What’s missing or should be fixed in Windows Phone Mango

As you all know Mango is packed full of new features and improvements that will surely make many people happy but after more that two weeks with the Beta 2 there are still a few things that I think are missing from what has become a really great mobile OS. Most of what everybody’s been complaining about has now been changed, added or fixed so what I’m going to list below will probably go unnoticed by the average Joe but I do hope that Microsoft adds or fix some of them later (I’m not expecting much changes between the Beta and RTM version). Hit the break to see the list:

Continue reading What’s missing or should be fixed in Windows Phone Mango →

Windows Phone 7 Mango: Embedded YouTube videos and fast tabs switching

I’m discovering interesting things in the Mango Beta 2 even after nearly 2 weeks of daily usage, nothing groundbreaking but still interesting. Firstly, Mango no longer requires the YouTube plugin “app” to playback embedded YouTube videos. But there’s a catch, the videos must be embedded with the new iFrame code and not the old code…one. If the required Iframe code is detected by the browser user will see the YouTube video correctly show up on the webpage and will be able to watch it by taping twice on it. This will then launch the OS’s native video player (not a mediaelement control like the previous solution) and stream the video in what appears to be 480P MP4 format even when using the cellular network connection (finally!). The YouTube plugin will still be required if the video is embedded with the old code. Check it out n the my short video after the break:

Continue reading Windows Phone 7 Mango: Embedded YouTube videos and fast tabs switching →

Why is Microsoft blocking ads in the Windows Phone 7 browser ?

Here’s something that I haven’t seen discussed yet but that’s been bothering me for a while now. Some of you may have noticed that since the Nodo update (or even the pre-NoDo patch) ads embedded in most websites are no longer displayed in the IE Mobile browser (I mentioned this in the Mango Preview). I first thought that there was probably a bug somewhere or that my device was stuck displaying the “Mobile Version” of the sites (in WP7 RTM selecting mobile version displays desktop webpages without the ads) but this finally wasn’t the case. This may not seem like a big problem but people have to remember that the vast majority of the websites on the net exists thanks to the ads displayed on their pages and this is why I’m wondering why Microsoft decided to suddenly force ad-blocking on Windows Phone 7 without telling anybody about it.
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Microsoft launches IE9 Mobile Test drive site for Windows Phone 7 Mango

Microsoft has just launched the mobile version of the IE9 Test Drive site specifically tailored to test and benchmark the new HTML5 / CSS capabilities of the new browser included in the upcoming Windows Phone 7 Mango update:

Over the coming months leading up to the release of Windows Phone “Mango” and beyond, we will be adding new samples to the Mobile Test Drive for you to try out, and will announce them here on the blog when we do.

To kick things off, the first 15 samples available on the Mobile Test Drive will be:

Audio Player (from MIX11)
Geolocation
Border Radius
DOM Local Storage
Scalable Vector Graphics
CSS3 Media Queries
DOMContentLoaded
FishIE Tank
Speed Reading (from MIX11)
Animated Text
HamsterDance Revolution
Business Charts
IE Logo
Video Panorama
Browser Control Theming

Continue reading Microsoft launches IE9 Mobile Test drive site for Windows Phone 7 Mango →

Blurry video of Internet Explorer 9 Mobile for Windows Phone 7 in action

Wondering how IE9 Mobile on windows Phone 7 looks like? Well, it hasn’t changed since we first saw it unveiled at Mobile World Congress last months. Below is a video of Joe Marini who was showing it to the public at SXSW last week. There’s isn’t much to see that we haven’t already seen before (and the video is totally out of focus). IE9 Mobile is still scheduled to be released as part of the Mango update coming out later this year. Video after the break (and keep in mind that the UI you see is not finalized yet):

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Internet Explorer 9 launching today. IE9 Mobile to probably be shown again

I would like to remind you that the final version of Internet Explorer 9 is officially launching later today and that Microsoft is going to have a dedicated launch event in Austin Texas during SXSW which you can watch live here. Lot’s of members of the Windows Phone 7 team are also present there and if you are lucky enough you’ll even be able to see the IE9 Mobile (part of Mango) run on an actual device. Joe Marini , Principal Program Manager at Microsoft for the Web platform on Windows Phone, is running around with a Mango powered Windows Phone 7 handset:

Continue reading Internet Explorer 9 launching today. IE9 Mobile to probably be shown again →

Windows Phone 7 IE9 Mobile video demonstrations

Here are several videos from MWC showing Windows Phone 7′s IE9Mobile and HTML5 in action. The first one is a video of Joe Belifore demonstrating the same thing he showed on trage during the opening Keynote but with a working network connection so you will get to see the HTC 7 Trophy device streaming .mp4 video form the IMDB Panorama showcase website. But there’s catch..contrary to what Joe is claiming the video being streamed to the handset is NOT in HD. It’s in 848×480 and you can grab the file directly from here to check it out yourself. update: Just to be clear: Like I said in my Windows Phone 7 review, the current WP7 devices can playback 720P MP4 videos (similar to YouTube’s 720P content) without problem but it’s not “supported” by the OS and in the case of Joe’s demo it was was just a poorly compressed FWVGA video.

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More info on IE9 Mobile for Windows Phone 7

The IE Mobile team has just posted some more info on the recently announced Internet Explorer 9 version for Windows Phone 7 which is scheduled to be launched in the second half of the year as part of the Mango update. This definitely something I would have betted on given Microsoft history so I’m really happy to have been proven wrong in this case. Check the whole thing after the break:

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First Windows Phone 7 update to bring minor Browser improvements

You all probably by now that Microsoft is going to push out the first Windows Phone 7 update next month. But will it bring anything new to the browser? Well, from what I have gathered nothing really major is scheduled according the some of the IE Mobile Team comments on their blog. We can expect JavaScript improvements, more screen view port properties support but still no URL bar in landscape mode even though it’s present on devices with hardware keyboards like the LG Quantum and LG GW910.

Continue reading First Windows Phone 7 update to bring minor Browser improvements →

Windows Phone 7 vs Android Browser comparison on the Samsung Omnia 7 and Galaxy S

I’ve just shot a video comparing the browsing experience on Windows Phone 7 and Android with the Samsung Omnia 7 and Samsung Galaxy S running Android 2.2. I’m not really going to go into technical details here (I’ll leave this for my upcoming Windows Phone 7 review) but you will basically see how both OS’s perform when doing simple web browsing tasks. For my part I personally find Windows Phone 7 to be more user friendly and easier to use (I never really liked the fact that you always have to use the hardware menu button to access all the options on Android) but it still lacks some polish and complete landscape support (the UI is totally gone when you rotate your device..) Video after the break:

Continue reading Windows Phone 7 vs Android Browser comparison on the Samsung Omnia 7 and Galaxy S →

Don’t expect HTML5 support in Windows Phone 7 within the next 12 months

 

As you probably already noticed, HTML5 is the new buzzword this year. WebKit based browsers like the ones present on the new BlackBerry OS 6, iPhone and Android all support HTML5 which btw isn’t a finished standard yet. Windows Phone 7 for its part is still using a browser based on Internet Explorer 7 tech which obviously doesn’t have any kind of HTML5 support. Internet Explorer 9 is the version that will finally support it when it comes out in early 2011 (beta is expected in early September 2010) so we will have to wait until IE9 is “ported” to WP7 later in the year if all goes well in Redmond. One thing to keep in mind is that as I have reported a few months ago; IE Mobile will be  upgradable without a firmware update.

Continue reading Don’t expect HTML5 support in Windows Phone 7 within the next 12 months →

Video: Windows Phone 7 Beta Emulator ROM tour

I’ve just recorded an 9 minutes long video walktrough of the latest Windows Phone 7 Beta Emulator rom (6414) that was released on Monday in the Windows Phone 7 Beta SDK to show you how things look like now that we are getting closer to RTM. The first thing you will notice is how smooth things are compared to what was available before (it is like that on the protoypes too). You will notice that the browser (IE Mobile) is now super fast at loading pages and scrolling is now silky smooth (and there’s no checkerboard effect anymore). The rom also seems to be feature complete so we shouldn’t expect to see anything really new between now and the official launch in October. Contrary to the previous emulators there’s no more access to the task-manager and other “under the hood” features that were unlocked. The whole UI is a pleasure to use (especially on a real phone ;-) ) with only a few feature still missing (copy and paste, tethering etc…). Check it out after the break (it should be in HD quality once YouTube finishes to process it):

Continue reading Video: Windows Phone 7 Beta Emulator ROM tour →

Microsoft Benelux Windows Phone 7 keynote ang LG Panther action

Microsoft Benelux hosted a Windows Phone 7 event for its local MVPs in the Netherlands this week and talked about the latest development updates and had a couple of prototype to show off. The Video is in Dutch but you can pretty much guess what is being said based on the PowerPoint slides projected behind the speaker. The other piece of news is that Windows Phone 7 is supposedly launching in October-November (this confirms what MS VP Mich Mathews said during her introduction speech yesterday). Be sure to check the neat looking LG Panther GW910 action at the end of the video. The device (and the OS) is looking better than ever but IE Mobile still needs a bit of work IMO. Video after the break:

Continue reading Microsoft Benelux Windows Phone 7 keynote ang LG Panther action →

Windows Phone 7′s IE Mobile Browser will be upgradable without a firmware update

Here’s some intersting info that I’ve found in regards to the IE Mobile browser in Windows Phone 7. It’s a well known fact that IE Mobile isn’t the hottest thing available in the mobile world (WebKit based browsers will have more than 83% of the mobile market share once RIM ships its new version on upcoming BlackBerry handsets later this year & are all HTML5 compatible) and many upcoming users are fearing that Windows Phone 7′s version of IE Mobile which is based on the desktop version of IE7 (and some parts of IE8) won’t offer the same user experience as Safari Mobile on the iPhone or the Android browser. With IE9 looking really promising (thanks to the HTML5 support and Direct2D hardware accelerated rendering) it’s only logical to hope that this technology will find its way in Microsoft’s mobile platform and the good news is that the teams have build Windows Phone 7 in such a way that it’s will be easly upgradable without a full firmware update:

Q:Will the browser in Windows 7 get more updates more frequently than only with full firmware updates?

Hi Tom,

Yes, we are building in the ability to update the browser independently of firmware.

-joe

We are obviously not going to see IE9 technology in Windows Phone any time soon (the desktop version isn’t going to ship this year according to the latest rumors) but this just shows that Microsoft is now really serious about it and will have the ability to quickly add news features and fix bugs without having to deal with carriers and OEMs.

Source: IEMobileBlog

IE Mobile for Windows Phone 7 won’t include WebKit CSS prefix selector

The IE Mobile team announced yesterday that the latest version of the mobile browser included in Windows Phone 7  will support the  -webkit-text-size-adjustCSS selector to basically allow sites specifically designed for webkit browsers to render correctly on Windows Phone 7. Unfortunately for the boys in blue the vast majority of the feedback was negative (I suggest to read all the comments) and prompted the team to finally take this prefix out and post an explanation about the mistake today:

Yesterday, we posted a blog entry that detailed some upcoming JavaScript and CSS support enhancements that we are planning on making to the IE Mobile browser for Windows Phone 7. One of these changes, support for -webkit-text-size-adjust, stirred up a bit of controversy that caused us to stop and think further on the issue.

Our original intent in adding support for this WebKit-specific property was to make Web developers’ lives a bit easier by not having to add yet another vendor-prefixed CSS property to their pages to control how text was scaled. Even more specifically, we intuited that the most common use case for this property was to explicitly set it to “none” in order to tell the browser not to scale a particular section of text.

For example, if you have a picture in your page with an associated caption, you would use this property to prevent the browser from scaling the text, which would cause it to remain on a single line, reflecting the original intent of the designer, as in the following example:

After hearing the community’s feedback on this issue (and a couple of face-palms when we realized the broader implications of implementing other browser vendors’ CSS properties), we’ve decided that it’s best to only implement the -ms- prefixed version and not the -webkit- one.

We thank all of the passionate Web contributors who weighed in on the issue, and we’re looking forward to building a great mobile Web browser that all developers can develop for with clarity and certainty.

Best Regards,

Joe Marini
Principal Program Manager
Windows Phone

On the bright side; this shows that Microsoft is effectively listening to the developer community… :-/

Source: IE Mobile Blog here & here

HTC HD Mini unboxing video

Here’s a short unboxing video of the HTC HD Mini Windows Mobile 6.5.3 smartphone. Nothing really exciting I guess (it also looks like a pre-production unit/sample). You can check out my quick hands-on videos here and here (lockscreen & multi-touch in IE Mobile)

Source: Youtube

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 HD Mini’s new Lock Screen & Multi-Touch enabled IE Mobile video

Here’s a short video of the new Lock Screen featured on the HTC HD Mini and the new multi-touch enabled version of IE Mobile. The HD Mini seems to be running a slightly modified version of Windows Mobile 6.5.3 (notice there’s no big start button on the lower left…).

Mobile Browser test: HTC HD2 vs Acer neoTouch vs iPhone 3GS

SoloPalamari just posted a quick browser comparison between the HTC HD2 (Opera Mobile 9.7) , Acer neoTouch (IE Mobile 6) & iPhone 3GS (Safari). Unfotunitely the test doesn’t really mean much because the Opera Turbo mode was enabled on the HTC HD2 (page are compressed on Opera’s proxy server to boost download speed) & the browser cache wasn’t cleared on all the phones.

Source: SoloPalmari