Technology StocksSmartphones: Symbian, Microsoft, RIM, Apple, and Others

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To: Eric L who wrote (1257)1/30/2012 8:15:49 PM
From: pyslent
   of 1647
Thanks for your efforts to make sense of all these numbers in the same place. A clarification though: Sasmung doesn't break down smartphone revenue separately, and this figure would seem way too high regardless. It sounds more like the total revenue figure for all of Samsung's Mobile Devices.

"USD $46.060 Billion total Smart Devices and related products and services."

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To: pyslent who wrote (1258)1/30/2012 8:49:57 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
Samsung Mobile Phones and Smart Devices Revenue (corrected)


<< Sasmung doesn't break down smartphone revenue separately, and this figure would seem way too high regardless. It sounds more like the total revenue figure for all of Samsung's Mobile Devices. >>

Sheesh, I did it again and thanks very much for pointing that out.

That should (indeed) read Samsung Telecoms sold-in USD $46.060 Billion total Mobile Phones and Smart Devices (Smartphones and Tablets).

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1259)1/30/2012 10:04:41 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
The World's Definition ...

<< That is 77.3 million by Nokia's definition of smartphones, which does not coincide with the world's definition of smartphones. >>

That BD, coincides with the way the scorekeepers who track the sector -- ABI Research, Canalys, Gartner Dataquest, IDC, IHS iSupply, Strategy Analytics, etc. -- define smartphones, even though they vary somewhat in doing so since there is no official universally accepted definition of a smartphone.

As a consequence you are perfectly free to roll your own smartphone definition, track the sector using it, and sell your services and research reports to any willing buyer.

BTW: As someone kindly pointed out to me in the post you are referring to I erroneously stated that "Samsung sold-in USD $46.060 Billion total Smart Devices and related products and services." That should have been stated ...

... Samsung Telecoms sold-in USD $46.060 Billion total Mobile Phones and Smart Devices (Smartphones and Tablets).

- Eric -

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From: Eric L2/2/2012 7:35:18 PM
   of 1647
WinPhone 8 Tantilization ...

Put this in the unconfirmed category for now but as suspected according to Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiore there will be many major changes in store for Windows Phone 8. He evidently has opened the kimono on several.

>> Exclusive: Windows Phone 8 Detailed
Evan Blass

Microsoft has some major changes in store for Windows Phone 8, we've learned, which is the version of the platform currently being referred to by codename "Apollo" (the one scheduled for deployment after the upcoming Tango update). Thanks to a video hosted by senior vice president and Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiore, and intended for partners at Nokia, a number of WP8 features and themes have now been revealed. ... <snip rest and see article linked above for specific expanded detail> ... ###

On the hardware side supposedly and as expected ...

• Support for multicore processors

• Support for new screen resolutions (a total of four, but pixel counts not specified).

• Support for removable microSD card storage.

• Support for NFC radios for contactless payments, pairing, etc.

>> Windows Phone 8 Preview

Paul Thurrott
Supersite for Windows
February 02, 2012

Thanks to a recent leak [refering to the above PocketNow post above] which has revealed some interesting information about the next major Windows Phone version, I can now publicly discuss Windows Phone 8 for the first time.

Windows Phone 8, codenamed Apollo, will be based on the Windows 8 kernel and not on Windows CE as are current versions. This will not impact app compatibility: Microsoft expects to have over 100,000 Windows Phone 7.5-compatible apps available by the time WP8 launches, and they will all work fine on this new OS.

Windows Phone 8, as its name suggests, will also be tied closely to the desktop version of Windows 8 in other ways. They'll be launched closely to each other, and will share integrated ecosystems, thanks to the shared underlying code, components, and user experiences. Windows Phone 8 is part of the "Windows Reimagined" campaign that Microsoft announced for Windows 8. This makes sense as they're companion products in every sense of the word.

Windows Phone 8 will offer far more hardware choices than are available today, which will come in more form factors and offer more (four) screen resolutions, according to Pocketnow. (I can't independently confirm that last bit.) The compatible software services will be expanded dramatically, and made very consistent with what's being made available to desktop versions of Windows 8.

Key new features of Windows Phone 8 include:

Data Smart. A way to actively save cellular data when possible and avoid "bill shock". Microsoft (not coincidentally) just blogged about this feature in relation to Windows 8 ...

Re-read that post and think about how a smart phone would need/use exactly the same functionality. Data Smart can be extended by wireless carriers to integrate with their offered data plans.

App-to-App communication. Because Windows Phone 8 apps, like Windows 8 apps, are sandboxed from each other, this new system will provide a Windows 8 contracts-like app-to-app communications capabilities.

Internet Explorer 10 Mobile. Windows Phone 8 will continue to used a highly tuned version of IE which utilizes the latest web technologies.

Shared components with Windows 8. The kernel, multi-core processor support, sensor fusion, security model, network, and video and graphics technologies are all coming to Phone from Windows 8.

Companion experiences with Windows 8. Microsoft is offering a very similar user experience across phone (Windows Phone 8), PC (Windows 8), and TV (Xbox vNext). Pocketnow says there will be a new sync client, and not Zune PC software, though I can't confirm that part, and a set of common cloud services that will work across all three. This includes the ability to sync content (photos, music, movies) between the three screens, phone management from PC or web, shared content between each device, and Xbox LIVE games, entertainment, and more.

SkyDrive integration. Microsoft will make your content available on all of its platforms via SkyDrive.

Skype app. Still a separate but better app and not integrated into OS. Still optional.

NFC and Wallet. Windows Phone 8 will allow users to securely pay and share via NFC and manage an integrated Wallet experience.

Local Scout. Now with personal recommendations.

Camera improvements. New "lens apps" and a far more powerful camera experience.

Business features. Windows Phone 8 will include full-device, hardware accelerated encryption with BitLocker and always-on Secure Boot capabilities, just like Windows 8. Also, it will support additional Exchange ActiveSync policies and System Center configuration settings and inventory capabilities. Businesses will be able to distribute phone apps privately as they can with Windows 8 apps.

Obviously, there are still plenty of questions and of course information I'll continue to protect. But suffice to say that Microsoft's plans for Windows Phone are quite exciting indeed. ###

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1261)2/3/2012 12:35:18 PM
From: zax
   of 1647
Thats huge that WP8 will be based upon the Windows 8 kernel. Big-time convergence.

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To: Eric L who wrote (1261)2/4/2012 11:42:27 AM
From: zax
   of 1647
Will Windows Phone 8 Launch Microsoft Back In the Game?

Message 27927927

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To: zax who wrote (1262)2/4/2012 12:54:31 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
The Unification of Windows for Desktop, Notebooks, MIDs, and Phones ...

Hi zax,

<< Thats huge that WP8 will be based upon the Windows 8 kernel. Big-time convergence. >>

It really is huge in my estimation as well. Make that HUGE! It's more than catch-up and could and should put Softie ahead of the curve entering 2014 and usage of Win8 will drive usage of WinPhone 8. The transition will be challenging and there is certainly risk attendant but potentially it's a real game changer if Microsoft with the collaboration of their well chosen strategic partners and licensees can execute the transition well, particularly since they'll reach requisite relative hardware parity with the new and evolved chassis specs, will have an unexcelled languages advantage enabling them to poke into every global nook and cranny, and since WinPhone 8 will allow for native code support developers can port apps they've already written for another platform to Windows Phone with relative ease allowing for rapid expansion of both the developer base and the applications and content base.

I suspect that the Belfiore leak was intentional and I also suspect that while he hit some high points Microsoft is probably still "holding a lot of cards close to its chest," to tantalize while not giving away the store.

It's exciting. The Metro UI is fresh, different, and exciting. I say that as a 28 year prosumer user of Microsoft OSs skipping only DOS 4.x, Windows 1.x and 2.x, ME, and Vista along the way, of IE browsers (the good and not so good) as primary or secondary since '94 after ditching 16-bit then 32-bit Netscape with the winsock, of business Software (Office and its components) since '95 after saying good-bye to Innovative Software's Smartware suite in the DOS days and the Lotus suite with AmiPro, 1-2-3, and Freelance Graphics in the early Windows days, Outlook, OE, and Windows Live E-Mail clients as primary since '95. I've been a frequent beta tester of Microsoft products over the years for my employer or myself and as an individual investor have maintained a basket of the equities of several of the pioneering market leaders in digital convergence in his portfolio for many years.

My original Win7 machine was a budget priced, actually throwaway priced, AMD dual core Vista equipped Compaq 32-bit box with free upgrade to Win7 but it has never missed a beat and still runs like a champ but I just recently added a very highly discounted budget priced but nicely expandable Intel powered dual core 64-bit HP with the intention of installing and dual booting the Win8 Beta as soon as it goes public. I'll wait till Win 8 is commercial and there are more usable 64-bit apps to go high end quad-core with heavy duty power supply, and hot graphics and sound cards. I'll continue to use my S^3 Anna (soon to be Belle) Nokia N8 smartphone -- the 3rd Symbian phone I've owned and used since '04, and which originally replaced a 16-bit Palm based Kyocera -- for some time, but I suspect that my next smartphone purchase will likely utilize the WinPhone 8 OS. Eventually I'll probably add a Windows tablet slate or hybrid ultrabook to replace an aged Dell Latitude notebook running XP SP3.

It's all going to be fun to watch and participate in. There will be Virtual Warfare for every Virtual Warrior wearing Virtual Armor and sporting Virtual Weaponry that frequents message boards like those offered by SI, regardless of the various nutball fringes native persuasion. In the smartphone and MIDS game there is the battle of ecosystems playing out, but new sideshows will include ARM Holdings and Qualcomm v. Intel ICs and architectures, the whole movement to cloud computing where the Microsoft, Google, and Apple superpowers all compete in its early stages and will jockey for dominant positions, and the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit computing that will eventually power smartphones and MIDs. Fun stuff!


- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1261)2/4/2012 1:49:15 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
More Commentary on Windows Phone 8 ‘Apollo’ ... (II)

>> How Windows Phone 8 ‘Apollo’ Would Stack Up Against iOS 5, Android 4

Christina Bonnington
Wired | Gadget Lab
Software and Operating Systems
February 3, 2012

Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS is often criticized for lagging far behind iOS and Android, the other major operating systems in the mobile space. But on Thursday, a leaked description of Microsoft’s next big mobile OS, Windows Phone 8, came to light, revealing how the operating system will improve.

The leak, reported by blog Pocketnow and validated by Windows insider Paul Thurrott, shows that Apollo (the codename for Windows Phone 8) will be a major improvement over the current iteration, Windows Phone 7.5, otherwise known as Mango.

“Currently, we have to work around some limitations with Mango, and many of those limitations would be removed with the upcoming Apollo version,” Eric Setton, CTO of mobile VoIP app Tango, told Wired.

Mango is the current version of Windows Phone. It launched in October, bringing with it a slew of new features, including built-in social media and chatting tools, groups for organizing contacts, multitasking, and improved Live Tiles. A small update called Tango (not to be confused with the VoIP app) is slated next, and then the world will see Apollo, which is rumored to launch in mid-2012.

Microsoft wouldn’t tell us whether Thursday’s leak report is accurate, but offered insight on its OS plans in general.

“We think your smartphone should be smarter,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Wired. “When I take a picture, a ‘smart’ phone should anticipate that I may want to share it with a friend or on Facebook and help me easily do that. With Windows Phone these kinds of things are just built in, and we think there’s always room for a better way.”

A number of Windows Phone developers (several whom also write iOS and Android apps) were eager to share their thoughts on this rumored “better way.”

“I am very excited to hear that Microsoft is making a strong push to catch up to the iOS and Android platforms,” Sina Mobasser, co-founder of iOS and Windows Phone app BarMax said. “But while the specs that were leaked are certainly appetizing, they will not be enough.” Mobasser thinks Microsoft is still “holding a lot of cards close to its chest,” and we have to agree. But Thursday’s leak is still a tantalizing look at what Windows Phone could offer in the near future.

All of which begs the question: Is Windows Phone Apollo enough? If it were released right now, how would it measure up against its biggest competitors, iOS 5 and Android 4, aka Ice Cream Sandwich? Here’s our take on how it may fare in six key areas.

Hardware Support

Right now, Windows Phones are limited to single-core processors. They also lack support for removable storage. But Windows Phone Apollo will support multi-core processors, as well as microSD storage.

Because iOS devices do not include removable storage, Apollo would trump iOS there. But both the iPhone 4S, which was released in October 2011, and the iPad 2, released in March 2011, are dual-core devices that run Apple’s A5 processor. Apple’s next iPad is rumored to be built on a quad-core A6 processor, so it’s imperative for Microsoft that Windows Phone run multi-core processors, if only to remain modern and relevant.

Of course, Android began supporting multi-core devices as far back as Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) in February 2011. And pretty much every Android smartphone allows for SD or microSD storage. The Android OS has supported this feature for quite a long time.

“Hardware-wise, I’m not a big fan of what I call the ‘arms race’ because I think there is still a lot of room to optimize software to use hardware like GPUs more effectively,” Windows developer Kelly Sommer said via e-mail. Indeed, current Windows Phones don’t exhibit any major performance shortcomings, despite their specs handicap. But it never hurts performance — or public perception — to match industry-standard specs.

Apollo will also allow for more screen resolutions and device form factors than Mango currently does. “As a user, different screen resolutions and more powerful phones will help to sell more compelling hardware to better compete with iOS and Android,” Setton said.

Verdict: Apollo essentially reaches parity with iOS and Android in terms of hardware support, but doesn’t offer earth-shaking innovation.

Mobile Payments

Windows Phone Apollo will use NFC technology to facilitate mobile payments. With a swipe of your phone on a point-of-purchase RFID tag, you’ll be able to buy coffee, cigarettes, and sundry other consumables. Sound familiar? That’s what Google is doing — or is attempting to do — with its Google Wallet mobile payment platform.

Google Wallet is currently available on the Nexus S smartphone. Photo: Jon Snyder/

Unlike Wallet, however, it looks like Microsoft’s version of NFC payments will play by carrier rules. According to the PocketNow report, “The ‘Wallet experience‘ “will have the capability to be carrier-branded and controlled.” This is a point of contention for Android’s Wallet feature. Google has been battling carriers like Verizon over whether Wallet will appear on upcoming Android 4 devices. Wallet, in fact, did not make an appearance on the latest flagship Android device, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon want a piece of the mobile-payment pie through their own version of Wallet, dubbed Isis. This leaves Sprint as the only U.S. carrier that currently offers Google Wallet. And it also opens up a huge window of opportunity for Windows Phone to take charge in the mobile payments arena.

Developers could also take advantage of the technology, if the API is exposed. “Developers can leverage that to create some brand-new experiences for smartphone users,” Sommers said.

Although many people expected — hoped? hypothesized? — that Apple’s 2011 iPhone, the 4S, would include NFC, Apple hasn’t yet adopted the burgeoning technology.

Verdict: When it comes to mobile payments and NFC, Apollo is ahead of Apple’s current curve, though this could change if the iPhone 5 supports NFC in a big way. As for Android, Apollo’s NFC support might actually trump Android’s, if only because it would receive carrier blessings.

Desktop Integration

Windows Phone 8 Apollo will offer “companion” experiences with its desktop counterpart, Windows 8, which is also set to launch mid-year. Right now, Apple’s Mac OS and iOS are completely separate code bases and platforms. The upshot? Apollo could offer an unprecedented level of what we’ll call “pan-OS unification.”

One of the most interesting elements of OS unification is how it will be implemented: Windows Phone 8 will use the core system from Windows 8. Specifically, the updated OS will be based on the NT kernel rather than the Windows CE kernel, which is currently employed in Windows Phone (the kernel is the core layer of any OS — the interface between hardware components and applications that run on the device). In short, Windows Phone 8 will be very closely related to Windows 8, even to the level where desktop apps could be more easily ported to simplified phone versions.

Geeky kernel discussions aside, Microsoft plans to make user-experience models very similar across its desktop, mobile and Xbox platforms. Syncing information and content sharing across these three platforms will be made easier, as well.

In the world of Google, a deliberate focus on product compatibility helps keeps user data synced across Android phones and tablets, desktop web browsers, and Chromebooks. That said, Google doesn’t have a desktop OS the way Microsoft does (and, no, we won’t count Chrome). What’s more, the Google user experience is very different between mobile and web, from smartphone to tablet, and even from smartphone to smartphone, due to fragmented OS versions and rampant OEM and carrier UI skinning.

In iOS land, the interface is essentially consistent across iPhones and iPads. But the Mac OS desktop interface, of course, despite a bit of window dressing, is a completely separate experience, both in terms of UI and cross-platform app compatibility. As for cloud support, the iOS iCloud ensures your data and apps are synced across devices. In Windows Phone Apollo, SkyDrive will do the same.

Verdict: Awesome sauce! Apollo looks to offer a heretofore unseen level of integration between Microsoft’s desktop and smartphone products.

App Ecosystem

Microsoft plans to have at least 100,000 apps in its app market by the time Windows Phone 8 debuts later this year.

That’s all? By Apple’s latest counts, there are more than 550,000 apps in the iOS App Store. And according to the unofficial count from AndroLib, the Android Market has more than 750,000 apps at the moment.

Microsoft is working hard to offer incentives such as funding, guidance, and marketing opportunities to attract developers to its mobile platform. Windows Phone is currently the fastest-growing mobile app platform and just crossed the 50,000 app mark in late 2011. But it’s still got a long, long way to go before its offerings are on the same level as iOS and Android.

And let’s not forget that Windows Phone 8 will allow for native code support, which means devs can easily port apps they’ve already written for another platform to Windows Phone. This is definitely something developers are excited about.

“The vast majority of mobile app developers have built apps for iOS or Android,” Mobasser said. “We hope the porting of code is well thought-out and allows us to smoothly transition our app to Windows Phone without having to deal with a number of compatibility issues and bugs.”

Windows Phone 8 will also allow for app-to-app communications, something both iOS and Android already offer. “App-to-app communication can create some really interesting user experiences between applications,” Sommers said.

Windows Phone Mango’s Yelp-like Scout feature, which helps find local restaurants, businesses, and activities based on their proximity and rating, will get personal recommendations added to its list of functions. This is something the Foodspotting app just added to its repertoire as well.

Apollo should also feature its own Skype app, or have Skype baked right into the OS — the exact implementation isn’t quite clear from the leaks. Skype is already available on iOS and Android, if you’re keeping score.

Finally, for its camera app, Apollo will include new “lens apps” for more powerful smartphone image-capture abilities. Now, there are plenty of third-party photography apps already available on iOS and Android. And many Android phones currently have robust filters and scene options built in to their native camera apps. So while the Apollo camera update looks promising, it may not offer much of anything new to the smartphone scene.

Verdict: Windows Phone is still playing a serious game of catch-up in the apps arena. But sharing a code base with Windows desktop, along with native code support, will certainly help Microsoft’s app-related fortunes.

Data Management

Apollo will use a tool called “DataSmart” to make sure you’re able to easily track your monthly data usage. Available as a Live Tile that you can pin to your home screen, it will break down your data usage (helping you make smarter decisions about what you download) and give Wi-Fi networks — even carrier-operated Wi-Fi hotspots — precedence over cellular data connections whenever possible.

In iOS 5, you can track your cellular usage, but it’s buried inside the General settings menu. Yes, there are indeed a number of third-party iOS apps you can download that do the trick, but these features should really be exposed directly in the OS — like they are in Android.

Data management is better than ever with the advent of Android 4, aka Ice Cream Sandwich. The built-in Data Usage app provides numerous charts and graphs that reveal your data-gobbling habits, and you can even set governors and alerts to help you control data usage. Android sets the new standard for data management, so while Windows Phone’s solution sounds helpful, it will have a long way to go in matching Android’s approach.

Verdict: We’ll see. We’ll see. But if nothing else, Microsoft is moving in the right direction.


Apple CEO Tim Cook pointed out that iPhones and iPads are rapidly being adopted in the enterprise environment.

To grab a piece of that market (many members of which are in search of new handsets now that BlackBerry fever is fading), Windows Phone 8 will offer the same native BitLocker encryption as Windows 8. That’s 128-bit, full-disk encryption. This could be good news for potential switchers, as built-in encryption in iOS devices reportedly has some security flaws. For Windows Phone 8, companies will also be able to create personalized, proprietary software for their employees, which Windows 8 will allow as well.

Now, does anyone besides developers use Android for enterprise applications? I kid — sort of. Google also offers storage encryption, as well as third-party encryption solutions.

Verdict: It looks like Microsoft will be ahead of the curve. And it should be. This is a Windows product, after all. If Microsoft can’t appeal to the mobile enterprise crowd, it’s got problems.

So What’s It All Mean?

Windows Phone Apollo looks like it will address a number of the issues currently holding back the OS from equal footing with its peers. But there are still a few areas that need improvement. “I think the biggest gaps are still software and design,” Sommers said. “Microsoft needs to be obsessed with paying attention to detail in its user experiences.”

This is an area that Android addressed in its Ice Cream Sandwich update in late 2011, and an area where Apple absolutely excels.

Based on the information that was leaked, Windows Phone 8 should achieve essential feature parity with its competitors — assuming no significant improvements are made to iOS or Android by the time Apollo arrives. And if the leaked info is merely a tease of what Apollo has in store — a mere subset of greater feature riches — then Windows Phone 8 will be quite compelling indeed. ###

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1261)2/4/2012 1:53:57 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
More Commentary on Windows Phone 8 ‘Apollo’ Unification ... (III)

>> Microsoft Windows 8 Unification Plan: Grand, But Risky

Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 appear to look very much alike. That's great news for users, but can Redmond pull off one OS across desktops, mobile and more?

Paul McDougall
Information Week
February 04, 2012

According to Windows Phone 8 leaks, the mobile OS will share code with the Windows 8 client--a clear sign that Microsoft wants a single operating system that can stretch across PCs, tablets, phones, and even entertainment devices. The strategy could give Redmond a big edge over rivals who've split their software into desktop and mobile products. But it also carries some real risks.

New details emerged this week on Windows Phone 8, which (no big surprise here) will be the successor to Windows Phone 7. Video said to be viewed by the site PocketNow showed Windows Phone VP Joe Belfiore touting new features on the platform, which Microsoft is developing under the code name Apollo.

Components such as the kernel and networking stack, as well as a number of security features, including BitLocker, are taken directly from Windows 8, not Windows CE--on which Windows Phone 7 was built.

Additionally, if the leaked video is authentic--and Microsoft so far hasn't said it isn't--Windows Phone 8 will, like its PC cousin, offer support for C/C++ programming, multi-core processors and multiple screen resolutions, and external hardware like microSD cards. Windows 8 and Windows Phone will also both run Metro apps.

On the video, Belfiore reportedly says that, in writing for Windows Phone 8, developers will be able to "reuse--by far--most of their code" from Windows 8. This news comes after Microsoft has already made clear that Windows 8 will be both a desktop and a tablet OS. The company now seems to be merging phones into the mix as well. "It appears that Windows Phone 8 will leverage important parts of Windows 8 while running the same application base," IDC analyst Al Hilwa tells me.

This grand unification strategy could give Microsoft an edge over Google and Apple. Most significantly, if apps developed for Windows 8 can run across PCs, tablets, and phones with minimal porting issues, then the platform should be a huge magnet for developers anxious to get the most bang for their buck. One issue currently hampering the Windows Phone ecosystem is that it "only" has about 60,000 apps. That sounds like a lot, but it pales in comparison to more than 500,000 apps for the iPhone and, if you can believe Wikipedia (since Google does not release a number,) more than 300,000 apps for Android.

Windows Phone's app count could jump exponentially if Windows 8 creates a common development environment across desktop and mobile products while Apple continues to push Mac OS for PCs and iOS for the iPad and iPhone and Google splits desktop and mobile between Chrome OS and Android.

Now to the risky part. Microsoft’s plan to unite PCs, tablets, and phones under a single OS sounds great in theory, but there are questions as to whether Microsoft can pull it off. If the effort flops, or is beset by delays caused by the many technical issues involved, the company could fall even farther behind its competitors. It's already so far behind that it risks getting lapped. (Arguably, it already has been—Apple will assuredly release iPad 3 before we see the first Windows 8 tablet).

There are already signs that the plan might not go smoothly. Microsoft ideally wants Windows 8 to be hardware agnostic, possibly through the use of abstraction layers and some virtualization and cloud technologies. But already there are questions about Windows' cross-platform potential.

Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has said that Windows 8 tablets that are powered by ARM-based chips won't run legacy Windows apps. And Intel execs have said that Windows 8 devices powered by anything other than their processors won't offer the full Windows experience.

Intel, of course, is biased. But that doesn't make it any less true that the Windows client, to date, has never officially run on anything except Intel processors or x86 and x64 clones. How the Windows client performs on chips, like Qualcomm's Snapdragon, that were built to run operating systems that carry a light footprint--something Windows has never been accused of--is an open question.

"It remains to be seen how hard or easy it will be for developers to modify apps written for one OS for the other," says Hilwa. Such questions become more pointed given Microsoft’s history of significant delays in bringing out new versions of Windows for the x86 platform alone, with which it is well familiar.

Risks aside, Microsoft's apparent plan to unify its operating systems makes a lot of sense in an era in which consumers and workers are jumping from device to device to access personal or business information. Users want that information to be the same, in terms of content and look and feel, regardless of where they get it. Microsoft should be lauded for attempting to give users that experience. Let’s just hope the company can really do it. ###

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1261)2/4/2012 2:09:32 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
More Commentary on Windows Phone 8 ‘Apollo’ Unification ... (IV)

>> Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

Mary Jo Foley
February 2, 2012

Summary: Two reports with lists of alleged Windows Phone 8 “Apollo” features have leaked. Developers and business users may find a lot to like, if the information is true.

It looks like information about Windows Phone 8’s operating system, codenamed “Apollo,” is starting to leak in earnest.

On February 2, posted a list of what the site says are Windows Phone 8 features revealed in “a video hosted by senior vice president and Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiore, and intended for partners at Nokia.” (The site seems to have seen a video of Belfiore’s talk, but has not posted it to the Web or referenced where its editors saw the video.)

Shortly thereafter, Windows SuperSite Editor Paul Thurrott posted about some of those same Apollo features, which he said he can corroborate will be in the product.

Microsoft isn’t commenting as to whether or not these features will be in Apollo. (In fact, Microsoft still has not officially confirmed even the Apollo codename, as far as I know.) But here’s what both of these sources said are coming:

• Support for multicore processors

• Support for new screen resolutions (four, although actual pixel counts weren’t specified)

• Support for removable microSD card storage

• Support for NFC and an associated “Wallet Experience”

• Inclusion of Windows’ core elements, including kernel, networking stacks, security, and multimedia support. (I believe this is confirmation that elements of Windows 8’s MinWin core will replace Embedded Compact with Windows Phone 8.)

• New data-tracking capabilities, showing users a breakdown of their data consumption by various networks.

• Use of a proxy server to deliver pages more efficiently & quickly to Internet Explorer 10 Mobile

• Of special interest to enterprise users: Addition of native BitLocker encryption and Secure Boot

• Of special interest to developers: New app-to-app communication capability that sounds like Windows 8’s contracts feature, as Thurrott noted

• Separate but improved Skype application, but not integration of Skype into the OS.

• Replacement of the Zune PC client software with an update mechanism more akin to ActiveSync

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) show kicks off later this month and Microsoft’s Windows Phone team is going to have a big presence there. I’ve heard from my contacts that Microsoft is going to start talking about Apollo at MWC.

I have to say I’m doubtful the Redmondians are going to talk about it publicly at the show. If I were to place bets, I’d say Apollo talk will be mostly if not entirely behind closed doors with select partners and carriers.

Why? Microsoft and Nokia haven’t even launched their “hero” device — the Nokia Lumia 900 — here in the U.S. yet. That is supposedly happening around March 18. If Microsoft were to start talking about all the great features in Windows Phone 8 (allegedly due to ship on phones before the end of 2012) now, it would be like the Windows team talking about Windows 9. Momentum for the soon-to-be-announced products would plummet before it even had a chance to build.

I can’t say for sure whether these new reports about Windows Phone “Apollo” are on the money, but I’d have to say they definitely seem plausible. ###

- Eric -

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