More Zune Phone rumors are again hitting the scene, this time the rumor of the day is originating from the Spanish blog muycomputer. They claim that Microsoft will be unveiling the long-rumored Zune Phone at Mobile World Congress 2010. According to their inside source, the Zune Phone will be introduced by Microsoft with NVIDIA by its side and will even feature an NVIDIA Tegra processor, leading muycomputer to surmise that the handset will indeed be a Zune HD with phone and PDA functionality probably provided courtesy of Windows Mobile 7. The discovery of phone references within the Zune’s inf file is certainly suggestive of the existence of such a Zune Phone but we will have to wait a few more weeks to find out if this rumor is worth its salt.
Yesterday, on Microsoft’s earnings call, CFO Peter Klein briefly mentioned that Microsoft’s “next mobile operating system” would be announced “in a few weeks.” Conveniently, just a few weeks from now, the Mobile World Congress convention will be taking place — beginning February 15th — in Barcelona, Spain. This latest development seems to be consistent with previous reports that also put WinMo 7’s premier at MWC. We’re not sure about you, but we’re pretty excited to see Apple, Google, RIM, Nokia, and Microsoft all seriously contending for mobile device market share. More →
In one fell swoop, CNET’s Ina Fried has apparently put an end to all the rumors regarding Windows Mobile 7 and those Project Pink phones. According to Fried, Mobile World Congress 2010 may herald a new beginning for Microsoft as it attempts to win back the smartphone market with the unveiling of Windows Mobile 7. Shortly after Windows Mobile 7’s official debut, Microsoft is expected to provide developers who attend the at the Mix10 Conference in March with information necessary to begin development for Windows Mobile 7. Though an official launch date has not been determined, Microsoft is aiming to finalize the code for Windows Mobile 7 by Summer 2010 with the intent of launching devices in the latter half of the year. As a side project separate from Windows Mobile 7, Microsoft will leverage the technology and talent of Microsoft-owned Danger by developing a new line of consumer phones that will form the foundation for the next generation Sidekick. These new “Sidekicks” will be powered by Windows Mobile and will integrate with Zune and other Microsoft services. They have already been pictured and will most likely not be a mobile phone version of the Zune HD that everyone was gossiping about last year. These Project Pink devices are expected to debut later this year ahead of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 7 offerings. So it might make sense T-Mobile is looking to can the existing device line… More →
With Mobile World Congress right around the corner, the Zune Phone rumors are gathering steam with more than one blog “confirming” the existence of these Project Pink phones. The latest confirmation was uncovered in the most recent Zune software update (188.8.131.52) which was rolled out as part of a scheduled maintenance today. Inside of the Zune.inf file, which is used to associate hardware devices with the Zune driver, is code that identifies a device described as a “Phone” with a vendor ID that is locked to Microsoft and three different product IDs that could correspond to three different phone models. Admittedly, this could be an indication of future Zune integration into Windows Mobile 7 but the fact that this emerged just prior to MWC with three specific hardware references is a bit compelling, no? More →
Windows Mobile 7 may be hitting AT&T and T-Mobile in the form of the HTC Diamond3, previously known as the Obsession. The Diamond3 will reportedly sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz processor, GSM/HSDPA connectivity, 3.7 inch capacitive AMOLED display with multi-touch, 5 megapixel camera with flash and HD video recording, 512MB RAM/512MB ROM, 4GB of internal storage, microSD expansion (up to 32GB) and a 1230mAh battery. The Obsession/Diamond3 is also going to be a GSM only device, no CDMA counterpart is in the works as sales of the last CDMA Diamond were sluggish. With HTC and LG rumored to be prepping Windows Mobile handsets for a mid-year launch, what are the odds that Windows Mobile 7 will be unveiled at MWC 2010? More →
Robbie Bach, Microsoft’s President of Entertainment & Device Division, dropped an interesting little tidbit of information on an analyst call earlier in the week. Reportedly, Microsoft will be demoing the much hyped Windows 7 Mobile in mid-February at the Mobile World Congress in Spain. Bach went on to to say that Microsoft would be more involved with manufacturers when the times come for WM7 devices to go to market and that Windows Mobile 7 was not just an evolutionary release. We’re looking forward to the demo and hoping Microsoft steps their game to the next level.
Remember the good old days when Windows Mobile was at the top of its game? When the Windows Mobile-powered Dell Axim went head to head with the Palm Tungsten T or when Palm shook up its Treo line by releasing the Windows Mobile-driven Treo 700WX? That was then and this is now, however, and the now is not looking so good for Windows Mobile. Phil Moore, head of Microsoft’s mobility division in the UK, admitted that Windows Mobile 7 is being delayed until late 2010. With iPhone OS 4.0 and a sure-to-be-newer version of Android on the horizon, could a delay until the end of be close to a death sentence for Windows Mobile?
A regular poster over at Mobile-review forums has leaked what he/she claims are the specifications for the Sony Ericsson Xperia X2. The black and silver slider is rumored to have:
- 8.1mpx auto focus, VGA @ 30fps (MP4 HQ)
- 3.5 inch WVGA OLED (increased from 3.0 from X1)
- GPS, aGPS
- 3.5 mm headphone jack
- Faster processor
- 512 RAM
- Custom Windows Mobile 6.5 (SE engineers customized Win6.5 which runs very. very speedy. in par with iPhone and better in some cases)
- XPERIA Panels are modified with plenty of innovative features (PS3 remote play being one of them)
- Upgrading to Windows Mobile 7 is supported by Xperia panels
If these specs pan out, then the X2 may be a nice jump up from the X1.You may have to wait a while to get your mitts on this handset, however. With the mention of Windows Mobile 6.5, Windows Mobile 7 and Sony Ericsson’s track record with the first Xperia handset, any potential release date is most likely way off in the distance.
As you might have imagined, the unending leakfest continues today with information about two more handsets headed AT&T’s way. First up is the Pantech Aladdin, a QWERTY slider with HSDPA connectivity, 2.2-inch QVGA display, 1.3 megapixel camera, aGPS, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, microSD expansion, threaded SMS, and support for Napster, eMusic and other forms of Windows DRM. This entry-level handset will fall in line with the Pantech Matrix / Matrix Pro and is expected later this year. Also expected to drop at AT&T is the LG Monaco, a high-end Windows Mobile side slider. The Monaco will feature a 3.2-inch WVGA touchscreen display, 3.6Mbps HSDPA, 5 megapixel auto-focus camera, QWERTY keyboard, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, microSDHC support and a sweet-sounding Pico projector accessory. The Monaco will reportedly run Windows Mobile 7 which likely pushes the launch date of this phone well into 2010. Hit the jump for the associated slides.
One of the core issues many people cite when Windows Mobile’s shortcomings become the topic of discussion is the look. We’re not WinMo haters but we must admit, 6.0 and 6.1 do have a bit of a Windows 3.1 look to them. UI impacts the user experience, dramatically at times, so this is one area we’re hoping Microsoft really focuses on in 7. It’s obviously way too early to say how Redmond is doing but a new round of screenshots reported to show various areas of 7’s UI have emerged, and they may give us an idea of where MS is going interface-wise.
Above, a reported image of Windows Marketplace for Mobile displays a pretty minimalist UI with clean lines and angles. Below, a screenshot of Windows IM maintains the same overall feel, and then a shot of the podcasting app goes in a completely different direction. That’s all fine of course, but if you compare all of the shots we have so far something catches the eye. Look at the battery, signal, and volume placement in each of the shots — they’re constantly moving. Battery switches from the bottom left (Marketplace and IM) to the bottom right (maps) and whatever it is that is represented by that triangle / “Y” icon does the same; hell, the icon itself changes. Moving readings around like that is a horrible, horrible idea as far as UX goes so this leads us to believe one of three things: 1) Microsoft’s UX architects have blown a gasket, which is doubtful. 2) These shots are of various builds and Microsoft is playing with the placement of these UI elements and their icons. 3) The screenshots are fake. You be the judge — hit the jump to check out the rest of the new shots along with two old ones.
In a Strategic Update Meeting on Tuesday, Steve Ballmer discussed all things Windows Mobile; its current market position, its standing within Microsoft and its future. Microsoft confirmed that Windows Mobile is one of its core seven businesses with 2,000 dedicated employees and nearly a billion dollars in yearly operating expenses. According to Ballmer, Windows Mobile is trailing both Symbian and RIM in market share and is considered “somewhat unprofitable” within the company. Windows Mobile also sees stiff competition from Apple and Android which currently have momentum on their side. Despite the extremely competitive market and the economic downturn, Ballmer is confident that Windows Mobile will remain strong because of the low price point of some Windows Mobile devices and the fact that Windows Mobile has, unlike Android, a positive price for its software (i.e., its not free and open source).
Ballmer also dispelled the ever-persistent “Zune phone” rumor by reasserting yet again that Microsoft will not manufacture its own phone. Unlike Apple and RIM which provide end-to-end solutions, Microsoft will remain focused on the software side of the business, producing a platform that can run on different devices and different carriers. According to Ballmer, the Windows Mobile platform will see an improvement with 6.5 this year and will get another boost next year when Windows Mobile 7 is expected to make its debut. Ballmer emphasized the idea of “synergy” between Windows and Windows Mobile by stating, “There will be really shared technology across Windows and Windows mobile. The browser is an example, the presentation surface is an example. Some day even the kernel will be an example.” Sounds interesting – let’s hope Microsoft can pull it together and wow us next year because 6.5 just isn’t quite exciting enough to reel us back in.
Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer recently took a little trip to the land of cell phones and kimchi to ink a deal that will ensure future collaboration between LG Electronics and MS. Right now it’s just a preliminary agreement so it will likely be a while (well, funnier and faster things have happened) before LG starts putting out some sexy Windows Mobile-powered handsets. Hopefully LG will be ready to rock by the time Windows Mobile 7, or even the rumored 6.5 update drops so we can see some fresh new handsets showcase what we all hope will be a fresh new OS. Meanwhile, just down the street Samsung announced a rejuvenated Omnia, the latest in a long line of popular Windows Mobile phones from Sammy, which is scheduled for a mid-November release on SK Telekom. LG will most certainly have its work cut out for it but all this competition just means Microsoft still has plenty of manufacturer support, which is especially important considering how hard it’s working on Windows Mobile 7. MS needs WM7 to be a solid win if it hopes to remain competitive with Symbian, BlackBerry OS, Apple iPhone and the emerging Android OS. Some of us have been happy with Windows Mobile 6.1 so far, but it seems plenty more have been disappointed – don’t let us down MS!
Amid the madness regarding today’s Android announcement, a bit of slightly less positive news has emerged regarding one of Google’s biggest competitors. Microsoft has quietly revealed that the next iteration of their mobile operating system, Windows Mobile 7, has been officially delayed. The company initially hoped to deliver a feature-complete version of the software by early 2009, a deadline that has now been pushed back until sometime during the second half of the year. While we hope that Microsoft is going back to the drawing board in the interest of incorporating some new functionality, the company’s timing couldn’t be worse. Amid increasing competition from Apple, RIM, and Google, Microsoft really needs to step their pace up, yet this recent news seems to demonstrate that they’re committed to just the opposite. Could we be more disappointed? Probably, but this isn’t the best news for the boys from Redmond.