Tag: windows phone 7

TechEye's predictions for the Ballmer CES 2011 keynote

Based on Steve Ballmer’s shaky announcements over the last year-and-a-bit, TechEye is pleased to present to you our predictions for his Microsoft Keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, 2011. His keynote is on Thursday. Get ready with this handy checklist:

– Microsoft Unicorn With its distinguishing horn, billy-goat beard, cloven hooves and penchant for granting magical wishes we expect Ballmer to pen in a Q2 2011 launch. 

– Microsoft Atlantis While explorers far and sundry have given their lives searching for the fabled city of gold under the sea or perhaps elsewhere, Ballmer says he will bring the world the release of the sunken paradise sometime late 2011. He’ll call it an innovation but Google got there first

– Microsoft Shambhala Tibet is anything but free! In fact with Microsoft’s planned expensive licensing on this upcoming lost city, Tibet’s rather expensive indeed! Typically thought of as hidden somewhere in Inner Asia, Ballmer will exclusively reveal, by way of a ritual dance, that the Kingdom is Microsoft’s proprietary property. He will boast its testing phase will begin Q1 2011. Stockholders relax: Thought Shambhala was Pure land? Pure profits, more like! The man below starts off by blowing through a human thigh bone – sort of a trumpet. Go figure, Communist China!

– Microsoft Xanadu Not visited by Marco Polo in 1275, established Microsoft 1975. Ballmer is going to announce the shift of all research departments, factories, whatever to Microsoft Xanadu giving up on Redmond or Seattle entirely. It’ll cost somewhere in the region of $5 million dollars, according to Ballmer on Thursday, and the shift will start 1st February. It’ll be complete, Ballmer will say, by the 5th of February. 

– Microsoft Tir na nOg Ballmer will admit that his company, in the past, hasn’t lived up to all of its promises. And he’s sorry. But it’s all been for a worthy cause, because Steve and the gang have been looking for the fabled Irish city of eternal life, Tir na nOg. Petty, announcing this to us – as only Ballmer, Gates and a handful of bigwigs will live there. Where they will quarrel and scrap until the end of time. Similarly from what you thought was Irish mythology there will also be the Microsoft Pot Of Gold At The End Of The Rainbow. And the premise will bear striking similarity to every Microsoft roadmap in history. 

Nokia to launch tablet in Q3 2011

Nokia is planning to launch a tablet in the third quarter of 2011, according to inside information obtained by KnowYourMobile.

Not much is known about the tablet in terms of hardware, but with a release towards the end of next year it will face some stiff competition from the iPad 2, several Windows 7 tablets and an unrelenting wave of Android devices, some of which will feature dual-core processors and high memory.

It will therefore need to provide a reasonable offering if it’s to steal any of the limelight.

One thing we do know for sure is that it will run the MeeGo operating system and not the endangered species that is Symbian. Many people have been speculating that Nokia would adopt Android at some stage in the near future, but it looks like that won’t be in 2011 at least, as efforts to keep both MeeGo and Symbian alive are still ongoing.

MeeGo has previously been demonstrated on a tablet (video below), where everything looked very snazzy, but boot time and response times were very slow, suggesting that either a beefier spec may be required to get the most from it or a new, faster version of MeeGo is needed.

Nokia has previously straddled the tablet ground with hybrid tablet/smartphone devices, such as with the N800 and N900 series, but these were more like the Dell Streak than the iPad, the latter of which is where the real money is. 

Nokia is big in the mobile world, with a market share of roughly one third, but that has been dropping throughout 2010 with the staunch competition of Android and Windows Phone 7. If it can launch a successul tablet or two it may be able to recoup its losses, but if initial reports about MeeGo are anything to go by then next year’s launch could prove to be er interesting.

Windows Phone 7 jailbreak pulled

The creators of a jailbreak for Windows Phone 7 have pulled their creation after a stiffly worded letter from Microsoft ruined their day.

According to Ars Technica, ChevronWP7, was released last week. It was billed as a tool to allow development and installation of Windows Phone 7 applications on any phone, without having to go through the Microsoft approval process.

As far as tools go, it was not well-received. Some felt it was a step towards enabling application piracy on the new platform.

ChevronWP7’s developers wanted homebrew development which meant that people could write applications without having to pay $99 to Microsoft for a Windows Phone 7 Marketplace account, without distribution via Marketplace, and without having to submit their software to Microsoft for validation.

Next they wanted the software to be able to be developed by residents of those countries that are not currently eligible for Marketplace accounts.

But the ability to load custom applications without going through Marketplace is what raised piracy concerns. Microsoft is a little worried that with the OS new, piracy for that platform could send third-party developers running for the hills.

ChevronWP7 enables pirates to load applications without going through the official channels.

The ChevronWP7 developers claimed that their tool did not enable piracy as it did nothing to take down the DRM imposed on applications downloaded from the Marketplace. But really ChevronWP7 applications could do anything.

An application developed and deployed with ChevronWP7 could modify the operating system in some way to allow anything a pirate wanted.

The Imperium was quite low key publically about the jailbreak. It just muttered stuff about breaking warranty and it could brick your phone. However,  it seems that behind the scenes it unleashed the hounds.

Microsoft strong-armed into adding WP7 homebrew

The developers behind the ChevronWP7 jailbreaking tool have discontinued it after striking a deal with Microsoft to integrate homebrewing options directly into the operating system itself.

The ChevronWP7 developers, which include Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng, were contacted by Brandon Watson, Director of Developer Experience for Windows Phone 7 at Microsoft about the possibility of bringing some of the jailbreak features into the main OS.

The developers decided to discontinue the tool in order to “fast-track” discussions with Microsoft on how homebrewing can become a pivotal aspect of Windows Phone 7.

It was only last week that Windows Phone 7 was jailbroken with the ChevronWP7 unlocking tool, less than a month after the operating system’s initial release. 

With Microsoft now offering “to open the Windows Phone 7 platform for broader access to developers and users”, it appears that the walled garden approach it was previously taking may be losing ground.

The unlocking has allowed a number of opportunities for development within the homebrewing community, including a new Windows Phone 7 custom ringtone manager that the ChevronWP7 team have been working on.

It remains to be seen what kinds of homebrewing options will be added to the OS and if ChevronWP7 will resurface again. With some reports indicating a major update to Windows Phone 7 in January 2011, some of those features may come sooner than expected.

Microsoft follows Apple's evil ways

Software Imperium Microsoft appears to think that the autocratic controls of Apple have something to offer.

A top Windows Phone executive has blabbed to the press that the Imperium could follow Apple in blacklisting users that unlock Windows Phone 7 to allow third party apps.

While Microsoft released Windows Phone 7 OS it lacked features found under the bonnet of other phones on the market. However the phone has such a nice interface that people still want it.

Now that the phone has been unlocked, by Rafael Rivera, Long Zheng and Chris Walsh it seems that Microsoft is going to go on the attack against those who have jailbroken it.

ChevronWP7, was released as an “unlocking” tool that allows unauthorized third party apps to run on Windows Phone 7 handsets.

Zhen claims that the tool will allow the homebrew community the ability to develop for the platform, without paying for licensing or official development tools. However, some developers seem upset with the move as they believe that it opens the door to pirated apps.

But the Imperium is furious. According to MobileTechWorld writer Makran Daou, Microsoft may opt to blacklist unlockers.

He writes he won’t be surprised to see a WP7 update in the near future “fix” this potential security hole.

A SpokesImperium was quoted as stating, “We anticipated that people would attempt to unlock the phones and explore the underlying operating system. We encourage people to use their Windows Phone as supplied by the manufacturer to ensure the best possible user experience. Attempting to unlock a device could void the warranty, disable phone functionality, interrupt access to Windows Phone 7 services or render the phone permanently unusable.”

Banning users who have unlocked apps is exactly what the Imperium does with the Xbox so we should not be surprised.

However the bad PR that comes from such a move is a little strange. Microsoft is an also ran in the industry and it should be bending over backwards to get users onto its platform. After all a jailbroken OS is still software that has been paid for and money in the bank for Redmond. 

Plans to blacklist Windows Phone 7 unlockers

Amazon slashes Windows Phone 7 prices to $0.01

In efforts to flog off what probably turned out to be the wrong products to stock, Amazon has slashed the prices of two of its Windows Phone 7 smartphones, the HTC Surround and LG Quantum, to a dirt cheap $0.01.

While neither may have seemed that attractive since their launch a month ago, the major price slash, which is in comparison to a list price of a whopping $500, makes them very hard to pass up.

There’s a catch, however. The one cent bargain comes with a two-year prison sentence, we mean contract, with AT&T, which will undoubtedly cost you a lot more. Some previous customers have claimed there is a soul involved in the contract somewhere, but we were unable to verify that.

Network carriers traditionally apply a healthy discount to phones if you sign up to a contract. It’s likely that the deal between AT&T and Amazon means that the former is covering the majority of the cost, with Amazon applying a small discount.

Rival carriers are likely to be furious and may start offering insane prices of their own, which could see thousands walking around with their brand spanking new one cent phones.

At the time of writing the HTC Surround was still in stock, while the LG Quantum was already backordered.

The deal is also only available for this weekend, but at that price they may be out of stock long before the weekend is over.

Let’s hope they’re not as faulty as Dell”s Venue Pro.

*EyeSee Apologies. Cheap or free deals are indeed common in the UK. 

Dell offers replacements for WP7 Venue Pro blunder

Windows Phone 7 is already encountering major problems only weeks after its launch, with Dell’s Venue Pro smartphone suffering from a Wi-Fi bug and mislabelled batteries which is forcing the company to offer replacements to affected customers.

In a blog post Dell revealed that it had shipped a number of its Venue Pro smartphones with battery labels that said “Engineering Samples”. Obviously customers were concerned that they had received samples rather than the finished product.

Dell said it has investigated the matter and found that the batteries are production quality and not engineering samples, but that they had been mislabelled in the factory.

That is unlikely to satisfy some customers, so Dell has offered to give replacements of the Venue Pro at any Microsoft Store starting at the end of next week.

That was not the only problem affecting the Venue Pro. A bug prevented users from connecting to secured Wi-Fi connections, making it impossible to connect to the internet unless there was 3G or an unsecured Wi-Fi hub around. A smartphone without the net is not very smart at all.

Dell said that this problem was a software glitch that occured on initial shipments of its phones during the manufacturing process. It was keen to point out that it was not a hardware problem, nor was it a fault with the Windows Phone 7 operating system itself, which really cannot afford a bad reputation so early into its launch.

For those affected by this problem replacements will also be offered at a Microsoft Store from the end of next week. 

Symbian Foundation to slash its operations

In a despairing effort to save the dying Symbian operating system the Symbian Foundation announced today that it is to restructure its organisation and make a transition to just a licensing operation responsible for handing out licences to the software and trademarks behind the platform.

The move will mean a substantial restructuring of the Foundation, which has been operating since 2008. The first phase is set to involve a culling of staff numbers and an overall reduction in operations, which suggests that the organisation is unable to sustain its current spending for a platform that Gartner labelled as a “failure”.

The governance of the Foundation will also be restructured, with plans to have a group of non-executive directors overseeing the licensing of Symbian by April of 2011.

“The founding board members took a bold strategic step in setting up the Foundation, which was absolutely the right decision at the time,” said Tim Holbrow, Executive Director of the Symbian Foundation. “There has since been a seismic change in the mobile market but also more generally in the economy, which has led to a change in focus for some of our funding board members. The result of this is that the current governance structure for the Symbian platform – the Foundation – is no longer appropriate.”

Holbrow was keen to dismiss the widely-held view that the Symbian platform is dying a slow death, saying that it still enjoys “strong support” from a number of companies around the world. He said that there is still “solid momentum” behind the OS, citing figures suggesting that 25 percent of Symbian devices were shipped within the last year alone.

The news comes at a time when Symbian is losing support from all angles, with previous supporters like Samsung and Sony Ericsson backing out to support more successful platforms like Android and Windows Phone 7. The EC recently invested €11 million in the OS, but with its own directors jumping ship the last thing Symbian needed was a reduction in its Foundation’s operations.

The Foundation has promised that the cuts will cause as little disruption as possible and won’t affect the Symbian Exchange and Exposition conference set to commence tomorrow in Amsterdam.

25,000 Dell employees ditch RIM's BlackBerry

Dell has announced plans to move 25,000 of its employees over from RIM’s BlackBerry to its own line of smartphones, and will also create a service to help business clients make a similar move.

Dell’s chief financial officer Brian Gladden told the Wall Street Journal that it will be offering  its workforce the upcoming Dell Venue Pro smartphone to replace the BlackBerry, suggesting that they will be flogging the old handset on eBay. Or perhaps employees will earn some much needed “wonga” and maintain green reputations by turning to Envirofone.

 “Clearly in this decision we are competing with RIM, because we’re kicking them out,” Gladden said. “We actually had a conversation last night around creating a site on eBay where we can actually sell these BlackBerry devices” that employees return, Mr. Gladden said.

The aggressive stance that Dell is taking, as it too attempts to move into a crowded smartphone market, will see the company save around 25 percent in mobile communications costs by eliminating the need for BlackBerry servers.

Furthermore Dell, which is in talks with T-Mobile about buying voice minutes and monthly data in bulk rather than on an individual employee basis, will start to market a service to help business clients move away from RIM’s handset.

The handsets given to employees will at first feature Windows Phone 7 software, before eventually using Google’s Android, and is hoping that other companies will follow suit as they make inroads into the business market.

Gladden noted that he is willing to sell other manufacturers handsets as part of a wireless package as setting up networks and managing assets offer higher margins than devices, which continue to get cheaper and cheaper. “I’m not sure I care as much about the devices as the services,” said Gladden. “There’s a services opportunity that we think is even bigger.”

He added that while not everyone will see 25 percent savings by following suit, small and medium sized businesses could cut a lot of cost by getting rid of BlackBerry servers.

This announcement, which poor old RIM apparently was not aware of, comes at a bad time for the BlackBerry makers as Bloomberg reports Bank of America and Citigroup are similarly considering ditching the handset for the iPhone.

The two US bank giants are testing software for the iPhone in order to make the handset secure enough for company messages.

According to Roger Entner, head of telecom research at Nielsen Co., this spells big trouble for RIM.

“People are delighted with their iPhones and Android phones and they want to use them for work. The result is RIM now has real competition for corporate customers.”

Bank of America, with 284,000 employees , and Citigroup, with 258,000, are also testing Android smartphones, though it is expected that the banks will widen choice for employees rather than all-out replace the BlackBerry.

Windows Phone 7 drought baffles stockists

Despite Windows Phone 7 handsets being officially launched in the UK via the HTC Mozart and Samsung Omnia on 21 October, to considerable fanfare at the time, it seems that Microsoft has been keeping everyone in the dark.

TechEye has heard from punters that despite the smartphone being released some time ago on the Orange network it is proving rather tricky to actually get hold of. 

Indeed a central London Orange store was completely out of stock.  Not because of sales; they had not received the HTC handset at all. Staff were unable to provide any more information as to why the phone was nowhere to be seen.  Despite an advert saying “Windows Phone 7 has arrived” many stockists have yet to be graced by its presence.

Other stockists, such as T-Mobile, have pushed launches back on a number of occasions according to staff, and there seems to be a common theme of the product arriving in the coming days or the next week. But no one knows exactly when.

Staff at a T-Mobile store in Camden, London said that they were still waiting for the handet to arrive but were unable to comment as to why it is nowhere to be seen. Why are staff clueless about the Windows Phone devices post-‘launch’? 

Windows Phone 7 is due to be released in America next week, begging the question – has Microsoft essentially ‘soft’ launched the product in Europe ahead of its release in America? Is Microsoft testing the water?

Microsoft is taking feedback into consideration and is already beginning to make changes ahead of the US release.

So could Microsoft be testing the waters with their device, long in production and a latecomer to the smartphone market, in Europe before rolling out properly across the world, and if so, why would Redmond launch the phone with such limited stock? Perhaps the launch hasn’t been as well received as Microsoft’s marketing would like the world and its dog to think.