Microsoft answers Google’s Windows Phone YouTube app ban request: We scroogled you

Anyone who downloaded the newest Windows Phone 8 YouTube application released last week and developed by Microsoft saw this one coming a mile away. This particular application allows users to download/pre-cache videos, doesn’t display ads and can also playback restricted videos. Three consecutive strakes that are forbidden by Google’s Terms of Services. It only took the Mountain view company more than a week to send Microsoft a cease and desist letter asking for the removal of the application before May 22 (read the whole letter after the break).

Unfortunately for the search giant this was nothing more than a clever trap set by Microsoft aimed at putting Google’s hypocrisy in the spotlight as seen in Microsoft’s answer to the C&D letter:

Continue reading Microsoft answers Google’s Windows Phone YouTube app ban request: We scroogled you →

HTC ONE: An awesome but also confused smartphone ?

The new HTC ONE is here and for the most part looks like the most powerful, well build smartphone that will hit the market this year. Sure it’s an Android handset but us Windows Phone users should expect to see this same hardware later this year as long as Microsoft update’s its WP8.X chassis specs to add support for Qualcomm’s new line of Snapdragon S400 / S600 & S800 SoC and 1080P screen resolution support.

Don’t get caught by the insane PR that HTC’s been pushing because the HTC ONE is definitely not going to revolutionize anything. A closer look at the specifications and features will give you the distinct feeling the Taiwanese manufacturer has been taking a really close look at what the competition has been doing (especially Nokia) and simply implementing hardware and software scenarios already available elsewhere but with its own touch.

Much of the buzz has been about the new camera sensor packed in the HTC ONE which for better or worst has been named the “HTC UltraPixel Camera”, a branding reminiscent of Nokia’s own PureView cameras. Before taking a closer look at this fancy offering let’s just check the HTC ONE hardware specification below:

Continue reading HTC ONE: An awesome but also confused smartphone ? →

Google Exchange ActiveSync support for Windows Phone extended until July 31st

Microsoft has announced that Google has decided to extend its support for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) on Windows Phone until July 31 2013. As you already know Google was set to cut EAS support for it’s Gmail, Contacts and Calendar services on January 31st but Microsoft has apparently convinced the Mountain View company to give the Windows Phone developers some more time to add CardDAV and CalDAV support into Windows Phone 8.

Windows 8 and Windows RT users using the default mail application will unfortunately still be affected by the January 31st cut unless they have already setup the application to sync with their Gmail account prior to this deadline. The easiest way would be to migrate your Gmail account to Outlook.com if you don’t really use Gmail for anything else other than YouTube.

Continue reading Google Exchange ActiveSync support for Windows Phone extended until July 31st →

Microsoft and Nokia add traffic and better geocoding to Bing Maps worldwide

Another milestone has been reached in the Microsoft / Nokia partnership today with the inclusion of Nokia’s Traffic and Geocoding backend to Bing Maps in 24 countries worldwide. It wasn’t long ago when Nokia and Microsoft had also decided to use a similar color them and layout for their Mapping data and starting today Windows Phone users you should finally be able to get the show traffic feature working if they are located in the following countries:

Continue reading Microsoft and Nokia add traffic and better geocoding to Bing Maps worldwide →

Nokia Drive 2.0 With offline navigation and Updated Nokia Maps released

Nokia has finally released the much anticipated 2.0 version of Nokia Drive for it’s Windows Phone line of Lumia handsets today which includes Offline navigation, speed alerts, on the fly rerouting and multiple routes suggestion. This update essentially fixes every single issue I had with the initial version. The dashboard has also been updated to display the time until arrival for example. I just got my hands on it and will shoot a short hands on video in the coming hours so make sure to come back here.

Nokia Transport aka Nokia Transit is also out of beta (hands-on video) and available right now in the marketplace.

Nokia Maps has also been update with several new features and enhancement which I will cover shortly once I finish playing with Nokia drive. UPDATE: Live traffic is available in the following countries: USA, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Belgium, Russia, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, UK, France, Spain, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, India and UAE. Unfortunately this feature isn’t present in Nokia Drive 2.0. You can grab both apps directly from the Nokia Collections section of the Windows Phone marketplace.


Unified Bing Maps and Nokia Maps design launched

Microsoft and Nokia have just announced the unification of the their mapping services design. This one of the first result of the partnership signed last year between both companies that outlined the integration of Nokia’s Navteq assets into Microsoft’s Bing Maps service. As of today, Bing Maps and Nokia Maps have a unified map elements and color palette and the same Nokia Pure font. Frankly you won’t really notice much of a difference in Bing Maps but Nokia Maps unfortunately looks a bit washed out now. You can compare both offerings directly on you windows phone if you have a Nokia handset via the OS’s Maps application and the Nokia Maps app. Nokia Drive will get the same color treatment in the upcoming 3.0 update coming out in the coming weeks.

Continue reading Unified Bing Maps and Nokia Maps design launched →

New version of Nokia Drive for Windows Phone announced: Offline mode, traffic and re-route support

 

Nokia has just announced a new version of Nokia Drive for Windows Phone (and Meego too I guess) which will finally fix most of the issue that many like me have complained about with the first iteration of the software released back in November. Offline support is finally in with some other changes:

Now Nokia Drive on Lumia gets full offline support, with offline search and routing from calculating a route, to navigation and re-routing. A newly designed dashboard now shows speed limit alerts, as well as the speed you’re travelling at, as well as estimated time or arrival, time to destination and distance to destination. You can also access a list of recently saved destinations through a single tap, and then start turn-by-turn navigation..

No availability date has bee given but I’m sure that we can expect it to see it pop up in marketplace in the coming weeks.

Update: Nokia Public transport will be made available in the coming days while the newly announced Nokia Reading hub will materialize in April (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia)

Using Nokia Reading you can choose your own favourite authors, or select from bestselling novels and an extensive selection of top local books in your own language. The service integrates beautifully with the Lumia in the same “hub” and panorama experience we’ve seen working so fluidly with other services.

Once you have chosen a book, large, clear, smartphone screens like those on the Nokia Lumia make reading an enjoyable experience. It’s great for reading on an underground train or plane, as you can read everything offline after downloading beforehand.

In coming months you’ll also be able to create a personalised magazine page called “my stream” that automatically updates content across the most popular categories, and adds web content from your chosen sites.

Nokia Maps is also getting a update with a new modified layout in the coming days.
Continue reading New version of Nokia Drive for Windows Phone announced: Offline mode, traffic and re-route support →

Samsung Galaxy S III to be announced in first half of 2012 but not at MWC

It has been a while since I posted any Android related news here so there you have it: According to an official Samsung statement the hotly anticipated Samsung Galaxy SIII will be announced in the first half of 2012 closer to its retail launch and not during MWC later this month unlike it’s predecessor the Galaxy S III which was announced there and released nearly 6 months later.

“Samsung is looking forward to introducing and demonstrating exciting new mobile products at Mobile World Congress 2012. The successor to the Galaxy S2 smartphone will be unveiled at a separate Samsung-hosted event in the first half of the year, closer to commercial availability of the product.”

I would also like to point out that I unfortunately won’t be able to go to MWC this year because of my full time job (unless something changes between now and then..).

Continue reading Samsung Galaxy S III to be announced in first half of 2012 but not at MWC →

Microsoft signs Patent agreement with LG covering Android and Chrome OS devices

Another bites the dust. Microsoft has added LG Electronics to its long list of Android manufacturers who are now paying the Redmond software giant every time the build a Google powered device. Samsung, HTC, Acer, Viewsonic, Compal etc the list goes on and Microsoft is most probably making more money through Android than windows Phone right now. As usual terms of the agreement were not disclosed but Microsoft is happy to announce that “more than 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are now receiving coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio”. Full press release after the break:
Continue reading Microsoft signs Patent agreement with LG covering Android and Chrome OS devices →

Why Android is laggy compared to Windows Phone 7 and iOS

I just came across the best in-depth explanation regarding the well known UI performance issues that Android exhibits even on really high-end devices compared to modest hardware running Windows Phone 7 or iOS. The lengthy post was written down by Andrew Munn (in response to Google’s Dianne Hackborn’s earlier post about GPU HW accel in Android here) who was an intern on Android team (and who is interning on the Windows Phone Team at Microsoft next month). There are a couple of errors in his description of the way iOS handles the UI thread so keep that in mind when reading him. Other than that it’s a fairly accurate view of why Android is and most probably will never be ass efficient as iOS and Windows phone when rendering UIs simply because of early design choices when the framework was created. Throwing more processing power seems to be the only solution so far (plus the addition of HW acceleration in so parts of the OS in Honeycomb and ICS).

There are three main causes:

- The UI rendering isn’t done in a separate dedicated high priority thread but in the main thread with normal priority instead
- GC (Garbage Colector) / Timing issues.
- Lack of Hardware acceleration in the vast majority of the OS and the way UI rendering is handled: “On iOS, each UI view is rendered separately and stored in memory, so many animations only require the GPU to recomposite UI views. GPUs are extremely good at this. Unfortunately, on Android, the UI hierarchy is flattened before rendering, so animations require every animating section of the screen to be redrawn.”

Continue reading Why Android is laggy compared to Windows Phone 7 and iOS →

Carrier IQ not present on Windows Phones

I’m sure that you’ve all already hear about the Carrier IQ mess that’s been making the headlines today and which started earlier last month after Trevor Eckhart over at the XDA-Devs forums found out about the tracking software on most Android handsets. As it turns out more than 121Million devices have the Carrier IQ installed logging phone usage, keystrokes etc and sending everything to the carriers or OEMS. HTC, Samsung Sprint AT&T Apple (prior to iOS5) etc are all involved. If you are a Windows Phone users you should then be happy to know than none of the WP7 devices are “infected” by this according to Joe Belfiore. Nokia has also issued a statement saying that none of their devices have it either (this includes S40, Symbian, WP7, Meego phones)

Continue reading Carrier IQ not present on Windows Phones →

Try Windows Phone 7 on your iPhone or Android handset

I’m a bit late on this one…yesterday Microsoft launched a a new promotional service/mobile website that allows iOS (iPhone iPod) users and Android smartphones to get a taste of windows phone directly on the beloved devices. To do this you’ll just have to head over here ( http://aka.ms/wpdemo ) and the HTML5 webpage will transform your non-windows phone into a Metro filled device. Most of the core OS functionalities can be tested so users can really have a good idea of how the OS UI and UX work.

Nokia Drive on Windows Phone: It’s lacking a whole lot of features

I’m guessing many of you have been wondering why I recently said that Nokia Drive on windows Phone was far inferior to Google Navigation on Android. Well, simply because it’s an undeniable fact. The only thing that Nokia Drive currently has over Google Navigation is the Offline maps but even this is render useless simply because the application currently requires an active data connection to do the routing calculation (Nokia has recently sated that they will “fix” this in a future version..). Everything else is simply superior on Google Navigation or even most of the other GPS navigation offerings out there. Here’s a list of what’s currently missing in Nokia Drive:

- No remaining time until arrival displayed during navigation (it’s only noted during 5 secs on summery screen before the navigation starts)
- No Directions breakdown list: WTF? Even Bing Maps and Nokia Maps have it.
- POIs are useless: You can’t tap on them
- No way to save or favorite a location: only recent destinations/searches are automatically saved in a history list that can be manually cleared
- No traffic data, No Public Transit Data
- No way to have more than one itinerary unless you stop/cancel the current one and manually re-calculate another one (wtf again?)
- Requires an active Data connection to do the routing calculation even-though it has offline maps loaded on the device
- More missing stuff that I can’t remember right now

Anyway check out my hands-on video below (after the break):

Continue reading Nokia Drive on Windows Phone: It’s lacking a whole lot of features →

I don’t care about what’s inside your phone as long as the user experience is great

I just came across a post on Neowin today which must have been inspired by what I have been saying all along and especially this editorial I wrote back in February after I came back from Mobile World Congress. To put it simply: things haven’t changed since I originally posted what I did and people are now finding out that what I have been preaching all along may be somewhat true. Throwing endless numbers of processor into a device isn’t going to make the user experience any better especially the OS (hello Android) or app is bloated / badly coded or simply doesn’t take advantage of the hardware horsepower under the hood. Yes I everybody wants 1080P video encoding/recoding but nobody’s going to do this 90% of the time with his phone and that’s the point: if what I’m principally using isn’t perfectly smooth (OS, browser, apps) why should I care about one single great feature?

Continue reading I don’t care about what’s inside your phone as long as the user experience is great →

HTC announces first wave of phones that will receive Ice Cream Sandwich

HTC has just unveiled the name of the phones included in the first wave of Ice Cream Sandwich update roll out. The handsets listed below will receive the ICS Android 4.0 in early 2012:

- HTC Sensation
- HTC Sensation XL
- HTC Sensation XE
- HTC Rezound
- HTC EVO 3D
- HTC EVO Design 4G
- HTC Amaze 4G

You will also note that they are all based on the MSM826X platform.

Continue reading HTC announces first wave of phones that will receive Ice Cream Sandwich →

What’s inside the Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Want to know what’s really inside the latest and greatest Android handsets? Engadget, with the help of Android developer Francois Simond compiled  the full list of all the hardware found inside the Samsung Galaxy Nexus :

Silicon

  • CPU: Texas Instruments OMAP4460 (same as the Droid RAZR), 2047.7 BogoMIPS
  • GPU: Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX 540 (highler clocked version than the one in the HummingBird SoC)
  • WiFi / Bluetooth module: Broadcom BCM4330 (same as in the Galaxy S II)
  • Audio codec: Texas Instruments TWL6040
  • HDMI: Silicon Image MHD SiI9234 transmitter over MHL (same as Infuse 4G and GSII)
  • USB Switch: Fairchild semiconductors fsa9480
  • Framebuffer controller: Samsung S6E8AA0 MIPI LCD with Gamma correction driver

Sensors

  • Geomagnetic sensor: Brand new tri-axial Yamaha YAS530
  • TouchScreen sensor: Melfas MMSxxx touchscreen
  • Optical / proximity sensor: GP2A (same as Galaxy S and Nexus S)
  • Barometric pressure sensor: BOSCH BMP180
  • Triaxial acceleration sensor: BOSCH BMA250
  • Triple Axis MEMS Gyroscope: InvenSense MPU3050
  • Fuel Gauge (algorithm to track battery’s state of charge): MAXIM MAX17040

Misc. internals

  • Facial recognition elements (Face Unlock): left eye, right eye, nose base, head, face
  • Available resolution for standard apps: 720 x 1184px
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • LCD Density: 320
  • Default display color depth: 32bit
  • Camera uses OMAP Ducati Subsystem, on-screen preview size is 768 x 576
  • Linux kernel: 3.0.1 compiled for SMP with voluntary kernel preemption for best interactivity
  • Android ROM: version 4.0.1, built October 13, 2011
  • Device name: Maguro
  • Main input/output type supported: Headphone, Speaker, Microphone, Bluetooth, Voice, FM, S/PDIF over HDMI; USB Audio DAC (digital-to-audio converter with USB input and stereo outputs) should also be supported

Continue reading What’s inside the Samsung Galaxy Nexus →

Samsung Galaxy Nexus is officially official

Good day folks! The Samsung Galaxy Nexus has now been made official a few hours ago alongside Android 4.0 aka Ice Cream Sandwich. In terms of hardware specifications there’s nothing we didn’t already know yesterday so please refer to this post for the full comprehensive list of the device’s internals and externals. Does it look sexy ? Well that 4.67″ HD Super AMOLED screen is definitely a winner even though the overall design looks relatively close to last year’s Google Nexus S. Inside the beast is a TI OMAP 4460 SoC which includes the well regarded PowerVR SGX540 GPU (clocked higher than the original version) similar to what is powering the just announced Motorola Droid RaZR (early benchmark results here). As we have seen in the full specification yesterday there’s also going to be an LTE version of it which will launch later and bit a tiny bit thicker that the regular GSM variant launching in Asia, Europe and North America in November. The only thing missing is the internal MicroSD slot which isn’t mentioned in the official press release.
Continue reading Samsung Galaxy Nexus is officially official →

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Hardware Specifications

That’s it folks, we finally have the full hardware specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus formerly known as the Nexus Prime. As previously guessed the SoC powering the handset is a Texas Instrument OMAP4460 Dua-Core CPU clocked at 1.2Ghz coupled with a PowerVR SGX540 GPU (clocked higher than the one initially found in the Hummingbird SoC of the Original Samsung Galaxy. The Galaxy Nexus also sport a gigantic 4.7inch Super AMOLED HD screen (1280×720 but only 1196×720 usable throughout the OS because of the onscreen hardware buttons).  It also packs 1GB or RAM, 32GB of internal Storage and a MicroSD expansion slot. On the imaging front the The Galaxy Nexus has a 5MPx camera on the back which can shoot 1080P videos plus a 1.3MP camera on the front. Check out the full specs after the break:

Continue reading Samsung Galaxy Nexus Hardware Specifications →

First Samsung Galaxy Nexus Prime benchmarks

Someone using a prototype or developer version of the soon to be announced Samsung Galaxy Nexus (or Nexus Prime) has submitted GLBenchmark scores indicating that the handset is powered by a TI OMAP 4460 Dual-Core SoC clocked at 1.2Ghz. This may be disappointment to some but unfortunately the way it is because TI is the development partner for Android 4.0 aka Ice Cream Sandwich (similar to how NVIDIA’s Tegra was Android 3.0‘s primary platform etc.) You can also note that the screen resolution is reported to be 1196 x 720 instead of 1280×720 because of the on-screen “hardware buttons”.

Continue reading First Samsung Galaxy Nexus Prime benchmarks →