windows mobile

For Microsoft, Windows Vista took priority over Mobile. Years later, Steve Ballmer regrets that decision.

As Microsoft’s 2013 Financial Analyst Meeting wraps up, outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer fielded questions from the audience of investors about the company. In responding to one inquiry about Microsoft, its direction and reorganization, Ballmer had an interesting confession regarding the last decade at Microsoft.

Although Ballmer has previously acknowledged that Vista was something he wished he handled differently, in tonight's response he was even more specific. Ballmer regrets not putting more resources into what was then Windows Mobile. Instead, the company had invested its talent and resources into Vista, an OS that would forever blemish the reputation of the company.

It would also cause Microsoft to miss the mobile explosion just a couple years later.

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Sometimes technology is a collection of circuitry and silicon, sometimes though – it is a magical moment full of feelings and memories. The best experiences are born when technology transcends our knowledge and connects us with what we love. British science fiction writer and futurist, Arthur C. Clarke, once said:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Microsoft has been around for a long time and for those of us who live off of the technology they provide, some of the memories will never seep away.

In 2007, the company released a four minute commercial that has come to be known as “Your Digital Lifestyle”. The ad highlighted the then current hi-tech Microsoft products of the time and how one green shirted hipster used them to party the night away. The commercial is set to a cover of Ash’s Girl from Mars by Canadian group, Magneta Lane.

Buckle up, because we are going on a field trip to six years ago; along the way, we are going to jam with our green shirted friend and revisit some of our past Microsoft technology goodies. Windows Vista will probably be seen along the way, but there will be plenty of other experiences to combat that bad flavor.

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Update 3pm ET: Video has been deleted by the user, sorry folks! We'll try to find an alternative soon.

Long Zheng, the brains behind the likes of MetroTwit and more (we interviewed the chap a while back), has come across a handful of concept videos published by UI designer Dave Brinda. It's reported that Brinda worked with Microsoft on the "Windows Mobile 7" project and currently works at HTC, responsible for designing HTC Sense on Android as well as HTC TouchFlo 3D on Windows Mobile. So what's the concept like? Well, see for yourself.

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The popular Windows Mobile game HexaLines now breathes fresh air on the Windows Store as a Windows 8 title. We last looked at HexaLines with the news of the strategic game making its way to both Windows Phone and the desktop stores. The aim of the game is to expand by deploying new hexagons (all players start from the centre) and attempting to cut off or annihilate enemy colours.

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In the ongoing saga between Samsung and Apple, documents came out late last night from the court case that detailed a proposal by Apple to charge Samsung for royalties on their smartphones.

It’s interesting for a few reasons. For one, Apple almost never enters into cross-platform patent royalty deals with other companies, specifically if it is tied to any of their “product differentiating” technologies. Back in 2010 though, Apple was willing to make an exception to this with Samsung because they are a major parts supplier for Cupertino and they wanted to preserve that relationship. Apple was also “shocked” at just how much Samsung was willing to allegedly copy the iPhone.

In the documents, Apple spells out some license terms it was willing to offer Samsung back in October 2010—just a few weeks before Windows Phone 7 became available.  Although Android was offered a $24-per-device royalty fee, which yes, is extremely high, Apple evidently also wanted $9 per ‘Windows Mobile 7’ device as well.

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Does the name HexaLines ring any bells to veteran Windows Mobile owners? It should if you are crazy for competitive mobile games. HexaLines was a strategy game that saw players filling up as many paths as possible. Starting from the centre Hexagon, players are tasked with adding more hexagons to expand the available path for his or her colour.

Playing against either AI or friends, the game can get relatively busy on-screen with a number of ways to attack (or be attacked by) the enemy. Rotating the next available hexagon and strategically placing it to either cut off an enemy's flow or pour your own colour into their line is key to survival.

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LinkedIn, the service, is a professional social network that boasts a membership of over 160,000,000 that spans over 200 countries and territories.  The LinkedIn app for Windows Phone ties it all together and delivers the network rather nicely to your Windows Phone.

LinkedIn is apparently marketing the LinkedIn app through bulk emails but there's one slight problem. The graphic shows the app running on a Nokia Lumia 800 but references "LinkedIn for Windows Mobile". Not only once but twice.

Now we can understand that typos occur so we can cut the ad agency a little slack. But come on... it's been almost two years now since Windows Phone 7 took over as the Windows mobile platform.

The good news is the LinkedIn Marketplace description references Windows Phone. If you're a LinkedIn member or look to join the network and want a mobile solution, check out the free LinkedIn app here at the Windows Mobile...err.. the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

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Market research firm IDC has released Q1 2012 data that shows fairly large growth for both Android and iOS, while Symbian and BlackBerry continue to fall into gloomy depths. Android stole the show with a Year-on-Year change in terms of shipping volume of 145%, with iOS in tow at 88%. RIM and Symbian, on the other hand, were hitting -29.7% and -60.6% respectively. Some fairly steep recordings.

But what about Windows Phone? It's sat on a respectable 26.9% increase, which is the point to take away here. While the marketshare has dipped slightly from 2.8 to 2.2 (includes Windows Mobile), the shipping volumes for the platform have seen a boost. We can see clearly the effect Nokia is having on Windows Phone.

"Windows Phone has yet to make significant inroads in the worldwide smartphone market, but 2012 should be considered a ramp-up year for Nokia and Microsoft to boost volumes. Until Nokia speeds the cadence of its smartphone releases or more vendors launch their own Windows Phone-powered smartphones, IDC anticipates slow growth for the operating system."

This is exactly what Chris highlighted in his report on Gartner's Q1 2012 data. Without repeating ourselves, check out the chart below for more details on how the platforms have progressed between Q1 2011 and 2012.

It's looking positive for Windows Phone, which is the main thing to look at. Microsoft and Nokia are doing well with increasing the reach of the brand itself. We'll have to see in Q2 how the continued push from AT&T, recent launches of the Lumia 900 in and across Europe, as well as the upcoming release in Australia, affects marketshare and shipping numbers in future reports.

Source: IDC, via: BGR

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A friendly reminder to our beloved Windows Mobile 6.x users: the Windows Mobile Marketplace is to be discontinued on May 9th, 2012. From that date on, users will no longer be able to access the service to download content. All apps and games already installed on handsets will continue to work as expected after the Marketplace is closed down, but further downloading of already purchased apps will no longer be available.

Microsoft recommends users review apps and games installed on any Windows Mobile handsets and install all available updates in advance. According to the reminder email sent out by the company, all apps and games that are compatible with the platform may still be available from developers directly or via third-party Marketplaces.

Should you be looking to upgrade and leave the golden days behind, now is a perfect opportunity with Windows Phone. The Lumia family of handsets are rolling out globally, with devices from popular OEMs including HTC, Samsung and LG. Be sure to check out our reviews of any device you may be interested in for more information and a detailed walkthrough. Check out the reminder email after the break.

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Microsoft is sending out email notices to current and former Windows Mobile 6.x users to prepare them for the upcoming shutdown of the 6.x Marketplace.  As of May 9, browsing, purchasing and downloading functionality will be discontinued.  While currently installed apps and games will continue to function, users are warned to check for updates sooner, rather than later, as they will no longer be provided for the soon-to-be legacy software.

It's the end of an era and an opportune time to upgrade.  There is a wide range of Windows Phone devices out there at every price range (unless you're on Verizon or Sprint).  However, with Apollo due out later in the year, does it make sense to cut off Windows Mobile users and inspire them to upgrade, only to prompt buyer's remorse when Windows Phone 8 hits?  Could this timing signify the arrival of Apollo, or at least offer hope that WP7 can be upgraded to WP8?

Source: Microsoft

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According to the Q4 2011 U.S. data released by Nielsen, Microsoft has caught 1.3% of the "current smartphone consumer" market, whereas they've attracted 1.4% of recent smartphone acquires (within the 3 months). Windows Mobile is set at 4.6% with Blackberry holding 14.9%. Windows Mobile is still being pumped out (more being sold than Windows Phone) but Blackberry is struggling to attract smartphone upgrades.

iOS saw an increase with the recent iPhone 4S launch, which has been relatively successful, while Android storms ahead taking almost half the market (46.4%) and attracting 51.7% of the recent smartphone acquires. For 2012, Microsoft (as well as the platform OEMs) have a task to win the minds of consumers and catch the majority of new adopters. With the beginning of the U.S. push, and marketing still ongoing across Europe and beyond, we should hopefully see some results in the Q1 2012 report.

Source: Nielsen, via: WMPU

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Still holding out on making the jump from WinMo 6.X, but want the look of WP7?  If so, TodayXLive is the app for you.  TodayXLive is a plugin for your Today screen that gives you a tile-based start page, complete with live updating.  The plugin works for Windows Mobile Pocket PC 5 and 6 and requires .NET Compact Framework 3.5.

Loffactory, the developer of TodayXLive, recommends disabling all Today items that you are not using, so you can save some battery life.  If you want to give it a go, you can download it here. (Anyone tempted to fire up their old WinMo device, for old times sake?)

Source: FreewarePocketPC

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

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

Source: PocketNow

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The HTC Touch Pro2 has not been forgotten by the Taiwanese manufacturer and they have just released an official system stability update, being the first official update since 2009. Since there are no patch release notes we can't confirm concrete fixes or information, but according to some comments on the article at PocketNow it's a European only patch and fixes the SoD (Sleep of Death) issue reported on the XDA forum.

Let us know should you find anything while/after updating in the comments below. 

Source: HTC, via: PocketNow

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Opera Mobile drops Windows Mobile

While Opera Mobile 11 is launching today for Android and Symbian platforms, the mobile browser is saying goodbye to the Windows Mobile platform. According to a blog post by Dag Olav Norem at My Opera,

"The mobile landscape is changing and Microsoft has moved their efforts away from the Windows Mobile operating system. No new devices have been launched for some time and the market share is falling. As a third party developer and a business, that is a reality that Opera Software has to adjust to."

Norem continues to explain that the Windows Mobile platform can no longer provide the revenue potential that Opera needs to continue investing in it. With regards to bringing Opera Mobile to the Windows Phone 7 platform, Norem states that the company is continuously evaluating that option.

Opera Mobile 10 and Opera Mini 5.1 for Windows Mobile will continue to be available for download from Opera Software's download page.

Source: My Opera Via: Favbrowser

Thanks goes out to Andy for the tip!

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The big news making the rounds today is in regards to how the smartphone landscape changed in Q4 in terms of market share. New numbers came out from The NPD Group today showing that Windows Phone 7 grabbed as much market share as the nearly two-year old WebOS:

  • Apple iOS: 19 percent (-4%)
  • Android OS: 53 percent (+9%)
  • RIM OS: 19 percent (-2%)
  • Windows Mobile: 4 percent (-3%)
  • Windows Phone 7 OS: 2 percent (-)
  • Palm’s WebOS: 2 percent (-)

But some seem to be taking these numbers is that Windows Mobile outsold Windows Phone 7--yet what is being reported is market share, which includes an established user base. In other words, Windows Mobile has been around for years, there are a lots of users and not everyone suddenly gave up their WM phone for Windows Phone 7 (especially with 2 year contracts binding people). As a result, Windows Mobile still lost three percent and Windows Phone 7 gained two (though no correlation is implied).

What is worth noting is the following: "Windows Phone 7 also entered the market with lower share than either Android or webOS at their debuts, according to NPD's Mobile Phone Track". Of course even those numbers are relative as the smartphone market was certainly thinner and less aggressive two years ago than it is today, especially with Android taking off.

Should we have expected Windows Phone 7, which only went on sale in mid-November, to have made more a splash than it did? Perhaps. But we see this more a problem of message and getting the OS "out there" than anything else.  The numbers are certainly not awe-inspiring, but we also don't see it as greater interest in Windows Mobile either. Sixty days is not much time to prove yourself in such a volatile market--Android and the iPhone are certainly tough competition to make headway with.

Source: NPD Group (PR); via WirelessWeek

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As is common knowledge, no company nor division is limitless in resources, not even the mighty Microsoft. That, however, won't help out non-U.S. Windows Mobile users who rely on Bing and its free turn-by-turn navigation. In an effort to refocus talent and resources, Microsoft has basically turned away support for Windows Mobile 6.5 outside the United States. In a statement they noted:

In July 2010, mobile customers using version 4.6 or older of the Bing app for Windows Phone, received a notification that the Bing app is no longer available on their device. Bing is committed to delivering a mobile strategy that rapidly evolves to meet the needs of customers, and as a result has decided to optimize the Bing app for the newer Windows Phone devices to ensure the best mobile search experience.

Of course that was in July and we're not just hearing about it, which not to sound glib, raises the question: who the heck noticed? Why is this becoming an issue now, five months later? We have no idea as we were under the impression that navigation serves like TomTom, etc.. were more popular than Bing.

Whatever the reason, there's your explanation. It would be nice to have indefinite support for Bing in Europe and we suppose 10 months from its release is a little early.

Source: Winrumors; Thanks, Ryan S., for the link

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This past summer we reported that Skyfire would begin scaling back operations and development on Windows Mobile and Symbian products. While development stopped on this popular mobile web browser, the company continued to offer support for their products in select countries.

Skyfire has now announced a complete phase out of their Legacy 1.0 products for Windows Mobile and Symbian effective December 31, 2010. Skyfire products will no longer be available or supported for Windows Phones.

In the press release, Skyfire's CEO Jeff Glueck stated,

"We do expect to bring Skyfire 2.0 to additional platforms, and have begun discussions with some carriers and OEMs to decide which will be our next OS. Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 and Nokia’s MeeGo platform are both shaping up as platforms with a lot of potential and the recent launch of the new Blackberry OS 6 with a WebKit browser core makes for interesting potential for a future release of Skyfire 2.0."

While Skyfire will quickly become a thing of the past with Windows Mobile, we may see it as a part of Windows Phone 7 in the future.

via: Skyfire

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Looks like Microsoft has not forgotten about all the Windows Mobile 6.x users out there, pushing out a significant update to Mobile Outlook for some 6.x devices. It's unclear which devices are getting it exactly, but in this case here it's an HTC HD2 running Windows Mobile 6.5.5 23145.

Mobile Outlook was bumped to 2.0.55.4140 and is reportedly much more finger friendly, doing away with the annoying "tap to scroll right" notification. Overall, the update looks quite sharp and we're almost longing for our old Windows Mobile. Almost.

Big thanks to Rhys B., for the info and screenshots!


6.5.5 23145
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