If Microsoft has to make up for the “generation we missed with Windows Mobile,” it will have to ensure that Windows Phone 7 proves too hard to ignore for developers, vendors and carriers. The company has been working on acquainting developers with its upcoming smartphone platform since March, when it unveiled the Windows Phone Developer Tools package as a community technology preview (CTP). The developer tools package now sports the beta tag.
The beta tag means that the package includes an almost finished version of everything needed for app and game development, including Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, Windows Phone Emulator, Silverlight for Windows Phone and XNA Game Studio 4.0 Beta. MS has also begun shipping pre-production preview devices to developers just as it promised, with the first devices "awarded last week to a pair of pretty amazing high-school students who won the Windows Phone “Rockstar” contest as part of the Imagine Cup.”
Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen has been on the interview circuit to promote his company's recently released Creative Suite 5 (CS5) software package, and in doing so, Narayen announced that Flash 10.1, which will be made available to Android, WebOS, Symbian, and BlackBerry, will be delayed until the second half of this year.
Some mobile platforms already use a simplified version of Flash 8 known as Flash Lite. Flash Player 10, however, will introduce better graphical and audio performance across multiple mobile OSes, although Apple was noticeably absent from Narayen's announcement. Apple and Adobe continue to be at odds over Flash support, which Narayen says "hurts consumers."
We were expecting Flash 10.1 to make its way to mobile platforms a little sooner than the second half of 2010. Narayen didn't say what the reason for the delay was, but in a related blog post, Adobe confirmed tht the private betas for Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe Air 2.0 have only just started.
Public betas are on the way, and developers can sign up to be notified about either one using the links below:
We've been hearing about a possible Zune phone for quite some time now, and according to Spanish blog MuyComputer, Microsoft will unveil the rumored smartphone later this month at the MWC in Barcenlona.
"The Zune Phone presentation at Barcenlona's Mobile World Congress 2010 is 100 percent confirmed," Engadget claims to have heard from MuyComputer's editorial director, Javier Perez Cortijo.
Should the rumor prove correct, calling it a 'Zune Phone' might be a bit misleading. This won't be a Zune player with a phone tacked on, and instead will be a Windows Mobile 7 device with Zune software.
On the hardware side, the Zune Phone will tap into Tegra. It will also sport a 480 x 272 touchscreen and come with an HDMI video out port, MuyComputer reports.
Let's clear the air for a moment - Microsoft hasn't said a word about Windows Mobile 7, so any news on the upcoming mobile OS is purely speculation. And as it turns out, there's plenty of it, all coming from "anonymous sources," says WMExperts.com. Keep this in mind as we go over the details.
WinMo 7, or "Seven," as it's going to be called, will come in two versions: Business Edition and Media Edition. The names may change, but the Business Edition, which is nearly finished, is essentially a light version of Seven with less bells and whistles. It will be able to sync to the cloud with multiple devices, and you'll even be able to snap a photo and embed it into an online document, which multiple users can have access to.
The Media Edition probably won't ship until 2011. It will support Silverlight, Mediaroom, Xbox Live, Facebook, Twitter, and Zune Music integration, among other features that are still being added.
Switching gears to the hardware side, the first Seven device to ship will likely be the LG Apollo. Apollo will sport a 1.3Ghz Qualcomm processor, 1GB of memory, a 3.8-inch capacitive AMOLED multi-touch screen, 10MP camera, and a few other goodies.
“We need a Principle Program Manager who can help drive the platform and bring Xbox LIVE enabled games to Windows Mobile. This person will focus specifically on what makes gaming experiences 'LIVE Enabled' through aspects such as avatar integration, social interactions, and multi-screen experiences,” Microsoft announced in one of the listings.
The company is also on the lookout for a Software Test Engineer to join its Windows Mobile division. The person chosen for the job “will report to the Gaming Test Lead in the Windows Mobile Entertainment team and have the opportunity to make a critical impact the next release of Windows Mobile.” The company clearly wants to offer a unified gaming experience across various device platforms. It will be interesting to see how exactly Microsoft integrates Windows Mobile 7 and Xbox Live.
In an official blog post earlier this morning, the Opera team announced it has released its Opera Mobile 10 Beta 2 browser for both Symbian/S60 and Windows Mobile smartphones. According to the announcement, the use of a new cross-platform UI framework enabled the developers to port the same features and browsing experience to both platforms.
There are a bunch of new features in the latest browser release, including a more intuitive interface, faster browsing with page loads up to 50 percent snappier than with pervious versions, Speed Dial, which allows users to visit favorite websites with a single click, and tabbed browsing.
There are some known issues on both platforms to be aware of. Some of these include only partial IME (Input Method Editor) support (S60), persistent soft keyboard display even when the hard keyboard is out and in use (S60), no plug-in support (S60 and WinMo), certain HTC devices with TouchFLO will force opera back to portrait mode if visiting the home screen when Opera is in landscape (WinMo), and lack of support for non-touch devices (WinMo).
The Droid isn't the only Verizon-serviced phone making waves, nor is Android the only platform in town. Come December 2nd, Verizon will release the Samsung Omnia II, and despite earlier speculation, it will run Windows Mobile 6.5 rather than old 6.1 code.
Available in black with red accents, the Omnia II will ship with a 3.7-inch touchscreen and a virtual QWERTY keyboard with Swipe technology. It will also come with full HTML web browsing capabilities with the Opera 9.5 enhanced browser.
Other features include one-touch access to social networking sites via shortcut widgets, a 5MP camera with flash, auto-focus, and camcorder capabilities, integrated support for Divx and Xvid movie files, 8GB of internal memory expandable up to 16GB vai microSD, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
Verizon and Samsung will price the handset at $200 after a $100 mail-in-rebate (in the form of a debit card) and new two-year customer contract.
Reports are surfacing that indicate a certain Redmond software company could be giving OEMs access to a certain mobile OS in just a few short months. After the lackluster reception of Windows Mobile 6.5, Microsoft is looking for a hit. Anything to keep Microsoft’s mobile head above water as the iPhone, Blackberry, and Android continue to move in for the kill.
The new software is reportedly code named “Maldives”, and should be in OEMs' hot little hands in the first quarter of 2010. The final release to consumers isn’t expected until later in the third quarter. This jives nicely with earlier rumors indicating a release to manufacturing in Spring 2010. It may be a while yet before you can get a WinMo 7 device, but you can certainly expect leaked ROMs to make the scene before too long.
Microsoft had originally planned to release Windows Mobile 7 in 2009. But it then pushed the release to 2010. The cutthroat nature of the smartphone market offers very little leeway for such delays. Besides, WinMo 7 is supposed to be a product that will bring Windows phones up to speed with other contemporary smartphones.
The delay left Microsoft with no choice but to plug Windows 6.5, an interim release, in a manner only accorded to a major release. It is clearly a gambit to prevent WinMo loyalists from abandoning the terribly long road to WinMo 7.
In October of this year, Adobe will release a beta version of its Flash Player 10 for mobiles, Adobe CEO Shantanu Naraye told investors. Supported OSes will include Google's Android, Nokia Symbian, Palm Web OS, and Windows Mobile powered devices.
"We are bringing Flash Player 10 to smartphone class devices to enable the latest web browsing experiences," Naraye said. "Multiple partners have already received early version of this release and we expect to release a beta version for developers at our Max conference in October."
As it currently stands, only Flash light can be found running on some platforms, a result of engineering challenges for high performance Flash and issues of control, VentureBeat says. To get that high performance, Flash needs to run in the lower layers of the OS or phone, something Android, Palm WeOS, Winmo, and Symbian are open to, but the same can't be said for RIM's BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone.