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HTC Surround being discontinued

A rather depressing way to finish off the weekend, but it seems as though the HTC Surround is being discontinued at more than one source. On AT&T and Telus, both websites report that the Windows Phone handset is no longer available, although AT&T simply removed the product page with a substitute notice of unavailability. This news is almost as sad as Sprint deciding to use the HTC Arrive as a "handset recycle" example for the iPhone 4S.

What can we hope to see in the near future? Nokia, HTC and Acer to name but a few should look to push the platform harder in the US (with Microsoft's marketing support) as well as on a global scale. First-generation handsets appear to be the old with Mango devices ready and able to take their place.

Source: Telus Cell Phones, AT&T, via: Windows Phone Daily

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One of the more frequent questions I've seen with regards to the new HTC HD7S is "how does the screen compare?" The HD7S sports a 4.3" sLCD WVGA screen that is supposed to be a notch better than your average 4.3" LCD WVGA screen. I'm in the process of comparing the HD7S with the HD7 to see how much of a difference the "S" makes.

In the meantime, while it may be an apples to oranges to watermelon type comparisons, we thought we would see how the HD7S compares to the Super AMOLED screen of the Samsung Focus and to the smaller WVGA LCD screen of the HTC Surround.

For the comparison, I set the theme to Blue and set the screen brightness to high. In comparing the Start Screen, a game (HydroThunder Go) and a music video the Focus seems to have more contrast, giving the screen a little more pop to it. Comparing the sLCD to the LCD, the differences are surprisingly slight. Maybe a little more contrast to the sLCD but is it enough to really make a difference?

The video may not do the comparison justice as opposed to having the phones in hand. Each are respectable in their own right and deciding which is better, may simply boil down to personal preference.

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NoDo Update Hitting the HTC Surround

Good news Surround users!

Seems the time has come for you to receive the much anticipated NoDo update. Microsoft's Where's My Phone Update page has the Surround device set at "Delivering" and our own George Ponder is running through the process as we speak. 'bout time, eh? Have you all received the notification yet, or are you still at the edge of your seats?

Thanks goes out to everyone who tipped us on this!

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Although the Focus, HD7, Dell Venue Pro and even Quantum have all received their NoDo updates, it looks like the HTC Surround (see review) is still lagging behind, much to the frustration of users.

Good news though as Microsoft says they are "scheduling" updates for the Surround's February and March updates. Translation? You should have it within in the next 10 days.

HTC also tends to have a thing for delivering firmware updates as well, so we'll be expecting a few other "fixes" around the same time.

Source: Microsoft

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iFixit has a healthy reputation for tearing down electronic devices to reveal what's under the hood. They recently turned their sights on the HTC Surround.

In removing the lower inner casing, you can see various pressure contacts, the SIM Card slot and a foiled covered microSD expansion slot that we had suspected was present. Peel back the foil and you see the Sandisk 16gb card nestled securely in the expansion card slot.

The tear down also confirmed our overall impression of the HTC Surround.  It's a well built, solid Windows Phone.  The slide mechanism is solid and the compact, layered, hardware helps keep things slimmed down.  Commenting on the tear down of the Surround, iFixit made the following conclusion.

We gave the HTC Surround a mid-pack repairability score of 5 out of 10. It's relatively easy to remove the rear case to replace the battery, but that's where the fun stops. You'll have to void your warranty to take anything else out, and it's very difficult to access the front panel and LCD if you'd like to replace it.

So while it's interesting to see what the Surround looks like broken down, it's nothing we'd recommend doing. It is nice to see the microSD card slot revealed. While it's tempting to see if a larger card would work, we'll stick with our original thought. If HTC wanted us to have access to the slot, they would have made it easier to get to.

Source: iFixit

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Ecolife Elements Top Case for LG Quantum - Review

Aftermarket cases are slowing trickling in over at the WPCentral Store and the Ecolife Elements Top Case stands out for the LG Quantum.

We've looked at the Ecolife cases before and were impressed with the quality and durability. I've been carrying my AT&T Tilt2 in Ecolife's Elements Side Case for about six months and it's still going strong. The Top Case fits the LG Quantum nicely and I recently took the case for a test drive with the new Windows Phone.

Follow the break to see what impression the Elements Case made.

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Choices: HTC Surround or Samsung Focus?

A discussion is going on over in the WPCentral Forums is going on that's trying to decide between the Samsung Focus and the HTC Surround. Which phone is better?

Both are quality phones and, honestly, niether one is a bad choice. It's more of an issue of finding which phone fits your personal tastes best.

That's a nice, safe position to take but we couldn't end things with that. In weighing the pros and cons, I see the Samsung Focus having an edge over the HTC Surround. To see why, follow the break.

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Review: HTC Surround's Camera

We briefly mentioned the HTC Surround's camera in the full review of the phone.  More times than not, we cover the Windows Phone camera in a seperate review detailing the software and performance. 

I am so accustomed to cameras on Windows Phones being driven by manufacturer software that I overlooked the fact that Windows Phone 7 drives the camera regardless of the manufacturer. Each model may have unique hardware or capabilities (e.g. 5mp vs. 8mp camera, high definition video recording, etc.) but the software is the same.

Having said that, we are covering the particulars of the camera software in our review of the Pictures Hub. After the break, we'll review the Surround's camera with respect to image quality and overall performance.  We've also thrown in some sample images and videos to help illustrate the camera's performance.

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Review: HTC Surround from AT&T

The HTC Surround is right around the corner from hitting the shelves at AT&T and we were able to spend some time with the new Windows Phone over the past few days. The HTC Surround lives up to HTC's reputation for quality phones. It's not without shortcomings but overall, the Surround is a nice addition to the Windows Phone family.

The tell of the tape has the HTC Surround measuring 4.71" x 2.42" x .51" and weighs 5.82 ounces. The Surround was thinner than expected but after using the HTC Tilt2 for the past year, most phones would come across thinner than expected. The 3.8" WVGA screen may not be as large as the HD7's 4.3" big screen but it has plenty of real estate.

Follow the break to read more of our review on the HTC Surround...

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Windows Phone 7 has some speed to it. From running apps to simply starting up your Windows Phone, the zip Windows Phone 7 has is a noticeable improvement over Windows Mobile. The 1ghz processor helps speed things along nicely.

While the HTC Surround's start-up speed isn't as fast as what we've seen with the HTC HD7 boot times, it's still very respectable. From pressing the power button to seeing the Start Screen is just a smidgen over thirty seconds.

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While the Samsung Focus has an openly accessible microSD card slot, it appears it will take some effort to get to the HTC Surround's.  Perhaps even more difficult than we saw with the HTC HD7.

When you remove the battery cover, you'll see the SIM card slot and next to it a metal cover that's just about the right size for a memory card. The cover is secured by the phone's backing that is riddled with tiny screws with "VOID" stickers covering them.  You also have several metal tabs/hooks that pinch into the backing to help hold it in place plus, what appears to be, a plastic rivet holding things down as well.  On top of all that, there's no mention of accessing the microSD card slot in the User's Manual.

While I'm sure some creative minds will find a way to disassemble the Surround and expose the microSD slot, a few thoughts come to mind:

  • If HTC wanted us to have access to the slot, they would have made it easier to get to
  • Even though you could probably disassemble/reassemble the Surround you void the warranty and there's no guarantee it will accept another card
  • As secure as the Surround's backing appears to be, you run the risk of damaging something.  Making re-assembly all the more difficult.

While it would have been nice to see an openly accessible expansion slot, I'm sure 16gb's of memory will be plenty for most users.

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HTC Surround Unboxing

While we're a little over a week away from Windows Phone 7 devices hitting the shelves in the U.S., we've gotten the opportunity to review the HTC Surround.

Scheduled to land on AT&T's shelves on November 8th, the Surround's first impressions was rather surprising. The phone felt good in the hand and was thinner than expected. I half expected the sliding speaker to add more thickness to the phone.  The Surround makes such a strong first impression, I'm re-thinking my original choice for my Windows Phone 7 device.

We'll get a full review up shortly but in the meantime, we've put together a short un-boxing video to tide everyone over.

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Microsoft Windows Phone 7 devices are already landing in stores overseas and are just around the corner from hitting the store shelves in the U.S. We are now seeing reviews surface across the web on the Samsung Focus, HTC Mozart, HTC Surround, and HTC HD7.

We will soon add our own reviews to the growing list but in the meantime, we thought we would offer up a little roundup of what others are saying about these new phones.

Ease on past the break to see what others are saying about the new Windows Phones.

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HTC Surround at BestBuy

Best Buy is accepting pre-orders for the HTC Surround. The AT&T Windows Phone 7 device will run you $199.99 with the two-year contract discounts.

Regular Price is listed as $549.99 and the interesting item of note is the ship date. Best Buy has the Surround shipping on November 8, 2010. At the Windows Phone 7 Launch, AT&T indicated that only the Samsung Focus would be available on November 8th with the Surround and LG Quantum shipping a few weeks later.

Is this wishful thinking on Best Buy or could HTC production be ahead of schedule?

via: Android Central

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AT&T and Microsoft announced three Windows Phone 7 devices this morning. The HTC Surround, LG Quantum, and Samsung Focus.

In AT&T's Press Release, all three will run $199.99 after the two-year contractual discounts. The offer also includes a free 30-day trial for U-verse Mobile and Zune Pass, which gives customers the ability to download or stream songs from Zune plus the option to download and keep ten songs after the subscription ends.

The Focus will be available on November 8, 2010. The LG Quantum and HTC Surround will hit the shelves in time for the Holidays. We are hoping to get a clearer picture on those dates and will let you know the moment we do.

Follow the break for the full press release from AT&T.

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Here we go, folks, with the first hands-on from the craziest phone of AT&T's initial Windows Phone 7 launch -- the HTC Surround. Those are dual Dolby-capable speakers you see there, flanked by a 3.8-inch touchscreen. It's tough to get a gauge on how the speakers actually sound when you're in a big space with a few hundred people, so we're going to have to take their words for it at the moment.

A few more pics after the break, and we'll be back with more later.

Update: Want video? We got it: check out two videos showing off the Surround's video playing capabilities and gaming chops.

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HTC has dropped five Windows Phone 7 devices, which we'll list here with HTC's branding but note that some names are different by region:

  • HTC 7 Surround: the surround has that crazy slide-out speaker you've probably seen before - it powers a Dolby Mobile system with SRS WOW HD sound. Exclusive to AT&T in the US
  • HTC 7 Mozart: The headline here: it's built from a single piece of aluminum.
  • HTC 7 Trophy: a 3.8" touchscreen that HTC is pushing to gamers, noting the 1GHz Snapdragon under the hood
  • HTC 7 Pro: The slide-out keyboard device with a tilting screen makes this phone the spiritual successor to the Touch Pro 2 / Tilt line. Hits Sprint in first half of 2011
  • HTC HD7: 4.3 inches of screen. Exclusive to T-Mobile in the US.
Much more to come on all of these devices. Catch the full press release after the break!
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Engadget just got another AT&T leak, this time showing off some new names for some Windows Phone 7 devices: Samsung Focus and HTC Surround (which sounds like this guy, the T8788).

Should we guess that the former is a camera-featured phone while the latter is...ummm...sound/media specialized? Yeah, we like literal names for our devices. Of course, actual specifications and images are missing at this time.

Combined with the Samsung Cetus, LG C900 and GW910 that brings the number to FIVE, and yet according to Engadget AT&T will have a total of SIX Windows Phone 7 devices. Yowza.

Dell Lightning seems plausible or, alternatively that Asus phone with the AT&T name in the marketplace for that mystery sixth device.

Either way, AT&T customers will certainly have the largest selection of devices for nearly any OS out there. Perhaps they're insulating themselves against that Verizon iPhone rumor?

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We've seen numerous indicators that HTC will be launching a Windows Phone 7 device next month (October 21st in Europe?) and an HTC Executive added more credibility to an October launch.

In a recent interview with Gulfnews, Mohammad Kais Zribi, HTC's Regional Director for the Middle East/North Africa, stated, "We will be launching Windows Phone 7 handsets next month and we will be concentrating on Android and Windows segments."

While Zribi didn't get into specifics on which HTC Windows Phone 7 would launch or where it would launch, he did continue to say, "So far we have launched six models and around five more models by end of the year." Combining their efforts with Android and Windows Phone 7, HTC is hoping to secure 5% of the smartphone market, up from just under 2% the company claimed last year.

So far, the WP7 phones we've seen from HTC include the Shubert or HD3 (or is it the HD7), the T8788 (which we think might be the Surround) and the Mozart.

If these are three of the five additional models HTC plans to release this year, what do you think the remaining two will be? Android or additional Windows Phone 7 devices?

via: endgadget

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