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All posts tagged "microsoft"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Windows Mobile 7 Will Be Social-Network Friendly, and Probably Later than Ever

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Talk" @ 03:42 PM

Photo courtesy of Engadget

Oh Windows Mobile 7...what a rough time you've had, and you're not even here yet. We first heard about you years ago under the code-name "Photon", and early peeks looked promising. Years went by, and you never managed to make an appearance. Things have changed in the market - that iPhone thing turned out to be a pretty big deal after all - and Windows Mobile isn't exactly on sure footing at the moment. Windows Mobile 6.5 looks like an improvement, but we're really waiting for you Windows Mobile 7 - you're the version that's supposed to really change things up. Looks like the Big Boss Man is telling people that you haven't exactly been handled properly, and they've brought on some new talent to ensure you're properly fed and cared for. The question is, if your creators are just now hiring people to create some of your core features - in this case social networking - when exactly will you make your debut? It feels like we've been waiting forever for you Windows Mobile 7...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

More Project Pink News

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Pocket PC Hardware" @ 01:00 PM

"Taking a glance at the renders, it's clear that at least one model is that Pre-like phone we spied the other day, supposedly (and creatively) codenamed "Turtle." The other device is dubbed the "Pure," and unfortunately for Microsoft, looks like the G1 having a bad hair day... in 1988. Both devices bear a kind of child-like, simplistic look, which actually makes us wonder if these aren't some concept pieces geared toward the youth market."

I think Engadget pegged this right - Pink phones aren't aimed at smartphone users at all, even if the underlying OS is still some version of Windows Mobile and the specs are derived from WM7 chasis 1 specs. On the other hand, this is a refreshing if risky venture by Microsoft - what do you guys think?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pinch Me - Microsoft To Issue Own-Brand Phones?

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Pocket PC Hardware" @ 02:00 PM

"Weekend gossip that has Microsoft and Sharp "unleashing" a pair of slider phones codenamed "Turtle" and "Pure" in January (likely at CES). JoFo thinks that it's possible that the rumored handsets could be announced in January, but any phone from Microsoft's Pink skunkworks project wouldn't launch until Windows Mobile 7 was ready, an OS not expected to ship on consumer devices until the end of 2010."

We have two reports from Engadget Mobile that Project Pink (here and here), which involves Microsoft's purchase of Danger (the makers of the Sidekick), is finally seeing some results. At this stage, virtually nothing is known about what specs or even which OS these devices will run, though I don't see Microsoft muddying their mobile strategy further by coming up with another ecosystem beyond Windows Mobile (or alternatively Zune). If WM7 is the target OS, that means these first two prototypes won't be on the market for another year, but given that these are relatively uncharted waters for Microsoft I'm not too surprised at the pace of development. I'm also thinking that with the ever tighter integration between software, hardware and services that the smartphone competitive space is moving towards, Microsoft is taking their time to get it right.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

About Microsoft's Marketplace Kill Switch

Posted by Jon Westfall in "Pocket PC Software" @ 07:00 AM

"We have a bit of troubling news from Windows world today as a developer in attendance at Microsoft's Tech.Ed New Zealand has relayed some interesting tidbits. Regarding the "Windows Marketplace for Mobile" - Microsoft's version of the Apple App Store - Microsoft has confirmed the existence of a ‘kill switch' for apps. In the event an approved app is later removed from the Marketplace, the app will also automatically be removed from users' handsets. We're not sure what this means for paid apps, though we doubt refunds will be issued automatically as well"

Boy Genius report is skeptical that refunds would be given if MS decided to drop the app kill hammer, however other reports such as this quote given to Ars Technica seem to contradict this strongly:

"In the rare event an application from Marketplace exhibits harmful behavior or has unforeseen effects, Marketplace has the capability to remotely uninstall these applications. While we hope to avoid this scenario, we will make refunds available in such cases."

So yes, there is a kill switch, but no - users who buy something that gets killed won't be out money. Come on guys - give Microsoft some credit to do the right thing. They aren't Apple after all!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Windows Phone 7 Chasis Specs

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Pocket PC News" @ 01:00 AM

"Said McCarthy 'In the future, we are looking to deepen our development work with a handful of key OEMs at the hardware design phase, with much more carefully defined hardware specifications to match software requirements, which in turn will deliver even more powerful mobile experiences for our customers. This has led to this chassis' concept that is familiar to the work Microsoft does with hardware partners in the PC industry to create high quality products.'"

It's no secret that Microsoft is playing catch-up in the smartphone market - nor that hardware-software integration has always been a problem for Windows Mobile from way back in the day. Microsoft's approach has heretofore been hardware agnostic which meant that not only have some manufacturers issued models that were under-powered for the OS, but that even those devices with sufficient horses didn't always have the response time one would expect from examining the raw specs. Partly that was because hardware advances didn't keep up with the OS (especially with the transition to WM5), as well as the OS not being optimised for specific hardware. With Windows Phone 7 (I'm still trying to get to grips with the change in terminology - again), MS is hoping to change all that by specifying some pretty steep minimum hardware requirements (including multi-touch), which also hopefully means that the OS code will be optimised to that hardware. Too little too late? Possibly - it'll be another year before we see any WP7 devices, and none of MS' competitors are going to stand pat in the meant time.

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  • Source: Engadget

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Microsoft to Build Office Software for Nokia Phones?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC News" @ 08:12 AM

"Microsoft and Nokia, long adversaries in mobile phone technology, have agreed to a partnership to equip many Nokia cellphones with the Microsoft Office software, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement."

Just like licensing ActiveSync technology to Apple for the iPhone, it's not surprising to see the Office group at Microsoft reaching out to extend their technology to other platforms. Unfortunately this erodes an advantage that Windows Mobile has, but given how stagnant Windows Mobile has been over the past few years, you can't blame other groups at Microsoft for wanting to work with other platforms. Oh, and speaking of the iPhone, it looks like Microsoft might be reaching out there too. And in the meantime, Microsoft had to build their own Facebook app while Facebook built one for the iPhone. That tells you a lot about how the industry perceives Windows Mobile, even though Windows Mobile as a platform is still moving 16+ million units a year. Perception matters.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Microsoft Upgrades Office Communicator Mobile

Posted by Jon Westfall in "Pocket PC Software" @ 09:00 AM

"The 2007 R2 version of Microsoft® Office Communicator Mobile is an enterprise application for mobile devices that helps you quickly find and communicate with your colleagues. The application is designed to make communication easier and more accessible and includes real-time presence information, single number reach support and rich instant messaging (IM) capability all with a familiar look and feel similar to the desktop version of Microsoft Office Communicator."

Those working in a Microsoft-centric shop may find that the newest version of Communicator Mobile to be a great asset. Those looking to truly take a vacation, however, may find it to be the most evil piece of software ever devised! Just kidding...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Does Windows Mobile Still Have a Market Left?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Articles" @ 08:08 PM

"As computing goes mobile thanks to the emergence of more powerful devices, Microsoft Corp. is finding itself increasingly threatened by new rivals -- and some old ones, too. The company's mobile technology has suffered in comparison to both the iPhone, from traditional foe Apple Inc., and Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry. Meanwhile device makers who have normally been big supporters of Microsoft's mobile operating system software, such as Motorola Corp. and Palm Inc., have been moving toward the use of different technology."

We've already had an interesting discussion about this topic, but as people look at the mobile market it's going to come up again and again: Microsoft has really dropped the ball in terms of competing in this space. In some ways, this echoes what they did with Windows XP: it was a good product when it launched, but they took their eye off the ball and got lazy - and Vista shipped years late, and missing many of the features it was supposed to have. Similarly, Windows Mobile was a great mobile operating system back in the day - but Microsoft focused on the wrong things, year after year, and now have ended up at the bottom of the marketshare heap. They can do better - and they will do better - but for now, they're going to take some lumps.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Microsoft Branded WM Phone?

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Pocket PC Talk" @ 01:00 AM

"ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley says her best understanding of "Pink" is now that it's a Microsoft-branded phone running a custom UI on top of Windows Mobile 7, developed by what's left of the Danger team and targeted at the Sidekick market. Yep, Microsoft-branded -- as in, the exact thing Microsoft has been denying for ages now."

The current Windows Mobile ecosystem is similar to the way Microsoft has treated the PC world - an MS based operating system riding on hardware made by others. First Xbox, then Zune, demonstrated Microsoft's willingness to break away from that hugely successful paradigm, because it didn't translate well to other markets. Are we going to see the same thing in the Windows Mobile world? Apple showed one way to build a market based on a closed eco-system - but then Microsoft didn't exactly have a blazing success emulating this model with the Zune. Windows Mobile has in its own understated way been a success because it met the needs of the enterprise market. Now that smartphones for consumers are all the rage, this (along with WM7) looks like the MS response. Good idea? Bad idea? Thoughts wanted!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pre-Order Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade for $49.99, Limited Time Offer

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 09:37 AM

You'll have to excuse the network-wide broadcast (well, except Apple Thoughts of course), but I thought this was something that everyone would want to know about: Microsoft is offering the forthcoming Windows 7 at a steep discount, but only for a limited time. Until July 11th, you can purchase Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade for $49.99 USD (that's an Amazon affiliate link, so your purchase helps support Thoughts Media). The normal price of Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade is $119.99 USD, so that's a very significant level of savings ($70 to be precise). You can also pick up Windows 7 Business Upgrade for $99 if you want that version. When Windows 7 is released on October 22nd, Amazon will ship you the software.

The Windows 7 upgrade will work on a computer with Windows Vista or Windows XP installed. If you have an older computer, you may want to run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to make sure your computer is ready for Windows 7, but in general any computer built in the past four years should be able to run it just fine. Windows 7 is lighter on resources and works well across a broad spectrum of hardware.

Got a netbook? Then you'll want to take advantage of this offer as well - I'm running the Windows 7 Release Candidate on an MSI Wind, and an HP Mini 1000, and it works really well on both of them. I think Windows Vista is a fine operating system, but Windows 7 is even better - it addresses many of the concerns that people had with Windows Vista and adds a degree of polish that means everything is easier to use.

Unfortunately, this offer is only valid in the USA and Canada (Canadians can order from, Future Shop, and Best Buy). as far as I can tell. Europe is getting a different version of Windows 7 due to the lawsuits Microsoft is undergoing there.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Is Windows Mobile in Danger of Becoming Software Plumbing?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Talk" @ 09:33 AM

Jump over to Engadget and watch the video they've posted of the newly-announced HTC Hero, an Android-based smartphone. Look at what HTC has done in terms of porting a version of TouchFlo from Windows Mobile over to Android - but also pay attention to the apps they've added and improved. Now picture those changes and improvements flowing back to future Windows Mobile devices. Between all of the customs apps that HTC has slowly but surely built up (photo viewer, music player, skinned browser, weather app, etc.) and the UI of TouchFlo, Windows Mobile is becoming nothing more than plumbing....which should terrify Microsoft. If the OS is just plumbing, then HTC could switch to whatever OS the wish on a given device. HTC is Microsoft's biggest smartphone partner - so what does it mean to Microsoft when their biggest partner is working to undermine the user interface of their operating system? Read more...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Windows Mobile 6.5 DTK Released

Posted by Darius Wey in "Pocket PC Developer" @ 10:00 PM

"The Windows Mobile 6.5 Developer Tool Kit adds documentation, sample code, header and library files, emulator images and tools to Visual Studio that let you build applications for Windows Mobile 6.5. A new set of APIs is being introduced that will enable application developers to take advantage of the new Windows Mobile 6.5 touch gesture framework. The gesture APIs allow an application to handle touch gesture input and provide a visually consistent experience with the rest of the device UI. Note that the gesture APIs are only available on the Windows Mobile Classic and Professional SKUs."

Microsoft has just released the Windows Mobile 6.5 DTK to developers. It includes seven new emulator images, and is available in English, Chinese Simplified, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, and separately for Standard and Professional devices.

Update: This is the DTK, not the SDK. You'll still need to install the Windows Mobile 6 SDK in order to develop for Windows Mobile 6.5.

Microsoft Releases BingTones for Phones, Puns In the Process

Posted by Darius Wey in "Pocket PC Software" @ 09:37 AM

"Bing isn't just a search engine, it's a decision engine. Download these Bing-branded ringtones to your mobile device, then make your new default search engine today."

Microsoft's BingTones certainly live up to their name. There's more "bing" in them than you could ever imagine. Perhaps to the point where using them would cause offense to those around you on your daily commute. Still, check 'em out and let us know if they've found a new home on your Windows Mobile device.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Windows Mobile 7 To Feature Richer App Integration

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Pocket PC Software" @ 02:00 PM

"As far as I'm aware, the "connectors" and "Unified Storage" referred to here is a new concept for WM7. Unfortunately the job description doesn't go into any details, but in the context of communications, I'm predicting it's a new framework designed to handle all the communication storage needs on a phone in a single, structured and open-access system...If my prediction is correction, as opposed to the current method where each application has its own proprietary storage model (ex. Outlook Mobile, Facebook application, Twitter applications), this new framework would allow applications to store and retrieve any communications data on the phone in a consistent and managed manner, allowing for far richer integration."

We know that Windows Mobile 7 will be a big step forward from the past, and here's a hint as to what may be in store beyond a new UI and multitouch interface. Ironic what a "simple" job ad can reveal - especially about the potential for Zune intregation. Will all this come to pass? Hard to say for sure, but it's fun to speculate. Read on for more!

Touching Your Phone is So 2008

Posted by Pete Paxton in "Smartphone News" @ 07:30 AM

"We know there's a special breed of people out there who don't like touching the screen of their phones and instead stick to a stylus. (We're looking at you, Mal!) But what if Microsoft's trying to go one further in Windows Mobile 7 and make it so that you don't have to touch the phone at all?"

There are keyboards, and stylus screens, and of course touch screens. What comes next? Not to touch your device at all of course! What do you all think? Could this actually be our future? After all, technology has to go somewhere. What do you suppose would be the benefits of a non-touch device? Microsoft could sure use some innovative technology. Well, if the article is on to anything we may all get to use our Jedi powers. May the force-gesturing be with you!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Windows Mobile 6.5 is DONE!

Posted by Rocco Augusto in "Smartphone News" @ 02:46 AM

"For the record, Windows Mobile 6.5 is DONE... complete... looks really good IOHO and every bit functional. ping us if u want to know more."

There you have it - straight from the developers mouths... or tweets. Windows Mobile 6.5 is done. Stick a fork in it because it is good to go. Now all we have to do is wait around for one of hardware manufacturers to bestow one of these brand spanking new devices on us. Hopefully we will not have to wait too long.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Microsoft Updates Facebook Application

Posted by Darius Wey in "Pocket PC Software" @ 12:00 AM

"If you weren't aware, Microsoft recently released a Facebook application for Windows Mobile. We've heard some users have been having problems with installation and a new copy of the app has been posted. This version should help anyone that was getting the "cannot install due to insufficient privileges" error and it should also help with some hanging errors."

If you were at wit's end last week getting Microsoft's Facebook application to play nice, you may want to head over to the Windows Mobile web site and try downloading and installing it again. The updated version is signed, and packs a few bug fixes.

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  • Source: Windows Mobile Team Blog

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Windows Mobile Facebook Application Released by Microsoft

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Software" @ 02:24 PM

"New from Windows Mobile: a Facebook application for your phone! Download the new Facebook application for Windows Mobile and: Send messages to any of the people in your Friends list; Take pictures and videos on your phone, then upload them right to Facebook; Send messages or call people in your Friends list; Manage your profile and post anytime, anywhere. Keep up with the latest news and posts with Facebook on your phone. Now your status updates can be up-to-the moment accounts of what you're doing. Photos and videos are about as close to live-action as you can get. Show your friends what you're up to, while you're out and about. Connecting and sharing on Facebook just got a lot livelier!"

In typical fashion, this had been leaked elsewhere previously, but now it's official: the release version of the software is public and available for immediate download. What I find most interesting about this is that it's a Facebook application developed and released by Microsoft. On the iPhone, Facebook developed their own app for it. On Windows Mobile, Microsoft had to do it. That doesn't say much for what Facebook thinks of the Windows Mobile platform, now does it? Looks like RIM developed their own app for the Blackberry though, so this isn't without precedent. Guess the people at Facebook just love their iPhones.

The app will work on all Windows Mobile 6 and 6.1 smartphones, both Professional and Standard - sorry all you Windows Mobile 5 owners. You can grab a mobile download here if you wish. I haven't taken it for a spin yet, but will shortly. Let me know what you think of it!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Microsoft, Verizon, and "Pink" Being Delayed?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Pocket PC Talk" @ 04:21 PM

"In-house development delays are putting a stealth Microsoft-Verizon smartphone project in danger of collapse, has learned. Microsoft and Verizon Wireless have reportedly been working on a Microsoft-branded touch-screen smartphone that Verizon could launch on its network as early as next year. The smartphone, code-named Pink, would consist of Microsoft software running on a third-party device, according to sources familiar with the project. However, Microsoft has encountered major setbacks that have affected its schedule for bringing Pink to market, sources said."

I lost count of the number of rumours and points of speculation in this article, but it would seem there's something to this given the sheer number of rumours strung together. The question is, though, is whether this is a Windows Mobile device. What if it's a Danger Sidekick running a bunch of Windows Live software? It's hard to say given how much rampant speculation there is in this article. What's not speculation though is that Windows Mobile 6.5 devices are still not here yet, and Windows Mobile 7 is even further out. Has anyone else noticed that Windows Mobile isn't even mentioned in many of the articles talking about the major players in the mobile space? Microsoft sold north of 15 million licenses world-wide last year, yet somehow they're not considered a serious player in the market.

Win $10,000 in Microsoft's Mobile Moments Contest!

Posted by Rocco Augusto in "Smartphone News" @ 09:24 AM

"What's your most memorable Mobile Moment? Let us know! Upload a photo with a short description of your Moment—whatever mobile device you happen to use—so everyone can view and vote for their favourites. If you get the most votes by June 15, 2009, you could win $10,000! Plus, each vote automatically enters the voter into a draw to win 1 of 3 Samsung OMNIA™ devices."

Good news, Bad news time! Good news - Microsoft is currently holding a contest entitled Mobile Moments. As the description above states, you participate in the contest by pointing your browser to Microsoft's website and upload a photo of your favorite “mobile moment” and then give said photo a description. Users vote on your precious moment in time and after Jun 15th, 2009 one lucky person is chosen to win $10,000! Bad news time - This contest is only available to Canadian residents it appears, which is pretty lame... unless you're in Canada that is.

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  • Source: Allison (E-Mail)

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