iphone

Yesterday, Apple Inc. finally revealed their latest iteration of iOS for iPhone and the iPad.  There were no real "wow" moments just the continued rehash of market numbers and a collection of little improvements to the world-wide hit operating system.

We're not trying to be too bitter here--look, Apple and iOS have a massive success on their hands so they're not messing with a good thing (think of all the grandparents with iPhones!). But today's unveiling of the new iOS is starting to show that Cupertino may be out of "big" ideas for mobile and are instead concentrating on refinements. That's not exactly a bad thing and we don't necessarily blame them, especially with their strong market share. But it sure does make for some boring discussion.

Our friends at iMore were there for the whole event, turtlenecks and all, documenting all the new additions to the sixth version of the OS.  Due this fall, here is their summary of the major changes:

  • Maps - Probably the biggest news was the addition of Apple's own Maps app which will be powered by TomTom. Maps will come stock with turn-by-turn navigation, traffic info, and a new feature called Flyover.
  • Siri additions and enhancements- Siri received quite a few updates under iOS 6 including iPad support, integration with many car manufacturers, and several new features. 
  • Passbook - Passbook is a brand new way to store and save airline apps, boarding passes, and more all in one place. Many different services and Passbook apps are already available such as express check at hotels, Target cards, movie tickets, coupons, and more.
  • Photo Stream sharing - Photo Stream sharing will allow you to create separate streams (similar to how you'd create albums currently). You can then share those separate streams with whoever you'd like. Have one with family for vacation pics and one with mom and dad for baby pics. They'll also be given the ability to comment and like photos native in iOS.
  • Mail enhancements - Multiple e-mail signatures, VIP Mailbox allows you to add all the important people in your life to a VIP list and their messages will automatically be filtered into a new VIP mailbox that appears under your default inbox.
  • Facebook integration - In iOS 5 we saw Apple integrate Twitter into iOS natively. This year the same will happen with Facebook. Post status, upload pictures, and more without needing a third party app.
  • FaceTime over the cellular network - FaceTime has only ever been available for us on a Wi-Fi network since it's release in iOS 4. iOS 6 is about to change all that and you'll soon be able to FaceTime wherever you are, Wi-Fi or 3G/4G.

Read more after the break for some exclusive Windows Phone 8 news...

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Microsoft held a fairly eventful press presentation at this year's E3, which saw the company unveil new services related to their best selling game console - the Xbox 360. More on these new services later, for now let's get through Xbox SmartGlass. As we previously covered, Xbox SmartGlass will connect the gaming console to other devices, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone as well as competitor platforms (Android and iOS). Think of the Xbox Companion app, but on steroids.

Apps developed for all supported platforms will enable users to control their Xbox 360 and interact with services on the big screen. Microsoft is attempting to transform the bog-standard home television into a Smart TV with the power and connectivity to pull down rich media content from the Internet. As mentioned above, SmartGlass will work with other Windows platforms, but will also be available for iPhone / iPad and Android devices. 

Example: should you happen to be watching a movie while on the go and would like to continue where you left off on the big screen, SmartGlass will enable you to resume the video on the Xbox 360. Gaming will also be taken to a new level with integrated through SmartGlass. A short demonstration was provided in the presentation with the upcoming title Halo 4. Halo Waypoint will come into play by offering lore information on in-game elements, as well as turning the mobile device into a companion device with match requests from friends being accepted on the handset, and then synchronised while in-game on the Xbox.

Internet Explorer was last to be announced with SmartGlass. The Xbox console will soon sport its own web browser, but instead of using the controller to navigate through the web, which could cause issues, Microsoft will use SmartGlass to allow users to choose Kinect or support mobile devices. Check out the video below for a quick run through of everything announced for SmartGlass.

Watch out for the release of SmartGlass sometime later this year. Be sure to check out our updates from the floor at E3 2012 where our Daniel Rubino and Paul Acevedo will continue to hunt down the latest news.

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Reports are circling around the web that the massive social giant Facebook, which is now a public company, is still looking at creating their own hardware. The Facebook Phone, or the FacePhone? Who knows, but according to the New York Times CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seriously looking at the mobile market as a means for future revenue and ventures. 

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Microsoft is developing a cross-platform service that will enable users to migrate from competitor platforms (or Windows Phone) to Windows Phone, according to a patent filed back in 2010. The service will allow apps to be detected on the legacy handset, which will then be listed on the new Windows Phone for convenient downloading, providing users with peace of mind when it comes to installed apps.

According to the filed patent, the company is planning to provide functionality within the service that would analyse installed apps on the legacy handset (eg.: Android). The service would then search for identical or similar apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace. The user would be presented with popular third-party suggestions should official apps not be available.

If there's no third-party app present on the Marketplace, the service will notify the user in the future once a similar app is published. Is that more than enough? Not according to the company. Microsoft is reported to be wanting to take things further with actually creating a complete solution where app data would be stored and transferred across to new Windows Phones or from other platforms, preventing data loss. Of course, little detail is available and we're yet to see how this service could work with the likes of Android and iOS

Another question on mind is if apps will have to be repurchased for Windows Phone when migrating from another platform, or would the software giant subsidize the costs? Microsoft has clearly been serious about Windows Phone since the off, and this reaffirms the company's commitment to take part in the smartphone marathon. How would you like to see such a service implemented?

Source: Unwired View

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All eyes were on Microsoft's rather important launch of Windows Phone in China earlier this year. Nokia followed up with the Lumia 800c, released on China Telecom. According to Michel van der Bel, COO of Greater China Region at Microsoft, the company has achieved 7% marketshare in the country, overtaking the iPhone (sitting at just 6%).

Before you think "well 7% isn't something to get excited about", remember that the platform has only officially been available for just under two months. Windows Phone has captured 7% of the Chinese smartphone market in just 60 days, and the campaign has only just begun. This kind of growth is a struggling goal for the platform in other markets, so it's positive to see Chinese consumers choosing the Windows Phone experience. Plus, it's always a great headline when Windows Phone beats the popular iPhone.

With manufacturers also on-board and attacking supported countries, Windows Phone should look to repeat the success story currently being written in China, especially with Nokia powering through marketing budgets. There's still much more to do in China though, as van der Bel went on to admit the company understands the difficult task ahead and has deployed a 2,500 head strong team in its R&D department to focus on the Asian market.

Source: Emerce.nl via: Neowin

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Siri, the personal assistant found on the iPhone 4S, has been making headlines for Apple today, but for all the wrong reasons. The image above explains what's going on better than any words in this article. Should you happen to ask Siri "what's the best cell phone ever?", you'll be greeted with a surprising response. Not only does Siri choose a device that's not an Apple product, but it chooses the Lumia 900 Windows Phone. 

This result is produced by taking the mobile phone that's rated the highest by consumers and the cyan AT&T Lumia 900 just so happens to fit the bill. Siri found the above answer by using Wolfram Alpha, which lists the Windows Phone when visitors type in the same query. The launch of the Lumia 900 was met by an extremely high level of satisfaction from customers who purchased the handset, regardless of the issues that appeared.

We gave it a shot with Ask Ziggy to see what the Windows Phone Siri-like assistant thought of all this. Unfortunately, it appeared to be slightly smarter than Siri with leading us to a Bing SERP listing articles covering "top ten mobile phones", etc. Smart move Zig-meister. Smart move.

Does anyone find it even remotely humorous how the Windows Phone community (and tech media) have jumped on this story? At the end of the day, Apple can take something away from this - Siri has proven to be relatively accurate.

Source: Techtudo; thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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Windows Phone App Review: iClone

The iClone app for your Windows Phone is an interesting novelty app. iClone pulls up a fake iPhone interface on your Windows Phone that doesn't look bad and has a little functionality to help sell things.

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Co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, calls Windows Phone "Intuitive and beautiful"

We reported recently that co-founder of Apple and all around cool geek Steve Wozniak was looking to purchase a Nokia Lumia 900 (WPCentral review) The info came via his Twitter feed where he posted from Foursquare. At the time, he was waiting for the AT&T store to open to check out the flagship Windows Phone.

Since then, we haven't heard much. In fact, there was no confirmation that he had even purchased the device but as it turns out, he did and what's more, he loves it. Over at  aNewDomain.net, Dan Patterson, Todd Moore and Gina Smith not only caught up with "the Woz" but got him on tape talking about his experience with Windows Phone and the Lumia 900.

The Report: Tech News and Geek Culture, EP 002 - Steve Wozniak Interview by KoPoint

As it turns out, he carries around multiple Android phones and a couple of iPhones too and while he still ultimately prefers the iPhone (due to all the apps), he had nothing but praise for the Windows Phone OS and the Lumia 900. Here are a few choice quotes:

"Just for looks and beauty I definitely favor the Windows Phone over Android"

"....I'm just shocked, I haven't seen anything yet that isn't more beautiful than the other platforms"

"Intuitive and beautiful"

"it's makes me feel 'Oh my gosh, I'm with a friend not a tool'" (In regards to the animations and graphics)

"I just really like the experience and will be carrying the Windows Phone everywhere"

He also notes how apps look just "more beautiful than on Android or iPhone"

In short, the Woz is really enamored with the esthetics of the phone, the ease of use and just how the OS pops and slides everywhere. It's a strong endorsement although he does have the usual complaints including how you can't do speech-to-text everywhere like on iPhone or Android or the lack of a Siri-like tool for asking questions (although we have AskZiggy).

The Woz also still defaults to his iPhone but as you can hear in the audio above, the Lumia 900 will be going everywhere with him, which is more than he can say for Android.

It sounds like Microsoft and Nokia may have just received their next big endorsement. While there is still much work to do for the OS and on our hardware, we may have just scored one of the most symbolic victories in quite some time.

Update: Steve Wozniak responded in comments on aNewDomain to clarify a few things. It's a little hilarious too.

"Wrong. iPhone is my favorite phone. I did give my opinion that the Windows 7 phone had superior visual appearance and operation cues that were also more attractive. In my opinion, it sets the mark for user interface. I would recommend it over my Android phones given that it doesn’t yet have the breadth of apps. I surmise that Microsoft hired someone from Apple and put money into having a role in the UI and appearance of some key apps. I also surmised that Steve Jobs might have been reincarnated at MS due to a lot of what I see and feel with this phone making me think of a lot of great Apple things."

Source: The Report at aNewDomain.net; Thanks, jedi12, for the tip and Vygantas, for the new quote

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President and CEO of AT&T Mobility, Ralph de la Vega, was interviewed on CNBC recently answering questions surrounding both AT&T's latest financial report and the rumoured iPhone 5. One would ask, "what has this got to do with Windows Phone?" Well, nothing. But what's both humorous and surprising is Vega holds up a shiny new Lumia 900 instead of discussing the iPhone.

Check out the above video, at around the 7:40 mark. He jokes around the questions being fired by the reporters and states that the Lumia 900 is a fantastic device and carries one around with him as a daily smartphone. We're aware that Nokia has a deal with AT&T for employees to exclusively use the 4G Windows Phone, but it's good to see the captain of the ship actively promoting it on public television.

Source: CNBC; thanks Christian for the heads up!

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Microsoft takes on Dropbox and Google Drive with the latest version of their SkyDrive service

Today Microsoft has announced new SkyDrive storage plans for their cloud service as well as new native sync apps for Windows PC and Apple OSX. Combined with official apps for Windows Phone and iOS that were recently updated, Microsoft looks to undercut the market leader Dropbox and block Google from cutting in on their territory.

Clearly the cloud-storage service SkyDrive will be a center piece between Windows 8, Windows Phone and Xbox 360 going forward. Best of all, Microsoft has extended this offer to Mac users who can also benefit from the new SkyDrive functionality.

We reported on the news yesterday that the SkyDrive app for Windows Phone had been updated, but we can now rejoice with Windows, Mac and iPhone support now being available. Both PC and Mac preview clients work in similar ways. SkyDrive sits comfortably as a central folder in Windows Explorer and Mac Finder, much like Dropbox, and files (up to 2GB) can be transferred between computers (and supported devices).

With the revamp of the SkyDrive service and new clients being released, Microsoft has also lowered the freely available storage from 25GB to 7GB, noting in the MSDN blog post that 99.94% of SkyDrive users currently use 7GB or less. Even at 7GB for free, Microsoft has given a solid left-hook to rival Dropbox who offer a mere 2GB of free storage.

New SkyDrive clients and apps in action

Note, however, should you be an existing SkyDrive user, Microsoft is offering the opportunity to keep the 25GB (or upgrade in this case) for free so be sure to check out the offer on your SkyDrive account (login via the skydrive.live.com). An alert will be displayed announcing "SkyDrive's free storage is changing."

If 25GB (or 7GB if you're a new user or miss out on the free upgrade) isn't enough for your needs, Microsoft is offering three upgrade options for the SkyDrive service:

  • Additional 20GB - £6/yr ($10)
  • Addition 50GB - £16/yr ($25)
  • Additional 100GB - £32/yr ($50)

The above plans and native clients were all first reported by Brazilian website Gemind, back in February. It's interesting to note that Microsoft has unleashed the updates to their service now, just before Google are set to unveil Google Drive as a cloud-based storage solution for their ecosystem. The features present in SkyDrive however are more appealing, minus the Android support for owners of green robotic devices.

Source: MSDN

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Nearly 60% of those switching to Windows Phone due to the Nokia Lumia 900 or HTC Titan II were former iOS and Android owners. Apple brand-loyalty? We think not.

We ran a poll the other day asking users if they switched to Windows Phone due to the Lumia 900 or Titan II, what OS were they coming from. And although the poll is still technically open, with 3,462 votes tallied so far we can discern a distinct pattern forming from the results.

The majority of users, nearly 60%, are coming from a combo of former Android and iPhone owners with it neatly divided at a close 30% each. Blackberry users are evidently still holding on with just 10% and a nice healthy 14% of adopters were coming from non-smartphones.

While our pals at Crackberry spun it as hope for Blackberry 10 users, we imagine a lot of folks jumped that ship last quarter to either the iPhone or Android, leaving the diehards (or still contract-bound) behind. Personally, we think RIM is DOA and look forward to a Microsoft acquisition at a rock bottom price (insert maniacal laughter).

The Android/iPhone results are interesting only because we're seeing what looks to be equal amount of folks taking up Windows Phone, leaving in the dust the notion that Apple has stronger brand loyalty than any other company.

One could also interpret the results as the Lumia 900 piquing interest from all segments of the smartphone market, represented in a roughly proportional manner. That's good news for Windows Phone as an OS and better news for Nokia who seem more than capable of garnering media attention on a wide scale. That is something the likes of Samsung and HTC have not been able to do in part because of their divided interest between Android and Windows Phone.

With the Lumia 900 seemingly selling very well (and yes, it's still number #1 and #3 on Amazon Wireless) the question now is will it maintain that momentum over the coming weeks?

We think with the glossy-white 900 set for this Sunday, April 22nd it will certainly create even more interest and those rumors of a magenta version for Mother's Day could also do wonders for the brand. We'll revisit this issue next month.

Update: To clarify, we purposefully left off previous Windows Phone users. The reason is because we were interested in only those who switched their OS due to the allure of the Lumia 900 (or Titan II). While we're sure a chunk of you were Windows Phone/Windows Mobile users, we wanted to look at the ratio of those who converted.

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Nokia and AT&T have gone forward with another "Beta Test" commercial. The controversial ad campaign started off my mocking the iPhone (those videos have since been pulled) and have now moved on to teasing how all other smartphones look the same.

In their latest TV blip, a smarmy gentleman is seen proclaiming how his phone defines him as an individual. Moments later a nerdy girl runs up squawking how she has the same phone.

It certainly elicited a slight chuckle from us and it goes to the heart of how a lot of us feel about Android and iPhones, specifically that they're not unique anymore due to their domination in the market. Here in New York City having an iPhone is about as original as being a Yankee's fan, so pushing the line that Nokia's are "beautifully different" could work.

Heck, even we've been critical of the Black-Slab™ phenomena going back to 2009 which may be why we're so enamored with Nokia's Cyan and Glossy White Lumia 900's. (Bonus: the Glossy White Lumia 900 peeks out at the end of this new ad for the first time).

Of course attacking your opponent, even without naming them, can be risky. However, we do think this is one safe area for Nokia to spear their competition as the Finnish company has always been ahead on design. And this type of marketing works. Just look at Nokia's "blown away" campaign and the reaction from Samsung. The company is making waves, my friends and that is effective advertising.

By the way, we're not sure why those original Beta Test iPhone videos were pulled, though we imagine it was due to negative feedback. Luckily, you can still view them here, here and here.

Source: YouTube; Thanks, Travis for the new ad link and Yonkit for the old Beta Test commercials

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The Smartphone Beta Test has been running since the birth of the smartphone, well technically it hasn't but it's a pretty neat marketing campaign from Nokia for the U.S. We witnessed a website (www.smartphonebetatest.com) being created with a bunch of videos published to poke fun at some competitor handset issues.

Now the Smartphone Beta Test website has been updated with more interactive content, videos and information on the AT&T Lumia 900, which is launching across the U.S. Cue "Operation Rolling Thunder", Nokia's plan of a attack for the states, which will see the manufacturer driving forward advertising not only for the Lumia handsets, but for Windows Phone too.

Prepare yourselves for some effective Nokia marketing. For a taster, check out the beauty of social integration and live tiles in Windows Phone in the humorous commercial below. Nokia is clearly on the attack here at other smartphones as well as how they can negatively impact our lives by being unreliable - something the manufacturer looks to change with Windows Phone.

Source: Smartphone Beta Test; thanks Hiiiiiiiii for the heads up!

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There is little doubt that Nokia has the deep pockets, ingenuity and cleverness to make an effective advertising campaign for the AT&T Lumia 900. The question is, when will "Operation Rolling Thunder", their nickname for their advertising bombardment of the US begin and what will it entail?

Part of that question is now answered with the site 'Smartphone Beta Test' (www.smartphonebetatest.com) which is a bold and humorous attempt on taking on Apple's iPhone. The site features a countdown clock that expires on April 6th and a video of a man who looks a whole lot like ex-Saturday Night Live alum Chris Parnell sitting in a chair, being bored as he waits for the countdown to expire.

Below that section we see three videos that directly take on the iPhone: Exhibit A "Outside", Exhibit B "Sick Golfer" and Exhibit C "Death Grip". All three videos feature marketing people sitting around a conference room discussing a blurred out, un-named device that is clearly an iPhone. One of the members raises a problem with the device e.g. the famed iPhone death-grip while the other two mercilessly mock him for even caring.

From here we can see one of Nokia's angles for selling the Lumia 900: they will directly be picking a fight with AT&T's former 'hero' device, Apple's iPhone (in addition to possibly any other "beta" phones, which for us brings to mind Google's Android). It is certainly a risky move but if any company can do this, it would be Nokia.

What's interesting is the site currently has the Nokia name crossed out and there is no mention of the Lumia 900 just yet, but we know it's them. For one, the colors of the site are very much a part of the Nokia "Amazing Everyday" campaign and the whole design screams Nokia. And while their domain lookup tells us little (it was registered by proxy, so no information), there is some solid proof it is them behind the site. By looking at the source code for the web page we can see a single Java script link-back to Nokia.com (see above image), which seals the deal for us.

We look forward to see what happens with the site in 5 days and the following Tweets (#BetaPhone) that go with it. Currently those hashtag tweets are done by just a few people, notably from Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners an ad agency which is probably behind this whole Nokia project.

Update: As noted in comments by wp7rocks, going to the site's images directory reveals AT&T and Nokia items. The most curious is this one, calling every other smartphone in "the last 5 year years" a "tester".

Update 2: Reports have come in noting that a teaser ad of this has shown on TV during some NBA games today. You can watch it here.

Source: Smartphone Beta Test; Thanks, cmunic8r99, for the link

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We're just going to come out and say it: Zero, the new to-do list app from tomzorz labs, borrows heavily in inspiration from an iPhone app called Clear (see the iMore review). What makes that funny is Clear is understood as borrowing heavily from Microsoft's Metro UI design language meaning we're finally coming full circle with Clear Zero coming back to Windows Phone.

The to-do list/task manager app is very minimalist in design with zero chrome, ahem. It is primarily gesture based forgoing the traditional bottom-bar method found in most Windows Phone apps--in that sense, it actually deviates against Metro UI but only because it's going more minimalist instead of less. Gestures are simple and universal: up/down to create, left to delete, right to check off, pinch in to go back, pinch out to re-order lists. Because of the gestures, you'll need to tap through a brief (but well done) tutorial at first but you'll lean the system quick enough.

The app itself is clean, fast and to the point and because of that we like it a lot. The Live Tile adds a nice counter though it could perhaps be augmented with a rear tile for more info (space permitting though). Likewise, tying into the Toast notification system could be a good idea in the future to make this a true "reminder" app. We are looking forward though to the back-up feature which we presume will be based on SkyDrive.

You can pick up Zero with a free trial here in the Marketplace for $0.99.

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We showed you the latest version of Ask Ziggy, the Siri-like app knowledge app, last week and we told you it'll be here soon. Sure enough, the app has now been updated in the Marketplace, bringing all that new re-designed goodness free to your phone.

As we remarked and showed in our video, Ask Ziggy v2.0 brings a new Metro look, geolocation localization to answer questions about whereabouts, weather, time and searches. It's also a bit smarter, allowing the developer to update certain features from the backend.

So how much attention is Ask Ziggy getting? A lot. Our first video has 166K views, Microsoft has taken an interest in it. And now we have word that that Nokia has personally invited Ask Ziggy to give a special demo of their voice recognition technology at its 3-domed “Nokia Lab” at the SXSW (South by Southwest) Festival on March 12th. What's more they've doubled their staff from one to two people, which is quite impressive when you think about what they're up against.

Grab Ask Ziggy in the Marketplace for free right here. Let us know in comments your thoughts. Thanks, zoljac, for the heads up

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Well, it certainly took long enough but it looks like the folks at Hotmail finally realized that Windows Phone is their company's OS, not the iPhone. What we mean of course is when you navigate to Hotmail.com you used to be greeted with the three smartphones: Samsung Focus, iPhone and some Android thing.

Now, in an ever-so-slight refresh, the Nokia Lumia 800 has taken front and center moving the iPhone to the back.

Sure, most might not even notice but it's still a nice nod to Windows Phone users and the success Nokia is bringing the ecosystem as a whole. It's great to see Hotmail at least acknowledge that much.

Thanks, Patrick, for the heads up!

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IHS iSuppli Mobile & Wireless Communications Service is inclined to believe that Windows Phone will overtake Apple's share of the smartphone market by 2015.  Their projections show Microsoft's market share taking a huge leap from 2011's 1.9% to 9% by the end of this year.  From there, they predict another jump in 2013, where things will level off to slow and steady growth, eventually overtaking Apple's iOS by one tenth of one percent.

IHS gives credit for this rise almost entirely to Nokia, who garnered huge praise for their Lumia 900 at CES and announced their line of 4G phones for the US. 

“One of the hottest new products unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show was the Lumia 900, a Windows Phone-based smartphone sporting a flashy set of features that makes it competitive with the best alternatives offered by the Android camp,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. “This hot product represents Nokia’s first step to reclaim its market share. Combined with Nokia’s efforts to drive the development of the Windows Phone ecosystem, the Lumia 900 and its successors will help Microsoft to reclaim its No. 2 ranking in smartphone operating system market share in 2015.”

We've heard this kind of prediction before and remain skeptical, as always.  While it looks like Windows Phone will indeed catch on and become a force in the smartphone market, claims like this should always be taken with a grain of salt.

Source: iSuppli; Thanks, damthman, for the tip yesterday

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If there was an over-hyped technology in late 2011 it was perhaps Apple's Siritheir voice recognition/information application for the iPhone 4s. Now we'll admit that Siri is quite a strong piece of tech one that we wish Windows Phone had built-in in addition to our Bing Voice service, but the marketing machine behind Siri was a tad overwhelming. Then again, there's no denying facts: Bing Voice while pragmatic for certain tasks is still behind Apple's Siri in some ways.

However, developer Shai Leib has given us Windows Phone users an option: Ask Ziggy. The new app is a free, ad-free and as far as we can tell, completely unique. We spoke with Leib about his project and how it works:

"Ask Ziggy uses Speech Recognition to translate human speech into transcribed text, which is displayed in a speech bubble. The transcribed text is analyzed for patterns to detect commands or general queries. Commands are interpreted and routed to routine phone tasks such as emailing, texting, calling, social network updates, and getting directions.

When a general question is asked, a mixture of mash up technologies and web scraping is employed to search the web for relevant responses. Pattern matching is used to summarize a direct answer from a web page. Several passes may be required to find a concise answer. A direct answer is then spoken out loud, and displayed in a speech bubble. When a direct answer cannot be summarized the user is prompted by speech to click on their search bubble to see web search results based on their spoken query."

That's some pretty impressive work for a single developer if you ask us. The actual voice-recognition software is based on Nuance but the data fetching and matching are all his doing. And it works. That's one thing we want to stress here, we didn't find this app gimmicky at all but instead quite useful for mathematical questions, random trivia, posting to our Twitter/Facebook/Live, getting directions, flight status and more. Having the phone read back to you the answer in a clean, minimalist setting makes it feel smart. Heck, it even got our Monty Python question right (see YouTube video).

The version you see in the video is heading to the Marketplace as we speak but you can grab the slightly older version right now. Give it a go--it's free, useful and really quite an extraordinary app. Leib also has a lot of plans to further refine and enhance the experience including expanded speech grammar, multi-language support and even language translations. Check out the Ask Ziggy website here for more info.

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This isn't exactly anything groundbreaking, but it's interesting nonetheless. Christina Tynan-Wood has published an article over at Momster where it's explained how she managed (somewhat accidentally) to turn her son away from Apple, and has bought him a Windows Phone for Christmas. The son's desire for an iPhone stems from friends and the enticing brand which is the big fruit, but this desperation for the iProduct was cut when his mother received a Samsung Focus Flash from Microsoft.

Leaving the device on the counter in the kitchen, the intrigued son picked up the Focus Flash and played around the OS, while checking out the Xbox Live integration. Blown away by how different Windows Phone is, Christina was given a revised Christmas wish list with the iPhone crossed out, replaced by "phone like yours". The main benefits for her son are Xbox Live, Facebook and Metro UI simplicity, but the lack of apps compared to other platforms is also noted.

Head on over to Momster to read the full article.

Source: Momster, thanks Aston for the tip!

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