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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Windows Phone 8 Samsung ATIV Odyssey for Verizon announced

Verizon just followed Sprint today with the announcement of a new mid-range Windows Phone 8 from Samsung. The Samsung ATIV Odyssey appears to be nearly identical to the Nokia Lumia 822 (it has the same SoC, same WVGA S-AMOLED panel, Micro-SD expansion slot etc..) so if you are still found of the 1st generation Samsung Focus design this one might be for you. The ATIV Odyssey will be Verizon’s third WP8 offering next to the HTC Windows Phone 8X & Nokia Lumia 822 and should be released in the coming weeks. This will also be Samsung’s first WP8 handset in the US (the ATIV S isn’t available on any carrier and can only be bought unlocked).

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Sprint finally announces its first Windows Phone 8 phones from HTC and Samsung coming this summer

Sprint has finally jumped into the Windows Phone 8 bandwagon today with the announcement two unnamed Windows Phone 8 handsets (one from HTC and one from Samsung) coming the yellow carrier this summer. This may sound a bit vague given that summer is still 5+ months away but don’t be surprised if these two handsets are “updated” version of the 8X and ATIV S. Mobile Word Congress is probably when we are going to learn more of the hardware so I’ll just leave you with the press release in hopes that this whole endeavor fares better than the poor fate of the HTC Arrive..

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Samsung ATIV S Hands On

I finally had the chance to handle the first ever Windows Phone 8 handset announced which is also the one that nobody ever saw in the flesh since its first unveiling back in the summer: the Samsung ATIV S. As you probably all already know the ATIV S for the most part the Windows Phone 8 variant of the Samsung Galaxy S3 with a fresh new design and what looks like a slightly better screen. I admit that I’m definitely not sure of this but the 4.8″ 720P Supper AMOLED panel doesn’t seem to have the same PenTile sub-pixel array as the S3 and is closer to the one found on the new Galaxy Note 2. The screen really has the best viewing angles of any phone I have ever handled but as its usual the case with Samsung the color calibration seems to be totally off.

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Samsung ATIV S hands on video

GSMArena has accidentally posted a short hands on video of the first Windows Phone 8 handset announced; the Samsung ATIV S. The video is now private but a lower-resolution copy of it it already up on YouTube which you can watch after the break. There isn’t much news in it besides a short demo of Windows Phone 8‘s Kid’s Corner feature which will allow users to setup up specific features, content (games, videos, music, pictures) to be accessible by children. Once the whole thing is activated the phone will have to lock-screens: the regular one which should be password protected and a second one accessible by a finger swipe to the left.

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Samsung ATIV S Specifications

In case you are wondering what are the exact hardware specs of the Samsung ATIV S just head over to the break to check out what’s inside the first Windows Phone 8 handset to be announced. Remember that this is probably the European version because of the HSPAS+ only support so you can expect an US LTE model to be announced relatively shortly. Also note the the supported codecs list which is interesting if true..

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Samsung ATIV S Windows Phone 8 announced

Samsung is officially the first out of the gate with it’s Windows Phone 8 handset announcement today at IFA in Berlin.  The Samsung ATIV S (also known as the SGH-T899) is the first Windows Phone 8 phone to be publicly unveiled and sure enough it doesn’t disappointed as this is essentially the WP8 version of the current best Android handsets, the Galaxy SII. The hardware is for the most part identical to the US LTE variant of the SII so you will find a gigantic 4.8″ HD Super AMOLED (720P) display powered by a Qualcomm S4 Plus SOC clocked at 1.5Ghz (with the Adreno 225 GPU), 1GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of internal memory, Micro-SD expansion Slot, NFC, an 8Mpix rear facing camera and a 1.9 FF cam. All in a 8.7mm thick package. Last but not least, the Samsung ATIV S will pack a relatively generous 2300Mha battery. Check out more pictures after the break:

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Samsung SGH-T899 Windows Phone 8 user agent spotted headed to T-Mobile

Not a whole lot of exciting things happening in the Windows Phone world lately given the imminent release of the Windows Phone 8 SDK which should take long (it has leaked just in case you missed it..) and the falls launch of the WP8 phones. The “officially” revealed Samsung Odyssey handset is apparently also named the Samsung SGH-T899 and headed to T-Mobile if the device’s user-agent is to be believed.

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Samsung Odyssey and Marco Windows Phone 8 handsets specifications leak

Samsung “officially” revealed the the Codename and Hardware specifications of its upcoming Windows Phone 8 devices in one of the court documents submitted in the the ongoing Apple courts cases last week given us a first glimpse at what we can expect to see later this year. The first device is codenamed the Samsung Odyssey and is apparently the company’s high-end model featuring a 4.65 HD Super AMOLED screen, NFC chip, 8M and 2M cameras powered by a Qualcomm SnapDragon S4 Plus MSM8960 SoC (with LTE, HSPA+ 21). The second handset is the lowered end Samsung Marco featuring a 43 WVGA Super AMOLED Super AMOLED screen, 4M + 2M camerasall powered by the same MSM8960 SoC. Both devices are expected to launch in Q4 2012.

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Windows Phone Tango roll out has started. Update your phone manually to build 7.10.8773.98

As promised last week by Nokia the Windows Phone 7 Tango (7.10.8773.98) worldwide update has started for the Nokia Lumia 800 and 710. What’s even better is that you owners of any other Windows Phone 7 device can also manually update their handset to the latest OS version thanks to the OS bits made available by Microsoft on Windows Phone update servers. So let me recap what is going on:

- If you are a Nokia Lumia 800 or 710 owner you can either wait for the update to show up in Zune or manually push the OS update to your phone followed by the OEM Firmware update (1750.0805.8773.12220).
- If you own a Nokia Lumia 900, HTC, Samsung, LG, ZTE handset your only option right now is to manually push the OS update to your handset and wait for the subsequent OEM Firmware to be pushed to your device via Zune later on.
Hit the break to get all the goodies.

–Updated with all Language Packs–

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Windows Phone 8 to launch this fall with only four OEMs: Nokia, HTC, Samsung and Huawei all powered by Qualcomm

What I have been predicting for more than a year has finally been confirmed today when Microsoft announced that all the future Windows Phone 8 handsets launching this fall will be powered by Qualcomm‘s SnapDragon S4 Plus / MSM8930 or MSM8960 SoC with the Adreno 225 or Adreno 305 GPU, which seems to once again be the only certified chipset partner for the platform. What is more surprising though is that only four OEMs are on board this time around: Nokia, HTC, Samsung and Huawei. The rest are ..well..nowhere to been seen and frankly we shouldn’t care given the total lack of creativity and effort that was demonstrated in the past. For more Windows Phone features info hit the link after the break.

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Samsung launches the Samsung Focus 2 Windows Phone with LTE support. World still wonders why

Still trying to figure out if there’s any logic behind Microsoft’s Windows Phone endeavor? Well, today’s launch of the Samsung Focus 2 isn’t going to make things clearer to the masses. The Samsung Focus 2 Windows Phone handset is launching on AT&T’s network in the US later this month on May 20th for the relatively interesting price of $49.99 with the 2year contract. Nice, right? Unfortunately not very much given that the Focus 2 is nothing more than a Samsung Focus / Omnia 7 with 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8055 + MDM9200 LTE modem instead of the older QSD8250. That’s right folks…nothing interesting to see here especially when you take into account that the Nokia Lumia 900 with its better hardware is priced exactly the same on the same network and with double the amount of on-board storage (16Gb on Lumia 900 vs 8Gb on the Focus 2).

Once again this doesn’t make much sense at all in this day and age when Windows Phone 8 is getting close to release and may or probably may not be offered as an update to the current Windows Phone 7 handsets on the market. The only good thing to come out if this announcement is the fact that it squashes the ridiculous rumors that have been flying around about a the Samsung Focus 2 being the Windows Phone variant of the Samsung Galaxy S III. Nothing to see here folks….

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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..).

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Qualcomm licenses Imagination Technologies PowerVR IP

File this under the: Strange but possible tag. Buried in Imagination Technologies interim financial results today is the following information:

Licensing

Strong licensing activities

  • Addition of several new key partners including MStar, Ricoh, Qualcomm, Rockchip
  • Many new and extended agreements with existing partners including Sony, Intel, Mediatek, Renesas, Samsung, Sigma, Realtek

This is as far I know the first mention of Qualcomm as a PowerVR IP licensee ever and really interesting given that the San Diego chip manufacturer currently develops its own GPU and graphics IP after its acquisition of ATI’s mobile division a few years ago. The timing would suggest that Qualcomm may have licensed the Rogue GPU IP but until we have more detail we can only speculate at this point. If that was the case then I wouldn’t expect to see any PowerVR tech in QC’s SoC until after the Krait generation of chips (unless the licensing deal is nothing more that patents stuff after all).

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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?

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Samsung licenses Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX MP GPU for future Mobile SoC

Samsung’s jump to ARM’s Mali GPUs didn’t last long and will surely make some people (at ARM) a wee bit disappointed. Imagination Technologies have just announced that the Korean mobile giant has licensed their PowerVR SGX MP GPU IP for integration in upcoming mobile and consumer products. As you probably already know Samsung’s latest SoC (Exynos 42XX) used in its high-end smartphones uses a Mali 400 GPU unlike its previous once (the Hummingbird for example) that packed the venerable Power VR SGX540. The MP core IP licensed today is similar to what the PlayStation Vita will have and what Apple is also using in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.

This move may be related to Samsung wish to be a Windows 8 SoC provider because as of right now ARM’s current crop of GPUs (Mali) aren’t DirectX 9.3 compliant and lack support for DXTC texture compression (their upcoming T604 core should fix that but its debut is still unknown). full press release after the break:

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Microsoft hires Samsung VP to head Windows Phone product management

Microsoft has recently hired Gavin Kim who was formerly a VP at Samsung Mobile in charge of the company’s product portfolio and close collaborator of Samsung former Chief Technology Officer Omar Khan (the brain behind the Galaxy line of products). Kim was VP of Consumer & Enterprise Services and leading development of Samsung Mobile’s software and services offerings, incubating Samsung’s content and developer partnerships, and building Samsung Mobile’s Enterprise Business. Prior to working at Samsung Kim was Director of Product Operations at Motorola.

“I will be responsible to help set the future direction for the Windows Phone platform and to accelerate Microsoft’s trajectory to win the hearts and minds of consumers, carriers, device manufacturers, developers and partners,”[...]“In my experience, there is an already fervent base of Windows Phone supporters out there and they all get it. They are passionate, and already very vocal about it … so, it is really my new job to make sure we reflect that message clearly in our product and marketing collaborations with all of our partners to create more Windows Phone believers.”

Kim is going to be a great asset added to the Windows Phone team thanks to the close relationship with Samsung who is now supposedly going to be more involved in the development and marketing of the platform. Here’s what the Korean mobile company had to say:

“Gavin Kim has departed Samsung Mobile and we look forward to working with him in the future,” [...] “In his new capacity, he will continue to be part of the larger Samsung family through our partnership with Microsoft.”

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Enable Internet Sharing / Tethering on your Samsung Omnia 7 and Samsung Focus in one click

If you still haven’t managed to flash your Samsung Omnia 7 with the latest I8700XXKI4 firmware I posted a few days ago there’s seems to be a even easier way to enable Internet Sharing / Tethering on your device and the Samsung Focus too as long as it is developer unlocked courtesy of voluptuary:

1) First install the WP Dev Tools and unlock your Samsung phone.
2) Use the Application Deployment tool to send THIS to your phone. You do not need to run it and you can delete it after it has been deployed.
3) Install the Diagnosis app by typing ##634#
4) After the Diagnosis app starts type *#9908# and select ‘System Tweaks’ press ‘Save’ then ‘Close’ and restart your phone.
5) Your phone now has Internet sharing and as a bonus is interop unlocked!

Please try it out and let me know if it worked for you.


AT&T to allow Intrenet Sharing on Samsung Focus S and Focus Flash

..if you pay for this option in your data plan. In line with what was always communicated by Microsoft, Internet Sharing will be made available on the AT&T Samsung Focus S and Samsung Focus Flash as long as you have this payed option enabled on your monthly data plan. I’ve noticed a lot of confused people in the past few days because of the lack of tethering on the Nokia Lumia 800 review samples and would lik to remind them that it’s up to the carrier (and OEM if you by your phone unlocked) to enable the Wifi Hotspot / internet sharing feature in Windows Phone 7.5 Mango. T-Mobile just did this in Germany for the Samsung Omnia 7 (you can download the firmware from here) and HTC has it available on its unlocked HTC Radar and HTC Titan handsets in Europe.

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