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From: zax2/4/2012 11:37:28 AM
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Will Windows Phone 8 Launch Microsoft Back In the Game?
By: Anton D. Nagy |9:30 AM 4-Feb-12

I think we can all agree to the fact that Microsoft has rushed its new Windows Phone 7 mobile platform to the market in the last quarter of 2010. The initial iteration was lacking some basic features -- not only present on competing platforms but imperative to the user experience -- some of which were later addressed by the NoDo and then the Mango update.

There were several voices (not only) on the Internet that criticized Microsoft and its Windows Phone 7 platform because of several reasons including, but not limited to, the low number of apps in the Marketplace, the lack of copy and paste operations, missing video calling options, but mainly because we never got the chance to see official numbers representing sales of Windows Phones. The marketplace is growing fast (and now, at the time of this editorial, it already has close to 70,000 titles), the NoDo update brought copy and paste functionality, Mango and some wave-two devices added video calling and Nokia's recent financial report talks about over one million devices sold from the end of October until the end of January (but still no global numbers).

Windows Phone 7 is still well below a two-digit OS market share, increasing ever so slowly but steadily (and even decreasing recently); however, Apple’s iOS at 43% and Google’s Android at 47% seem very far away. So, will a platform refresh like Windows 8 put Microsoft back in the game (for real this time)?

After seeing details of the upcoming OS refresh codenamed Apollo we can all agree that it will be as big of an update as Windows Phone 7 was when it replaced Windows Phone 6.5. Not only will it be a new mobile platform but it will very well blend in with Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system for PCs, slates and convertibles.

The lack of support for removable storage was probably one of the most criticized Microsoft moves with regards to Windows Phone 7. Users wanted to be able to manually sync all sorts of documents while Microsoft considered it was best to sync music, videos and pictures via the Zune software. Additionally, a huge part of the user base (or future possible users that refrained from going Windows Phone 7) was complaining about the limited internal storage space on devices. Eight gigabytes were not enough and 16GB were still too little to accommodate huge multimedia libraries for some users.

Windows Phone 8 will bring back removable storage. What does this mean? You will most probably be able to expand your storage with a microSD card to a yet undisclosed total storage supported by the platform. Not only that but you will probably be able to use your phone as mass storage and sync all sorts of documents.

While Windows Phone 7 users were quite happy with the way the OS performed on single-core CPUs clocking anywhere between 1GHz and 1.5GHz – because of the way the platform was built to be fluid – their friends using Apple’s iPhone and Android were rocking dual-cores (and soon quad-cores). Now that Microsoft is preparing dual-core support for Windows Phone 8, people using other platforms are already criticizing Windows Phone users; we need to get one thing straight: Windows Phone 8 will be a completely new OS and experience. It’s not Windows Phone 7 that needs dual-core; it’s Windows Phone 8 that will support dual-core. And, looking at the current Windows platform (and how well it is optimized) chances are Windows Phone 8 will be buttery-smooth with its new chip support for which it will be specially built.

Four screen resolutions are rumored. We currently have WVGA but Windows Phone 7 Tango was rumored to lower the bar to HVGA (a resolution that was mentioned in the very early stages of Windows Phone 7). What could be the other two screen resolutions? Well, qHD and 720p seem valid candidates. Let’s take a look at those: HVGA (320x480) with aspect ratio of 1.5; WVGA (480x800) with aspect ratio of 1.6; qHD (540x960) with aspect ratio of 1.7; 720p/HD (720x1280) with aspect ratio of 1.7.

We can already see the diversity in hardware but on the other hand we can already hear the critics call out fragmentation. While we could easily brush that off with Eric Schmidt’s argument about “device differentiation” we’ll just say that anyone who used Windows Phone and its Metro user interface knows how scalable it could be.

We’ve seen that on the hardware side, Microsoft seems to listen to the community feedback: adding the option for external memory, higher screen resolutions (and probably lower ones for budget phones) and just as much horsepower as it is needed to deliver a fluid user experience (and maximize battery life). Hardware-wise, Windows Phone 8 will be right there and fans will definitely continue to defend it against the competition, which by then will probably need and support quad-core processors.

On the software side Microsoft seems to plan on seriously pushing the concept of "Windows reimagined”. In a somewhat similar way to Google and its Ice Cream Sandwich OS (which is a unifying one for smartphones and tablets) Windows Phone 8 will do much more. It will be part of the Windows 8 family for PCs, slates and convertibles. It will not only lend its looks to Windows 8 but it will use many components from the PC OS; developers will be able to "reuse -- by far -- most of their code" and port applications from the desktop to the phone, as Joe Belfiore said. The Marketplace will see an impressive growth giving users plenty of choices. And with native code, apps will be easily portable among platforms like iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

Skype, now part of Microsoft, will have deep integration with the OS; you’ll have the same experience when answering a Skype call like the one you currently have when picking up a normal phone call. In addition, native BitLocker encryption as well as business apps (with the ability for corporations to deploy and manage) will definitely push Windows Phone 8 in the business and corporate segment.

It looks like great things are coming to Windows Phone 8 software-wise too. If Microsoft can couple all of these with an improved cloud and online experience they might have a winner. The company appears to have targeted the average user with its Windows Phone 7 platform; this saw many of its old Windows Mobile users (mainly the power users, hackers, tweakers, etc.) go Android. Sharing features like the kernel, networking stacks, security, and multimedia support with Windows 8, Microsoft can crack the ice once again for its new platform; whether it will become what Windows Mobile and Windows phone was back in the day is anyone’s guess.

Let’s not forget about Android Ice Cream Sandwich (and the probably upcoming letter “J”-named refresh); we should not forget about Apple’s iOS and the upcoming iterations. The competition never sleeps. However, those who are tired of seeing a grid of icons, those who want better battery life, seamless PC-tablet-phone integration, a fluid experience, shared apps, and so on will probably consider Windows Phone 8. Microsoft won’t turn die-hard iOS and Android fans but they can gain back some of the users lost in favor of the competition once Windows Phone 7 hit the market (and that’s a solid starting point).

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From: zax2/6/2012 4:03:41 PM
   of 1099
Nokia schedules white Lumia 800 for European release in February
By Vlad Savov on February 6, 2012 07:01 am

The Lumia family is growing in number today, courtesy of Nokia's announcement that a glossy white variant of the Lumia 800 will be released later this month. Apart from its brighter case and glossy finish, this is the same handset that's been available in cyan, magenta and black already. That means a 3.7-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display, a 1.4GHz single-core processor, and Windows Phone 7.5 enhanced with a number of preloaded Nokia apps. We've also spotted a new Ministy of Sound application for the UK, which should be coming to all Lumia handsets in that market. Nokia reminds us that app selection will differ with regions.

Besides the UK, Nokia's home nation of Finland will also be among the first to receive stock of the white Lumia 800, along with Russia, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Poland. Other markets in which the Lumia 800 is already out will follow on from March onwards.

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From: zax2/8/2012 1:00:07 PM
1 Recommendation   of 1099
LG Miracle Windows Phone leaked, reportedly has NFC
By Aaron Souppouris on February 7, 2012 01:27 pm

An image of what looks to be a new LG Windows Phone has been leaked by PocketNow. Codenamed the LG Miracle, it's allegedly the same device we reported on back in December, known then as the "Fantasy". According to the leaked specs we're looking at a mid-range 1GHz Snapdragon handset with a 4-inch super-bright NOVA display (though it's not clear if it'll be the NOVA Plus tech featured on the latest Prada phone), 8GB of storage, HSPA connectivity, a front-facing VGA camera, and a five-megapixel rear camera capable of shooting 720p video.

PocketNow also notes that the Miracle has an NFC chip, which according to recent reports isn't due until Windows Phone Apollo hits in Q4 of this year. It's not clear if the leaked specs are correct, but if they are, they suggest that NFC may be coming to Windows Phone sooner than expected. We're expecting to see the Miracle along with other handsets from LG at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month, so stay tuned — we'll be bringing you full coverage.

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From: zax2/9/2012 9:06:01 AM
1 Recommendation   of 1099
Amazon's Cloud Comes To Windows Phone
Written by Kay Ewbank Wednesday, 08 February 2012 00:00

Microsoft has released a beta version of a toolkit that lets you create Windows Phone apps that can connect to Amazon Web Services.

The announcement of the beta in the Interoperability blog gives the reason for the toolkit as being that developers want to have choice and be able to reuse their assets and skills when creating cloud-connected mobile applications.

The toolkit makes the Amazon S3, SimpleDB, and SQS Cloud Services directly available to Windows Phone 7 Developers via C# APIs and the intended audience isn’t Windows Phone developers moving away from Azure (perish the thought), but developers who’ve been creating apps against AWS for technologies such as Android or iOS. Even so it represents the dilemma that Microsoft has - support other cloud architectures or promote only Azure.

As well as a Getting Started Guide downloadable as a pdf, there are also Channel 9 videos for Getting Started, and sample walkthoughs for each of S3, Simple DB and SQS.

Jean Paoli, General Manager of Interoperability Strategy at Microsoft, said:

“The release of the Windows Phone Toolkit for AWS Beta proves that Microsoft’s goal of building a Cloud-friendly phone is true across vendor boundaries. It literally takes minutes to create a Cloud-ready application in C# with this toolkit. We look forward to this toolkit eventually resulting in many more great apps in the rapidly growing Windows Phone marketplace.”

While the official reasoning behind the beta is cross-boundary friendly helpfulness, the reality is that Microsoft can’t really afford to ignore all the mobile phone apps that have already been created and hosted on Amazon for iPhone and Android. If a few of you could see your way clear to porting those apps to run on Windows Phone, Microsoft would really be very, very grateful.

More Information Download the SDK

Getting Started with the beta of the Windows Phone Toolkit for Amazon Web Services

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To: zax who wrote (28)2/9/2012 9:33:37 AM
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Getting an error trying to download this SDK. Grrr...

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From: zax2/11/2012 3:23:18 PM
1 Recommendation   of 1099
Nokia Lumia launch in Finland caused measurable drop in market share of iPhone and Android
February 11, 2012 | By Surur

While the graph above which depicts mobile browser market share in Finland as measured by Statcounter shows that there is still a very, very long way to go before Windows Phone 7 can play with the big boys, it also shows that the other mobile OS’s should have reason for concern.

The adoption of the Nokia Lumia 800 in Finland has been so rapid that it had a measurable impact on the browser market share (and likely real market share) of the other mobile operating systems, with all reporting a drop in the 2 weeks since the Nokia Lumia 800 launched.

Date iOS Android SymbianOS MeeGo Maemo 5 Windows Phone 2012-04 38.53 33.48 22.84 1.57 0.92 0.83 2012-05 37.97 34.2 21.94 1.73 0.9 1.55 2012-06 37.57 33.95 21.79 1.66 0.86 2.52 The red shaded cells means loss of share from the previous week, and in the week past there has not been a major OS unaffected.

Hopefully these market share gains will continue in Finland, and Microsoft and Nokia together can find a way of replicating it elsewhere

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From: richardred2/11/2012 7:28:44 PM
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On my windows phone (Samsung). I don't like the camera button being close to the search browser. In my case. Many times the browser goes off by accident when using the camera. A royal pain.

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From: zax2/16/2012 4:48:26 AM
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Windows Phone 'Tango' screenshots leak, reveal MMS improvements and memory limitations
By Tom Warrenon February 15, 2012 11:57 am

Screenshots of an alleged Windows Phone "Tango" build leaked to the internet today and demonstrate a number of new features in Microsoft's next Windows Phone update. Russian site WP7forum says that Tango will include the ability to export contacts to SIM, manage domestic / international roaming, and handle multiple attachments in a single MMS message. MMS currently supports single images and Tango will allegedly add support for video messages too. Microsoft also appears to be building in a native voice recording application for MMS messages.

We have heard a number of details about Tango and its timing, including the fact it will push the minimum hardware requirements down to just 256MB RAM. WP7forum says Tango phones will also drop camera hardware down to just 3-megapixels. Tango users will allegedly receive a warning in the Windows Phone Marketplace if certain applications require additional memory, leading to what many will describe as hardware fragmentation for Windows Phone. Microsoft is expected to unveil its Tango plans, including support for new chipsets, at Mobile World Congress later this month.

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From: zax2/17/2012 7:12:53 AM
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LG Miracle Windows Phone appears on camera ahead of MWC unveiling
By: Dan Graziano | Feb 16th, 2012 at 08:10PM

Images of LG’s mid-range Windows Phone — the Miracle, previously code-named Fantasy — have been published once again, this time with an accompanying video. The images and footage were obtained by Mobilissimo and confirm the handset’s 5-megapixel rear camera and 4-inch display. The Mango-powered smartphone is also rumored to feature a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 8GB of storage and an NFC chip, although Windows Phone 7.5 Mango does not yet include support for NFC. LG is expected to unveil the Miracle at this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Read on for additional images and a video of the Miracle in action.

*** VIDEO ***

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From: zax2/18/2012 2:39:53 PM
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Tango coming to China in March, lose Xbox Live, Facebook and Twitter features
February 18, 2012 | By Surur

Chinese Windows Phone website WPDang has broken some more news about the increasingly scooped Windows Phone Tango update.

Apparently all Mango devices can be updated to Tango, and in China special modifications will be included.

These changes include :

  • Tango of China would have the Xbox Live function removed
  • WeiBo (Chinese version of Twitter) and RenRen (Chinese version of Facebook) would be used to replace Twitter and Facebook which cannot be accessed in China
  • Bing search result would be based on a combination of Bing and BaiDu, the Chinese no.1 search engine
Tango will be announced at Mobile World Congress 2012 and will launch in Beijing in China at an event in the 3rd week of March, attended by HTC, Nokia, ZTE and LG. The OEMS will be showing their Tango-powered devices off there.

It is not clear if the Chinese Marketplace will open at the same time, but when it does there will be 2 additional methods besides paying by credit card to pay for apps.

Read more at here.

It sounds as if the Windows Phone experience will be quite different in many ways in China. Hopefully it will still however serve to open up the potential market for Marketplace developers and generally boost the Windows Phone volume which is so important for confidence in the platform.

Thanks to our anonymous tipster.

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