Category Archives: Windows 7 Phone

Windows Phone 7 Update To Add IAP, Other Stuff

Windows Phone 7 has a serious amount of catching up to do both in market share and with apps if it wants to seriously compete with the iPhone and the App Store, but we’ve always seen the handheld as a promising contender. Part of that reason has to do with its Games Hub, which is essentially a mobile take on Xbox Live. It’s packed with promise, and Microsoft has continued to take the steps in the right direction. Today’s news is a good example of that: the next release of Windows Phone 7, Mango, will allow in-app purchases and add-on content. This is huge, as we all know free-to-play is a meaningful mobile model.

There’s more, of course. In the Fall-bound update, Microsoft will introduce badges that you can put on your avatar after earning certain achievements. Also, it’s bulking up its network support, cleaning up the UI in a significant way by introducing sensible views and blades, and it’s integrating a lot of Xbox Live “Extras” into the actual Hub. If you really want to dive into the nitty-gritty, this blog post and this earlier blog post on the Windows Phone Blog both break it all down pretty well, canned as it is.

In addition to the former stuff, Microsoft has also announced a bunch of new games slated to hit the platform within the next few months. Most of them are unknown to us, but if you have a 360 or a Kinect, these two brands might ring a bell: Toy Soldiers and Kinectimals. Yeah, mobile versions of these titles are coming. Can you hear me shrugging? I’m shrugging.

It strikes me as weird that we’re still in a wait and watch stance on Windows Phone 7 a year or so out of release, but the platform still doesn’t feel as robust as Microsoft wants it to be. Updates like this, though, are definitely a sign of solid progress.


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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in iPhone, Mango, Microsoft, Windows 7 Phone


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Windows Phone Tango: Windows Phone 7 Update To Dance into our Near Future?

Currently, the latest buzz coming from Microsoft seems to revolve, or rather dance, around Tango. This is supposedly the new update for the Windows Phone 7 OS. As of now, all WP7 phones run on the stock build (soon to be upgraded to Mango) and though it is not sure whether the Tango release will be labeled as OS 7.5, it is certain that there will be one, perhaps two, such releases.

There hasn’t been any solid confirmation from Microsoft; not even a statement relating to the Tango release. There has also been no announcement, as usual, about future projects and codenames from the computing giant.

It is a known fact that the OS for Windows Phone 8 is termed Apollo and many are looking forward to it. With a design revamp in place, followed by a more streamlined kernel, mobile enthusiasts are looking forward to getting their hands dirty on the Apollo OS. However, the Tango release has come as a surprise to most in the industry.

While it is quite certain that Tango will be an OS update and next release, there is doubt about the update itself as to how much of a change it will mean. Microsoft has the habit of delivering major OS updates on a yearly basis; Apollo is to be in place in 2012 after Mango, released early 2011. Therefore, speculations leave Tango to be only a minor update.

Speculation is also building up about the extent of release of the Tango update. Some experts say that it will be an Asia exclusive release and there is a chance that this will be exclusively for Nokia and will go a long way in lowering the price of Windows OS phones from Nokia. With an affordable release, which Tango holds promise of, the Windows phones can definitely grasp the lower end of the market that Android phones are yet to reach, and which the iPhone will never reach.

Microsoft has also been in the news for a recent change in the handling of reins. Charlie Kindel, a Microsoft veteran and placed high up in the Windows Phone department has left the company to found a startup. The position has been filled by Matt Bencke. Whatever the Tango release will have or change, it is bound to make an impact and might even be the key for grabbing potential customers when Apollo is released next year.


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Posted by on August 18, 2011 in Microsoft, Windows 7 Phone, WP7


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As Rebelling Developers Turn to Web Apps, Can Windows Phone Take Advantage of Apple’s Concessions in the App Economy?

Rather than succumb to Apple’s demands on sharing the spoils of in-app purchases, content and service providers are now turning to web apps to free themselves of the shackles of the iOS App Store. Playboy had done that in the past to get away from the content restriction of the App Store as the magazine’s flesh-tainted pages would be deemed unsuitable for minors, and just this week we’re seeing Walmart’s Vudu division bypassing a native iOS app to stream movie rentals to the iPad. Instead, the nation’s leading retailer is opting to go the way of the web app, leveraging iOS’s Safari browser to deliver the HTML5 streams. Additionally, is going the same route with its Kindle app, taking books and their pages to the cloud, and rendering them on a beautiful web-enabled browser near you, sans app.

Developer Dissatisfaction

As big name content providers are turning away from the famed App Store, which dominates consumer mind share and good old market share as far as having the most apps of any mobile platform, this leaves a big opportunity for rival OS-makers to capitalize on Apple’s mistakes as it learns how to handle the developer community that made it huge in the first place. However, is there even opportunity or room for rivals to leverage this golden opportunity?

Web Apps May Be the Future, But Microsoft has the Most to Gain Today

In somewhat of an ironic twist, in the past I’ve called on Microsoft, RIM, HP, Nokia, and others to embrace web apps to break developers free of the iOS shackles in favor of broader platform compatibility. Essentially, with HTML 5, all of iOS’s rivals can pool together their market share to create a dominating presence that can rival the scale of iOS to make it profitable for developers to write for those platforms by utilizing a single web app. However, given recent turns of events, it seems that Apple is already pushing developers towards web apps–albeit unintentionally–and my position has since changed. Rather than pool together, Microsoft, which stands to gain the most, should go and poach developers that are now displeased with Apple.

Currently, with Apple being embroiled in bitter legal disputes with Android and its hardware partners, potentially banning the sales of hot Android devices, that platform has more important things to try to sort out than the app economy. Research in Motion’s migration between BlackBerry 7′s position as a stepping stone to a BlackBerry smartphone platform based on the QNX engine may find developers uneasy in this state of purgatory. Additionally, the platform’s schizophrenic juggle of BlackBerry App World apps and Android apps on the PlayBook tablet may be more confusing than needs to be. And given webOS’s rather lackluster debut on the TouchPad, perhaps the best platform to leverage Apple’s weakness here is Windows Phone 7, especially considering Nokia’s huge weight behind the platform today.

Microsoft Has a Solid Past with Recruiting Content-Based Apps

Microsoft may be in the best position to come out ahead in the war of ecosystem as Apple tries to sort out its developer relationships. The company had been wise in the past by paying developers to create compelling apps to launch alongside Windows Phone 7 when that platform debuted a year ago. And to that end, we saw great content from Amazon’s Kindle to Netflix’s movie streaming to Zune for music. It’s only recently that Android is catching up with the breadth of professional, valuable content available for Windows Phone, and that’s saying something!
Microsoft Should Target Developers Displeased with Apple

By appeasing developers in areas where Apple had created the most hurt, Microsoft may finally be able to garner more apps for its Marketplace for Windows Phone 7. Though in order to do this, the company will have to prove to the developer community that with Nokia it will be able to achieve huge gains in market share to be worth developer time and effort in creating these apps. However, with Apple upsetting magazine publishers over subscription policies and app developers over revenue sharing for in-app purchases and linked stores, we’re beginning to see big cracks out of Apple’s minimalist glass facade. Now would be the time for Microsoft and rivals to pounce, but can they? iOS still commands huge market share and vast mind share, and it will definitely be hard to break developers away from a trusted platform.



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China loses partial access to Windows Phone 7 Marketplace, Great Firewall to be blamed?

It’s a well-known fact that China’s Great Firewall isn’t particularly friendly with certain foreign online services, and sadly, it appears that we may now have a new victim joining the likes of Facebook, Twitter and, sometimes, Android Market. According to Windows Phone Sauce blogger Kane Gao, many Windows Phone 7 users in China have had limited access to the Marketplace over the last few days — they can’t download any app, but they can still browse content and receive update notifications.

While Microsoft’s service has yet to go live in China, Chinese users could still purchase apps by changing all of their profile location settings to the US. Alas, this trick is of no use now, though it’s unlikely that Microsoft’s the culprit here — it wouldn’t make sense to block genuine US users who are visiting China. Fortunately, Kane had no problem getting to the Marketplace via a US VPN, which is a big tell-tale sign showing that the Great Firewall has decided to barricade WP7’s very own app market. The reason? We’ll never know, and there’s no telling on whether this is a permanent ban, either. Nokia, being a big player in the country, sure hopes not.


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Posted by on August 11, 2011 in App, Windows 7 Phone, WP7


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Windows Phones Down 38% Since ‘7’ Launch

Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market is plummeting at an alarming rate–so much so that the company’s last ditch effort to make an impact in mobility, Windows Phone 7, may be irrelevant by the time it manages to ship the much-anticipated Mango update and realize its partnership with Nokia later this year.

Data released Thursday by comScore shows that Microsoft’s average share of the U.S. smartphone OS market over the three months ended in June came in at just 5.8%, down from 7.5% from the three months ended in March, and down from 8% for the three months ended in January.

The last number represents the first, full three-month period, as measured by Comscore, in which Windows Phone 7 devices were available–meaning Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market has fallen 38% (from 8% to 5.8%) since the Windows Phone 7 launch. That’s doubly troubling for Redmond, because the numbers also include Windows Mobile devices that are still in use. Actual sales are difficult to measure as Microsoft does not release such data.

Windows Phone 7 devices first became available from a range of manufacturers, including Samsung, HTC, LG, and Dell on Nov. 8, 2010, on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks. Sprint and Verizon subsequently picked up the platform.

The question is for how much longer handset makers and carriers will consider it worth supporting Windows Phone 7. Microsoft’s mobile market share has been declining at a compound rate of about 5% per month for the past six months. At that pace, its overall share may be be hovering around just 4% by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, rival Google is on track to dominate smartphones. Android devices held 40% of the market as of the end of June, according to Comscore. Apple’s share came in at 26.6%, while RIM’s share, also in decline, fell to 23.4%.

Microsoft is hoping to gain some ground when it introduces an updated version of Windows Phone 7, dubbed Mango, later this year. Mango adds 500 new features to the platform, including multitasking and hardware-accelerated Web browsing through Internet Explorer 9, according to Microsoft.

Mango’s debut should also coincide with the arrival of the first Nokia phones running Windows Phone 7, though Microsoft has yet to provide precise arrival dates for Mango or Nokia phones. Under a partnership announced last year, the Finnish phone maker is transitioning its entire smartphone line to Microsoft’s mobile OS.

Whether Windows Phone 7 is a legitimate player in the market by the time that happens remains to be seen. The current numbers suggest otherwise.


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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Microsoft, Nokia, Windows 7 Phone


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Groupme 3.0 hits 90 countries, Windows Phone 7 users

Group messaging service Groupme, which we’ve already covered in the past (heck we even spent few minutes interviewing co-founder Jared Hecht), has been updated and released in 90 countries. In addition, Windows Phone 7 is now also on the list of supported platforms, allowing Microsoft’s early adopters to join the conversation.

In addition, version 3.0 also brings support for “Questions,” which are envisioned to spark the conversation, help users plan their night out, find out what’s good in some restaurant, and so on. You can either direct a question to a few people or an entire group, or even post it to Twitter and Facebook and let the world respond. At the moment, questions are supported on the iPhone, Android, and Groupme’s website, with more platforms coming soon.

Direct Messaging is also included in this release, for those instances when you don’t need to say it to the whole group. Moreover, thanks to the web chat support, now you will be able to chat with your group from a comfort of your PC or Mac, relying on the full keyboard to keep the conversation rolling faster.

Like it? Search for Groupme in the app store you use or visit Groupme’s website and take it from there.


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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Android, Facebook, iPhone, Windows 7 Phone


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Microsoft has strong quarter, no thanks to Windows Phone 7

Microsoft just posted some strong numbers for its fourth quarter with $17.37 billion in revenue and $5.87 billion in profit but don’t look for Windows Phone 7 to be a major contributor.

In its official release, the company only mentions Windows Phone a couple of times and these are generally not very positive. One mention says it had increased sales and marketing expenses trying to get this thing out there. While the Entertainment & Device division great by 30 percent for the quarter, that’s all on the Xbox and the Kinnect.

We’re still waiting to hear on some solid numbers of Windows Phone adopters and that may come in the conference call. The last we heard was over 1.5 million but that was months ago and you would hope those numbers have increased greatly.

Even Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admits that sales are small but there is still hope for Microsoft in the mobile game with Windows Phone. The Nokia partnership should begin to bear fruit by the end of the year with things really picking up in 2012. Judging by Nokia’s earnings earlier today, both companies will need this to be a hit.

The company is also preparing Windows Phone Mango and this update should bring the platform on par with the competition. There are also a bunch of cool Windows Phone Mango handsets to look forward to.


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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Windows 7 Phone


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Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 Market Strategy: 10 Major Flaws

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 was supposed to be the operating system that would carry Microsoft’s mobile banner for the next few years. When Microsoft launched the platform, the software company said that Windows Phone 7 would be the reliable choice for those who want a high-quality mobile operating system and devices that will satisfy their needs.

However, Windows Phone 7 so far has not fulfilled that promise. The operating system lacks the polish that consumers and enterprise users are finding in competing platforms, such as iOS and BlackBerry OS. But most significantly, few consumers even consider Microsoft’s option a worthwhile competitor to Android. At this point, the marks against Windows Phone 7 far outweigh the advantages the platform enjoys.

But that doesn’t mean that all is lost. With some tweaks in strategy, Microsoft just might be able to stage a comeback in the mobile market.

Read on to find out what Microsoft is doing wrong, and what the company can be doing to address it.

1. Where are the top-notch phones?

As important as software is, hardware is still a key consideration for consumers thinking of buying a smartphone. Today’s consumer wants a fashionable design, a great-looking screen and some additional functionality, to boot. So far, Windows Phone 7-based devices have fallen short in nearly all of those areas. Until Microsoft can work with vendors to offer a device that’s on the same level as an iPhone or Motorola’s Droid 3, the software giant will have a hard time keeping up in today’s hotly contested mobile space.

2. The update process is a killer

Microsoft has been panned for delivering one of the worst update processes in the business. When owners of Samsung smartphones tried to update their smartphones earlier this year, some of the devices were disabled. After saying that it fixed the problem, Microsoft tried again, and the update failed. Eventually, Microsoft addressed the issue. However, many devices are still taking an inordinate amount of time to update, as evidenced by Microsoft’s own update tracker. As this point, updates might just be Windows Phone 7’s Achilles’ heel.

3. Nokia’s troubles

When Microsoft announced that it had inked a deal with Nokia that will see Windows Phone 7 become the “principal” operating system in the handset maker’s line of devices, the software giant indicated that it was on its way to catching up to Google’s Android platform. But let’s not forget that Nokia is in deep trouble and many consumers around the globe are losing faith in the company. Will Windows Phone 7 address that? Nokia is just one small piece of a much larger strategy that Microsoft must employ.

4. There’s no answer to Android

Google’s Android platform is the biggest threat to Microsoft right now. So far, Microsoft has been unable to slow Android’s growth in the mobile market. Some analysts say that Nokia should help Microsoft, but others aren’t so sure. And now, the question is, what can Microsoft really do to beat Android? It seems that Microsoft doesn’t know. And that’s not a good thing.


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Posted by on July 19, 2011 in Windows 7 Phone


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Microsoft’s Ballmer talks Windows 8, Windows Phone 7 and more

Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer has been making more comments about Microsoft’s future projects, including Windows 8. Ballmer made his latest remarks at the 2011 edition of the Imagine Cup finals, an annual competition that brings together hundreds of student programmers from around the world. This year’s Imagine Cup, which is sponsored by Microsoft is being held in New York City. Ballmer’s opening speech is reprinted on Microsoft’s web site where he admitted that this is the first time he has attended the Imagine Cups finals.

Ballmer talked about a number of Microsoft’s divisions and businesses in his speech. He spoke in general about Windows 8, saying, “Hey, what’s Windows 8? How do we drive it? What do we make happen? What are the key phenomena? When do we get to release it? How do we make it better, and better and better? Yes, there are some other guys we compete with. Boom we’ve got to do better, and better, and better, and better, and better. It’s pretty exciting, pretty exciting stuff.”  Later in his speech Ballmer stated, “Windows 8 will be pretty important. You’ll hear more about that at our developer conference Build in September.” Rumors have already hit the Internet that the Build conference is where Microsoft will release the first beta version of Windows 8.

Ballmer also spoke about the Windows Phone business, saying, ” … we’re charging forward with Nokia. We have the second generation of our phones coming out this Christmas, and people are starting to do things they had never imagined before.” he also talked about the recently launch of the cloud-based Office 365 software suite and how businesses in general are using cloud based services more and more. He states, “Twelve months ago, you talked to these big corporate IT departments and they’d say, we’re not moving to the cloud. They were very conservative. Here we are 12 months later, and people are saying, we know we’ve got to go, we’ve got to move. We don’t know exactly how quickly, some things will move fast and slow.”

Ballmer also briefly mentioned the company’s upcoming acquisition of the Skype Internet phone service and also the Bing search engine, stating, ” … most of us as human beings want to command these systems to do something for us. And the core technology we’re developing to understand and try to simulate the world of users and what they’re interested in, and how they want to get it done is all being done in Bing.”


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Posted by on July 13, 2011 in Windows 7 Phone, Windows 8


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Windows Phone Mango to support 17 new languages, feature 20 new keyboard layouts

Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system, launched in October of last year, is due to get a major update this fall codenamed Mango. Some of the new features it’ll bring to the table are a new web browser based on the same code used to build Internet Explore 9 for Windows, multitasking support for third party applications, an improved search application that can perform queries based on images and sound clips, and more. According to the official Windows Phone Blog there’s one other feature that’ll come that should have many of our international readers happy, and that’s support for additional languages; 17 in total: Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Swedish. And of course with new languages come new keyboards, with a total of 20 additional keyboards being added to Mango. Continuing on this theme of international expansion and eventual world domination, Windows Phone applications will now be available for purchase in a total of 35 countries.

All of this still doesn’t change our mind that the platform isn’t being adopted because consumers just don’t see the point. If you’re someone who spends all day online, there’s a likely chance that you use Google services and thus want a device running Google’s Android operating system. If you’re addicted to gaming or have a painting of Steve Jobs hanging in your bedroom, then there’s no point to get something other than iOS. Windows Phone is different just for the sake of being different, and as fancy as that Metro UI is … being different doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. You have to bring something compelling to the table, and Bing Maps sure as hell isn’t going to do that.

Are you a Windows Phone user? What do you like best about the platform and why did you opt to go for it versus something else? Sound off in the comments below.


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Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Windows 7 Phone, WP7