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First look at Windows Phone 7 Mango impresses

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By  through GiGaOM

The next major software update for Microsoft Windows Phone 7, codenamed Mango, is complete. Microsoft handed over the Mango update to its carrier and hardware partners on July 26, although there’s no announced date for when existing WP7 smartphones will see the software. Nor are there any official release dates for new phones that will run on Mango: Yes, I’m looking at you Nokia.

When I tried the first release of Windows Phone 7 on an HD7 handset last November, I saw a solid platform with plenty of potential. The Mango version of WP7 helps Microsoft handsets reach that potential with a number of improvements. Yesterday, I was able to install the Mango software update on the HD7 I bought a few months ago, and even with just a few hours of hands-on time, I’m impressed. Some general thoughts:

  • The software makes the hardware seem much faster. It’s difficult to quantify, but it feels like the entire user experience is at least twice as fast with the Mango. Tap a tile or an app and it opens much more quickly. Navigation is brisk. It’s as if the old single-core 1 GHz processor in my phone were swapped out with a speedy new dual-core chip; it’s that noticeable.
  • Voice integration is excellent. I can see why Microsoft is banking heavily on the TellMe technology it purchased in 2007. Yes, it’s similar to the speech-to-text I use daily on my Android handset, but it appears far more accurate. A tap and hold of the home button starts the listen process; you can open apps, create and send text messages, or place phone calls. I can’t underscore this point enough though: The accuracy is scary-good.
  • Multitasking is smart (and welcome). One of my biggest beefs with Windows Phone 7 was app navigation. Every switch from app to app required going back to the home screen, which quickly got old for me. But Mango’s multitasking solves that problem in two ways. Holding the phone’s back button shows all running apps as small windows, similar to the cards in HP’s webOS, for example. You can swipe through the running apps. Tap one, and the app will resume where it left off prior. Or you can simply tap the back button to go back one app at a time.
  • The browser, and touch experience in it, rivals that of iOS. Microsoft included a version of IE9 in Mango and it makes the browser better. I say that and I actually liked the original browser in WP7. It renders quickly and is fast to switch orientation when turning the phone from portrait to landscape, or vice versa. Double-tap zooming is effectiv,e and although few will believe this (until they see it for themselves), pinch-and-zoom is lightning fast. Dare I say it? It’s faster than iOS fast. Microsoft says it improved HTML5 support as well, but I haven’t done any specific tests for that yet.
  • Other odds and ends. I’m just scratching the surface because I’m finding new bits in Mango all around. There’s a way to link or unify inboxes, for example, and threaded email conversations are supported. There’s a task manager for those that want or need it. Facebook notifications are appearing on the tile that represents me. I suspect I’ll find many more of these small value-ad features as I continue to use Mango.

As impressed as I am now with the Mango update, make no mistake: Microsoft still has a long, tough road ahead of it against iOS or Android. The same goes for Nokia, which ditched its own mobile platforms in favor of using Windows Phone 7 going forward. Well-designed, capable hardware combined with the Mango edition of Windows Phone 7 is a start for sure. With it, Microsoft could become solidly entrenched as the no. 3 mobile platform, but there’s no guarantee yet.

Written by Kees Winkel

August 14, 2011 at 16:36

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Angry Birds finally launches on Windows Phone

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As I have been reporting on gaming earlier, here’s an other one, slightly bigger most probably.

It’s been a long time coming but the Rovio’s Angry Birds has finally launched on Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, hitting the marketplace as a paid download costing $2.99.

We originally reported that the popular franchise was coming to Windows Phone handsets back in February, noting an April launch. At the time Microsoft confirmed that the game, among other popular applications, would be launching on April 6th.

However, the release of Angry Birds for the Windows Phone 7 platform was pushed back more than a month to June 29th – which, of course, is today.

Microsoft had previously promised that the game would be ready for launch on May 25th but the company waited until the official release date was close to announce the delay, so it could have been that Rovio, was unsure of the delay until just days before the launch.

Microsoft has said that the title has automatically been added to its “Must Have Games” section on its website and is available for download for $2.99 via the Windows Phone Marketplace or Zune application.

Here’s my source.

Written by Kees Winkel

June 30, 2011 at 15:50

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Microsoft strikes deal to acquire Nokia’s phone business for $19B, insider claims

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According to industry insider Eldar Murtazin, Microsoft has struck a deal to purchase Nokia’s mobile phone business for $19 billion. Just two weeks ago, Murtazin — who has a proven track record and was the first to report that Nokia has struck a deal to use Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform on its smartphones — suggested that Microsoft and Nokia were about to enter closed-door meetings to negotiate a possible purchase that could close sometime before the end of this year. It could make sense: Nokia’s CEO is former Microsoft executive Stephen Elop, and the two companies have already reached a deal to create new Windows Phone devices, a dozen of which are expected to launch next year. We’ll have to see how this pans out, but a Nokia spokesperson had already addressed Murtazin’s earlier claims, saying “Eldar’s rumors are getting obviously less accurate with every passing moment.” Nokia declined to comment on Murtazin’s claim this time around.

Thanks, Johnny

Read

via Microsoft strikes deal to acquire Nokia’s phone business for $19B, insider claims.

With possible Nokia deal, Microsoft could try to become the next Apple

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Apple, a company many said had repeatedly delayed the development and launch of the iPhone for fear that it might cannibalize its iPod business, is now a “mobile devices company” with a smartphone that is undoubtedly its flagship device. Chief Executive Steve Jobs and Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook have both publicly acknowledged this major transition on several occasions, including on stage while unveiling the iPad and on earnings calls while speaking with analysts. Apple is growing at an unheard of pace and stockpiling mountains of cash, all thanks to its mobile business. Personal Computers, Apple’s core business for nearly 30 years, now play second fiddle to the company’s mobile devices in terms of both revenue and mind share. On the other side of the table, old rival Microsoft is doing all it can to regain its footing in the mobile space after letting its Windows Mobile platform grow stale and moldy. Windows Mobile’s replacement, Windows Phone, is still in its infancy but early reports have suggested adoption has been slow at best. So where does Microsoft go from here?

Read the whole interesting story at BGRWith possible Nokia deal, Microsoft could try to become the next Apple.

Mobile Blog Digest for May: Carnival of the Mobilists #249 « Francisco Kattan

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Francisco Kattan has the pleasure to host this month’s Carnival of the Mobilists.  If you are new to the Carnival, it is a digest of the best mobile blogging for the previous month.  Please join the conversation by contributing your posts and hosting in the future.

Last month we had a good mixture of analysis and round up type blog posts.  I selected the ones that I thought were more insightful and/or contained practical advice for developers or marketers.  Be sure to check out my pick of the month at the bottom of this article.

If you are a developer, Sean Thompson, VP of Production at GOSUB 60, wrote a nice piece on the WIP blog to help you decide if your app should be free.  The top grossing apps are free to download and are monetized through in-app purchases, but should you also monetize your app this way?  Sean helps you decide by considering five key questions.

If you are considering building your retirement nest egg with mobile affiliate marketing, you should think twice before you take the plunge.   James Coops from MobyAffiliates explains that while many conditions for making money from mobile affiliate marketing are coming into place, a number of barriers still remain. Take a look as his post Is it Possible to Make Money from Mobile Affiliate Marketing?  If you decide to not take the plunge with mobile affiliate marketing, you may want to consider mobile coupons.  Russel Buckley, Chief Marketing Officer of Eagle Eye Solutions, believes that mobile coupons will be the the next billion dollar market.  Despite the company promotion in the article, it is worth a read.  Russel explains why the largest physical good advertisers such as Procter & Gamble have stayed on the sidelines when it comes to digital advertising and predicts that mobile coupons will cause these advertisers to make a serious move into digital.

via Mobile Blog Digest for May: Carnival of the Mobilists #249 « Francisco Kattan.

Written by Kees Winkel

June 3, 2011 at 08:37

April 2011, How Is Windows Phone 7 Doing Comparing To The Others? ~ The Mobile Spoon – Smartphones, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone

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Every once in a while I (Mr. Mobile Spoon) check on Windows Phone 7. Not that I have invested in Microsoft or anything, I guess it’s because I can’t wait to see a third player in the endless iOS/Android game, and also because just like with Palm, I will always have a warm corner in the heart for Windows Mobile or its’ successor…

Today I’ve collected a bunch of posts from WP7 sites.

Windows Phone hits 7% US market share in March 2011

via April 2011, How Is Windows Phone 7 Doing Comparing To The Others? ~ The Mobile Spoon – Smartphones, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone.

Written by Kees Winkel

May 9, 2011 at 16:10

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