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Microsoft Preps Big Win Phone 7 Push Heading into Holidays


Brace yourself for the upcoming Windows Phone 7 onslaught. In the coming months Microsoft will make a big holiday push that will extend into early 2012 in an attempt to win over converts to its new mobile operating system. Andrew Lees, president of Microsoft’s Windows Phone Division, has been busy recently spreading the gospel of Phone 7 and dishing on Microsoft’s mobile plans, according to a number of reports.

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In several recent interviews the Phone 7 chief has addressed several shortcomings the company’s mobile platform has been criticized for including a lack of dual-core handsets and LTE connectivity – two features Android handset makers jumped on many months ago. Apple’s new iPhone 4S also has a dual-core processor.

Lees’ publicity push for Phone 7 follows Microsoft’s recent roll out of Windows Phone 7.5 Mango in late September. The software update featured over 500 new features such as multitasking, an improved Web browser and a Wi-Fi hotspot mode. Critics largely welcomed the upgrade since it gives Microsoft’s mobile platform some degree of parity with its main competitors Apple’s iOS-powered iPhone and Google’s Android mobile OS.

Phone 7 Home For The Holidays

More Windows Phone 7 devices are apparently coming out in time for the holiday season including budget-priced $100 handsets, and higher-priced devices featuring big screens and dual-LED flash, according to the Seattle Times. Lees didn’t say which companies were launching the new devices or when these announcements would start. PCWorld will have the latest news from this week’s CTIA Enterprise & Applications event in San Diego.

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At least one Mango deice is expected to be from Nokia, which is expected to release its first Phone 7 device before the end of the year. Nokia announced in February that it would concentrate on producing Microsoft phones.

LTE and Dual Core

Lees also said the first LTE Phone 7 device will become available in 2012, but didn’t provide other specifics. The Phone 7 chief told AllThingsD that handsets sporting dual-core chips are also coming. But it’s not clear when a dual-core Phone 7 device might show up. Lees told AllThingsD that Microsoft wants to make sure Phone 7 software is optimized to take advantage of multiple processor cores before working with manufacturers on producing dual-core devices.

While that sounds sensible, Microsoft would be better off figuring out dual-core optimization sooner rather than later or it might find Phone 7 is left behind once again. Apple recently announced its first dual-core phone, the iPhone 4S, and handsets powered by Nvidia’s Kal-El quad-core chip for mobile devices are expected in the coming months.

Source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/241573/microsoft_preps_big_win_phone_7_push_heading_into_holidays.html

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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Android, Apple, Google, iPhone, Mango

 

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Android Already As Profitable for Microsoft as Windows Phone 7


Microsoft makes almost as much money licensing patents to HTC, Samsung and other companies as it does selling Windows Phone 7 devices.

Yes, you read that right, Microsoft makes almost as much from Android sales as they do through sales of their own Windows Phone devices. That’s more than Google makes from the Android, which the company gives away to manufacturers. It is worth noting that Android users generate ad revenue for Google, which could add up to $1.3 billion in 2012.

Goldman Sachs estimates Microsoft will make $444 million annually from Android patent settlements for the current fiscal year. This is just slightly less than the estimated $600 million that Microsoft makes annually from the Windows Phone business.

Goldman Sachs pegs Microsoft’s earnings per Android sold at $3 to $6 per device. For comparison, Microsoft is estimated to take in about $15 per Windows Phone 7 device sold by HTC. This comes from settlements with Samsung and from a settlement with HTC made earlier this year, and match up with those from a Citi analyst earlier this year. Estimates suggest that over this same period, Google will earn about $10 per Android users in the form of ad revenue.

As Business Insider points out, this $444 million is a drop in the bucket, when you compare it to the estimated $75 billion in revenue for the same fiscal year. Unfortunately for Microsoft, patent settlements aren’t adding to the bottom line, and they aren’t slowing down Android either.

Nielsen’s analysis of smartphone purchases in the last 3 months showed that Android took 56% of the purchases, iPhone had 28% and RIM had 9%. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 didn’t even make the list, aside from being lumped into 6% of other smartphone purchases.

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Despite dire beginnings, Windows Phone 7 has a chance at coming back in 2012. Windows Phone 7.5, better known as Windows Phone Mango, has been released and will being many improvements to the Windows Phone devices. If we can get a helping of high end Windows Phone 7 devices with 4G LTE in early 2012, Microsoft might be able to get out of this slump.

Source: http://www.gottabemobile.com/2011/09/29/android-already-as-profitable-for-microsoft-as-windows-phone-7/

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Android, Google, IDC, Microsoft, Samsung, Windows Phone

 

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Windows 8 And Windows Phone 7 Justify At $28


Microsoft is focusing on improving its entertainment and devices business, which includes PC gaming device Xbox, the Zune portable media player, as well as its Windows mobile operating system.  These businesses together account for just under 10% of Microsoft’s stock value by our estimates.

While Windows phone 7 hasn’t generated as much revenue as expected since its launch last year, management is confident that Windows 8 will be able to provide the much needed boost to help challenge Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Meanwhile, Microsoft will also earn hefty income from the licensing deals signed with around 7 smartphone vendors.

While we anticipate Microsoft’s revenues from PC games, Windows Mobile and other consumer software will increase from $2.9 billion in 2012 to $3.9 billion by the end of our forecast period, Trefis members expect an increase from $3.2 billion to $4.7 billion during the same period.

We currently have a Trefis price estimate of $28 for Microsoft’s stock, about 15% above the current market price..

Windows 7 Phone Sales Slow, Management Optimistic

Windows 7 Phone saw strong sales for the initial few months after launch in October 2010 [1] but since then the sales have slowed down with market research firm AC Nielsen estimating that Windows Phone 7 accounts for just 1% of the mobile market versus 38% for Google’s Android, 27% for Apple’s iOS and 21% for RIM as of June 2011. [2]

However, Microsoft recently showed developers a preview of Windows 8 and it is quite optimistic that the new OS, with its radically different look and feel and a touch-centric user interface, will boost Windows phone 7 sales. It is also planning to launch an app store, in a nod to the success of Apple’s powerful ecosystem of products and distribution platform for apps and updates. Moreover, with Google acquiring Motorola, Microsoft remains the only pure smartphone software provider which should make it a better alternative over Android and iOS and thereby attract more smartphone vendors.

Income from Patent Licensing Deals

Microsoft has a total of 7 Android patent licensing deals with the last two coming from Acer and ViewSonic. (See Microsoft Signs with Acer and ViewSonic for License Fee from Android Sales) Under these agreements, the companies will have to pay Microsoft a fixed licensing fee for each Android device that they ship. It also has deals with manufacturers like HTC, General Dynamics, Wistron and Onkyo from whom it nets around $5-$15 for each Android device sold. In this way, it can also encourage these manufacturers in using Windows Phone 7 over Android.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2011/09/27/windows-8-and-windows-phone-7-justify-microsoft-at-28/

 
 

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Steve Ballmer still disappointed by Windows Phone 7 sales


We’ve been reporting for quite some time now that Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 has been quite the disappointment in the smartphone industry. In an era where the iPhone is conquering the world with its unparalleled retina display, camera and usability, it’s hard for another company to even compare to the Apple giant.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke at the company’s financial analyst meeting on Wednesday and expressed disappointment of the Windows Phone 7 sales. “We haven’t sold quite as many as I would have liked in the first year. … I’m not saying I Love where we are, but I am very optimistic on where we can be,” he said during the meeting.

The Windows Phone 7 made quite the name for itself when it came to marketing and advertising ploys but lacked the fan following that Google and Apple are often accustomed to. Interestingly enough, Samsung and HTC embraced the WP7 platform and plan to launch devices using the next version of WP7. Mashable says that these mobile enterprises have the majority of their chips invested in Google’s Android, which makes for most of their smartphone sales. Nokia is the only dedicated hardware partner for Windows Phones and who really uses Nokia phones these days anyways?

We’re crossing our fingers that Nokia will be able to show some sort of result for the slow-rising WP7, but we won’t be holding our breath. I’m sure I’m not the only one that can’t get enough of the iPhone, or even Droid phones for that matter.

Source: http://www.businessreviewusa.com/technology/software/Steve%20Ballmer%20still%20disappointed%20by%20Windows%20Phone%207%20sales

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2011 in Google, iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone 7, WP7

 

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Bing Offers Group Check-In App for Windows Phone 7


Microsoft’s Bing mobile search team launched a group check-in application called We’re In to play in the group communications space with Google, Facebook and others.

When it comes to socially oriented mobile applications, Facebook and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) tend to be among the leaders in mind and market share.

Facebook just launched Facebook Messenger, and Google+ includes Hangouts and Huddle apps.

Microsoft wants to play there as well via Bing. The company launched We’re In, an application for Windows Phone 7 (WP7) smartphones that lets users invite their friends to share their location and post status updates.

While Foursquare, Facebook Places and Latitude offer check-in capabilities for individual users, We’re In is a group check-in application for friends who want to find each other within crowds. When invitees join, they agree to share their location with other Windows Phone 7 users via Bing Maps.

Users must provide their mobile phone numbers to sign up and then must pick friends or enter phone numbers from their WP7 contacts. The users then tell their friends what the plan is and how long they want to share location info for the proposed meet-up.

Invitees receive a text message with these details, and they may then use the app to join the person who invited them. Users of phones other than WP7, such as iPhone or Android handsets, needn’t worry about being left out.

Those users will also receive a text from We’re In and may join from the mobile Website via the invite. However, the Bing mobile team is also working to port We’re In as a native app for other platforms.

When friends join the We’re In meet-up, their locations surface on the Bing Map, with everyone who joined able to see everyone else’s location.

We’re In users may also update their status to let friends know that they’re on their way or are running late, among other details. We’re In’s People tab aggregates the status messages of everyone who has joined the meet-up.

Bing has decent privacy measures in place so that users aren’t letting themselves be tracked by friends all of the time. For example, when the invite expires, the shared location does as well. Users may also stop sharing their location info at any time by tapping “leave” on the People tab.

Group communications services are becoming increasingly popular. Skype, the VOIP company being acquired by Microsoft, has just purchased group messaging service GroupMe. Facebook purchased group chat specialist Beluga and launched a Facebook Messenger group chat application based on those company’s assets.

The Google+ social network launched with Hangouts for group videoconferencing and Huddle group messaging for handsets.

Clearly, Bing is eager to grab a piece of this action for its nascent WP7 platform. With a group check-in model, Bing has a fresh approach compared to those companies. Perhaps the app can eventually provide some rewards for users who check in to group meetings and places first.

It’s unclear whether the difference will appeal enough to users to boost user engagement, both of Bing’s mobile search and WP7.

Source: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Messaging-and-Collaboration/Bing-Offers-Group-Checkin-App-for-Windows-Phone-7-355719/

 
 

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Nokia Plans 300 Media Apps For Windows Phone


Nokia has inked a deal with a Canadian developer to produce more than 300 media applications for its upcoming Windows Phone offerings, as well as for its existing line of Symbian and MeeGo-based smartphones.

Under the deal, Toronto’s Polar Mobile will build apps that format content from a number of international publishers for display on Nokia’s various platforms. Content providers involved in the deal include WiredUK, Kompass, Advertising Age, The Globe and Mail, Shanghai Daily, and 7DAYS.

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“Nokia is excited about the opportunity to team up with Polar Mobile to bring hundreds of quality apps to consumers around the world,” said Richard White, general manager for Nokia Canada, in a statement. “Polar Mobile’s ability to scale and attract a global set of brands is strategic in supporting Nokia’s efforts in offering compelling apps and experiences for our users.”

Polar Mobile uses Nokia’s cross-platform Qt development framework to help publishers produce mobile versions of their content for Nokia platforms. It’s one of the technologies that Microsoft is hoping will incent major content providers to include Windows Phone in their mobile strategies once Nokia-branded Windows Phone 7 devices become available–most likely in the first half of next year.

Application choice could make or break Windows Phone. Microsoft claimed there were about 9,000 apps available for the OS as of March. By contrast, the number of apps available for Apple’s iPhone and Google Android devices is well into the six figures.

Under a deal reached earlier this year, Nokia agreed to use Windows Phone 7 as the exclusive operating system for its U.S. products. The Finnish phone maker also will offer Windows Phone-based devices in a number of other international markets.

What’s not clear is how long the company plans to continue offering products based on other operating systems. Symbian’s share of the global mobile OS market is slipping, and Nokia recently sold off future support and development rights to the platform to Accenture. MeeGo is a joint effort between Nokia and Intel, and runs Nokia’s slick new N9 smartphone.

Nokia shares were flat at $6.07 in early trading Wednesday.

Source: http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/smart_phones/231500119

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Android, Apple, Nokia, Symbian, Windows Phone 7

 

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Windows Phone 7 gets new Xbox Live features and 14 new games


Microsoft previewed some new Xbox Live games and features for its Windows Phone 7 platform today at the annual Gamescom event in Cologne, Germany.

The announcements are part of the company’s plan to build enthusiasm for its mobile games — which are one of the best ways to show off its mobile platform — and the upcoming Mango release of the Windows Phone 7 software. Mango, which includes a major update for the phone software, is expected to debut in September.

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It’s a small set of new features and titles, but the kind that Microsoft increasingly needs to make as it competes with rivals including Google (soon to be acquiring Motorola Mobility), Research in Motion, Nokia, Apple and Samsung in the mobile operating system market.

The new announcements include Xbox Live Avatar Awardables, which are wearable achievements for your Xbox Live avatar, or virtual character, which is visible on your phone. The first game to feature them will be the upcoming Chickens Can’t Fly.

There will also be game add-ons, such as the ability to purchase extra mushrooms and other goods in games such as Beards & Beaks. You will be able to buy more in-game add-ons and downloadable content such as extra weapons or levels in the coming months. That’s a critical feature to generate revenues for game developers.

Windows Phone will also have parental controls, where parents can set the content that kids can view. You can restrict a child from playing a mature-rated game such as the upcoming Splinter Cell Conviction game. And players will be able to do a Fast Async, which improves game play for multilayer turn-by-turn games.

Upcoming titles include Beards & Beaks: Cave Area; Bug Village (pictured); Burn the Rope; Collapse!; Chickens Can’t Fly; Gravity Guy; Farm Frenzy 2; Fight Game Rivals; IonballEX; Kinectimals Mobile; Mush; Orbital; TextTwist 2; and Toy Soldiers Boot Camp.

Source: http://venturebeat.com/2011/08/16/windows-phone-7-gets-new-xbox-live-features-and-14-new-games/

 
 

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