Windows Mobile’s future discussed

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IDG news got in touch with Microsoft’s senior vice president of Mobile Communication Business, Andy Lees to talk a bit about the future of Windows Mobile. The most interesting part of the interview is about the the Windows Mobile 7 chassis /reference designs being build by Microsoft and then submitted to OEMs/ODMs:

“Our goal is to enable maximum choice but in a way that adds an element of structure so that everybody can get on and do their own thing somewhat independently,” he told the IDG News Service during the CTIA conference in San Diego.

Reference designs define the way that various phone components work together so that hardware makers don’t have to develop that integration work themselves. “It offers them a higher baseline upon which they can innovate. It means it is significantly faster and cheaper for more innovations to come out to market from the OEMs,” Lees said.

In offering the reference designs, Microsoft hopes to replicate the development process used by PC manufacturers. Reference designs help PC manufacturers build to defined specifications yet give them enough room to differentiate their products, he said. Microsoft is hoping for the same environment in phones.

Lees would not describe specifics of what the designs might look like but said that the company would announce more details of its plan in the future.

This is what MS should have done a long time ago. OEMs/ODMs aren’t the only one to blame though, Microsoft didn’t really put any effort into modernizing Windows Mobile since WM5, so even though phone makers had some problems with display drivers, lack of ram (the WinCE 5.2 kernel has poor memory management) etc, having an OS that natively supports the latest hardware would have helped a lot (MS was relying on OEMs/ODMs to develop the majority of the new APIs and drivers). This will all change with Windows Mobile 7.

The other subject discussed is the Windows Marketplace for Mobile:

The store launched with 246 applications, a far cry from the 85,000 in the iPhone App Store and half the number the App Store launched with. There are also far fewer apps available in the store than the 18,000 that Microsoft often boasts are commercially available for Windows Mobile.

But the Marketplace only began accepting applications recently and more will come, Lees said.

Some of those will be applications that developers will port from the other competitive platforms, he said. “Most of the apps are written small and light and it’s very easy to transfer those between platforms,” he said. Developers will be encouraged to move their applications to Windows Mobile based on the size of the market, he said.

And finally:

The market should look forward to “a whole bunch more milestones coming out over the next 12 to 18 months,” he said. Microsoft is now setting the stage for success in the five to ten year period. “Microsoft has a good track record of stepping back and saying, ‘what will customers want in that stage,’” he said.

Read the whole thing here

Source: ComputerWorld thanks for the tip Marcus

Acer neoTouch / F1 unboxing and first impressions videos

Pocketnow posted their first impressions of the newly released Acer neoTouch (F1). As you already know the neoTouch is the second SnapDragon device commercialy available (the first being the Toshiba TG01 and the third the HTC HD2). My only regret is that it still has a resistive touchscreen (instead of capacitive) and Acer didn’t really tweak the UI all that much.

Unboxing:

Hardware Tour:

Source: Pocketnow

Windows Marketplace for Mobile localisation problem acknowledged by Microsoft

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You have probably encountered this”problem” if you had a chance to use the new Marketplace on Windows Mobile 6.5 . What happens is that for user in each of the 29 countries can only have access to Apps submitted to the own country’s store. A French user for example only sees 34 apss while a US user has access to hundreds of applications. One cause of this problem comes from the fact that developers have to pay an extra fee to submit their apps to another country ($10, how stupid is that?!) and have to translate their apps to the language of the country they want to submit it to (more stupidity on Microsoft’s part here). One of the solutions planned by Microsoft in the next Marketplace update is to let users select the country they want to have access too (why isn’t this option available in the first ??).

But in my eyes the only good solution is for Microsoft to drop the stupid £10 fee to submit your app in each additional country ($280 to submit to all the Marketplace, wth?)

Here’s what Microsoft Netherland’s Maarten Sonneveld had to say (Google Translation sorry):

Dear Vincent,

We regret your first experience with Marketplace and can you comment me suggestions. I’ve been raised in the Marketplace Product Team at our headquarters. I have to take issue with you that it has limited number of apps in the Netherlands are one result. This has more to do with our choice in the Marketplace application (which is at first only on the phone is) directly to the catalog of Dutch started and while we are so dependent on the ISV / developer apps Dutch submit.

I believe that you still have the application in any case in English might introduce. Then you already reach many countries. And I hope you do it for the NL market would submit, given the relatively high number of users of Windows phones.

It is also true that we’re somewhere in November / December with Phase 2 of the PC interface as well Marketplace on the phone to provide a so-called geo selector so the user can also choose from the catalog of other countries. I would like Dutchman is the catalog of the U.S. can choose and buy my apps there. I think the problem of possibly translation costs to be solved.

I’ll let you know what the reaction from the product team.

Sincerely,

Maarten Sonneveld

Microsoft Netherlands

And an German MS employe:

“Microsoft is aware of this problem. However, for the launch it wasn’t possible to change this Marketplace Mobile behavior but Microsoft will introduce a solution later which will allow the end-user to switch Marketplaces”.

Source: The Unwired, Mobilyz via WMPoweruser

One more HTC HD2 hands-on video

The PDA.pl boys just posted a second HTC HD2 hands-on video. Unfortunately this one doesn’t show much on anything:

You can watch the first video here

Source: PDA.pl

Samsung releases Digital Compass API for Windows Mobile devices

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Here’s some more news coming out of Samsung this weekend. As we have reported earlier,the Samsung Omnia II has “hidden” Digital Compass, but this fearure wasn’t exposed by any API. Today the south Korea phone maker is releasing an update version of their WinMo SDK for Windows Mobile 6.5. The new SDK exposes the Digital Compass with the new 3D Orientation API:

Updated SDK supports the new Windows Mobile operating system; allows users to develop enhanced applications for Samsung phones

Samsung Mobile Innovator, Samsung Electronics’ support center for mobile application developers, today announced the availability of the latest release of the popular Samsung Software Developer Kit (SDK) which now supports the new Windows Mobile operating system. The SDK, which is available for download on http://innovator.samsungmobile.com, allows developers to utilize advanced features on Samsung phones running the Windows Mobile 6.5 OS. This latest release provides access to the 3D Orientation (compass) and proximity sensor APIs, enabling developers to bring further innovation to Samsung mobiles. The localized SDK 2.0 release for China will be available in late October.

Currently, the SDK allows users to develop applications that utilize features such as the accelerometer, the camera, haptics and LED technology among many others. To date, developers have used the SDK to develop applications to enhance games, develop music applications and create social networking solutions with enhanced usability and features.

Currently, the number one downloaded application available at the recently launched Samsung Applications Store (www.samsungapps.com) is Omniano, a virtual piano playing application developed by Sean Kwon, which puts a grand piano in the users’ hands.

“We have been actively working with developers to understand their needs and provide the functionality and usability that make developing applications a unique and fun process,” said Martin Tannerfors, Director, Samsung Mobile Innovator. “It’s exciting to see how Samsung Mobile Innovator has created a place for developers to collaborate and share new and innovative ideas and openly discuss how we can help develop enhanced SDK tools.”

The following phones are supported in the latest release of the SDK:
GT-I8000 Omnia II
GT-B7300 Omnia LITE
GT-B7330 Omnia PRO B7330
SPH-i350 Intrepid
GT-B7620 Armani
The full list of phones and APIs supported is available at http://innovator.samsungmobile.com.

It’s not known if the all the devices listed here have a Digital Compass (I gues that yes though). The other known Windows Phone with a Digital Compass is the HTC HD2. Now let’s see some nice Augmented Reality apps on WinMo please.

Source: Samsung via MSMobiles