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Samsung ATIV S - First to announce and last to market

Yesterday we commented how Samsung appears to be late to the Windows Phone 8 train with their ATIV S smartphone. While not as visually eye-catching as HTC or Nokia's offerings, the device has strong appeal to the smartphone traditionalists out there or just those who want every high spec tossed into a phone. Sporting a 4.8" display, 32GB of onboard storage (with an expansion card option), dual-core 1.5Ghz CPU, a massive 2300 mAh battery and a slick, metal finish, the phone has its fans.

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A lot of huff and theories have been laid out regarding those delayed shipping notices for those who pre-ordered the Surface RT. Customers have received an email noting that their order should not be expected to be fulfilled until November 2nd, obviously putting a damper on pre-ordering. Turns out of all the thought out reasons for the delay, none took into account the simplest: it was an error.

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Is Verizon having problems with Windows Phone 8?

A story recently ran on the site Daily Mobile—a site which we are not familiar with—claiming that Windows Phone 8 devices on Verizon are running into problems, potentially causing a launch delay or even cancelation. We’ve been tipped on this by quite a few readers asking us to weigh in on the matter. After all the story does seem a bit sensational, bordering on hysteria.

First off, we know for a fact that the Nokia Lumia 822 aka Atlas is in active testing for the carrier with photos of the device having been leaked and even feedback from one of Verizon’s employees on the device. That should tell you something right there.

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UK mobile phone retailer Phones 4u has sent out a press statement confirming the Lumia 900 UK delay due to 'overwhelming demand' in the U.S. The "exclusive to Phones 4u" white Lumia 900, along with the black version, have had their availability date pushed back from April 27th to May 14th.

As an apology to those who ordered either Windows Phone on (or before) April 16th, the retailer is bundling a pair of Nokia Purity in-ear headphones with the Lumia 900 (in addition to the free Nokia Play 360 wireless speaker) at no extra cost. As mentioned above, stock is expected to be ready to ship by May 14th.

Check out the full press release below.

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There's little doubt that the once bulletproof Research in Motion (RIM) is now in dire-straits with their current lineup of BlackBerry devices--such a down fall has given Microsoft leg room to vie for third in the smartphone category worldwide. To combat their current downward trajectory, RIM is betting a lot on 'BlackBerry 10', but now the company has revealed that their next-generation OS and hardware won't be ready till late 2012. That delay has caused their stock to plummet, dropping 77% in the last year (12% just on Friday) and in addition, has caused many investors (and consumers) to lose faith that the company can recover.  Palm was in this same position with their transition from PalmOS to webOS and they didn't live to tell the tale. Microsoft too was in a similar position back with Windows Mobile--but Microsoft has other businesses and mobile, while important, is not make-or-break for the company.

Some investors have called for RIM to sell itself off or at least its patents. Others have called for their buyout, with some suggesting even Microsoft would be a good suitor (we're not convinced). Now, Evercore Partners, an investment banking advisory firm, is calling on RIM to adopt Windows Phone for their OS:

"We now believe that RIMM needs to adopt an existing ecosystem (Windows Phone) in order to remain a relevant player in the smartphone market"

Or as CNN put it, RIM needs to become the Canadian version of Nokia. Granted, Evercore is but one firm suggesting this but that is usually all that is needed to get people (and people with money) talking. We're not sure of the feasibility of such an adoption in the long run, but you have to admit, if RIM to did announce next week that they were switching to Windows Phone OS, they would certainly get a huge boost in their stock as a vote of confidence (or perhaps just relief). Microsoft too would gain much more gusto as they would have secured yet another prominent and reliable hardware partner--one with an outstanding reputation.

So while we don't see this actually happening, we sure do like the sound of it. In fact, it sounds a lot better than Microsoft buying RIM. We say let RIM live on,  but with another ghost in the machine.

Source: CNN Money; Image credit: Crackberry.comThanks, Paul C., for the tip!

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For those of you who are still waiting on GroupMe (popular texting service) to re-release their app, be prepared to wait for another few days following a tweet published by the company. The app is currently not available on the Marketplace and the company is still working hard to get the re-written app back out in the field.

The above tweet was posted four days ago but still no news for now on availability. The app is being developed from the ground up and should be released (if not being approved by Microsoft right now) shortly. Usually an old version of an app is removed from the Marketplace if the new version is so radically different in code that an update is not possible. The good news is this sounds like the app will offer some new and tantalizing features that many users have been asking for, probably as a result of recently being acquired by Skype (which is owned by Microsoft).

Thanks Karen and Kalet for the info!

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We reported back at the end of August that Microsoft had just pushed back the Mango update to September 15th. We really did not know what that meant at the time, but saw quite a few other clues to suggest that indeed on that day, something big was afoot.

Of course, we all know what happened. September 15th came and went and Microsoft made no announcement at BUILD, nor updated their site to show us "Where's My Update?" or anything really. Finally, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore came out and said it was just a rumor and "we've always said fall". Since then, we've seen some major apps and Xbox LIVE games get updated, Taiwan roll out the update and imploring devs to update their apps to boot. We still maintain that something was to happen on September 15th and now that seems to be confirmed.

In the leaked Orange France memo, which is too detailed not to be real, the very first paragraph states:

"A partir du 15 septembre 2011, nos clients utilisateurs des mobiles WP7 Orange pourront bénéficier de la mise à jour en WP7.5 (intitulée Mango). Les mobiles Orange concernés => HTC Mozart / LG Optimus 7 / Samsung Omnia 7"


"As of September 15, 2011, our customers WP7 Orange mobile users will benefit from the updated WP7.5 (called Mango). Orange mobiles concerned => HTC Mozart / LG Optimus 7 / 7 Samsung Omnia 7"

What seems to have happened is there as a last minute decision to forgo Sept 15th as the "launch" day (even if it was a limited rollout), hence why Belfiore didn't just dismiss the rumor days ago (which would have been easy enough to do). Instead, it looks to be pushed back by about a week...more on that later.

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Microsoft certainly has a lot on its plate these days, between launching Windows Phone 7, delivering updates, working with developers, rolling out tools and finally working on that Marketplace thing. It's a huge task and although it has been quite smooth, there will be bumps. Such is the case here with Microsoft attempting to combine WM6.x apps and game sales with WP7 for a "unified payout process"--a massive yet noble undertaking. 

Evidently, there is a delay resulting in payments being pushed back from the end of December to the end of January to this group of hybrid WM6.x/WP7 developers. But in attempting to be the good guys here, Microsoft is offering developers $100 or 2% of their sales, whichever is larger, in attempt to ease things over. In a letter addressed to developers, Microsoft says:

...due to this migration to a unified payout process for apps developed for both Windows Phone 6.x and Windows Phone 7 we have experienced an unexpected delay that impacts developer payouts this month. As a result, developer payouts for Windows Phone 6.x apps and games sold in November will be processed in the last week of January, not in December as expected.

We regret that we cannot make the scheduled December payout and appreciate the importance of predictable revenue streams to businesses of every size. As a small token of our appreciation for your patience in this matter, we will also be depositing an additional $100 or 2% of the payout owed (whichever is higher) in addition to depositing payouts for your sales earned in late January. This additional deposit will be made to all developers which met the monthly payout threshold for November.

Good on Microsoft for being honest and trying to do something right in this situation. Once gain, they may not be perfect, but they do try to keep their developers happy.

Thanks, Ronny Gydar, for the info!

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Oh uh, this is not good. With reports of Wi-Fi issues, shipping engineering devices and just general shortages, Dell is not off to a good start with the Venue Pro. And things may have just become worse. According to Clove UK, one of the first sites to offer pre-orders for the device, they're now expecting delays of stock till January. Yup, that's a full 8 weeks away (give or take). We're also told that people who pre-ordered are receiving email notifications of the expected delay.

Is Dell checking their production for errors or are they just having supply issues themselves? No word yet though we're reaching out to Dell for answers. All of this is a shame really since besides the Samsung Focus, the Venue Pro is one of the most anticipated and coveted devices by our readers (see our poll). The bigger question now is: What does this mean for the U.S.?

Dell isn't the only one with problems: my HTC HD7 still hasn't shipped from Amazon despite a pre-order and is not expected to ship for at least a week or two (luckily I have another HD7 already). Anyone else experiencing these delays?

Source: Clove UK; Thanks for tip, GP07.

[Additional sources for this story: BGR, wmpoweruser]

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As the Asian stock currencies started the week, HTC took a big fall of 6.9%, the large drop since January 27th. Apple Daily (no relation to Apple, Inc) reported about the delay in their paper, though being a Hong Kong daily, sourcing it is pretty difficult. Specifically, it says "Apple Daily reported the company may face a delay in shipments of the Windows Phone 7." No other details given.

Bloomberg goes on to mention that "Chief Financial Officer Cheng Hui-ming and Maggie Cheng, a public relations representative, didn’t answer calls to their mobile phones..." regarding the news.

We're not really sure what delay they are reffering to, nor why Windows Phone 7 was called out. There have been reports that the HTC Desire HD and Z may be delayed due to testing, but this is the first we've heard of Windows Phone 7 in the mix.  We're not sure if this is a "HTC is shipping devices late" or "HTC can't sell devices because Microsoft tooking longer than usual" type situation. We'll keep an ear out for any more info.

Update: This may have something to do with a bug with the HD7's proximity sensor, which resulted in the screen sometimes not shutting off. Read more here at Thanks, BCH, for the tip!

Source: Bloomberg, Financial Time; intoMobile

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So in the last few days many in the blog-o'sphere have been opining about the reported delay of Windows Mobile 7.  Have you heard this one yet?  Evidently Phil Moore at a recent event stated in regards to the never in sight mobile OS:

"It has been put back until late next year but it is definitely coming."

Okay.  But we already assumed Windows Mobile has been pushed to late 2010.  Actually, lets step back a second:  what do we even know about any release date for this big OS overhaul?

So the latest rumors were: beta test in Q1, release to manufacturers in Spring, carrier testing and release in Q3/Q4.  So "late in 2010" sounds about right to us. Outside of getting a Phil Moore quote on Windows Mobile 7, we don't see what the "news" is here. (Note: these are Taiwanese fiscal quarters, which match the calendar year, unlike U.S. fiscal quarters).

Don't get us wrong, we love leaked "roadmaps" and such, but we also know they can be out-dated when leaked and are not written in stone. Other than that, there are plenty of single, un-named sources and rumors galore.  Shoot, in May of this year Winedows Mobile 7 was planned for a software release in the fall and hardware in the Spring--but that came and went with no news.

Call us crazy, but seeing as WM6.5 just launched in Fall 2009 (right on schedule) and is still rolling out, "late 2010" you know, about 1 year after their last over-haul, seems like a good time frame to release a major new OS. 

How Phil Moore's comment is read as "delayed again" is beyond us since Micorsoft has never publicly confirmed a release date.  Oh sure, no doubt Microsoft has missed milestones and they are none-too-happy about the progress in the last few years, but that doesn't mean every time someone says something we need to infer yet another delay.

Fact is, the OS will be done when it is done and we don't know what "late 2010" means: RTM, in our hands? And Microsoft has some minor tricks up its sleeve till then. We think next-gen CPUs, capacitive screens and a compatible OS will be the big thing of early-mid 2010 and we'll anxiously await WM7--when Microsoft is ready to show us.

Lets just keep those rumors and speculation in check, mmkay?

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Monday rumor mill: Palm delays 2 phones

So the rumors are floating around the Internets that Palm has delayed two smartphones from mid-year to the end of the year. As Dieter points out over at TreoCentral, this almost certainly cannot, does not and shall not mean that the Pre has been pushed back several months.

Reports DigiTimes, citing the Chinese-language Commercial Times (and from the same report that kills the Motorola Alexander):

Shipments of Palm's two smartphones will be delayed as Compal is waiting for Qualcomm's new chipset solutions that will enable better performance, said the paper.

Here's our thing: We know that Palm has dropped the Palm OS and is focusing on WebOS (which is what's on the Pre), and Windows Mobile. So, it's entirely possible that Palm has a couple new WinMo phones in the works, and they've been pushed back a bit. But there are wrinkles in that, too, which Dieter writes about. Or, it could be another couple of WebOS phones, but that seems a bit unlikely so early in the game.

Either way, let the speculation run rampant!

Via Brighthand and Engadget

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CNET: Windows Mobile 7 officially delayed

This is another one where we just have to shake our heads and sigh.

CNET's Ina Fried posts on her blog [via] that Microsoft has told a handful of its partners not to expect a final build of its Windows Mobile 7 operating system until the second half of 2009.

Not exactly the sort of WinMo news we hoped to bring you on the day the first Android device is officially released.

Fried does write that we shouldn't have to go cold turkey as we wait for WM7, with an update to Internet Explorer Mobile still in the works. (Yeah, that doesn't make us feel much better, either.)

We are, however, reminded by Fried of a speech Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave in April in which he spoke of the sweeping changes planned for WM7.

"The work we're doing on Windows Mobile 7, which is the next major release of Windows Mobile, not just in the Windows Mobile team, but across Windows Mobile, in Silverlight, the development platform, the e-mail, the back end, I think you'll continue to see that as an area of major excitement and innovation for the company as we move forward."

And while Silverlight has had a bumpy start, the rumor of a Microsoft-led application store could well be what's holding this whole thing up, and it could well be worth it.

In the meantime, Microsoft appears content to let outside manufacturers do the UI legwork, a la HTC's TouchFlo and the sliding panels on the upcoming Xperia X1, and third-party options such as SPB's Mobile Shell.

Group product manager Scott Rockfeld tells CNET's Fried:

"Customers don't have to sit back and wait. There's tons of stuff coming from us and our partners."

But we do have to sit back and wait from Microsoft. Again.

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