First Adreno 220 benchmarks show that it is a beast

Qualcomm’s Adreno GPU’s have always been seen as being a sub-par graphics compared to competing offerings from Imagination (PowerVR) and others like NVIDIA’s Tegra. This was essentially true with the Adreno 200 on Windows Mobile and Android mainly because of poor driver quality. Things are a bit different on Windows Phone 7 where the Adreno 200 is the only currently supported GPU, thanks to the tight integration with the OS and relatively good support provided by Microsoft. You can check out my recent Fable Coin Golf video to see that some pretty nice things can be done with it.

The Adreno 205 which is part of the MSM8X55 SoC package is a step forward in terms of performance and can be comparable in some case with the current top dog, the PowerVR SGX540 as seen in my benchmarks here. Qualcomm has also recently released new drivers for the 205 which slightly improves its performance compared to what you see in my benches (they are the ones used by Sony Ericsson in the Xperia Play).

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Upcoming HTC event taking place on April 12th. Is it Android or Windows Phone 7 related ?

HTC has just started sending out invites for an April 12th event taking place in London. We already know that the HTC EVO 3D is scheduled to hit Europe this year and that the HTC Pyramid is also about to hit the streets. April 12 th is also  when Microsoft’s MIX11 event is taking place in Las Vegas so one can also assume that some Windows Phone 7 devices will be unveiled too. HTC has apparently the HTC Ingite and HTC Prime ready to go and both are supposedly powered by Qualcomm’s MSM7230 which should be part of the new chassis that are probably going to be discussed by Microsoft.

So what do you all think we are going to see?

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Updated Samsung Galaxy S Plus to feature overclocked Qualcomm MSM8255 instead of Hummingbird

Samsung sure knows how to make things totally confusing. After the SLCD version of the Galaxy S which was then followed by the version with the TI AMAP3630 (i9003), the Galaxy S 2 with the Tegra 2 and the one with the Exynos 4210 here comes the newest Galaxy S Plus (i9001) now powered by an MSM8255 clocked at 1.4Ghz (the MSM8255T ?). I personally wouldn’t like to be an Android developer because this is really getting out of hand in terms of hardware fragmentation.

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Microsoft blames Google for the lack of proper YouTube application on Windows Phone 7. Seriously?

Microsoft has just filed an anti-trust complain against Google in Europe today and part of it is related to a supposed blocking of YouTube Metadata access preventing Microsoft to release a proper YouTube application for Windows Phone 7. Here’s the official word on this:

First, in 2006 Google acquired YouTube—and since then it has put in place a growing number of technical measures to restrict competing search engines from properly accessing it for their search results. Without proper access to YouTube, Bing and other search engines cannot stand with Google on an equal footing in returning search results with links to YouTube videos and that, of course, drives more users away from competitors and to Google.

Second, in 2010 and again more recently, Google blocked Microsoft’s new Windows Phones from operating properly with YouTube. Google has enabled its own Android phones to access YouTube so that users can search for video categories, find favorites, see ratings, and so forth in the rich user interfaces offered by those phones. It’s done the same thing for the iPhones offered by Apple, which doesn’t offer a competing search service.

Unfortunately, Google has refused to allow Microsoft’s new Windows Phones to access this YouTube metadata in the same way that Android phones and iPhones do. As a result, Microsoft’s YouTube “app” on Windows Phones is basically just a browser displaying YouTube’s mobile Web site, without the rich functionality offered on competing phones. Microsoft is ready to release a high quality YouTube app for Windows Phone. We just need permission to access YouTube in the way that other phones already do, permission Google has refused to provide.

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Microsoft apologizes again for Windows Phone 7 update issues

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this year you are probably well aware that the Windows Phone 7 process didn’t go as smoothly as initially expected. Things are fortunately getting back on track with the NoDo update which is now being pushed out to carrier branded devices ac cross the world. The where”s my phone update” chart has been updated today to reflect yesterday’s news (it’s partially wrong thought as I can confirm that SFR branded devices are getting NoDo). Unfortunately AT&T users will have to wait until early April:

Estimated testing completion date is early April 2011

If you don’t want to wait just head over here and try to force the notifications on your device.

Continue reading Microsoft apologizes again for Windows Phone 7 update issues →

Windows Phone 7 Mango already in the hands of hackers

Microsoft won’t be happy about this one… The DFT team which was behind the Windows Phone 7 port for the HTC HD2 apparently already has a build of the upcoming Mango update running on one of their devices (which looks like the T-Mobile version of the HTC HD2). As you can see the picture above there’s a new search icon that most probably lets you search through your list of applications and the Office icon has also been changed. Anyway, check out the full video demonstrating NoDo on the HTC HD2 below (the short glimpse at Mango is at the very end of the video).

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New HTC Pyramid pictures

A couple of live and out-focus pictures of the upcoming HTC Pyramid have just leaked today. The device is essentially the HTC EVO 3D but without the parallax barrier on the QHD screen that allows glasses free 3D viewing and the two 5Mpix camera on the back found on the EVO 3D. Instead the HTC Pyramid will feature a single 8Mpix camera on the back and a front facing VGA camera on the front. The device will be powered by Qualcomm’s MSM8260 SoC and it’s Adreno 220 GPU. I personally think that this device is a better solution that the EVO 3D (which is also launching in Europe later this year) especially if you are like me and find 3D to be relatively useless. More picture after the break:

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Fable Coin Golf for Windows Phone 7: Hands on video review

I’ve just shot a hands-on video of Microsoft / Lionhead’s Fable Coin Golf Xbox Live game for Windows Phone 7. The game was released today on Marketplace for $4.99 but you an try it out for free thanks to the trial version. So, how’s the game? Well, it probably the best looking game on Windows Phone 7 right now (next to The Harvest) and really shows what can be done with the relatively ancient Adreno 200 GPU when coded correctly (and nice assets are used). The game’s mechanics are fairly simple and straightforward: grab as many coins as possible by flicking your puck in the right direction and existing the level with a minimum of shots (like regular golf). You will also be able to grab power ups that give your coin the ability to kill enemies or move objects. Gold earned in the game can be transferred to your Fable III Xbox 360 and Windows PC games. Check the video after the break:

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What is exactly the Windows Phone Mobile Studio ?

As you have probably already seen, Mary Jo Foley posted about a Microsoft Job listing that mentions something called the Windows Phone Mobile Studio and speculates that this may be Microsoft’s updated Windows Phone version of the now defunct Kin Studio cloud synching service. I personally think that this “Mobile Studio” is actually a UI/UX design team within Microsoft and not an actual product or service. This is not to say that there isn’t a Windows Phone version of the Kin Studio in the works or that this team isn’t working on one though. Microsoft has already officially stated that it was working on this ever since Kin was pronounced dead.

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More Windows Phone 7 NFC support rumors. Nokia’s first differentiating feature?

Bloomberg is running a story today corroborating last week’s NYTimes claims that the next version of Windows Phone (Windows Phone 7 Mango or Windows Phone 8 Apollo?) will have support for NFC chips and wireless payment. I’m now fairly sure that this must be related to Nokia’s upcoming Windows phone 7 handsets which are still scheduled to come out in late Q4 2011 / early 2012. The Finnish company has always planned (even before the MS partnership) that all of its future high-end smartphones will include an NFC chip so it’s now safe to assume that this will be the company’s first differentiating feature compared to other WP7 OEMs (this obviously won’t stop HTC, LG, or Samsung to include NFC chips in the future WP7 devices).

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Windows Phone 7 NoDo update officially pushed to carrier branded phones

NoDo is officially a go for carrier branded phones according to several reports I’m getting in my mailbox and a phone call from a friend. Apparently all major carriers in Europe; Orange , Vodafone (namely SFR in France), 3 UK and O2 have authorized Microsoft to push the update notification to the Windows Phone 7 devices on their networks. T-Mobile branded phones in the US , namely the HTC HD7 and Dell Venue Pro, are also receiving the update notifications today.

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Crystall ball prediction: Windows Phone to be second Smartphone OS behind Android by 2015

As it is always the case in such situation; grab some salt before looking at the chart above. According to IDC Windows Phone will will be firmly seated as the number two smartphone OS just behind Android in 2015. It is safe to assume that lots of un-predictable events can happen in the coming years so this prediction is nothing more than…well..a prediction. As a reminder I would like to point to IDC and Microsoft’s previous “prediction” which estimated that 30Million Windows Phone based devices (WM and WP7) would be sold by the end of 2011.

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HTC EVO 3D coming to Europe / France

The mighty HTC EVO 3D is apparently coming to France (and probably other European countries) according to the company’s french twitter account. As you already know the original HTC EVO 4G was a US only device that never saw the light of the day in any other country so it was assumed that the same was going to happen with the EVO 3D and that the European version of it would probably be the 3D-less HTC Pyramid which sports the same MSM8X60 dual-core SoC. The European version will also sport the same HTC EVO 3D name.

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Force the NoDo and Mango update on the Samsung Omnia 7 and other Windows Phone 7 devices

Samsung Omnia 7 owners rejoice! There’s a fairly easy way to force the installation of the Windows Phone 7 NoDo update on your devices without any hacks at all. First off grab the PBK file here and follow the instructions courtesy of Dawnrazrblade:

Make sure your Zune software is up to date and close it! Switch your phone off and on then connect it to PC, go into settings on your phone and switch Flight Mode ON! now open up the file you downloaded (pbk) and select EUROIP PPTP Hungary
click Connect
USERNAME: demo
PASSWORD: demo
Open Zune and click on settings, click phone then scroll down to UPDATE.
I hope this works for you!  if not try again!! well guys if this helped you? could you please
make a donation anything is welcome and enjoy your NODO UPDATE

This probably won’t work and you’ll get a server connection error in the Zune Software when checking for the update. So instead of putting your device in flight mode just leave it connected to your cellular data network (not WiFi), make sure that “Use Cellular Data to check for Updates” functions is active (thanks for the tip ulub81) and go to the cellular settings of the OS:

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Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore responds to criticisms. Let’s be serious folks!

Microsoft Joe Belfiore got roasted after his latest appearance on Channel9 a few days ago because of what seemed like a total disconnection between his attitude and the current reality that is the slow Windows Phone 7 update process. Joe took the time to reply in the comments section and make some excuses. But before reading what he has to say let’s take a short moment to reflect on what is going on here.

Why are people mad? Is it because of the buggy state of the OS, the lack of updates,the slow roll out, or the lack of communication? First off if somebody tells you that Windows Phone 7 is a buggy mess and needs to be patched urgently then he’s over dramatizing things. Besides the Marketplace client crashes and some badly coded third party applications (which have nothing to do with MS) what are the “bugs” preventing normal usage of the handsets?. Excessive data usage bug? Hell no. I was the only website that always said that there was no data bug in WP7 and that the issue was probably coming from Yahoo’s IMAP. The facts have later shown that I was right but in the mean time you had breaking news headlines all over the place claiming that using WP7 would potentially cost you money because of the “excessive data usage bug”… Anyway,  How many times do you have to reboot your device per-day /week ? Windows Phone 7 is probably the most robust V1.0 consumer product released in the past years. Was NoDo delayed? Yes but not like most people want you to believe. I’ll repeat what I’ve been saying all along: Don’t believe everything you read and please form your opinion based on facts and logic. I was the only blog who always said that you shouldn’t expect NoDo to come out before MWC while everybody else was making up dates left and right that would later give the impression that the update was delayed when those totally bogus dates weren’t met. People are also quick to blame carriers but NoDo was effectively delayed from Feb to early March and AFAIK it didn’t have much to do with carriers who were eagerly expecting it. It was later delayed from early to second-half of March because of the issues faced with Samsung handsets and the 7008 update. Once again it had nothing to do with carriers. The decision to delay it the second time was IMO a wise decision and shows that MS is trying to do its best to get this right. Now, this could have been avoided if the MS and Samsung actually took the time to test the whole process on the Focus and Omnia 7 before hand..but this is history.

No, what’s frustrating many people (me included) is that Windows Phone 7 is being publicly handled by Microsoft in a totally amateurish way. The PR suck, the marketing sucks and the communication sucks. When I make a post (with video proof) about the fact that the camera settings are still not saved in NoDo  the worst that MS can do is tell us that it’s a “feature” and that it’s the best solution for the end-user experience, even though every single review and nearly all users have complained about it. Unfortunately that’s what they did and this is only one example. I have posted countless times about the Super-AMOLED color banding issues because of the lack of dithering in 90% of the OS. Sadly, MS never bothered to come forward on this issue. Most of the other complains are mainly focused around the lack of APIs and sub-par SL controls but those are things that only directly affect developers. MIX11 is just around the corner and I’m fairly sure that we will hear some good news regarding these subjects. The last set of complains are related to the international services (Bing and Bing Maps) and unfortunately those things can take a while to evolve (the Nokia partnership will help here).

Continue reading Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore responds to criticisms. Let’s be serious folks! →

Official Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread Samsung Galaxy S ROM leaked ?

What appears to be the official Gingerbread Android 2.3.3 ROM I9000XXJVK for the Samsung Galaxy S line of phones has just leaked today. Samsung is supposedly going to officially push it through it’s KIES software in the coming days but if you don’t want to wait until then just head over here and grab the file to flash your device. Do this at your own risk and don’t forget to back-up your device.

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Windows Phone 7 Mac connector updated with new features and performance improvements

Microsoft has just released an update to the Windows Phone 7 Mac connector that allows Apple user to sync their WP7 handset with their Mac desktop computer. The 1.2 version changelog adds the following:

What’s New in Version 1.1

Windows Phone 7 Connector 1.1 provides the following updates and changes:

Features:
• Windows Phone 7 Connector Agent allows customers to configure Windows Phone 7 Connector to start whenever a supported device is connected.

• Apple Lossless encoded audio files are now supported and synced to devices.

Fixes:
• Resolved high CPU utilization problem in certain sync situations

• Performance improvements

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Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Android 2.3 Gingerbread update announced

Still wondering if Sony Ericsson is really serious about being a big player in the Android ecosytem? Well, today’s announcement that the Xperia X10 will get a new lease of life this summer via an Android 2.3 Gingerbread update further proves that the company is firmly behind Google mobile OS and Windows Phone 7 is definitely something of the past for the company. As you probably already know, SE isn’t known for its execution or product support but things seem to be moving in the right direction ever since the announcement of the PlayStation Suite and certified games system and the company’s new roaster of Android devices announced at MWC last which includes the Xperia Play gaming phone (hands on video here) and sleek looking Xperia Arc (my hands on video here).

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Full Windows Phone 7 NoDo update status: Carriers, Countries and devices

Microsoft has just posted an exhaustive update on the Windows Phone 7 NoDo roll out with detailed status for the carriers outside of the US and OEM status in the US. This is a good move but one as to wonder why there’s no “real” carrier status in the US (forgot that the handsets are only sold by carriers in the US so it’s fairly easy to see what’s going on based on the table below)…) and no OEM status worldwide. The whole thing looks like a huge mess. Check out the full details after the break:

Continue reading Full Windows Phone 7 NoDo update status: Carriers, Countries and devices →