64GB Zune HD announced launching April 12th for $350

Ever since the launch of the Zune HD people have been asking for a 64GB version of the player, today Microsoft is finally announcing it for $350:

We’re excited to share that Zune fans will be able to purchase a new 64GB capacity of the popular Zune HD device for $349.99 starting April 12th through ZuneOriginals.com. By increasing the Zune HD capacity to 64GB, users will be able take up to 16,000 songs, or 20 hours of high definition video from Zune Marketplace, or 25,000 pictures* on the go! Customers will be able to customize their Zune HD 64GB through ZuneOrginals.com, available in their choice of Platinum, Black, Blue, Red, Green, Purple and Magenta colors.

In addition to introducing the new 64GB capacity, we are also reducing the prices of the 16GB and 32GB devices. Starting today, price lists are being distributed to retailers, setting the Estimated Retail Price (ERP) for the Zune 16GB device at $199.99 and the Zune HD 32GB device at $269.99.

With its OLED multi-touch screen, built-in HD radio, HD video out capabilities and Internet browser, Zune HD is a full-function media player which has received accolades from press and consumers. We’ve also announced details of an upcoming firmware update which will add even more features to the device, such as Smart DJ auto-playlists directly on the Zune HD, ability to browse, stream and acquire music from Zune Marketplace on your TV (while the device is connected to a TV set through the A/V dock) and expanded codec support allowing users to play more video formats natively from the device.

We are excited to be offering a great range of storage capacities for the Zune HD at a competitive price point and will be sharing more news on the availability of the 4.5 firmware in the coming days.

*Music estimates based on 128 Kbps WMA files with length of 4 minutes each. Pictures transferred to Zune will be optimized for Zune screen size; video estimates based on 500 Kbps WMV files with 128 Kbps WMA audio tracks.

The only unknown now is what is exactly going to happen to the Zune HD ounce the Windows Phone 7 Series handsets launch later this year? Remember that applications build for WP7 won’t be compatible with the Zune HD  players. Thankfully the release of the upcoming 4.5 firmware update tells us that Microsoft is still support the player…for the time being.

Firefox Mobile (Fennec) for Android leaked

An early build of the Android version of Firefox Mobile (Fennec) has been leaked 2 days ago. In true Fennec fashion the whole thing is slow, crashes and might not even work on you Android handset. Remember that this is an early unofficial build and lets hope that the thing improves in the coming months unlike the Windows Mobile version (it remained un-usable even after several release until Mozilla decided to ditch the whole thing..meh).

Source: Android Forums & XDA

Windows Phone 7 Series advertising campaign

Mary Jo Foley is reporting some relativily interesting info about Microsoft’s futur Natal, Office, Windows Phone ad campaigns which should start in the coming months. When asked about Windows Phone 7, David Webster ( chief strategy officer in Microsoft’s central marketing group ) said that the product planning teams and the marketing teams have been working side by side “to devise the “story telling” for that product from the very start”.

Microsoft wants the new phone ads to attract customers who may never have used (or didn’t realize they were using) a Windows Mobile phone. “The ‘people’ focus was a big part of the (Windows 7) branding” and will be a continued emphasis for Windows Phone 7, Webster said.

The messaging “needs to reflect customers we have and customers we don’t,” he said. It also needs to explain why Microsoft is opting for a different phone model with elements like hubs and Live Tiles, instead of the app-centric approach of its competitors, Webster said. Windows Phone 7 also is the perfect vehicle for Microsoft to highlight the interdependence and convergence of different Microsoft brands and technologies, since Windows Phone 7 devices will be running Bing, Office Mobile, Zune services, Internet Explorer, and Windows Live, Webster pointed out.

Smartphones are a lot like search, Webster said, in that users, when asked, say they are mostly satisfied with their phones but then actually have a litany of complaints (like they don’t like having to come in and out of six different apps to perform a particular task). Other phone vendors are locked into certain models and messages, he said. “They’re solving for a problem from four years ago,” he said. Microsoft has the advantage of being able to come in with a new model and message because it is basically starting over with Windows Phone 7.

I’ve never been a big fan of Microsoft’s advertising camaings (onther that XBOX related ones) especially the latest Windows Phone ads… The latest WP7 promo ad launched at MIX is a good start though…

Windows Phone 7 Series Developer Training Kit

The official Windows Phone 7 Series Developer Training kit is now online over at Microsoft’s Channel9 site.

This Training Kit will give you a jumpstart into the new Windows Phone world by providing you with a step-by-step explanation of the tools to use and some key concepts for programming Windows Phones.
This training kit is geared for beginners who want to get started with developing applications for the latest Windows Phone operating system. Even if you don’t know Silverlight or XNA Framework, you’ll find this Training Kit useful. More seasoned Silverlight developers should also find this kit useful, as it explains some of the differences between Silverlight and Silverlight for the phone.

Head over here to begin your WP7 development journey.

SlingPlayer Mobile coming to Windows Phone 7 and the iPad

According to Zatsnotfunny Sling is currently working on an iPad and Windows Phone 7 Series version of their SlingPlayer for Mobile streaming  application (and Android version is also scheduled for a summer launch). The Windows Phone 7 version will supposedly use Silverlight (for the the video & UI? or just the UI?) while the iPad version will stream H.264 content. The company is also taking the mobile client video resolution up beyond 320×240.

When it makes a noticeable difference in quality, we will definitely provide higher resolution streaming. The iPad is a good example of a device where we are hard at work on this, but unfortunately it won’t be there at the April launch.

Source: Zatsnotfunny

HTC EVO 4G Hands-On Video

The boys at Pocketnow have just posted a 7 minutes long video of the HTC EVO 4G in action shot during CTIA last week. As you can see the device can easily be mistaken for a HTC HD2 thanks to the nearly identical design and chassis. But unlike the HD2 and WP7 the EVO 4G will surely be upgradeable to future Android versions.
They’ve also posted a couple of picture of the EVO 4G accessories:


Source: Pocketnow

Toshiba K01 headed to Japan’s KDDI in june, renamed IS02

Japanese carrier AU/KDDI just announced that the Toshiba IS02 (aka Toshiba K01) will launch in June although no pricing info was revealed. The K01 also passed the FCC certification yesterday which means that it will probably be globally available this summer. For more K01 info head over here.

Source: AU via Engadget

HTC EVO 4G Developer’s Guide released by Sprint

Sprint has just released an early developer guide for the HTC EVO 4G aimed at developers who want to start developing applications for the device prioir to the product launch:

This documentation covers additional functionality that will be available for the HTC EVO 4G Android device. This documentation is intended for the 3rd party developers who want to start developing applications for the device prior to official launch of the product. While every attempt has been made to ensure the included documentation is accurate, Sprint reserves the right to make changes to device functionality and API design prior to the release of this device for public sale. This document will be updated with changes and/or additions as they become available during the final stages of the devices testing.

Any new APIs covered in this documentation will be depreciated when an Android release supports the standard API that can replace the APIs in this documentation. In some cases constant values will need to be hard-coded in your application until a future SDK is released from the Android team that supports these future constant values. In the included code samples some CDMA values may be new as of the Android Éclair release, in order to compile these values on prior builds such as the Android Cupcake release we have included the constant values.

There’s a nice chapter on the HDMI output support for those interested. You can the guide here.

Source: Sprint via Pocketnow

Zune HD 4.5 Firmware update with Xvid, SmartDJ & On-TV Marketplace access coming soon

Microsoft has just issued a press release announcing the imminent release of the v4.5 firmware for the Zune HD players. As reported earlier this new update will bring Xvid / AVI (MPEG-4 Part 2 Advanced Simple Profile) support, enabling user to play those videos without any transcoding. The SmartDJ functionality (which was introduced in the Zune desktop software) is finally making an appearance on the player and the ability to access the Marketplace on the TV while being connected with the AV-Dock is also included in this firmware.

It’s been an exciting few months for Zune. We launched the Zune HD device last September which has been receiving press and consumer praise for its OLED screen, HD Radio, HD video out and key music discovery features, which become even more powerful with a Zune Pass subscription. We also expanded the Zune service to additional platforms. We brought Zune video to Xbox LIVE in November, giving consumers access to instant on 1080p HD with 5.1 surround sound and the ability to buy content once and play it on the TV through Xbox LIVE, on the PC through the Zune software and on the go on a Zune device. We also announced last month that Zune will be an integrated feature on Windows Phone 7 Series and we’re looking forward to sharing more details about the Zune experience on Windows Phones in the coming weeks and months.

Earlier this year, we also shared that we’ll be introducing a Zune HD firmware update this spring. We’re excited to be bringing even more features and functionality to Zune users through this update, and wanted to share some additional details around what will be introduced.

- Smart DJ on Zune HD: Zune has always been committed to helping people discover new music. We added “Smart DJ” to the Zune software last fall and now we’re bringing this popular music discovery feature to the Zune HD device. Smart DJ on Zune HD will let you create an instant playlist mix whenever the inspiration strikes direct from your device. Just choose a song or artist from your collection or from the Zune Marketplace catalog and press the Smart DJ icon to build a new mix based on your selection. If you have a Zune Pass music subscription it will pull music from your existing collection and the Zune Marketplace catalog to create the mix. If you don’t have a Zune Pass subscription you can still use Smart DJ to build a playlist from the collection on your device.

- Picks on Zune HD: Picks is another popular music recommendation feature in the Zune software which we’re extending to the Zune HD device. The Picks algorithm analyzes what you listen to and compares that to millions of other Zune users to make personalized recommendations. With this update, you’ll be able to access these automatic recommendations directly on the Zune HD device as well as on your PC.

- Browse and Stream Music from Zune Marketplace on your TV: Using the Zune HD A/V dock, you can connect your Zune HD to your TV to play your favorite videos and music from your device on the big screen. With this software update, you’ll also be able to browse and stream music from Zune Marketplace directly on your TV to find and listen to your favorite music from the comfort of your couch. You can browse New Releases, check out recommendations from your Picks page, search for a specific song or artist, or even create a new Smart DJ playlist on your big screen – a great way to make an instant soundtrack for your next party.

- Expanded Video Codec Support: With expanded support to include MPEG-4 Part 2 Advanced Simple Profile (ASP), which includes Xvid and AVI support, you’ll be able to immediately enjoy a broader range of video content natively on Zune HD – no transcoding required.

The update will be offered as a free download in the next few weeks, and we’ll be sure to let you know when it’s available. In the meantime, we wanted to share an image of the Smart DJ feature on the Zune HD device which is attached here; All a user needs to do is press the Smart DJ icon on the far right of the screen to build a new mix based on their favorite music.

Here’s a video of the new features in action:

Just incase you missed it; Windows Phone 7 Series natively supports the following codecs:

Codec Type Decoder Support Container
Audio MP3 MP3
Audio WMA Lossless ASF (WMA)
Audio WMA Pro ASF (WMA)
Audio WMA Standard v9 ASF (WMA)
Audio AAC-LC (Low Complexity) 3GP, 3G2, MP4, M4A
Audio HE-AAC v1 (AAC+) 3GP, 3G2, MP4, M4A
Audio HE-AAC v2 (eAAC+) 3GP, 3G2, MP4, M4A
Audio Adaptive Multi-Rate Narrow Band (AMR-NB) 3GP, 3G2, MP4
Audio Adaptive Multi-Rate ide Band (AMR-WB) 3GP, 3G2, MP4
Audio Qcelp 3GP, 3G2, MP4
Video WMV (VC-1) – Simple Profile ASF (WMV)
Video WMV (VC-1) – Main Profile ASF (WMV)
Video WMV (VC-1) – Advanced Profile ASF (WMV)
Video WMV v9 ASF (WMV)
Video MPEG-4 Part 2 – Simple Profile 3GP, 3G2, MP4, AVI
Video MPEG-4 Part 2 – Advanced Simple Profile AVI, MP4
Video DivX 4.x/5.x/6.x AVI
Video MPEG-4 Part 10 (MPEG-4 AVC, H.264) – Baseline Profile 3GP, 3G2, MP4, M4V
Video MPEG-4 Part 10 (MPEG-4 AVC, H.264) – Main Profile 3GP, 3G2, MP4, M4V
Video MPEG-4 Part 10 (MPEG-4 AVC, H.264) – High Profile 3GP, 3G2, MP4, M4V
Video H.263 3GP, 3G2
Images PNG PNG
Images GIF (both GIF87a and GIF89a) GIF

Full source code of the Windows Phone 7 Foursquare application released


Awesome news for all Windows Phone 7 Series developers tonight. Microsoft/Touchalitly just released the full source code of the Windows Phone 7 Series Foursquare application that was demoed during the MIX event a few weeks ago.

We consider this to be an alpha release, even though everything works, but mostly because we need to clean up the code to follow standard patterns and best practices for Silverlight and Windows Phone 7.
When you only have a few weeks to get the application done “Copy and Paste” become your friends. Look forward to a much cleaner release soon.

You can download the package over at the codeplex website here.

Windows Phone 7 Series on my HTC HD2!

Ok folks, time to have some fun this afternoon. I think that you are all aware that the cooks at HTCPedia have claimed yesterday to have been able to make Windows Phone 7 possible on the HTC HD2 via a supposedly leaked HTC HD2 ROM… So I just decided to “leak” my own WP7 ROM and put it on my HTC HD2. Hey, I even grabbed a blurry cam video to prove it. What I actually did was set my desktop in portrait mode, then set it to 720×480, start the Windows Phone 7 Emulator and start the Remote Desktop software on the HTC HD2 to control it. Voila:

The Emulator can also be controled with a Bluetooth keyboard paired with the HTC HD2.

PS: I’m not claiming that this is what the HTCPedia boys are doing , just wanted to show you guys how easy it is to fake stuff when bored….

Toshiba K01 passes the FCC

The Toshiba K01 has just passed the FCC. The full sliding-qwerty brother of the TG02 and TG01 looks to be headed to AT&T or T-Mobile thanks to the 850/900/1800/1900 GSM/EDGE frequencies support (and also Europe and Asia: UMTS Bands I and VIII). The K01 also features a 4.1″ AMOLED capacitive touchscreen (the TG02 is LCD-TFT) and runs Windows Mobile 6.5.3 with SPB Mobile Shell slapped on top of it. Check out my hands-on here & here.

HTC working on super Windows Phone 7 Series smartphone

We already got confirmation from HTC’s CEO, Peter Chou, that the company is currently working on a Windows Phone 7 Series handset for the this year. Now according to Microsoft’s Chris e (Senior Manager at Premium Mobile Experience Group) HTC‘s WP7S handset is going to be pretty good in terms of design (hopefully in features too..):

Based on what I heard, #HTC will make all other #WP7S devices look outdated in terms of design. #HTC will clearly deliver the most amazimg WP7S ever.

Source: Chris Sorenson

Windows Phone 7 Series on the HTC HD2?

Sounds and looks like a fake (just like all the previous attempts to make people believe that WP7 was running on the HTC HD2). Some folks over at the HTCPedia forums posted pictures of an HD2 with what looks like the WP7 Pictures/Videos hub, IEMobile etc they are also claiming that the major functino are working, like GPS, Wifi, calls, sms (strange..the current WP7 CTP doesn’t have GPS support…)…of the WP7 Emulator. It’s possible that the unlocked Emulator has been made to work on the HD2 or it’s totally fake…Time will tell….faking it with screenshots is a 5 minutes job…

Update: Video added below

Second video:

HTC HD2 vs Motorola Droid video

The boys at WireFly posted 15 minutes long HTC HD2 vs Motorola Droid video. You can also check out the HD2 vs Nexus One video here.

Windows Phone 7 Series Icon Pack released

The Windows Phone dev team has just released a package of application bar icons for developers building apps/games for Windows Phone 7 Series. The package contains a set of 64 app bar icons in PNG format (32 dark and 32 light) and vector format (for use in Expression Blend) For more information on how to use those icons head over here. The package can be downloaded here.

Windows Phone 7 Developer Documentation summary

Still trying to figure all the inner workings of Microsoft’s newest mobile OS? Windows Phone 7′s development head honcho, Charlie Kindel has posted a summary guide of all the WP7 documention currently available:

Your first stop should be MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network for those of you new to the MS world), where we have the bulk of Windows Phone Developer documentation. There’s all sorts of great stuff here, including:

Other important documentation links include Developing Windows Phone Games and Silverlight for Windows Phoneas a part of the XNA Game Studio 4.0 and Silverlight 4 RC documentation sets, respectively.

Lastly, if you have feedback about our documentation, join the discussion in the Windows Phone forums or use the ratings control in the upper right-hand side of the pages on MSDN.

Samsung Galaxy S walkthrough video

Samsung has just uploaded a full walkthrough video of the newly announced Galaxy S Android handset. The nearly 6 minutes long video give us a quick glance at some of the new features implemented by Samsung, like their new Smart Life UI (the new TouchWIZ?)and the superb 4″ Super AMOLED screen. You also get a look at the eBook reader application.store included on the device. It should be noted that eReader’s bookshelf homescreen looks exactly like the iPad‘s iBooks homescreen (shame on you Samsung! lol)

XNA or Silverlight ? What’s the best choice for developing games on Windows Phone 7 Series?

In the first release of Windows Phone 7 Series, applications cannot mix the use of Silverlight UIElements with XNA Framework GraphicsDevice so developers will have to make a choice between the two frameworks before starting their project. To help them out in their choice, Microsoft’s Michael Klucher’s compiled the comparison table below:

Platform Features Windows Phone Application
(Silverlight-based application model)
Windows Phone Game
(XNA Framework Application model)
Application programming model Event-driven application model.  Great for heavily UI based games. Traditional frame loop for more simulation based content.
Control-based, data-bound UI development UIElement and related types None, the developer must write their own.
Video playback Rich video integration via MediaElement Fullscreen playback via the system media player
2D graphics Rich paths, shapes, and brushes, etc… High performance 2D rendering for large amounts of sprites.
3D graphics Perspective effects using PlaneProjection transform. Provides Hardware Accelerated 3D API’s.
Primary data serialization model XAML Content Manager
Designer tooling Expression Blend, VS XAML designer. XNA Content Pipeline integrates 3rd party tools for creating 3D model & texture assets for your application.
Device sensors Same API in either programming model  
Access to user’s songs and pictures Same API in either programming model  

Check the whole post here