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AT&T’s Windows Phone 7 lineup: HTC Titan, Samsung Focus S & Focus Flash (first look)


Summary: Will these Windows Phone 7 “Mango” phones from AT&T make it to a stocking near you this holiday?

Microsoft’s Phone President Andy Lees showed off  three AT&T-branded Windows Phone 7 (Mango) phones at the All Things Digital Asia conference in Hong Kong this morning.

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While you may be able to recite the features of Mango by heart, you probably couldn’t tell these WP7 handsets apart, especially when they’re all displaying the same ‘Metro’ home screen (see right). Well, consider this as your cheat sheet to AT&T’s upcoming WP7 offerings: the HTC Titan (left), Samsung Focus S (center) and Samsung Focus Flash (right).

HTC Titan

True to its name, the HTC Titan from AT&T has the biggest display of the bunch at 4.7 inches, which beats yesterday’s largest phone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, by 0.05-inch. According to the Window Phone Blog, it has a 9.9-mm profile, a 1.5 GHz processor under the hood, an 8-megapixel rear camera with dual LED flash (plus a front cam), and offers a brushed aluminum back with the curves (and build) that HTC phones are known for.

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Samsung Focus S

The Samsung Focus S may be the middle child in AT&T’s WP7 portfolio but there is nothing middling about the phone. It serves up Samsung’s specialty: a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, powered by a 1.4 GHz CPU that is capable of 4G speeds, along with a 8-megapixel rear and 1.3-megapixel front camera, in a svelte 8.55-millimeters package. What’s not to like about these specs?

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Samsung Focus Flash

It’s easier to differentiate the Samsung Focus S from the Focus Flash as the latter has a more modest 3.7-inch Super AMOLED screen, sharper lines and a slightly slower 1.4 GHz processor under the display. It’ll likely be the most budget-friendly WP7 from AT&T so bargain hunters should keep their eye out on the Focus Flash rather than its flashier brothers.

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AT&T has yet to announce a ship date or pricing for these phones so no need to lineup at your local store for now. There’s still plenty of time until the holiday.

Source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/gadgetreviews/at-ts-windows-phone-7-lineup-htc-titan-samsung-focus-s-focus-flash-first-look/27934

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Posted by on October 20, 2011 in HTC, Mango, Samsung, Windows Phone 7, WP7

 

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Integrating SharePoint social features in Windows Phone 7 apps


“Windows Phone is designed to help you be productive right out of the box,” says Microsoft. One of the ways the software giant hopes to do this is through the integration of a SharePoint social feature into Windows Phone 7 applications which can help most businesses “work better on a people level”.

At this year’s Tech*Ed Africa, founder and director at Aptillon and SharePoint expert, Matthew McDermott discussed some the ways in which Windows Phone 7 users can use SharePoint web services to work with social data.

SharePoint collaboration software helps simplify business intelligence, content management, search, and sharing for intranet and internet sites.

At the moment, MacDermott explains that smartphones running Windows Phone 7 are the only ones that use a web browser or third-party app to connect with SharePoint. “This helps users share and stay connected to documents you need on the road, with support for full-fidelity viewing (online or offline), editing and syncing PowerPoint, Word, and Excel documents.”

“The SharePoint social and search web services allows developers create Windows Phone 7 applications that can find users and profile information and other social data including news feeds and comments. Creating social applications or integrating social data into a Windows Phone application can help users stay connected and informed,” says Microsoft.

McDermott explains that developers can replicate many of the features that SharePoint My Sites offer in a Web browser with their mobile application.

“The flow of the application will consist of a panoramic page with list boxes for Recently Viewed People, My Newsfeed, My Activities and My Colleagues. Anywhere a user selects another user’s image, the profile of the user they select will open in a new page. Search results will be presented in a list box, and selecting a user will display the user’s profile,” he explains.

One major benefit that McDermott focuses on is social data through Push Notification:

* Persistent notification service
* Push from a external application to the mobile device
* Allows an application to respond to external events without requiring the application to be in the foreground
* Notification-aware applications can subscribe to notifications

Push Notification does require a constant connection to the internet and the applications “must allow” users to opt in, which means users are able to unsubscribe. Devices are limited to 30 subscribed applications per device and notifications may be suppressed in low battery scenarios, so users are not guaranteed of delivery to device. There is also limit of 500 notifications/day/subscription for unauthenticated unless a TLS cert is used.

By integrating SharePoints social features into the applications developers can provide push notifications that alert users when SharePoint list data, or social data has changed. With such socially integrated lives on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, developers can use these external sites to compliment the social functionality of their application.

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Social networking requirement

* Network connectivity is required
* Checks for network connectivity must be implemented
* Authorisation is performed with the OAUTH protocol
* A web browser is used to authenticate users
* You must sign up for an account with the social network you wish to integrate with
* Signing up for an account provides you the keys you need to authenticate you application
* Custom controls may be used to send data to social networking sites

The argument, is that in the age where social and mobility drive productivity and collaboration the integration of social data to SharePoint social features to Windows Phone 7 is a logical step for Microsoft.

Source: http://memeburn.com/2011/10/integrating-sharepoint-social-features-in-windows-phone-7-apps/

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2011 in Windows Phone 7 App, WP7

 

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Windows Phone 7 App Recap – Freebies


The folks over at Microsoft were kind enough to let Platform Nation in on some Windows Phone 7 action for the last couple of months, and while I was initially hoping to give you all the details on Mango (Windows Phone’s latest OS release), I decided to give you an overview of some of the apps I’ve been using instead. If you’re looking for an OS review, stay tuned, as we’ll be getting more coverage on Windows Phone 7, which will include a full overview of the (in my opinion) incredible features that are packed into this OS.  I even picked up an HTC Trophy from Verizon for myself and my wife, we liked what we saw that much.

But I’m getting ahead of myself; in this recap, I thought I’d highlight some of the quality Free apps in the marketplace that I’ve come across so far.  This is far from an inclusive or exhaustive list, but what you’re about to see is what I have used and loved so far.  The links for the apps will take you to the Marketplace for the app, where you can download and add it to your phone from the website – no syncing to your computer is necessary!

Weave – News Reader: Weave is an app that “gets” what being a Windows Phone 7 app is all about.  It utilizes the Metro theme well, bringing you news based on topics you select when you first load it up.  Think the default options suck (they don’t)? Then use the in-app Google Feed search service to add more, or even punch in the RSS feed address directly (Like, say, http://feeds.feedburner.com/platformnation). Going through the news in the list will show you twenty articles on a page, with a click taking you to whatever the article has before the More tag.  You can easily view the article from within the app to see the entire article, share the article with Twitter, Facebook, instapaper, or even email the link to yourself.  There is also a section of the app for featured articles, which takes the top news from what you like and puts them in a list of about 8 tiles horizontally.  Personally, I didn’t find it to be particularly useful, and usually just opted to go into the list of news for the particular topics I was interested in.  There’s some lag time initially while it loads up all the news, and if you have a lot of categories, this could take a little time (30 seconds at most), but you can read what you had downloaded before while you wait.  Overall, a solid news reader, and at 1MB, a lightweight one as well. Would be nice to see some Live Tile support (A top story headline perhaps).

AppFlow and WP7applist – App Discovery:  I list these two different apps together because they both do the same thing, and do it well.  Even with just 30,000 apps so far, finding what you want (or what you SHOULD want) can be a little tricky.  Surfing through the default marketplace on the phone is hit or miss for app discovery, so using AppFlow or WP7applist will help wade through the crap to get to what you should have.  Both feature search functions such as New & Impressive (new apps with high ratings), Apps Gone Free, and Highest Rated.  AppFlow has a few more search functions, such as Hidden Gems (low download but high rating) or David vs. Goliath (Official and unofficial apps for the same function, compared together).   WP7applist does have a nice live tile that shows the number of new marketplace releases in the last 24 hours.  Pick up either one, and start finding more things to download.

Sudoku, Minesweeper and Flowerz – Games:  Free games are always good.  Free Xbox Live games are better. And free Xbox Live games with achievement points?  Sign me up.  Sudoku and Minesweeper should need no introduction.  Both have a similar looking layout, with clean and crisp graphics that are both intuitive and responsive.  As a nice added bonus, you gain experience for completing (or partial credit for failing) each game, and this experience will allow you to level up and unlock powerups.  Examples of these powerups would be things like adding in all possible answers in pencil mode, or providing one correct answer (in Sudoku), or revealing a section of squares (which mark all the mines) or getting a shield that protects you from one mistake (in Minesweeper).  These powerups use energy that is accumulated over time, so it doesn’t imbalance the games too much, it just adds a nice perk to playing.  Both of these games offer 50 achievement points each.  Flowerz, which is a match-3 game, offers 200 points.  While well put together, the limited game modes in Flowerz will make it tough to plow through beyond the first couple of playthroughs. That being said, there is some decent challenge to the game, and I liked the leaderboard integration, that keeps you going by showing your score against what your friends have done in the game.  I just wish it wasn’t so.. blah.

TouchDevelop – App Development: My final app for this first review is a great example of what I really hope is the new Microsoft when it comes to developing software that really makes your excited about them.  TouchDevelop is a development tool for Windows Phone 7 that allows you to create apps from within the phone itself.  Well, “Apps” is a strong word – scripts might be better, as you run them from within this app, but there is a social aspect in that you can publish your scripts for others to use.  The tool is very robust, while still being accessible, and there are great tutorials to help you along.  If you ever wanted to channel your inner developer, or if you want to see some of the stuff that other people are creating with this tool, check this app out.  It stands out as being something truly unique and, well, awesome.  I have a feeling that as more people get on board with this tool, you will begin to see some truly creative programs being shared, and this will only help to create cooler features for your phone.

Like I said, there are a TON of great free apps out there (and I have more that I use every day).  Hopefully these apps will get you started on getting your news, finding new apps, playing some games, and maybe even making some of your own.

If you like what you read, or want to give feedback on what you want to see in the future, let us know in the comments section below.

Source: http://www.platformnation.com/2011/10/12/windows-phone-7-app-recap-freebies/

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2011 in App, Facebook, Verizon, Windows Phone 7

 

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Your dead iPhone is a gold mine – literally


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — If you’re one of the more than 1 million Apple enthusiasts who pre-ordered an iPhone 4S this week, you’re likely looking to ditch your old phone.

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The day that Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) unveils a new iPhone is like the Black Friday of cell phone trade-in services. Gazelle, one of the best known of the so-called “recommerce” sites for electronics, said that it received a phone every six seconds during Apple CEO Tim Cook’s presentation on Oct. 4.

As sales of expensive smartphones grow rapidly, trade-in sites have also risen in popularity. Their services give customers the opportunity to make some cash off their old devices, which shoppers can use toward their shiny new handsets. At one point last week, Gazelle had offered up to $284 for some iPhone 4 trade-ins.

But what happens to your trade-in once you ship it to Gazelle, ReCellular, NextWorth, Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) Trade-In, or any of the other recommerce sites out there?

First, cell phones are inspected for wear and tear and to see whether they still work. Damaged phones are assessed for salvageability.

All phones then go through a memory wipe. Each trade-in company said it wipes memory in two steps to ensure your data is completely erased from the phone. If the phone doesn’t work, the companies will physically destroy its memory.

“We make sure there are no late-night texts still on your phone,” said Joe McKeown, vice president of marketing at ReCellular.

Where old iPhones go to die

Phones that are in excellent shape are typically either sold directly to consumers on the trade-in companies’ sites, or they’re hawked on eBay (EBAY, Fortune 500) or Amazon. Gazelle receives so many iPhones that it tends to sell Apple’s smartphones to wholesalers, since the recommerce company lacks the manpower to sell all of them on eBay or Amazon.

But it’s in the traded-in junk where it starts to get interesting.

Can the iPhone 4S win over consumers?

Old phones that are in workable condition and still have some demand for them (think Motorola RAZR, LG enV) are sent to wholesale partners. Those wholesalers have access to retail chains in and out of the United States that specialize in selling used feature phones to customers.

“You’d be surprised, but these wholesalers find demand for those items around the world — usually in developing countries where there’s not a lot of supply for those products,” said Israel Ganot, CEO of Gazelle.

New but broken phones are typically sold to wholesalers that recondition the devices and sell them back to carriers or retailers for warranty replacement handsets.

Gazelle said about 90% of its devices are resold. ReCellular said roughly 80% of smartphones and 60% of feature phones are ultimately sold back to consumers.

“Typically there is some value in a device, but if it’s so old or broken, it needs to be recycled,” said Jeff Trachsel, spokesman for NextWorth.

How old?

“We’ll get those old bag phones or brick phones that are about a foot long,” said ReCellular’s McKeown. “Every day you get something like that.”

Gazelle said it has a small museum in its headquarters of surprising things people sent in, including a Motorola (MMI) DynaTAC 1980s-era “brick” phone, a Motorola StarTAC phone, a pager, a first-generation iPod, and an original Nintendo.

But “ancient” and broken technology actually has a lot of value — to trade-in sites, if not to you. Most won’t pay more than a few cents for these old phones, but they’ll happily recycle them if you send them in.

There are 0.034 grams of gold in each cell phone, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That’s the equivalent of 0.001 troy ounces, worth about $1.82 at today’s prices.

Melting millions from gold scraps

There are also 16 grams of copper, worth about 12 cents, 0.35 grams of silver, worth 36 cents, and 0.00034 grams of platinum, valued at 2 cents.

In bulk, that’s a ton of precious metal. In fact, ReCellular said it recycled enough gold last year to make 1,500 wedding bands and enough copper to make two Statues of Liberty. The trade-in companies all send parts to one of just two smelters in the United States, so that tiny amount of value becomes a treasure trove of bling.

“They’re doing this in very, very high volume,” said Ken Byer, CEO of Cloud Blue, Gazelle’s recycling partner of choice. “There’s more gold in a pound of electronics than a pound of gold ore, so it’s certainly worth it.”

So when you send in your old phone to get some cash, it could eventually become someone’s wedding ring.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2011/10/13/technology/iphone_trade_in/?source=cnn_bin

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2011 in Apple, iPhone

 

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Porting guides for Windows Phone 7


PORTLAND, OR, United States – In an effort to make sure mobile developers are prepared to start writing apps for Windows Phone, Symbian Qt has been added to the Windows Phone API mapping tool. The mapping tool is a utility for developers that serves as a translation dictionary between the Windows Phone platform and other mobile operating systems. The tool enables developers who are familiar with APIs from other platforms to see the equivalent class, method or notification events inside Windows Phone.

Intended strictly for developers, the Windows Phone API mapping tool includes core libraries for Qt 4.7 for Symbian, which includes: QtCore; QtGUI; QtLocation; QtNetwork; QtSql; QtXml; QtWebKit; QML Elements; and QML Components. There are also code samples and tutorials to help developers too.

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If you’re totally new to Windows Phone development, check out the white paper “Windows Phone Guide for Symbian Qt Application Developers”, released by Microsoft and Nokia that outlines the Windows Phone development cycle for Symbian Qt developers. There are 8 chapters, including Application Design guidelines, C# programming, Porting Applications to Windows Phone and more.

Rounding out the resources recently released, there’s a roadshow that will allow prospective Windows Phone developers to ask questions and receive in-person training.  The Nokia Windows Phone Training roadshow starts in Paris and moves to select locations throughout Europe and a few sessions in Australia as well.

Source: http://conversations.nokia.com/2011/10/12/porting-guides-for-windows-phone-7/

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Apps, Symbian, Windows Phone 7

 

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Nokia Readies Ads for Nokia 800 Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” Handset


Nokia Corp. is getting ready to launch its first smartphones based on Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” operating system. It is most likely that the company will show the handset at its Nokia World  event in late October and will start selling it towards the end of the year. The company has already started to prepare ads for its Nokia 800.

Keeping in mind that the first WP 7.5 “Mango” is generally a rush project at Nokia, which only made decision to adopt Windows Phone as its primary operating system for smartphones earlier this year, the information that is circulating about it is not completely clear in many ways, but it is widely believed that it shares a lot of technologies with the Meego-based N9 flagship, but fully complies with system and minimum equipment list of Windows Phone operating system.

What we do possibly know about the first Nokia Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango”-based smartphone from Nokia – the Nokia 800 – is that it sports a curved 3.7″ AMOLED multi-touch display with unknown resolution and does not sport any hardware buttons on the front side. The handset is presumably powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250 (up to 1GHz Scorpion ARM Cortex-A8 core, Adreno 200 graphics processing unit, 720p video, up to 12MP camera, integrated 3G, GSM, GPRS, EDGE, HSPA support and so on) system on-chip, sports 8MP camera, GPS navigation and other innovations.

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Pocketnow.com web-site has managed to obtain the first Nokia 800 ads* that depict the smartphone itself and show off the Windows Phone 7-style pattern that looks more like a disco-style one. The two ads obtained by the media resource emphasize broad set of capabilities amid high responsiveness of the handset. It is unknown, though, whether the banners are the legitimate and final since the handsets on both have differences.

Based on unofficial information, Nokia is preparing several smartphones, including code-named Sun (presumably with with 12MP camera and dual-core SoC), Saber (single-core SoC, 8MP camera), Sea Ray/Searay (with multi-touch screen) and something featuring a QWERTY keypad smartphones based on Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” operating system for the “initial” lineup release.

In total, there are twelve Nokia Windows Phone 7 devices planned to be released in 2012. All of them are likely to somewhat resemble Symbian-based products, but should naturally offer clear advantages over the platform that is fading away.

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The actual code-name of the Nokia 800 is unknown. Based on unofficial specifications and design, it is clearly not the Sea Ray handset shown back in June, 2011, but is likely the Saber.

Nokia World 2011 event takes place in London, the UK, in October 26-27, 2011.

Nokia and Microsoft did not comment on the news-story.

Source: http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/mobile/display/20111011171839_Nokia_Readies_Ads_for_Nokia_800_Windows_Phone_7_5_Mango_Handset.html

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Mango, Nokia, Windows Phone 7

 

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Navigon for Windows Phone 7 provides turn-by-turn voice navigation


Summary: A weakness in the current version of Mango is the lack of a solid GPS navigation solution, but we now have Navigon coming to the rescue.

In early September I posted on the news that Navigon was bringing their app to Windows Phone 7 and then last night I saw that the folks at WPCentral.com spotted Navigon in the U.S. and European Marketplaces. This is pretty good news for Windows Phone owners since the Bing Maps implementation is lacking quite a bit, especially with the need to tap to hear directions for the next turn.

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We should eventually see Nokia Windows Phone devices with Nokia Maps, but for now you may want to consider Navigon for Windows Phone. Navigon is available for Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) devices and for the special introductory $29.99 price in the U.S. you get all the states that will consume 1.6GB (lets you use this for offline navigation) and there does not appear to be a way to just pick and choose what states you want to install. Thankfully, I have two 32GB Windows Phone devices so have plenty of room to try out Navigon.

Navigon for Windows Phone 7 includes:

* Spoken turn-by-turn directions
* Visual lane guidance
* Live traffic information and rerouting
* Speed Assistant
* Pedestrian navigation options
* Live Tiles support

You will also find the augmented reality function Reality Scanner, which provides an instant and effortless way of identifying nearby destinations while on foot; an option to select address information directly from the phone’s contact list; and the ability to save a favorite or home address as a shortcut on the start screen.

I have tried Navigon’s application on other platforms and find features like the lane assist to be extremely useful when traveling in new cities. The full retail price will be $49.99, but is available until 15 November for just $29.99. There is a European purchase option as well.

Source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/cell-phones/navigon-for-windows-phone-7-provides-turn-by-turn-voice-navigation/6682

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Mango, Windows Phone 7 Developer

 

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