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...and now for the clarification about the claim Skype won't be doing a Windows Phone 7 client.

Turns out it's a mixed bag. According to MobileTechWorld, the actual quote from Dan Neary regarding a WP7 client was this:

(it) is on the roadmap, the question is how quickly we’re going to get to it. We feel that we are best best deployed on other operating systems (for now) and we’ll see how the space evolves.

Now for the mixed bag part. One of MobileTechWorld's commentators was in the audience at the time and can lend some context, which is always important when bombshell quotes are dropped:

Hi, I was actually at the briefing yesterday and support for windows phone 7 was my question to Dan (being a HTC Touch Pro user currently).

Initially Dan was defensive and indicated there would be no support for the platform as the company was focusing on other opportunities (getting a proper iPad client out the door) however when pressed as to why Windows Phone 7 wasn’t even on the horizon for Skype, he backed down slightly and indicated (reading between the lines) that Skype would be reviewing Windows Phone 7 support after the platform launches and seeing how the market develops.

This combined with an official comment from Skype, attained by TechRadar, suggests a more non-committal position:

We explore rigorously opportunities presented by new mobile platforms, and Windows Mobile 7 is no exception. However, we don't discuss future platform developments, and have no further information to offer at this time.

Bottom line is this: so far Skype is not rushing to embrace WP7 by any means, but they certainly don't seem to be slamming the door shut either. Best bet is the usual one: let us see what happens.

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Over at "Doug's Blog" (you all know Doug, right?), he's taken the time to write a very detailed article on multitasking and Windows Phone 7.

A lot of the article is insider baseball, but it's more architecture than programming, so it's okay for even the part-time geek to understand . He focuses on how WP7 handles memory, background operations, suspending and resuming software, etc.

Really interesting stuff.

The big news though is what he reveals as possible with WP7. Some choice quotes to demonstrate: 

"The Windows Phone team made waves when the platform was introduced by indicating that, at least initially, Window Phone would not multitask 3rd party applications. The answer sounded pretty absolute. The actual implementation isn’t."

"So, while true multitasking doesn’t exist on the Windows Phone, applications can ‘borrow’ some background processing time as long as the system is lightly loaded."

Whether or not such "worker thread" caveats can be exploited by developers and get by the certification process by Microsoft remains to be seen. Overall though, it's a great read and a must for any of you enthusiasts out there.

Read "Windows Phone and Multitasking"

[via @windowsphone]

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As we delve deeper into what current Silverlight programmers are up to in exploring Windows Phone 7, a few things are becoming evident:

  • Generally speaking, they love it
  • It's easy
  • There's lots of development and excitement amongst the community

Case in point is this "sample" app (e.g. something someone whipped up in very little time to explore the framework): geoGallery.

geoGallery is a photo app that pulls pictures from Picasa to your device based on your current location. Pretty cool.  It's even more cool knowing that developers are turning out programs left and right so easily and enthusiastically.

Another is this Twitter app from Governor Technology. They seem to be keen on actually building this, so may be worth to keep an eye on at this very early stage. (And lets not forget Twikini's WP7 app).

We're confident in stating that WP7's development framework is going to give a huge kick in the pants to software offerings in the Marketplace. In other words, we haven't seen this much interest from developers since the iPhone and Android SDK days.

Check out the video of geoGallery in action and how it all works from Silverlight developer Levente Mihály. And Levente? Go ahead and submit that to the Marketplace, kthxbai!

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Want to know all the details about Windows Phone 7's 'Push Notification' system? Since 3rd party multitasking is officially a no-no on our new OS, Push Notifications (PNs) will play quite a role in how our after-market software interacts with the internet.

Luckily Microsoft's own Developer Blog has detailed everything from defining what is a PN (and perhaps more importantly why they went with them), how they work and how to use them on a WP7 device.

The articles are written for the developer and even consumers who will be able to make sense of material, so don't be afraid if you have 30 minutes to kill to jump right in. (Okay, the last two parts get very technical) Quite a few interesting nuggets of info await!



[via Vincent Leung .NET Tech Clips]

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In what is sure to be a shock and disappointment to many, Dan Neary, Skype's Asia Pacific VP and general manager for Skype, has suggested that they have no immediate plans to support Windows Phone 7. This comes on the heels of Skype pulling all Windows Mobile support, unless of course they are paid first.

Specifically, Neary noted that the decision to not support WP7 has something to do with "lack of user optimization" (?) and "partner support".  PC Authority suggest that Skype competes with Microsoft's own MSN chat and video software, but honestly we don't believe Microsoft would give the cold shoulder to Skype before even attempting to get the program in the Marketplace. So what does the lack of partner support mean? We're not too sure at this time, though it seems like Skype is not getting what it wants from Microsoft.

We should also mention that although this comes from a VP, it's not necessarily an official position, nor permanent. If Windows Phone 7 catches on, Skype will come back and make a dedicated application as they go where the money lies. Until then, dollars to doughnuts we'll see companies like Fring (who in many ways make a superior client) will fill in the huge gap, negating Skype's argument.

[via PC Authority]

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One of the big sells withs Windows Phone 7 is the inter-language programming allowed between things like XNA, Silverlight and .NET.

A clear example of this is a demo of a game called 'DroppyPop' developed by Andy Beaulieu in Silverlight..

The beauty of such an approach is two-fold according to Andy:

  • It's faster to compile and run outside of the WP7 emulator
  • You end up with both a Windows and Web version

Think of it this way: instead of downloading a "trial version" of a game, he can just link you to a web version to try it out on first. Then if you want it "on the go" you can buy it for $0.99 in the Marketplace.

Case in point, just aim your browser here and play 'DroppyPop' right now.

Now don't get us wrong, this isn't so much a revolutionary game or even an amazingly compelling one, but the underlying concept of easy code portability and having a web-based version of the same game is quite impressive, if we say so ourselves. 

[via Andybeaulieu.com]


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Zune HD gets Doom, becomes a man

Since there is quite the backlash from so-called "power users" against Windows Phone 7 (it is quite the a change), learning to hack and break down the new walled garden of Microsoft will be the new rage we predict.  

And while the Zune HD and Windows Phone 7 only share some similar code/structure, learning to port games,load hacks and implement tricks on one may help with the other.

Just days afters basically jail braking the Zune HD, it has past a rite of passage: playing Doom.

Sure, it's nothing amazing and it's sort of the least you expect after this long a time, but hey, at least we now know the question: But can it play Doom? Here's to doing the same on WP7.

[ZuneBoards via Engadget]

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In a leaked document, evidently found by Tweakers.net, some more information has emerged on the internal design, some limitations and drivers in Windows Phone 7.

Most the information seems to work in favor of a stable, consistent and consumer friendly mobile OS, but one cannot deny the big role Microsoft is now playing in overseeing their new OS (though it's still much less than Apple's grip on the iPhone and iPad, but is that really saying much?).

Some things worth noting are the following:

  • Windows LiveID will be used to sync data services and enter the Marketplace, much like the current setup, so no real changes there
  • Carrier and OS upgrades will be handled, approved and distributed only by Microsoft via Over-the-Air (OTA) and/or Zune sync (desktop)
  • No changes to the home screen are allowed by OEMs or carriers (not news) but either can customize certain tiles, ring tones and wallpapers
  • Carriers can include their own software but with very strict requirements including being limited to six applications (at a total 60MB storage), no trial-ware (hurray!) and all apps must be approved by Microsoft
  • There is support for external storage cards, though it remains to be seen if they will be initially allowed on devices
  • Microsoft will supply the 2D graphics and DirectX 10-based Direct3D 11 runtimes (good); OEMs will develop and distribute the drivers for both the 2D and 3D graphics (bad?)
  • Support for Bluetooth 2.1 but not 3.0 (yet)
  • 480x320 support, though not fully endorsed? May be good for front-qwerty...

Other details related to the memory architecture, which is more or less interesting for programmers and the tech savy.  In short, it's a 32-bit OS with a dual layer architecture. The kernel and application processes are allowed 2GB of memory each and programs are allowed 1GB of virtual memory (up from a measly 32MB in WM6.x). The file systems are based IMGFS for system files, and TexFAT for user files, with the later being "...best suited for non-removable media, such as NAND and NOR flash memory".

Overall the news is a bit mixed, though we're a bit happy Microsoft is putting the handcuffs on carriers, especially regarding the addition of their own software/services and blocking the addition of trial-ware. Likewise for ROM updates, which will now be centralized. However, we're a bit worried about the 2D/3D driver situation as that has been a problem in the past.

What say you? Read the original article here (Google Translated).

[via SlashGear]

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If you already skinned your Windows desktop to look like Metro using Rainmeter, might as well complete the look and skin Firefox now too.

Although 'Metro 1.0' adds a little WP7 flare to your browser, don't expect anything drastic as skinning is sort of minimal. Still, it adds that little extra touch to the whole Metro themed PC and it's free, so why not?

We suppose copying is the highest form of flattery, so seeing as many in the design world want to emulate Metro's look is a good thing (remember all the iPhone skins years ago?).

Now if we can just get a skin for Chrome...

[via Download Squad]

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Praise the lord and pass the ammunition (hey, that's what they say in these here parts) -- Microsoft has dropped the "Series" and is now just going with "Windows Phone 7" as the branding for its reboot of Windows Mobile.

Now don't get us wrong -- that's a good thing. But it's something that Microsoft never should have had to do and is an obvious misstep in what needs to be a flawless campaign for the rebirth of its mobile brand. Now we're curious about the trickle-down effect: How much rebranding will have to be done -- commercials and the like -- and how will affect Microsoft's roll-out strategy.

Either way, Windows Phone 7 Series is one mouthful we're more than happy to get rid of. [Twitter]

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In what has to be one of the most cruel geek teases in recent Windows phone history, the back and forth about whether the HTC HD2 will receive a Windows Phone 7 ROM update seems to be coming to end.

Over at ZDNet, Mary-Jo Foley received a response from Microsoft on the question and Redmond restated their position that WP7S will have very strict hardware requirements that they plan to enforce.

No surprises there, but the Microsoft spokesperson ends with 

We currently do not have plans to update the HTC HD2 to Windows Phone 7 Series.

Of course that wording does leave open the possibility. After all, plans do change and there was no "it definitely won't". Still, we think if MS wanted to be cagey, they would have given their usual "we do not comment" response in regards to the HD2 question.

None of this would have been such a big deal had not HTC themselves tweeted that the HD2 would get the update. In the future, we hope these companies can all be on the same page.

Anyone still holding out thinking it will get the coveted update?

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Today in a press release, Navizon announced their partnership with Microsoft to share their global location database. Presumably, this database will be used with Windows phone 7 although no word on Windows Mobile 6.5.

Navizon, for those who don't remember, have a Windows Mobile program called Mobifindr, which allows you to find your phone via text message or locate your friends. More importantly, they featured a "virtual GPS" system whereby your location could be ascertained via WiFi and/or cell-tower triangulation. This was a bigger deal in 2008 when GPS was still not the norm on many WM phones.

This deal actually makes a lot of sense since we know Windows Phone 7 Series uses 'Orion', the same location-bases service found in Windows 7. It too uses WiFi, cell-tower triangulation, IP detection and straight up GPS to identify your location with a simple API. So Microsoft has the hardware/software to find your location (coordinates), but what they don't have is access to some type of database of locations.

Unlike Google, who can collect your geo-location information via millions of cell phones (read that user agreement), Microsoft is still new to the whole location-based services game.  This deal with Navizon seems to give them that extra edge to compete with Google.

[Navizon press release]

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The big news of the day (on an evidently slow one) is that Microsoft may allow OEMs to upgrade devices to Windows Phone 7 Series software.

Shocking, we know. You can sit back down now.

Considering we've heard a lot about a certain HTC HD2 aiming for an upgrade (from  HTC no less), it sure doesn't seem like a stretch to see this happen for certain "qualifying" devices.  Now what exactly constitutes qualification, is not too clear. Devices like the LG eXpo were slated to release with WP7, but since it lacks a capacitive screen ...?

Basically, Tracy and Matt asked Microsoft's Alex Reeve (Director of the company's UK Mobile Business Group) on Twitter about the upgrade possibility and he tweeted back with 

It's early days yet, and that's really for our hardware partners to think about.

So there you go, 100% definitive proof that OEMs can think about doing something with certain devices. Whether it actually happens? That's a whole 'nother ball of wax. Try not too loose any sleep over it tonight. [Updated to fix source]

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Since the introduction of Windows Phone 7 Series, there have probably been more questions than answers, especially around the notion of multitasking, notifications, application development, etc. Microsoft has stated that the majority of that will be addressed next month at MIX10, a conference dedicated to development on Microsoft's various platforms (which are becoming more and more interlinked).

To steal some of that thunder are a few documents that reportedly show exactly what developers can expect, and what they can and can't do.

First up is confirmation of preemptive multi-tasking, which is a very good thing.  But now the catch: not all applications and programs will have access to that feature. From what it appears, developers will have to get their applications approved for use of multi-tasking features: the public will have access to managed API's and upon approval, access to native APIs.

Think of it as a compromise between the current "no multitasking" on the iPhone versus the wild west approach of the past Windows Mobile platform. Of course the success or failure of such an approach depends on how fair Microsoft is in granting such permissions.

The other thing to note is what WP7 is built on: XNA, Silverlight and .NET CF. XNA UI is for event-driven XAML based application developtment, whereas XNA is better suited for gaming (see XBox programming).

Overall, it looks to be a great strategy, offering developers low-cost access to well know development tools that have been tried and tested in the past and at the same time, setting rigid, but on request flexible, guidelines to guarantee a certain level of performance and adherence to the "3 screens" (Computer, TV, PC) vision Microsoft is putting forth.

More images after the break...

[XDA Developers via Engadget]

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We just snagged some more hands-on time with Windows Phone 7 Series (can we just call it WP7 yet?). Don't pay attention to the hardware or even the occasional slowdown. The hardware is just a dev unit and not what we'll see. The software has plenty of time to simmer a bit before it's pre-holiday 2010 release date.

What you should pay attention to is the fluidity of the interface and how nice it is that the device can pull in from multiple sources to multiple places. Instead of thinking "I want to go to facebook to look at pictures from my friend," you just open the Pictures hub. Hubs and not apps.

Also, looks like there's at least one unannounced feature here - some sort of voice search. About 2:20 in the video (which is after the break, by the way), the voice search pops up and, well, isn't quite ready for prime time. We're ready for it, though, and here's to hoping it's ready by launch.

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