More Windows Mobile 7 rumors…grab some salt!

OK, I received this Windows Mobile 7 stuff in my mailbox a few hours ago and didn’t post it, but it looks like other sites also got the same mail too (?) so here you go:

· WP7 will be announced at MWC, and there will be a demo, but this will be just the UX
· MIX will have specific developement focus sessions on WP7
· WP7 supports both Sliverlight (out of browser) and XNA
· Silverlight is version 3.0, with elements of 4.0 plus mobile specific features such as sensors etc
· XNA apps can be developed using XNA GameStudio 3.1
· SL apps developed using Expression Blend 3.x and VS2010
· MS will release a mobile version of VS / Expression which will be free, and VS2010 / Expression Pro will have a free add-on
· WP7 will have an equivalent of .NET CF embedded into SL, but no SQL.
· WP7 will have isolated storage which is accessible using LINQ
· The UX of WP7 is based upon a theme called “METRO” and is similar to Zune HD, but with a completely new “Start” screen.
· No multi-tasking (applications will pause when in the background, however they will support notifications using the MS Push Notifications environment)
· No .NET CF backwards compatibility, however a proportion of the data and business logic in .NET CF could be ported
· MS were confident to have devices ready for Sep 2010
· No MS manufactured device, however much tighter control of manufacturing process, so as an example each device has a 3D processing chipset, and MS provide all of the device drivers. So no platform builder. This enables OTA updates and simplified model for ODM’s
· Marketplace will support buy and try before you buy, as well as an API
· ODM / OEM will not be able to modify the “Start” screen, so no more HTC Sense / TouchFlo etc.
· MS are actually ahead of schedule which will surprise the analysts / journalists
· Browsing experience is currently faster / better than iPhone 3G, and they are aiming towards 3GS.
· Browser is based upon desktop IE7 codebase, but with some IE8 functionality
· No in browser Flash or SL
· WP7 has full integration with XBOX Live, and ability to purchase games
· WP7 will use the Zune software for music, videos, photos sync
· WP7 only supports app installation through service based delivery i.e. marketplace, so no side-loading
· MS will provide a hosted push notifications environment

I’ll let you decide if all this info is true or not (frankly the majority can possibly be true, the only strange part being the “no real multi-tasking” support and no apps side-loading..).
Anyway, we will know the truth on February 15th… ;-)

UPDATE: Turns out that EVERYTHING was true…more details here.

Source: Thanks anonymous tipster

When is HTC finally going to drop Windows Mobile ?

WPhone2no (Custom)
Here are two provocative and pessimistic questions I keep asking myself lately: Will HTC drop Windows Mobile soon? Why do they continue to support WinMo? Frankly if you think about it for a bit there’s no reason for them to stick with Microsoft OSes now that Android has matured.

First, let’s take a look at the hardware. HTC’s Android & WinMo phones are essentially the same (same SOC, same camera, same amount of ram etc..), besides the screen resolution and touch-panel technology (capacitive/resistive) you get the same device. Things are going to get even closer when the rumored HTC Dragon/Passion launches (the rumored “Android HD2″).

Now let’s look at the software. Take an Android and a WinMo phone (the HD2 for example) and place them next to each other. Do you see any similarity? Yup, they look nearly identical thanks to HTC’s SenseUI. Even more interesting is the fact that the two Oses have exactly the same feature set,only that Android does nearly everything smoother/in a more elegant and consistent way. I’m not going to talk about the appstore, which is currently a complete joke on Windows Mobile (374 apps available in the US and here’s a funny one: less that 40 apps in France! wth?). Some people are going to pull the “Android/iPhone suck at IT/Business” card on me. Well, maybe so, bu last time I checked 90% of the time people buy phones not IT and BlackBerry has been bitch-slapping WinMo left and right this past year so this is becoming a non issue even more so now that every mobile OS support Exchange and Office (via third-party apps).
What’s worse is that people hate WinMo so much that even great phones get trashed. I mean, what’s the point here? Why would HTC keep supporting a platform that only gets them bad press even though they bust their asses to tweak it like crazy and develop one of the best smartphone ever (the HTC HD2)? Why not release the HTC Dragon/Passion only instead of “wasting” money and time on the HD2 only to get comments like “Put Android on it” “If only it had Android” ? When I go to a retail store 90% of the time I’m going to be told to avoid Window Mobile phones. I even heard this straight from the mouth of Samsung and HTC reps during a Window Mobile event a few months ago! Come on, this is sad. Stop beating a dead horse and let it rest in peace. The icing on the cake: Android is free, Windows Mobile cost around $15 per license..

It seems like everything associated to WinMo is a joke. Look at LG for example, they are developing Android devices (and are rumored to build Google’s own Phone) even though they signed a deal with Microsoft to make WinMo their smartphone OS of choice. Sony Ericsson is dumping WinMo, Motorola who got burned by the constant WM7 delays ditched the OS and is finally back in the game thanks to the Motorola Droid (and Motorola CliQ). I’m not even going to talk about the horror that is WinMo’s marketing (did you see the TV ads?).

But what about Windows Mobile 7? Frankly given Android’s current momentum with OEMs and carriers, WM7 is going to have a really hard time saving Microsoft‘s mobile strategy. I can’t see how an OS that had such a troubled development cycle is going to be revolutionary. I said revolutionary because this is what it will have to be to win back marketshare. Microsoft blew it big time and handed everything to Google because of WM7′s constant design changes and delays. Google is pumping out updates on a regular basis and by the time WM7 gets released in Q3/4 2010 I fear that it will be too late. Did I also mention the iPhone? I better not…

So what are your thoughts? Why should HTC stick with Windows Mobile?

The Microsoft Courier Puzzle

I always loved puzzle games and this time I think we’ve got a pretty intersting one at hand: The Microsoft Courier Tablet/booklet project.

Remember a few days ago when the news broke out at Gizmodo I mentioned that the Courier project looked like it was based on Inkseine and the Codex prototype from Microsoft Research. I did some more digging (thanks Lituus) and found some intereting things.
We’ve already seen that the Courier UI in the first video looks like a highly polished version of Inkseine (shown here on the Codex protype):

[flv: 480 360]

But the second video demonstrates some sort of scrapbook features which are really close to several Microsoft Office Labs & Live Labs projects:

Microsoft Canvas for OneNote:

Canvas for OneNote allows you to navigate and edit notebooks in a new way by providing a high-level canvas-view of all your content. The prototype lets you zoom and pan around; view and organize content in new ways; add new pages right where you want them; and even locate pages in a timeline view.

Microsoft ThumbTack

Thumbtack is a personal repository for information gathered from across the web. It can be used to collect text, photos and links from any web page using familiar mechanisms such as copy and paste. It’s implemented as an Ajax application and runs entirely within a browser. All user data is stored in a web service and is accessible from any computer via a browser.

Microsoft StickySorter

Ever found yourself lost in the eye of a brainstorm? Lots of great information, but it’s all over the place! Sticky Sorter is a Grassroots Project, developed by two Microsoft Employees, that you can use today to manage such challenges. The inventors, Julie and Sumit, were looking for an easier way to capture, sift through, and organize hundreds of research observations traditionally done on physical sticky notes in an affinity diagramming exercise with researchers from around the world. The result is StickySorter which met their complex needs, supports virtual collaboration, and is now available for you to use in managing your next brainstorm.

It looks like Microsoft took those projects (Codex, Inkseine, Canvas for Onenote, Thumbtack & Stickysorter) mixed them all together to finally come out with the Courier project. Take all these bits & pieces,put them together and you got what we have seen of Courier.

Project Pink: A Microsoft branded phone? Maybe not

The front and the back of the de device don't line up?

The front and the back othe de device don't line up?

You have probably seen lots of talk regarding Microsoft’s project Pink yesterday thanks ot a post on apple fan site 9to5mac. I didn’t post about it, cause, frankly, I don’t know what to think about all of this. Is Microsoft going to launch MS branded phones? Is Pink only a multimedia centric software service (slapped on top of WM7) ? In my opinion, given what we already know about Windows Mobile 7 and what Microsoft has said several times about their future mobile strategy (see Microsoft’s E&D President, Robie Bach, here and this video) the last guess is more realistic. Even if an MS branded phone isn’t produced directly by Redmond the public perception would be that Microsoft is releasing a phone (the public doesn’t care if there’s a ODM/OEM etc) and this will only piss of HTC/Samsung/LG etc and go against what MS has been saying the past months.
My guess (and I’m probably totally wrong, so don’t come back and flame me in a few months please;) is that Pink is a UI/Multimedia centric Software/service slapped on top of Windows Mobile (7?) and will probably ship on high-end devices from HTC/Samsung/LG etc with some sort of PMX (Premium Mobile Experience) Logo/tag slapped on the phone. People are also probably confusing target prototypes build by MS to show off the project to mobile operators and OEM/ODMs with so-called MS branded phones.

Remember before the Origami project was unveiled everybody thought that Microsoft was building some sort of Xbox portable device. And it turned out that all they did was build target prototypes, did some promo videos with those prototypes (which then leaked on the web and started to fill the buzz about an imminent xbox protable device) to sell the project to OEM (like Asus/Samsung) who then came out with the UMPCs. I’m guessing that the same is happening here. But again, I’m probably totally wrong here.

Source: all about MS

What is really Windows Mobile 7


Wishmaster89 submitted his thoughts on what he thinks WM7 is/or is going to be over at WMPoweruser. Here I will try to comment and give you some info and thoughts regarding this matter.

1) for now it is based on .NET CF 3.7 but in the end should run .NET CF 4

Giving WM7′s current time frame I doubt that it will support .NET CF 4 at release

2) It will support Windows Presentation Foundation

3) the whole OS should be rendered by a compositing window manager fully supporting openGL ES, probably 2.0

I can tell you that Microsoft is betting heavyly on Silverlight for mobile. SL 3 support is going to be the key here (there’s no need to support WPF given that SL 3 does nearly everything WPF does).
What is known is that WM7′s UI is Vector based to be totally resolution independent. This will enable developers to develop once for all phones (using MS’s latest release of Expression tools). As seen here Microsoft designers have been working on Silverlight for WM7. This will also enable Microsoft to push even harder the Widgets development (introduced in 6.5) now that Silverlight support out-of-the-browser applications.

4) openGL ES will be the main API used by OS

It’s true that Microsoft dropped Direct3D support from Windows Mobile 7 (and that’s a good thing giving how bad it was). But never underestimated MS’s ability to turn something that’s supposed to be simple (only supporting one GFX API) into a mess (trying to re-introduce Direct3D later on). As I posted here MS is looking for a lead developer to build a “general-purpose graphics platform for mobile phones”

5) it will have integrated Zune Player similar to the one from Zune HD

It will..

6) it will have full support for multi touch

That’s more than 100% sure :) . Even 6.5 may have multi-touch support with HTC’s upcoming capacitive WinMo phones.

7) MyPhone will be improved and will tie all live services into one allowing remote management of device and many more

Cloud services are supposed to be one of Windows Mobile’s key feature in the future. Myphone will first have a boost in storage space (from the current 200Mb to 5GB) and the 2.0 version is supposed to run on Live Mesh. Now givin’ that Live Mesh is still a bit far from ready for prime time (and Robie Bach saying @ the Analyst Financial Day that features are not going to come to WM all at once but evolve in time), I’m not sure if WM7 will ship with the live mesh enabled Myphone and other cloud services (like the augmented reality enabled Live Search)

1) Windows CE 7 as the core

Givin’ the current time frame, I wouldn’t be surprised if it supports CE 7. But It will probably be Windows CE 6.

2) Consistent UI for the whole OS and the 3rd party applications

Silverlight should help here, but like on WM 6.X nothing is going to stop devs or OEMs to develope UI’s etc using OGL (like TouchFlo 3D)

3) Full SDK that would allow developers to easily write apps for every type of device

Microsoft’s Expression tools is going to rock for devs :)

6) Full Flash GPU acceleration for smooth web browsing

You know that SnapDragon is here to save us ;-) and we shall see how is goes on the ZuneHD

Here are the Windows Mobile 7 Chassis 1 specifications:

WM7 Chassis 1 Specification

Core requirements:
Processor: ARM v6+, L2 Cache, VFP, Open GL ES 2.0 graphics HW (QCOM 8k, Nvidia “Tegra” AP15/16* and TI 3430 all meet spec)
Memory: 256MB+ DRAM, 1G+ Flash (at least 512MB fast flash – 5MB/s unbuffered read @4K block size)
Display: WVGA (800×480) or FWVGA (854×480) 3.5” or greater diagonal
Touch: Multi-touch required
Battery: Sufficient to meet Days of Use LTK requirements.
Controls: Start, Back, Send and End are required (soft controls allowed as long as they are always present).

Camera: 3MP+, flash optional, 2nd camera optional (VGA resolution sufficient)
GPS: aGPS required
Sensors required: Light Sensor, Compass (3 axis, 5 degrees, 100 Hz sample rate), Accelerometer (3 axis, 2mg resolution, 100 Hz sample rate)
USB: High speed required, 20 MB/s transfer rate.
BlueTooth: BT2.1 required, must run MSFT BT stack, CSR BlueCore6 or later recommended.
Wi-Fi: 802.11B/G required, must run MSFT Native Wi-Fi stack, Atheros 6002 or Broadcomm 4325 recommended.
Connectors: Micro USB and 3.5mm Audio required.

FM tuner: If tuner HW is present it will be detected and supported by the Media application.
SD Card (Micro SD recommended)
DPAD, qwerty or 12/20 key keyboards all optional

That is all..for now

Anybody wants to comment? feel free to do it.