Daily Archives: March 18, 2011

Sprint’s HTC Arrive to Feature Windows Phone 7 NoDo Update: Report

Microsoft’s first major Windows Phone 7 update will arrive preinstalled on the HTC Arrive from Sprint, according to a Phone Scoop report. The “NoDo” update includes cut-and-paste functionality, along with faster application loading.

According to that report, the HTC Arrive ships March 20. That would dovetail neatly with Microsoft’s current predictions that the update will push into the Windows Phone 7 ecosystem in the second half of March.

Sprint has confirmed with eWEEK that the HTC Arrive will feature cut-and-paste, speedier applications and games, and improved Marketplace search. “We’ve streamlined Marketplace search to make it easier to find specific apps, games or music,” read an official document forwarded by a Sprint spokesperson. “Press the Search button in the apps or games section of Marketplace, and you’ll see only apps or games in the results. Press Search in the music section of Marketplace to search just the music catalog.”

The launch of the HTC Arrive is a particularly auspicious one for Microsoft and its smartphone plans, as it is the first Windows Phone 7 device to appear on a CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) carrier. Previously, Windows Phone 7 smartphones had appeared only on GSM-based networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile.

As with Windows Phone 7 devices on other carriers, the HTC Arrive follows Microsoft’s stringently enforced minimum hardware requirements, including a 5-megapixel camera and 1GHz Snapdragon processor. It features a 3.6-inch capacitive touch-screen display (with 800 by 480 resolution), 16GB of internal memory, and advertised talk time of up to 6 hours.

Sprint will make the HTC Arrive available March 20, for $199 with a two-year contract.

Microsoft had previously shifted the NoDo update from the first half of March to the latter two weeks of the month. “After careful consultation with the team and our many partners, we’ve decided to briefly hold the March update in order to ensure the update process meets our standards and that of our customers,” a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in a March 10 e-mail to eWEEK. “As a result, we will plan to begin delivering the update in the latter half of March.”

In February, Microsoft had introduced a Windows Phone 7 update designed to help with future updates. Within a day of that update’s rollout, however, a small number of users began complaining it stalled their smartphones.

As those complaints found their way onto online forums, Microsoft shifted into full damage-control mode, claiming in a corporate blog posting that only 10 percent of users’ smartphones had stalled because of the new software. Nonetheless, the company temporarily suspended the update for Samsung phones until it could work out the underlying issues.

In the wake of that snafu, Microsoft appeared more cautious about how it proceeded with the subsequent software update. Despite the minor delay to cut-and-paste, though, the company claims there will be no delay in later updates designed to bake multitasking, Twitter, and a new HTML5-friendly version of Internet Explorer Mobile onto the platform. Those updates are slated for the second half of the year.


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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in CDMA, HTC, NoDo, WP7


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Microsoft Confirms 10K Apps in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace

Microsoft has confirmed that the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace has reached 10,000 apps, and it’s done so faster than any other app store.

“The torrid pace of app creation for Windows Phone continues to amaze me – and should give everyone with a phone good reason to smile,” Microsoft’s Michael Stroh wrote on the Windows Phone blog.

Reports that Microsoft had reached this milestone first emerged over the weekend. According to data cited by Pocketnow, Microsoft reached the number by speeding up its app approval process, allowing roughly 1,200 apps in the store a week, versus the previous rate of 1,000 each week.

Pocketnow said it took Apple 4.7 months to get 10,000 apps in the App Store, and it took the Android Market 11 months. Palm’s Web OS store launched 15 months ago and it has grown at a much slower rate; the store has just 5,000 apps. The Windows Phone 7 Marketplace, on the other hand, reached 10,000 apps in just 4.5 months.

“What explains the Marketplace’s early success? One likely reason… is Windows Phone’s novel design, which gives app makers a lot of interesting creative options,” Stroh continued. “Apps just look better than they do on other phones.”
Stroh also said that another factor in the store’s growth is the “vast army of developers that Microsoft has rallied around the world – some 25,000 to date.”

Although the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace is growing quickly, it still has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to take on iOS or Android. The Android Market reportedly tops 200,000 apps, although Google has not confirmed this figure. Apple confirmed late last year that the App Store has more than 300,000 apps. At this point, the App Store remains the largest source of apps.


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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Apple, Apps, Microsoft, Windows 7 Phone


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Could Windows Phone 7 eventually go the way of the Zune?

That Microsoft is apparently killing the Zune should surprise no one. But could what happened to that ill-fated music player be a template for the eventual fate of Windows Phone 7?

Microsoft released the Zune back in 2006, in an attempt to take on the iPod, which had a stranglehold on the music-player industry. It simply never caught on. Bloomberg cites research by the NPD Group saying that last year the iPod had 77 percent of the market, compared to less than five percent for the Zune.

I can admit it in public: I’m a Zune owner. And the NPD research must explain why I’ve never come across another Zune owner anywhere. Trying to use the social feature of a Zune turned out to be a very lonely, anti-social experience.

There are some almost eerie similarities to the history of the Zune and the briefer history of Windows Phone 7. Start off with the basics: In both instances Microsoft was very late to market, and was attempting to unseat an extremely popular market leader. With the Zune, Microsoft tried taking on the iPod. With Windows Phone 7, it may even have more trouble, because it’s trying to take on two market leaders: the iPhone and Android phones.

In both instances, Microsoft has said that it would spend untold amounts of money to make sure the hardware succeeded. Bloomberg notes that Robbie Bach, who was then president of Microsoft’s entertainment and devices business, said that Microsoft was going to invest hundreds of millions in Zune to make sure it was a success. And Bloomberg quotes Steve Ballmer at the time as saying about the iPod:

“We can beat them, but it’s not going to be easy.”

Ballmer has been saying much the same thing about Windows Phone 7. And as for how much Microsoft will be willing to spend on Windows Phone 7, here’s what quotes him saying about that at the Professional Developers’ Conference back in October:
“Make no mistake about it, we’re all in. I get all kinds of questions about ‘what if you don’t do this or that,’ or blah, blah, blah. BOOM, baby, that’s what we’re going to do!”
Say what you will about Ballmer, but the man has a way with words, doesn’t he?

Both the Zune and Windows Phone 7 had less than stellar starts after their introduction — neither rollouts could be considered breakthroughs. And in both cases the hardware, although solidly done, wasn’t innovative enough to be clearly superior to existing products.

Of course, there’s also a very big difference as well: Microsoft has a partnership with cellphone giant Nokia that is phasing in over two years. That, in itself, could ensure a long life for Windows Phone 7. Still, even though Microsoft has very deep pockets, it won’t spend billions of dollars forever on product that has no payback.

It’s clearly several years too early to say that Windows Phone 7 will go the way of the Zune. But the history of the Zune is certainly a cautionary tale for Microsoft.


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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in iPod, Microsoft, Windows


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In Hacking Competition, Android, Windows Phone 7 Devices Unscathed

After hackers descended on mobile phones as part of the Pwn2Own competition, two devices were left standing at the end, reports Android-powered Nexus S and Windows Phone 7-powered Dell Venue Pro.

The iPhone and BlackBerry? Hackers took just two days to crack into those operating systems. Charlie Miller and Dion Blazakis hacked the former and Vincenzo Iozzo, Willem Pinckaers and Ralf Philipp Weinmenn managed to break into a BlackBerry Torch 9800, according to

But the Android and Windows Phone devices ‘won’ by default; contestants scheduled to hack those phones backed out for a variety of reasons, said.

Last year’s winner Peter Vreughdenhil told the technology magazine that he and other organizers felt iPhone’s quick fall came as no surprise, but that Android’s survival shocked them as “it is also a big target and had four contestants lined up”.

Vreughdenhil, however, cautions that “the survival of a target at Pwn2Own does not automatically declare it safer than a target that went down”.

“We see no particular reason why Android would be harder to hack than any of the other targets,” he was quoted as saying.


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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Android, Blackberry, iPhone, Windows


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Google opens AdMob SDK for Windows Phone 7, updates for iOS and Android

Google Inc. had big plans for AdMob when it acquired the mobile ad network for $750 million in stock in 2009 and now it’s opening up the platform for Windows Phone 7.

The company rolled out out a beta SDK (software development kit) for Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone 7 to give developers a path to start integrating its ad products into applications for the young operating system.

AdMob currently reaches more than 50,000 applications across Apple Inc.’s iOS, Google’s Android and Hewlett-Packard Co.’s webOS, Mark Schaaf, director of engineering on mobile ads at Google, wrote in a blog post announcing the news.

The SDK gives developers a mechanism to bring AdMob’s inventory into their apps and determine what types of ads will be displayed. Formats include text, banner and a variety of post-click actions that, for example, could lead users to an app store.

“We have also taken steps to customize the ad experience for the look and feel of the Windows Phone 7 platform and make it easy for users to return to their application after engaging with the ad,” Schaaf wrote.

With the new SDK for Windows Phone 7, Google is also updating its SDKs for iOS and Android to offer greater support for HTML5-based ad units and full-screen interstitial formats for tablets.


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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Android, Microsoft, Windows Phone 7


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Full House Poker Now Available on Windows Phone 7 & Xbox 360

Microsoft Games  Studio’s Full House Poker is finally available for both Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360, via the Zune Marketplace and Xbox LIVE Arcade respectively. The simultaneous launch of both versions of the game is a first for the Xbox LIVE network, as is the cross-platform compatibility offered by the game.
Players will test their Texas Hold ‘Em prowess in Standard Games and Tournaments against a variety of Full House Poker professionals. Each professional has unique skills and  weaknesses, and so players must watch them closely to learn how to take them down. Doing so will allow you to earn experience and level up to unlock new ways to customise your poker experience.
Players can reap the rewards of your poker play on both Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360: build up your bankroll on your phone and that stack of chips will be waiting for you the next time you play Full House Poker on Xbox 360. Level up on Xbox 360, and get the respect you’ve earned the next time you play on your phone. Levels, XP, chips, stats, and unlockables are all shared across both devices.
Full House Poker is available now for Windows Phone 7 via the Zune Marketplace, priced at £2.49 ($2.99) and for Xbox 360 via the Xbox LIVE Arcade, priced at 800 Microsoft Points. Electronic Theatre will keep you updated with all the latest Xbox LIVE enabled releases for Windows Phone 7, and any future titles offering cross-platform compatibility.


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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Microsoft, Windows Phone


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