Microsoft at MWC 2010

Yesterday I had the chance sit down with to Audrey Zolghadr, Windows Mobile Manager at Microsoft France, to discuss the Windows Phone 7 Series announcement and the company’s future in the mobile space. It wasn’t really an interview given that I knew that I wouldn’t get any answer if I asked question about all the features that were not shown yet. Instead we talked about how much of he UI design inspiration that came from the Zune HD and the fact that what we are seeing here was started only 18 months ago when Joe Belfiore joined the Windows Mobile Team (keep in mind the WM7 development started back in 2005/6).

Continue reading Microsoft at MWC 2010 →

HTC HD Mini Hands-on

The HTC HD Mini is probably the HTC handset that has the best build quality. From the industrial screws on the back to the funky yellow colored internals, the whole packaged feels like it is made to last. The Mini is definitely less powerful than the HD2 but compensates this by being a ton more easier to use with one hand. The handsets currently available at MWC are running a slightly modified version of Windows Mobile 6.5.3 that features a new lock screen, pinch-to-zoom in IE Mobile and not Start soft key (check ou my previous video here).

HTC Legend Hands-on video

I just did a quick hands-on with the HTC Legend today. As you can see in the video there isn’t much of a difference between this device and the previously released HTC Hero. The Legend does have a better screen (AMOLED) and is a tiny-bit snappier thanks to the Qualcomm MSM7227 So clocked at 600Mhz. the build quality is pretty good (HTC stepped their game up since the HTC HD2 in terms of robust build quality IMO)and you get some new widgets in the Sense UI (the updated Sense UI will also become available on the HTC Hero via an update later this year).

Windows Marketplace for Mobile update coming soon

Microsoft issued a press release today announcing an upcoming update of the Windows Marketplace for Mobile and detailing all the new features and fixes. Users will finally be able to download apps from all over world (it is currently restricted to the users own country) and installing applications to the storage card will finally be an option. Check out the full list:

World View: previously known as “geo selector”, the World View feature will allow Marketplace users to browse and purchase applications from different geographic catalogs. For example, a user in France could choose to browse the English US catalog, or a user in Canada could browse the catalog from Japan. All application prices will show up in the user’s local currency and Microsoft will be in touch with registered independent software vendors (ISVs) in the weeks ahead to provide step-by-step instructions on how to re-price their apps for all markets.

Installation onto storage cards: a highly requested feature by end users, it will allow users to install applications downloaded from Marketplace onto storage card memory. This will solve a common pain point today where the main memory of the phone runs out after installing a few apps from Marketplace.

Free app submissions to additional markets: ISVs will no longer have to pay a $10 fee for submitting applications to additional markets. With this change Microsoft is simplifying its fee structure and providing more opportunities for ISVs to submit their applications to smaller markets. Once an application has been certified for a primary market ($99 submission fee applies) ISVs can submit for free that same application to other catalogs, as long as they meet the current Market Validation guidelines.

Improved ISV registration flow: The ISV registration flow in the developer portal will be simplified, with different registration paths optimized for the type of ISV (company, individual, student) and additional guidance for completing the application submission process will be provided.

Deep linking: Microsoft is releasing deep linking capabilities for ISVs to allow users to purchase their apps from Marketplace. On the web, ISVs will be able to construct a URL to link directly to the purchase page of their applications in the Marketplace Web site, and will have access to the “Get it Now for Windows phone” logo, which standardizes the way ISVs link to Marketplace. On the device, ISVs will be able to call Marketplace from within their applications and open the purchase page for a specific app, allowing them to offer additional titles or provide free users the option to purchase premium version of an application.

Expansion to Russia: users in Russia will be able to access and purchase apps via credit card from a local catalog of applications, as well as purchase from other catalogs through the World View feature. ISVs from Russia will also be able to register with Marketplace and submit their creations to any supported Marketplace country.

Applications policy changes: Changes are being made to Microsoft’s existing application acceptance policies to allow VoIP applications that use the carrier network unless explicitly prohibited by a mobile operator. Mobile Operators who sign a Marketplace deal with Microsoft will be able to dictate if they allow or prohibit the use of VoIP apps in their networks.