Windows Phone 7.8 update rollout started for Nokia handsets but others can also update now manually

Nokia has just started its Windows Phone 7.8 update roll out today for the Lumia 900, Lumia 800, 710, 610 and 510. Other manufacturers have yet to announced any date but as it’s usually the case you can already update your trusty Samsung, HTC, LG E900 or even Dell Venue Pro right now if you aren’t afraid to do it all by yourself. To do so simply follow the instructions below and grab the correct packages after the break:

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LG E906 spotted in the wild

Based on the pictures in this post the LG E906 which was certified back in May is nothing more than an Mango running, Jill Sander branded LG Optimus 7 with a new external design. The chip S.O.C rom version even seems to indicate that it’s powered by the same old QSD8250 SOC. So nothing much to be excited about folks. More picture after the break:

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Windows Phone 7 device firmware updates being rolled out for Omnia 7, Optimus 7 and others

Several Windows Phone devices have firmware updates now available to instal when the handset is plugged in the the PC. Keep in mind that these will only update the firmware part and not the OS itself. As of right now several models are part of the roll out: the Samsung Omnia 7, HTC Mozart, LG Optimus 7. There nothing to really get excited about here folks and in the case of the Omnia 7 this update doesn’t included the latest bootloader available for the device which can be manually installed here (but it does include the disable capacitive hardware buttons when the screen is touched). As a matter of fact I didn’t even get the update notification at all.

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Super AMOLED color banding issue: Microsoft could partially fix it

I just did some more testing and am fairly sure now that everything is rendered at 16bit throughout the OS in Windows Phone 7 (similar to WM5/6). The picture you see above shows the image found in this news posted rendered in the Android browser on the Galaxy S (left) and IE Mobile on the Samsung Omnia 7 (right). Keep in mind that both devices have exactly the same Super AMOLED panel. What is evident here is that dithering is applied to the pictures on Android. All you have to do is move the page around on the Galaxy S to see that it’s activated (the color dithering) when the page is standing still but when you scroll or pan the images will look identical to the ones rendered on the Omnia 7 in IE Mobile. So what I did next is save this particular image and then open it in the picture’s browser where I know that dithering is applied once you start zooming in:

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LG Optimus 7 dissassembled tear down pictures

As you have probably already seen my Windows Phone 7 performance comparison videos (here and here) the LG Optimus 7 is always the fastest devices to finish loading applications when compared to the other handsets like the Omnia 7 and HTC 7 Trophy because LG is using eMMC NAND memory chips which are faster than the regular Micro-SD cards found in the other devices. This is nothing really new given that this information was provided by LG in the product’s hardware specifications sheet (and reported in my WP7 devices specifications chart more than a month ago) but thanks to wm.andrew.wilson over at xda-devs we can now have look at what’s inside the beast:

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LG Optimus 7 Software Tour

Here’s a short software tour of the LG Optimus 7  Windows Phone 7 device. I’ve already shown you the ScanSearch and Panorama application in action last week so you should already be familiar with what’s on the device. You can also check out the screen comparison videos here and here  and also the performance videos here and here. As with all the WP7 devices currently on the market, the Optimus 7 doesn’t disappoint in terms of overall performance and LG really did a great job differentiating it’s WP7 offerings with some pretty good exclusive applications. Video after the break:

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LCD vs Super AMOLED on the Samsung Omnia 7 vs HTC 7 Trophy and LG Optimus 7

I’ve just shot another video of color banding issue on the Samsung Omnia 7′s Super AMOLED versus the HTC 7 Trophy and LG Optimus 7. Unfortunately videos or pictures can’t really reproduce the real experience, but believe when I tell you that the HTC 7 Trophy LCD screen has some pretty good colors compared to the other two devices (btw, they where all set to high brightness). I’m not 100% sure but the Trophy’s screen seems to be a regular TFT LCD panel and not an SLCD like previously announced (we have already seen HTC shipping both, and that sucks big time IMO. Sending reviewers like me devices with inferior screens is kinda stupid too…). Anyway, check out the video after the break:

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Samsung Omnia 7 vs HTC 7 Trophy vs LG Optimus 7 performance comparison

Here’s my second Window Phone 7 loading performance comparison video this time featuring the HTC 7 Trophy alongside the Samsung Omnia 7 and LG Optimus 7.  The Optimus 7 was the fastest, just like in the first video, followed bythe Samsung Omnia 7 and finally the HTC 7 Trophy came out last. Nothing really amazing here and the slightly slower loading performance on the Trophy isn’t really going to mess up the whole user experience. Everything else is identical on the three phones but let me know if you want to see anything else. Video after the break:

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Super AMOLED vs LCD outdoors visibility comparison: Omnia 7 vs Optimus 7 vs HTC HD2 vs Galaxy S

Here’s  a follow up to my previous Super AMOLED vs LCD comparison (and here) this time comparing the outdoors visibility of both screen technologies on the Samsung Omnia 7 and Galaxy S for the Super AMOLED and the LG Optimus 7 and HTC HD2 for the TFT LCD. There are lots of pictures (after the break) and all where shot with the brightness set to the same settings on all devices (some are  shot with it set to auto and others to full brightness) so it’s a really an apple to apple comparison. As you will see the Super AMOLED is just a tiny bit better that the LCD on the Optimus 7 (the difference is more noticeable in real life thought) but the HD2 is just a giant mirror compare to the other devices (the HTC HD7 has exactly the same screen btw):

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LG Optimus 7 Hardware Tour

You all probably already the know how the the LG Optimus 7 looks like by now so here’s my hardware tour video of the device. Build quality is really great and even better than what I had thought after the short hands-on sessions I hand with it earlier. The only problem I have with it is the power button which is impossible to operate without using my fingernail. For the full specs just check my Windows Phone 7 hardware comparison chart. Video and pictures after the break:

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LG Optimus 7 Scansearch Augmented Reality application Demo

Here’s one more LG Optimus 7 video, this time it’s a brief demo of the Scansearch Augmented Reality application found on LG’s Windows Phone 7 devices like the Optimus 7 and Optimus 7 Q/Quantum. You’ve already seen it more than a month ago in my Optimus 7 hands-on preview but I decided to shoot another one again. to talk about some I discovered while plying with the LG GW910 prototype. What’s interesting here isthe fact that this app (on the Optimus 7) seems to be  a trimmed down version of the realapplication (which is also availalbe on the iPhone). Sounds weird right? Well check out the pictures after the break:

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LG Optimus 7 Panorama Camera application demo

Here’s a short video I shot earlier today to show you how LG’s Panorama application works on the LG Optimus 7 (and LG Quantum) Windows Phone 7 devices. As you will see it actually use the built-in compass and accelerometer to guide you to the right direction and then automatically takes the shots. The picture is then stitched on the fly and will appear in your camera roll. The app is available for free via the LG section in the Marketplace. Once it’s installed it can be accessed directly from the phone’s camera menu (same for Scansearch) so you don’t necessarily have to pin it on your start screen. Video and picture after the break:

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Super AMOLED vs LCD on the Samsung Omnia 7 and LG Optimus 7

Here’s short video update to my previous post about the color banding issue on Super AMOLED screens. Nothing really new here but I just wanted to show you how it looks like in “motion” just in case somebody thought that I doctored the pictures I posted two days ago. The issue here is the RGBG (Red Green Blue Green) PenTile Sub-Pixel arrangement coupled with the insanely high contrast on the Samsung Super-AMOLED panel. To be perfectly clear: according to Samsung’s specs the Super-AMOLED screens are 24bit panels (don’t know about the RGB TFT LCD on the LG but I guess that’s it’s just a 18bit panel that does 24bit with dithering) but I don’t know if Windows Phone 7is being rendered in 16bit or 32bit. If it’s the former, then moving to 32bit could partially fix the problem but Samsung can also do some adjustments to diminish the issue too. video after the break:

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Samsung Omnia 7 vs LG Optimus 7 Performance Comparison

 

I’ve just shot this video show how Windows Phone 7 performs on the Samsung Omnia 7 and LG Optimus 7. The verdict: Exactly the same!. This is pretty amazing when you think about it. We have to hardware devices build by two different manufacturers and they have exactly the same performance running the same tasks. Sure they may have the same hardware specifications but keep in mind that they are probably using different memory modules (we know that LG is using 16GB of eMMC for the storage and that the Omnia has double the ROM (1GB)) and several other small differences. This just goes to show that Microsoft’s decision to control the whole platform was the best thing they could do. Hit the break to watch the video:

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The problem with Super AMOLED screens: Nasty color banding

Samsung’s Super AMOLED screen panel is gorgeous, especially when displaying  Windows Phone 7′s Metro UI (with the drak theme) unfortunately there are several ugly drawbacks. First, you have to live with fuzzy text because of the PenTile Matrix Sub-pixel arrangement. Secondly, you will witness sever color banding, thanks in parts to the same PenTile Matrix (it is RGBG compared to a regular RGB lcd…) and also to the extremely vibrant and high color contrast of the screen. I took two photos to show you how ugly it can look like on the Samsung Omnia 7 vs the regular TFT LCD screen of the LG Optimus 7. This is really a problem especially for developers who now have to pay close attention to the assets they are using when building their applications. I’m not entirely sure if the OS is currently running at 32bit color depth but if I had to guess I would say that it is probably set at 16bit (could be wrong thought). Moving up to 32bit could potentially diminish the problem a bit on Samsung’s AMOLED screens. Samsung can also tweak the amplitude of the modulation of the sub-pixels to reduce the problem. One more picture after the break:

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Samsung Omnia 7 vs LG Optimus 7 camera comparison

I just shot 2 similar HD videos with the LG Optmius 7 and Samsung Omnia 7 to compare both devices’ camera on this cold and cloudy day. So what is the verdict? Well the Omnia 7 is the clear winner thanks to the vastly superior clarity and continuous auto-focus feature. On the other hand you will also notice that the Optimus 7 video issmoother even-thought both videos are endoded at 24fps. The Omnia 7 seems to have some weird issue causing this problem. It is either related to the white-balance system or the shutter speed is set too high by Samsung. An other odd issue on the Omnia 7 is that the viewfinder runs at 4fps when shooting HD video (it’s perfectly smooth on the LG Optimus 7).Check out the video and photos after the break:

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The LG Optimus 7 is here

LG just handed me an Optimus 7 device for review so if you have any questions or requests just post a comment below,via email or twitter @MobileTechWorld. I should also receive an HTC 7 Trophy today courtesy of HTC so I’m will be able to do some interesting 3-way comparisons with the Samsung Omnia 7 before posting the full reviews (and also my gigantic Windows Phone 7 review too).

All Windows Phone 7 devices hardware specifications in one place

I have just finished compiling this huge excel table containing all of the hardware specifications of the currently announced Windows Phone 7 devices. So if you are looking to compare one device to an other just check out the image below (click on it) and make your choice. I will regularly update it once I have more information (especially for the Dell Venue Pro). So there you have it: Samsung Omnia 7, Samsung Focus, HTC HD7, HTC 7 Mozart, HTC Surround, HTC 7 Trophy, HTC 7 Pro, LG Optimus 7, LG Optimus 7 Q / Quantum and finally the Dell Venue Pro. Click on the image after the beak (you can also right click and save it):
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One more LG Optimus 7 and Optimus Q advertising video

I’m guessing that this promo video is a a better fit for the European market compared the previous ones which looked more like Asia-centric ads. I wonder if OEMs will also have their own TV spots or if everything will be handled by the carriers. Anyway, watch the LG Optimus 7 and Optimus 7Q in action after the break:

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