Microsoft answers questions on Windows Phone tracking amid iPhone scandal

By on April 26, 2011 at 7:39 AM.

Microsoft answers questions on Windows Phone tracking amid iPhone scandal

Might as well let other major mobile operating system manufacturers in on the location-tracking scandal fun, no? While Apple, and to a much lesser extent Google, have come under fire for their phone location storage practices, other major OS manufacturers have been silent. We’re not sure being the “squeaky wheel” would pay dividends in this instance. That hasn’t stopped the media from asking, however, and CNET posed the question to Microsoft: what do you track?

“Microsoft says its operating system transmits the MAC address of the Wi-Fi access point (but not the name), signal strength, a randomly generated unique device ID retained for an unspecified limited period of time, and, if GPS is turned on, the precise location and direction and speed of travel,” writes CNET. “That happens when the ‘application or user makes a request for location information,’ the company says.”

CNET has a laundry list of questions for Microsoft that remain unanswered. The current location brouhaha now has the attention of the courts and some distinguished members of the United States Congress — so we’re betting most major mobile operating system manufacturers will be answering questions in an official capacity in the near future. More →

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Windows Phone trounces iPhone 4, Android in browser benchmark test [video]

By on April 14, 2011 at 7:00 PM.

Windows Phone trounces iPhone 4, Android in browser benchmark test [video]

During Microsoft’s MIX conference in Las Vegas, Windows Phone director Joe Belfiore took the stage to demonstrate how well Microsoft’s new Internet Explorer 9 mobile browser can render HTML5 websites. He fired up a device running Microsoft’s new Windows Phone “Mango” update with IE9 installed and hardware acceleration, and then started an HTML5 speed test pitting the Mango device against the iPhone 4 and the Google Nexus S. Belfiore was so confident in the new browser that he gave the iPhone 4 a head start. Nonetheless, IE9 loaded the demo faster and came out on top, having displayed the test at 20 frames per second. It was followed by the Android browser on the Nexus S, which rendered the same demo at 11 frames per second, and then the iPhone 4 at 2 frames per second. This wasn’t exactly an independent test given that it was preformed by Microsoft and likely under optimal conditions, but we are definitely still impressed with what we’ve seen so far — let’s just hope the update to Mango goes a bit smoother than NoDo. Hit the jump for the video comparison. More →

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Microsoft boosts Windows Phone hardware requirements [video]

By on April 14, 2011 at 3:36 PM.

Microsoft boosts Windows Phone hardware requirements [video]

During its MIX11 conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft discussed the new minimum requirements that manufacturers will have to meet in order to run the Windows Phone operating system on a phone. The biggest change is that OEMs must now choose to include a Qualcomm MSM7x30 or MSM8x55 Snapdragon processor, as opposed to the original 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8x50 chip. The newer 8×55 chip supports CPU speeds up to 1.4GHz, and also has the more recent Adreno 205 graphics processor. The MSM7x30 supports CPU speeds between 800MHz and 1GHz and also supports 720p HD video and enhanced graphics rendering. Aside from also requiring support for a gyroscope, Microsoft’s other requirements are the same. The screen must have an 800 x 480-pixel resolution with 4 or more contact points, the phone must offer at least a 5-megapixel camera, and it must also have at least 256MB of RAM and 8GB of Flash storage, among other requirements. Hit the jump for a video from MIX11 from Channel 9 that details some of the other architecture and chassis changes. More →

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Nokia W7 and W8 said to be Nokia's first Windows Phones

By on April 14, 2011 at 8:41 AM.

Nokia W7 and W8 said to be Nokia's first Windows Phones

According to industry insider Eldar Murtazin, a man whose been known as a Nokia seer of sorts over the years, Nokia will make its Windows Phone debut with two new devices, the W7 and the W8. Reportedly, the W7 is being used inside Nokia as a test device and will hit the market first. Rumor has it the W7 will have a hardware design that’s relatively similar to the Nokia X7 that was announced earlier this week. We’d be pumped about that, given that the X7 sports a 4-inch AMOLED screen and is made of stainless steel and glass. Nokia’s second Windows Phone device could be the W8, which Murtazin says will resemble the Nokia N8 — another device with a top notch industrial design. While we’ve heard that Nokia’s first Windows Phone will land in 2012, the wait should be worth it — Murtazin claims that the Finnish phone maker already has a dozen Windows Phones slated to launch next year. More →

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Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7 taking off on May 25th

By on April 14, 2011 at 1:59 AM.

Angry Birds for Windows Phone 7 taking off on May 25th

During a meeting with Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore, AllThingsD was able to confirm that Rovio’s smash hit Angry Birds game will be available for Windows Phone 7 devices beginning on May 25th. That will leave BlackBerry OS as the last modern operating system to lack support for the title. Belfiore didn’t comment on how much the game would cost, but we hope it’s in the free to $0.99 range. Rovio has launched a number of seasonal updates to Angry Birds and most recently published Angry Birds Rio. It remains unclear which version will hit the Windows Marketplace. More →

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Microsoft Windows Phone 'Mango' details emerge, available this fall

By on April 13, 2011 at 2:14 PM.

Microsoft Windows Phone 'Mango' details emerge, available this fall

AllThingsD had a chance to sit down with Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore to discuss the new Windows Phone 7 “Mango” update, which the Redmond-based firm is discussing during the MIX 11 conference in Las Vegas today. Belfiore confirmed that Mango will offer a new browsing experience using Internet Explorer 9, and noted that it will have integrated Twitter features. Similarly, Mango will allow users to run multiple programs at the same time – complete with background audio support. That means you could theoretically stream music from Slacker Radio while firing off an email. Microsoft will also allow developers to tap into a phone’s gyroscope and camera, which it hopes will help spur more augmented reality applications. Speaking of apps, Belfiore confirmed that Layar, Skype, Spotify, and Angry Birds, are on their way to the Windows Marketplace. Belfiore confirmed that Mango will launch this fall. More →

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Moody's cuts Nokia credit rating, points to 'weakened market position'

By on April 8, 2011 at 10:01 PM.

Moody's cuts Nokia credit rating, points to 'weakened market position'

Following a rating review initiated on January 28th, Moody’s on Thursday lowered Nokia’s senior debt rating from A2 to A3 and cut its short-term debt ratings from Prime-1 to Prime-2 with a negative outlook. Moody’s cites Nokia’s weakened position in the cell phone market and uncertainty surrounding the company’s upcoming transition to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform as the reasoning behind the downgrades. “The rating downgrade primarily reflects Nokia’s weakened market position in its core business, mobile devices, which has reduced the company’s margins and funds from operations,” said Moody’s SVP and lead Nokia analyst Wolfgang Draack in a note. “In Moody’s view, the main reasons for this trend are: (i) an inflexible smartphone operating system; (ii) slow time-to-market for new models; (iii) more attractive innovation by smartphone competitors; and (iv) accelerating price competition for low-end phones.” The move follows Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade Nokia’s credit rating last month, when it said it expects Nokia’s market share to continue to slide through this year and in 2012.

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Clorox ditches BlackBerry for iPhone, other smartphones

By on April 8, 2011 at 5:59 PM.

Clorox ditches BlackBerry for iPhone, other smartphones

Citing a growing number of employees who weren’t happy with the IT team or their aging company-issued gear, Clorox’s CIO Ralph Loura decided to move away from BlackBerry smartphones. Instead, Loura provided company employees with a choice: an iPhone, a Windows Phone 7 device or an Android-powered smartphone. “If you believe demographic studies, the workforce in their 20s and 30s isn’t going to accept black corporate PCs with black corporate mobile phones and not be allowed to run Facebook or Angry Bird apps,” Loura explained during a keynote at the SNW conference in Santa Clara, California on Thursday. So what phones did Clorox employees choose? Of the 2,000 new smartphones distributed throughout the firm so far, 92% were iPhones. 6% of employees chose an Android device while 2% took Windows Phone 7 smartphones. Loura said Clorox also replaced 6,000 of its desktop computers with thinner HP laptops. More →

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Windows Phone to overtake BlackBerry in 2013, iOS in 2015 according to Gartner

By on April 7, 2011 at 1:54 PM.

Windows Phone to overtake BlackBerry in 2013, iOS in 2015 according to Gartner

In addition to its position that Android will continue to dominate the global smartphone market moving forward, Gartner on Thursday revealed its projections for Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. According to the firm, Nokia’s strong global position will drive Windows Phone adoption at an impressive pace, capturing 5.6% of smartphone unit sales in 2011. Gartner goes on to state that sales of devices featuring Microsoft’s mobile OS will surpass RIM’s BlackBerry OS in 2013, and will then move past iOS in 2015 to account for 19.5% of smartphones sold globally, compared to iOS’ 17.2%. Gartner’s determination further supports the notion that Nokia will drive global Windows Phone sales rapidly, as proposed by several other firms including Ovum and IDC.

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Apple, Android see continued growth in U.S. smartphone market share

By on April 1, 2011 at 6:58 PM.

Apple, Android see continued growth in U.S. smartphone market share

ComScore has released its latest report on the U.S. smartphone market, and it suggests that Apple’s share of the U.S. OEM market is growing, while Android is continuing to dominate the U.S. operating system market. Samsung remains the top mobile OEM in the United States with a 24.8% marketshare, up 0.3 percentage points from the period prior. It’s followed by LG (20.9%, no change), Motorola (16.1 percent, down .9 percentage points), RIM (8.6 percent, down .2 percentage points), and Apple (7.5%, up .9 percentage points). Given the dominance by Samsung, LG, and Motorola, it comes as no surprise that Android now has a 33% grip on the U.S. smartphone operating system market — that’s up 7 percentage points from the last report. RIM’s BlackBerry OS dropped 4.6 percentage points to a 28.9% share of the market. It’s followed by Apple’s iOS (25.2%), Microsoft’s Windows Phone (7.7%), and Palm’s webOS (2.8%). The report also found that 68.7% of mobile users use their phone for text messaging. Hit the jump for the full release. More →

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Microsoft celebrates Windows Phone 7 anniversary with impressive numbers

By on March 31, 2011 at 7:06 PM.

Microsoft celebrates Windows Phone 7 anniversary with impressive numbers

Microsoft first took the wraps off its Windows Phone 7 platform at its MIX10 conference in March 2010. At that time, Microsoft began a long and important process of courting developers, distributing developer tools and giving interested parties an ecosystem that would allow them to thrive. Now, one year later, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 Director Brandon Watson shares some numbers regarding developer involvement with the Windows Phone platform. So far, Microsoft’s Windows Phone developer tools have been downloaded 1.5 million times by 36,000 registered developers. About 1,200 new developers register for the Windows Phone developer program each week. The Windows Marketplace is now home to 11,500 apps, 7,500 of which are paid, and Windows Phone users download an average of 12 apps each month. Developer adoption of the Windows Phone platform will likely continue to accelerate as developers prepare for the sales surge expected when Nokia finally begins bringing Windows Phones to market. More →

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Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango’ update possibly spotted on film [video]

By on March 31, 2011 at 5:44 PM.

Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango’ update possibly spotted on film [video]

This feels like a bit of a stretch to us, but Windows Phone Secrets believes it caught a glimpse of Microsoft’s upcoming “Mango” update for Windows Phone 7. During a YouTube user’s NoDo update walkthrough video, right around the 2:48 mark, the cameraman pans his shooter to a second Windows Phone 7 smartphone for just a few seconds. Oddly enough, that smartphone has a feature we’ve never seen before in current builds of Microsoft’s mobile operating system. Inside the main menu, there’s a search button clearly visible. Is this Mango? We’re not sure, but we do know that it’s an option that’s not currently available in the latest NoDo update. That hints that Microsoft either has another minor update up its sleeves, or that this is a feature due out in the bigger Mango update. Microsoft is expected to launch Mango later this year, and it should deliver Internet Explorer 9 along with the Trident 5 rendering engine, HTML 5 and Silverlight, and gesture support to Windows Phone users. A release date is not yet known. Hit the link for the video. More →

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Microsoft files complaint against Google with European Commission

By on March 31, 2011 at 5:04 PM.

Microsoft files complaint against Google with European Commission

Microsoft has filed a complaint with the European Commission in regards to Google’s search operations in the European Union. “Our filing today focuses on a pattern of actions that Google has taken to entrench its dominance in markets for online search and search advertising to the detriment of the European consumers,” said Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith. “Google has engaged in a broadening pattern of walling off access to content and data that competitors need to provide search results to consumers and to attract advertisers.” Smith added that Google has a 95% grip on the search market in Europe and that the company has aimed to stop any other firms from creating a competitive search alternative. Smith also argued that Google, since acquiring YouTube in 2006, has restricted other search engines from properly accessing YouTube videos for search results. More →

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