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Brandon Watson betting $1,000 on WP7

 

Brandon Watson, Senior Director of Windows Phone 7 development, is bringing out the big guns by staking $1,000 on Mango. Scott Adams, author of popular comic strip Dilbert, in a recent blog post has expressed disappointment in both the iPhone and with Android. Watson saw the opportunity and dropped a bombshell of an offer:

"Scott -

My name is Brandon Watson and I am responsible for the developer platform on Windows Phone. Since your readership has a high probability of cross over with our developer base, how about I make you a deal with one of the phones we reserve for developers. Take Windows Phone for a spin. I’ll send you a developer phone with the new Mango OS on it. Give it an honest run, and if you don’t love it more than either of your iPhone or Android experiences, I’ll make a $1000 donation to the charity of your choice. You can’t really lose on this deal.

Do we have 500K apps? No. Do we have 25K, growing as fast as iPhone did, and 2x as fast as Android? Yes. Do developers love the dev environment? Uh huh. Do we have the only phone that puts people and communications first? You bet. If Androids dream of electronic iSheep, people dream about people – and that’s what you will get with Windows Phone. Keep in constant contact with those most important to you with Live Tiles, groups, messaging threads, and native Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And no special instructions on how to hold the phone to make calls. Oh, and the battery lasts a long time.

I can be reached at ThePhone [at] microsoft. You can call me if you want – 425-985-5568. Windows Phone devs will tell you that’s the right contact info, because it’s shared with every one of them.

I hope you take me up on this one…there’s no reason to hate your phone."

Should Adams take this offer up, he will receive a free Mango developer device (presumably with Twitter integration) and will give the platform a test run to determine whether or not he enjoys the experience compared to competitors. If the results are positive then great. If not, Watson will donate $1,000 to a charity of his choice.

The head of Windows Phone didn't stop there as he set sights on Molly Wood, CNET reporter, on Twitter who was/is experiencing some issues with her Droid. Hopefully this work will pay off, especially if we look at a recent customer satisfaction survey that puts WP7 above Andorid. Social media has a good-will category 'Social Good', we now have 'WP7 Good'. Bravo Watson.

Source: Scott's blog, via: WinRumors

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HTC Ruby: WP7 or Android?

There's been reports of a mysterious handset appearing in some HTC Flyer tablet shots. The handset can be seen via reflection on the screen of the HTC Flyer. What's interesting is that we can only see the rear of the device, so to comment on what OS it's packing inside the shell is impossible from the viewing angle we've been given.

It's an interesting design, whatever it may be. HTC has kept the same look for a while now on every platform it covers, so to see something new that could stand out is refreshing. I remember my HTC Hero being unique against the standard black-curved HTC handsets. What do you guys make of the photos? Does it look too much like an Android design?

Check out some shots after the break and the full album of shots over at Flickr (link below).

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An initial ruling against HTC by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) is evidently starting to have ripple effects. The case was brought by Apple, who is accusing HTC of infringing upon 10 patents of which the ITC found HTC to be violating two. Two caveats: the ITC's ruling is preliminary and not final but, Apple just needs to win on one patent infringement claim to potentially halt imports by HTC into the U.S. [Read Nilay Patel's excellent piece at ThisIsMyNext]

The patents in question seem specifically tied to the Android OS and other firms seem to be taking notice. According to 21st Century Business Herald, based in China:

"Some of these vendors worry about the risk of becoming embroiled in patent infringement due to adoption of Android, and have drawn up three strategies to cope with potential impact. The three strategies are enhancement of support to Microsoft Mango operating system, promotion of smartphone customization by mobile telecom carriers for protection through binding common interest (especially carriers partnering with Apple and Microsoft), self-development of own operating systems, the source pointed out. China-based smartphone vendors Huawei Device and ZTE have planned to adopt Mango, the source indicated."

That's a very interesting paragraph. For one, Huawei is not yet a key partner of Microsoft for Windows Phone--so that's potentially new (even though it will matter more for Eastern markets). Second, we're evidently starting to see OEMs start to make contingency plans if these lawsuits continue to go forward. The reason why is because Google does not offer any protection against claims of patent infringement, contra Microsoft who will defend the OS in court to the chagrin of the OEMs. Combined with those continued licensing fees for Android and the speculation of further legal threats, Windows Phone is starting to look ike a good choice right about now.

Source: Digitimes/21st Century Business Herald; via Electronista

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We're not shy about calling out Google and more specifically Android on their terrible UI--it lacks coherence, style and underlying philosophy of what it should be. It looks like it was designed by computer nerds and not, well, designers. In that sense, it's nice to see Google overhauling their Android Market which always looked like it was beaten with an ugly stick.

Still, we've received quite a few emails noting that their new Marketplace seems to take some liberties with Windows Phone's Metro UI: text based, no chrome, pivot controls, etc. We're not prepared to say that Google sought to make a copy-cat UI here, but it is clear that they are moving in a more minimalist, text-driven direction that seems to becoming popular these days. It's not as bad as their ad that completely ripped off a few weeks ago, but it does show that they're taking their cues from Metro or at the very least, they know they have a UI problem and need to spice things up a bit.

For years people said that the incremental changes to Windows Mobile was just "lipstick on a pig". Well, here's looking at you, Android.

Source: Google; via Android Central; Thanks, Carlos, dtboos and others

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Browser wars are always fun. Not because they are definitive or slam dunk tests that once and for all decide which is the best browser, but because they induce so much chest thumping about standards, specs and specific environments for testing. It's like saying your football team is the best--sure it may or may not be true, but sometimes it's fun to throw the war paint on and act like it is.

In this case, Derek Snyder of Microsoft demonstrates once again the famous "HTML5 fish test" (see MIX 11), comparing it between a BlackBerry, Samsung Android Charge and an iPhone 4. And once again, Windows Phone Mango clearly beats everyone, coming in at an astounding 50 FPS. But what makes this test more interesting is the fact that the iPhone 4 is running the iOS5 beta 3 (just released) which puts Apple's "fall update" up against Microsoft's "fall update", making it a more realistic comparison.

Your move, Apple. 

Source: WMPU

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Apple is on a fight against the world it seems (albeit Microsoft is no angel) when it comes to smartphone patents (and insane term trademarks). I must admit that I find it strange, not to mention anyone who's not familiar with the ins and outs of smartphone technology who could wonder "wouldn't this be the same if Sony were to sue Microsoft over competing with the PlayStation?" The fruit company is after HTC again with their products running the Android OS.

What has this got to do with our platform? Well, there's no touching OEMs on Windows Phone since everything's protected (if you will) by Microsoft so HTC is comfortably wrapped in Ballmer Bubblewrap. Google, on the other hand, offers no protection (or indemnification) for OEMs and partners with their platform. HTC is a loved WP7 manufacturer, so we hate to see anything negative happen to them.

Affected products include the HTC Droid Incredible, Droid Incredible 2, Wildfire, T-Mobile mytouch 3G, T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide, T-Mobile G1, T-Mobile G2, Evo 4G, Aria, Desire, Hero, Merge, Inspire 4G, Evo 4G, Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 4G, and the HTC Flyer tablet

The ITC () is looking into Apple's request for an investigation be started under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 against HTC imports. They will provide a conclusion as to whether an investigation is to be undertaken within 30 days. Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, defended the company against Apple's claims:

HTC disagrees with Apple’s actions and will fully defend itself. HTC strongly advocates intellectual property protection and will continue to respect other innovators and their technologies as we have always done, but we will continue to embrace competition through our own innovation as a healthy way for consumers to get the best mobile experience possible.

From day one, HTC has focused on creating cutting-edge innovations that deliver unique value for people looking for a smartphone. In 1999 we started designing the XDA(i) and T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition(ii), our first touch-screen smartphones, and they both shipped in 2002 with more than 50 additional HTC smartphone models shipping since then.

Source: TheNextWeb

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Yet more royalty charges from Microsoft (remember the report of HTC paying Microsoft $5 per device?), this time it's for Samsung, the largest Android OEM. The software behemoth is requesting a royalty fee of $15 per Android device sold by the handset manufacturer. This would prove to be a monster of a revenue stream with analysts forecasting Samsung selling around 19 million units between April and June alone this year.

The Maeil Business Newspaper quoted unnamed industry officials saying that Samsung would likely attempt to negotiate the fee and lower it to $10 in exchange for presumably more Windows Phone 7 devices and a 'deeper alliance' with Microsoft.

Via: AndroidCentral, Reuters

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Windows 8 UI on Android Tablet [Video]

This is a pretty neat video of not only the Windows Phone 7 lock screen for Android, which is being worked on by the guys at WP7Android, but they have managed to build a Windows 8 live tile look too with Desktop Visualizer and ADW EX on a Galaxy tablet, running Honeycomb 3.1. Apart from the stock Android style clock and icons on the bottom left (which I cannot stand personally) what they've managed to achieve with the tiles is really impressive.

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Smartphone OS shapes

This is an extremely interesting observation. Many would ignore shapes used on smartphone handsets, simply because those shapes would be tied to app launchers or tiles which all contain either images or information. As one can see in the image above, Clayton Miller, a graphic and interaction designer (creater of 10/GUI), has aligned the different shapes adopted by the smartphone market.

From one perspective, you could assume that the shapes shown above is an illustration of the transformation from a square to a circle. Microsoft use the simple four-sided approach with the Metro UI, Apple keep things aesthetically pleasing with a roundrect, Nokia use a squircle and HP have a full circle to play with. Clayton states that Android doesn't have a unified shape, a possible symptom of fragmentation?

It's worth noting that smaller competitors use same shapes as the big players, Bada from Samsung makes use of squares but can't come close to Microsoft's tile implementation and RIM use roundrects throughout but are no match for Apple's iconic design.

Source: Clayton Miller

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A WDS study of 600,000 support calls across Europe, North America, South Africa and Australia shows that the WP7 devices are less susceptible to hardware failure than their Android counterparts.  In the year-long study that included WP7, Android, iOS and RIM devices, WDS compared the number of calls per OS with the ones where hardware failure was the culprit.  Though WP7's 9% hardware failure out-performed Android's 14%, it still finished in a close third behind iOS' 8%.  Surprisingly, RIM came in at number one with a meager 3.7% failure rate.

The primary reason given for the differences between brands was the number of OEMs who manufacture devices for each company.  Android, licensed as open source, is used by 35 different manufacturers, some of which were much more likely to produce failing devices than others.  Microsoft also licenses out WP7, but with stricter hardware requirements.  Meanwhile, Apple and RIM produce their own software and hardware, and thus have tighter quality control.

WDS admits that the study is not fool proof, as it could only determine what percentage of calls could be attributed to hardware, but not the percentage of over all calls in comparison to the over all number of phones shipped in that period of time.  Either way, the outcome is pretty positive for Microsoft, whose hardware reliability rate will likely see a boost once Nokia's WP7 handsets hit the market.  Recently we caught a glimpse of what's in store.  Nokia has near spotless reputation when it comes to their hardware.

Source: PCMag; Via: WPSauce

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Android is Nokia's backup plan? [Rumor]

According to a report over at the Fone Arena, Nokia have undergone some experiments in the Android field as well as Windows Phone 7, which is expected when they were deciding on a different OS to focus on since Symbian was a losing cause.

Our dear friend Eldar Murtazin has remained adamant that we can look forward to some Android devices in 2012 should the WP7 partnership with Microsoft fall through. I don't believe Nokia should have any problems with selling any devices should they stick to their incredible N9 design approach and engage in some effective marketing. Let's just see what happens when Sea Ray hits the shelves before anything else.

Via: Fone Arena

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Awhile back in an attempt to woo developers over from the iPhone, Microsoft released some dev tools to help in the transition. The tools are like a pocket-dictionary for a new language--they allow you to look up commands in one language and translate them to another (for Windows Phone). While they have no illusions that devs will just drop the iPhone development, the hope is to get devs to eventually cross-develop by making it that much easier.

Today, the Windows Phone team has done the same but for Android. From the Windows Phone Dev Blog:

...although you might have a preferred language, opening your mind to others will bring considerable value to your abilities and your resume. It’s true that jumping from one platform or language to another can break your habits, but change can be stimulating and will ultimately expand your opportunities.

To aid in this endeavor, the team is releasing two tools:

  1. Android to Windows Phone API mapping tool (mentioned above)
  2. “Windows Phone 7 Guide for Android Application Developers” white paper, 90+ pages organized in 7 chapters

The tools aren't yet Mango-ready, though they are looking to update them over the summer for that purpose. Once again though, this shows how committed Microsoft is to making the transition for cross-development more simple for developers. And from what we've heard, going from iOS or Android to Windows Phone is quite and easy task.

Source: Windows Phone Dev Blog

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We've previously covered how the influence of Metro is spreading to the desktop operating systems with MetroTwit, Android with the launcher and iOS with the Metro theme etc. Now we have another app mimicking the Windows Phone 7 interface on Android from Federico Carnales - developer behind LauncherPro (which sports a Metro theme).

This music player looks very nice and implements the Metro look successfully when ignoring the status bar at the top. The simplistic approach to user interface has really taken storm, which I find baffling since if we take the desktop OS as an example, from early editions of Windows we've come through XP's colour introduction, glass effects in Vista and 7, high resolution icons and window management in OS X and Linux being customised to look like it was designed in 3146, to Metro on WP7. Simple use of icons, elegant looking and blown-up text, but it works.

Should we be looking forward to future implementations of the UI? Most definitely.

Via: Droid Life

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It looks like those ambitious folks at XDA.cn have been attempting to squeeze good ol' Android on the HTC HD7. Pocketnow reported on this a few days ago but it looks like more progress has been made, including trying to get it on to the T-Mobile version of the device.

Still, work has to be done to get everything working and it looks like the team is aiming for a June release, which isn't too far off. Of course the proof is in the pudding, as they say and the video above (the 2nd one released) shows Android to be humming along quite nicely on the device.

The question is: how many of you will bother to do this, assuming it's not ridiculously hard to load? Call us crazy, but we like WP7 as an alternative to Android. Then again, we're also geeks about hacking on these phones, so could be a fun weekend project.

Source: XDA.cn; Thanks, Jordan L., for the heads up!

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A lot of talk has been present about Microsoft being in third place overall (market share, apps, developers etc. combined), attempting to catch Apple and Google. A recent survey released by IDC shows a trend for the mobile OS group with developer interest throughout 2010/11 - Microsoft is yet again third.

Although we are ahead of RIM at the last point, we should put away the celebration packs of goodies due to the interest percentage for WP7 falling below what the platform had this time last year. Blackberry suffered a heavier fall and thus WP7 comes out tops, notably due to the Nokia partnership (which will hopefully boost developer interest once they bring handsets to the table).

Also included in the report is a fragmentation chart displaying what developers are most concerned with. Android is a known pray to OS and hardware fragmentation, something which WP7 hasn't had (yet, I've touched wood). The most concern is reportedly skill fragmentation, however. 

So overall, WP7 is still playing the slow catchup and I doubt anything will alter until Nokia devices come into the spotlight, or a good number of contracts end soon and customers wish to go to WP7.

via: WPSauce, CNET

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HTC Hero running WP7 on Smallville

This is pretty impressive to see, a HTC Hero (my previous Android device prior to WP7) has been spotted on Smallville, why is this important? It's not running Eclair (2.1) but Windows Phone 7.

As you can see in the capture above Lois Lane's contact picture with an obvious WP7 home screen in the background. This device was a powerhouse on Android, to see it on WP7 would be exciting indeed. 

Source: Engadget

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During today's Microsoft keynote at MIX11, a phone browser speed test was given and for once, Windows Phone (Mango + IE9) trounced the competition. The competition here was the iPhone 4 and Nexus S. 

Is it us or has Microsoft really thrown their weight behind browsers lately? IE9 on Windows Phone 7.5 looks pretty incredible and to put this persepctive, Android Central's Phil Nickinson says he doesn't know how that got the Nexus S to be that fast in the above video--which means MS wasn't playing trickery here. 

Of course we're interested in seeing more than one site load and the devil's in the details. But hey, we like what we see.

via: GeekWire

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PocketNow has published a video comparing the different implementations of copy & paste (including old skool WinMo) that takes us through the variations and shows how it's all extremely similar, yet indifferent. A great watch for all your copy & paste lovers. The devices used in this demonstration include the Blackberry Torch, Samsung Galaxy S (4G), iPod Touch and Nokia N8.

Which platform performs the function best for you, and what would you see improved for your choice of platform? Let us know below.

Source: PocketNow

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We love analysts and predictions, especially when they paint Windows Phone 7 in particularly good light, and Gartner (a leading worldwide technology research and advisory company) has done just that with their latest prediction.

Having a gander at the chart above, we can see the accumulative market total topping 1 billion by 2015 and Microsoft has been predicted to achieve 19.5% market share (compared to the 4.2 they currently hold) - Not bad for a platform that is continuously said to be "failing". Gartner revised its forecast of market share for WP7 taking into account the Nokia partnership, which is said to push the platform into mid-tier of its portfolio by the end of next year.

On a general note, "by 2015, 67 percent of all open OS devices will have an average selling price of $300 or below, proving that smartphones have been finally truly democratized," said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner. We have already covered other predictions that WP7 will overtake RIM from Ovum, so what Gartner has posted seems in-line.

What do you think of these predictions, and what is forecasted for WP7?

Source: Gartner, via: WMPU

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We previously published an in-depth article of the experience in coming to Windows Phone 7 from Android, we now have a great insight to an Android fanatic trying out a WP7 device. Phil Turpin received the device from a friend at Tracey and Matt and wrote back some comments as to how he felt about the platform.

Having just played with a WP7 phone for the last few days it's my belief that it DOES stand a chance. A good chance.

I'm an Android fan, heck I'm writing this on my phone (so if you see any ridiculous typos, you know why), and I love my Android phone but WP7 has something. 

My initial reaction was "hey, this is crap compared to Android, I can't even customise it." But after using it for a while I see that I don't really need to. Android's great for customisation and granular control but the problem with almost all the people here (myself included) is that we're looking at this from a techie's point of view. As someone pointed out, most Android users wont even know what rooting is and likely wont even know what a task killer is. How many Android users know what Linux is let alone care that Android is Linux? 

Now look at how Apple have cornered the market? Simplicity. People don't have to think when using iOS. It just works (so I've been told). WP7 is trying to be like that (& it comes pretty damn close). It also looks and flows quite nicely. Now look at the kind of person who used to buy Nokia phones? Your mum, grandma etc. Do they want to root a phone? Can they be bothered with Task Killers? (Heck, do you even need one on WP7? I know I haven't. Yet). Also think about how many businesses/corporations had stock Nokia handsets in the 90's and 00's (yes, I'm aware that we've come along since then) and now think about how many businesses have an existing MS infrastructure? The Nokia/WP marriage is perfect for them. 

I don't think that WP7 will gain the majority spot in the market (but, sadly, I'm not infallible ;) but I think it'll be a lot more successful than most give credit for. I use Linux as my desktop & dev environment and Android for my phone and I dearly love them both however I am going to invest in a Windows Phone dev environment because I'd be stupid not to. 

A very nice take on first impressions when coming across from the Android platform, or just having a play with one of the WP7 devices. Notice how at the end of the quote, Phil mentions he would be stupid not to invest in the Windows Phone development environment? Pretty strong words echoing our thoughts as to where Microsoft could take the OS. 

Source: Tracey and Matt

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