Category Archives: AT&T

Windows Phone 7 Mango Update Next Week?

Windows Phone 7.5 adds long-awaited features like multitasking and native 4G support to Microsoft’s mobile platform.

A Microsoft official said the company may begin distributing the widely-anticipated Mango update for Windows Phone 7 as early as next week.

“For months, we and dozens of partner companies have been laying the groundwork for the Windows Phone 7.5 update–and making solid progress. As a result, we now expect to start rolling it out in the next week or two,” said Eric Hautala, general manager for Customer Experience Engineering in Microsoft’s Windows Phone group.

Mango is officially known as Windows Phone 7.5. It adds more than 500 new features to the Windows Phone platform, including multitasking and 4G support. For those who can’t wait to get their hands on the official update, Hautala cautioned against downloading and installing pre-release versions that have been circulating on the Web.

“During the official Windows Phone 7.5 update process, every Windows Phone will also receive software from the handset manufacturer,” Hautala said, in a blog post. “This matched and paired firmware has been painstakingly tuned so your phone–and apps–work with all the new features of Windows Phone 7.5. Since your phone requires the proper firmware to function as designed my advice is simple: steer clear of bootleg updates and homebrew tools.”

Users of the current version of Windows Phone 7 will need to update their devices through their personal computers. Windows PC users will need to install the latest version of the Zune software for PCs, while Mac users, if there are any that use Windows Phone, will need Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac. Windows Phone devices are available from HTC, Dell, Samsung, and LG. Nokia will join the group later this year as Microsoft’s go-to partner for Windows Phone under a strategic alliance.

Mango adds numerous improvements to Windows Phone, from new end-user features to transparent back-end services, according to Microsoft.

A feature called Threads lets users glide between text, Windows Live Messenger, and Facebook chat within the same “conversation.” Groups lets users receive and send messages from predefined social or business circles directly to and from the Smart Tiles home screen. Contact Cards have been enhanced to include feeds from Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as previously supported networks.

Local Scout, which is integrated with Bing, yields hyper-local search results for dining, shopping, and entertainment. Mango also adds long-awaited multitasking capability, which lets users move freely between applications and pick up and resume where they left off. 4G wireless support is embedded.

For security-conscious enterprise customers, Mango adds support for various rights management technologies. For example, it lets authorized users open emails tagged with restrictions such as “do not forward” or “do not copy.” Additionally, it beefs up integration with authoring and collaboration tools like Lync and Office 365.

In the U.S., Windows Phone is available on the AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile networks.


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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in AT&T, Dell, HTC, Mango, Microsoft, Samsung, 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.

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.


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


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Windows Phone 7 Has No Soul

I decided to visit both an AT&T store and a T-Mobile store to check out the Windows Phone 7 devices. I did this because nobody I know has one I can play with, and Microsoft doesn’t seem too keen on showing off the devices.

I noticed immediate differences between the AT&T and T-Mobile stores. The AT&T greeters and floor sales folks are extremely aggressive and helpful, and the store was nice and lively. The T-Mobile store was more laid back. Nobody even said hello. It’s as if the T-Mobile folks know that they are doomed and will gobbled up by AT&T at any minute.

Both stores have Windows Phone 7 well displayed. One $49 Samsung phone with an AMOLED screen at the AT&T store was a real gem.

I played with a couple of the devices to get a feel for the OS and upon some serious reflection I came to an interesting conclusion. The Windows Phone 7 OS and devices have no soul. It’s almost inexplicable, but saying this is the easiest way to describe it.

I now believe it’s because the folks at Microsoft have no understanding of the principles of Wabi-Sabi, a Japanese concept based on the premise that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. This is why many great artists from Eastern disciplines often damage or create flaws in what might otherwise be a perfect work.

Here is a description of Wabi-Sabi taken from the Wikipedia:

“Wabi-sabi is the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of traditional Japanese beauty and it occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection in the West.” “if an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi.” “[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”

I only bring this up to try and understand why Windows Phone 7 has no soul.

Let me begin by saying that Windows Phone 7 is incredibly slick. In fact, it’s impressive in every way. But there’s slick and then there’s contrived. This is both, which contribute to the lack of soul.

It’s like one of those over-produced annual company reports, with all of the same peculiarly lit photos of executives taken from some oblique angle. It’s as if Microsoft went way out of its way to make it perfect and modern. The problem is that there is nothing endearing or cute or personable. It’s just hyper-slick. The fonts are perfect. The colors are perfect. It’s like that perfect girl everyone knew in high school who had no personality.

I know I’m going to get blasted by someone for making these claims, but, really, why isn’t this OS and its devices—especially that $49.95 one—setting the world on fire?

In a recent column, I mentioned that it is apparent that too much of the Microsoft decision making seems to based on focus groups and audience reaction. This phone has to epitomize that process because it has amazing characteristics that only a committee would actually implement.

For example, go to the contact list. Details slide around in ways that are just too precious. When you play with the device, you are constantly reminded that windows are not just opening, they are debuting with fanfare. All that is missing is a trumpet bleep and a haughty voice to announce the scene.” Ladies and gentlemen, the contact page for Miss Jennifer Anthony. All rise!”

I dunno, maybe I’m making too much out of it, but I feel kind of bad for Windows Phone. To go through this much trouble to create what may be a masterpiece and get zero attention has got to be depressing for the developers. Apparently, perfection is not that attractive or fun. I hate to pile on, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a fun or playful element to the devices either.

So we perfection combined with no fun, no personality, and no soul.

How can you even manage accomplishing that? Windows Phone 7 devices have all of the charm of a dentist’s office. But for $49 on a decent plan, I’d get one. I’d have a conversation piece, at least.


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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in AT&T, Microsoft, T-Mobile, WP7


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Upgrading Your Smartphone Just Got More Expensive on AT&T

AT&T has updated its early upgrade and no-commitment pricing for smartphones by as much as $150, according to reports. Off-contract early upgrades for devices like the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, Android and Windows Phone 7 devices have increased $50. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 6, 2011 in Android, AT&T, iPhone, Smartphone, WP7


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AT&T cuts prices on Windows Phone 7 handsets, Samsung Captivate

AT&T has launched another major sale on Windows Phone 7 handsets, dropping the prices of the Samsung Focus and the LG Quantum down to a measly $50 on a new two-year contract. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in AT&T, Blackberry, Samsung, Windows Phone 7, WP7


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