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Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: Everything we know so far

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Today on Windows Weekly (ep 227), Brandon Watson joined Paul Thurrott, ZDnet's Mary Jo Foley and co-host Leo Laporte for an interesting and frank discussion on Windows Phone and the Mango update.

Laporte, who is an admitted Android devotee, was offered by Brandon to step up and take the Windows Phone challenge--essentially using nothing but a Windows Phone running 7.5 Mango for two-weeks to see if it changes his opinion. Laporte agreed to the challenge, leaving a little wiggle room for the iPhone 5, as obviously he has his reviewer duties first.

Although it would be great to see Laporte completely change over to Windows Phone, even Watson knows that can be difficult--so just having positive feedback would be a win for him and his team (see Molly Wood's response to the Challenge, a result Watson was happy with due to her admitted Android allegiance).

Will Laporte be convinced? He's a pretty level-headed guy and even if he's not 100% sold on Windows Phone, we think his opinion would certainly be informative and interesting. On the other hand, maybe he'll pull a Scott Adams and be more than impressed. Stay tuned...

Source: Windows Weekly (TWiT.tv)

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Word from Goldman Sachs, a company with an interesting reputation to say the least, is that Microsoft will generate $444 million in cross-licensing patent fees this year from Android OEMs who make smartphones and tablets. As of yesterday, Microsoft has signed seven deals with Android OEMS, including HTC, Samsung, General Dynamics Itronix, Onkyo, Velocity Micro, Acer, ViewSonic and Wistron. Those seven deals are expected to generate between $3-$6 per device, using Goldman Sachs' numbers.

While that $444 million sounds like a lot, Business Insider points out that Microsoft generated $75 billion in revenue last year--so this is a drop in the bucket. However, that is still money that goes to Microsoft for their patents and re-affirms their position that Android is not free. While these deals won't enrich Microsoft at all, strategically, it may make OEMs second guess the advantages of using Android--either way, they have to pay Microsoft, so why not just use Windows Phones and get a more streamlined ecosystem and legal protection to boot?

Finally, at the very least, there is a certain bitter-sweet victory here for Microsoft, knowing they can fund Windows Phone development via Android sales. In the long term, this could be an important strategic decision. Plus, once you throw in the estimated $600 million in Windows Phone sales in addition to the $444 million in Android patents and Microsoft has potentially crossed the $1 billion mark for smartphone revenue. Not bad.

Source: Business Insider

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This is an interesting report about the continuing rise of interest in Windows Phone. It's amusing to remember the skepticism earlier this year before and after the release of NoDo, yet the platform is still growing at a steady pace and Microsoft has big plans to include the platform with Windows 8 and Xbox to create a unified ecosystem.

Connected Intelligence has reported that Android is the most preferred OS among current smartphone owners and those who intend to purchase a new handset within the next 6 months. 44% of these owners and potential smartphone owners are considering Windows Phone as a credible option.

Check out the press release after the break. 

via: wmpu

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8

Free US Windows Phone Camps

We have more camps being listed so be sure to get your calendars out and insert events. The array of Windows Phone developer camps will be freely available for all. Developers from other platforms are recommended to visit one of the days should they wish to expand their reach onto Microsoft's platform.

We've bolded the two special days in Boston (12-13 October) where the second day will be a hands-on for developing apps and will feature successful developers providing advice and support.

  • 9/20/2011 - Charlotte NC
  • 9/22/2011 - Alpharetta GA
  • 9/27/2011 - Malvern PA
  • 9/29/2011 - Reston VA
  • 10/12/2011 - Cambridge MA (Day 1)
  • 10/13/2011 - Cambridge MA (Day 2)
  • 10/18/2011 - Chevy Chase MD
  • 10/19/2011 - New York City
  • 10/25/2011 - Tampa FL
  • 10/27/2011 - Burlington VT
  • 11/2/2011 - Raleigh NC
  • 11/4/2011 - Ft. Lauderdale FL
  • 11/8/2011 - Orlando FL
  • 11/10/2011 - Coral Gables FL
  • 11/10/2011 - New Paltz NY
  • 11/15/2011 - Blacksburg VA
  • 11/17/2011 - Washington DC
  • 11/29/2011 - Atlanta GA
  • 11/29/2011 - Pittsburgh PA
  • 12/1/2011 - Hempstead NY

Be sure to check out the announcement article over at MSDN (link below) for more information and links to register at each event.

Source: MSDN, thanks minibeardeath for the tip!

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EA is running a small poll on the Battlefield Blog asking what mobile OS we use when browsing the web. The choices available are iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Surprisingly for skeptics, Windows Phone is at 28.9%, while Android and iOS are at 34.9% and 36.3% respectively - not much in it. The total number of votes at the time of writing this article is 44,375.

Show the platform some love by heading over to the blog and voting Windows Phone (the poll is in the sidebar on the left-hand side). It's nothing major, but as Tesco keeps reminding us here in the UK: every little helps.

Source: Battlefield Blog, thanks VoodooKing 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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27

SkyDrive to get unlimited storage

Here's some interesting news surrounding SkyDrive. The growing service has seen increased usage through Windows Phone, Office and soon-to-be apps for iOS and Android. Microsoft have been continuously pushing it to rival competitive storage solutions and are now reported to be planning unlimited storage.

Before we all lose our minds with the whole "OMGWTFBBQ?!" emotion, let's take a quick gander at the proposed storage features:

  • Unlimited storage space for all Office documents
  • Unlimited storage space for all photos
  • 25 GB of free storage for everything else

What's good? Unlimited storage for Office documentation and photos taken on our Windows Phone handsets, but unfortunately we'll have capped space for music and all other files. Still, 25GB worth of storage is more than what the average user requires. With apps for OS X, iOS and Android as well as native integration with Windows and WP I can see myself converting along with many more.

This may also confirm the integration of the 5GB "SkyDrive synced storage" for Windows Live Mesh with SkyDrive for devices added to accounts. We'll have to see when the roll out happens.

Source: LiveSide

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The J.D. Power and Associates' latest US customer satisfaction survey has displayed some interesting findings. Apple is first in the results, which is perfectly understandable as every iOS user has either a household full of Apple products already or are simply satisfied with Apple hardware. No matter what you think of Apple as a company or iOS (and OS X) as operating systems - Apple makes killer hardware.

HTC is second, thanks to the successful injection of handsets running Android. What will be interesting for HTC is the customer satisfaction potentially rising with the Titan and Radar, which are both beast devices. Unfortunately for RIM, they're well below average and are in between LG and Motorola (now Google) and will not help the cause with investors calling RIM to sell itself or patents. Nokia are last, could this be due to Symbian (among other factors) and not the actual hardware? Only time will tell with their launch of Windows Phone handsets.   

Source: Engadget

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This is an interesting calculation, Research2Guidance has published a report that features a chart which illustrates the comparison of average downloads per app on a number of platforms to iOS. Looking at that chart above, you can see that OVI Store (Symbian) has +160% more downloads per app on average than iOS, while Windows Phone comes second in at +80%.

Surprisingly, BlackBerry came in third at +43%. Many users on competitor platforms may complain and make remarks about the amount of apps available to WP users, but we sure have quality over quantity and it goes to show with the amount of downloads apps are accumulating. Check out our article covering Marketplace statistics and case study for more insight on WP.

Source: Research2Guidance, via: WMPU

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Microsoft today secured a deal from Acer and ViewSonic for licensing patents related to Android IP on both companies' phone offerings as well as ViewSonic's Chrome tablets. Continuing the trend of using their industry-wide licensing deal, Microsoft was able to settle peacefully with both companies, avoiding any sort of litigation, unlike with Motorola who are being sued by Microsoft (and vice versa). From Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft

“We are pleased that Acer is taking advantage of our industry wide licensing program established to help companies address Android’s IP issues. This agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercially reasonable arrangements that address intellectual property.”

What's this mean for Windows Phone? In short, we'll have more licensing money coming in from Android, in addition to Windows Phone, which is a bit funny. And Microsoft continues to put the squeeze on Android OEMs, reminding them that Android is far from free, as Google promises.

Source: Microsoft 1, 2; via: Android Central

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An insightful article has been published over at PCWorld that covers possible reasons as to why indie developers are bothering with Windows Phone at all. Even though Microsoft's platform may appear to be small fish when compared against iOS and Android, it's certainly catching the attention of a wider audience and increasing brand awareness dramatically.

The article goes into detail about the Microsoft Evangelists that get in touch with developers and students to lure them to the platform, as well as a few established developers who have built popular and well received apps. This includes Pieter Voloshyn, of Thumba (our review), and Calum McLellan, of Feed Me (our review). It's worth the read so we wont spoil it too much, head on through the link below.

Source: PCWorld

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In what is becoming almost routine (see INQ), another OEM has come out and said that the Google-Motorola deal works out better for Microsoft than Google's Android. This time it was Walter Deppeler, president of Acer's operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa. At the Berlin IFA consumer conference on Friday, he was quoted by Reuters as saying "It was a good gift to Microsoft", that Google "work against some of their clients" and finally that Acer would consider the implications of the deal before committing further to an OS.

Acer, who makes low to mid-range handsets, especially in important emerging markets, has recently started using Android in 2010 and is now actively developing Windows Phone devices (see the W4). While their phones won't compete in the U.S. or Europe, they are expected to be important players in Asian markets in the future. Either way, it's telling to hear OEMs publicly state what is becoming more obvious: this Google-Motorola deal and their continued legal quagmires are not helping to boost OEM confidence in Android.

Source: Yahoo Finance

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28

More Metro UI on Android

It seems with every post we publish here surrounding Metro UI on Android we're getting closer and closer to a fluent solution. It was only a few days ago when we covered the latest attempt to get the look of Windows Phone on an Android powered device. In the video above Arjoma92 walks us through his Motorola Defy that appears to resemble Microsoft's Windows Phone in more ways than one. The list of apps used are as follows:

While it looks relatively accurate, the smooth scrolling and snappy OS is not present, plus you can still see Android elements throughout the video, but it's a damn good attempt.

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"Come to us my children!" - Steve Ballmer, I/O 2011. All jokes aside, it's become quite clear that a number of Android users actually want something more than a grid packed full of icons, widgets and whatnot. something cleaner, sleeker and more unique (as does Google). Windows Phone features Metro UI that ticks all the boxes mentioned above and has been somewhat ported to Android in many forms (including a media player, oh and Bing).

We've now learnt of a full-featured Android ROM that's been modified up by Lifehacker reader MortemTuam and sports a Windows Phone like home screen with a Metro UI influence. What differentiates this from previous Android attempts we've covered is that this actually looks pretty damn good. Here's how he put it all together (and what was used for you folk who have Android handsets):

Seems like a lot of time and work, right? I'll always ask the question of "if you like it so much, why not experience the real thing?". Tinkering with the OS is fine but you'll never have the smoothness of WP7, something that goes hand-in-hand with the Metro UI. Sorry Android, you might be able to look like our OS, but you'll never behave like it.

Source: LifeHacker.au

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Update: WPCentral reader uuf05 got in touch with the BBC and requested reasoning as to why they haven't released an app for the platform yet. You can view their reply in his comment below. Here's the main snippet:

The BBC want to bring BBC iPlayer to as many audiences as possible, across a range of devices. Unfortunately, as the Windows Phone 7 doesn't support HLS or Adobe Flash, the formats we use for streaming videos, we can't make BBC iPlayer available on this phone at the moment.

So until the platform supports BBC's used formats (HLS or Flash) it seems the BBC wont bring us an app to gain access, which is a shame. What do you all make of this?

Read the full story after the break...

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I wouldn't be surprised if one day soon the only news that will require reporting will surround lawsuits and patent infringement. Today the Rechtbank 's-Gravenhage (a Dutch court in the city of The Hague) issued an injunction against the Samsung smartphones (Galaxy S, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy S II) and that they should be retracted from import and sale by October 13th. The Galaxy Tab was not included.

The patent in question is owned by Apple ("Portable Electronic Device for Photo Management") and covers the way photos are displayed on a mobile device. The Netherlands plays an important role with Samsung's import into Europe. This injunction will prevent the shipping to the UK, France, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Lichtenstein, Luxemburg, Monaco, Sweden and Switzerland. But let's not get carried away, Samsung has welcomed the ruling and published a statement:

"Today's ruling is an affirmation that the Galaxy range of products is innovative and distinctive. With regard to the single infringement cited in the ruling, we will take all possible measures including legal action to ensure that there is no disruption in the availability of our Galaxy smartphones to Dutch consumers."

Looks like Apple doesn't have a victory and Samsung will attempt to prevent any disruption to the shipping of their smartphone handsets. I expect Google will ensure an update is mirrored to other brands just in case Apple decide to take on other Android manufacturers. According to Samsung in court, the fix is as simple as updating the OS to version 3.0, which doesn't infringe the patent.

Source: Foss Patents, via: This is my next, BBC

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Thankfully, Windows Phone "Mango" greatly enhances Bing on our devices (see video review), meaning we can be less jealous of the search service on competitors brands like the iPhone and even Android (with the latter always being more "meh"). Having said that, it's still nice to see Bing getting its due and in this case, Android just received a nicely new minted update to their Bing client.

It's an interesting design--not as polished as the iPhone/iPad version but it still has a certain flare to it. Less Metro, more style. Surprisingly, despite some of the anti-Microsoft pot shots that you would expect, users seem pretty impressed with it which goes to show you that on some level, Android and Windows Phone fans can agree on something.

Check our Phil's AndroidCentral video review of the client to see it in action after the break.

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Just as we were lamenting Motorola Mobility's position on using Windows Phone (and their stock situation), Google comes out of nowhere and buys them up out for $12.5 billion. From the press release they mention how they want to "...supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open."

Although Motorola is a dedicated manufacturer of Android devices, they also happen to have something that Google really wants--namely a large patent portfolio. Remember, Moto for all intents and purposes invented the cell phone back in the day resulting in a large arsenal of patents that Google can finally wield in defense of Android (seeing as that OS is evidently build on stolen IP). That's something that they will have to do a lot of as Microsoft is currently suing Motorola Mobility over patent infringement, meaning now they are suing Google over the same issue. That court case should get interesting, to say the least.

Google's Andy Rubin states that they remain committed to still working with other partners, although this obviously puts HTC in an odd position--they're not Microsoft's exclusive partner anymore and neither are they Google's. Various OEM partners have publicly come out in support of the deal, notably LG, Samsung, Sony-Ericsson even HTC paying lip-service with the same paraphrase of "We welcome Google‘s commitment to defending Android and its partners.” although you wonder what they have to be saying privately about the deal.

The big question is what does this actually mean? Too early to tell though clearly Google is stepping up things against Apple and to a lesser extent Microsoft. Apple already has the hardware thing down and Microsoft now has Nokia in their corner. As to our thoughts? We'll gladly take our Nokia deal over Motorola any day.

Full press release after the break.

Source: Official Google Blog; via AndroidCentral 1, 2

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Case studies are always fun. You can't necessarily extrapolate the information and say it will apply to all cases equally, but you can gain some inferences from such cases and look for trends across others.

In this instance, one app called 'Mortal Kombat Tactics' by Neuralnet was released both on Android and Windows Phone and offered for free. What's the difference in ad revenue? Here it is, broken down by one of the developers, Alex Perez:

Android (AdMob)

  • Day 1 - 1,866 Impressions / $0.57 Revenue
  • Day 2 - 497 Impressions / $0.27 Revenue
  • Day 3 - 521 Impressions / $0.05 Revenue
  • Day 4 - 496 Impressions / $0.25 Revenue
  • Day 5 - 304 Impressions / $0.13 Revenue

Giving us a grand total of 3,684 Impressions and $1.27 in Revenue

Windows Phone 7 (PubCenter)

  • Day 1 - 2,070 Impressions / $1.28 Revenue (already surpassed Android's 5 days)
  • Day 2 - 1,903 Impressions / $2.52 Revenue
  • Day 3 - 2,391 Impressions / $4.63 Revenue
  • Day 4 - 3,693 Impressions / $3.86 Revenue
  • Day 5 - 2,274 Impressions / $2.48 Revenue

Giving us a grand total of 12,331 Impressions and $14.77 in Revenue

What is revealing about those numbers is two-fold. For one, the Windows Phone app clearly has more visibility on the platform due to less competition. As a result, it receives more ad-impressions. Second, all else being equal, the revenue is much higher for Windows Phone than Android. In fact, overall ad revenue in this case is nearly 3x that of Android, which is quite impressive.

For the developer here, Neuralnet, Windows Phone is the clear winner, making their investment much more worth their time in development. [Funny side note, we bought the Xbox 360 Mortal Kombat game awhile ago and this was the first app we downloaded and used for the game--it's a nice app and clearly has the visibility it needs on our platform.] You can find it here in the Marketplace.

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A few weeks ago, Google was involved in bidding for 6,000 patents being offered by Nortel, which many thought if Google should win, would beef up their defense against patent litigation. Instead, they lost to a consortium of Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Sony, EMC and Ericsson for $4.5 billion. Basically everyone won except Google. At the time this story was spun two ways:

  1. Nortel's patent were old, outdated and not worth the money for Google
  2. Google wasn't taking it seriously, with Reuters calling their behavior "mystifying" because their bids reflected famous mathematical constants (Brun's, Meissel-Mertens and Pi). Yes, Google actually bid Pi ($3.14159 billion). So in an attempt to be cute and witty, they lost.

After all the gnashing of teeth by tech analysts, who kept pounding Google on their lack of patent strategy, Google has come out with some name calling and accusations of their own:

"But Android’s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.

They’re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the “Rockstar” group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Mobile; and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it."

That's David Drummond, Senior VP and CLO of Google, who can't even get that's its called Windows Phone, not Mobile. Further, he notes the reported Justice Department's probe into whether or not that Nortel consortium was fair. Of course, such a probe is a far way off from meaning those companies are guilty of anything. In fact, nothing has been settled in regards to whether or not Android violates patents, uses lifted code, etc.

In the case of Microsoft, who's leaned on HTC and now Samsung for patent fees, both companies are willing to play ball either because they feel those patent claims are indefensible or, more likely, that's it's cheaper to license to Microsoft than defend in court. But hey, it's not like Google/YouTube don't screw with Microsoft either.

In the end, we don't have anything new here except that Google is really starting to feel the pain from other companies, hence the 'boo hoo, tech is hard!' post from Drummond. Is Microsoft's, Apple's and others behavior legal, moral and right? That's for the courts to decide, not missives from company blogs.

Edit: Recommended reading: FossPatent's "Google's new anti-patent stance has four credibility issues -- but not the one many people think"

Source: The Official Google Blog

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