Rumors

We updated yesterday's story on the Microsoft Surface Tablet price possibly costing more than $1,000 but wanted to make sure the update got out. For those who didn't catch the original story, Swedish website Webhallen.com listed the Microsoft Surface tablet at a price of 6990 krone (about $1,160 US) with Fourth Quarter 2012 availability.

This took us (and everyone else) by surprise because earlier speculation had pricing in the $399-599 range.

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Only for demonstration purposes

We are only a few hours away from Microsoft's media event where it is expected the software giant will take the wraps off their own tablet running Windows 8.  We have now seen leaked specs on an Xbox Surface tablet. Could this be Microsoft's tablet or is this a completely different device?

According to the specs that have surfaced on the Xbox Surface the tablet will sport a 7" 1280x720 screen, SD card support and Bluetooth/Wifi radios.  There is also indications that the Surface will have four USB ports, an ethernet port, and HDMI port.

Note when reading the specs: there are TWO devices, one tablet and one "stationary". Don't confuse the two.

Again, we don't know if the Xbox Surface is what we'll see at today's Microsoft's media event but it does look like an interesting device. What makes this all a bit more interesting is LiveSide has attained a second document that has the same Xbox Surface branding, corroborating the story.

Hit the break for page two of the leaked specs and take note that under Tablet Device (Controller) specs there mention of "Kinect Workloads".  Could the Xbox Surface have Kinect motion technologies built in?

Update: We should also not that Barnes & Noble are not a part of tonight's announcement, lending credence to this idea a bit more

Source: LiveSide; StephenWagner.com

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Over at Russian forum Acer-Club, a rumor has surfaced that Acer is working on a Windows Phone  8 device with sliding QWERTY keyboard.  Despite a dearth of evidence or details, the phone will reportedly be called the W11 and will be a lower-end offering. The post says that the W11 is slotted for an October 2012 release, with an official announcement coming in September. 

If true, the W11 join the Dell Venue Pro, the LG Quantum (aka, Optimus 7Q and C900) and the HTC Arrive (Sprint's only Windows Phone offering) as one of the few Windows Phone sliders out there.  Acer once manufactured the M900, a Windows Mobile phone with a sliding QWERTY keyboard, so it would fit their M.O and they currently have the Allegro on the market. 

The timing of an October release would also fall in line with the expected release of Windows Phone 8, commonly referred to as Apollo.  And although it's already been said, please be sure to take this as nothing more than a rumor at this point.  We will be sure to keep you posted as we catch word of more details. 

So what do you think?  With the slim and sleek Lumias and iPhones of the world, is there still a strong demand for QWERTY sliders?

Source: Acer-Club; Via: Neowin, WMPU

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One app sorely missing with Windows Phone is Photosynth. You already have a desktop application and, to the dismay of some, an iOS app for Photosynth. We've heard that Windows Phone was a top priority with Photosynth and it now looks as if a Windows Phone version is close to being released.

The website GEMIND has stumbled upon signs that Microsoft has been creating accounts on the Photosynth website to test the integration of a Windows Phone app. They have even stumbled on test photo sets on the Photosynth website that appear to be have taken with various Windows Phones.

For those not familiar, Photosynth stitches together series of photographs to create panoramic images. Microsoft stalled on developing a Windows Phone version of the app due to camera API issues. Issues that should have been resolved with the Mango update.

No clue as to how close the development is but based on the dates of the test sets, a Photosynth Windows Phone app might be just around the corner.

We'll echo GEMIND's sentiments on the issue, It's about time Microsoft.

source: GEMIND; Thanks, Rodrigo, for the tip!

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In an exclusive report this morning, The Verge is trumpeting that the elusive Skype for Windows Phone application is "currently [in] testing" and that "at least one source indicated that it could launch at Mobile World Congress later this month." (Emphasis ours.) Wait, didn't we already know all this? Answer: Yes.

Here's a compressed timeline:

We understand everyone is chomping at the bit for Skype. We'll let you know when we learn more and roll out a full review when it hits the Marketplace. Stay tuned.

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In response to circulating rumors regarding Windows Phone 8's lack of application backwards compatibility, Microsoft's Brandon Watson -- Director of Developer Experience -- confirmed today that the upcoming OS revision will run older Windows Phone 7 applications. Yep, that means Sally's Salon will port over just fine.

But from a technical perspective, how existing apps will work unmodified is fuzzy. For example, if the new resolution rumors pan out, should we expect some sort of zooming functionality akin to Apple's iPad (running iPhone applications)? And what about those awesome premium apps (e.g. Youtube, Tango, Navigon) with native hooks into the underlying OS? We presume everyone using native code is on Windows Phone for the long haul, but it's worth asking.

Anyway, stay tuned. We expect both Windows Phone "Tango" and "Apollo" to be detailed at Mobile World Congress next month. Rest assured we'll have feet -- at least Daniel Rubino's -- on the ground providing updates.

Source: WinSuperSite

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It looks like BGR isn't quite done with the leaks just yet.  After reporting that the Nokia Lumia 900 would be coming to AT&T on March 18 at a price of $99, the tech site now sharing that HTC's Titan II will also be arriving the same day.  However, don't expect the same alluring $99 price tag as the Lumia 900.  Rumor has it that the mammoth HTC handset will run you double that, $200, with a 2-year contract.  There's no mention of where this info came from, so as always, treat it as a rumor, and not set in stone.

The Titan II, which recently made an appearance in Entertainment Weekly, has the same 4.7" screen as its predecessor, but comes along with a whopping 16MP camera.  It also packs a 1.5GHz CPU, 16GB of storage, and of course 4G LTE.

Source: BGR

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We have heard rumors of a March 18th launch for the AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 but now we are seeing rumors on pricing for Nokia's latest Windows Phone. BGR is reporting that they have received a portion of AT&T's 2012 roadmap which shows the Lumia 900 hitting the shelves on March 18th. The roadmap also indicates the Lumia 900 will cost a meager $99 after contractual discounts.

The March 18th date does fit with AT&T's previous releases that hit on either the first of third Sunday of the month.  The $99 price tag is a little surprising but a nice one if the rumor holds true.  Sporting a 4.3" AMOLED Clearblack touchscreen, 8mp Camera, 1mp front camera, 16gb of storage, and 4G LTE networking the Lumia 900 is an appealing Windows Phone in its own right. Add a $99 price tag to it and it may be too hard to resist with the Samsung Focus S and HTC Titan going for $199.

Update: Confirmed by Paul Thurrott "Yes, that $99 price is in fact correct for the Lumia 900 based on the docs I saw."

source: BGR

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Earlier this week, various blogs picked up on a tweet alluding to the use of the Unity game engine in the cute and fuzzy Kinectimals title for Windows Phone. This comes after Unity Technologies CEO David Helgason came out and said, in November, that the company was “skipping” Windows Phone 7, looking forward instead to its successor – Windows Phone 8.

The rumor floating around has two main components to it:

  • The Kinectimals XAP contains a library (UnityEngine.dll) that contains the word Unity.
  • The UnityEngine.dll has classes that look like Unity code.

While the Kinectimals XAP does contain a library named UnityEngine, we couldn’t verify this library was in any way related to Unity Technologies’ game engine. In fact, we found evidence to the contrary:

  • The library contains .NET metadata indicating copyright belongs to the development shop Frontier Developments Ltd., not Unity Technologies as expected.
  • Frontier Developments Ltd. specializes in cross-platform technology. We believe the UnityEngine references are merely artifacts from recycling their code targeting iOS and other platforms.
  • The game doesn’t use any native code. As we’ve seen from a number of applications on the Marketplace, Windows Phone can run native code. It doesn’t make sense that Unity’s game engine would be ported in whole to a pure XNA solution for cost and performance reasons.

Regardless, we simply don’t have enough information to say one way or the other. We'll follow up when we hear more from the developers next week.

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22

Nokia Sea Ray on T-Mobile Germany?

We'll throw this one out there for what it's worth. A promo ad has surfaced from T-Mobile Germany featuring a new Windows Phone, the Nokia Sea Ray.

The text of the ad reads,

The new Nokia Searay.Drive safely to your destination with Nokia – including 3D. Representation and voice navigation. Windows Mobile 7.5 (Mango) operating system. Brilliant 3.7" AMOLED curved display

A few things stand out that has us scratching our heads. First the Sea Ray name. Wouldn't T-Mobile choose a name other than the prototype name? Also, the black theme.... not saying it's impossible but I don't remember a black color theme in the settings.  If T-Mobile was going to take artistic license with the ad, wouldn't they choose hot-pink?

So, what do you guys think? Real or Memorex? And if this turns out to be legit, could we see T-Mobile U.S. get this as well?

Source: thenokiablog via: mynokiablog  Thanks goes out to JustVisiting for the tip!

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September 15th has come and gone with no noticeable movement on a Mango release. Last night, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore tweeted confirmation that it was just another rumor and they've (Microsoft) been saying "Fall". Even though there were several indicators pointing towards the 15th that something was suppose to happen, if it did, it wasn't publicly witnessed.

Belfiore has since tweeted a link to a website (Apples 4 the teacher) that shows when Fall starts (September 23rd). Take it for what it's worth. It could mean a release date, it could mean the release won't happen before the 23rd, or it could be Belfiore driving us all nuts.

The only thing we know for certain is that Mango is really nice, it exists and it will get to everyone eventually. We still are seeing indicators that make us believe Mango's release (in some shape form or fashion) is close and if we have to wait until the 23rd or there after, that's not too long of a wait.

In the meantime, we'll keep an eye out for more bread crumbs from Joe, Brandon and all the other sources and tips we run across and pass it on to you guys to digest. September 23rd is seven days away and we'll know soon enough if it has any meaning beyond the calendar beginning of Fall and a reminder of all those leaves we'll have to rake up in the coming weeks.

source: @joebelfiore thanks goes out to Kenrick for tipping us on this!

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While release dates for the Nokia Windows Phone have never been set in stone, the strong school of thought has been to look at early 2012 for the Sea Ray to hit the market. This line of thought was confirmed recently. In an interview with the Australian website WP7R, when questioned about the release of the Sea Ray Nokia in Australia replied,

"We won't be releasing a Nokia on Windows Phone until Q1 of next year. Can't be more specific than that sorry!"

This joins the long line of indicators pointing to 2012 that include Nokia CEO Stephen Elop stating, "We'll be shipping in volume in 2012" and Nokia tweeting similar.  We still have the where and with whom that has to be answered.  Plus it would be nice if eventually the Q1 2012 time frame could be narrowed down a bit.

Regardless, this latest blip seems to confirm that Sea Ray fans still a have a bit of a wait to endure.

source: Wp7r  Thanks xlri for the tip!

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This seems to be completely out of the blue, so take it lightly if you will. SamFirmware, the guys that continuously publish leaked ROMs and whatnot have tweeted that Samsung will be looking at leaving Windows Phone and will cease innovating for the platform from 2013 onwards. It seems odd due to the success of Samsung handsets on Microsoft's OS, but let us take a look at the larger picture here.

Could Samsung be focusing on Android? Not sure, they already have solid devices like the Galaxy S II so it could be that they have decided to take bada seriously, especially since with Android they are experiencing legal issues and have to pay Microsoft royalty.

Google will now play a role in hardware as well as software with Android, while Microsoft holds continuous tea parties with Nokia. But they're still two completely different relationships. Manufacturers were sceptical about the Motorola acquisition whereas Acer and others are still pretty excited about the future of WP.

Should this be true, 2013 is still two years away. If the platform really does capture the market by storm with Mango then perhaps Samsung may change their tune. Android (and Google) need Samsung, but it could be that bada will be competing for market as well as WP.

However we look at it this way, Samsung does seem to have a relatively healthy position by supporting both WP and Android, which makes it seem odd that they would choose to pull out from either one of them.

Via: 1800PocketPC

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6

The HTC Titan and Twitter

Contrary to some speculation, the HTC Titan does have Twitter integration. A reader commented that they had heard the Titan would not have Twitter support.

This would be an odd situation seeing that Twitter integration is a feature of Windows Phone and not one of HTC. Just to be sure, we reached out to Jay Bennett, who is on site at the London unveiling, and he sent us this snapshot of the Titan's account set up screen.

While slightly out of focus, we can clearly see the option to set up your Twitter Account on the HTC Titan.  That would be Jay's finger in the photo.  I guess we can now say he's got a famous finger.

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We previously covered rumours surrounding the Samsung i8350 where the leaked road map mentioned that the handset will feature a 3.7" WVGA, 1Ghz processor, running Mango and will be here in October. SamFirmware (a reliable Samsung source) has tweeted that a new device from the manufacturer will feature a 1.4Ghz processor, 3.7" screen and support NFC (near field communication).

So are you interested in the smaller screen and half the amount of RAM?  Could this be one of the "mid-tiered" Tango devices?

 

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Brace yourselves...

Remember that PocketLint story from yesterday that had "multiple trusted sources" confirming that Mango would be rolled out on September 1?  Well, according to Joe Belfiore, the guy who "runs the team doing Windows Phone 7 product definition & design," it's "just a rumor." 

In a tweet this morning, he said so himself.  Now, this could very well just be some marketing misdirection on Belfiore's part, but it's more likely that we all just got some inaccurate information.  We knew not to get too excited about the prospect of a September 1 release, but with everything we've seen of Mango, and a glimmer of hope, we can't help but be a tiny bit disappointed that it won't be coming that soon.  But it's just one more reminder of how these things go.

Source: Joe Belfiore

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Since CEO Stephen Elop confirmed early this month that Nokia was still planning on a Q4 launch of their first WP7 phones, the rumor mill has been cranking.  Friday brought us word that 6 European countries would be the first to see the new devices.  Now, rumor has it, that those 6 nations will have to split up the paltry sum of 125,000 units.  According to a Tweet by Eldar Murtazin, Editor in Chief of Mobile-Review, that is how many handsets Nokia plans to manufacture for Q4.

For Nokia, who has doubled down on WP7 as their smartphone future, 125,000 seems incredibly low, and risky at best.  It invites the question of whether or not this, and other recent rumors, can be trusted.  With the well-being of the company on the line, Nokia has allegedly gone into Apple-mode, keeping their cards close to the vest and clamping down on how much information gets out there.  In a piece he wrote for Slashgear, Chris Davis put it this way:

"Talk to anybody in Nokia, and it’s clear they’re aware of the potential if they can only get the first Windows Phone launch right. That’s why the iron shutters are down around development: as one of the product team told me yesterday, it’s “Apple-style” secrecy right now. Well known industry players are finding their sources inside the company drying up. The 12-18 month long development cycles of before – during which time leaks were pretty much the rule and not the exception – have been clamped down upon, hurried up and shrouded in a new level of secrecy."

It only makes sense that Nokia wants to seal leaks and build anticipation, and Apple has made a way of life out of it.  Through intense secrecy and iron-fisted control, they have been able to create their own media destiny.  The world champs at the bit to get any scrap of information they can, and thus, the hype builds up.  It's a model that Nokia will need to pay off for them as they head into an uncertain make-or-break future.

Sources: Eldar Murtazin, SlashGear; Via: IntoMobile, WPSauce

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Earlier today a rumor was being circulated around the web implying that Microsoft had inked a deal to buy Nokia for $19 Billion US. The basis for these rumors is a tweet from Eldar Murtazin.

This is the same Eldar Murtazin that earlier reported such a deal and that was quickly squashed by Nokia. We held off on reporting this morning's rumor to give Nokia an opportunity to squash this one, just as they did the earlier rumors.  It was only a matter of time.

The previous rumor was squashed by Nokia's Communications Director, Mark Squire. This time Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop took the opportunity to squash the rumors calling such speculation is baseless.

“We have a great plan for our future, and we’re focused on executing that plan. The rumors are all over the place. There’s no basis for them.”

While Nokia has been experiencing internal problems, todays rumors seemed to have helped the company's stock values. According to BBC News, Nokia stock shares rose today 1.3% on the heels of the purchase rumor. Makes you wonder if Eldar owns stock in Nokia....

Source: Bloomberg Thanks goes out to Jamie for the BBC tip!

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Images are surfacing across the internet of a mystery Windows Phone from HTC that appears to be sporting a 12mp camera. This just days after rumors surfaced of a 16MP HTC device called 'Bresson'--at least 12MP sounds a bit more realistic. Another interesting revelation from the images is that this camera has RAW support. For those not familiar with RAW image files, they are unprocessed by the camera. JPEG images receive a good deal of "in-camera" processing" while RAW images rely on post-processing from the photo editing software of your choice. I often describe RAW as a digital negative.

While the prospect of a 12mp camera with RAW support is interesting, the screen shots also give rise to some questions. RAW is an image format, why is it not listed under the resolution settings? You also see an Exposure Metering Mode that is set to a frame average. Could this be a bracketing setting (taking a series of the same shot at progressive exposure settings)? 

Granted these screens could be entirely different if this mystery Windows Phone ever sees the light of day but as someone who has spent a good deal of time around a camera, right now these images give me pause.  Unless HTC has moved to a larger sensor, I'm hesistant to get too excited over a 12mp phone camera. You can only fit so many pixels on a sensor and when you pass that mark, image quality begins to suffer.

Plus RAW files are huge compared to JPEG because of the lack of file compression.  It's not uncommon for a RAW file to be 10mb in size and that will require a hefty amount of on-board storage or a removable storage method for this to be practical.

Still, if these images hold true, some of these settings may bring the phone camera closer to the abilities of a stand alone digital camera.

Source: Slashgear Thanks goes out to smoothcrooner for the tip!

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