SkyDrive Application for Windows Phone and iOS released

Microsoft has just released the official SkyDrive application for Windows Phone 7 and iOS today. As you most probably know the SkyDrive cloud storage service is already partially integrated in the Office hub in windows Phone but lacks a lot of features that should have been there in the first place like document deletion, folder creation etc. This new application now fixes this but one would hope the all these new functionlaities will be fully integrated in a future version of the OS  and won’t require the users to download an application especially on Microsoft’s own platform. The iOS versions is essentially identical to the WP7 one. Check out a video of it in action after the break:

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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.”

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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.

Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple

I almost never post about Apple related news but this time I though that it would a good opportunity to salute one of the most visionary entrepreneur and CEO that has ever made it. Apple is announcing today that,effective immediately, Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple and named Tim Cook at this function. There’s not much else to say here besides hoping that the man health isn’t in such a bad state. Full press release and Steve Jobs resignation letter after the break:

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Microsoft attempted to buy Motorola’s patents before Google

According to Om’s source Microsoft was in talks with Motorola to acquire its patent portfolio in an attempt to totally destroy Android. This could definitely be true given Motorola’s CEO speech last week when he publicly claimed that he was closely evaluating if Windows Phone was a viable ecosystem and that he was looking at a Nokia like partnership with Microsoft.

Today’s Google announcement really seems like a desperate move from the Mountain View search giant especially when you consider the price, $12.5B and the record breaking $2.5B break-up fee that Google would have to pay Motorola if the deal falls through. An other un-answered question is why didn’t Google simply license/buy Motorola’s patents instead of the whole company ?

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Google Acquires Motorola Mobility: Android won’t go down without a fight

Big news today folks: Google has just announced that they are going to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5B in cash (Google’s biggest acquisition to date). Sounds tasty right? Especially after Motorola’s CEO blatantly mislead everybody last week about his company’s plans to look into the Windows Phone platform as a viable ecosystem (or was he trying to get more $ out of the acquisition negotiation?). So what is this all about? Patents, patents and patents. As we have seen not long ago Google is desperately fighting a war that it probably can’t win against Microsoft, Apple et al because of its lack of patents so acquiring Moto is I guess for them, only one little solution to some of their Android problems. But people shouldn’t really over-estimate this move though. Motorola is already being sued by Microsoft and several other companies so this shows that even the handset’s manufacturer patent portfolio isn’t bullet proof. Interesting times ahead… What well other Android OEM’s think about this move? “2 turkeys don’t make an Eagle”.. right? Announcement after the break:

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Google defends itself against Microsoft: Still sounds childish

I’m starting to think that the folks in Mountain view really think that they live in a parallel universe. Google’s Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond has decided to post another letter attacking Microsoft following last night’s debacle. He either didn’t expect Microsoft to enter the ring or simply thought that it was ok to publicly talk trash about Apple, Oracle and Microsoft. The end result is unfortunately still the same:Google sounds like a whiny little brat and should seriously re-think it’s PR strategy.

Today’s letter claims that the Mountain View search giant didn’t fall for Microsoft evil trap when it was offered to jointly bid for Novell’s patent last year and that the DOJ’s decision to require the winning party to provided a license to the open source community is proof that the three companies are in it to kill the poor Android robot. Once again it didn’t take long for Microsoft PR team to reply here, here, here and here. Yesterday the patents in question were “bbogus” but today they are not ?

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Google accuses Microsoft, Apple and Oracle of anti-competitive attack against Android

Google apparently isn’t really fond of the competition in the mobile market (and everywhere else I guess) based on the missive against Microsoft, Apple and Oracle that the company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond posted today. I must admit this whole thing sounds really childish especially coming from a big company like Google. What’s even worst is that it’s factually wrong in some cases. First Google is apparently pissed off because the company lost the bid to win the Nortel’s patents a few weeks ago:

They’re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the “Rockstar” group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them

Sorry Google, but you played and you lost. Unless your 3.14 Billion bid for the patents was just for fun ? If the these patents are “bogus” why bid for them in the first place? Why not talk about the fact that you refused Microsoft’s offer to join the bid? Email proof here.

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HTML5 Performance: iOS5 vs Mango

Don’t you love meaningless comparisons? So the buzz earlier today was that, Oh My God, Apple has improved HTML5 rendering in Safari in iOS5 Beta apparently making it faster than the Windows Phone 7 Mango Beta (notice “Beta” word?). Amazing, right ? Who would have thought that Apple would improve it’s product ? (/sarcasm) Well, The Next Web decided to actually do some testing with a Samsung Focus pre-loaded with Mango (thanks again Microsoft) running the Seed reading test of the IE9 Mobile Test Drive site and found out that…it’s not entirely true…

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Microsoft releases iPhone iOS to Windows Phone 7 API mapping tool

Microsoft has just announced the availability of a new tool and resources aimed at iOS / iPhone developers who wish to port their applications to Windows Phone 7. The package consists of:

The package consists of:

- a NEW iPhone/iOS to Windows Phone 7 API mapping tool

With this tool, iPhone developers can grab their apps, pick out the iOS API calls, and quickly look up the equivalent classes, methods and notification events in WP7. A developer can search a given iOS API call and find the equivalent WP7 along with C# sample codes and API documentations for both platforms.

- a 90+ pages “Windows Phone 7 Guide for iPhone Application Developers” white paper, organized in 8 chapters, and growing
- a series of “developer stories” or should I say “PR videos” to promote the platform’s awesomeness

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Mobile platform surveys aren’t always that useful

Apccelerator and IDC have just released its Q2 Developer survey today showing that Windows Phone 7 is apparently a distant third in terms of mobile developer interest. But the whole thing is somewhat flawed because of one simple thing:

Appcelerator and IDC surveyed 2,760 Appcelerator Titanium developers from April 11-13 on perceptions surrounding mobile OS priorities, feature priorities, and mobile development plans in 2011.

The Appcelerator Titanium platform is only iOS and Android compatible. So if your survey panel is entirely composed of developers using an iOS/Android dev platform then your results are surely bound to be biased towards both OSes. There is one semi-interesting chart in there:

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PhotoSynth for iOS released. Coming to Windows Phone 7 in the future

Microsoft has just announced the availability of the official Photosynth application for Apple iOS devices and the future release of a Windows Phone 7 version. Many have noticed lately that Microsoft Bing’s iOS application offers a lot more features than what is currently available on Windows Phone 7. Unfortunately Microsoft didn’t unveil any thing related to an updated Bing offering on WP7 Mango during MIX11 last week but there’s still hope that the company will surprise us in the coming months (we could clearly see during the keynote that image search is now supported).

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Windows Phone to be second smartphone OS in 2015

Similar to last week’s IDC prediction Gartner is now also predicting that Windows Phone will be the second smartphone OS in terms of marketshare behind Android in 2015. This bold claim is essential based on the same assumption that because Nokia is dumping Symbian in favor of Windows Phone 7 (and future versions of Windows Phone) then Microsoft’s mobile OS will get a gigantic boost in consumer adoption in the coming years. Apple’s  iOS will, according to the same predictions, be third with a marketshare comparable to what it currently has.

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Microsoft OneNote for iPhone released

In a relatively surprising move Microsoft has just announced the release of OneNote for iPhone and iPod Touch today (free for a limited time and only in the US). One has to wonder if the company is run my sane people or not. Just in case you didn’t know yet, OneNote is one of the key selling feature of Windows Phone 7 (part oft he Office Hub) and lets users create OneNote notebooks which can include text,voice or images and be directly synced to their SkyDrive cloud storage (or shares via mail). Well, there’s no need to have a Windows Phone 7 device to experience this because this is what today’s iPhone version does too. This is obviously Microsoft’s way to compete against highly successful applications like Evernote and other note taking apps out there  but this new iPhone version seems to be more feature rich than the WP7 version too. So let me recapitulate the whole situation here: The iPhone Bing application is miles ahead of the current Bing  and Bing Maps implementation in Windows Phone 7, the official Messenger client on the iPhone is also miles ahead of the not so official and abyssal Messenger client available on WP7 and now OneNote is out on IOS to. Office Mobile for the iPhone is the next step I guess.

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Windows Phone 7 Exchange ActiveSync client features support compared to all other mobile platforms

Microsoft MVP Henrik Walther has produced a fairly extensive table comparing the Current Exchange Active Sync features supported in Windows Phone 7 compared to all the other major mobile platforms. Namely: Android 2.2, Apple iPhone and iPad iOS 4, Nokia’s MFE, Palm WebOS and a few others. As of today Windows Phone 7′s Exchange ActiveSync client supports fewer features than Apple iOS 4 and is still far behind Windows Mobile 6.1 and 6.5. Microsoft has already stated that the initial version of the OS was principally aimed at the consumer market and that future updates should bring more enterprise oriented features to the table. Check out the whole table after the break:

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Windows Phone 7 Xbox Live vs Apple’s Game Center on iOS

Here’s a really nice comparative look at the Xbox Live integration on Windows Phone 7 vs Apple’s newly launched Game Center on its iOS devices (iPhone 3GS/4 and iPads). It’s fairly long (3 parts) and detailed, filled with info about the history of both services and all the features currently supported on both platforms. I highly recommend that you check it out especially if you plan on getting a Windows Phone 7 handset in a few weeks or if you already own an Game Center compatible iOS device. The fact that both services are launching nearly at the same time make it seem like Apple it reacting to Microsoft’s offering  but I definitely see  Game Center as a natural evolution of the iOS platform and ecosystem more than a counter of Xbox Live. Both platform obviously have their strengths and it will be interesting to see if Microsoft’s experience in PC gaming and Console Market will help the software giant in its battle against an already well established mobile platform like iOS. From the looks of it (the Game Center launch wasn’t a ground breaking success, thanks to the lack of games support) Microsoft has a chance to show what it is capable of doing. You can start with Part 1 here and continue with part 2 and 3.

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Apple iPhone 4 announced

That’s right folks. You’ve already seen it before but it’s not official. Steve Jobs has just announced the iPhone 4. More to come….(image courtesy of Engadget). The device is only 9.3mm thick and features a super high resolution 3.5″ display composed of 326 pixels per inch… 960×640, 800:1 contrast and IPS panel. The iPhone 4 features the Apple A4 SoC found in the iPad and will feature up to 32gb of storage. The device also has a 5Mpix camera with backlit sensor and LED flash and is capableof shotting 720P videos at 30fps. THe other new features a the inclusion of a 3-axis Gyroscope.

iPhone OS 4 has now been renamed iOS 4. iOS is now a platform just like OSX. Many new iOS based deviecees will probably come out of Apple in the coming years (devices other than Tablets and Phones..). Bing is now a search engine option alongside Yahoo and Google (still default). The iPhone will also featur video chat but only through Wifi. It will be available in Black & White for $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB launching June 2′th (pre-orders start June 15th)

That’s for now. Will post my thoughts later tonight.