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Daily Archives: October 11, 2011

Jil Sander Unveils Designer Windows Phone Mango Smartphone


Fashion designer Jil Sander has dished out a Windows Phone 7 smartphone, becoming yet another fashion house to offer mobile phones as fashion accessories.

According to The Telegraph, the device, which has been made by mobile phone maker LG, comes with the latest Windows Phone 7 Mango offering.

The device is sleek and elegant and is available for €300, a lot more affordable than the devices released by other fashion houses like Vertu, Dolce and Gabana and watch maker Tag Heuer.

The mobile “is a proposition of unique design, fusing the brand aesthetic values of modernity, purity and understated luxury with the latest technological innovations”, the designer claims.

The Jil Sander Mobile measures 4.8 by 2.4 inches and is quite slim with 0.4 inch thickness. The device comes with a 3.8 inch touchscreen and runs on a 1 GHz Qualcomm processor. The smartphone comes with 16GB of storage and a 5MP camera capable of shooting high definition video.

This is also probably the first fashion inspired device that comes packed with functionality that is expected in a regular smartphone. It comes with support for DLNA media streaming technology, Bluetooth, USB 2.0 and Wi-Fi support.

Source: http://www.itproportal.com/2011/10/10/jil-sander-unveils-designer-windows-phone-mango-smartphone/

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Mango, Smartphone, Windows Phone

 

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HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 still going strong and proving the OS has great features


The HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7 smartphone was one of the first mobile phones to receive the mobile handset version of the popular Windows 7 PC operating system. Unlike Android operating systems, and much like Apple iOS software, the Windows Phone 7 operating system mimics a system many PC users are already familiar with using on their laptops and desktop computers. Also, compatibility between a mobile handset and any software or applications that handset owner may be using on their PC is guaranteed because the operating systems are basically one and the same.

Aside from being one of the very few phones which don’t employ Android or iOS software, the HTC HD7 is familiar in many regards. Physically, HTC employs the same basic form factor as most mobile handsets today, with a rectangular, black slab appearance. One way it stands out in design is with its handy kickstand which props the phone up for hands-free viewing of movies, videos and other content.

The 4.3 inch capacitive touchscreen LCD display offers 480 x 800 pixel resolution, and supports multitouch gesture navigation. A light sensor and a proximity sensor are built into the screen, and a protective layer of anti-scratch Corning Gorilla Glass overlays the display. Talk time runs to 6.3 hours on a single charge, 5.3 hours when operating on 3G, and standby time is 13 days.

The HTC HD7 offers a rear facing camcorder for recording video and still shots, and records in 1280 x 720 pixel resolution, which translates to 720P HD. The rear facing camcorder also features a dual LED flash, autofocus and several preprogrammed scenes. The HTC HD7 has an FM radio built into the handset, and video and audio players as well. The audio player supports MP3, WMA, M4A (Apple lossless) and M4B, while the video player can handle MPEG4, WMV, 3GP and 3G2 file formats.

On the software side, a Facebook app is preloaded, HTML web browsing is supported and the HTC HD7 is equipped to handle Adobe Flash media player videos and web pages. As we mentioned above, Windows phone 7 is the operating system on board the HTC HD7, and the processor is a 1.0 GHz chip with 576 MB of RAM and 512 MB of ROM memory supporting it.

Source: http://www.mobilebloom.com/htc-hd7-windows-phone-7-still-going-strong-and-proving-the-os-has-great-features/225293/

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Android, Apple, iOS, Windows Phone 7

 

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Hands-on: Windows Phone 7 Mango edition adds features, polish


Computerworld – The recent iOS 5 announcement highlighted several interesting additions to Apple’s app-focused operating system, such as the new Siri voice command interface, which will be available only on the iPhone 4S. In contrast, Microsoft’s new Mango version of Windows Phone 7 (which is actually version 7.5) helps fulfill that platform’s promise of helping people focus on the tasks they want to accomplish and the information they want to receive, rather than the apps they run — especially when it comes to social networking and communications.

I had a chance to try Mango out using a Samsung Focus. My conclusion? Windows Phone 7 now feels like a complete, polished operating system rather than a work in progress.

Changes to social networking and contacts

Microsoft has clearly targeted social networking and contacts with Mango. For a start, it fixes the most glaring issue with earlier versions of Windows Phone — incomplete support of social networking and difficulty with multitasking — and now supports Twitter and LinkedIn.
Mango
Mango targets social networking.
Click to view larger image

Social networking is now woven through the entire Windows Phone experience. You don’t need to consciously launch a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn app in order to gain the benefits of social networking, because their capabilities are integrated directly into the way you use the phone.

For example, a new profile pane for each contact shows a combined history of your communications with that contact, whether it be via email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or text messaging. A new pictures pane shows the photos that each contact has posted to Facebook and Windows Live. In addition, the new Me tile aggregates updates and content from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Windows Live, so you can see at a glance all the recent updates from your contacts on multiple social networking services. You can also use the Me pane to send updates to multiple social networking sites with a single post.

Another welcome change: Mango finally adds threaded messaging for email and text messaging, so you can easily follow all messages in a single conversation. And Mango introduces something even better: You can hold a single conversation with someone across multiple communications services. For example, if you start a conversation with someone on Facebook chat, you can continue that same conversation via text messaging.

Also new is the ability to filter which updates from which social networks you want displayed. If you’re suffering from Twitter fatigue, for example, you can tell Windows Phone to stop displaying Twitter updates. When you’re ready again for the unending Twitter stream, enable it.

And you can now place your contacts into groups — family, colleagues, people on your softball team and so on — using a feature appropriately named Groups. You can send out a single message to the entire group in several ways. You’ll also be able to see the combined social networking updates (and the newest phones) of everyone in the group at a glance. One feature I found especially useful: You can pin a group to your Start screen, and the group’s tile will tell you when anyone in the group posts to a social network or sends you a message. The tile also alerts you when you’ve missed a call.

Facebook integration has been strengthened, so events from Facebook are now included in your phone’s calendar. However, you can’t make changes to the Facebook events from the calendar — you’ll have to head to Facebook for that.
Mango

Microsoft also claims that Live Tiles update more frequently than in the past. As a practical matter, I didn’t notice a difference, but those addicted to the need for instant updates may see one.

Each of these changes to social networking is useful, but what really counts is the cumulative effect. Use Mango for a while, and you’ll find yourself more easily focusing on the content of your communications with others, and less on the mechanics of communications.

Bing takes center stage

The second most important set of Mango additions centers on Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, which has gained a bunch of new features.

To begin with, the new Local Scout feature integrates into Bing Maps and shows a variety of local information, including places to eat, drink and shop, as well as local attractions and events. It grabs that information from a variety of partners such as Yelp.

Overall, Local Scout is a nifty addition, but it’s only as good as the partner information, which is not always stellar. Restaurant information wasn’t comprehensive; in my neighborhood, for example, it left out several of the best restaurants and most interesting stores. As for local things to see and do, it included events well over an hour’s drive away, which may not fit everyone’s idea of local. And I found the recommendations in its “highlights” section, which are supposed to list the most interesting places and things to do, downright strange at times — for example, it listed a nearby burrito joint as one of the top three attractions in my vicinity. Note to Local Scout: My neighborhood is a whole lot more interesting than that.

Bing also adds a feature called Bing Vision, which is like a combination of the Google Goggles and Barcode Scanner Android apps. It scans bar codes, QR codes, Microsoft tags and the covers of CDs, DVDs and books; it then provides information about the object it scanned. I found the results to be hit-and-miss. It was able to identify the wireless Sonos 3 music system from a bar code, for example, but got the pricing wrong. It did, however, properly identify a CD of the opera Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner.

Bing Vision also says it will translate foreign words and signs into English. Based on my experience with it, though, it needs to re-take Languages 101. For example, when presented with the simple French phrase, Decrivez un acteur, it defined it as “Define an actor” rather than “Describe an actor.” Worse yet, when confronted by the simple sentence, Votre francais est excellent, it translated it as “Your English is excellent.”

A new music identification feature works like the Shazam music recognition app: It listens to and then identifies the song being played. I found it surprisingly accurate. As with similar apps, it had no trouble identifying popular music — and while I’ve found that Shazam often chokes on classical music, the Bing feature was no slouch, correctly identifying Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 after only a few seconds of listening.

The music ID feature also shows how Bing may eventually become less a standalone search engine than a kind of virtual glue connecting disparate parts of Windows Phone. For example, you can identify a song, have Bing search for the guitar tablature and lyrics, and then send the links to a music group you’ve set up.

Multitasking and apps

With Mango, Windows Phone joins the other major phone platforms in allowing a form of multitasking. You can now easily switch between running apps by pressing and holding the Back button. If all the open apps don’t fit on one screen, you can swipe to see others.

Apps have been better integrated into the operating system. Do a Bing search, for example, and you’ll see any related Windows Phone apps you might want to download. Tap the Music + Videos tile and swipe to the right, and you’ll see any related apps you’ve installed on your device, such as a built-in radio player app.

Speaking of apps: Microsoft Marketplace now has a substantial number — about 30,000. That’s certainly nowhere near the estimated 500,000 for iOS or 250,000 for Android. But you’ll find most of the popular apps you might expect, and you now have a solid choice of many others as well.

Interface tweaks

Mango introduces a number of welcome tweaks to the interface, notably on the Start screen. It’s much easier to customize it — you now have the ability to pin an item to the Start screen and move and delete tiles. You can also pin Groups and individual contacts, making it easier to follow friends. The Lock screen has received a modest makeover so that, if you’re listening to audio, you don’t need to unlock the phone in order to control your music player.

The on-screen keyboard is now context-sensitive, so it changes according to your task. When you’re text messaging, for example, you can choose from ASCII emoticons, and when you’re inputting an email address, you’ll find .com and @ keys.

Wi-Fi tethering

Mango gives Windows Phone the ability to share its 3G or 4G Internet connection with up to five other devices by setting up a Wi-Fi hot spot, something that Android devices and the iPhone already offer. But if you’ve got a Windows Phone device, don’t start celebrating yet because this feature won’t work on existing devices; only new ones will have this capability. (My review unit didn’t support tethering, so I was unable to test this feature.)

As with Android and the iPhone, you’ll have to pay extra for the tethering capability. Prices may vary depending on your carrier, although $20 per month is often the going rate. And tethering will not be available on every new Windows Phone device with Mango; availability will depend upon the specific device and carrier, so check before buying if this is important to you.
Other additions

Beyond all this, Mango has plenty of other features. The browser is now based on Internet Explorer 9 rather than 8, and its interface has been tweaked somewhat, so that the address bar is at the bottom of the screen. It includes support for a variety of Web standards, including HTML5, has a faster JavaScript engine and uses hardware acceleration for displaying graphics.

Windows Phone has always included voice commands, but you can now compose text messages and instant messages using your voice; Mango also will read text to you. But there’s nothing in Windows Phone that comes close to the new Siri feature in iOS 5, which performs complex, multistep tasks by voice alone.

A new SmartDJ feature automatically creates playlists from your music collection, and there’s better Xbox Live integration so that you can do things such as track how you’ve done in various games. There are now parental controls as well.
The bottom line

All in all, Mango is a significant upgrade to Windows Phone, and it brings out even more of the platform’s strengths, notably the way in which information is brought to you, rather than you having to go out and search for it. With Bing’s new features, and other improved functionality such as multitasking, Windows Phone is now a polished operating system.

Those with existing Windows Phone devices will welcome the upgrade. As for those buying a new phone, if you’re looking for a smartphone with a task-based approach rather than an app-based one, you’ll find Windows Phone 7.5 Mango to be a solid OS.

Preston Gralla is a contributing editor for Computerworld.com and the author of more than 35 books, including How the Internet Works (Que, 2006).

Source: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9220605/Hands_on_Windows_Phone_7_Mango_edition_adds_features_polish_?taxonomyId=89

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Mango, Microsoft, Windows Phone 7

 

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SkyMap for Windows Phone 7.5 Gets Full Point to Sky Experience


SkyMap application for Windows Phone was recently updated to version 1.5.

What is SkyMap for Windows Phone 7?
SkyMap provides interactive sky maps for any time, viewpoint and location on Earth. It shows the different names, coordinates, magnitude, astronomical rise and set times plus additional information for over 110000 stars, messier objects, planets, sun and the moon.

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New Features in version 1.5

* point to sky mode, using the phone’s compass sensors
* fast app switching
* improved UI

Details about the new features in version 1.5
This is the first release of the SkyMap application for Windows Phone 7.5 (“Mango”) . It exposes the full implementation of the point to sky feature, using the compass sensor (if available). Now, users can point their phones to the sky, and SkyMap will help them identify and explore the stars, constellation and other objects in the sky.

The new version of SkyMap now supports the fast app switching mechanism, which allows users to instantly come back to the application. Also the system tray and application bar respect the night mode theme.

The Windows Phone 7 (NoDo) users were not forgotten, as SkyMap 1.4 became available for download a few days ago. This version improves the existing UI bars, making them more consistent with the familiar look and feel of the standard application bar. The usability of these UI bars was highly improved (by using expandable text descriptions).

SkyMap 1.5 includes all the features that were added in SkyMap 1.4.
Read more about SkyMap products here: http://www.skymaponline.net/wp7.aspx

Marketplace Information:

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Source: http://wmpoweruser.com/skymap-for-windows-phone-7-5-gets-full-point-to-sky-experience/

 

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Windows Phone 7

 

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Windows Phone 7, Day 30: WP7 ‘Mango’ Is Ready for Prime Time


30 Days With Windows Phone 7: Day 30

Another 30 Days journey comes to an end. For me, the 30 Days With Windows Phone 7 has been the most enjoyable and enlightening of them all so far.

The first time I experimented with Windows Phone 7 there were some things I liked about it, but overall I found it disappointing. It took Microsoft another year and two major updates, but with “Mango” I can honestly say that I think Microsoft has a solid mobile OS worthy of competing against iOS and Android.

My son recently drowned his iPhone 3GS and chose to replace it with a Motorola Atrix 4G. It is fine and he likes it. Both the Motorola hardware and the Android OS seem capable enough. The couple times I have played with it, though, I have felt like it is a cheap knock-off of the real thing–like having a Pepsi instead of Coca Cola, or eating at Burger King instead of McDonald’s. It’s OK, but I already have the “real thing” in my iPhone 4.

Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” is a whole different story. It is a unique mobile OS that delivers a different experience that doesn’t simply try to imitate iOS–more like having a Red Bull instead of a Coca Cola, or eating at KFC instead of McDonald’s. It’s not that I like it better than iOS per se. I like it about the same but for different reasons.

When Microsoft first launched Windows Phone 7 and ran the marketing campaign about how it’s time for a phone to save us from our phones, and how Windows Phone 7 is designed to get you in, and out, and back to life, I thought they were a little silly. I mean, even with Windows Phone people will still be surfing the Web, checking email, texting people, etc.–so how exactly is that different?

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The fact of the matter is that it’s not–at least not at its core. I do still use Windows Phone to accomplish the same things, but there is actually something more to the Windows Phone ads than just marketing hype. The way Microsoft has integrated functionality into the Hubs, and seamlessly merged different features and services together makes it more streamlined and really does enable me to accomplish what I need to do and get back to life…if that is my goal.

I won’t bother recapping all of the things I like or don’t like about Windows Phone 7. You can feel free to peruse the whole 30 Days series and get those details. I will sum up by saying I was more than pleasantly surprised by “Mango”. Frankly, I was shocked at how awesome it is, and how much I really like it.

As I wrap up the 30 Days With Windows Phone 7 series, I can honestly say I found myself torn between Windows Phone and iOS, and seriously considering moving from my iPhone 4 to the HTC Titan when it becomes available from AT&T. In the end, though, I ended up sticking with iOS and pre-ordering the iPhone 4S.

It was a tough call. I use a Windows PC, and I rely on Microsoft Office, so a “Mango” smartphone would be a natural fit to some extent. But, the changes coming next week with iOS 5 and iCloud, and the seamless syncing between my iPhone, my iPad, and my Windows PC–combined with my existing investment in iOS apps–make a compelling case for iOS…at least for me.

I can’t stress enough, though, that you should take a look at Windows Phone if you’re in the market for a new smartphone. It is a very capable mobile OS and I am confident that you will not be disappointed. You owe it to yourself to at least check it out and seriously weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

Source: http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/241544/windows_phone_7_day_30_wp7_mango_is_ready_for_prime_time.html

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Android, iOS, Mango, Windows Phone 7, WP7

 

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