Tag Archives: Windows Phone

6 Great Windows Phone Mango Features For Business

Microsoft’s big Mango update to Windows Phone brought the platform to version 7.5. It has over 500 new features, most aimed at the consumer, but some of these features will also help professionals.

1. Connecting to a hidden SSID: Some people use a hidden SSID under the illusion that it provides some level of security, even though it doesn’t. Windows Phone 7 originally wouldn’t connect to a hidden Wi-Fi access point at all. Now it will, but there is a caveat. The manufacturer or carrier also has to ensure the phone is running an updated Wi-Fi driver. If you have Mango and still cannot connect to a hidden SSID, contact your carrier. Mango has the capability and Microsoft has done all it can on this front.

2. Threaded email conversations: This is one of those love it or hate it features and some people love it. If you fall into that camp, then do nothing. Mango enables this by default. You can easily turn it off on a per-mailbox basis though.

3. Linked inboxes: If you have to manage multiple mailboxes, you can now see them all at once. Mango keeps the databases separate, but visually it looks like one big mailbox with all of your mail. A reply is sent from the mailbox it was sent to and all preferences are kept separate, so things like how long an email is retained and signatures are on a per-mailbox basis. You can link all, some, or none of your mailboxes, depending on your preferences.

4. Better live tiles: Live tiles in Windows Phone 7 were nice but didn’t always function properly, especially third-party tiles. The more you had enabled, the more likely you were to run into problems. Once you had 15, you were maxed out. Additional live tiles were static. Mango upped the limit to 30 live tiles and improved the performance of all of them. They work best when a third-party developer redoes its tile to support multitasking. So feel free to add as many inboxes, people, and weather tiles to your homescreen. Having multiple weather tiles, with apps like WeatherLive, makes traveling easier as you can see the weather conditions at all of your travel destinations at a glance.

5. Contact history: This has been greatly improved. Simply pull up a contact in the people hub, or tap on a person if they are pinned to your homescreen, and swipe to the history section. You will be able to see all of your recent interactions with them via phone, SMS, and email. Tapping on any of those will bring you to that item. You could reply to an email right there, for instance. An additional swipe to the What’s New section will show you their social interactions on Twitter and Facebook, including things like @replies to you.

6. Task switching: If you are like most professionals, you are doing multiple things at once. Twitter, email, checking out an Excel document, looking for directions, etc. Now you can seamlessly move through these by pressing and holding the back button. A task window showing thumbnails of recent apps pops up that will allow you to go directly to any of them. This works with all apps, but the experience is faster and more likely to return you to exactly where you were if it has been rewritten to support this feature. If you have ever used or seen the app-switching cards in WebOS, then you know exactly what this looks like.

This barely scratches the surface, but it gives you a hint of some of the improvements in Mango that makes the life of a professional, especially one that travels, a bit easier.


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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Mango, Windows Phone 7


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Jil Sander Unveils Designer Windows Phone Mango Smartphone

Fashion designer Jil Sander has dished out a Windows Phone 7 smartphone, becoming yet another fashion house to offer mobile phones as fashion accessories.

According to The Telegraph, the device, which has been made by mobile phone maker LG, comes with the latest Windows Phone 7 Mango offering.

The device is sleek and elegant and is available for €300, a lot more affordable than the devices released by other fashion houses like Vertu, Dolce and Gabana and watch maker Tag Heuer.

The mobile “is a proposition of unique design, fusing the brand aesthetic values of modernity, purity and understated luxury with the latest technological innovations”, the designer claims.

The Jil Sander Mobile measures 4.8 by 2.4 inches and is quite slim with 0.4 inch thickness. The device comes with a 3.8 inch touchscreen and runs on a 1 GHz Qualcomm processor. The smartphone comes with 16GB of storage and a 5MP camera capable of shooting high definition video.

This is also probably the first fashion inspired device that comes packed with functionality that is expected in a regular smartphone. It comes with support for DLNA media streaming technology, Bluetooth, USB 2.0 and Wi-Fi support.


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Posted by on October 11, 2011 in Mango, Smartphone, Windows Phone


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Samsung Focus S Windows Phone Mango Stops Over at FCC en Route to AT&T

On its way to landing on U.S. carrier AT&T, the Windows Phone 7 Mango-powered Samsung Focus S has stopped over at the FCC for a brief layover for regulatory approval. The device is considered one of the most feature-rich Windows Phone Mango devices on the market and it will differentiate itself from other offerings with a Super AMOLED Plus display, similar to those found on the company’s flagship Galaxy S II series Android smartphones, that will offer high contrast, vibrant colors, and deep blacks.

The Focus S is one of three new Mango-powered phones for AT&T’s U.S. network and features the same 4.3-inch WVGA resolution Super AMOLED Plus screens that are found on the Android Galaxy S II smartphones, along with an 8-megapixel rear camera and front-facing camera, a 1.4 GHz processor, and support for AT&T’s 4G HSPA+ network–unfortunately, Windows Phone 7 still doesn’t support 4G LTE as of yet.

Pricing and availability still is not known at this time. Given the device’s close resemblance to the Galaxy S II smartphone, it may be priced in the same range as the high-end Android handset.

The Focus S will be joined by thee larger 4.7-inch HTC TITAN and the mid-range Samsung Focus Flash smartphones.


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


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Microsoft granted patent for Metro UI on the Windows Phone

Microsoft is playing around the new Metro for implementation on different platforms — mobile, tablets, PC and game console.

Microsoft has been granted patent for the Metro User Interface by the US Patent and Trademark Office. This patent was filed under the name ‘Visual motion for user interface feedback’.

Microsoft has been working to implement the Metro UI into Windows 8 and Xbox 360 in order to create a similar and synergised user experience between three platforms — Mobile, Tablets, Computer and Gaming Console. That is exactly what its rival Apple has been trying to achieve with the release of Mac OS X Lion and iOS 5 update.

The Metro UI in the Windows Phone 7 is aimed at a simple, fluid and easy to adept user interface. The design cues from the Metro UI will be implemented in the next major operating system update — Windows 8. Apart from that, even Xbox 360 and tablets will get some Metro UI styling so that the Xbox LIVE dashboard looks similar to the Games Hub on the Windows Phone device.

The patent application abstract states: “Aspects of a user interface that provides visual feedback in response to user input. For example, boundary effects are presented to provide visual cues to a user to indicate that a boundary in a movable user interface element (e.g., the end of a scrollable list) has been reached. As another example, parallax effects are presented in which multiple parallel or substantially parallel layers in a multi-layer user interface move at different rates, in response to user input. As another example, simulated inertia motion of UI elements is used to provide a more natural feel for touch input. Various combinations of features are described.”

Several inferences can be derived from this move by Microsoft and the most obvious one is prevention of any lawsuit debacles.

What is it in for consumers? Well, let us hope that the investment in the Metro UI patent doesn’t impact sale or shipping of any Microsoft products in future. If that happens, several opportunists will try to make the best of the situation and make quick cash via gray garage sales.

Metro UI on the Windows Phone is good but the experience will not be exactly the same across different platforms.


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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Microsoft, Windows 8


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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.

“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.


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


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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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Skype VP Hints at Deeply Integrated Windows Phone App

It’s no secret that Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Skype, still pending European regulatory approval but passed U.S. approval, will result in more Microsoft products with Skype integration, and in particular Windows Phone. New Windows Phone 7 Mango devices that will be released this Fall are expected with front-facing camera, and Skype may fill the role of being the video chat provider once it begins to work with Microsoft in delivering a deeply integrated experience on the mobile Windows Phone operating system, according to Skype Vice President Neil Stevens.

Though Skype already has a number of video chat apps for various other mobile platforms, including HP’s webOS, Google’s Android OS, and Apple’s iOS platforms, Stevens says that Skype for Windows Phone 7 will be an entirely different experience than that on rival mobile operating systems. Once the acquisition gains the necessary approval in Europe, Skype and Microsoft can begin collaborating, and when Skype becomes an embedded division within Microsoft’s empire, it will be granted deep OS-level access to Windows Phone. This way, Skype won’t feel like a separate app, but will feel like part of the phone experience.

Stevens highlights that the experience, and also the performance of Skype, will surpass that of current Skype experiences on iOS and Android. On the Apple platform, the company doesn’t allow third-party apps like Skype to have access to the video processor or address book. On Android, Google allows apps access to the address book, but not the video processor. Perhaps this is a big reason why Skype is only slowly rolling out video chat functionality slowly to few Android handsets at a time because of the disparate nature of various video processors and graphics engine in different Android phones.

Because of Microsoft’s unified ‘chassis’ build–which the Redmond, Washington software company says is their suggested minimum hardware requirements–Windows Phone will have a more unified hardware across various different phones spanning all phone manufacturers. That means that just one or two builds of Skype will work on all devices as all devices are required to use a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, unlike Android’s plethora of hardware builds.

Hopefully, with an integrated Skype experience, Windows Phone users can begin making video calls as easily as they can make voice calls and chat on Skype will be as natural as sending an SMS. With Microsoft pushing for both the consumer and enterprise customers, this will be a big selling point for the nascent OS.


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Posted by on August 12, 2011 in Android, Mango, Microsoft, Skype, WP7


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Motorola wants Nokia-style deal on Windows Phone 7

Motorola Mobility would consider adding Windows Phone 7 to its OS roster, CEO Sanjay Jha has revealed, but only if Microsoft could deliver a similar deal to which it agreed with Nokia. Speaking at the at the Oppenheimer Technology & Communications Conference this week, FierceWireless reports, Jha reiterated earlier comments that the company was still evaluating Windows Phone’s long-term viability, and suggested that he did not believe that it, webOS and BlackBerry would all survive.

“Clearly, all of our focus today is on Android” Jha pointed out, going on to address concerns regarding the patent struggle facing many OEMs using the Google platform. While Samsung may have been blocked from selling the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe, and HTC found guilty of copying Apple technology in its range of phones, Jha says Motorola’s “very large IP portfolio” will protect it. “I think in the long term as things settle down, you will see meaningful difference in positions in Android players both in terms of avoidance of royalties and the ability to collect royalties” he suggested.

Microsoft agreed to pay Nokia several billion dollars and support the company’s R&D efforts and marketing, as well as give the Finnish company unique flexibility in modifying the Windows Phone platform, in return for Nokia bypassing Android. The uncertain legal situation around Android has led to reports that would-be OEMs are considering adopting Windows Phone or MeeGo in an attempt to hedge bets on which platforms may eventually make the cut.


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Posted by on August 11, 2011 in Android, Motorola, Samsung, Windows Phone 7


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Windows Phone Tips & Tricks: Internet Explorer

Continuing our look at all of the cool, easy-to-find-but-overlooked functions in Windows Phone 7, we turn our attention this time around to using the web browser.

A hybrid version of Internet Explorer is included in Windows Phone 7, and this is Microsoft’s most accomplished mobile browser yet (something they are expected to improve upon in the Mango release). Offering tabbed browsing, pinch and tap to zoom and a fast page render, the browser is ideal for catching up with the latest news and reviews, checking out galleries and basically anything that doesn’t require Flash Player!

The following shortcuts, tips and tricks will help you enjoy the best web browsing experience on Windows Phone 7.
Activate Tabbed Browsing

Just as you might find tabbed browsing in Internet Explorer 7 and later, Windows Phone 7’s browser gives you up to six tabs that you can use to view different web pages. To leave one web page open on a tab while you open another, tap the Tabs button at the bottom of the browser (the one resembling two pieces of paper) and then type into the address bar the URL of the page that you want to open.
Sharing Web Pages

There are various avenues for sharing web pages in Windows Phone 7, something that you can do by expanding the menu at the foot of the screen (this is best done by “long tapping” the three ellipses) and selecting Share Page.

You will then be given a selection of your available email accounts to send an email from which includes the link; you can also use the SMS Messaging option.
Searching Within a Web Page

While Windows Phone 7 has great integration with Bing, searching within a web page is slightly different. If you are looking for a specific word that might appear in the web page you are viewing, use the Find on page menu item in the browser menu. This will open a text field for you to search for the phrase you want to use, and when you tap enter the word will be displayed; arrows on the menu bar will enable you to search for further examples of the searched for word or phrase.
Deleting Your Search History

If by any chance you have been a bit bold with your mobile browsing and visited a website that you perhaps shouldn’t have, you can cover your tracks using the delete history option.

This is found in Settings > Applications > Internet Explorer – you can’t miss the prominent Delete history button! Meanwhile your entire history of every search undertaken via your phone’s search button can be discarded via Settings > Applications > Search > Delete history.
Bookmarking and Pinning Web Pages

There are two ways to “favorite” a web page in Internet Explorer Mobile on Windows Phone. The first is via the browser menu bar, where you will spot the Add button. The Favorites button displays any pages that you have added, while swiping left will also display your history of visited web sites.

Another way to favorite a websites is to add it to the Start screen. This will result in the web page appearing as a tile, and you will be able to use this to quickly load up the page rather than first opening the browser. To do this, navigate to the page you want, open the browser menu bar and select Pin to start – the item will now appear each time you go to the Start screen!


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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Windows Phone 7, WP7


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