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Daily Archives: September 29, 2011

Mango is a sweet upgrade for Windows Phone 7


A year or so after Microsoft gave the boot to its creaky Windows Mobile software in favor of Windows Phone 7, the revamped operating system for smartphones still seems radically fresh.

Windows Phone 7 software is punctuated by a bold interface called Metro that is built around rectangular live customizable “at a glance” tiles. Tap a tile to jump to pictures, your calendar, the Internet Explorer browser, Xbox Live, a Music + Videos hub, and more.

Windows Phone 7, despite its early promise, had glaring omissions when it initially showed up, lacking copy-and-paste, visual voice mail and custom ring tones, to mention a few of the missing features found on rival Android and iPhone devices. Copy-and-paste came with a subsequent update, and visual voice mail and custom ring tones arrive as part of this week’s release of Windows Phone 7.5.

Microsoft says the software update, known by its former code name, Mango, has “hundreds of new features and improvements,” some more obvious than others. You can rapidly switch back and forth among apps running at the same time. For example, you can pause an Xbox Live game to read an incoming text, then return to the game where you left off.

I’ve been testing Mango on an AT&T Samsung Focus loaner phone and have come away generally impressed, though not everything went smoothly. Microsoft began rolling out the over-the-air upgrade across most carriers and handsets on Tuesday, but says it could be weeks before everyone gets the new software. Windows Phone 7 will also be preinstalled on new devices coming before the holidays.

I’m often asked whether Microsoft’s smartphones can still be a contender, given iPhone and Android dominance. But a recent report by NPD Group’s Connected Intelligence service indicated that 44% of smartphone owners, and those who intend to buy one, are considering a Windows Phone 7 device.

To my mind, Windows Phone 7 is worth considering. Highlights:

•Social networking. Windows Phone 7 already supported feeds from Facebook and Microsoft’s own Windows Live service. The Mango update adds Twitter and LinkedIn to its integrated People Hub. “People first” is Microsoft’s mantra with this software. Contact cards consolidate all the ways you can get in touch with someone. You can see recent social-networking activity. You can now also group contacts. A premade group is set up for family members. You might add groups for your work colleagues, book club and so on for easily sharing photos, texts and instant messages.

•Apps. By sheer numbers, with about 30,000 apps available for Windows Phone 7 vs. 425,000 for the iPhone and 250,000 for Android, it’s no contest. Microsoft loses. But Microsoft claims its app growth rate is second only to Apple and says it has 90% of the most popular apps and games folks want anyway. To its credit, Microsoft helps you discover and get the most out of apps. You can pin apps or even content within apps as Metro tiles to the phone’s Start screen. Such tiles are dynamic; they reveal snippets of information and in some cases even flip over. When I pinned a listing for the movie Moneyball from within the Flixster movie app to the Start screen, the tile flipped over to reveal the movie’s rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

A new Web marketplace lets you buy apps on a PC and have them automatically downloaded to your phone and installed later.

•Browsing and search. Microsoft has made search a rich experience, with its own Bing search engine at the forefront. Tapping the search button summons Bing and four icons at the bottom of the screen: Tapping the first brings up a helpful feature called Local Scout, which shows nearby shops, attractions and restaurants. Tapping the second brings up an app called Bing Music that can identify recorded music playing, similar to Shazam on the iPhone. If a song is properly identified, you can download it from the Windows Phone marketplace.

A third icon for Bing Vision leads to a bar code, QR code and Microsoft Tags scanner that you can use to identify books, CDs and DVDs. My results weren’t perfect, but you can see the potential. Tapping the last icon lets you search by voice through Microsoft’s Tellme service.

The version of Internet Explorer on Mango supports the latest HTML5 Web standards, but not Adobe Flash.

•Microsoft tie-in. Windows Phones are tied closely to the Zune MP3 player and Xbox Live. Your games, avatar and so on appear on the device. They’re also integrated with mobile versions of Office and Office 365.

Mango represents a mostly sweet upgrade. But it needs more apps.

E-mail: ebaig@usatoday.com. Follow @edbaig on Twitter.

The bottom line

Windows Phone 7.5

(code-name Mango) upgrade

http://www.microsoft.com/

windowsphones

•Pro. Slick Metro interface and Live Tiles improved. More social-networking options. Rich search. Showcases apps in search results. Adds custom ring tones, multitasking, groups and more. Tight integration with Zune, Office, Xbox Live.

•Con. Still trails in apps sweepstakes. Not available for all handsets at the outset.

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/edwardbaig/story/2011-09-28/ed-baig-windows-mango-review/50592482/1

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Mango, Windows Phone 7

 

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12 Awesome Server Admin Apps for Windows Phone 7


Previously, we looked we looked at server admin apps for the iOS and Android mobile operating systems. Now, we’ll look at some server and administration apps for the Windows Phone 7 platform. These apps are designed for monitoring, remote desktop management, database administration and a variety of other server-related tasks.

1. Pingdom Pulse

Pingdom Pulse (Free) provides access to your free or paid Pingdom account, a hosted third-party server monitoring service. You can view a summary of all your Pingdom checks, including current status and response time. You can also see a summary of the past 30 days performance for each check. Additionally, you can run manual checks on any http server.

2. Mobile Server Stats

Mobile Server Stats ($1.99 after trial) provides remote real-time monitoring stats of a Windows Server or PC when its free server component is installed on the computer. Get standard statistics (e.g., on system, CPU, drives, processors, services, running processes, users and groups) and add custom WMI queries. It also includes simple HTTP server monitoring. You can view real-time statistics or cached polls stored on the computer.

3. Network Tools

Network Tools (Free ad-based or $2.99) uses a remote server to run pings, TCP port connection tests and HTTP/HTTPS connection tests. It also provides a graphical display of their ping, port 80 and HTTP response statuses. Remember, a remote server is used, so it can’t reach local resources; they must be accessible via the Internet.

4. Wake My PC

Wake My PC (Free) lets you remotely boot up computers via the Wake-On-LAN (WOL) protocol. This is especially useful if you must remotely access files or connect via remote desktop. You must configure your compatible computer (in the BIOS) and network to use WOL. Then, simply enter in the computer’s MAC address and Internet IP info.

5. Mobile DDNS

Mobile DDNS ($0.99) is a DDNS client for your phone to update DDNS providers: DynDNS, NameCheap and ZoneEdit. This is great if you must connect to your phone via the Internet. You don’t have to find and track your public IP. Just use the host name from a DDNS provider, and it will always point to your phone.

6. Cool Remote

Cool Remote (Free) is used to remotely connect to and control a Windows (XP/2003/Vista/2008) machine running its free server application from your phone or any other computer via the web browser. It features full PC keyboard support (including ctrl, alt, shift, tab, esc, win, fn, home and end) and multi-monitor support. You can input connection details or scan the local network to find the PC.

Source: http://www.serverwatch.com/server-reviews/12-awesome-server-and-admin-apps-for-windows-phone-7.html

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Android, Windows Phone 7

 

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Samsung Focus S Windows Phone Mango Stops Over at FCC en Route to AT&T


On its way to landing on U.S. carrier AT&T, the Windows Phone 7 Mango-powered Samsung Focus S has stopped over at the FCC for a brief layover for regulatory approval. The device is considered one of the most feature-rich Windows Phone Mango devices on the market and it will differentiate itself from other offerings with a Super AMOLED Plus display, similar to those found on the company’s flagship Galaxy S II series Android smartphones, that will offer high contrast, vibrant colors, and deep blacks.

https://i0.wp.com/cdn.gottabemobile.com/wp-content/uploads/focuss3-201109171.jpg

The Focus S is one of three new Mango-powered phones for AT&T’s U.S. network and features the same 4.3-inch WVGA resolution Super AMOLED Plus screens that are found on the Android Galaxy S II smartphones, along with an 8-megapixel rear camera and front-facing camera, a 1.4 GHz processor, and support for AT&T’s 4G HSPA+ network–unfortunately, Windows Phone 7 still doesn’t support 4G LTE as of yet.

Pricing and availability still is not known at this time. Given the device’s close resemblance to the Galaxy S II smartphone, it may be priced in the same range as the high-end Android handset.

The Focus S will be joined by thee larger 4.7-inch HTC TITAN and the mid-range Samsung Focus Flash smartphones.

Source: http://www.gottabemobile.com/2011/09/20/samsung-focus-s-windows-phone-mango-stops-over-at-fcc-en-route-to-att/

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in AT&T, Mango, Samsung, Windows Phone 7

 

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