Editorial: Is fragmentation finally catching up with Windows Phone?
When Microsoft launched Windows Phone in 2010, they left behind a severely fragmented Windows Mobile operating system. Then, Windows Mobile was today's Android, with OEM's (Original Equipment Manufacturer) given a free license to do as they pleased with the operating system just like Android OEM's do today. The difference then was that Samsung's Touch Wiz and HTC's sense were still in their infancy, meaning they were largely a hindrance rather than a help. This left Windows Mobile severely fragmented, meaning user experience was extremely varied, mainly determined by the OEM's skin rather than the operating system. Realising this, Microsoft decided to take matters to their own hands with Windows Phone. OEMs were no longer going to be allowed to change the user interface in Windows Phone, meaning all Windows Phone users would enjoy a similar experience, regardless of whether their device is a high-end Samsung device or a lowly ZTE.
What is fragmentation? It is when relatively new devices are often unable to run the latest version of the software that powers them. For software developers, fragmentation means they cannot be sure how, or even if, their applications will run successfully on the latest handsets. It is when users on the same platform can no longer enjoy use of applications available for the particular platform, due to a differentiation in software or exclusivity.
True Fragmentation (Android)
Take a deep breath because the numbers you will see might leave you needing a tank of oxygen. Only 7% of Android devices are running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), the latest version which was publicly released in October last year, about the same time Apple released iOS 5, yet 80% of Apple's users have iOS 5 installed on their devices. As if that is not damning enough, Google recently announced their forthcoming update, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) which should be available in the next couple of months, while more than 65% of Android devices are still stuck on Android 2.3 (Ginger Bread). Google touts the latest features available on Android, but end users do not see them because OEM's are too busy developing for operating system versions released two years ago. On the market right now are phones with Android 2.2 (Froyo). That version of Android is now over two years old, released in May 2010. Most never see an upgrade because it is the device OEM and carrier (not Google) who is responsible for shipping out updates. This is not where the bad news ends. However financially rewarding it may be, developing apps and games for Android can be the stuff of nightmares. The biggest challenge for Android developers is the huge variation in screen resolutions. Where the non-rigidity and diversity of screen technologies (3D included) and pixel count are one of Android's major selling points, it more-or-less impossible to ensure that a certain application works on all Android devices. It's no wonder that a recent study suggested that the problem has prompted developers to shy away from the platform, which in turn may lead to a slow erosion of market share. Ok, enough scare-mongering. on a serious note, this is what real fragmentation is. Do we really want to this to happen to Windows Phone?
Managed Fragmentation (Apple)
Part of Apple's dominance of the smartphone app market can be explained by its approach to limiting fragmentation. While a few of the latest features are limited to the most recent handset, Apple always ensures that the latest version of its iOS software is compatible with iPhones that are up to two years old. The iPhone 3GS, now well over three years old yet still receiving the latest iOS updates epitomizes fragmentation management. Yes we know, Apple manages to do this because of their unique position of being in complete control of both hardware and software of their iPhones. Of course the Apple ecosystem is not exempt from fragmentation. The iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S all run slight variations of the latest iOS and increasingly, older iOS devices are not able to run all the latest apps and games found in Apple's App Store.
Potential Fragmentation in Windows Phone
When Windows Phone 8 launches in a few months time, Microsoft will be the proud owner of 3 mobile operating systems in Windows Mobile 6.5.x, Windows Phone 7.x and Windows Phone 8, all launched within 2 and a half years of one another yet their native code is largely incompatible. Do not forget that Windows Mobile still arguably makes up for most of Microsoft's smartphone market share. Also, Windows Phone 8 users will be able to download and use applications developed for WP7 devices and yet Windows Phone 7 users will not be afforded that privilege. This is fragmentation right?
Another issue is the availability of low-end Tango devices that are not able to run applications and games that demand more that the measly 256 MB of RAM that Tango devices offer, much like the Nokia Lumia 610/Skype debacle. Yes, it's a minor issue that unlikely to bother users in emerging markets that these devices are supposed to target, but the fact remains, it's an issue. There is also the recent trend that has seen Nokia release a bunch of useful applications and games to the Lumia devices, meaning they are available in the Windows Phone Marketplace exclusively for Nokia Lumia devices. Applications do not usually determine the user experience, but they go a long way in influencing it.
We know that Windows Phone 8 will support support the following display formats: 15:9 WVGA 800 x 480, 15:9 WXGA 1,280 x 769 and 16:9 720p 1,280 x 720. While it brings choice to end users, it may also be a curse if lazy developers do not do a good job of making sure that their applications work on all the three screen resolutions. The predictability of three screen resolution should help.
Fragmentation in Windows Phone is beginning to rear it's ugly head. Though unlikely to reach Android's pandemic proportions, it will get worse before it subsides as users naturally upgrade to Windows Phone 8. The pain of knowing that a new and capable Nokia Lumia 900 will not enjoy features that low-end Windows Phone 8 devices might is going to hurt many. The inability to have access to RAM-demanding applications for low end (Tango) devices will remain an issues, while the inability to download Lumia exclusive apps for non-Nokia devices is not ideal either. The idea of some models being more equal than others is not attractive for OEMs trying to encourage reluctant users away from Google and Apple. For consumers, it makes the issue of when the best time to buy a new Windows Phone more tricky. Nobody, after all, wants their phone to be obsolete within months of buying it.
Newly appointed Nokia chairman affirms faith in Windows Phone strategy
Nokia's recently appointed chairman, Risto Siilasmaa (pictured right, with Stephen Elop), has expressed faith in the Finnish giant's decision to go with Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system for their Smartphones. In a television interview on Finnish broadcaster Yle, Mr. Siilasmaa said:
For the first time in the history of technology, the Windows Phone 8 operating system makes it possible for users to have the same experience on a PC, tablet or smartphone, and for many people on their televisions via their gaming consoles, and to do the same thing almost seamlessly from one screen to the next.It no secret that Nokia is facing an almighty battle, having been been recently been dethroned as the biggest handset maker by Samsung and had bonds downgraded to junk status. Nokia has struggled as it waits for sales of its new range of Windows-based products to replace the void left by its old Symbian software. Last week, Nokia warned that its second-quarter earnings will be worse than its previous guidance, prompting an additional round of mass layoffs at the company.
Some of the decisions taken by Finnish mobile-phone maker to correct its ailing business have been "extremely painful" but such decisions will be made "for as long as they are necessary," Mr. Siilasmaa said. "Our duty is above all to ensure that Nokia's competitiveness is restored," Mr. Siilasmaa said.
The chairman noted that although the company's share price has nosedived in recent weeks following the announcement of another round of job cuts, shareholders haven't deserted the company, and he urged them to think about what they believe in in the long term.
Responding to questions about why Nokia had abandoned the Symbian operating system in favor of Windows Phone, Mr. Siilasmaa said that Nokia's market share for Symbian-based phones had declined from a peak of nearly 60% since 2008, adding: "It was clear a year and half ago that we could no longer save Symbian."
Mr. Siilasmaa praised Chief Executive Stephen Elop's performance as "extremely analytical, critical, open and transparent" and he noted that a turnaround doesn't happen in a short period of time.
SOURCE: Market Watch
Another Nokia Windows Phone 8 prototype spotted in the wild
Dutch Windows Phone website wp7.nl have posted an image of a Nokia Windows Phone prototype they spotted at the Microsoft TechEd conference in Amsterdam. This comes after Corporate vice president of Windows Phone, Joe Belfiore, disclosed that he was using a Nokia Windows Phone 8 prototype during his presentation at last week's Developer Summit.
Could this be a device that's likely to end up in consumer hands? Highly unlikely! The device in question (above) seems to bear an uncanny resemblance to the iPhone 4 and is unflatteringly thick. That alone should mean it will never sit on any retail shop and will most likely end up on eBay if it fell into the wrong hands.
A couple more issues of note are that the Windows Phone logo on the start button is that of WP7. We know that Windows Phone 8 logo will be similar to the Windows 8's, see here. The other issue is that the device appears to be really thick, suggesting that it may have a cover on it or that it could have just been made to be like that so as to house components that are still in development. What do you guys think?
Windows Phone now prominently featuring in newly designed Microsoft.com website
Looks like the days of Microsoft treating Windows Phone like an ugly step-child may be over. It's not too long ago that the damn-it iPhone featured prominently on the Hotmail main page, much to the dismay of Windows Phone users and fanboys alike.
Microsoft has been giving all of its properties a fresh coat of paint lately, bringing the metro experince to Bing, Xbox 360, Hotmail and SkyDrive. A LiveSide reader managed to find a link to a newly redesigned Microsoft.com homepage, currently still in preview mode. Check it out in the screenshot above.
Windows Phone 'Tango' Now Rolling Out to Lumia 710 and Lumia 800
The Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 can now officially update to Windows 7.5 Refresh (Tango), Nokia announced on Wednesday. The update brings Internet sharing (Wi-Fi tethering with up to five other devices) and a flip-to-silence mode. In addition, Lumia 710 and 800 users will have access to Camera Extras. There's also new Contact Share and Play To, which is an easy way to share stuff like photos, video and music to other DLNA-enabled devices. Here are the some of the features in depth:
- Smart Group Shot makes it easy to capture great group shots with just one attempt. With a single press of the camera button, five shots are taken and using advanced algorithms, you can select the best 'face' shot for each person in the photo.
- Action Shot allows you to take stunning images of movement and action. Take a burst of shots and you will be able to review them all one on top of another before you select the one you prefer.
- Self Timer lets you put yourself in the picture. Set the timer, then prop up the phone and then join your friends in the shot. Remember to say cheese!
- Panorama enables you to capture beautiful wide landscape images. The simple on-screen instructions guide you as you move your phone, while it stitches together panoramic images with precision alignment.
- Contact Share lets you share and receive Business Cards by SMS
- Play To makes it possible for you to share pictures, videos and music from your Lumia smartphone to other DLNA -enabled devices on your home network. Play To is already available for all Lumia devices.
Remember, to update you will need to connect your device to your computer using the Zune software on PC or Mac. Don't forget to let us know when you receive the update.
SOURCE: Nokia Conversation
New Smoked by Windows Phone Ads Launched
After 25,000,000 views of "Smoked by Windows Phone" videos and digital ads, and having run more than 150,000 in-person challenges in 45 countries worldwide, Ben Rudolph and the Windows Phone team have decided to extend the campaign by launching a new batch of digital adverts.
You are most likely to run into these new ads over the next few months all over the web, on MSNBC and MSN - even on Skype or your Xbox. If you can't wait for that chance encounter, then watch the full playlist here.
SOURCE: Windows Phone Blog
Latest Xbox LIVE Title: Super Monkey Ball 2 Sakura Edition
Super Monkey Ball is back. Everyone's favorite monkeys keep the ball rolling with this exclusive version of the arcade to console classic for your smartphone.
Roll around the Far East, as you tilt and steer one of four adorable monkeys through 125 themed mazes and a beautiful world of cherry blossoms. Just grab your bananas along the way to earn extra lives before time runs out. It's so easy to play, even a monkey could do it!!
- GO BANANAS: Play as one of 4 adorable Monkeys: Aiai, MeeMee, Baby, and GonGon
- JUST ROLL WITH IT: 6 Worlds, 125 Themed Stages
Sinking Swamps, Cobalt Caverns, Ultra Heaven, Jumble Jungle and Pirate's Ocean. Includes 10 stages from the exotic Far East World.
Play 3 additional Mini Games:
- Monkey Target: Guide your monkey to the bull's-eye, launch into the sky and grab as many bananas as you can.
- Monkey Golf: Monkeys play golf.. who knew? Grab your clubs and tee off with 18 holes of banana bliss.
- Monkey Bowl: One of the original mini games returns for ten frames of monkey ten-pin bowling madness!
Marketplace Deal of the Week: Gerbil Physics
Gerbil Physics is a Windows phone exclusive ported from the highly rated and critically acclaimed Xbox 360 Indie game described by Kotaku as being "as adorable as it is enthralling". It has been wholly rewritten to suit the mobile platform, with a new state-of-the-art physics engine, glorious new art and animations, tons of cunningly designed levels and an awesome new theme tune.
Use bombs, explosives and disintegrators to wreak havoc across multiple danger-packed worlds, earn Xbox LIVE Achievements and dominate your friends on the Leaderboards! A powerful physics engine ensures that gerbils respond to your mass detonations exactly as real gerbils might.
Gerbil Physics is available for $1.99 (usually $2.99) for a limited time.
Editorial: Be grateful you are getting Windows Phone 7.8
When Terry Myerson announced Windows Phone 8 at the Developer Summit in San Francisco last week, doom mongers had pen and paper within reach, ready to let their slimy fingers start feeding malicious rumours to their sheeple. Disregarding the fact that Microsoft was finally bringing features that would put Windows Phone at par with Google's Android and Apple's iOS, most seemed to be more concerned about whether current Windows Phone devices would be receiving the Windows Phone 8 update or not. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting CNET, Engadget, Slashdot and the likes to suddenly start being fair to Microsoft after all the years of brown-nosing Google and Apple. What caught me by surprise was when supposedly pro-Windows Phone blogs like WMPoweruser started feeding poison to Windows Phone users.
Apparently, Windows Phone 7.8 is going to be nothing but a skin change on 7.5. Im yet to hear a Microsoft employee or representative confirm that. If anything, Im pretty sure Terry Myerson said Windows Phone 7.8 would be "bringing the WP8 start screen AND MORE" to current devices. Don't just take my word for it, go and watch the presentation - all 2hrs of it - and tell me I'm wrong. In any case, most of the new features in WP8 are hardware reliant. Features such as Native Code, Internet Explorer 10, The Wallet, NFC (Near Field Communication), WinRT, Device encryption and VPN all need capable hardware, leaving the Data Usage application and Skype integration as the only other announced features that can be brought to WP7.8
Much has been made of how Microsoft is "stitching up" loyal early adopters like they did when they abandoned Windows Mobile 6.x devices like the HTC HD2. Let me tell you something for nothing, I had a 6 month old Samsung Omnia 2 when Windows Phone 7 hit the stores on the 21st of October in 2010 (yes I still remember the day!). Without slight doubt, I went along and purchased my first Windows Phone, the Omnia 7. That is what a Poweruser and loyal fanboy does instead of whingeing and dithering about. Yes I was disappointed that my feature rich Omnia 2 was more or less obsolete, but I understood why Microsoft had to leave Windows Mobile behind. Now let's talk about Windows Phone 7.8, why it won't receive the full Windows Phone 8 update and why you should be thankful that Microsoft is offering a middle-of-the-road update.
It has to do with the Windows Phone 8's hardware specifications, something current phones currently can't meet. New hardware support includes new chipsets, graphic processors and more. This better, faster hardware will enable new, faster games and other demanding apps which, for the first time, can be written in native code. WP8 might just as well run on WP7 devices as the WP8 core will most likely to run on low spec hardware, but that would mean you'll have to wipe the phone clean to put WP8 onto it (what happens to your data then?). Not to mention that OEM's would have to rewrite hardware drivers - which I'm sure they would be happy to do. Really? As mentioned and discussed in many websites, Microsoft only went with the CE kernel because it allowed them to deliver a stable WP7 in a timely fashion but it was always going to be a temporary fix. The move to the NT kernel is necessary for obvious reasons.
If it doesn't make money, it doesn't makes sense
Updating all current devices would have cost OEMs and carriers a pretty penny. I mean, it wouldn't have left a dent on their deep pockets but its not money they want to spend in any case. OEM's would have had to write new hardware drivers for the few million WP7 devices and carriers would miss out as WP8 would breathe a new lease of life into the old devices, meaning users would less likely upgrade their contracts.
Apple and Android OEMs do it all the time
People are still buying the iPhone 3GS in droves, despite the fact that feature like Facetime, Siri and others are not available on the device. The reason why the iPhone 3GS is still receiving iOS updates is because Apple has control of hardware as well as software, so they can afford to write new drivers to go with their latest version of their operating system. Can you imagine Microsoft trying to convince Samsung, HTC, ZTE, LG, Fujitsu, Dell and Acer to write new drivers for devices that didn't sell well? On the flipside, Android OEMs are still shipping devices with Android 2.3.x (Gingerbread) on low-end devices and people are still buying them in their millions, despite some knowing that they will never see 4.0 (ICS).
Because WP8 requires DirectX 11 hardware, it's impossible for WP7 devices to handle DX11. In addition, new native code games cannot run on WP7 devices as native code for CE kernel and NT kernel is largely incompatible. This will cause a dilemma to developers who might be stuck between developing for WP7 or WP8. The saving grace is that Microsoft was wise enough to allow backward compatibility on WP8. WP7 apps and games will work on WP8 but unfortunately not otherwise. This means that developers can continue developing apps for WP7 with the knowledge that they will work on WP8 devices. Also, it's good news for users as they will not lose functionality on apps they have invested a fortune on. The argument that WP7 users will be stuck with devices without apps doesn't hold water either. Marketplace currently boasts of a 100000+ applications, and given the current rate of publishing, who knows, that number could be swelled by 50% by the time WP8 truly gains traction. Nokia certainly isn't abandoning Lumia users as they are constantly adding new exclusive apps to the Lumia range (Zynga and EA anyone?).
The moral of this story is that you should be grateful Microsoft is even thinking about providing some sort of update for WP7 devices when they have no obligation to do so. Having the WP8 start screen is as good as having the full WP8 experience, minus the features of course. Just like the iPhone 4 without Siri on the 3GS without Facetime. Those that bought Nokia Lumia devices having read rumours that they were going to receive the full Windows Phone update have only got themselves to blame. Microsoft has warned you, devices will be supported for at least 18 months. I would advise those with new-ish devices to take the plunge and upgrade at the earliest possible time so as to synchronize their contract upgrades with Windows Phone's every-other-year major updates. So, next time you feel like mouthing off about Microsoft stitching up loyal users you should think twice!
Hands On: Windows Phone 7.8 Start Screen [Video]
Ben '@BenthePCGuy' Rudolph has posted a hands-on Windows Phone 7.8 video on the Windows Phone Blog. Ben tells us that he went over to the engineering building (lucky guy!) and borrowed a Nokia Lumia 900 running a VERY early build of Windows Phone 7.8 so he could shoot a video of the new Start Screen. This is how he describes his first meeting with the Windows Phone 7.8 start screen:
For me, the small-sized tile that made me contentedly sigh "finally..." is my Phone Tile. I don’t do that much talking on my phone and use it pretty much entirely for email, text, web, games and everything else, so it was a big relief to miniaturize it and get it out of the way. On the other hand, I'm pretty jacked to make things like email, messaging and music nice and big so I can see more of what's going on at a glance.
Notice how Ben makes an emphasis on "VERY" early build? For us this proves that scaremongering that going on across tech sites is unwarranted. We believe that Windows Phone 7.8 will bring more than just the start screen experience.
SOURCE: Windows Phone Blog
Microsoft NOT building own Windows Phone devices
A Microsoft executive said the company has no plans to manufacture its own company-branded smartphones, denying recent reports indicating that they were ready to do so in order to kick-start sales of Windows Phone. Asked in an interview, Greg Sullivan, senior marketing manager for Windows Phone, said, "No, we do not. We have a strong ecosystem of partners that we are very satisfied with."
Sullivan's outright denial of plans to build a phone is significant in that Microsoft officials almost always issue a standard "no comment" when asked about industry rumours. As much we would like to see a Surface Phone (like the concept above), we realise how much it would hurt a committed partner like Nokia. Do you think Window Phone could benefit from a Microsoft-branded device?
SOURCE: Information Week
Image credit: yronimus.deviantart
Official Facebook app for Windows Phone updated to v2.6
Those of you that have been following WPSF for a while will know how much we have complained about the way Clarity Consulting (original app developers) handled the development of the official Facebook app. The initial Facebook app for WP7 was dire to say the very least and did not see any updates for months. And when the an update did come, it made the app worse. We're unsure as to whether Clarity Consulting are still responsible for the app at present, but if they still are, someone must have stuck a rocket up their backsides because there is a massive improvement now in the frequency and quality of the updates.
Version 2.6 is now in the Marketplace. The update brings a couple of bug fixes that many user have been emailing them about. They include:
- An image posted to a group was appearing on your own wall rather than the group
- Users with custom privacy settings set as their default were having their updates created with "Only Me" permissions
Lighting Task updated to v2.1, bringing plenty new features
Lightning Task, the highly featured task manager/to-do list has been updated to v2.1, bringing along a bagful of new features. The app has a strong emphasis on speed and efficiency. Its user interface is intuitively designed to minimize the amount of tapping and finger work needed to get the job done.
- Recurring tasks: tasks can now be set as recurring, and can recur on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.
- In Progress tasks: tasks can now be marked as in progress, allowing for more precise task management for those who need it.
- Added two new views to the main page: In Progress, and Recurring Tasks.
- Updated visuals to look cleaner, sharper, more minimalistic, as well as offering more screen real estate
- Changed "Hidden CheckBox style" selection to a more natural and versatile "half edit, half select", where tapping the left half of a task opens the task for editing, and tapping the right half of a task selects the task for applying action to. Tasks will show hints demonstrating where to tap.
- Changed "due" view's last header to "next week", limiting the view to two weeks for less confusion.
- All tasks in the "due" view are now sorted in ascending order.
- Minor speed improvements.
- Fixed a bug that causes app to crash when loading a huge number of tasks into view.
- Fast multi-view layout that can sort tasks based on category, due date, priority, in progress, recurring, or by search terms .
- Search function that helps find specific active or previously completed tasks
- Smart view headers which tell how many tasks remain that fit a certain sorting criteria
- Smart view headers can also feature a "+" button which can automatically set a new task to fit the respective sorting criteria
- Live tile which indicates how many incomplete tasks remain and the Lightning Apps mascot "Esc" featuring different facial expressions based on the number of incomplete tasks remaining
- Customizable categories
- Automatic alarm reminders
- Macro-selection commands that can
Includes a 7-day free trial. Price is $0.99 USD
Visit www.caveknight.com or follow on Twitter for more info.
Statcounter puts Windows Phone market share in China at 2.54%
According to the web traffic analysis tool, StatCounter, Windows Phone market share in China is a measly 2.54%. That obviously comes as a shock as we previously thought Windows Phone was trouncing the iPhone in China. Confused? You aren't alone.
Well, something isn't right here. If you look closely you can see that on June 20th the graph is showing 0,55% and then miraculously, it shoots up to 2,54% on the the 21st of June (within 24 hrs). We appreciate that these statistics are directly derived from daily hits but that can't account for the 2% discrepancy within 24 hrs. There is no other explanation except that his has got to be an error.
Marketplace Deal of the Week: TETRIS
THE AWARD WINNING BLOCKBUSTER - ALL NEW FOR WINDOWS PHONE! Enjoy hours of timeless fun in Marathon Mode or keep it fresh with up to 12 exciting TETRIS variations. Enabled for Xbox LIVE, the official TETRIS game for Windows Phone is an absolute essential!
XBOX LIVE ENABLED! SEE HOW YOU STACK UP!
Use your existing Xbox LIVE Gamertag or create a new one via the Windows Phone 7 main menu to track achievements and access leaderboards.
- TRACK UP TO 11 ACHIEVEMENTS: Acquire a total of 11 achievements and score up to 200 Gamerpoints.
- SEE HOW YOU RANK AGAINST FRIENDS: Check out various leaderboards to see where your high scores place against friends on the Xbox LIVE network.
TEST YOUR SKILLS! PERFORM STUNTS! MAKE MILESTONES!
Enjoy fun TETRIS variations like ORIGIN, TREADMILL or GRAVITY. Play and unlock up to 12 variations by performing TETRIS achievements like making four TETRIS Line Clears in one game or clearing 400 lines. Complete all the feats and open up RADICAL - the hardest and fastest version of the TETRIS game EVER!
CATCH THE PLAY OF THE WORLD'S BEST AND TRACE YOUR OWN PROGRESS, TOO
Check out the PRO TRAINER to see how the world's best TETRIS gamers play - and improve your own game in the process. Easily view the feats you've achieved, plus see your stats and scores. Become a true master of the TETRIS game!
Tetris is available for $2.99 (usually $4.99) for a limited time.
Latest Xbox LIVE Title: Fling
Featuring 10,000s of unique puzzles, such that no two puzzles you encounter are ever the same, and split into 30 levels of increasing difficulty, Fling guarantees you many long hours of puzzling fun!
Each puzzle has a single, unique solution, and is solved by simply flinging (pushing) the furballs, and watching them bump each other off the edge of the screen, until only one is left.
Four Game Modes:
- FREE-PLAY mode: play at your own pace, while the game tracks your stats and keeps track of all puzzles solved/failed, allowing you to browse your entire puzzle-solving history and go back to any previously solved/unsolved puzzle to attempt to (re-)solve it!
- ARCADE mode: race against the clock, solving as many puzzles of ever-increasing difficulty as you can before your time runs out!
- CHALLENGE mode: solve sets of puzzles within a given amount of time to progress, while trying to beat your personal best times for each level!
- FRENZY mode: the all new survival mode - keep the board from filling up by flinging same-colored balls off the board!
- HINTs and UNDOs are provided to help you solve the puzzles when stuck
- Local+Global high-scores lists, as well as Xbox Live leaderboards + achievements
- Automatic saving of games: always come back to the game right where you left it!
Is Microsoft working on it's own Windows Phone 8 device?
The answer to that question is an unsatisfactory: MAYBE. Reuters are reporting that a Wall Street analyst who has followed Microsoft for many years, Rick Sherlund, is suggesting that Microsoft is looking at making its own smartphone to kickstart sales of Windows Phone. Nomura analyst Sherlund wrote:
Our industry sources tell us that Microsoft may be working with a contract manufacturer to develop their own handset for Windows Phone 8. It is unclear to us whether this would be a reference platform or whether this may be a go-to market Microsoft-branded handset.
Microsoft did not confirm or deny the speculation when Reuters reached out to them. A spokesman said the company was a "big believer in our hardware partners and together we're focused on bringing Windows Phone 8 to market this year."
Confusing isn't it? Of course this sounds ridiculous considering that only yesterday Microsoft announced that Nokia, Samsung, HTC and Huawei were going to support the launch of Windows Phone 8, and also given that Nokia is supposedly the premier Windows Phone OEM whom Microsoft would be unwise to upset by launching their own device. What do you guys think?
SOURCE: Reuters VIA: WMPU
Huawei Announces Windows Phone 8 Ascend Devices [Press Release]
Realising that other Windows Phone 8 launch partners were grabbing all the headlines, Huawei decided to take matters to it's own hands by announcing their plans for Windows Phone 8. Huawei has issued a press release to announce that its Ascend Windows Phone 8 handset will launch first in the US, Europe and China, with other countries to follow. Press release:
Shenzhen, 21 June 2012: Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, today announced it is expanding its relationship with Microsoft Corp. for the creation of Huawei's first Windows Phone handset. Part of the Huawei Ascend family, the company's portfolio of best-in-class smartphones, the Huawei Ascend with Windows Phone 8 expands Huawei's smartphone portfolio and brings the Windows Phone operating system to an even bigger audience. Huawei is one of the selected vendors in the world to carry the Windows Phone 8 operating system on its smartphones.
"2012 is building up to be a great year for Huawei. Now, we are poised to end the year with a big bang â€“ with the introduction of our first smartphone running on the Windows Phone platform. We're very excited about this relationship with Microsoft which will enable us to provide our customers with a bigger array of Huawei smartphone choices," says Shao Yang, chief marketing officer, Huawei Device.
"It's great to welcome Huawei to the Windows Phone family. The only phone with Live Tiles, Windows Phone brings you closest to the people and things you care most about," said Terry Myerson, Corporate Vice President of the Windows Phone Division at Microsoft. "With Huawei's impressive global capabilities, together we can bring Windows Phone 8 to more people around the world."
The Huawei Ascend with Windows Phone 8 is expected to be available in Europe, China and United States, with other markets to follow. It will be marketed through a series of promotional activities in conjunction with key mobile operators around the world.
The Ascend D Quad, the flagship of the current Ascend crop boasts of a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, 64mm x 8.9mm casing, a 4.5-inch 720P HD display, Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound, Audience earSmart voice technology, 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, plus 1080p full HD video-capture and playback. Give me those specs anyday!
Audible for Windows Phone now in Marketplace
Audible.com, the internet's premier provider of digital audiobooks and more, is now available for Windows Phone! This free app features the most comprehensive audiobook experience ever, including the ability to download from your Audible library, detailed listening stats, access to the Audible mobile store, and much more. Not an Audible member yet? We've included 8 excerpts from some of our favorite authors to get you started. Audible for Windows Phone features the best audio book listening experience and more:
- Bookmarking, Sleep Mode, Button Free Mode, and Play as you Download
- Earn badges and track your personal listening habits
- Browse and discover 100,000+ digital audiobooks and more in the Audible mobile store; from best sellers to timeless classics, and everything between
- Connect to Facebook and Twitter to let your friends know what you’re listening to
- Get insider information about author events and more with the Audible Newsfeed
- The best listening experience for audio books Supports Audible.com, Audible.co.uk, Audible.de
Official WPSuperfanboy App now available to download from Marketplace
The official WPSuperfanboy app is now available to download from the Windows Phone Marketplace. The free V1.0 is a simple RSS feed app that allows you to quickly browse through the website's latest news headlines and read particular articles straight from the website. The emphasis is on simplicity, usablity and speed; which the app delivers. Please download and rate.
- Mark articles as unread, or favourite
- Items redirect to WPSuperfanboy website
- Live tile which notifies you when a new article is posted on the feed
- Share interesting articles via Facebook, Windows Live and Twitter
HTC's Windows Phone 8 roadmap leaked, bringing quad-core device this fall
The Verge claim to have received details from a knowledgeable source on HTC's roadmap for Windows Phone 8. After yesterday's official look at Windows Phone 8 from Microsoft, we know that HTC will be a Windows Phone 8 launch partner, alongside Huawei, Nokia and Samsung, so its not a Surprise that they are readying some devices in time for the Windows Phone 8 launch this fall. According to their source, HTC is preparing 3 devices, the flagship "Zenith", the midrange "Accord" and the entry-level "Rio."
- 4-inch WVGA display
- 14.4Mbps HSPA
- 5-megapixel camera with 720p video recording
- 512MB of RAM
- Qualcomm MSM8227 Processor
- 4.3-inch 720p Super LCD 2 display
- 8-megapixel Camera with 1080p recording
- 42Mbps HSPA+
- NFC support
- 1GB of RAM
- Dual-core MSM8260A Processor
The big-brother "Zenith"
- 4.7-inch 720p Super LCD 2 display
- 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording
- 42Mbps HSPA+
- Unnamed quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon
All three devices are to ship this year, with Rio and Accord coming in October and Zenith launching sometime in Q4 (please ingest with a spoonful of sodium chloride). We are glad that HTC is bringing the big guns out and hope Windows Phone will start to form a big chunk of their smartphone market share. Remember, HTC were the only OEM to put their full weight behind Windows Phone when it initially came to market, and for that I hope they capture a healthy slice of the Window Phone cake. Who knows, I might be sporting another HTC device come Q4. What do you guys think?
SOURCE: The Verge
Watch the full Windows Phone Developer Summit [YouTube]
Here is a chance to watch the full Windows Phone Summit that took place in San Francisco yesterday. The embeded silverlight version is available from Channel9, but if like us you think 2 hours is rather a long time to sit and watch patiently without being able to seek through it, then watch our the one above from our Youtube channel. Don't forget to subscribe. Enjoy...
Windows Phone 8 update announced by Microsoft
Microsoft has unveiled the next version of its smartphone operating system, Windows Phone 8. Windows Phone 8 shares much of its code with the Windows 8 system, making it easier for developers to write programs for different types of devices. Microsoft said Nokia, Samsung, HTC and Huawei would the first OEM to bring out Windows Phone 8 devices at launch.
Features announced at the Windows Phone Summit event in San Francisco included:
- Support for multi-core chips, allowing devices to turn on cores to access extra processing power when needed, and to switch off cores when not to preserve battery life. Launch devices will sport Qualcomm dual core chips, which Microsoft say has been optimised for Windows Phone 8, though the operating system is capable of supporting more cores.
- The ability to work with different screen resolutions including the high definition 720p format
- Support for removable Micro SD cards allowing users to store more media files or install apps saved on the format
- NFC (Near Field Communication)support. The feature will be baked into the operating system.
- A new "wallet" app allowing the phone to act as both credit and membership cards. It also supports NFC payments
- Built-in maps from Nokia's Navteq division with turn-by-turn navigation. All Windows Phone 8 will have Nokia's turn-by-turn navigation
- A more customisable start screen allowing users the choice of three tile sizes to represent installed software and more colour options. Application tiles can be made to look smaller or bigger.
- A warning alert if the software believes a website contains malware or is otherwise unsafe.
- Background Skype. The update also allows internet call software based on VoIP (voice over internet protocol) and video chat technologies to run in the background. VoIP calls should now "feel like any other call" made or received by Windows Phone handsets.
Here comes the iPad Killer [Video]
Ok, maybe it's a bit premature to call it the iPad Killer, but one this is for sure, the Surface will be the first tablet computer to truly challenge Apple's runaway success. For some of us fanboys, cheeks have been aching for a while now, all because of the ear-to-ear smile we have been wearing since the beauty was introduce to the world.
For those wondering what I'm banging on about (live under a rock?), see this. It's left us all wondering: how could Microsoft manage to keep all this under wraps? Not to say that we are complaining. It would have been nice to get more deatil on availability and pricing, but as we've stated, it's better if they took their time and got everything right. In the meantime, enjoy the video.
Microsoft Unveils Its Own Surface Tablets Running Windows 8
Reporters and journalists scurried off to Los Angeles yesterday for Microsoft's last-minute press event. Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft kicked off the event, saying "Windows is the heart and soul of Microsoft." Ballmer continued: "Today we want to add another piece to the Windows 8 story, partnerships are essential to the future of Windows. We wanted to give Windows 8 its own hardware innovation. It's something new, something different, it's a whole new family of computing devices from Microsoft," said Ballmer. Then, he held a tablet on stage, which "embodies the notion that software and hardware pushes each other." Enter the Surface, a tablet that will surely leave Cupertino boots quaking and condemn all those half-baked Android tablets to insignificance, all in one fell swoop.
The Microsoft-branded 10.6in devices with a keyboard that doubles as a cover, will come in two forms: one with an ARM chip ("WinRT"), and another with an Intel chip ("x86"). Software can be written to run on both, but unlike Windows PCs, it won't be exactly the same software on both.
- Surface is thin, light and it has a great battery. At 9.3mm, Surface for Windows RT is just thin enough to still sport a full sized USB port. Print, share, or charge your phone on the go.2 Head out knowing that you are ready for anything.
- Surface has a 10.6", 16:9 widescreen HD Display. Microsoft's ClearType HD Display technology delivers a great picture for movies. An ultra-wide viewing angle makes it easy for your friends to share in the vibrant experience. The auto-adjusting screen intensity delivers great visual clarity, indoors and out. The addition of the Micro SD card slot means you can bring your entire movie and music collection with you on vacation.
- Surface comes with an integrated Kickstand and a revolutionary, 3mm thin, pressure sensitive cover that doubles as a fully functioning keyboard and trackpad. Your Touch Cover connects to your Surface with a single magnetic click. Now you can chat with friends and respond to emails comfortably.
- Surface has not just one, but two cameras. Use the front LifeCam to chat with the people that you care about. The rear-facing LifeCam is angled to 22 degrees so you can flip out the Kickstand and record meetings and events hands-free. Stereo speakers and dual microphones tuned for Skype help you sound like you are right next door.
- Surface comes with a precision crafted VaporMg casing that protects the vital technology inside and leaves a high quality finish and feel.
- Touch Cover comes in five vibrant colors. Type Cover offers classic typing experience for those who prefer a more traditional keyboard. Pick the one that best meets your needs and represents your sense of style.
The Microsoft Surface RT is expected to launch in October, with the Pro following on 3 months later. Microsoft says pricing will be decided nearer the launch date. As disappointing as it is that we might be waiting an eternity, we would rather Microsoft took their time in getting Windows 8 ready and the pricing on point.
Is this the iPad killer? What do you guys think?
Forbes: Nokia had no choice but to choose Windows Phone
Forbes' Ewan Spence makes an interesting observation, suggesting that Nokia had no choice but to go with Windows Phone following Stephen Elop's declaration that Symbian was a burning platform. Spence notes that Nokia had to choose between Android and Windows Phone, explaining why going with the latter made more sense:
The choice was simple. Android or Windows Phone. Whichever would give Nokia the most benefit in the medium to long term would be the sensible choice.
Android would have allowed Nokia to turn around a new handset in short order, but locked them into an ecosystem where they would struggle to be a leader - they would be subservient to Google in terms of the core software, and both Samsung and HTC were already established hardware players who understood what was required to make the grade with an Android handset.
Microsoft's newer Windows Phone platform would allow Nokia to significantly influence the direction of the platform. Nokia would be the biggest fish in the pond, although they would have a huge responsibility to grow that pond in conjunction with the Redmond based company.
Nokia went for the latter, and I still agree with that decision. It gave the Finnish company a far better shot at being a distinctive smartphone player in the second decade of the twenty first century, rather than yet another company churning out Android devices.
What has pulled Nokia down is not the choice of strategy, but how the changeover from Symbian to Windows Phone has been implemented. The "Burning Platform" memo committed Nokia to winding down Symbian and gave a clear message that the future of Nokia was Windows Phone. Nokia's expectation of Symbian sales slowly descending as Windows Phone took over was measured in years... the market reaction was measured in months.
Refreshed v2.0 of The New York Times app now in Marketplace
A refreshed Version of the American Newspaper, The New York Times is now available to download from Marketplace. The app has been updated with a refreshed design, improved performance and new features optimized for the Windows phone.
- Pin sections and blogs to live tiles
- Store saved content to the cloud for viewing from other devices
- Navigate to videos and blogs within each section
- Get our Top News section for free or subscribe to unlock all the sections in the app, plus blogs, videos and slide shows
- Downloads and sync latest news directly to your device for online or offline reading
- Share articles through Facebook, Twitter and e-mail
- Get breaking news alerts to be the first to read about events as they occur
ChevronWP7 unlocked devices to re-lock in August, users to get free App Hub
ChevronWP7 is shutting its doors on August 11th, meaning that all devices unlocked using a their token will lock again once connected to a PC running Zune software as from the 11th of August. ChevronWP7 is an unlocking tool designed to foster homebrew applications on Windows Phone. Microsoft's original agreement with ChevronWP7 allowed for a maximum of 10,000 unlock tokens to be sold at $9 per device, a limit that was reached in January.
Speaking to The Verge, ChevronWP7 founder, Rafael Rivera (pictured above) confirmed that the team will be providing Microsoft a list of customers that are eligible for a free App Hub membership (normally $99 per year). "We're on track to upgrade over 8,000 customers," said Rivera. ChevronWP7 users eligible for the App Hub membership will be able to unlock a device using Microsoft's own tools.
SOURCE: The Verge
Moody's agency downgrades Nokia's credit rating to 'junk' status
Nokia has had its bonds downgraded to "junk" status by ratings agency Moody's. Moody's downgraded its long-term credit rating Nokia by one notch to the speculative level of "Ba1" and said its outlook remained negative. Moody's senior vice president Wolfgang Draack said:
"Today's rating action reflects our view that Nokia's far-reaching restructuring plan delineates a scale of earnings pressure and cash consumption that is larger than we had previously assumed. A return to profitability depends on Nokia successfully transitioning its range of smartphones to the new Windows operating system and stabilising its feature phone business.Following the news, Nokia, which only recently lost the world number one ranking it had held for 14 years, saw its share price plunge more than 16 percent on the Helsinki stock exchange.
As per usual, doom-mongers, fandroids and iSheep alike will be dancing on Nokia's to-be grave. The truth is that Nokia is in a spot of bother and needs major restructuring, hardwork and a bit of luck. Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop has already announced 10,000 more job cuts as part of deep additional cost-cutting measures. "These planned reductions are a difficult consequence of the intended actions we believe we must take to ensure Nokia's long-term competitive strength," said Elop. That, coupled with the fact that Nokia have a willing and able partner in Microsoft should see the Finnish giant's fortunes turn in the not too distant future.
Nokia to make cheaper Windows Phones to take on Android
Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop has announced that his company is to begin production of low-cost Windows Phone devices. Speaking on a conference call with investors and press, Elop claimed that price was key to turning around his company's fortunes. "We need to compete with Android aggressively, the low-end price point war is an important part of that. We have plans already to go lower than the 610"
Recently, the Nokia Lumia 710 was available for just £99.00 as part of a promotion by a number of UK retailers and the newly launched Lumia 610 has just received a price-drop of £50, making it the cheapest Lumia at £139.99. Such prices will obviously help Windows Phone compete with popular low-end Android devices like the HTC Wildfire and the Samsung Galaxy Ace but we fear Nokia need to do more to compete with the "dirt-cheap" Android devices from Huawei and ZTE.
We hope these planned cheaper devices won't compromise the the fluidity of the operating system and the ability to run application. If Nokia can get that right, they will wipe the floor with OEM's that target the low-end market.
SOURCE: The Verge
Microsoft to hold media event to make a major announcement on June 18
Microsoft has sent e-mail invitations to reporters about a mysterious announcement in Los Angeles on June 18. Microsoft isn't even sending venue details until Monday morning, the day of the event.
The invite from Microsoft's Waggener Edstrom PR agency reads:
"You are invited to an exclusive Microsoft media event in Los Angeles, California on Monday, June 18th. Doors open at 3:30 PM."
ZDNet's Mary Jo-Foley guesses that this could be the Xbox Music unveiling, which would replace Zune. All Things D are reporting that event will focus on tablets. We haven't got the slightest to be honest. What do you guys think it's about?
Windows Phone market share in Finland now stands at 10%
Windows Phone has finally crossed the 10% market share threshold in Finland, making it the first country where the operating system manages double-digits market share. This is rather impressive considering that Windows Phone only made up 7.65% of Finnish market share only 2 weeks ago, meaning that it's gained over 3% within that period. This could be put down the recent launch Lumia 610 and Lumia 900 in the Scandinavian nation.
While this will obviously leave fanboys across the land grinning from ear-to-ear, the fact remains that this sort of growth is not seen elsewhere purely because Finland is the home of Nokia. Unfortunately, the growth of Windows Phone is at the expense of Symbian and Windows Phone worldwide market share remains at a paltry 4%.
Nokia buys Scalado to improve imaging on Lumia devices
Nokia announced plans today to acquire imaging firm Scalado to enhance the cameras on its Windows Phone smartphone range. Nokia has made the move to acquire Scalado after working with the company for ten years. Jo Harlow, EVP of smart devices at Nokia said, "Nokia has been working with Scalado for more than ten years and they've contributed to many of our leading imaging applications. This transaction would enable us to combine our leadership in camera devices with their expertise in imaging, helping people move beyond taking pictures to capturing moments and emotions and then reliving them in many different ways."
Hakan Persson, CEO of Scalado said, "This is a great opportunity for many of our people to show their leadership in imaging and to continue to build its future."
Recently imaging firm Scalado announced a neat bit of technology called Scalado Remove (above), which lets you remove passers-by from images by simply tapping a smartphone screen. It was thought that the app would come out for Android devices, but this feature is now expected to be available exclusively on the Lumia line.
Official CNN App Now Available for All Windows Phones
The CNN Windows Phone app, which was originally only available for Lumia devices is now available for all Windows Phone devices. We know a few people were rather upset that Nokia was monopolising the Windows Phone Marketplace but this should be proof enough that the exclusivity is only temporary for most of the apps.
Experience what happens when storytelling meets the newest technology with the CNN App for Windows mobile phones. Share and comment on top stories and insights, watch live, breaking news video, and share your story with the world as it happens with CNN iReport.
- Get the latest headlines and top videos
- Go beyond breaking news with international, politics, tech and entertainment headlines
- Receive breaking news alerts
- View, record and submit video and photo iReports in real time
- Listen to CNN Radio from your phone
Windows Phone 8 Apollo screenshots leaked?
Nokia Innovation have published few low quality which they claim are screenshots from a test device running Windows Phone 8 Apollo. The images show new features within Apollo, namely, Skype integrated, Nokia Drive 3.0 (for Nokia only), new camera UI and native data monitor with a live tile.
The above shows two Skype screenshots and one of Nokia Drive. The Skype screenshots show the user interface allowing Apollo users to accept a video call with video or just as a voice call. In the social/communications list you can see RCSe listed just below Skype, this feature is the Rich Communication Suite said to be a major part of WP8. The next screenshot above is of Nokia Drive 3.0 and you can see it is "Updating traffic" the app is capable of re-routing depending upon traffic and is bundled with Nokia branded phones for free.
The second set of screenshots shows the new standard camera interface, the "DataSmart" monitor and the home screen. The camera interface is very simple, on the left you see a zoom slider, on the right just two other on screen buttons, one supposed to be the new lenses button. Extra options are found under the ellipsis. The shutter button is a hardware button on Windows phones.
If not fake, these would be the first leaked pictures giving us a glimpse of what is to come. What do you guys think about these supposed features?
Latest Xbox LIVE Title: Final Fantasy
This weeks latest XBOX LIVE latest title is Final Fantasy. Good news for those that have been waiting for this popular Japanese game, but an eye-watering price of $6.99 is likely to put a few off.
Initially released in Japan in 1987, the original FINAL FANTASY amazed audiences with its rich story and stunning graphics.
Players guide the Warriors of Light as they set out on a quest to restore the crystals to their former luster. Its side view battles, choice and promotion of character classes, and sprawling world explored with fantastic vehicles quickly became standards of the series. This game set the stage for all FINAL FANTASY games to come. This edition also contains the bonus dungeons added to later editions of the game--the Soul of Chaos and the Labyrinth of Time.
Marketplace Deal of the Week: Tentacles
Tentacles is a completely new take on the platform genre. Use your tentacles to make your way through Dr. Phluff. Yes, that's right, you're actually inside him. It is a ghoulish and ghastly world inhabited by other genetically modified monsters created by Dr. Phluff's experiments. Guess what, they're all hungry and you just made the menu. Use your tentacle skills to outrun Dr. Phluff's acid attacks and face off against bad-ass creatures in awesome boss battles. Tap the screen in Tentacles and experience 40 finger breaking levels, amazing boss fights and marvel at the truly ground breaking and intuitive gameplay.
- New electrifying gameplay mechanic!
- New enemies to satisfy your appetite!
- 15 levels in brand new worlds!
- 2 new bosses to beat!
- And another chapter in the absurd story of Dr. Phluff!
Windows Phone Gaining Ground on Android in China - Expected to Lead by 2015
Windows Phone operating system is edging ever-closer to surging past Android in China, according to ZTE executives speaking over the weekend. This comes after recent reports suggesting that the iPhone was already selling less units in China than Windows Phone devices. Suggestions have been made that while Android has already hit its peak and it's glory days are essentially over while Windows Phone's day in the sun is yet to arrive.
ZTE remains one of the world's biggest device makers and estimates shipments topping 30 million during 2012 alone - 10% of them being Windows Phones. Company executives were keen to point out not only that Android is continually losing its once unstoppable momentum, but that greater attention than ever is being focused on Windows Phone devices.
China is known as one of the most lucrative and fast growing Smartphone markets in the world, with tens of millions of device-sale opportunities for leading developers.
In 2011, China officially became the largest Smartphone market in the world, having gone past the 23.3 million unit sales of the US with its own 23.9 million sales. The mobile phones market in China was estimated to bring in total revenue of $37.8 billion during 2010, which equated to almost 24% growth since 2006. As of now, the value of the market is expected to surpass $76 billion over the next three years.
Exciting news indeed for us fanboys. Following the recent launches of the Nokia Lumia range, the HTC Titan and the ZTE Tania in China, we expect to see Windows Phone gain traction. Maybe Microsoft need to give us some figures so we can do some much needed gloating. Surely they can't be that bad if they are better that Apple's.
SOUCE: World News Resource
Nokia Lumia 900 launched in China
Nokia launched the Lumia 900 in China this past Saturday, on June 9th. The launch event was held in the Joy City mall, located in the Xidan block of Beijing. Nokia translated their Lumia brand to "??", which roughly means extraordinary. One of the taglines used for marketing is "There's no ordinary life, just ordinary people."
As can be seen on the image above, the mall was literally packed to the rafters, with people moving up the steps to see a bit more. See more pictures here
Intel: Android is not ready for multi-core processors
Google's Android operating system is not ready for multi-core processors, according to Intel. The chip-maker has claimed that system-on-chip [SoC] vendors have not done enough to optimise Android for multi-core processors, The Inquirer reports.
Intel said that ARM vendors should do more to optimise Android for multi-core processors as it does not effectively make use of multiple cores. This comes as Intel's single-core Medfield Atom processor enters the market at time when almost all of the big hitting ARM vendors are focusing efforts on dual-core and quad-core processors. Although Intel's Medfield Atom processor does have pseudo multi-threading capability thanks to the firm's Hyperthreading technology, Intel still needs to defend Medfield against the obvious question of how it can compete with quad-core processors from ARM chip designers Nvidia, Qualcomm and Samsung. According to Mike Bell, GM of Intel's Mobile and Communications Group, the firm's defence is that Android's thread scheduler simply isn't ready for multi-core processors. Bell said:
"If you are in a non-power constrained case, I think multiple cores make a lot of sense because you can run the cores full out, you can actually heavily load them and/or if the operating system has a good thread scheduler. A lot of stuff we are dealing with, thread scheduling and thread affinity, isn't there yet and on top of that, largely when the operating system goes to do a single task, a lot of other stuff stops. So as we move to multiple cores, we're actually putting a lot of investment into software to fix the scheduler and fix the threading so if we do multi-core products it actually takes advantage of it. If you take a look a lot of handsets on the market, when you turn on the second core or having the second core there [on die], the current leakage is high enough and their power threshold is low enough because of the size of the case that it isn't entirely clear you get much of a benefit to turning the second core on. We ran our own numbers and in some of the use cases we've seen, having a second core is actually a detriment, because of the way some of the people have not implemented their thread scheduling. I've taken a look at the multiple core implementations in the market, and frankly, in a thermal and/or power constrained environment - what has been implemented - it isn't obvious to me you really get the advantage for the size and the cost of what's going into that part. The way it's implemented right now, Android does not make as effective use of multiple cores as it could, and I think - frankly - some of this work could be done by the vendors who create the SoCs, but they just haven't bothered to do it. Right now the lack of software effort by some of the folks who have done their hardware implementation is a bigger disadvantage than anything else," said Bell."We know it might sound a bit spiteful coming from a company wanting a slice of the action the mobile chip market, but we must say we [naturally] agree with everything Mr Bell said. I goes to show that all those crying out for multi-core processors on Windows Phone just need to be a tad bit patient. Windows Phone 7 is optimized for single core processors and runs like a dream, with low-end Windows Phones running smoother than some high-end Android devices. We know that when multi-core chips come to Windows Phone, it will be done right.
SOURCE: The Inquirer VIA: WMPU
ZTE Tania with upgraded 1.4 GHz processor launched in China
The ZTE Tania has finally made its debut in China, with a bigger and better 1.4GHz SoC on China Unicom. The Tania is already available in some European markets, featuring a 4.3-inch WVGA display, 4GB of internal flash storage, a five-megapixel camera, and a 1GHz processor.
The upgrade could go a long way towards putting the Tania on a more even playing field with phones that are already doing well in China but the 4GB of storage remains it achilles heel. However, the competently priced Tania will be a welcome addition to the Windows Phone lineup as the operating system gears up to take on Android in China.
IDC predicts that Windows Phone will pass iPhone by 2016
IDC is predicting that shipments of Windows Phone will displace Apple iOS to become the number two smartphone operating system in 2016. The growth of iPhone is expected moderate over the five-year IDC forecast because the popular device will have saturated many markets around the world. During the period, Apple will start having to rely on its customers to replace older iPhone models while searching out new buyers in emerging markets.
"Emerging market growth is of utmost importance if iOS is to gain share," IDC said. The researcher predicts that Windows Phone will gain market share over the five-year period despite its slow start. Nokia, which is making Windows Phone-based devices, is seen as strong in emerging markets, IDC added. IDC predicts that the in 2016 iPhone's worldwide market share will drop from from 20.5% in 2012 to 19%. Meanwhile, Windows Phone's share will jump from 5.2% in 2012 to 19.2%.
Android will continue to hold its top position over the five years, though it's share will decline slightly from 61% in 2012 to 52.9% in 2016. Android shipments will be dominated by Samsung-made devices, although there will continue to be many Android smartphones from manufacturers such as Motorola, HTC, and LG.
Achievable or not? What do you guys think?
Yet another claim that current devices will not receive Windows Phone 8
According to the German website WIWO, Phone Windows 8 will not come on all current Windows Phone smartphone because it is technically impossible. This of course is not the first time we've heard this. Remember what serial leak-star Paul Thurrott claimed? If not, here is what he wrote:
"First, there's no economic imperative; Microsoftâ€™s partners have sold very few Windows Phones, and supporting a new platform on legacy hardware would be expensive. Second, the experience would be terrible; Windows Phone 8 is based on Windows 8, not Windows Phone 7.x, and requires headier, higher-end hardware with two or more core processors. Third, handset makers and wireless carriers would never support this upgrade; they want to sell new phones. And finally, wireless carriers would never, ever, ever, ever deliver this update to users. There is just no way this will ever happen. And that's true even when you factor out that I know for a fact that this isn't happening."
Michael Kroker from Wiwo.de also claims to have received the information from sources close to Microsoft and Nokia. According to Mr Kroker, all current Windows Phone devices will receive a reduced version of Windows Phone 8 which will probably will be called Windows Phone7.6 or 7.7. He claims that Windows Phone 8 cannot be installed on current devices because they use different chip-sets.
Who do we believe now? I guess we will know on the 20th of June.
SOURCE: WiWo.de VIA: Plaffo
Hotmail Releases a Free Augmented Reality Game
Hotmail has released a free augmented reality game for Windows phone. The game is part of a marketing drive by Hotmail to remind users how good Hotmail is at removing greymail.
The new augmented reality gaming experience from Hotmail. Virtual emails are falling from the sky in the physical space all around you. Catch and sort as many emails as you can to play this unique and immersive game.
To mark the launch of Hotmail's great new features to tackle graymail, Graymail Inboxer turns keeping your inbox clear into a game. Graymail is the legitimate but mainly unwanted email that clogs your inbox - newsletters, social updates, special offers. Hotmail's new tools help you keep your inbox clear - in our game and in reality!
- AUGMENTED REALITY: Play in the real world with 'virtual' emails falling from the sky
- SKILL GAME: Use quick reactions and spatial awareness to score points by catching and sorting the virtual emails
- COLLECT BONUSES: Higher Limit: This bonus will increase your unsorted limit to give you a little more breathing space
- Sweep: Sweeps your unsorted graymail into sorted pile
- Schedule cleanup: Reduces the amount of graymail falling from the sky for a limited time
- Flag: Moves your unsorted important email to your sorted pile
- Golden email: Look out for this and grab it to score a huge bonus
- SCORE LEADERBOARD: Share your score and see how you compare to other players
- BADGES: Progress from a Featherweight Inboxer all the way up to Heavyweight, gaining badges at every step
- GAME OVER: If you let too many emails hit the ground, your inbox will stack up and it's game over
Marketplace Deal of the Week: Assassin's Creed
This week's deal of the week is Assassin's Creed. Though the game has good graphics and a decent story line, i must admit i lost interest after a few levels, mainly due to poor controls. But, a 40% discount should be a good enough reason to buy the game.
Plunge into this direct prequel to the critically acclaimed Assassin's Creed, offering rich gameplay and a well balanced mix of stealth, chaotic action, and puzzle-solving exploration in the midst of the fully 3D-rendered, historical Middle Eastern environments of the Crusades.
- Incredible variety of acrobatic moves for a very rewarding gaming experience.
- 6 weapons for both close combat and long-range attacks: swords, daggers, grappling hooks, and bombs.
- Skill-based mini-games put your patience & dexterity to the test: perform pickpocket maneuvers and make informants talk.
- Unique dramatic tension, intensified by 3D cinematic cut scenes and character voices.
- Collect orbs to upgrade health and weapons.
- Highly polished 3D graphics providing full immersion into a true-to-life Medieval Middle East environment.
Compatibility code found in Windows 8 suggests it may be able to run Windows Phone Apps
MyDigitalLife Forums have managed to disassemble resources (mscorlib.dll) from Windows 8 Release Preview and found a piece of code related to Windows Phone 8. A compatibility switch called IsAppEarlierThanWindowsPhone8 was identified, which potentially suggests that Windows Phone apps may be able to run on Windows 8. Both operating systems are rumoured to be running on the same kernel, which suggests that there may be a close relationship between apps running on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.
If true, what does it mean for both Windows Phone and Windows 8? Well, for starters, it would mean that Windows 8 would get a major jump in application numbers, given that Windows Phone Marketplace now boasts of a 100,000 applications. For Windows Phone, it would be a major boost. It's inevitable that all major app developers are going to want in on the Windows 8 action, meaning that apps developed for Windows 8 could be easily ported to Windows Phone 8 since both operating systems "will be running on the same core."
Well, I suppose we can sit here and speculate all day, but one thing for sure is that June will be one heck of an exciting month. Seat-belts on and sit tight!
SOURCE: MyDigitalLife Forums VIA: Liveside
Windows Phone Reaches The 100,000 App Milestone
After 19 months, Windows Phone has finally reached the 100,000 application milestone. According to AAWP, more than 100,000 apps have now been published in the Windows Phone Marketplace and new content is currently being added at the rate of 313 apps per day. Of these, 26,493 were added in the last three months and 9,391 were added in the last month. These apps come from just over 23,825 different publishers.
- 100,145 apps published to the Windows Phone Marketplace over the last 20 months
- 88,371 apps live (available for download, total across 60 countries)
- Windows Phone reached the 100,000 milestone faster than Android (24 months), but slower than iOS (16 months)
- 23,825 publishers (developers)
- Proportion of quality apps (rated five or more times) stable at 8% (UK ratings) 12% (US ratings)
Microsoft set to reveal Windows Phone 8 on June 20 in San Francisco
Just the thought of it is getting us excited already. For months now there has been rumour after rumour about Windows Phone 8 (Apollo). We must hand it to Microsoft, they have done a stellar job keeping Apollo under wraps and never allowing or rather releasing "controlled leaks". We already know that Microsoft is having a Developers Summit in San Francisco June 20, but now it seems there could be more in store as Microsoft started sending out invitations to come and "take a sneak peek at the future of Windows Phone". The pressure is now all on Microsoft to deliver. We certainly can't wait.
Nokia Lumia 710 now down to £99.90, making it the first Sub-£100 Windows Phone
Mobiles.co.uk has slashed the cost of the Nokia Lumia 710 to £99.90, making it the first Windows Phone to dip under the £100 price point. What's more impressive is that despite the devices being branded, they are however unlocked, making it possible to buy one and stick your current SIM card without any worries.
The Lumia 710 specs are identical to the 800, minus the aesthetics and curved clear black display, making it a bargain at £99. However, this poses a problem for Nokia as they attempt to sell the lesser specced Lumia 610 at a steeper price. The Lumia 610 is not only more expensive but also have a worse hardware compared to the Lumia 710. It also has half the memory and a much slower processor (1.4GHz vs 800MHz).
With all that said, the £99 Lumia 710 will put Nokia in a position to challenge cheap Androids and we are sure to see the Lumia 610 join the sub-£100 party soon.
Amazon.co.uk Announces Free Shopping App for Windows Phone
Amazon.co.uk has announced the release of its latest mobile shopping application which is now available as a free download from the Marketplace. The Amazon Mobile App offers users a fast and convenient way to shop for millions of items from Amazon.co.uk and thousands of Amazon Marketplace sellers wherever they go.
The app includes Amazon's barcode scanning feature which allows customers to use their device camera to scan the barcode of any product to see Amazon pricing, availability information, product details, customer reviews, and purchase securely from Amazon.co.uk.
"The new Amazon Mobile App for Windows Phone offers customers all of the great features of the Amazon Shopping experience and Windows Phone customers can also benefit from the Amazon barcode scanning tile on their start screen," said Greg Greeley, Vice President EU Retail at Amazon. "The Windows Phone is an increasingly popular choice for many Amazon customers so we're delighted to be able to offer them a bespoke App with this new start screen feature only available for Windows Phone."
- View detailed product information
- Read customer reviews
- Share products with friends
- Check product pricing and availability with barcode scanning
- Access personalized recommendations and manage recommendations
- Purchase using Amazon's 1-Click ordering and Amazon Prime
- Track packages or cancel orders using the Your Account feature
- Access their Wish List
Lightning Note: A very simple and fast note-taking app
Lightning Note is a very simple note-taking app with a strong emphasis on speed and simplicity. Its user interface is a chrome-free notes page featuring all of your notes in a list. Notes are edited directly on the main page, without having to sluggishly navigate between pages. It also features three different keyboards for editing notes, which are the standard text message keyboard, the telephone number keyboard, and email keyboard.
- Simple, fast, chrome-free notes page featuring all of your notes in a list
- Notes edited directly on the main page, without navigating back and forth between notes pages
- Three selectable keyboards, each designed to input certain kinds of information faster
- Email or text message notes
- Search function to find notes containing specific letters or words
- Note tiles can be pinned on the start screen for easy access
Visit www.caveknight.com for more info
The Dark Knight Rises official app released exclusively on Nokia Lumia handsets
The Dark Knight Rises app for Windows Phone is now available to all Lumia handsets. The app features "exclusive" content a location based, Foursquare powered challenge game and many more goodies related to the DC Comics super hero. Simply hit the download icon with your Nokia Windows phone, scan the QR code or head over to the Nokia Collection section of the Marketplace to grab it.
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