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All posts tagged "microsoft"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Mobile Wallet: NFC Tech Coming To WP7?

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone News" @ 10:00 AM

"Near Field Communication (NFC), in our opinion, will be the big story of late 2011 as it finally becomes widely adopted in the marketplace. NFC is basically a small chipset component that can store vital information e.g. credit card data, making your phone a virtual payment system for use in stores--you simply swipe your phone near the reader, enter your pin and you're good to go."

Let's be honest here - this isn't exactly new technology, NFC is already in commercial use in Japan for instance. But like any promising tech, you've got to have a lot of things in place before you have mass acceptance like hardware, software, industry standards, and most of all, killer applications. But it looks like WP7 is already on the NFC bandwagon, with at least one WP7 OEM looking into it and Nokia already committed for their regular lineup (and hopefully for their WP7 phones as well). So that's one part of the equation that's holding up. Now, about the rest...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Not So Fast - Nokia Predicts Lengthy Transition to WP7

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 11:00 AM


"Nokia today provided more colour on its high-profile deal with Microsoft, claiming that it will take until 2013 for Windows Phone-powered devices to make up the majority of its smartphone portfolio. In its Form 20-F 2010 report, filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission this morning, Nokia stated that "we expect the transition to Windows Phone as our primary smartphone platform to take about two years." It added that while Microsoft will continue to license Windows Phones to its rivals, Nokia expects the deal to enable "opportunities to innovate and customise on the Windows Phone platform, such as in imaging... with a view to differentiating Nokia smartphones from those of our competitors who also use the Windows Phone platform.""

While the industry has been abuzz about the Microsoft-Nokia deal, it seems like it will take some time for things to settle into a steady state. Mobile Business Briefing is reporting that it could take until 2013 until the Microsoft platform makes up the majority of the Nokia smartphone offerings. Nokia is reportedly planning to continue development and deployment of their Symbian phones during this period and plans to release a MeeGo-based device as well.

Interestingly, this shouldn't really be that big a surprise. It is near impossible to make a shift of this kind in a short period of time. There is an installed base of Symbian phones and users that needs to be attended to, and the sheer effort required to manufacture devices on a new platform takes time. It seems Nokia has a reasonable plan that goes some way to protect existing consumers and their investments, and allows them to transition with less disruption than might otherwise occur.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

$1 Billion Dollars, a Bargain?

Posted by Nelson Ocampo in "Windows Phone News" @ 12:00 PM

"Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT - News) won a huge new partnership with Nokia (NYSE:NOK - News) that could light a fire under its mobile division, but it will come at a price: over $1 billion. The five-year agreement between the two companies—which somehow still hasn’t been signed—will see over $1 billion transferred from Microsoft to Nokia to encourage the production of Windows Phone 7 handsets, although it’s not all one-sided: Nokia will pay a licensing fee per handset to Microsoft that could eventually make the deal profitable for Microsoft, according to a report from Bloomberg. Still, the payments will start before the first Nokia Windows Phone 7 handsets arrive, which means that they’ll have to sell in decent volume for Microsoft to eventually see a payout."

While this may seem like a lot of money, it is equivalent to only 5 percent of the profits Microsoft made last year.

So, what is Microsoft really buying for the $1 billion? It isn't only Nokia's love, support, and marketing that they'll be getting, but also rights to Nokia's huge library of patents. Nokia has been in the handset game for a while, and they have quite a few innovations themselves. And now MS will have access to them without having to worry about possible lawsuits from Nokia. Something Apple wasn't as lucky with.

Check out the link for the full scoop.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

WP7 Update Is Back On Track

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone News" @ 07:30 PM

"Starting today, we plan to resume rolling out the February update to Samsung phones. Meanwhile, we're continuing to dispatch the update to other Windows Phone models. As has been the case, the software patch is being sent out on a rolling schedule. You'll see a message on your phone when it's available."

Microsoft has apparently found the glitch that affected the update process for certain Samsung models, and are now pushing out the first WP7 update to everybody (eventually). This rollout has obviously not been pain free and MS testing procedures probably not as comprehensive as it should have been, but better now than later when the more important NoDo update comes due this month. If you've got a Samsung, let us know how your update experience went.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bing Grabs Global Number Two Spot

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone News" @ 07:00 PM

This is worthwhile news, but Bing is still a long way away from challenging Google's search hegemony. After all we're still talking about a 0.5% lead over Yahoo, and far behind Google's near 90% share. Still it's noteworthy that Bing's making such progress, even given Microsoft's advantage in making it the default search engine for IE, and for WP7.

Monday, February 28, 2011

CeBIT: Getting Your Hands On WP7

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone News" @ 06:30 PM

Microsoft will have 50 demo phones available for visitors to their booth at CeBIT to play with - for a whole day. So if you're in Hanover, Germany over the next four days, and curious about WP7, you might want to drop in a little early to reserve a set. While you're at it, MS is also holding a giveaway contest with 10 WP7 sets as prizes.

MS Employees: Got Free Time? Develop a Windows Phone 7 App!

Posted by Steven McPherson in "Windows Phone News" @ 08:00 AM

This seems to be a good move on Microsoft's part on multiple levels. Microsoft has always been a highly competitive and focused work environment within which you will find some of the most talented and passionate technologists that exist anywhere in the word. So, who better to develop apps for Microsoft's new mobility platform but Microsoft's own employees? Hopefully, this program will enable Microsoft to continue to attract and retain some the best and brightest folks in the industry.

Microsoft employees who develop an application in their free time are eligible to keep the intellectual property and receive the financial benefits of developing the application. According to Brandon Watson, Director of Windows Phone 7 Developer Experience more than 3000 employees had registered to develop applications for the platform and about 840 applications have been published to date. According to Mr. Watson, "We tend to have strict moonlighting rules, but we've changed those rules so developers can do this in their spare time, and have the financial benefit and outcome of the work."

I don't recall my friends and colleagues who work or have worked at Microsoft indicating that they've had a ton of free time, but still, it will be great to see what this exceptional group of technologist will continue to add to the ever growing community of apps in the marketplace.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Microsoft-Nokia Partnership - Ten Days In

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 08:00 AM

Well, it was pretty much ten days ago that we heard the first detailed information about a new relationship between Microsoft and Nokia. It certainly turned into a week or so of intrigue. Let's look back at some of the major events that occurred following the announcement.

11-Feb: Microsoft and Nokia announce a strategic partnership in which Windows Phone will become Nokia's principal smartphone platform. Nokia also reveals that they will be able to fully customize the Windows Phone 7 experience, should they so desire. Stephen Elop, the new Nokia CEO, also reveals that there will be substantial reductions in employment within the company.

12-Feb: 15-year Microsoft sales and marketing veteran Chris Weber replaces Nokia USA president Mark Louison effective immediately.

13-Feb: While on stage at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Elop announces that their first priority is beating Android. They also mention that we will likely see Nokia Windows Phone 7 devices in 2011, with volume shipments in 2012. Reports also surface that Microsoft paid "billions' of dollars for the right to supply Nokia with software. Read more...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Microsoft Suspends Update?

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone News" @ 07:00 PM

"Looks like our initial assessment of the first Windows Phone update was a little rosy for some users, specifically those of Samsung phones (even a few Focus users are having problems). For a handful of unlucky folks, the Windows Phone update is actually "bricking" their phone after Step 6 of the update...from our perspective (here in the States) Microsoft has either yet to or has indeed put a halt to rolling out the update (both my Quantum and HD7 have yet to be flagged for an update, even when force-checked in Zune desktop."

I've done the update and had zero problems, but it appears for some, the update has brought on a whole lot of trouble. The problem appears to be confined to Samsung WP7 owners (and then, only for particular firmware versions), so you might want to hold off until Microsoft issues a fixed update at the end of this week.


Mary-Jo Foley of ZDNet has managed to pry some answers from Microsoft:

"We have identified a technical issue with the Windows Phone update process that impacts a small number of Samsung phones. This software update remains available to customers with the exception of Samsung as we are in the process of temporarily taking down the update for those phones in order to correct the issue as soon as possible."

So the update should still be going through for non-Samsung WP7 phones. You might want to read what else Mary-Jo has to say about it, though I think she's over-reacting a little.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Not so Kind Word for Microsoft from Motorola and Verizon

Posted by Steven McPherson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 06:00 PM

Its always an interesting proposition when your sometimes alliance partners in Motorola and Verizon indicate that your latest and greatest isn't so great. Microsoft found themselves in that very position today when Motorola and Verizon both seemed to insinuate that the Windows Phone 7 OS has failed or at least wasn't living up to expectations in interviews with CNET at Mobile World Congress today.

"I do want a strong third OS out there. It gives the carriers more flexibility and balances the interests of all the parties. But I still have doubts whether Microsoft will get the traction they are hoping for with Windows Phone 7."

Tony Melone, CTO at Verizon Communications indicated as such today. Mr, Melone went onto to state:

"I don't think Verizon needs the Nokia and Microsoft relationship. Right now the three OS players we see for our network are Android, Apple, and RIM"

Chris Wyatt, Corporate Vice President of Software and Services Product Management chimed in with comments from the same show:

"We would like an opportunity to create unique value and we don't feel we could with a closed platform"

Certainly over the years, Microsoft has established great relationship with both Verizon and Motorola, but the statements from Verizon and Motorola today seem to indicate that Microsoft has made their beds with these two partners, however, I think there could be another side to this story. Read more...

Microsoft-Nokia Announcement Spurs Windows Phone 7 App Development

Posted by Nelson Ocampo in "Windows Phone News" @ 10:02 AM

Businessweek Logo

According to an article found in Businessweek, Flurry Inc. has indicated that interest in WP7 app development has increased significantly since Microsoft announced their partnership with hardware giant Nokia.

In fact, when it comes to new projects, WP is now ranked as 3rd behind Apple and iOS.

"New projects for Windows Phone passed Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry and now rank third behind new apps for Apple Inc.’s iOS and Google Inc.’s Android, Flurry said. Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, which agreed last week to have its Windows Phone software power Nokia handsets, is working to turn around market-share losses to Apple and Google. A wide variety of applications is critical to attracting mobile-phone users"

While the overall percentage of new projects is still only at 4% (up from 1%), this is definitely a move in the right direction. Nokia has a large international appeal. With their commitment to Windows Phone, developers are likely seeing the potential for their applications and games to reach millions, if not billions, of people around the world.

Developing apps for Windows Phone may have suddenly went from a labor of love, to a real practical business strategy for maximizing profits. It's amazing how much could change so quickly isn't it?

How do you feel about the growth? Talk about it in the forums!

Second Look Analysis of the Microsoft-Nokia Alliance

Posted by Richard Chao in "Windows Phone News" @ 08:00 AM

"Now, stepping through a second take on this announcement, I'd like to offer up some thoughts about what this means, and how I think this will impact Windows Phone going forward."

Paul Thurrott has written a very insightful and well thought out analysis of the Microsoft-Nokia Strategic Alliance and concluded by stating, "Windows Phone is the most innovative smart phone platform on earth. Hopefully adding Nokia to the mix will only make it better. My guess is that it will."

I agree with Paul that Windows Phone is the most innovative smart phone platform on earth and adding Nokia to the mix could potentially make the platform better, my biggest concern is the whole fragmentation issue. Paul mentions the fragmentation between WP7 devices in its current state as a luxury device and potential future entry market devices by Nokia. But, the fragmentation I'm mainly worried about has to do with the fact Microsoft's initial strategy with Windows Phone 7 was the baseline OS would be controlled by Microsoft itself and customizations were limited to added on apps and/or hubs. Thereby allowing OS updates to be pushed to each and every Windows Phone at the same time. A strategy that has been hugely successful for iOS as it avoids the fragmentation problem that currently plagues Android OS.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone Software" @ 09:30 AM

"SPB TV has been around for ages on Windows Mobile and is the second port by the popular software company to Windows Phone, the other being Brain Evolution 2. Offering free streaming TV from around the globe, SPB TV is quite popular outside the U.S. (US channel selection is limited, but it's still a great app to have on hand) and offers a excellent streaming experience."

For us old-timers, SPB is a familiar and welcome name, known for quality apps at affordable prices on Windows Mobile. They haven't foregone Windows Phone 7, and SPB TV is the second in their portfolio to be ported to Microsoft's new software platform. SPB TV will be offered free and should be in Windows Marketplace soon.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Engadget Interviews Nokia CEO Stephen Elop

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone News" @ 02:49 PM

"We had a chance to sit down for a few minutes with the man who's arguably stolen the show here at Mobile World Congress this year -- Nokia CEO Stephen Elop -- to talk about everything from his time at Microsoft to the potential for a multi-billion dollar platform partnership with his former employer that he's hoping to foster over the coming years."

A worthwhile ten minute video: Elop explains more about the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft, clarifies that Microsoft isn't paying Nokia billions of dollars to use Windows Phone 7, and stresses again that Nokia sees tremendous opportunity to put Windows Phone 7 into new price segments based on driving down the cost through volume. He also states that while he'd love to see a Nokia Windows Phone 7 released in 2011, it's too soon to tell; while Microsoft and Nokia engineers have been working together for months now, they won't know how quickly they can bring a phone to market for one or two months.

Monday, February 14, 2011

WP7 Updates: IE9, Twitter, Multitasking in 2011

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone Software" @ 10:00 PM

The scuttlebutt had it right - among the updates Microsoft has planned for WP7 are a mobile version of IE9, a Twitter hub and (finally) multitasking. While there's no timeline for delivery of these updates, the expectations are that these will be delivered this year. More immediately, the first WP7 update (codenamed NoDo) has been confirmed for the first couple of weeks of March bringing with it copy and paste support, CDMA support and performance enhancements.

Nokia's Stephen Elop and Microsoft's Steve Ballmer Q&A

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone News" @ 02:00 PM

This video is worth watching - Elop stresses that one of the key benefits Nokia brings is the ability to get Windows Phone 7 into markets and price points where it isn't currently. The "price points" is an important factor; we know that HVGA (480 x 320) is in the cards for future Windows Phone 7 devices, and you can bet that Nokia will be all over that: they're great at building both low-cost and middle-of-the-road hardware to serve a variety of markets. I can see a small HVGA Windows Phone 7 device hitting the market in late 2011/early 2012 that would allow Microsoft to reach new markets.

This is definitely the biggest announcement yet made for the fledgling Windows Phone 7 platform.

Those Nokia Windows Phone 7 Photos are Legitimate

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 01:35 PM

Over at the official Nokia blog there are two high-res photos of the design mock-ups Engadget showed last week. I'm digging the white and the yellow versions - unfortunately there's no sync/charge port on the bottom, but it's hard to judge a mock-up so I'll hope they put the sync/charge port there.

Also worth noting is the Nokia keynote highlights video below - it explores some of the reasons why Nokia made this move. Android is clearly in Nokia's crosshairs: they want to take out what is now the world's #1 smartphone platform.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Different Kind Of Fruit: WP7's Mango Update To Feature IE9 Mobile

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone Software" @ 09:00 AM

"Yes, Microsoft is going to play a very fast game of catch up on the browser front with Windows Phone 7. Currently, WP7 phones are running a version of IE Mobile, known as IE Mobile 7, which that is a variant of IE 7 with some IE 8 functionality added. But Windows Phone 7s running Mango will be running a mobile version of IE 9, Microsoft's latest, HTML5-compliant IE browser that the company is expected to release to the Web this spring."

Before anyone gets excited, Mango is due later this year; the update coming soon (with copy & paste) is codenamed NoDo, and has been delayed to March. Microsoft is expected to release more details about the Mango update at Mobile World Congress starting tomorrow, so we'll probably learn soon enough what else to expect. I'd be interested in particularly at the pace of updates - Will Microsoft display the kind of commitment that Google and Apple have given their respective platforms by frequent support updates? Will there be any interim updates at all? Stay tuned.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Hint of the Future? Nokia's Windows Phone 7 Concept Phone

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone News" @ 03:42 PM

Yowzers! I like the look of that phone - Engadget has the details, though there's not much to share at this point beyond there being some work already happening between the two companies. I think that's a great sign - it means this isn't a partnership starting from scratch today; it's been evolving for some time now. I say bring it on: the competition to innovate on Windows Phone 7 just took a step up!

Microsoft & Nokia's Open Letter

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone News" @ 03:00 PM

"Today in London, our two companies announced plans for a broad strategic partnership that combines the respective strengths of our companies and builds a new global mobile ecosystem. The partnership increases our scale, which will result in significant benefits for consumers, developers, mobile operators and businesses around the world. We both are incredibly excited about the journey we are on together."

Want to read more about what synergies Microsoft and Nokia see with this partnership? Check out the open letter from the CEO's of both companies. Time will tell if this partnership bears real fruit against the twin juggernauts of iOS and Android. RIM is in the mix too, but I see their positioning waning over time unless they do something just as drastic...

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