Tag Archives: WP7

Windows Phone Mango update to bring over 500 new features this fall

Today Microsoft previewed the next major release of Windows Phone. Codenamed Mango, the update will bring more than 500 new features to the growing platform. It aims to make the mobile operating system “smarter and easier” by injecting new life into the communications, apps and Internet experiences. In order, shall we?

Communications: (1) Deeper social network integration: In addition to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds are now integrated into contact cards. (2) Threads: Now you can easily switch between SMS, Facebook chat and Windows Live Messenger within the same conversation. In other words, conversations can be had across various messaging platforms. For example, if you begin a conversation with friend at home over Facebook chat you can continue this conversation when you’re on the go via SMS and the back-and-forth banter will be streamlined in the same conversation window. (3) Groups: You can group contacts into personalized Live Tiles to see your friends’ latest status updates from the home screen and quickly send a text, email or IM to a whole group. For example, you can create a “family” group and store your parents and siblings inside a Live Tile. From there you can easily converse with them under one roof or check their social status updates. (4) Linked inbox: Now you can see multiple email accounts in one linked inbox. Also, email now supports threading and calendar Facebook events. (5) Hands-free messaging: Built-in voice-to-text and text-to-voice support enables hands-free texting or chatting. If you’re listening to music and receive a text the phone will read the incoming message aloud to you. Then you can speak a reply and the phone will convert your speech into text and send it off.

Apps: (1) Multitasking: It’s been a long time coming–with Mango you can quickly switch between apps in use and allow apps to run in the background. (2) Improved Live Tiles: Live Tiles pinned to the home screen can hold more information and allow you to get real-time information from apps without having to open them. For example, if there’s an HDTV you’ve been saving up for you pin a Best Buy product page to your home screen and it will live there as a dynamic Live Tile. Instead of just sitting there as a simple bookmark, the Live Tile will animate and inform you when the TV is in stock and how far away it is for pickup. (3) App Connect: Apps can be tied tightly together to search results and Hubs to make for a smarter and more intuitive experience. For example with Bing Vision (more on this below) you can scan a book, see information about it, and with a single tap jump into the Amazon Kindle Store and purchase the book there and start reading.

Internet: (1) Internet Explorer 9: The updated browser supports HTML5 and full hardware acceleration. Unfortunately Flash and Silverlight support still isn’t here yet. (2) Local Scout: This new integrated service provides “hyperlocal search results” and recommends nearby restaurants, shopping and activities in an easy-to-use guide. When you enter Bing search, you can click the new Scout icon, the phone will automatically determine your location, and then it will provide you with information directly related to where you are instantly. Data is separated into the following categories: eat+drink, see+do, shop, favorites, and highlights. (3) Bing Vision: Also in Bing search you will find the icon for Bing Vision, another new integrated experience that allows you to capture a tangible product and get more information about it. It’s like Google Goggles, but it’s limited to barcodes, QR codes, book, DVD, and music covers. What’s neat is that the decoding process is nearly instant. Once you’re inside Bing Vision, the phone’s camera is turned on and all you have to do is point it at a product and results are revealed (pricing, availability, and relevant apps to learn more about the product at hand). (4) Quick Cards: When searching for a product, movie, event or place in the browser, you will see a quick summary of relevant information, including related apps, presented to you. For example, if you search “Pirates of the Caribbean” you will be presented with movie times at local theatres, plot synopsis, a means to purchase tickets, etc.

With Mango Microsoft plans to expand the Windows Phone ecosystem through new partnerships with Acer, Fujitsu, and ZTE and support for additional languages. The following handset manufacturers are confirmed to deploy Mango devices: in addition to the aforementioned new partnerships, Samsung, LG, HTC, and Nokia. That’s right, the first batch of Nokia phones following Microsoft’s strategic alliance with the Finnish company will run the Mango update. Developers will soon be able to get their inventive hands on the free Windows Phone Developer tools featuring Mango (within the next 24 hours, Microsoft promises). And when can consumers expect to see the update hit their Windows Phones? It pains me to say that Microsoft plans to unleash Mango as an over-the-air update this fall. Why the dreadful wait? Beats me. At least fragmentation is being avoided. Microsoft says that all existing Windows Phone 7 devices will receive the update in due time, and all future handsets will come loaded with the latest version on board.

Jump after the break to watch Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore demonstrate a bunch of the new features described here. As exciting and forward-looking as they may be, the wait until autumn is a wrench in the system. By the time Mango is released who knows what kind of magical dust will be spewing from Apple’s latest creation that will be iOS5.

Update: A curious commenter asked about copy and paste functionality. This long-awaited feature was added to Windows Phone 7 back in late March under the update codenamed NoDo. It goes without saying that it will carry over to all devices that receive the Mango upgrade.

[Via Microsoft] READ MORE Windows Phone Mango update to bring over 500 new features this fall

Verizon picks up Droid X2, Xperia Play, and first Windows Phone 7 handset

The month of May is a big one for Big Red. Shortly after introducing the 4G-powered Droid Charge in late April, Verizon Wireless is adding three more intriguing smartphones to its arsenal. First up is the long-awaited successor to the Droid X, the appropriately titled Droid X2. This Droid packs a giant 4.3-inch scratch-resistant and anti-reflective qHD display and a speedy dual-core 1GHz processor–this is the first VZW phone to carry such a chip. Other specs include an eight megapixel camera with autofocus and HD video capture (a front-facing cam is noticeably absent here), HDMI output, and mobile hotspot capabilities with up to five WiFi-enabled devices. The X2 will come preloaded with Android 2.2, and the carrier promises an upgrade to 2.3 is coming soon. It lands on Verizon this Thursday the 26th of May at the usual $199.99 price point under a new two-year contract.

Let’s breeze through handset #2. We already know all about the Xperia Play, aka the “PlayStation Phone.” The phone released earlier this spring internationally, and come May 26 the PlayStation Certified Android 2.3-powered device will be available for US consumers for $199.99. It will come preloaded with seven game titles including Madden NFL 11, Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, Asphalt 6: Adrenaline, The Sims 3, Star Battalion, Crash Bandicoot, and Tetris. Available for preorder today. Read all about Sony Ericsson’s gaming-oriented phone right here.

So many firsts for Verizon, let’s recap: The Charge became the inaugural device to bring 4G speeds to the Droid brand, the Droid X2 is the carrier’s first dual-core phone, and Verizon is the first US carrier to offer the Xperia Play. And now there’s this: later this month HTC’s Trophy drops on Big Red to become the first Windows Phone 7 device to run on the nation’s largest network. Want specs? Got ’em. The ruggedly designed Trophy features a 3.8-inch screen, 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, five megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash that captures 720p HD video, 16 GB onboard storage, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, and SRS WOW HD surround sound built in. The world phone’s loaded with Microsoft’s Metro-infused OS and HTC’s customizable Hub. On sale May 26 for $149.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and if you climb aboard Verizon’s ‘waves for 2 years, of course.

[Via Engadget 1, 2, 3]

First major Windows Phone 7 brings copy & paste functionality, at long last

This week Microsoft let loose the first major Windows Phone 7 update for those branded handsets. Codenamed NoDo, the update brings copy & paste functionality and among other improvements including faster load and resume times for apps, refined Marketplace search, WiFi, Outlook, messaging, camera, and audio improvements, and better Facebook integration. Click the source link below to read more about the update, or simply wait for your WP7 device to notify you about the download.

Update: Haven’t received the update yet? Well that’s because Microsoft is rolling it out gradually depending on your location and device. Check your status here and learn more about the rollout process here.

[Via Microsoft]

Windows Phone 7 Arrives on Sprint March 20 for $199.99

When Microsoft unleashed its sleek, new mobile OS unto the world back in October 2010, it did so only on GSM carriers in the U.S. including AT&T and T-Mobile. Come next month, Windows Phone 7 will finally become available on a CDMA network. No, not Verizon, I’m talking about Sprint, the “Now Network.” The handset is dubbed the Arrive, it’s built by HTC, and here are its specs: 3.6-inch WVGA capacitive multitouch display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 5MP camera with flash, autofocus, and digital zoom capable of 720p HD recording, 16GB of internal memory, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and of course a sliding full QWERTY keyboard with a tilt-up display. Oh and get this–the Arrive will be the first phone to ship with the upcoming WP7 update that brings copy-and-paste functionality to the OS. You can pick up the Arrive on March 20 for $199.99 (after $100 mail-in rebate) if you sign a new two-year contract with Sprint. Get a closer look at the sexy slider in the gallery below, and jump after the break for the official PR. Verizon Wireless customers will have to wait another day to experience “Glance and Go” goodness.

[Via Engadget]

READ MORE Windows Phone 7 Arrives on Sprint March 20 for $199.99

Microsoft details Windows Phone 7 additions and improvements

This week Microsoft hosted a Windows Phone 7 themed press event at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. There they spent time refreshing people’s minds about what differentiates Windows Phone 7 from the rest of the competition; namely they went over the mobile operating system’s smart design, hubs, and glance-and-go live tiles–all of which you should already know about. A chunk of the event, however, also spent time previewing the future of WP7. Multitasking, Internet Explorer 9, broader Skydrive connectivity, and Twitter integration are all coming to the OS later this year; get all the details presented in easy to swallow bullet-point form below.

  • Multitasking: At launch Microsoft decided not to allow multitasking support for third party apps due to battery life concerns. But now that’s changed because the company has figured out a way to make multitasking work without significantly draining the battery. At the event Microsoft demoed switching in and out of a game. Say you’re playing a game and want to make a phone call. To jump out of gameplay and initiate a call, simply tap the Home button, select the appropriate hub and make the call. After the call is complete, tap the Back button and you’ll instantly be returned to your game. You’ll find that the game automatically paused itself, so you can to resume the session without missing any in-game action. Microsoft also figured out an intuitive way to view open apps at once and quickly switch between them. Press and hold the Back button to bring up a new tasking switching view that displays your open apps in a card-like fashion (think WebOS). You can swipe left and right to see your open apps and tap one to instantly return to it right where you left off. Microsoft highlighted multitasking with third party music apps, too. Music can now play in the background (yippe!). Microsoft demoed Slacker; now you can play a radio station inside Slacker, initiate the task switching view, jump into another app like Email, and the music will continue to play in the background. In addition, music apps are tied to WP7 audio controls, meaning that you can control a third party app’s volume and playback options (play/pause/forward/back) using WP7’s built-in audio controls that are accessible on the home screen when you press the hardware volume buttons.
  • Internet Explorer 9: The next version of IE is coming to WP7. IE 9 will bring hardware and graphics acceleration to the platform, taking advantage of those speedy mobile processors that are making their way into smartphones. Microsoft pressed the point that the core browsing engine in IE9 that ships on PCs is the same core browsing engine that will ship on phones. This is good for developers because if their site performs well on the PC, they know it will work well on Windows Phone. HTML5 content was distinctly prominent in the demo with no mention of Adobe’s initiative, so don’t expect Flash support to come with this update.
  • Skydrive connectivity: Skydrive is to WP7 as iDisk is to iPhone. Get it? Skydrive is essentialy Microsoft’s version of Dropbox which allows users to view, edit, and share documents in the cloud on their devices. Skydrive will live inside the Office hub (so there’s no separate app download required) and it brings support for Office documents in the cloud. If you’re already logged into your Windows Live account, there’s no need to login in to access the cloud drive at any time.
  • Twitter integration: Since launch Microsoft has incorporated Facebook status updates and pictures in the People and Pictures hubs, respectively. With the new update they are welcoming another social network into the fray. Twitter integration is coming to the People hub where it will co-exist with Facebook in a similar manner to it; your contact’s tweets will appear alongside their status updates.

That’s the bulk of new WP7 features demoed at the MWC event. However, there are three other points to make. (1) At the event Microsoft briefly previewed a futuristic demo that ties together WP7 with Xbox’s controller-less motion accessory Kinect. The prerecorded demo featured the Kinect game Rally Ball and it showed one person standing up flailing their arms at the oncoming storm of rubber balls and two others using their WP7 devices to wirelessly control the amount and location of the balls on their respective device’s screens. In essence this is a preview of real-time cross-platform gaming between phones and game consoles, and it’s a neat trick to say the least. Look after the break to see it in action. (2) Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer invited Nokia’s Stephen Elop to discuss the newly formed partnership between the two tech companies. Elop pretty much reiterated everything he previously mentioned at his own event, but some choice quotes stuck out here. He said, “Microsoft and Nokia together represent a natural partnership. People are getting it.” The world is shifting from “a battle of devices to a war of ecosystems” and that with Microsoft they can become a competitive force in this transforming environment. Nokia will “accelerate the adoption of the Windows Phone platform” by “bring[ing] iconic hardware [and] incredible industrial design [to] a leading operating system.” (3) Coming in early March is copy-and-paste functionality (along with CDMA radio support (hello Verizon and Sprint devices), and other performance improvements)!

Go on, hop after the break to find videos demonstrating multitasking, IE 9, and the Kinect companionship.

[Via Microsoft] READ MORE Microsoft details Windows Phone 7 additions and improvements

Nokia and Microsoft enter into a “strategic alliance”

Bombshell alert! Nokia is ditching its homemade mobile operating systems (read: Symbian and MeeGo) for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. Today Nokia’s newly appointed CEO Stephen Elop announced that the Finnish company will enter into a “strategic alliance” with Microsoft that will make Windows Phone 7 Nokia’s “principal smartphone strategy.” Elop is hopeful that the marriage between these two companies will result in “a new global mobile ecosystem” based around Nokia’s hardware design and Microsoft’s software architecture. Says the official press release: “Nokia will help drive and define the future of Windows Phone. Nokia will contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.”

They’ve also addressed how Nokia’s services will mesh with WP7. Bing will power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices; Microsoft adCenter will provide search advertising services on Nokia’s line of devices; and Nokia Maps will be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services. Nokia’s previously announced Qt development framework will not provided to developers to make apps for Nokia WP7 devices; instead they will be working with Microsoft’s Windows Phone Developer Tools. Ovi Store, Nokia’s content and application store, will integrate with Windows Marketplace.

In a stock exchange release, Nokia lays out their future. “[They] expect 2011 and 2012 to be transition years, as the company invests to build the planned winning ecosystem with Microsoft.” The transition is expected to begin immediately (in fact, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer publicly stated that the WP7 engineering team has been working closely with Nokia hardware designers for some time now) and Nokia hopes to start shipping WP7-powered devices in significant volume by 2012.

What’s going to happen to Symbian and MeeGo, you ask? Nokia expects to continue to sell many Symbian powered devices in the coming years, but the long-term plan is to eventually and quite abruptly kill off the platform as soon as the WP7 devices make their way into the marketplace. MeeGo, on the other hand, will “become an open-source, mobile operating system project.” Though Nokia plans to ship the first MeeGo based device later this year, they see the brand “not as part of another broad smarpthone platform strategy, but as an opportunity to learn” (read: an experimental platform to help drive future innovation).

To the dismay of the majority of Finnish engineers, I am excited about Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft. To be frank, Symbian and (especially) MeeGo were taking an interminable amount of time to develop and catch up to the competition (read: iOS, Android). It is interesting to note that Nokia was contemplating an alliance with Google to bring the Android platform to Nokia devices, but in the end, says Elop, his company “would have difficulty differentiating within that ecosystem” and the “commoditization risk was very high–prices, profits, everything being pushed down, value being moved out to Google which was concerning to us.” I think this is the perfect marriage, really. Nokia is known for making beautifully detailed, sophisticated hardware and Microsoft’s newborn sleek WP7 OS seems like a natural fit. After years of being stuck in a rut, it was time to shake up the chain of command and with Elop in charge it’s clear to see that he’s a staunch believer in steadfast change, even if it means dropping everything (on the software side) for something starkly different and exciting. I’m looking forward to what Nokia and Microsoft cook up in the coming years. If you want a hint at whats to come, hop after the break to see a mockup of Nokia/WP7 conceptual devices scored exclusively by Engadget. Also there you’ll find a related video spelling out the day’s shattering news.

[Via Nokia (1, 2); Engadget (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)] READ MORE Nokia and Microsoft enter into a “strategic alliance”

Microsoft says over 1.5 million WP7 devices sold to carriers and retailers since launch

In an interview posted on the company’s website, Microsoft’s corporate VP of Mobile Communications Business and Marketing Group Achim Berg spilled that “phone manufacturers sold over 1.5 million [Windows Phone 7] phones in the first six weeks” since the October launch.  I added bold formatting there for a reason.  This sales figure is not as effective or all that impressive as you might think.  Rather than specifying the actual number of devices sold to end users, they are hiding that sales figure and replacing it with the number of units sold to mobile carriers and cell phone retailers.  In a word, this is baloney.  I mean, this figure is not incorrect; it’s just that it makes it hard for us to genuinely know how well Microsoft is doing with its new mobile OS.  Perhaps they are reluctant to revealing the actual number of units sold to customers because that number isn’t as high as they expected.  But Berg’s words counter that logic; he says, “Sales are ramping well as our reputation is growing for offering users a unique experience and are in line with our expectations – especially when compared to other new platform introductions.”  So why not tell us like it is?  Oh well, all we can do is sit and wait for a celebratory Microsoft press release to help us make sense of the massive 60 carriers/over 30 countries WP7 launch.

[Via Engadget; Microsoft]

Dell Venue Pro hits T-Mobile on December 9 for $99

And that makes 5.  Dell’s Venue Pro is now for sale on its website and now Microsoft can safely say that all five of its Windows Phone 7 US launch devices are now available for purchase.  Specs are nothing to call home about: 4.1 inch display, 1GHz processor, 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus and flash, 720p HD video recording, 8GB or 16GB of built-in storage.  It’s that full slide-out QWERTY keyboard and its handsome looks that make this one a charmer.  If you’re willing to start a new 2-year contract with T-Mobile you can pick up the phone for $99 (8GB) or $149 (16GB).  Or you can pay $449 or $499, respectively, if you decide to opt out of signing a contract. Purchase here; it ships December 9.

Interested in looking at the other WP7 devices?  Samsung Focus/HTC Surround/HTC HD7 / LG Quantum

[Via Engadget]

LG Quantum lands on AT&T today for $199.99

Just one week ago three Windows Phone 7 powered devices hit the U.S. market–the Samsung Focus and HTC Surround found a home in AT&T and the HTC HD7 teamed with T-Mobile.  Today the LG Quantum rounds out the AT&T trifecta of WP7 launch devices.  Nothing crazy here: 3.5 inch display, 1GHz processor, full slide-out horizontal QWERTY keyboard, 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus, flash, 16GB of built-in storage, and 720p HD video recording, and DLNA streaming support.  Plus 10 free apps will be waiting for you to download; they’re available through the LG app store within the Windows Phone Marketplace.  All this for $199.99 on a new two-year contract.  Shipping today.  Full PR after the break.

[Via Engadget] READ MORE LG Quantum lands on AT&T today for $199.99

SlingPlayer has arrived for Windows Phone 7 users

If you’re an early adopter of the Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system and a proud owner of a SlingBox, listen here!  What was hinted at back in October has been made available to purchase–SlingPlayer for WP7 devices.  Jump into the Windows Marketplace and you’ll find SlingPlayer Mobile for $29.99.  Select, download, and let the streaming festivities begin.  Full PR after the break.

iPad owners, SlingPlayer is coming for you too.

[Via Engadget] READ MORE SlingPlayer has arrived for Windows Phone 7 users

Three U.S. Windows Phone 7 devices available today

Of the ten Windows Phone 7 launch devices, three of them are making their way into the States today.  AT&T’s got the Samsung Focus and the HTC Surround, and T-Mobile offers the HTC HD7.  All three devices cost $199.99 after signing a 2-year contract, or $500 if you decide to opt out of the contract before purchasing.  Bet you’re wondering about the other two U.S. WP7 phones, both of which include slideout QWERTY keyboard.  AT&T’s LG Quantum is up for preorder now at $199.99, and the Dell Venue Pro is still marked as “coming soon”, though it’s expected to hit stores on 11/17 for $199.99 on contract.  As usual, this space will be updated when the official word hits the streets.

Microsoft’s totally revamped, moderntastic mobile OS has finally arrived people!  Will you be one of the early adopters to give one of the launch handsets a spin?  Brush up with specs and features here.