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Windows Central Podcast 54: Apps in the Store

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With Windows Phone 7 right around the corner, is there anything you can do to prepare for the new Windows Phones? Windows Phone 7 will offer a lot of new features and capabilities and while we all will have a learning curve with the new system, there are a few things you can do to get a leg up on things.

Three areas come to mind; Windows Live, Xbox Live, and Zune. Ease on past the break to see what you can do with Windows Live to prepare for Windows Phone 7.

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AT&T Mondrian rendering surfaces

We've seen photos of the HTC Mondrian but we havent' seen it with any AT&T branding (where it's likely to land). We now have a rendering from ROM aficionado 911sniper that shows the Mondrian with AT&T branding.

There's no telling what the actual device will look like or if it will keep the Mondrian tag. But it's always nice to see these renderings and think of the possibility. Hopefully, over the next few days everything will come into focus and we'll have "official" images of the Windows Phone 7 devices headed our way.

via: Engadget

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Microsoft is sharing a new promotional video for Windows Phone 7 over at the Microsoft Showcase. The video highlights Windows Phone 7's cloud capabilities.

Taking you to from the phone to the web to the PC, the video touches on several ways you can use cloud services via Windows Live and Xbox Live. It also touches on the upcoming Windows Phone Live services that can be used to secure and locate a lost phone.

via: istartedsomething

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Garmin-Asus has ventured into the Windows Phone market before with the M20 but it really never got off the ground. Some had hopes that chances for success would improve when Garmin was introduced as a Windows Phone 7 launch partner earlier this year by Microsoft.  It now it appears Garmin will be late to the party.

Digitimes is reporting that Garmin-Asus will not launch a Windows Phone 7 device this year but instead is targeting the first quarter of 2011 to join the Windows Phone 7 lineup. Instead, the company is focusing on a few new Android based smartphones they plan to release by the end of this year.

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Word on Twitter is that the winner of the French Microsoft Windows Phone 7 application contest is a nifty game called Arcane's Tower Defense by GraphicStream, which admittedly has some pretty 'wow' graphics going for it.

The contest was announced back in July and was held this morning (U.S. time) with Steve Ballmer present and serving as a juror.

Congratulations to the team!

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Though we reported awhile back that BitTorrent applications had an uncertain future in the Windows Phone Marketplace (for perhaps obvious reasons), it looks like Microsoft may have decided what to do about potential app submissions.

'TorrrentRemote' is a new app from codeJoker and it looks like it's near complete. What's more impressive and pertinent though is evidently Brandon Watson from Microsoft told the developer it "should be fine" for the Marketplace. Of course, this isn't a native BitTorrent application but instead accesses uTorrent running on your PC remotely. Presumably this is why it can get approval through the marketplace, as opposed to DTor.

Of course we know mistakes can be made in these areas, so we'll wait and see what happens. But if accurate, we're at least a little excited.

[via 1800PocketPC]

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With just a few days left before the big showcase, looks like Microsoft is still showing off some coolness, this time related to music.

Though we all know about Zune on the device, it looks like Microsoft isn't anemic towards competition either. At CTIA they evidently showed off Slacker Radio (see review for Windows Mobile), iheartradio and Lyrics (by MusiXMatch).

All sounds very good to us, especially Slacker which we've always got a kick out of. Combined with Spotify, which is coming soon as well, Windows Phone 7 users will have plenty of options for media. But where's Kinoma?

[via mocoNews.net]

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While we know many of you love using Audible whenever you can, support from them has been....lacking to say the least. Even their interface with Kinoma is dun broke, despite Kinoma's best effort to work with/around them.

Lately, Paul Thurrott has been keeping the flame going, with both hopes of support for the Zune HD (unlikely, evidently supported, indirectly) and Windows Phone 7 (more likely). Audible dropped a possible hint in a conversation with a listener that a WP7 app would be ready "within the month", but alas, it appears they may have been talking about WM6.x:

Thank you very much for contacting Audible.com about the upcoming Windows 7 Phone. As of right now, there is no information regarding the release of this application for the Windows 7 Phone. However, the version will eventually be supported once we have resolved the current issues with the Audible Air Application for 6.0 and 6.5. This being said, there is no estimated time frame or release date for this device.

Oh Audible, we want to love you but seriously...you need to get your act together on this already :-/ Well, at least their may be hope for you Windows Mobile users who will be sticking with the platform for a bit. Silver lining?

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While we're in the final lap of the pre-Windows Phone 7 launch, it's not too shocking to see WP7 devices start to populate carrier's invoice systems and that's what we have here for our UK brethren. 

The "ultras slim" HTC 7 Trophy (seen here), a solid looking device, just showed up in Vodafone's network as a contract handset, as the picture clearly states. Featuring a 1GHz CPU, 8GB internal storage and a  3.8", 16million color screen, looks to be a decent starter phone for many.

No info on pricing or exact availability, though we're sure "in the next few weeks" is a safe bet.

[Thanks, Dave, for the pic!]

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Oh we love it when Ballmer gets feisty, even if his company is the underdog at the moment.

At a UK Tech Days event today, Ballmer gave his spiel about Windows Phone 7 and made some remarks about his competitors, specifically Google. He brought up the whole fragmentation issue, which is sort of a thorn in the side for developers. In short, when an update for Android is made, not every phone gets it, nor does the phones that do get it, get the same version due to OEM customization. When this happens, developers have to update their apps for specific phones to get them working.

Ballmer promised this not to be the case with WP7: "Unlike Google, if you write an app for Windows Phone 7, it will work on all Windows phones" which yeah, is a good selling point to developers. Also, with some humility, on Windows Mobile Baller noted that  "We got ourselves in to a little bit of a pickle with phones, but now we're on track".

Lets hope so, as Google is playing for keeps.

[via Neowin.net]

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In a nice little screen shot posted by @arnehess (from theunwired.net), we can see more apps populating the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace as expected.

While the ubiquitous "tip calculator" is there, the biggy appears to be a Google Voice app called 'GoVoice'. We're not sure if this a call-back method or one that auto-dials/logs in your Google account, but either way it's a good sign some of us will be able to continue using our Google Voice number when we get our new phone.

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Microsoft's Full-Court Press on WP7

CNET did an en-depth, behind the scenes article on Windows Phone 7 and while we found the video of the Twitter app interesting, something else stood out from CNET's coverage. The amount of effort Microsoft is making to promote, support and develop Windows Phone 7.

It's not surprising to see a company throw its weight behind its product but Microsoft's weight is impressive. We've seen the reports that Microsoft's marketing of Windows Phone 7 could reach the half-a-billion dollar mark but it goes beyond marketing.  Here are three areas that stood out with Microsoft's efforts towards Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft had just three or four developers responsible for the software development kit needed to write applications for Windows Mobile 6.5. Microsoft has increased these efforts a hundred fold having 300 to 400 people working on the tools and resources developers need to write programs for Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft has also made efforts to get their employees behind the Windows Phone movement. The company stopped reimbursing employees for non-Windows mobile devices some time ago and has pledged to give every full-time employee a Windows Phone 7 device. Microsoft is also looking into amending employment terms to allow employees to profit from any Windows Phone applications they develop.

Microsoft dubs their long term Windows Phone development efforts as "Selah", Hebrew for "stop and listen". Microsoft has tremendous efforts to stop and listen to developers; either through offering technical and marketing help, holding developer seminars, guaranteeing prime real estate in the Marketplace, or financial incentives. Based on all the Windows Phone 7 apps we've seen in development, the "stop and listen" approach seems to have worked.

In just under a week, the curtain will rise and Windows Phone 7 will be officially announced.  It will interesting to finally see the Windows Phone 7 journey begin as well as the phones that will be running the OS. Microsoft will have a little catching up to do against the competition but will all these efforts, do the trick?

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Now that all dust is settling on the "World wide launch event" for Windows Phone 7 next week, we're just going to summarize what we know and what we're expecting, including what devices we predict we'll see.


  • 9:30am: Keynote speech by Ballmer and de la Vega (from AT&T), simulcasted to London
  • 10:15am: Hands on with AT&T's Windows Phone 7 lineup
  • 11:30am: A look at Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 "Global portfolio" aka devices for the rest of the world
  • 11:30am: HTC and T-Mobile private, press event
  • 3pm: HTC and T-Mobile public, customer event

AT&T: Ready to launch on November 8th

Runners up include the LG GW910 or maybe something from Asus.

T-Mobile: Ready to launch late November

  • HTC HD7: 5MP, 4.3" screen, 8GB storage

Yes, despite some confusion, we know for a fact HTC and T-Mobile will be on hand (in a separate location) for a special preview of their "latest device".

Of course, we'll be at all of those events during the day, covering it all for you folks. And yes, I'll be joined by our very own Phil for a very special, curmudgeony day, plus George and Dieter handling our server-side setup (to keep it all going someone has to feed the hamsters).

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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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LG's C900 tagged by AT&T?

Engadget has been busy today and have stumbled upon yet another Windows Phone 7 device in the wild. While the Samsung Cetus was an interesting find, the LG C900 is equally interesting.

Instead of relying on an on-screen keyboard, the LG will sport a side sliding QWERTY keyboard. But that's not the interesting part. What makes the LG really stand out is the AT&T logo that appears on one of the C900's tiles.

The presence of the AT&T Logo is a strong indication that LG will have a spot in AT&T's Windows Phone 7 lineup that also is rumored to include the HTC Schubert and the Cetus.  Could we see more Windows Phone 7 devices headed to AT&T or is their lineup complete?

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While not earth-shattering per se, especially since we've seen a video of the emulator version, Twitter was caught on video by CNet in a nice little walk through.

Not much to say other than it looks smooth, it looks good and we're glad Twitter is officially on board. Actually, it is kind of neat that you evidently don't need an account with Twitter to use the app, you can just browse around if you want. Good for you social-network-phobics out there!

Update: David K. over at MobilityDigest correctly notes this one big downer mentioned in the article (which we'll summarize soon) is: "The result, combined with the lack of copy or paste, is that the Twitter app for Windows Phone 7, while unique and pretty, won’t allow for important basics like being able to tweet a photo from one’s library or even send a link from the Web browser."


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Looks like the other shoe just dropped as our invite was delivered for the big AT&T Windows Phone 7 launch at the Microsoft Open House in NYC one week from now. AT&T in the morning, T-Mobile in the afternoon.

Not only is AT&T there, but looks like Steve Ballmer and Ralph de la Vega (President/CEO of AT&T) are to deliver the keynote speech at 9am. Steve in person? Awesome.

The rest of the day will be us roaming around, playing with Xboxes, Kinects, Bings and we just got word we'll have an opportunity "...to check out all the Windows Phone 7 devices" as we'll be meeting with several OEMs.

No doubt we're excited as this event last year was a blast and you should be excited as we'll be covering this shindig from our unique perspective as Windows Phone geeks. We'll be running a live blog, interacting with you folks on Twitter and bringing some HD quality video to you from the event all day--and it's a holiday, so hopefully you have off and can follow along!

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On the Windows Phone Blog, Microsoft gives all the info on the upcoming launch of the Windows Phone Marketplace. While geared mostly towards developers, there's a few interesting things mentioned. Their schedule looks like this:

  • Oct 4: All registered developers have been contacted and invited to request early submission to the Marketplace certification process.
  • Oct 6: Deadline for registered developers to respond to the invitation to participate in early submission. Of those that request access, an initial group of a couple of thousand developers will be accepted on a first come, first served basis to receive guidance and early access to the new application submission and certification process.
  • Oct 11: Participating early certification developers will receive instructions on submitting their xaps, allowing those apps to be published in Marketplace in the lead up to, and after, launch.
  • Oct 12-November: Microsoft will continue processing submissions and prioritizing new requests in the order they are received until the self-serve submission process is broadly enabled.

We like the part about "an initial group of a couple of thousand developers will be accepted". That sure sounds like they have quite a bit of interested developers on hand itching to get their wares in the Marketplace. It also insures when you, the end user, turn on your new device, you'll have quite the selection of apps to choose from.

Take a read of the article. It'll make you feel good that Microsoft is betting on quality and not quantity of programs and are really looking to deliver a classy experience. We have high hopes.

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October 11th is shaping up to be an interesting day. As expected, AT&T and Microsoft have announced a joint Press Conference in New York.  According to the event's schedule Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, and AT&T's President, Rald de la Vega, will be hosting the 9:30am EST conference to bring you the latest on Windows Phone 7

The press conference will lead into Microsoft's Open House at 11:00pm EST where attendees can "explore a product showcase featuring Windows Phone 7, Zune, BING, Windows 7, Xbox, Kinect and more.". With T-Mobile having a presentation later that afternoon and a London event also on the calendar, it's going to be a busy day for Microsoft and Windows Phone 7.

Hopefully amongst all these events we will hear more on when the phones will be on shelves and maybe even some pricing points. Regardless, we'll be in New York to cover what we can.

via: Engadget

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And finishing up those leaks on the HD7 which came fast and furious a few weeks ago is that final one, filling in all the remaining questions. Well most questions.

The latest is that this premier phone will be launching on Germany's O2 network in just 2 weeks (hence all the details). It still features that 1GHz CPU, 8GB of storage, etc. all reported a few weeks ago, so nothing new there. Shoot, even the price is still what was reported in the past ($730-770 off contract; $104-109 with one).

Really the only news is the mention of Dolby Mobile Sound, which while untested sure sounds like a good thing as we're all for improved audio on these HD monsters.

Finally there'a a pretty vanilla video of it "in action" (after the break) though we're sure it's nothing you couldn't have imagined yourselves. We suppose the only real question is will we see this Stateside on T-Moible? We caught a rumor (unverified) that AT&T's "exclusivity" is for only 2 weeks, so take that as you will.

Head over to Engadget for a few more shots. [Thanks, Eric, for the tip]

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