see 16GB mentioned though and it doesn't look like a half bad phone with the keyboard reminding me much of my TV remote control. More photos after the break.
4 years ago
Developer Interview: Luke Lowrey of Phonealytics
Today's interviewee is Luke Lowrey. We get his take on Windows Phone 7, the development process and how he sees the platform advancing in the near future with Mango. Luke is the developer behind Phonealytics (my personal favourite WP7 app) which is a Google Analytics client with live tile support. His other project is DropNotes, a DropBox note synchronising editor. Both apps show off the Metro UI well.
Drop on past the break for the interview.
4 years ago
4000 MS points WP7 offer at BestBuy
If you're a heavy Xbox user this offer is for you. BestBuy is adding a 4,000 Microsoft Points card in your shopping cart for free when you purchase a Windows Phone 7 handset. This deal is only avaiulable in-store so you'll need to swing on by to your local BestBuy to earn this mammoth amount of points.
Unfortunately -- as of yet -- Microsoft points can't be used in the WP7 Marketplace, which would make this offer all the more worth while, but getting those must-have addons for your Xbox 360 games, renting/downloading movies, completing your music collection and suiting up your avatar to show off on your WP7 device can't be all bad, right?
Currently BestBuy are selling six handsets; Samsung Focus, HTC Surround, HTC HD7, LG Quantum, HTC Trophy and the HTC Arrive. Going for this deal certainly wont leave you feeling "cheaped" into getting a below-par device since there's a great selection available.
Source: BestBuy, via: WMPU
4 years ago
Developer Interview: Pixelbite Studios, makers of Hydro Thunder GO
Hydro Thunder GO recently headlined Microsoft’s 6 Weeks of Must Have Games promotion. As the only Windows Phone-exclusive game in the promotion’s lineup, it had some big shoes to fill. Luckily the game’s 3D graphics are some of the best on the platform and it controls like a dream.
When Microsoft offered to let WPCentral interview Mattias Olsson - CEO of Pixelbite, the game’s developer, we jumped at the chance. We grilled him on the challenges Pixelbite faced in bringing the fan-favorite boat racing series to Windows Phone and even got to peak at some of the game’s maps.
Zoom past the break for our first Xbox Live Developer Interview, complete with plenty of images.
4 years ago
GooNews returns to the Marketplace, hits v3.0
Back a few months ago, we took a look at GooNews--a Google News reader for Windows Phone, which was one of the first (and in our opinion, nicest) apps around. Then, do to some Marketplace hijinks that caused the app to be rejected on something it was previously accepted for, developer Shawn Wildermuth pulled the app in frustration.
Luckily for us, the app is now back in the Marketplace with a few bonuses:
- No ads
- Completely free (and always will be)
- New features
New in v3.0:
- Changed UI Colors to be easier to read
- Changed navigation to Story be the GoogleNews info (which shows sources)
- Changed Settings Page to use easier to use control
Check our video review to get an idea and grab the app for yourself in the marketplace, it's on our must-have list.
4 years ago
Haypi Kingdom version 3.0 update breaks the game, but there is a fix
Game updates are usually a cause for celebration. They are supposed to add new features, improve existing ones, and fix bugs and glitches. But sometimes, an update introduces new problems or even breaks the game entirely. See the last Crackdown: Project Sunburst patch, for instance. The latest game to receive a bad update, or downdate as I like to think of it, is Haypi Kingdom, the only massively multiplayer online game on Windows Phone. Before we get into what’s gone wrong, let’s look at the release notes.
Haypi Kingdom version 3.0 changelog:
- Retina display support
- New buildings in City view: Battlefield and News Center
- Honor added in General tab
- Map tab fully redone
- Oasis and forts now say what city they are associated with
- Alliance war added. Also added alliance war guide link in Help tab
- Alliance tab fully redone
- Alliance rank now based on Alliance Prestige
- Alliance events now sorted: Three stars for coin donations, two stars for resources and money donations, one star for requests to join, quit, etc.
- New languages added
Head past the break to learn more about these changes, how the Windows version is semi-broken, and a workaround to make the game playable.
4 years ago
Verizon HTC Trophy just $49 at AmazonWireless (+ Amazon gift card)
Out for only a week and the $199.99 (-$50 mail in rebate) Verizon HTC Trophy is knocked down to the low, low $49. Throw in that $25 Amazon gift card and now you're talk just $24.
We're not one to tell you where you have to buy your phone at, but darn it all, that's a good price. On top of it, the reviews on Amazon have been pretty top notch with quite a few 5-star write ups from customers (we're reviewing our Verizon Trophy soon, if you want our opinion).
Anyways, head here for the deal and here for the $25 gift-card.
Thanks, AK, for the tip!
4 years ago
Microsoft details music & video hub changes in Mango
The Windows Phone Blog has a nice writeup on the new features we will see in the Mango Music + Video Hub. We've known about some of the features for awhile now (see our "Big Mango consumer list" for what we know so far), but it's great to have official confirmation and more details. There are also quite a few smaller updates that don't merit their own bullet point, but will help smooth out the experience.
The on-device podcast support is a welcome feature, and many users have been asking for it since day one. The iPhone supports it out of the box, and there are a few apps in the Marketplace (e.g. Bring Cast and Podcasts!) that offer some podcast functionality, but so far, only Windows Phone has announced on-device podcast subscriptions, baked into the OS. The standard download-for-later, and stream-it-now options are supported, and users will be able to download or stream over WiFi or GSM/CDMA. New podcasts will only download automatically while your phone is charging, though, and for now, it looks like this is a US only feature.
One of the Zune's greatest features is the Smart DJ (see earlier leak). Smart DJ mixes have always been playable on your Windows Phone, but you've had to create them on your computer, and transfer them over. Mango will give us the ability to generate them on the device, by just long-tapping the "seed" artist, song, or album, and selecting "smart dj." The Music +Video hub will then store your mixes in the History pivot.
To round out the experience, the team has modified the UI/UX a bit. They have moved around a few items, like the repeat and shuffle buttons, to make them easier to find, added bigger playback control buttons, added lock-screen music controls, better images, lockscreen album art, a streaming icon, and on-device playlist creation.
Jump on past the break for the full changelog from Microsoft themselves...it's quite the read.
4 years ago
Is a SkyDrive App in Windows Phone's future?
The Windows Phone Mango update should give us greater SkyDrive support within the Office Hub. But what about a stand alone SkyDrive app?
SkyDrive has an estimated 100 million users and an application that will give you access to all your stored information would be very popular. It appears Microsoft agree or at least Brian Hall, Microsoft's General Manager of IE and Windows Live. At a recent technology conference Hall stated that,
"We need to turn SkyDrive into a destination application."
In his presentation Hall used as an example a SkyDrive app for the phone that would allow users to see all the information stored in their 25GB of cloud storage. There is also some speculation that you will eventually be able to store music on SkyDrive and stream it to your Windows Phone.
Windows Phone's future has a lot of potential and being able to access your SkyDrive account directly from the phone only enhances that potential.
4 years ago
comScore report: Microsoft market share down again in April
Another month, another comScore report.
Like the previous reports that have come out, this one seems to back up the notion that Microsoft has yet to stop their losses in U.S. marketshare for their mobile OSs (comScore seems to lump Windows Mobile and Windows Phone). Gathered from more than 30,000 mobile subscribers via an online survey, the data seems to be at least consistent.
Looking at April, Microsoft's U.S. marketshare is down to 6.7%. To put that in perspective, we've accumulated the last few months of data from comScore and we can see that just over a year ago, MS had 13.2% of the market and it had steadily declined to 10.2% in August and 8.4% in December. In short, Microsoft's marketshare has dropped 25% since Windows Phone 7's launch in October.
Of course with the aging Windows Mobile, we expect many to abandon the platform for alternatives like Android or...well Android (and looking closely, RIM gained as well over 2010-2011). But the problem Microsoft seems to have is converting old Windows Mobile users to Windows Phone. Then again, some of those high-end users may be attracted to Android's more "open" standards and OS manipulation, which resembles Windows Mobile in many ways. The decline though seems to be slowing a bit, but until that number becomes positive growth, Microsoft still has much area to recover.
Luckily that Nokia, Skype and Mango strategy should pay off by late 2011.
Source: comScore; via WinRumors
4 years ago
Microsoft responds to 'App spamming' complaints, adds caps
It was just yesterday that our own Richard Edmonds wrote an editorial here lamenting the sudden influx of many apps in the Marketplace from a single publisher. You may have seen this yourself, where the Marketplace under "New" is suddenly flooded with 50 apps that are all the same but "vary" by region.
We weren't the only blog to complain about it and your comments were unified: this was bad practice on Microsoft's part and it should be addressed sooner than later, otherwise we'll have another Android marketplace on our hands--and no one wants that.
Just 24 hours later, Microsoft has responded to the complaints via their Windows Phone Developer Blog. Todd Brix wrote up the piece and we have to commend Microsoft for both being quick and forthcoming on the process and their reasoning. They then present an fairly even-handed solution in two parts:
1. "To avoid the scenario where bulk publishing crowds out other apps in Marketplace in the future, effective immediately, we are limiting the number of apps any one developer can have certified in a single day to 20. Developers creating a large number of apps can still submit all of them for certification, but they will be certified at a maximum rate of 20 per day rather than all at once."
While 20 may still seem a lot, a cap is better than no cap and we hope that we rarely see as many apps from a single publisher. We imagine if it's still a problem, Microsoft could just as easily reduce that number. In fact, in order to prevent a developer from needlessly publishing apps, Microsoft has a part two as a solution to the problem:
2. "In addition, we are reaching out to the companies who most recently published a large number of apps with similar functionality in a short period of time. We’re offering to work with these developers to explore how they can better take advantage of the Windows Phone platform to improve the functionality of their apps and reduce the need for large numbers of similar apps."
By themselves, neither of these measures would be that effective, but combined we see this one-two punch to be a fair way to better control this ongoing issue and ensure a pleasant Marketplace experience. But now that Microsoft has said something, what do you folks think? We think MS deserves a lot credit for their response. You?
Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog; Thanks, Aleksandr K./Arktronic, for the tip!
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