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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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Windows Phone 7 Challenge: End of Week 1 (updated)


It’s the end of the first full week of my Windows Phone 7 Challenge (catch up with previous installments here), and in simple summary, my feelings on Windows Phone 7 Mango are decidedly mixed–with the exception of the Maps and navigation, which I despise. Read on for that. Oh, and I wish it had a screen capture feature, which would make these blog posts a lot easier.

It’s probably easiest to do a simple list of pros and cons. And, for context, this week has just been about setting up the phone, establishing basic use, getting familiar with the interface, and easing it into my daily tasks: e-mail, texting, social networking, and getting directions to various Bay Area locations. I have not yet established any other services–namely Zune Pass. That’s coming next week, so stay tuned.

Also, for those of you who’ve asked about the technical details, I’m running the Mango developer’s build (build 7712) on a Verizon HTC Trophy. I won’t be evaluating things like call quality, necessarily, since that’s such a subjective determination between phone and mobile OS, but I can say that compared with my Droid X post-buggy Gingerbread update, this phone is doing a much better job staying connected to the Verizon 3G network overall.

OK, with those details out of the way, let’s start on a positive note, shall we?

The pros
• Interface: The Mango interface is lovely. The screen tiles are attractive and the “live tile” behavior (they update constantly with new Facebook images, flip-board incoming e-mail counters, and so on) is dynamic without being annoying. Plus, the tiles are nice and big, which makes it easy to see things at a glance.

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I like the notifications on the lock screen (although I really, really, really wish they carried over to the top of the home screen, along with the 3G signal strength and battery indicator), and I love the “infinite scroll” behavior in the menus. In e-mail, for example, flip sideways to the right to see All, Unread, Flagged, Urgent, and then right on back to All without having to back out through the previous screens. I’d like to see more long-press options built into the entire interface (like, long-press a phone number to add to contacts, for example), but the ones Mango does have are useful (like pinning an app to the Start page or deleting a chat thread).

It took me a long time to realize that long-pressing the “Back” button brought up Mango’s version of an application switcher (I’m trying to skip the reviewer’s guide and learn as I go), but once I figured that out, everything got a lot more usable in terms of multitasking. A few of the onscreen icons are a little mysterious (especially in the Map application), but after some exploratory pressing, you can usually accomplish what you need.

• Social: I went back and forth on this, but finally decided it’s a “pro.” Mango has integrated Facebook and Twitter support (and Windows Live and LinkedIn, for the record), and it’s pretty nice. The little “People” tile lets you immediately see what’s happening on Facebook and Twitter. This feature was much improved when I realized I could sort by either Facebook or Twitter. And you can post a status update to all the services at once–mighty useful. Plus there are benefits like Facebook Events integrated into the calendar, and, of course, easy uploading of photos to Twitter or Facebook. Facebook chat is built in, too (yes, I missed that when I bemoaned the lack of the standalone Facebook Messaging app on Buzz Out Loud).

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I’m slightly mixed on Mango’s Groups feature; I think categorizing your friends and family always sounds better than it is in practice. But you can create groups of friends and pin the groups to your home screen, which is handy for seeing all their updates at once, but much more handy for starting a group chat or text or e-mail with them. That assumes your address book is in order like it should be, but more on that later.

• Local: The feature is called “Local Scout,” and the button on the Maps page is a little hieroglyph of buildings: if you press it, and you have location enabled, you get a cool little list of places to eat and drink, things to see and do, and places to shop–plus something called “Highlights,” which in the case of things near my office includes a lingerie shop I didn’t even know existed. Long lunch! This is local done well, it’s useful, it doesn’t require an external app, and although the list isn’t super comprehensive, Microsoft says it’s building out the database over time.

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There are reviews attached, the place pages are clean and simple: address, directions, phone number, etc. And you can pin the Local Scout to your Start page, so wherever you are, you just hit the tile and see what’s around you. Simple and elegant, and I dig it. Android, by comparison, obviously lets you search and then filter by Places, or use a Yelp app, or whatever, but this is much faster, and I’ve been complaining recently that Google’s search results don’t offer up clickable phone numbers like they used to unless I click Places–slightly too complicated compared with Mango.

• Autocomplete: The autocomplete is awesome. It’s accurate, it’s less aggressive than the post-Gingerbread Android dictionary, and it seems to have a lot more words. Love it.

• Speech: Press and hold the Windows (“home”) button on the bottom of the phone and you can control a ton of things with voice commands: call or text someone in your address book, launch a search, or open an app. It’ll even read back a text you compose, so you can double check it without having to look, and then you can say “send” and off it goes. I like. I’ve used it several times for composing texts and for launching searches. I have some constructive criticism, though, about the speech integration, so let’s move on to…

The cons
• Speech: Speech is there in Mango, but it’s not there in Mango. I can’t, for example, say “Navigate to” an address from the home screen speech commands. But more importantly, while there’s a little microphone for speech-to-text on the onscreen keyboard when I’m texting, there’s no speech to text in any other app (that I’ve found): not e-mail, which I need, not mapping, which I need, not in the browser, which I need. You can voice search with the Bing app, but it’s just not enough. Android is doing speech to text light years better than Mango at this point, because it’s integrated across the OS. This little bit of speech in Mango is almost more frustrating than helpful because it just highlights what’s not available.

Also, compared with Google, the speech recognition just isn’t as good. I have to recompose texts multiple times, whereas Android has an uncanny ability to know what I’m saying. And there’s no way to speak punctuation, as you can with Android; Mango inserts it for you, which is nice if you only ever want to compose a long, run-on sentence that ends in a period, but I’m kind of a grammar freak, even in speech to text.

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Worse, though, there appears to be a predetermined point after which the phone stops listening and starts transcribing (it interrupts you with a beep and starts thinking), and there’s no way to append one spoken sentence to another. With Android, I frequently speak a sentence or two of a text or e-mail, check its accuracy, then speak a few more sentences. Mango gets overwhelmed by long spoken sentences (it panics and says “can’t connect” instead of transcribing), so I find I need the appending more than I did with Android, and it drives me crazy not to have it. Am I nitpicking? A little. Is this how I actually use my phone all day every day? Yes.

• Turn by turn: The pro part of the navigation on Mango is that it has turn-by-turn navigation…kind of. Also, the mapping is beautiful, and I love the very human-friendly directions, which include helpful little notes about traffic (moderate congestion, etc.), local landmarks (“You’ll see a 7-Eleven on the right”), and also, as your near your destination, notes like, “The last intersection is Woodhaven and if you get to Potter you’ve gone too far.” That’s awesome. More awesome if you have a passenger in the car with you to read them, but still very helpful.

Here’s what I don’t understand, though. Why is the turn-by-turn navigation only audible when you tap the screen for directions!?

In one of the most bizarre interpretations of mapping I’ve ever seen, Mango offers spoken directions, but only user-initiated spoken directions. You can only get audible directions by reaching down and tapping the screen for the next move. Um. What? Worse, early screenshots of Mango seem to indicate that it would have standard spoken turn-by-turn directions, but…what happened!?

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The way the audible turn-by-turn navigation experience has existed since the beginning of time is that you map a destination, then sit back and relax and wait for the nice map lady to tell you to turn a few hundred feet before the turn. Mango’s navigation leaves you adrift, and caused me to literally miss turns as I waited for some kind of instruction, like I’ve been trained to do by navigation systems that work. Oh, and instead of a verbal alert that it’s time to turn, you get a nice little chime after you correctly execute a turn (that you’ve memorized), and that, I guess, is supposed to compel you to feel around blindly for the phone and tap the screen for the next audible instruction.

Let me not mince words, here: I hate this. I’d rather just know that I’m going to get a written list of instructions, iOS style, that I have to look at it or memorize it–and then, to make matters even more baffling, sometimes the lady does announce the next turn or instruction, but I can’t figure out why. Maybe the phone bumped the side of the cup-holder? Hate. Seriously hate.

Also, there’s no rerouting on the fly, as there is with Android. If I make a wrong turn (which happened twice last night as I was navigating the foggy, confusing, overgrown El Cerrito, Calif., hills where the street signs are impossible to see and a little audible direction might help), the app informs me that I’ve gone a different way, and then asks me if I would like to tap to reroute. One of these days, “tap” will equal “smash.” Let’s move on.

• Fit and finish: I know I’m running a developer’s build of Mango, but I also know it’s probably not far off from finished, and there are more than a few oddities that make Mango feel like a first-gen product, instead of the 7.5th iteration on a long-lived mobile operating system. They’re niggling, but they annoy. For example, I entered three e-mail accounts, each with its own address book, and synced with Facebook, and there are still phone numbers calling or texting me with no names attached–even though the contacts exist somewhere on the phone. And I can’t long-press a recent phone number to add it to my address book (it just wants to delete it).

If you’ve entered someone’s phone number in your address book as “home” instead of “mobile,” and you say, for example, “Text Emily,” the phone refuses to text her, and insists on calling instead, because her mobile number is listed as a home number. In point of fact, it’s both, but it really shouldn’t matter, and come on.

If you accidentally text someone’s land line, because you used a voice command to text them, and the contact isn’t merged and things are a little vague, the phone will convert an entire existing message thread to the wrong number–even if you were previously successfully texting their mobile number. So, every reply you send from then on will go to the wrong number, until you just start a whole new thread with the right one.

Mapping isn’t integrated into the search, Web, text, or e-mail experience the way it is in Android. I can’t click an address in a text message and launch maps for navigating, as I can in Android, for example. Again, this may sound nitpicky, but if someone texts me an address, and I’m already in the car, I can’t very well copy and paste it into the Maps application (which I have to do) without, well, crashing.

It’s really hard to click the screen and place a cursor at a specific location; you always end up selecting an entire word, when you just want to edit. And again, a long-press for “select all” in a URL field window or similar would be superuseful.

• Apps: I know I mentioned this in a previous post, but the lack of app support is problematic for me, personally. I actually don’t know that it will be for everyone. But yesterday, I needed to download the Square app for a video piece I was working on, and I couldn’t; I was actually hamstrung in my work as a result of the lack of app support (and the guys at Square seemed to have little inclination toward building a version for the platform, which has got to hurt). That won’t be everyone’s experience, I know.

On the plus side, I did find OpenTable, MyFitnessPal, and the Flight Tracker app I’m obsessed with, although there’s no free version of Flight Tracker, only the $5 version. And there’s no Google Voice. Ouch. There’s just no getting around that fact: the app support isn’t quite there yet, and it’ll have to get there before this platform can be truly competitive. I, at least, don’t want to be the one at the party, or on the field shoot, who can’t get the cool app that everyone else is downloading all around me.

Phew! That’s it for my first full week’s worth of thoughts. I know you’ll agree and disagree and offer tips and tricks in the comments below, so have at it. I’ll be back next week with thoughts on more of the integrated services, like SkyDrive, Zune Pass, and maybe even Office. See you then!

UPDATE: Thanks to the commenters and tweeters who pointed out that long-pressing in a text box gives you an easily placeable cursor. I had tried that, since it’s the default behavior in Android and iOS, but hadn’t had any luck. I went back and tried again, and after some fussing with the cursor, got the placeable version to appear. I’ll chalk that one up to the HTC Trophy: its touchscreen is pretty unresponsive, and I often have to press live tiles twice to get them to activate, etc. Appreciate the heads up from all of you, however. That one complaint is withdrawn.

Source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31322_3-20091841-256/windows-phone-7-challenge-end-of-week-1-updated/

 

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Mobile Market Share: Windows Phone 7.5 Is Just the Beginning


The often maligned Steve Ballmer recently quipped that with Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Phone 7 gambit, Microsoft improved its mobile market share from very small to very small. Although reviewed relatively well in the press and online, the release suffered from a large number of small but vexing usability issues. Consumers balked, and Windows Phone 7 failed to make a dent in a highly competitive and increasingly fluid sector.

Data from last quarter on domestic smart phone subscriptions confirms a veritable onslaught from the Apple (AAPL) iOS and Google (GOOG) Android juggernauts:

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More recently, a Canalys worldwide survey claimed that Google’s OS now makes up about 50% of global smart phone sales thanks to broad support from a variety of vendors and wide selection of entry-level devices, boasting over 550,000 new unit activations per day. While Microsoft has done a good job leveraging its patent portfolio and legal standing to monetize its stake in Android through direct OEM agreements, there’s no question that the Redmond behemoth remains a spectator instead of a brawler in the all-out war between Apple and Google for minds, hearts and wallets.

But it’s too early to write Microsoft off, and I believe the company, already undervalued on a sum-of-components basis, sells at a further discount that ignores long-term prospects in a space which has been and will continue being volatile. One-time winners have turned into today’s losers, and those sitting on the sidelines today may yet turn out to be tomorrow’s players. With the official RTM copy of Windows Phone 7.5, codenamed “Mango,” being released into the wild, there are signs that bode well for Microsoft and its manufacturing partners:

* Microsoft’s commitment to incremental updates and functionality improvements represents a serious shift — a late one, perhaps, but critical nonetheless. When Windows Phone 7 failed to make an impact, it would’ve been easy to pull the plug on Mango and instead focus on the radically redesigned Windows 8 platform due next year, a kick-the-can strategy Microsoft has been known to use before when confronted with lackluster launches. It didn’t happen. Redmond appears to be finally taking into account that year-long release cycles do not belong in such a fluid marketplace. Smart phone users expect and demand updates in days rather than months, and Microsoft is showing signs it understands this. This is non-trivial, as the company has been out-maneuvered before by faster development cycles; witness Internet Explorer’s astonishing collapse in users as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome offer faster updates and more rapidly expanding feature sets.

* Microsoft is investing serious resources into comprehensive support of current and future developers. Windows Phone programmers have been treated to consistent access to Mango beta builds, free toolsets and sneak previews into what writing Windows 8 applications will look like. With Windows Marketplace expanding gradually and showing signs of evolving into a truly viable ecosystem, handhelds operating Windows Phone will look more appealing to discerning consumers.

* A whole slew of support has been announced from existing major OEMs. Fujitsu, Samsung (SSNFL.PK), HTC (HTCXK.PK) and LG have all broadcast their intentions to offer Mango devices, and former leader Nokia (NOK) has already showcased a working prototype based on the appealing but Symbian-crippled N9 design. I believe Nokia’s all-in bet with Windows Phone may be a decisive point not just for the floundering Finnish giant but also for Microsoft. Nokia’s technical and design expertise is not negligible.

* Finally, the sheer quality of the Mango updates is impressive. After having an opportunity to interact with the RTM version of the OS, I walked away pleasantly surprised by the overall responsiveness on a single-core phone and lengthy list of bug fixes, enhancements and functionality tweaks. Most of the changes are subcutaneous rather than obvious, but the end effect is a “it just works” feeling that’s hard to quantify.The pane interface is streamlined and intuitive, a welcome departure from iOS and Android implementations of the touch interface. Engadget’s popular preview sums it all up rather well:

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, Windows Phone is developing into the OS we’ve been asking for since we first used it last year. By adding in crucial elements like multitasking, groups, social network integration and more, it’s starting to play catch-up to the other big names in mobile. Not overcome — catch-up. Mango hasn’t shown us anything truly groundbreaking yet. At least this platform, still in its youth, is stepping onto the same playing field as hard hitters like iOS and Android, though. One thing that surprised us was how few bugs or choppy effects were present in this build, an impressive feat considering we’re still a few months away from completion. Overall, we’ve come away with a positive outlook on Windows Phone’s newest iteration, and are very eager to see the finished result

These factors point to this quarter as the first of many during which Microsoft seriously establishes itself as a contender in the smart phone space.

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MSFT doesn’t look as cheap as it did three months ago, after outperforming the Nasdaq by a full 11%, but it’s still historically undervalued. As the market continues to be rattled by cyclical worries, this appears to be good opportunity to establish or expand exposure.

Source: http://seekingalpha.com/article/284173-mobile-market-share-windows-phone-7-5-is-just-the-beginning

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Android, Google, iOS, Nokia, WP7

 

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Windows Phone 7 featuring Google Plus+ spotted online


Probably Google+ is coming to Windows Phone 7, as per the recent image leak – but how authentic is it?

It seems like Google+ is set to make its way for Windows Phone 7, if believe on the leaked image.

The snap we spotted over Internet looks like a Google+ application – the main clue is Google+ lettering over the phone’s screen, it is ensuring that the HTC 7 Trophy Windows Phone 7 handset is running the Google’s latest social networking application.

Kevin Marshall, the one who posted the snap, also used the hashtag #wp7 (the abbreviation for Windows Phone 7) when he tweeted the picture, as our sister concern knowyourmobile.com has mentioned in a report.

However, we will still say that it’s not tough task to insert an image into a gadget to give it real look. For this you just need to work a little bit on Photoshop with any image, so there are chances for image to be a fake.

If we look at Marshall’s blog, he’s sticked to the Windows Phone 7 platform and has been posting related to that topic for an year now.

Besides, it is not a concrete evidence to assure that we will certainly see a Google+ app on Windows Phone 7. Till the time it will be nonsense chopping off parts of the mobile market.

If you are not yet aware of Google+ then we might tell you that it is Google’s latest social networking site. It has features quite like Facebook and Twitter that makes social networking easy and interesting both.

Althogh, it comes with a unique fearture known as Circles, which let the users to split up their feed into groups so, you can filter out mundane tweets or have a group for work.

More On Windows Phone 7 featuring Google Plus+ spotted online

Source: http://news.in.msn.com/technology/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5339447

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Google Plus, HTC

 

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