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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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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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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Microsoft Bing Maps Streeside view coming to France, UK, Germany and Spain

It is well known fact that the current iteration of Bing Maps is several lacking in terms of content outside of the US. The POI database is either out of date or really small depending on the country and many of the must-have features like StreetSide view (known as StreeView in Google Maps) and real-time Traffic are non-existent. Thankfully Microsoft with the help of Nokia’s Navteq is hard at work right now and has just launched a couple of cars in the UK to start collecting pictures and GEO data info to expand the StreeSide database:

Microsoft has already collected imagery in 56 US metro areas as well as in selected areas in Canada. In April 2011, Microsoft will begin collecting street level imagery in Europe, starting in the UK with France, Germany and Spain following soon after.

We primarily drive public roads with our initial focus on streets with businesses and points of public interest. At times, we may drive residential areas as well. As we continue to grow our street level coverage, we’ll share our plans to expand collection areas.

As of right now this feature is only available on the desktop version of Bing Maps and not in the Windows Phone 7 (the iPhone version of the Bing app does have StreeSlide though..) but one can only hope that Microsoft is currently working on implementing it on their own mobile OS and hopefully show case it during today’s MIX11 keynote.

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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 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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Microsoft’s upcoming Bing Maps Street Slide view and 3D navigation in Photosynth

If you have used Microsoft’s Bing Maps lately you are probably familiar with the Street Side feature that enables you to navigate in first person view through the street of many US cities (similar to Google’s Street View). Microsoft Research isn’t totally happy about the user experience, especially the way the users has to jump from one bubble to another when trying to navigate through a city and is now currently working on a new technology called Street Slide:

Systems such as Google Street View and Bing Maps Streetside enable users to virtually visit cities by navigating between immersive 360° panoramas, or bubbles. The discrete moves from bubble to bubble enabled in these systems do not provide a good visual sense of  a larger aggregate such as a whole city block. Multi-perspective “strip” panoramas can provide a visual summary of a city street but lack the full realism of immersive panoramas.

We present Street Slide, which combines the best aspects of the immersive nature of bubbles with the overview provided by multi-perspective strip panoramas. We demonstrate a seamless transition between bubbles and multi-perspective panoramas. We also present a dynamic construction of the panoramas which overcomes many of the limitations of previous systems. As the user slides sideways, the multi-perspective panorama is constructed and rendered dynamically to simulate either a perspective or hyper-perspective view. This provides a strong sense of parallax, which adds to the immersion. We call this form of sliding sideways while looking at a street facade a street slide. Finally we integrate annotations and a mini-map within the user interface to provide geographic information as well additional affordances for navigation. We demonstrate our Street Slide system on a series of intersecting streets in an urban setting. We report the results of a user study, which shows that visual searching is greatly enhanced with the Street Slide interface over existing systems from Google and Bing.

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Coding for the iPhone vs Windows Phone 7

Microsoft MVP Don Burnette has wrapped a  presentation comparing the iPhone coding experience versus the Windows Phone 7 development environment.

My thoughts on iPhone coding a master-detail set of two views on iPhone versus Windows Phone 7 and why the designer-developer story is better with the Microsoft toolset thanks to Expression Blend and the C# language.. This is just an opinion piece, but realize I am not a newbie at either platform. I was using Interface Builder on NeXT boxes in 1993-1994 and unfortunately in my opinion not enough has changed, to put real design into the hands of the iPhone coder..

Check out the full presentation below:

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Proof that Microsoft is asking iPhone developers to develop for Windows Phone 7

It has long been know that Microsoft has been actively seeking developer support for the upcoming Windows Phone 7 platform. Some websites have started rumors that the Redmond company was throwing loads of cash all over the place hoping that some of the developer will accept the offer but this was later denied by company who clearly stated that they are indeed looking at offering iPhone devs the opportunity to build WP7 apps but that their is no outright cash offer involved. Today we finally have a solid proof that confirms Microsoft’s claims: iOS developer Oliver Drobnik has decided to publish the email received from Microsoft yesterday as you can see in the picture below:

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New HTML5 YouTube Mobile site launched

The Google team has updated the mobile version of YouTube today with a new m.youtube.com site featuring an HTML5 enabled interface. Contrary to the majority I not going to hype this thing up as if it was the second coming of the Christ just because it uses HTML5 for the UI and because if bypasses Apple‘s stupid “3G = Crappy quality video” restriction in the native YouTube application. You heard that right folks! Everybody’s going gaga over this thing because the iPhone can now playback good quality YouTube videos over 3G…just like Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian phones with their native YouTube application…meh. The new UI is a nice touch but nothing mind blowing at all (and MS is screwed once again here because of the lack of HTML5 support in IE Mobile)…And just to be clear, the video aren’t in HTML5, only the UI. Check the video demo after the break:

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Android 2.2 vs iPhone 4: Browser performance

I’m going to spoil the surprise let you know straight up that the Nexus One is indeed faster than the iPhone 4 at loading web pages according to a quick comparison done by Engadget. The only time the iPhone 4 loaded faster was when the Flash 10.1 plugin was enabled on the Nexus One. Either way the difference bin speed between the two handsets is marginal at best and doesn’t affect the user experience at all IMO. Check out both video after the break:

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iPhone 4 Noise cancellation test

Tired of all the Retina display vs Super AMOLED comparisons? Well, here’s  something we haven’t seen..heard before: a quick look at the iPhone 4 noise cancellation capabilities. Similar to the HTC Touch Pro2 and Google Nexus One,the iPhone 4 features dual microphone for noise cancellation. So does it work or is it just a gimmick? Check out Pocketnow’s test after the break:

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Nice iPhone 4 first impressions video

Brandon at Pocketnow has just posted a cool first impressions video of the iPhone 4. I won’t get my hands on one until next month so It’s nice to hear what other’s think about it (sites other than Engadget, Giz etc…you know what I mean..) especially when you take into account that Brandon waited 11 hours to get it (!). You will see him give you a hardware tour of the device and also some quick size comparison vs the HTC HD2, Nexus One.. Check it out below:

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