More evidence of a Windows Mobile 7 update for the HTC HD2?

There has been a lot of hints pointing to a Windows Mobile 7 update for the HTC HD2 lately. Besides the specs of the device matching the WM7 Chassis, we found mentions of WM7 in the latest buid of HTC’s Sense (Manila) and HTC Russian unofficially “announced” a future update for the HD2 (retracted the next day).
This time the info comes straight from Microsoft’s Greg Sullivan, Senior Marketing Manager for the Windows Phone division. He said the following to BetaNews when talking about Windows Mobile 7:

“Our fragmentation issue is primarily around screen resolutions and assuming a minimum CPU and storage. So it has been a little bit challenging, because that choice, that flexibility, that freedom that people have to build any kind of device and use any kind of device: touch, non-touch, keyboard, soft key, has required a little bit extra effort in some cases for developers to target apps that run across a wide array of devices,” Sullivan said.

But the (HTC) HD2 is a great early example of our new approach…We’ve got capacitive and multi-touch support in a Windows Phone, and that’s because we did the platform work while working very closely with HTC to do the hardware/software integration.”
“So how are we having our cake and eating it too? We’re going to continue the horizontal market, but work very closely with our hardware partners to provide more guidance on the platform so we don’t have nine different display sizes that independent software vendors have to target…maybe just two…

“We’re going to continue investing in the user experience, and the legacy pocket PC 1999 UI that still kind of shows up if you drill down pretty deep? that’s another thing that’s changed.”

We’ve already heard several Softies talk about the WM7 Chassis before but it’s the first “confirmation” that the HTC HD2 is a WM7 Chassis 1 spec’d device…

Read the rest of the article here.

Source: Betanews

Robbie Bach talks Zune services and Windows Mobile

Microsoft’s Robbie Bach was once again quizzed about the future of Windows Mobile and Zune (along with Xbox) this time by the FinancialPost.

Here’s Bach talking about the new Windows Mobile 7 chassis we’ve all heard about:

Q Windows Mobile phones look nice, but you don’t have much control or influence over the hardware. Isn’t one of the reasons the iPhone is so successful is that Apple controls both the ecosystem and the hardware?

A You have a dichotomy: choice versus control. When you go out and look at the wall of PCs, part of what makes that wall of PCs is that the [manufacturers] have the freedom to create what they want to create and that choice is tremendously valuable to consumers. The reason it works in the PC space is because early on we did choose to exercise some management of what makes a PC, and there are standards that were developed – largely by us – but with some other people, and so Windows 7 works great on lots of devices. I will tell you if there’s a place where we haven’t done as good work is in the mobile space. We’ve been, in a way, too focused on how many devices we could have and not focused enough on making sure that the base quality of those devices is very strong. So one of the things we are working on with our [manufacturing] partners is ensuring that those experiences are consistent and work great and that the base line that you start with is always rock solid.

Continue reading Robbie Bach talks Zune services and Windows Mobile →

Windows Mobile to become a gaming platform, Xbox live is going mobile

Microsoft is finally planing to leverage their experience with the Xbox and bring it to the Windows Mobile platform according to two job ads I just found. Redmond is seeking a Developer Account Manager & Account Manager for Mobile Gaming :

We are seeking a technically savvy Developer Account Manager to own and drive the relationship with our top mobile entertainment development partners. You will work closely with our Business Account Management teams, Engineering support teams, Windows Mobile and Xbox LIVE platform teams as the advocate for your partners to drive solutions to their development needs. You can be a key part of making gaming on Windows Mobile a continued success!

Key responsibilities include working with game developers to provide proactive support and solutions their most challenging issues, and help to align the needs of Microsoft and our game development partners. You will help raise the bar of gaming on Windows Mobile, and help drive adoption of our unique platform features in our partner’s games. Travel to, and working with third party developers is core part of the job.

Qualified candidates will have a minimum of 2+ years experience working with third party game developers and previous experience shipping titles for Xbox LIVE and/or mobile platforms. Experience in one or more of the following areas is strongly preferred: Xbox LIVE, Windows Mobile, C#/Silverlight development.

As we have seen lately Microsoft is finally getting serious about Windows Mobile ( see here & here )and this is a move in the right direction. The Windows Mobile 7 chassis concept is going to be key to mobile developers as this will ensure that the application/games will be compatible/smooth across all Windows Mobile 7 devices. So now we have Microsoft, Apple, Nintendo & Sony competing in the mobile game market.

The second one:

That’s right – we’re looking for the best candidate to own several game publishing companies to secure the best video games for Xbox, Windows and Mobile gaming platforms. With an emphasis on Mobile. As the publisher’s primary point of contact, you will ultimately be responsible for all aspects of the Xbox, Windows and Mobile gaming business and relationship. It’s as close to playing games for a living you’re ever going to find! The 3PP (3rd Party) Account Manager will act as the day to day contact for publishers within Microsoft, and will leverage the resources available (developer support, marketing, LIVE, business development, subsidiary offices, etc) to ensure that the best possible games with the most comprehensive feature set (esp. LIVE support) are released. The job responsibilities also include fully understanding the publisher’s business models and how best to apply them to maximize return to both the publisher and Microsoft.

Key challenges: Directly/indirectly influence the publishers business; technical proficiency to evangelize various Xbox & Windows technologies; co-ordinate all aspects of the relationship with the publisher and orchestrate the different resources available within the Gaming division to win the publisher’s mind; balance the publisher’s business and goals whilst keeping the priorities of Microsoft firmly in mind.

Key Accountabilities: work with the publishers and developers to maximize sales and hence royalty revenues of 3rd party titles and keep those royalties growing year on year; evangelize Microsoft gaming initiatives, secure exclusive games for Xbox, Games for Windows, Mobile, or at least ship simultaneously with rival formats; encourage and promote publishers to support LIVE; leverage cross group collaboration within Microsoft to help support your publisher; maximize the publishers general satisfaction level from dealing with Microsoft; work closely with the portfolio team to ensure that a diverse range of software is available; evangelize your publisher internally to help ensure future design decisions (XDK, LIVE, Games for Windows, Mobile, business models, etc…) Knowledge, skills and experience:

Required: minimum of 8 years experience within PC, Mobile & console gaming/entertainment industry, excellent experience in supporting diverse external customers or partners, and strong business acumen.

Essential functional/technical skills: in-depth working knowledge of video game industry and history; experience of game design and production; basic technical knowledge of graphics, audio, and networking a plus.

Source: Microsoft here & here

Windows Mobile’s future discussed

IDG news got in touch with Microsoft’s senior vice president of Mobile Communication Business, Andy Lees to talk a bit about the future of Windows Mobile. The most interesting part of the interview is about the the Windows Mobile 7 chassis /reference designs being build by Microsoft and then submitted to OEMs/ODMs:

“Our goal is to enable maximum choice but in a way that adds an element of structure so that everybody can get on and do their own thing somewhat independently,” he told the IDG News Service during the CTIA conference in San Diego.

Reference designs define the way that various phone components work together so that hardware makers don’t have to develop that integration work themselves. “It offers them a higher baseline upon which they can innovate. It means it is significantly faster and cheaper for more innovations to come out to market from the OEMs,” Lees said.

In offering the reference designs, Microsoft hopes to replicate the development process used by PC manufacturers. Reference designs help PC manufacturers build to defined specifications yet give them enough room to differentiate their products, he said. Microsoft is hoping for the same environment in phones.

Lees would not describe specifics of what the designs might look like but said that the company would announce more details of its plan in the future.

This is what MS should have done a long time ago. OEMs/ODMs aren’t the only one to blame though, Microsoft didn’t really put any effort into modernizing Windows Mobile since WM5, so even though phone makers had some problems with display drivers, lack of ram (the WinCE 5.2 kernel has poor memory management) etc, having an OS that natively supports the latest hardware would have helped a lot (MS was relying on OEMs/ODMs to develop the majority of the new APIs and drivers). This will all change with Windows Mobile 7.

The other subject discussed is the Windows Marketplace for Mobile:

The store launched with 246 applications, a far cry from the 85,000 in the iPhone App Store and half the number the App Store launched with. There are also far fewer apps available in the store than the 18,000 that Microsoft often boasts are commercially available for Windows Mobile.

But the Marketplace only began accepting applications recently and more will come, Lees said.

Some of those will be applications that developers will port from the other competitive platforms, he said. “Most of the apps are written small and light and it’s very easy to transfer those between platforms,” he said. Developers will be encouraged to move their applications to Windows Mobile based on the size of the market, he said.

And finally:

The market should look forward to “a whole bunch more milestones coming out over the next 12 to 18 months,” he said. Microsoft is now setting the stage for success in the five to ten year period. “Microsoft has a good track record of stepping back and saying, ‘what will customers want in that stage,’” he said.

Read the whole thing here

Source: ComputerWorld thanks for the tip Marcus

Windows Mobile 7 slated for release in 2010, closer integration with OEMs


IT Pro got some quotes from Microsoft‘s business marketing manager, James McCarthy, talking a bit about Windows Mobile 7 and confirming that there are indeed different chassis (see the specs here) being worked on with OEMs:

“Steve Ballmer has mentioned publicly that Windows Mobile 7 is slated for release in 2010 and we’re always working with our key OEM and operator partners on future products, although we have nothing formal to announce for now.”

“In the future, we are looking to deepen our development work with a handful of key OEMs at the hardware design phase, with much more carefully defined hardware specifications to match software requirements, which in turn will deliver even more powerful mobile experiences for our customers.”

“This has led to this chassis’ concept that is familiar to the work Microsoft does with hardware partners in the PC industry to create high quality products.”

Well if they could hurry up a little bit…

Source: IT Pro

What is really Windows Mobile 7


Wishmaster89 submitted his thoughts on what he thinks WM7 is/or is going to be over at WMPoweruser. Here I will try to comment and give you some info and thoughts regarding this matter.

1) for now it is based on .NET CF 3.7 but in the end should run .NET CF 4

Giving WM7′s current time frame I doubt that it will support .NET CF 4 at release

2) It will support Windows Presentation Foundation

3) the whole OS should be rendered by a compositing window manager fully supporting openGL ES, probably 2.0

I can tell you that Microsoft is betting heavyly on Silverlight for mobile. SL 3 support is going to be the key here (there’s no need to support WPF given that SL 3 does nearly everything WPF does).
What is known is that WM7′s UI is Vector based to be totally resolution independent. This will enable developers to develop once for all phones (using MS’s latest release of Expression tools). As seen here Microsoft designers have been working on Silverlight for WM7. This will also enable Microsoft to push even harder the Widgets development (introduced in 6.5) now that Silverlight support out-of-the-browser applications.

4) openGL ES will be the main API used by OS

It’s true that Microsoft dropped Direct3D support from Windows Mobile 7 (and that’s a good thing giving how bad it was). But never underestimated MS’s ability to turn something that’s supposed to be simple (only supporting one GFX API) into a mess (trying to re-introduce Direct3D later on). As I posted here MS is looking for a lead developer to build a “general-purpose graphics platform for mobile phones”

5) it will have integrated Zune Player similar to the one from Zune HD

It will..

6) it will have full support for multi touch

That’s more than 100% sure :) . Even 6.5 may have multi-touch support with HTC’s upcoming capacitive WinMo phones.

7) MyPhone will be improved and will tie all live services into one allowing remote management of device and many more

Cloud services are supposed to be one of Windows Mobile’s key feature in the future. Myphone will first have a boost in storage space (from the current 200Mb to 5GB) and the 2.0 version is supposed to run on Live Mesh. Now givin’ that Live Mesh is still a bit far from ready for prime time (and Robie Bach saying @ the Analyst Financial Day that features are not going to come to WM all at once but evolve in time), I’m not sure if WM7 will ship with the live mesh enabled Myphone and other cloud services (like the augmented reality enabled Live Search)

1) Windows CE 7 as the core

Givin’ the current time frame, I wouldn’t be surprised if it supports CE 7. But It will probably be Windows CE 6.

2) Consistent UI for the whole OS and the 3rd party applications

Silverlight should help here, but like on WM 6.X nothing is going to stop devs or OEMs to develope UI’s etc using OGL (like TouchFlo 3D)

3) Full SDK that would allow developers to easily write apps for every type of device

Microsoft’s Expression tools is going to rock for devs :)

6) Full Flash GPU acceleration for smooth web browsing

You know that SnapDragon is here to save us ;-) and we shall see how is goes on the ZuneHD

Here are the Windows Mobile 7 Chassis 1 specifications:

WM7 Chassis 1 Specification

Core requirements:
Processor: ARM v6+, L2 Cache, VFP, Open GL ES 2.0 graphics HW (QCOM 8k, Nvidia “Tegra” AP15/16* and TI 3430 all meet spec)
Memory: 256MB+ DRAM, 1G+ Flash (at least 512MB fast flash – 5MB/s unbuffered read @4K block size)
Display: WVGA (800×480) or FWVGA (854×480) 3.5” or greater diagonal
Touch: Multi-touch required
Battery: Sufficient to meet Days of Use LTK requirements.
Controls: Start, Back, Send and End are required (soft controls allowed as long as they are always present).

Camera: 3MP+, flash optional, 2nd camera optional (VGA resolution sufficient)
GPS: aGPS required
Sensors required: Light Sensor, Compass (3 axis, 5 degrees, 100 Hz sample rate), Accelerometer (3 axis, 2mg resolution, 100 Hz sample rate)
USB: High speed required, 20 MB/s transfer rate.
BlueTooth: BT2.1 required, must run MSFT BT stack, CSR BlueCore6 or later recommended.
Wi-Fi: 802.11B/G required, must run MSFT Native Wi-Fi stack, Atheros 6002 or Broadcomm 4325 recommended.
Connectors: Micro USB and 3.5mm Audio required.

FM tuner: If tuner HW is present it will be detected and supported by the Media application.
SD Card (Micro SD recommended)
DPAD, qwerty or 12/20 key keyboards all optional

That is all..for now

Anybody wants to comment? feel free to do it.