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29

HTC: iPhones are for old people

Now this is pretty interesting, acting president of HTC America, Martin Fichter, said that the Apple iPhone is for old folk at the Mobile Future Forward conference in Seattle. Fichter took an informal survey at his daughter's domitory to see what her friends thought of the iPhone:

"None of them has an iPhone. 'My dad has an iPhone.' There’s an interesting thing that’s going on in the market. The iPhone becomes a little less cool than it was. They were carrying HTCs. They were carrying Samsungs. They were even carrying some Chinese manufacturer’s devices."

While many will dispute this with the iPhone being cool and trendy, I must say that it can be accurate, depending as to where you live. I remember commuting to work daily; bankers and businessmen on the train had iPhones, young women had Blackberries and everyone else had Android handsets. A large proportion of school girls use Blackberry devices, for BBM more than anything else.

What do you think? Are iPhones loosing its 'cool' for the young market?

Source: Mashable

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11

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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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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One of Microsoft's angles for leveraging better smartphone market share is to lure iOS developers to Windows Phone (see their API mapping tool). Although they would prefer such devs to completely switch, just getting them to co-develop would be a 'win' in many ways.

In that case, it'a always interesting to see Windows Phone development from the iPhone side. We've seen this before in a head to head developer contest (see here) and now we hear it form Steve Troughton-Smith, who makes numerous apps for the iPhone, including Orbit, Stack, Grace, Lights Off, SameGame, Speed, Nuker, Chalk and Doom. He even helped crack Airplay for third party apps a few months ago. In other words, he's rather prominent.

Via a recent Tweet, he's evidently toying with Windows Phone development and had this to say on the matter:

The more I make things with the WP7 SDK, the more I like it. I feel safe writing all the XAML from scratch

...I'd certainly prefer it to Android's SDK

We're sure that's the exact response Brandon Watson and his team would want from an iOS developer, so it's good to hear. It's also good to hear that such a developer is tinkering with WP7--judging by his past releases, we'd love to see what this man can do on our platform.

Source: Twitter 1, 2; Thanks, Rene Ritchie of our sister-site TiPb, for the heads up

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Although boasting about the size of one's app store has its place--really it's the quality of the apps that matter and nothing beats those "big titles" that people want and use.

PCWorld has done an interesting analysis of Apple's top 35 apps to see how the other platforms compare. Android, comes the closest, offering all but 3 of the top 35 apps on the iPhone. Their biggest gap of course is in games--something we've pointed out before. Next, however is Windows Phone 7 which offers all but 8 of the top 35--beating out Symbian and Blackberry (guess WebOS wasn't worth looking at). That's not too shabby for the new guy in town who's been in the market a little less than seven months.

Part of the difference is Microsoft has been very aggressive in courting Apple developers to either switch or port over their apps, often offering financial incentive to do so e.g. covering the cost of development. Combined with the Xbox LIVE gaming system and their relationship with the "big" developers there, Microsoft has made tremendous in-roads into taking away any "exclusive" app that the iPhone may offer (and more often than not, the Windows Phone version looks better).

We may not have the numbers, but we have the apps.

Related story: Beating Apple's exclusivity: How Microsoft caters to developers while Google does not

Source: PCWorld/Yahoo News; Thanks, hd7guy, for the heads up

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The above video shows a task speed test between the iPhone and a Windows Phone 7 device (Samsung Focus), which included the following steps:

  1. Take a Picture
  2. Upload Picture to Facebook with Caption ("Check out my new hat!")
  3. Update Status ("I love weekends!")
  4. Find Directions to a Restaurant (Olive Garden)
  5. Get Movie Times ("Fast Five")
Unfortunately for our iOS friends, WP7 comes out tops due to it's simplicity and superb social integration. Does this remind everyone of the previous comparison adverts Microsoft released

Thanks James for the tip!

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While not much practical use to our readers, it's nice to see Microsoft's Metro UI catching on in a big way. A new iPhone Twitter app called 'Maha' is an exact clone of some of the popular Twitter apps on Windows Phone 7 that adhere to the Metro theme e.g. Twitter (official), Rowi and Twitt.

Between what's been shown of Windows 8, Windows Phone and Xbox 360, this Metro thing seems to be catching on. Hey, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And maybe, just maybe, a few iPhoners will want a phone with the whole Metro UI.

via: nanapho

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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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Mashable love their polls, and any reader would agree that they are fairly useful with majority of votes coming from tech enthusiasts (the majority being Apple owners over at the social media giant). Publishing the results for their holiday gifts for 2010 poll, it is clear to the eye that Windows Phone 7 has actually performed relatively well.

Having only been officially around for a few months, receiving a mixed reception, and majority of news surrounding the platform outlining negativity over positive announcements, many predicted that the platform may not perform too well over the festive period. Reaching 5,000 apps in the Marketplace, shipping a good 1.5 million products, and listening to the end-user’s feedback, Microsoft have continued to display their determination to create a solid dent in the already-established competition.

Taking a quick look at the pie chart, it’s easily noticeable that Android has continued to dominate over all other platforms, with the iPhone maintaining a healthy share. This is all to the book and is expected by, well, everyone. What’s interesting however, is where Microsoft’s new product is sitting comfortably. Taking a promising 10.3% of votes in the smart phone category is a fantastic achievement, and shows that the insane amount of investment made by Microsoft, the decision with starting from scratch and bringing a new OS to the monopoly board is beginning to show signs of positive results.

Although the chart does shed some light on the current state of the war between the operating systems, it should be noted that this is a Mashable poll, and should not be used as an accurate calculation. As for Windows Phone 7, the 2010 launch has been nothing more than a blur for most. Next year, however, should prove to be either a fast paced sprint with the proposed updates, marketing and what not, or a slow walk ensuring satisfaction is maintained at a reasonably high level.

Source: Mashable; via WMPoweruser

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Analyst Charles Wolf of Needham and Co., is calling the launch of Windows Phone 7 a success. Wolf bases his analysis not on current numbers, but on Microsoft’s commitment to marketing Windows Phone 7. The report further states that if Microsoft continues to grow market share, Google’s Android platform could be the big loser. Much of Android’s success is due to Verizon’s Droid line of phones, which in turn can be attributed to the lack of a Verizon iPhone. A potential iPhone launch on Verizon, coupled with Microsoft’s commitment to CDMA support, could leave Google the odd man out.

Source: Needham and Co.; via: Computer World, Apple Insider

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One of the most popular and universally acclaimed games on the iPhone/iPad, Pocket God by Bolt Creative, is coming to Windows Phone 7 this holiday season.

Basically, you are a god-like figure in the game who rules an island of Pygmies.

Well, I'm sold!

Wielding your powers for either good or evil, the game looks like a ton of fun with a brilliantly warped sense of humor (see Bolt's "From the suggestion box" video). With over 30 free updates delivered as "episodes", the developers have won quite the following amongst fans and at least according to the press release (after the break), even a comic book had been made.

Oh and it's now on Android too, but whatever. Seriously though, the game looks to be quite a lot of fun as we currently don't have any "god" games yet, as far as we know.

via AndroidCentral

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In a new video on YouTube, it's alleged (and seemingly demonstrated) that the HD7 suffers from an antenna/reception issue similar to the Apple iPhone 4--namely if you grip it a certain way, it has a noticeable effect on the reception, up to the point where calls and data are dropped. This so-called "death grip" problem dubbed antenna-gate by many is related to having the antenna near the bottom of the phone, which is a design choice to keep the antenna (and radiation) away from the head.

At first, we were skeptical of the evidence found in the video, noting that in general, T-Mobile's coverage and reception is worse than AT&T and to put it bluntly, the HD7's overall signal reception was not the best to begin with. In turn, we tried to duplicate the situation numerous times and in the video above, you'll see our results which came as a surprise. In short, the HD7 does appear to have a death-grip problem--even to the point where data can be held up.

By way of comparison (not in the video though) the Samsug Focus seems to be just fine.  Combined with the "pink camera" issue, the HD7 to looks have a few notches against it. Feel free to chime in with your experiences in comments! See the original YouTube video after the break.

Source: YouTube, via: Geekword; Thanks, Muhammad A., for the tip

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Recently, in a jocular back and forth between Matthew Mller (ZDNet), myself and Chad Garrett of TiPB, Chad suggested that we're enjoying just old ports of iPhone games and therefore nothing special when it comes to things like Assassin's Creed.

But after reading John Gruber's excellent article on Where Are the Android Killer Apps? I realized that Microsoft has done something that Google/Android have not: taken away Apple's exclusivity on various games and killer apps. Sure, we don't have nearly as many and are still lacking some big ones, but isn't that just a matter of time? Here's Gruber's quote on the matter which sums it up perfectly:

A final thought, regarding Android’s relative weakness as a software platform. iOS’s exclusivity for a bunch of big-name mobile games — Need for Speed Undercover, Star Wars: Battle for Hoth, Monopoly, Tetris, The Sims, Assassin’s Creed — has been broken. Not by Android, where none of these games exist, but by Windows Phone 7, a one-month-old platform.

That really is huge. Why, despite how popular Android is, have they failed to get many big titles? Why no killer, exclusive apps, except the closely held "Google experience" ones (e.g. Gmail, Google Talk)? We already know about why there's no Netflix (poor security, fragmentation).

Of course we know the answer: Microsoft puts a lot of emphasis on courting developers, even throwing money at them to cover the cost of development. Sure it's brash, perhaps uncouth but it works. Remember, this about the ends (consumer experience) not so much the means (save it for you business ethics class). Fact is, at this pace, Microsoft and Windows Phone 7 will have more quality big-name offerings than Android, who's big sellers instead tend to be ones that modify or fix the OS.

Sounds a lot like our old Windows Mobile, aka the past.

So yes, Apple, we'll take your ports and exclusives and any apps that make your platform "unique"--you'll loose that  and a reason for people to choose your product over Windows Phone 7.

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When people talk about smart-phone platforms, the two that stand out to people (for better or worse) are iPhone and Android. There are a lot of reasons for this; usability, ecosystem (apps, services), and just sheer popularity are all factors. It makes you wonder why a brand-spanking-new platform like Windows Phone 7 would get a popular app like NetFlix before one of the two 300 lb gorillas in the room (Android); and if you really think about it, the Windows Phone 7 app was demoed at the Mix conference (March 15-17) before it was available for the iPhone (August 26). So what is it about Windows Phone 7 that makes a company like NetFlix choose a fledgling OS as their starting point for mobile over the more established platforms?

It turns out that the answer comes down to security (ironic, considering this is Microsoft). According to Wired (via @joebelfiore), Android doesn’t offer a secure enough DRM system to make Hollywood happy. With all of the concerns about piracy digital rights, Microsoft has been able to get a leg up on the competition by building Windows Phone as a secure platform.

Now before I start getting hate mail from the Android faithful, I recognize that NetFlix is coming to Android; but the current plans are for limited device support (can you say fragmentation?); not a full-fledged roll out.

So what does this mean to Joe Consumer? Microsoft is making every effort to make app developers happy and successful with Windows Phone 7 as a platform. This will serve to help the Windows Phone ecosystem (apps and services) grow and mature; which is great news for you and me.

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The last time there was a 'browser war' with Internet Explorer/WP7 (vs the iPhone 3Gs), WP7 didn't fair too well. Of course, the comparison was not as ideal as one would have liked, but when given lemons...

Luckily, the fine folks over at Pocketnow have done a more proper comparison between the iPhone, LG GW910 (unfinished build of WP7) and Android 2.2 ('Froyo'), loading a few different websites in the process.

Conclusion? Well, for being "unfinished" and a near v1.0, Mobile Internet Explorer actually holds it own. One could only imagine it will get better with the final release and then hopefully some occasional updates. But overall, it looks quite usable and even smoother than Android.

Watch the full 10-minute video after the break!

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Eck. It was bound to happen. Someone put up an iPhone 3GS up against the prototype Samsung 'Taylor" Windows Phone 7 device in a mini-browser war.

Although a lot of press have been giving Mobile IE a 'not bad as we thought' review, it still pales in comparison to Apple's HTML5 based browser.

Now in fairness, Mobile IE may not be finished yet and in fact, is probably not, so we should expect it to perform better by release. On top of that, we know Mobile IE can be updated independently of the whole OS, allowing, in theory, frequent updates to improve the browsing experience.

Having said all of that, who here would not have liked to see WP7 beat the iPhone 3GS out? It sure would have been a nice ego boost and headline grabber. And without 3rd party browsers being available, at least for awhile (Microsoft has said they may be willing to work with companies to offer browser alternatives, if demand is high enough), we won't have much choice. Come on Mobile IE team!

Watch the full, somewhat painful video, after the break!

[NewsGeek via 1800PocketPC; Thanks Saijo]

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9

Programming: Windows Phone 7 vs iPhone

Being that we're not programmers ourselves, we have to live vicariously through others to discuss the subject at hand: which platform is better to program for--iPhone or Windows Phone 7?

Over at 'Don's Blog' (Don Burnett), we get a nice coding comparison between the two platforms and lo-behold, WP7 wins. The reasons revolve around newer coding language (C# vs Objective C), faster tools and just generally easier programming tools.

Actually, you can just watch Don's slick slide presentation after the break to get all the facts from his viewpoint, including timing differences and you can read his blurb right here

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Microsoft has been busy updating their Bing service, adding Zune store support, access to social sites like Twitter and overall just making it a real solid competitor to Google's platform.

Recently at that Cannes Lions advertising conference, Bing on Windows Phone 7 was demoed and it brings the same search plus all that new stuff as well. Some of these advanced features are the following, as detailed by 1800PocketPC:

  • Twitter and Facebook Search about the keyword with one click – It looks like you can also drill down to results by your friends only.
  • Share with your Friends
  • Barcode and CoverArt Scan and Bing gives you info on that product

Interestingly, a lot of these same features are already available on another mobile OS--yeah, that one. On June 22nd, Microsoft rolled up a nice update for the iPhone/iPad which included all of the above, including that bar-code scanner feature which rivals Google's Shopper/Bar Code apps on Android.

While we're pretty excited to see Bing and Zune get front and center on Windows Phone 7, we're still hoping that Microsoft hasn't forgotten WM6.x and will update their Bing software soon, you know for the rest of us. If and when it comes, you can bet the above feature set should be included.

Check out the video here, specifically at 9:10 and 14:03.

[Thanks, Saijo]

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Gee, that new iPhone 4 sure is shiny, with its high-resolution, 326-dpi screen. But you know what? It's not the first to cross the 300-dpi threshold. That news comes from from an Android guru, actually. Tim Bray, who joined Google earlier this year and knows a thing or three about this business broke it down today on his blog. The Windows Mobile-powered Toshiba G900 and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 (remember them, folks?) both packed in the pixels back in their day. Of course, neither was a big hit in the United States, so we'll forgive you for not counting their pixels. Check out the whole hubub over dots per inch at Tim's blog. [TimBray.org]

Edit: Getting a high DPI is easy when you double the resolution but *don't* increase the size of the screen, which is what Apple did with the iPhone 4. Fact is, 3.5inch for the iPhone is on the small side these days for smartphones as HTC has made 3.2"  small, 3.6" the medium and 4.3" as large. 

Had Apple made a 4.3" screen to compete with the HD2, their DPI would drop to a less impressive 268

Incidently, the AT&T Pure is about 291 DPI, which while lower than the iPhone 4, is still in the ball park despite having a lower resolution. Why? It only has a small 3.2" screen. The Xperia X1 was over 300 DPI because it only had a 3 inch screen.

While a high DPI is nice, having a larger screen can be just as preferable, especially for reading on-the-go.

--Malatesta

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Spent the afternoon checking out the iPhone 4.0 announcement at TiBP.com, and a few upgrades have been, erm, "borrowed" from Windows Phone 7, it appears. Basically, the iPhone's new multitasking works in much the same way, saving an app's state before hopping out of it and into another one. Hardly revolutionary, Apple.

One thing we are a little jealous of, however, is the ability to sync with multiple Exchange accounts. That's something Windows Mobile never managed to so, and Palm finally managed to do it with the Pre. So there's one with have to give to Cupertino. There's also improved enterprise (read: business) support. We'd expect Microsoft to be on the forefront of that, too, with Windows Phone 7, given that depth of Exchange in business. So, no biggie there.

All in all, an interesting show, but nothing to make us really worry about Windows Phone 7 being dead before it gets off the ground.

Update: Oh, and how did we forget this: Folders?!?!? Really, Apple? That's so Windows Mobile 5. And "intelligent naming"? What does that even mean?

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