The Asus E600 Windows Phone 7 passed the FCC more than 6 months ago

The Asus E600 Windows Phone 7 prototype developer handsets actually passed the FCC more than 6 months ago according to the documents currently availalbe on the FCC’s website. As I told you a couple of months ago, the E600 isn’t intended to be a retail product but is used as a test and developement device by Microsoft. You can check out one of the only videos we have of this device here (or you can just watch some of the PDC10 sessions where the Asus E600 was used to do the OS).

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ChevronWP7 unlocker discounted after discussion with Microsoft

Well, that was quick… The guys behind the ChevronWP7 “unlocker” have officially pulled and discounted the application less than a week after its release. According to their latest blog post they’ve got contacted by Microsoft’s Brandon Watson and decided to take it down after Microsoft’s agreed to engage in further discussions about officially facilitating homebrew development on Windows Phone 7. This is good news and shows that Microsoft knows how to be persuasive… Let’s hope that these discussions turn into some thing real and concrete soon.

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Acer working on Window Phone 7 devices

It has long been known that Acer would one day come out with a Windows Phone 7 device but unfortunately nothing has materialized since the initial announcement back in February. Even before Windows Phone 7 was unveiled Acer was working on being a launch partner but given their recent focus on Android (and Microsoft’s switch from Windows Mobile 7 / Photon to Windows Phone 7) the company kept us in the shadows regarding their plans in the smartphone market. Today’s interview with Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci sheds some light on the company’s mobile future and their upcoming Windows Phone 7 products:

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Visual Basic for Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools RTW released

Microsoft has just announced the release of theVisual Basic for Windows Phone 7 developer Tools RTW alongside a small sample application to give developers a sense of what things look like when developing in VB for WP7. This release enables developers to code silverlight applications for Windows Phone 7 (no XNA development) with the latest version of the SDK released last month. You can grab the VB RTW tools here:

  • English: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=206790&clcid=0×409
  • French: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=206790&clcid=0x40c
  • German: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=206790&clcid=0×407
  • Italian: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=206790&clcid=0×410 
  • Spanish: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=206790&clcid=0x40a
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    Microsoft to take action against Windows Phone 7 Unlocking tool ?

    It didn’t take long for Microsoft to respond after yesterday’s release of the ChevronWP7 application side-loading unlocker. Here’s what an Microsoft’s spokesperson told T.Warren:

    We anticipated that people would attempt to unlock the phones and explore the underlying operating system. We encourage people to use their Windows Phone as supplied by the manufacturer to ensure the best possible user experience. Attempting to unlock a device could void the warranty, disable phone functionality, interrupt access to Windows Phone 7 services or render the phone permanently unusable.

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    Windows Phone 7 unlocker released

    I admit that I hesitate a bit before posting this given that I’m not really into promoting hacking or piracy. So there’s a small tool that was released 2 hours ago that will enable any Windows Phone 7 user to “unlock” his device and side-load any application on it. The official and legal way to do this is to register as a developer and pay $99/y. So what’s the big deal here other than having the ability to side-load (currently via Visual Studio) any application son any WP7? Well this looks like the beginning of a big mess folks. First off Microsoft, thanks to its PVK system, can detect and ban all the devices unlocked with this method (yeah re-locking it afterwards won’t help you if you Device ID is blacklisted). Secondly, couple this new unlocker with the security issue of the curent Marketplace (anyone can freely download an app directly from the marketplace by bypassing the Zune software and decompile the code even if it was obfuscated by the developer..) and we are now in piracy heaven… Anyway, it’s up to you to decide if you want to unlock your device this way at the risk of being blocked by MS (if they decide to take this route) but I won’t be surprised to see a WP7 update in the near future “fix” this potential security hole.  I’m all for tweaking your device etc (hey I actually found out how to enable USB drive mode on Window Phone 7! remember?) , but I’m still unsure about this one…The ChevronWP7 unlocker can be found here. BTW, anyone find this “strange” that this  stuff gets released now on Thanksgiving just when most of the MS employees are on holyday leave?

    Want to crack Windows Phone 7 ? Keep on dreaming..

    Every time that news about Windows Phone 7 being ported on the HTC HD2 has popped up I tried to make it perfectly clear that this whole hacking/porting adventure was totally useless because all the online services embedded in the OS (Windows Live, Marketplace, Locations, Tellme, Zune, Maps etc..) require a hardware check on Microsoft’s servers to prevent piracy. This security check is part of the PVK (Private Key) system and is part of every WP7 hardware device. A unique ID is given to every handset during the manufacturing process and is routinely checked by Microsoft’s authentications servers. If the ID check fails the device will display the message seen in the screenshot above.

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    Use your Windows Phone 7 device as a portable USB drive

    Who needs a removable micro-sd card when you can just use your Windows Phone 7 device as a portable USB drive ? Here’s a little trick to enable USB drive mode on your Windows Phone 7 phone. I did some digging into the Windows registry looking for all the references to the Zune software and the devices USB stack  and finally found that the devices actually support this mode but that it is simply disabled by default. So here’s how to do it:

    - Open Windows Registry Editor by typing regedit in your start menu
    - Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\
    - Then go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\USB  (and not the other ControlSet01 or 02 if you have them) and then search for ZuneDriver

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    Carriers will not block Windows Phone 7 updates

     

    There has been a lot of confusion about the Windows Phone 7 update process after Paul Thurrott posted several quotes attributed to Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore who claimed last month during the NYC launch event that carriers will be able to block updates if the wanted to do so. First off I would like to say that I have no inside info or anything and this is just based on the info currently available and some logical thinking.

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    Pageonce financial management software for Windows Phone 7 released for Free in the Marketplace

    The Pageonce Personal Finance management software is now finally available for Windows Phone 7 and all for free (this is the 2.0 version that appeared this morning). I just grab it to see how it looks like and frankly it’s awesome if you live in the US. Unfortunately it only supports major US banks and companies so European users are kinda left in the cold here. But if you do live in the North America then this application is for you. You can have direct access to your bank accounts, Netflix, Amazon, Mobile Operator billing, etc etc.. the list is extremely long. This is a highly recommended download, so just head over to the Zune Marketplace and search for Pageonce.

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    Only 40K Windows Phone 7 devices sold on launch day?

    Let’s assume that what The Streets is saying is true and that only 40 000 Windows Phone 7 devices have been sold in the US yesterday (the source of this number is “a market research source who tracks phone sales” or a rectum..who knows…). Is this a good or bad number? Compared to the iPhone’s sales it’s abyssal but no one was expecting WP7 to rival Apple on launch day. On the other hand, 40K is quite good given the obvious lack of stock (it’s still impossible to buy devices unlocked at regular retail stores in Europe 3 weeks after launch…and some carriers didn’t even start to sell WP7 devices yet!). But the number of phones sold isn’t the problem (especially when we don’t have any official confirmation) The issue is marketing. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 ad campaign (or for any MS product besides Xbox) is shitty at best… in my opinion. The ads don’t make any sense to the regular Joe compared to Apple’s ads where you actually see the product in action (even the BlackBerry Torch TV ads that have been running here are 10x better). Frankly this has to stop. Every single person that I have seen playing with a Windows Phone 7 device is surprised by how good it is. Every review/hands-on/ etc has mentioned that experiencing the real thing is miles better than seeing screenshot or video of it. So what does MS do? Well they don’t even show the damn thing action at all (a 3 seconds shot of the home screen doesn’t count)and tries be cool but fails. One has to wonder if Microsoft thinks that having the word “Windows” in the product’s name is a guarantee of success….hey wonder why the Xbox is a success? Because Microsoft’s brand is no where to bee seen and because the regular Joe / Jane doesn’t even know that it’s a Microsoft product. Stop trying hard to surf on the “Windows” brand name and sell the actual product.

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    SlingPlayer for Windows Phone 7 released. Will cost you $29.99

    The recently unveiled SlingPlayer application for Windows Phone 7 has just been made available in the Marketplace for the super high price of $29.99. You will find all the features you are familiar with if you are a Sling costumer and improved video quality compared to the old Windows Mobile 6.X application. Just head over to the Zune Desktop software if you want to download it.

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    Need For Speed Undercover for Windows Phone 7 Preview video

    I just shot a quick hands-on preview of Need For Speed Undercover for Windows Phone 7 running on the Samsung Omnia 7. Those of you who have an iPhone will notice that this WP7 version is nearly 100% identical to iOS version released more than 1 year and a half ago. The Adreno 200 doesn’t seem to have any problem rendering the game at an acceptable frame rate. The Trial version will give you access to the tutorial (featuring the Porsche) and only one race/mission that you can play with either a Nissan or a Pontiac. Unfortunately once you finish this unique mission you won’t be able to play it again and will be prompted to buy the full game ($4.99). The only solution will be to uninstall it and re-install it. Anyway check out the video below:

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    Windows Phone 7 Marketplace now open to all developer submissions

    Just in case you missed it I would like to remind you that the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace is now open to all developer submissions. Before that only a few thousands of  WP7 devselopers had the ability to submit applications to the Marketplace but with the imminent launch in the US Microsoft has finally opened the floodgates. I just open that we won’t see loads of crappy, useless applications being approved. The developer portal can be accessed here.

    Home Depot employees to use Windows Phone 7 (Updated)

    In another attempt to storm the mobile business market Microsoft has teamed up with Home Depot to put Windows Phone 7 into the hands of the companies associates to enable them to check stock inventories, scan products etc. Even thought WP7 still doesn’t support a lot of business oriented features (VPN, software deployment outside of the Marketplace etc…) Microsoft isn’t shy about it’s new mobile platform and is doing all it can to regain market share in the business sector. PR video after the break:

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    Free Windows Phone 7 Programming ebook released

    Charles Petzold’s Windows Phone 7 programming book has just been released on time for PDC10 and is now  available to download for free.

    This book is a gift from the Windows Phone 7 team at Microsoft to the programming community, and I am proud to have been a part of it. Within the pages that follow, I show you the basics of writing applications for Windows Phone 7 using the C# programming language with the Silverlight and XNA 2D frameworks.

    Yes, Programming Windows Phone 7 is truly a free download, but for those readers who still love paper—as I certainly do—this book will also be available (for sale) divided into two fully-indexed print editions: Microsoft Silverlight Programming for Windows Phone 7 and Microsoft XNA Framework Programming for Windows Phone 7. [Note from Devon: we should have these ready for order in December 2010.]

    With the money you’ve saved downloading this book, please buy other books. Despite the plethora of information available online, books are still the best way to learn about programming within a coherent and cohesive tutorial narrative. Every book sale brings a tear of joy to an author’s eye, so please help make them weep overflowing rivers.

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    Microsoft Tag coming soon to Windows Phone 7

    The currently not so useful (at least here in Europe) Microsoft Tag technology is coming soon to Windows Phone 7 according to the teams Twitter account:

    Our engineers have completed Microsoft Tag Reader for Windows Phone 7 which is currently going through a thorough testing process.

    The first Microsoft Tag application was one of the first application available in the Windows Mobile Marketplace after the WM6.5 launch last year and also one of the onlyMicrsofot app in the Apple AppStore.

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    Asus and Garmin break up. No Windows Phone 7 handset in sight

    Yesterday Asus announced that it will not renew its business relationship with Garmin in the smartphone market which in turn may delay the launch of some of the current products in the works. Today the company has also stated that the focus is currently on Android and not on Windows Phone 7:

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    First Windows Phone 7 update to fix xbox Live extras bug to be released soon

    Microsoft has officially announced that an update to the Xbox Live Extras Windows Phone 7 application will be available soon after a bug that apparently only affects HTC handsets prevents the application from correctly launching.

    To that end, we’ve gotten reports of users launching Xbox LIVE Extras where it appears to hang at a black screen and is returned to the Start screen several seconds later on some phones.

    We have identified this issue and have an update currently making its way through certification, we hope to have this update available to you in the next few days. While this may not work for everyone, you can try hitting the back key after returning to the start menu and Xbox LIVE Extras should restart normally.

    There are many of you who use props on your avatar, and you receive a “Could not find your prop, please try again later.”

    Many of the props on Xbox 360 are being converted for their use with the new Xbox LIVE Dashboard and Kinect launch. Because of this some of the props have not been converted for use on Windows Phone at this time. More of these are added daily so expect this issue to disappear over time.

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