We're already two months into 2011, but this could end up being a make-or-break year for the relatively new Windows Phone 7 platform. Acer's betting on the former and has plans to launch several WP7 devices sometime this year, as well as new Android models, says Aymar de Lencquesaing, president of Acer's Smart Handheld Business Group. Clump it all together and Acer reckons it will ship several million smartphones before the year is up.
Red Hat EMEA evangelist Jan Wildeboer came across an interesting detail of Microsoft's developer agreement, and is now bringing it to everyone's attention. According to Microsoft's own Application Provider Agreement for the Windows Marketplace, apps that fall under an "Excluded License" will not be permitted. What is an Excluded License? Microsoft explains in another part of the document that an Excluded License is one that requires the opening of source code and distribution at no charge. Affected are open source licenses like GPLv3, LGPLv3, Affero GPLv3. Bummer.
If you think Microsoft was unopposed in their courting of Nokia, you'd be wrong. According to Google (still) CEO Eric Schmidt, they did attempt to get Nokia to use Android instead of Windows Phone 7. Schmidt refused to go into details when questioned on the matter, but did say that Google talked to Nokia to encourage them to join the Android Army.
Microsoft has revealed some details on their anticipated 2011 updates for Windows Phone 7, and if they follow through, the platform could be looking much more attractive. The first major update that includes copy and paste functionality is set to drop in early March, but that's nothing compared to the features expected for the second update of 2011. Microsoft expects to add Internet Explorer 9 and multitasking to Windows Phone in this second update.
At Mobile World Congress today in Barcelona, Microsoft announced some of its plans to update Windows Phone 7 in 2011. Over the course of the year, the company has plans to roll out a number of updates to the operating system, offering several new features.
In one of the strangest tech demos of Mobile World Congress 2011 to date, Microsoft has been showing off a tech demo of a Windows Phone 7 working with an Xbox 360 Kinect game. Read all about it and peep the video inside.
It turns out all the rumors were true. In the wee hours this morning for North America, Nokia made a big announcement in their Capital Market Day conference. Nokia, led by CEO (and former Microsofty) Stephen Elop, has entered into a "strategic alliance" with Microsoft. The deal involves Windows Phone, Xbox Live, and Bing services. What this really means, is that Nokia will be making Windows Phone 7 devices.
This is a big week for developers of apps for Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform. The time has finally come for Microsoft to start doling out those fat checks for app sales over the last few months. Even developers that had apps ready for the launch of the platform three months ago have bone without pay until now. Microsoft said this was merely a logistical issue, and all back sales are being paid out.
Most developers have been pleased with the rate of early sales. Developers are also pleasantly surprised at the level of engagement with Microsoft both while developing, and after publishing. Although, some game developers take issue with the preferential treatment that Xbox live games get in the Marketplace. Non-Live games are not eligible to be featured titles, and apps must be accepted into the Live system to add the feature.
The missing piece of the puzzle according to developers is the number of handsets. The WP7 user base is still relatively small. It is hoped that the impending release of Windows Phone 7 on CDMA carriers Verizon and Sprint will boost sales.
Microsoft has again broken their vow of silence to release some Windows Phone 7 figures. But really, we don't know why they were being so coy about it. According to Microsoft, 2 million Windows Phone 7 devices were shipped last quarter. This is not the number actually sold to customers, but 2 million shipped to retailers is not a bad showing. Still, we're hoping to see some sales numbers soon.
Microsoft said that brand awareness of Windows Phone 7 has spiked 22% since launch to 66% total. User satisfaction is also looking good at 93%. For a fledgling platform, those are good numbers. There was also an update on the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace, which now has over 6500 applications. Microsoft still has a long way to catch up to Android and iOS, but this is just the first step in recapturing their shrinking market share.
Play.fm today announced that its Play.fm Mobile App is now available for download in three flavors, including Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone 7.
"With our mobile Apps music fans now have access to the probably biggest collection of DJ mixes regardless of where they are at the moment," says Georg Hitzenberger, founder of Play.fm. "Cloud Music, i.e., the consumption of music hosted on dedicated streaming servers, is the future of the music business. One can assume that smartphones will play a major role there."
The app runs $3.99 regardless of whether you purchase and download it through the Android Market, Apple iTunes, or Windows Marketplace. That buys you 90 days of unrestricted access to audio streams from Play.fm's roughly 30,000 DJ sets. After 90 days, you get five hours per month at no cost, or you can pony up for the Premium subscription for unlimited access (price yet to be determined).