Microsoft’s Windows Phone team is making a few changes to how users are able to acquire apps on their devices but luckily, they probably won’t affect most of you. Starting today, users can no longer get apps from the Zune desktop software (the app store will remain for the Zune HD, as shown above), so they’ll need to browse via the website or directly on their phones, which Microsoft says the majority of users were already doing. The other change is that in the next few weeks, any users who have not upgraded their handsets to Windows Phone 7.5 Mango will no longer be able to download, update or review apps. Since the update is available for all Windows Phones (Android, we’re mostly talking about you) this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, and any laggards will regain their access after upgrading.
On a final note, the developer blog mentions the software needed for hardware partners to create phones for Bahrain, Israel, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, UAE and Vietnam and that there will be more news on these storefronts “in the weeks ahead.” With these moves, the squad has culled any reason to open a heavy memory hungry desktop program just to install some new apps from a PC (iTunes, we’re completely talking about you) and devs can write off supporting users still running on old platforms guilt-free. All that in one day? We bet they didn’t even have to use their AK — those old zune:// links however, will be missed.
Looking to pick up a Windows Phone handset on Big Blue? You might want to sit tight for a few days. AT&T has just confirmed to us that the HTC Titan II will be hitting the carrier’s U.S. stores on April 8th, the same day that the Lumia 900 is set to ship. HTC’s flavor will retail for double the price of Nokia’s new flagship, priced at $199.99, and takes the award for highest megapixel count, thanks to its 16MP backside-illuminated sensor with an f/2.6 AF lens in tow. It also includes a 1730mAh removable battery and a familiar design that’s nearly identical to its predecessor. We were quite impressed with that camera during our test at CES, however, so if you’re looking to replace your first-gen Titan with a very capable cameraphone, this may be your best bet. Jump past the break for our hands-on.
Those of you stateside Windows Phone hopefuls just dying to get on the Lumia bandwagon will have a new handset to jump on beginning early next month. AT&T has confirmed to CNET that the Lumia 900 will be hitting U.S. retailers on April 8th, for $99.99 on a two-year contract — an aggressive price for the flagship smartphone. The LTE-equipped device includes a 4.3-inch ClearBlack display, 1.4GHz single-core CPU, 512MB of RAM and an 8-megapixel rear-facing cam with an f/2.2 Carl Zeiss lens and LED flash. There’s also a non-removable 1830mAh battery, which should keep the 4G slab powered for a fair amount of time. Want to take a closer look at this new Microsoft-friendly flagship? Jump past the break for our hands-on video, direct from CES 2012.
Still tempted by the fruit of another? If you’re looking Microsoft’s way, but aren’t quite ready to toss your adoration for iOS or Android aside, the coders in Redmond are giving you an alternative to quitting cold turkey. By visiting
on one’s iOS or Android browser, you’ll be immediately tunneled into a emulation of Windows Phone 7. We gave it a test run here at Engadget HQ, and it seems that every tile and swipe save for Apps runs properly. Can’t say the fonts and such looked as smooth on our Galaxy S II as they do on the Radar, but it’s a solid effort that’ll definitely serve you well if you’re considering the switch. Just don’t try to flip the demo horizontally — that’s clearly a no-no.
Windows Phone 7 emulator within Android 2.3′s web browser
Thousands of smartphones pass through New York City’s Herald Square each day, but few tower higher than a few inches, or run Windows Phone 7.5. In celebration of three new Windows Phones hitting stores — the Samsung Focus S, Focus Flash and HTC Radar 4G — Microsoft has constructed a monstrous six-story “Windows Phone” just a few feet away from the world’s largest Macy’s store, right in the middle of one of the city’s more popular outdoor picnic areas. The gadget sure is huge, but it’s not a phone in the traditional sense — enormous tiles display video feeds transmitted from a control room, and move out of place to accommodate live stage performances. We dropped by for a midday calisthenics session, which surprisingly appeared to be a hit with locals and tourists. There were functioning devices on hand as well, in a makeshift showroom, though those were far less popular than the 55-foot behemoth front and center. Jump past the break to see it in action.
You might hear it said that Nokia is on a knife-edge, and that this old king of mobiles will live or die based on the success of its latest flagship phone. We love melodrama as much as the next guy, but such talk is overplaying it. Sure, the great manufacturer has its troubles, and yes, the Lumia 800 bears a heavy burden of responsibility on its 3.7-inch shoulders. However, now that Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop has set his company on a new path, there will no doubt be a slew of new products — both hardware and software — over the next few years. In fact, the Lumia 800 was probably rushed to market, having been designed and built within the space of six months and intended as a placeholder for greater things to come. Nokia simply grabbed the overall design of its orphaned N9 handset, threw it together with Windows Phone Mango and then whatever the Finnish is for baddaboom, baddabing. So, does the Lumia feel rushed? Or is this the first stirring of something special? Read on and we’ll tell you what we think.
A top Nokia exec just confirmed the much-rumored schedule for the next Windows Phone update, codenamed Apollo. Michael Halbherr, Executive VP for Location and Commerce, told us that it’ll launch in mid-2012 and be a “very different game” to Mango — hinting that Apollo actually refers to Windows Phone 8 rather than any mere decimal increment. What do we know about Apollo at this point? Well, not a great deal, but Halbherr also revealed that he’s been pushing Microsoft to integrate NFC and a “positioning framework” to make its mobile OS work better with Nokia’s Navteq mapping platform and thereby provide new location-based services. Sorry HTC, Samsung, but everything points to a more ‘Nokia-fied’ OS.
We’ve already seen Tango video calling demonstrated on a Windows Phone Mango handset, and the company has now confirmed that it will indeed be the first video calling service available for the OS. The app is slated to roll out on November 7th, and it will include both some tight integration with the operating system (aided by some input from Microsoft) and hardware acceleration for smoother video calls. It will also apparently come pre-loaded on at least some of the forthcoming Mango-based handsets, although Tango isn’t ready to specify exactly which just yet. Naturally, all of this now puts some considerable attention on Skype, which Microsoft acquired earlier this year for the tidy sum of $8.5 billion, but it still has some catching up to do with Tango on the Windows Phone front — a spokesperson tells Forbesthat it “does not have anything to announce at this time regarding Skype on Windows Phone.”
We knew as soon as we first clapped eyes on this hulk of a phone that it’d make a brave purchase. It’s not just the 4.7-inch screen that requires a leap of faith, but also the Windows Phone operating system, which is presented here in all its Mangofied glory but is still very much an early adopter’s ecosystem. After all, if you love the Titan’s hardware but prefer a more established OS, you can always wait for the Sensation XL, which is essentially the same phone running good ol’ Android and which should have a similar £480 ($750 converted) SIM-free price tag. The question is, do you have the guts to make that jump to something more exotic? Yes? Maybe? Then read on before you begin your run-up.
Know who loves it when other OEMs call him big poppa? Ballmer, that’s who. So much so that he’s opened up the company’s coffers to Nokia and Samsung for a holiday blitz of Mango marketing. Hold onto your hats though, it’s no carte blanche access to Redmond’s Gringotts. According to a report on Mobile Magazine, inside sources claim MS has set aside ₤28 million (about $44 million) for the endeavor, with about ₤20 million of that reserved for Nokia’s first Windows Phone 7.5 handset. This joint marketing effort is reportedly a broader extension of the cooperative agreements all parties agreed to, ensuring future WP devicesget the media saturation they deserve. So, keep your eyes peeled this upcoming winter. We have a feeling you won’t be able to escape the commercial onslaught, anyway.
Now that we know how the iPhone 4S stacks up against the iPhone 4, let’s take a look at how Apple’s latest smartphone compares to its mightiest competitors on the other major platforms — Android and Windows Phone. In Google’s camp we chose the superlative Samsung Galaxy S II models (focusing on the announced US variants) along with the Motorola Droid Bionic for its qHD and LTE chops. We then picked the upcoming HTC Titan to bat for Microsoft’s team. RIM’s not included here since it’s still stuck in the junior leagues. We left out the intriguing Nokia N9 because it’s a niche player. Check out the fancy table after the break — the results are pretty clear cut!
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It’s raining Mango, Hallelujah! Windows Phone 7.5 is now officially ready to get pushed to existing devices, and in a big way. Taking lessons Microsoft learned from the update debacle that was NoDo, the company’s eager to do a much more efficient (and quick) job of rolling out its latest revamp. While Redmond didn’t offer any exact details on which phones would be the lucky recipients right away, it’ll be keeping the masses posted through its “where’s my phone update” page. If your handset is listed, hook it up to your computer, load the Zune client and there should be a lovely message waiting for you. As always, don’t feel too discouraged if your device isn’t available right away, since these rollouts have a habit of taking a bit of time to get to everyone.
In addition to the rollout, the Web Marketplace will also make its debut, giving Windows Phone users the opportunity to do what Android users already enjoy — the ability to surf for apps online and have them downloaded directly on the phone with no sideloading required. There’s one bit of sad news to relay to anyone that already has a Windows Phone, however: Microsoft confirmed to us that Internet Sharing — the long-awaited mobile hotspot functionality — will not be available for existing devices. There’s no word on if this will be offered through a future update or if it’s a permanent deal, but at least it’s only a single thorn in an entire rose garden of good news.
Hey, it’s our old pal, the Acer W4. We’ve heard tell of the device and seen our share of mockups, and this week at IFA, we actually got to play with the thing. The 3.6-inch handset is fairly compact, and pretty slick looking, with its black front and curved white backing. It’s not particularly exciting on the spec side, with its 1GHz Qualcomm processor. Nope, what’s most exciting here is the inclusion of Mango, which should look rather familiar to Windows Phone 7 owners, while adding some welcomed updates to the mix.
HTC just threw two new Windows Phone handsets down on the table and politely requested that we be impressed. The high-end Titan (previously leaked as the ‘Eternity’) is indeed an awe-inspiring brute, wielding a 4.7-inch SLCD display, 8MP rear camera and 1.3MP front-facing snapper to take full advantage of Mango’s newfangled Skype integration. Its over-sized guts include a single-core 1.5GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and up to 16GB of fixed flash storage. Meanwhile, the Radar (which also recently leaked out as the ‘Omega’) comes significantly less pumped in order to meet a lower price point and — we suppose — the expectations of a more mainstream audience. It can be seen as an updated Trophy, with similar weight and dimensions, plus the same 3.8-inch LCD, 1GHz processor clock speed, 5MP rear camera resolution, RAM and maximum 8GB fixed storage. The key upgrades involve the cameras: HTC says it has an improved 28mm wide-angle lens on the rear, plus of course there’s the front-facer, which is unfortunately only VGA. Although HTC intends to update its existing WP7 range to Mango starting in mid September, the Titan and Radar will be the company’s first innately Mango-fied devices when they arrive in early October. What do we make of them? By all means, click past the break to find out.
Earlier we heard that Microsoft had released Windows Phone 7 Mango to manufacturing, and now we have the first Windows Phone 7 mango handset to be announced, the Fujitsi Toshiba IS12T Windows Phone 7 handset which is headed for KDDI in Japan.
The Fujitsu Toshiba IS12T will hit KDDI in Japan in September, and it is the first smartphone to be announced with Windows Phone 7 Mango, it comes with a 3.7 inch touchscreen display with an 800 x 480 resolution, and it features a Qualcomm MSM8655 processor.
Other features on the Fujitsu Toshiba IS12T include a 13.3 megapixel camera and 32GB of built in storage, and as you can see from the photos above it will come in a range of colors.
Steve Ballmer may have confessed during today’s WPC keynote that Windows Phone 7′s market share is still “very small,” but it’s obvious the team is doing monumental things with Mango. As the mobile OS finds it own, things like indoor mapping and a pristine iteration of Visual Voicemail could be key to swaying folks who still believe that Microsoft’s latest attempt in the smartphone universe still lacks the basics. The fine folks over at Pocketnow and WMPowerUser have been putting the latest build of Mango through those exact paces, and both instances are looking downright delicious. We won’t bore you with textual details; head on past the break for a bit of visual proof.