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Windows Central Podcast 54: Apps in the Store

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Got questions about your new Surface? The Windows Central forums can help.

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It hasn't been a big secret that Microsoft has been trying to woo iPhone developers to its own platforms. We've already seen them doing so with Windows Mobile. Now we're seeing it happen with the Zune HD.

But just how easy is it to port an app? Try 12 hours, as seen with Wordmonger in the video above.

Written in C# with OpenGL for the iPhone and ported with XNA Game Studio 3.1 for the Zune HD, the video above shows Wordmonger running on both devices. Of course, one major drawback to the Zune HD is a that it doesn't have a speaker, which is a big turn-off if you don't want to wear headphones for casual gaming. (Count me in that crowd.) Look for Wordmonger on the iPhone by Thanksgiving. No word on an actual Zune launch.

But either way, this is a sure sign that the Zune HD can and will run third-party apps — just as soon as Microsoft allows.

Redmond Pie [via TiPB - thanks, Taimur!]

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WMExperts invades iPhone Live tonight!

In case you hadn't heard, yours truly is going to throw himself to the wolves and join the boys and girls tonight on iPhone Live! (that's their exclamation point, not mine) to talk about the Zune HD and what it may mean for the future of Windows Mobile.

So here's what we need from you: Join us in the chat room at 8 p.m. EDT (get there early) and show your WinMo support. There's bound to be more than enough FUD flying around, and I'm only one man.

  • Time: 8 p.m. EDT tonight. (That's 5 p.m. for you guys on the West Coast.)
  • Topic: Zune HD, iPhones, and everything in between.
  • Where: Click here.

See ya there. And tell 'em WMExperts sent ya!

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Look, we're betting people are going to read all sorts of things into this wild-eyed photo of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, allegedly snapped by an iPhone-wielding Microsoftie at a big ol' event in Seattle. Some of it might even be true. According to Techflash:

As the story goes, it happened when Ballmer was making his big entrance -- slapping hands, running around, and generally whooping things up, as is his tradition at these events. That was when he spotted someone at field level, allegedly a member of the Windows group, using an iPhone to take his picture.

Ballmer grabbed the Apple device from the employee and made some funny remarks as everyone booed. Then he put it on the ground and pretended to stomp on it, before walking away.

Our take? Right on, man. This is the fire-breathing, monkey-dancing, eat-the-unicorn-and-spit-out-the-horn type of thing we want to see right now. We're expecting big things with Windows Mobile 7 and want to see Microsoft come out swinging, and not just back into "Oh, here's another mobile operating system. We hope you like it."

Via TechflashEngadget

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Things are getting a little cloudy in the Windows Mobile world, and we're welcoming the stormy skies. First, a refresher:

  • We're expecting Windows Mobile 6.5 to be released in the coming weeks.
  • We're pretty sure there's a Windows Mobile 6.5.1 waiting in the wings. We've seen but can't share (yeah, that's not fair, but them's the breaks) early — repeat: as in some time ago — screen shots of the purported build. The leaked ROMs we've seen recently (Exhibits A and B) appear headed in that direction but actually aren't quite there yet.
  • We're expecting the as yet still unannounced Windows Mobile 7 early next year, and it (hopefully) will be more along the lines of what we're seeing on the Zune HD than what we're used to on our current (and even upcoming) devices.

Now, fast-forward to the present, specifically the latest from Digitimes. They're giving an Oct. 1 date to the 6.5 "release" - quotation marks ours because you're probably not going to be able get a carrier-sanctioned upgrade at midnight or anything. Windows Mobile is still Windows Mobile, and carriers is carriers.

Digitimes also reports Microsoft plans "an upgrade version with a touch interface in February 2010, the sources indicated citing Microsoft roadmap." That's also right in line with what we've heard (but admittedly have have not second-sourced) regarding Windows Mobile 6.5.1. What phones will get 6.5.1? We're hearing the HTC Touch Pro 2 and Touch Diamond 2 — specifically the AT&T versions, which would lend credence to recent musings by Engadget that we'll finally see the keyboardless phone on the same network at the iPhone.

Then there's Windows Mobile 7, which Digitimes says will co-exist alongside Windows Mobile 6.5 when it's launched sometime in Q4 of 2010. As in, more than a year from now. The idea, Digitimes says, is to take on Android from the 6.5 front and the iPhone from Windows Mobile 7. (Sorry, Android. You get the second string offense, apparently.)

Now, we're among the first to take news from Digitimes with a big 'ol helping of salt. So what should you take out of this?

If you're not stoked about Windows Mobile 6.5, that's cool. We're pretty sure bigger things are in the works, starting with Windows Mobile 6.5.1, and really getting going with Windows Mobile 7. Look no further than the Zune HD for evidence of what Microsoft is capable of.

It's going to require some more ... what's that word? ... Patience.

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Gotta love Microsoft for this one. The mother ship shows its chutzpah and has released a developers guide for porting iPhone apps over to Windows mobile 6.5, using an app called Amplitude for the case study. All in all, not a bad idea, really. Let's face it: There are a bunch of apps we'd love to see running natively on Windows Mobile. (And we've got a few that would be killer on the iPhone, though there's no way Apple would let most of the them into the App Store.)

Yeah, yeah. Microsoft (and us, by extension) are just opening ourselves up for further ridicule here. Go head, Apple lovers, joke all you want. But while you're doing so, we'll be sitting here enjoying our excellent third-party media players and Google Voice. Microsoft opening its (far less Draconian) doors to developers is a win for them, and for us.

Via the Windows Team Blog

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OK, this isn't exactly a fair fight, but forget about that for a minute. To the average user it probably doesn't matter whether your browser is being rendered through a proxy, security and privacy implications be damned.

So casting that difference aside, our own resident Nokia Expert and regular ZDNet contributor Matt Miller set forth to test the beta version of Opera 9.7 against a number of other phones, including the T-Mobile G1, iPhone 3G, Nokia N97, Nokia 5800, Nokia N85 (hey, we told you he's a Nokia Expert) and iPhone 3GS. For the WinMo side, Matt was rocking Opera Mobile 9.7 on a Pharos Traveler 137.

And what did he find? In straight page-loading tests, Opera Mobile 9.7 won. Read his full findings here. Matt's also keen on the rendering.

Opera gets it right with Opera Mobile and is much smarter about optimizing your display size and resolution. The custom HTC builds of Opera Mobile even allow several custom zoom levels where the text always fits on the display just right. There is still work for Apple to do in the browser, but they definitely have the loading speed down pat.

Browser wars are a favorite pastime of smartphone nerds (Exhibit A, Exhibit B) and there are a ton of variables to take into account (not to mention one's own patience level). But if it's good enough for Matt, it's good enough for us. If you've got a touchscreen device, head on over to Opera and try out the 9.7 beta for yourself.

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Chief WMExpert hits up CNN

We'll have to forgive the boss for not getting a Windows Mobile phone into the conversation (note to HTC, Samsung et al: It's past time to get something new and cool out in the U.S.), but it's still great to see one of our own getting a few minutes of face time on CNN.

Dieter talked smartphones with CNN International's "Quest Means Business," giving some love to the Palm Pre and, yes, the iPhone. We have just one question for el jefe: You couldn't sneak in a shot of the watch?

Hit the pic above to check out the interview. Oh, and Dieter isn't the only one making the media rounds. The iPhone Blog's Rene Ritchie landed a spot on National Public Radio.

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Look, we know full well some of us you are double-fisting and dabbling with the iPhone. Or at least an iPod Touch. And so you're probably sitting there, clicking the "Check for update" button in iTunes, waiting for the 3.0 software to come out today. And that's fine. But while your waiting, at least make yourself useful and read through The iPhone Blog's excellent 3.0 Walkthrough. And share it with a friend.

And join them tonight for the latest edition of iPhone Live, where you'll find out how you can win a free iPhone 3G S, courtesy of TiPB.

Then, you know, come back and hang out with us some, mkay?

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One of the biggest arguments in the Windows Mobile world is whether Microsoft will ever build its own phone. We've repeatedly heard a resounding "NO!" from MS execs, but we've heard execs deny things before, only to do that exact thing later. (We're looking at you, Apple.) That said, we are still expecting to see the Zune creep into Windows Mobile.

And with that we turn to a brief Wall Street Journal story [via Engadget and BGR] in which Microsoft is rumored to be in talks with Verizon to launch a multimedia-focused touchscreen phone early next year to compete with the iPhone, if/when it actually comes to Verizon. And the the phone to do that is rumored to be none other than the fabled "Pink" project.

Microsoft's project, which is code-named "Pink," is aiming to produce a phone that extends the tech giant's Windows Mobile cellphone operating system, adding new software capabilities. It would also likely include Microsoft's new Windows Marketplace for Mobile, a mobile application store along the lines of Apple's, these people say.

Who "these people" are we have no idea, and the WSJ ain't sayin'. But, heck, we can tell you that any MS phone would have Marketplace access. That's a given. As for it being "along the lines of Apple's" App Store, we'll have to wait and see. Unless you mean that they both sell apps.

So for now, we'll put it to you. Should Microsoft attempt to take on the iPhone head-to-head? Or do you think this is all just another unsubstantiated rumor?

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Touch Diamond 2 vs. iPhone: Fight!

As you heard in the latest WMExperts podcast (you have listened to it, right?), Dieter explained his thoughts behind importing (or not) an HTC Touch Diamond 2. While he's still on the fence, we'll point you to an excellent breakdown of the TD2 and its touchscreen-lovin', 5-megapixel (er) camera-in', ready-for-WinMo 6.5-in' self when put up against none other than the iPhone 3G and its upcoming 3.0 software upgrade.

And for that we point you to ZDNet's (and from our own Nokia Experts) Matthew Miller in the finale of his excellent Clash of the Titans series. Enjoy.

Clash of the Touch Titans: iPhone 3.0 3G vs HTC Touch Diamond2

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We try not to wade into the whole "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" thing because, frankly, while often entertaining, we don't believe they do much to further either platform.

What we will do, however, is tip our hats to MacJournals [via DF] for pointing out some shenanigans in the recent "Legal Copy" piece. Hey, we're all for a little back-and-forth, as our frenemies at The iPhone Blog know full well. But let's fight somewhat fair, shall we?

You folks get your flame on in the comments.

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When iPhones congregate, it's not unusual to hear a sucking sound – from the mass amounts of bandwidth being digested. So much so, that AT&T cracked under all the Apple weight at South by Southwest.

But the iPhone's sole U.S. carrier reportedly is again beefing up its network – it did so for EDGE before the original iPhone (2G) launch and again before the iPhone 3G – and that would mean faster speeds for all of us.

So the next time you're multitasking with your WinMo phone on AT&T's network, and you see someone with an iPhone, go ahead and thank them. Better yet, give 'em a hug and tell 'em "Thanks, from Windows Mobile." Then back away slowly. You can't be too careful. :)

Via The iPhone Blog

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We had a little fun with our friends at The iPhone Blog last week after the iPhone 3.0 software was announced. Certainly it's a red-letter day in TiPB nation.

But now that we've had our fun, let's a take a serious look at how the iPhone 3.0 software compares to Windows Mobile present — and future, in Windows Mobile 6.5. Join us as we break down Rene's excellent 3.0 walkthrough.

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And now, the WMExperts players present "Juiced: Powering the iPhone in a 3.0 World."

Join us after the break for a very special WMExperts post as our little iPhone cousin dives into the deep, dark world of multitasking and background notifications. Will he thrive alongside his Windows Mobile brethren? Will he survive? In the end, there can only be one.

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