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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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4

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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The Morodo Group has announced that their VoIP app, MO-Call, is now available for Windows Phones running Windows Mobile.

According to the Press Release,

"MO-Call is free to download and new users receive free credit to trial the service. After the trial is over, MO-Call customers only pay for the minutes they use. MO-Call’s low international rates start from as little as 0.7p per minute and can save customers up to 90% compared to traditional mobile and telephone network operators."

In looking at local rates, calls within the United States will run you $.01 per minute. International rates range from $.03 per minute to the United Kingdom to $.14 per minute to Tanzania.  VoIP to VoIP calls are free. You also have the capability to send SMS messages over Mo-Call.

Mo-Call can also be accessed through fixed line phones and your computer.  For the a listing of all the compatible Windows Phones, download information and rates head on over to Mo-Call.com.

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File under: Whoa, completely forgot about that...

Last February, we got a gander at SPB's Mobile Shell 5.0 and then , never heard about it again. (See out hands-on video at MWC).

Well, today that's changed as SPB has finally re-announced the extremely popular UI replacement for Windows Mobile (and Android and Symbian...wait, whuh?)

Some of the key features mentioned are

  • The first complete 3D mobile phone interface, offering an extremely fast and natural user experience. User interactions become much more intuitive in a real 3D environment.
  • Single place to access all smartphone features: combining traditional widget based homescreen and application launcher via stunning 3D homescreen.
  • Fast switching between screens with a single gesture.

There's no date on when you can buy it and unfortunately, SPB seems to be aiming at OEMs and carriers as their #1 customers. Lets hope they didn't cut our the end-user!  Stay tuned...and check out that swipe at HTC Sense in the video. Hello!

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Though it was announced a year ago and FCC approved last month, it looks like the Terrestar Genus satellite phone has finally be released by AT&T.

To refresh, the device runs Windows Mobile 6.5.3 and rocks

  • 2.6-inch 320x240 QVGA touchscreen
  • 100MB of "end-user memory"
  • 1400 mAh battery
  • H.264 video playback
  • 3MP camera
  • microUSB/microSD
  • GPS
  • WiFi b/g, USB 2.0.

Not bad for such a small guy. Unfortunately, pricing is $799 for the phone and its only available for government, enterprise and small business users. Plus the service is $25 a month for satellite access and you're charged on a per minute, per message and per mega-byte basis, which we'd image could quickly add up, you James Bond wannabe.

But hey, maybe we'll get a review unit anyways for the good ol' WinMo days?

Check out the full presser after the break and our hands-on back in March including video.

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