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Rumors

We're going to put this under rumor for now, though certainly plausible.

Kevin Marshall for Clarity Consulting, a group very familiar with Windows Phone (hint: the Facebook app), has posted an image via his Twitter account showing what looks like a Google+ app for Windows Phone. The hashtag is #wp7, the phone is an HTC Trophy and it clearly says Google+.

Of course with no other info, it's hard to tell if it's real or not--after all, it's not hard to put an image on the phone and call it an app. Still, Marshall doesn't seem the type to fib on the internet either. So...interesting.

Source: Twitter (@ksmarshall); via Mobility Digest

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We're still a little ways away from Mango's official release, and already it's successor, Tango, may be skulking around in the shadows. Using an app called Dude, Where's My Update?, which tracks what versions of WP7 people are running on what devices, Japanese site Nanapho, spotted a previously unknown version 7.10.8200. As it turns out, this might be Tango, the expected interim release between "Mango" and "Apollo" aka Windows Phone 8.

Though Tango has not been formally detailed by Microsoft, Nanapho says that it will include better Bing, improved Bluetooth, Internet Explorer 10 and Skype integration. Most interestingly, there also seems to be some Nokia-specific programming. We know that the next major version of Windows Phone will be called "Apollo," and that news about Tango came from Compal, an ODM who will be manufacturing handsets for Nokia.

Source: Nanapho

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Samsung already has the Galaxy SII variant coming this fall with Windows Phone "Mango" on board, then there's the GT-i8350 also with Mango and now another device, the SGH-i677 looks to coming a well.

Details have emerged via some coding in Samsung's own site, where the model number and web browser (IE9) are listed. In addition, there's Bluetooth and WiFi certification info that comports with the other info, lending some solid credence to the existence of this phone and it's Mango destiny.

What's real interesting is the model number: SGH-i677. As NanaPho point out, traditionally this "series" have been front keyboard devices (as demonstrated in the fake mock up above). Does this mean that this device too will sport a front qwerty? If so, we think it would be more like a Dell Venue Pro (see review) than a standard "Treo" design. The latter configuration was suggested for Chassis 2 of Windows Phone, but Microsoft put that off due to wanting to concentrate on just one resolution for developers.

Still, a front-slider device from Samsung? Oh hell yeah...lets do this.

via NanaPho

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Lets catch up on a couple things here:

  1. Developers currently have build 7661 of Mango
  2. Build 7720 is the RTM version
  3. Microsoft has strongly suggested devs are getting an updated build

That last part comes from Microsoft's own Cliff Simpkins who tweeted last evening in response to this very question. His answer? "Give me a day to get an official answer for folks :)" He also noted in comments on the Windows Phone Blog "We're working to get devs an updated build soon. Stay tuned to the dev blog."

At this point, we're highly confident that developers will be getting an updated Mango build and we think it will be very soon. In fact, the Windows Phone Dev Podcast just tweeted a little while ago "we've got 7,712 reasons for you to look forward to tomorrow". While a build 7712 is not 7720, it's "close enough" as we know that build 7710 went to Nokia for the Sea Ray.

Hey, as someone with three phones running Mango, we think this sounds just peachy. (Free pun!)

via: Professeur Thibault

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More good new for you travelers out there, especially if you're fans of Lonely Planet. Evidently, they're in the midst of making a Windows Phone app just for you and your globe trotting ways.

Hi James,

Our developers are currently working on creating apps for Windows phones. I can't give you a date that they'll be available (because we're not sure!) but it is happening should be ready later in the year.

Regards,

Trent

Trent Paton | Talk2Us feedback team

Lonely Planet (Australia)

No word on release date/time frame, but at least according to their customer support, it seems to be happening. Fingers crossed.

Thanks, James A., for the tip!

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Here's some speculation that sort of makes sense: we just reported that the AT&T Venue Pro is available to purchase again direct from Dell. What's odd (and what we missed) was the expected ship date: 8/30

That's a long time off for a phone that has been out for awhile. Considering that we just got word of "Mango" being RTM'd and sent to carriers, could this 6 week delay be due to Dell putting Mango on board? Dell did just pull the Streak to load some new update, so it's not unprecedented and AT&T is pretty aggressive in the Windows Phone area.

We've heard that Toshiba-Fujitsu are launching a Mango device in August, so why not Dell? Then again, this is Dell, so lets not put it past them that this is just NoDo.

Source: Dell; (Thanks for catching this, @wp7ap)

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7

No Hulu for Microsoft?

A few weeks ago we reported that Microsoft was in serious talks with Hulu to purchase the company, which was put up for sale by it's parent media company owners.

Of course we were supportive of such a proposed purchase since it would guarantee more exclusive integration with PC, Xbox and Windows Phone, the latter of which has yet to see a native client. With the purchase of Skype under their belt, bringing Hulu into the fold would have been a great leg up on the competition.

However, according to Bloomberg, Microsoft has now dropped out of contention for the streaming TV site. No reason was given, though usually it has to do with perceived cost vs value. Yahoo!, ironically is reportedly ready to fork over $2 billion for the company, though it is expected that negotiations will continue for the next few weeks. Reportedly Microsoft has also not ruled out stepping back into talks later if terms become more favorable.

Microsoft has yet to publicly confirm the story, so it remains to be seen how this progresses, but as of right now it's not looking to good for our side.

Source: Bloomberg

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File this one under "curious", but it looks like Japanese carrier KDDI may be not only getting their first Windows Phone this August, but it'll be the first phone with "Mango" on board. The phone itself is a Toshiba-Fujitsu IS12T (catchy name!) which sports a 3.7" LCD screen and a water-resistant case. In fact, it looks to be the same phone first shown a few days ago at WPC11 by Microsoft.

The device also has FCC & Bluetooth clearance, which could mean a U.S. release at some point, but seeing a Fujitsu has little presence here, we're not too confident on that one.

Regarding that "first phone with Mango" bit, we would be a bit cautious on that as the OS hasn't gone gold yet and there are no firm dates yet for any release, let alone hardware. Microsoft for certain has projected "windows for release" but we would be surprised to see this actually happen by August. Then again, it could validate the whole Mango-in-September tweet from a few days ago, so who knows.

Source: Nikkei; via NanaPho; Thanks, tezawaly

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All the rage these days is around Google and their "+" network, which many are laughing off and just as many others are hailing as the next big thing. Microsoft obviously has a great ride going with Facebook but there is something still missing from the equation perhaps, something related to Bing, searching, sharing information and more.

The website Fusible learned that Microsoft has purchased the domain http://www.socl.com/ and today a teaser page had gone up with a new service called 'Tulalip'--the very image you see above. What is clear is that Microsoft is definitely working on something social related as that image touts the message “With Tulalip you can Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever” with logins for Twitter and Facebook (good news for those who don't want a new account). The design is clearly Metro-inspired, looking very much like the Live Tiles in Windows Phone.

Of course, the page is no longer up and instead we have a message from Microsoft Research stating:

“Thanks for stopping by. Socl.com is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly published to the web. We didn’t mean to, honest,”

While that could be plausible, we think this is something closer to launch than just an internal design project. The "Terms of Service" and "Privacy Statement" suggest that this wasn't just meant for internal purposes. The big question of course is what exactly does it do? For that, we'll have to wait. Of course if it is an official project, will we see integration with "Mango" come fall?

Update: Read Mary Jo Foley's excellent write up this morning on her thoughts about Tulalip (including its name)

Source: Fusible; via VentureBeat

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17

Microsoft to buy Hulu?

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Microsoft is one of several companies interested in buying online video giant Hulu.  Anonymous sources said that Google and Yahoo! have also met with Hulu reps in meetings arranged by Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners, their financial advisors.  The three potential suitors are eyeing the mass of popular shows that millions over viewers tune in to online, and the over 600 advertisers that have jumped on board with Hulu, including big players like McDonald's, Toyota and Johnson & Johnson. Of course, as these things go, none of the alleged parties are admitted anything.

Hulu's ownership has been struggling with the site's popularity, as they have attracted advertising revenue, but at the same time have caught serious flak from cable and satellite providers, who carry the same content.  They backed off from an earlier initial public offering that was projected to earn them a cool $2 billion, so it is thought that that may be what it would take for a sale to happen.  Netflix, who is seen as a similar kind of service, is valued at just about the same amount. 

Microsoft seems like a good fit, as they already offer access to Hulu Plus on XBox Live.  The acquisition would make further integration with XBL, and potentially WP7, that much easier and sweeter.  Their recent purchase of Skype is a clear sign that they are not afraid to throw around some cash to expand their multimedia capabilities. 

Source: Los Angeles Times; Via: SeattlePi

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13

Android is Nokia's backup plan? [Rumor]

According to a report over at the Fone Arena, Nokia have undergone some experiments in the Android field as well as Windows Phone 7, which is expected when they were deciding on a different OS to focus on since Symbian was a losing cause.

Our dear friend Eldar Murtazin has remained adamant that we can look forward to some Android devices in 2012 should the WP7 partnership with Microsoft fall through. I don't believe Nokia should have any problems with selling any devices should they stick to their incredible N9 design approach and engage in some effective marketing. Let's just see what happens when Sea Ray hits the shelves before anything else.

Via: Fone Arena

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Curious thing: during the leaked video of the Nokia's 'Sea Ray' Windows Phone, we actually never see the three-buttons for Back, Win and Bing Search. This lead to the natural speculation that there would be capacitive buttons, like other Windows Phones.

A new image has come forth though of the device and it shows, in fact, that there may be 'virtual buttons' meaning they are on the screen. But instead of taking up the 800x480 real-estate, they are probably using an 854x480 screen, much like the N9 that this so closely resembles.

A few words of caution though:

  1. Our own Richard Edmonds questions its authenticity--there's no glare on the button area, though there is a glare above and below them (see image below)
  2. Those buttons look like the WP7 emulator's, big time. Very suspicious.
  3. It certainly looks "off" plus it's probably just a mock up someone made
  4. Assuming it's true, this is far from finalized hardware and 'prototype' needs to be used here
  5. Nokia still has a lot of time to change or modify the design

At this point, we're not confident that this is legit, or if it is real, not final. Either way, we're not crazy about the sharp corners of 'Sea Ray'. There's a reason why the Focus feels so nice in the hand (and even the LG Quantum) and it has to do with the smoothness of the design.

If these virtual buttons are here to stay, it's not too much different than capacitive buttons, but we're not crazy about the idea. Finally, this looks more like the 'Sea Ray' is just a modified N9 rather than a "ground up" Nokia Windows Phone, making it slightly less interesting, in our opinion.

Update: Reader swc_ant has a nice comment based off his experience working on phone hardware. We agree with his assesment that it's a sticker/tape serving as a place holder.

Source: XDA (Steve Chou). via WMPU

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7

Nokia to launch WP7 October 26?

Today Nokia announced announced that its annual Nokia World conference would be held on October 26-27 in London, leading many to to the conclusion that this will be when they kick off the launch of their WP7 phones.  However, there is nothing conclusive about the agenda, which includes two daily keynote addresses and an October 26 "To be announced."

What is known is that Nokia World has historically been where the Finnish phone maker makes big announcements.  At Nokia's N9 today at Communiasia in China, CEO Stephen Elop also lent credence to earlier rumblings that the WP7 devices would arrive in Q4 this year.  If this is indeed true, the October launch would make these Mango phones ripe for Christmas.  What better way to kick of the holiday season than by lifting your company out of the rubble?

Source: Nokia; Via: PCMag

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It should be not too shocking that Nokia will produce numerous styled devices for Windows Phones--after all, they're quite creative over there. So the rumor that one of Nokia's first devices will feature a full QWERTY keyboard should not be too much a surprise.

According to ShinyShiny, who were at a Nokia event yesterday, a rep for the company was a little loose lipped on some details about their foray into Windows Phones:

"...expect a Blackberry-rivalling QWERTY phone in that line-up of phones out this year. Nokia have a A rep said that Nokia wanted to cater to the business market, that Windows Phone was a natural choice for the business user and that business users wanted QWERTY keyboards. I'm taking that as "yes we are releasing a QWERTY phone in our 2011 line-up"."

Sounds plausible. Then again, we're expecting a bit of everything from these guys, so it's just a matter of time anyways. Regarding the release date, nothing too new their either, but like Mango, things look to be ahead of schedule:

"The official release date for the phones is quarter 4 - the last three months of the year - but given that there was a Nokia Windows phone floating around at a Nokia event last night (apparently), I suspect we'll be seeing one sometime round the beginning of that period - September."

Yup, we imagine we could "see" a device in September with a release in October/November. Remember, Nokia has said they won't show the phone till it's close to its final release date. We just know that the next six months should be very exciting.

Source: ShinyShiny; via WPCentral forums (Thanks, @BurnEthanol); Concept phone credit: EagleEye

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WinRumors is appropriately running a rumor story that states Microsoft is getting ready to send out the first-wave of Mango developer devices as early as next week. The article cites anonymously "sources familiar with the company’s plans" so take it with a grain of salt. Still, this is just a matter of when not if for Microsoft, so next week sounds as good as any other week (we also know that Microsoft is getting ready to show of the latest build and features soon, more on that later).

Previously, it was speculated that since most WP7 devs actually own Windows Phones now and they can sideload apps, Microsoft would opt to distribute early Mango builds via a ROM update. But between the number of devices, drivers and the problem of returning the device back to an initial state (if there's a problem) has made such a process implausible, not to mention logistically challenging. Instead, new dev devices with the OS pre-loaded look to go on loan to developers who want them. 

Who gets them first, how to qualify and what type of devices is currently not known, but at least on the latter, modified HTC Trophys (with gyroscope), possibly the HTC Mazaa and something from Asus are possible.

Source: WinRumors

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Nokia's Chief technology Officer, Rich Green will be taking a leave of absence from the company for what is being reported as "personal reasons."  Nokia has officially confirmed Green's departure, but will not specify the length of leave, nor the reasons behind.  Finnish paper Helsingin Sanomat says that two inside sources have told them that that Green will be gone until at least the end of the year and is actually not expected to return at all.  This, they say, is due to a fundamental disagreement with the direction of the company, primarily, Nokia's decision to move exclusively to Windows Phone for their mobile devices.

We first met and heard from Green at Mobile World Congress in February and at least publicly, he seemed absolutely enthusiastic about moving forward with Windows Phone.

This is just more thing that Nokia did not need to happen in an already trying week.  They have recently seen their stock prices plummet, their credit ranking degraded and rumors surface of a buyout.  The partnership with Microsoft seems likely to either make or break the company, though to be a savior, it needs to happen soon.  Nokia's CEO, Stephen Elop, has big plans for WP7 and hopes to see Nokia-branded WP7 devices by Q4 this year.

Source: Helsingin Sanomat; Via: Cellular-News

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9

WP7 doesn't support IPv6 yet

We've had IPv6 support in Windows for years, but Windows Phone 7 seems to be lacking the successor of IPv4 (one of the Mango features?). v6 has been in talks for a while and Google and other big websites adopting the protocol with network administrators and testers preparing their infrastructure accordingly. 

While it's not actually needed at the moment (since networks and ISPs still support IPv4), there will be a point where hardware such as routers will need to be updated (or replaced to increase profit for vendors). With your device, we should see Microsoft adding support for the protocol when networks and carriers start to look at making the change.

Could Nokia be bringing an IPv6 push to WP7 when their devices hit the shelves? Could well be, but for now consumers shouldn't really be thinking about IPv6 since we have a long way to go until the change over from v4 is full steam ahead.

Update: See this post for follow up information

Via: Smartphone France

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4

Windows Phone Mango can save camera settings?

Assuming those early leaked shots of an HTC device running a 12MP camera are accurate, one feature that was right in front of our eyes but we missed: Save Settings.

Last we checked, there are no current Windows Phone that allow camera settings to be saved, much to the frustration of many users. And while the beta developer tools allow the flash-settings to be saved, implying the rest can be too (they're not available in the emulator), this is the first hard proof that yes, once again, the Windows Phone team is eagerly paying attention to our wants and needs.

To be honest, we're not really surprised that this is there. After all, Microsoft so far has given us almost everything we ask for, given enough time. Still, it's nice to know it's coming this fall (fingers crossed).

Update: Tech writer Manan Kakkar has this to say on the matter, referencing the VIP Mango event last week: "...was told at the event that OEMs will have choice, default will be what we have now."

Thanks, Robby Light, in comments for pointing this out

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Eck, there's just rumor upon rumor tonight. This one is from MS_Nerd again, who at least has a solid track record. In a few new tweets, he drops some bombshells:

  1. 3 "new" hardware partners for Windows Phone to be announced
  2. The full Mango wave will launch with ff-cams (front-facing cameras)
  3. Zune Pass will slowly be merged with Xbox Live Gold, adding more 3rd-party content to the subscription (like ESPN).

The first one seems like a nice middle ground between "we'll see new phones tomorrow" and the "we won't camp". Perhaps we'll just hear (or even see) some new devices but from new OEMs (Acer, Asus and ?). The second also seems plausible--heck Microsoft did just buy Skype, it makes sense they'd want to bullet-proof their upcoming phones once they figure out how to integrate "Microsoft Skype" into our OS.

Finally, the third fits in with all the Zune-being-re branded/changed rumors. We suppose it even makes sense to merge the two as they are very similar, no? As Xbox and Zune services grow tighter, it'd make sense to merge those ecosystems. Plus, you know, perhaps MS Points can finally buy music (on the go) or apps, eh?

Source: @MS_Nerd 1 and 2

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File this under rumor, folks, but one that is as likely as anything else, we suppose.

According to Neowin, tomorrow Microsoft will have two major announcements, in addition to the demonstration of Windows Phone 7.5 aka 'Mango'.

  1. The 'Mango' SDK beta will be released/distributed starting tomorrow; because at MIX11 they said "May" on the release, we're near 100% that's true
  2. Windows Phone 7.5 OS is actually finished and is being Released to Manufacturers (RTM) tomorrow, with carriers getting approval over the summer and an attempted universal release to customers for September-ish

That's right, WP7.5 tomorrow will supposedly be the finished, locked and loaded version.

Any truth to it?

Well, we can see them pulling a stunt like this as it'd be very good press, on the other hand, at least according to TechRadar in an interview with Joe Marini (he's in charge of IE on Windows Phone), IE9 mobile is code-complete, but it still needs to be debugged and performance-tuned.  Call us crazy, but that doesn't sound like RTM status to our ears.

So instead of Windows Phone 7.5 being RTM status tomorrow, perhaps it's something similar: it's code complete. That means it's finished, features are locked in and it's basically baked. But, they still need to clean it up, add some polish and remove and bugs left before they RTM-it, which still could be a few months away. That still gives Microsoft some wiggle room and we'll see in a few short hours exactly what their plans are.

Source: NeoWin, TechRadar

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