Archive for: Microsoft

Q1 2011: 1.6 Million Windows Phone 7 Devices Sold.

  • May 19, 2011 8:37 am

Even though Microsoft has relented on releasing any concrete Windows Phone 7 sales figures, various analysts have earned their wages by providing their own figures and estimates. The latest tally is compliments of research analyst Gartner, whom claims Microsoft has moved 1.6 million phones through Q1 2011. Mind you, these are actual devices sold and not just shipped.

While they’re not as high as competing Android and iOS devices, it’s a tad better than forecasts from a few short months ago. The real interesting change should begin later this year or early 2012 when Nokia is said to be releasing their first WP7-powered device. With Nokia’s still large hardware presence globally, Microsoft could see a rather large uptick in WP7 adoption in a relatively short time span.

[Update] Microsoft: “We’ll Replace Xbox Units Bricked By Upcoming Update”

  • May 18, 2011 1:03 pm

Previous reports that Microsoft “unlocked” an extra hidden GB of disc space for game developers. This new space was previously reserved for anti-piracy measures and DVD-Audio. Though seeing as how Microsoft doesn’t use such features, said space was reclaimed and re-purposed for what matters most. The good news was briefly overshadowed by a rather ominous problem — some Xbox hardware wouldn’t accept the update, and in turn cease working. But all concern should be dispelled for Microsoft has come forward and promised that any and all Xbox units bricked by the update will receive a replacement 250 GB Xbox Slim unit and 12 free months of Xbox Live Gold membership.

One lucky gamer by the name of Avery Penn received an email from Microsoft detailing the issue and providing the necessary links and information to get the claim process going. Seems like a rather nice move on Microsoft’s part, no?

The update in question is still in the beta channel currently, though slated to go live tomorrow, May 19th. Depending on what corner of the world you live in, the update could take up to almost two weeks to reach you, however. Nonetheless, the email above signals Microsoft has some way of telling which consoles are affected and taking the appropriate actions proactively. Let us know how your upgrade goes..

- Update

Nokia: “Microsoft Purchase Rumors Are Wrong.”

  • May 17, 2011 10:45 am

Previously reported rumors of Microsoft purchasing Nokia by famous tech leaker, Eldar Murtazin, have received a swift and all encompassing blow this morning. Nokia’s communications director Mark Squires published (via: Twitter) a blunt denial of Eldar’s claims and even throws in a personal jab for good measure.

We typically don’t comment on rumors. But we have to say that Eldar’s rumors are getting obviously less accurate with every passing moment.

Even though Nokia has come forward to douse the flames on the potential merger fire, the possibility of such a deal is far from finished. Often times such deals are done in secret and denied repeatedly when outed by the media in order to keep a number of involved people and companies happy as well the money flowing. As far as we’re concerned, Nokia’s response is business as usual, and as such, can be taken with a grain of salt almost as much as Eldar’s original claim. Agree?

New Windows Phone 7 Mango Features: Part 3.

  • May 16, 2011 1:06 pm

If you’ve been following GS over the last couple of weeks, you’ll know that we’ve already seen many new features of the next iteration of Windows Phone 7 — dubbed “Mango” — revealed (part 1, part 2). And while the latest leak of news occurred just yesterday, today is a new day meaning new leaks. The focus for today’s flow of information as detailed by the Windows Team Blog — productivity.

  • Pinnable Email Folders and Conversation View Within Email: Windows Phone 7.5 will introduce “pinnable folders” that will allow users to stick a folder or Outlook RSS feed to your homescreen. The latter — Conversation View — is pretty self explanatory in that it will display emails in an easy to follow along conversation view similar to many other platforms such as webOS, BlackBerry, iOS and Android.
  • Server Search: The ability to search email server for older emails that are no longer stored locally on your phone.
  • Lync: “Lync Mobile” will join together various communication methods into a unified instant messaging window. Think of it as a sort of twist on webOS’ approach of joining conversations together across platforms by user instead of service.
  • Complex (alpha-numeric) password support
  • Information Rights Management
  • WiFi: Support for hidden WiFi networks

Based on the increasing frequency of Windows Phone 7.5 leaks, it’s only a matter of time before more information is revealed. Stay tuned as we keep drudging through the latest Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) news.

Rumor: Microsoft And Nokia In Merger Talks?

  • May 16, 2011 11:05 am

Hearing rumors of a potential Nokia purchase by software giant, Microsoft, is both surprising and expected. Several weeks back when the two companies made a joint announcement detailing future Nokia devices transition to Windows Phone 7, the writing was (for us) on the wall. How long would the two companies exist as separate entities with so much heavy collaboration? If infamous mobile leaker, Eldar Murtazin, is correct in his latest blog post, we didn’t have to wait very long at all.

According to Murtazin, Nokia is desperate not just for Microsoft to revamp their mobile phones, but to take full control of the company by way of take over/purchase. Such a marriage would unit the world’s largest software maker and hardware manufacturer into one super company. The resulting company would instantly have the benefits of both massive software and hardware muscle, though their combined effectiveness would obviously need to be proven.

The meetings between the two companies supposedly goes down this week. It’s unlikely either party will acknowledge such a deal if true. With that said, keep close to GS for the latest on this developing story.

Nokia Dropping “Ovi” Branding This Summer.

  • May 16, 2011 6:32 am

Nokia’s revamped Ovi brand which brought together the likes of their old discontinued N-Gage services, Nokia Music, Nokia Maps, and many other Nokia-branded apps/services will very soon be no more. The company has announced that they are officially dropping the “Ovi” branding and instead reorganizing under one name — Nokia. The move comes after nearly three years of heavy marketing and most likely million upon million of Euros invested in a service that overall attracted few.

Per Nokia Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Jerri DeVard:

We have made the decision to change our service branding from Ovi to Nokia. By centralizing our services identity under one brand, not two, we will reinforce the powerful master brand of Nokia and unify our brand architecture – while continuing to deliver compelling opportunities and experiences for partners and consumers alike. The reasons for this decision includes the fact that Nokia is a well-known and highly-loved brand the world over. Our mobile experiences are tightly integrated with our devices – there is no longer a differentiation. For example, if consumers want the best mobile navigation experience, they know it’s a Nokia that they can rely on. These last few years, and moving forward, our mission remains unchanged: we will continue our work to deliver compelling, unified mobile service offerings and next-generation, disruptive technologies.

It makes sense for Nokia to get their ducks in a row considering the continuing loss of market share the company is experiencing. Though as for their own branded services, it’s not really known how relevant they’ll be (or whether people will even want them) now that Microsoft has taken the reigns and features their own suite of more popular and used services. In short: Nokia-branded services look to follow the same path as Ovi, N-Gage, and others before it — irrelevance which results in death.

The change in naming and marketing is scheduled to begin in July of this year and continue through 2012 with no planned outages in any one service.

New WP7 Mango Features Revealed: Facebook Chat, Office 365, Revamped Games Hub And More!

  • May 15, 2011 8:43 pm

Early last week we saw a few up and coming features of Microsoft’s next Windows Phone 7 update (Mango) leaked. Flip the calendar forward a week and we’ve got even more goodies to share compliments of the Windows Phone Dev Podcast.

In said group’s latest podcast, we’re told of several new features including Visual Voicemail, Facebook Chat (integrated with Windows Live Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger), “Office 365″ (plus SkyDrive and SharePoint), and a revamped Games hub that signals tighter Xbox Live integration. Other little gems include album art being displayed on the lockscreen while music is playing as well as an unnamed group messaging feature that combines Facebook Chat with many different services.

It’s all off the record information for now, but we’ll take it no less. Looks like Mango is shaping up to be quite the treat, no?

You’re Doing It Wrong: Microsoft Purposely Gimps HTC WP7 Devices With 16-Bit Color In NoDo.

  • May 13, 2011 10:14 am

In a move that is extremely puzzling given Windows Phone 7′s lackluster market share, Microsoft has gone ahead (with the help of HTC in small part) and purposely gimped the HTC Trophy and HD7 WP7 handsets. Specifically, HTC created the two handsets with 32-bit color depth — above and beyond Microsoft’s 16-bit requirement. Before NoDo, colors were displayed in their full 32-bit glory. None too pleased with HTC going against their wishes, Microsoft forced 16-bit color depth in the recent NoDo update though forgot to include support for dithering. The end result is seen above — god awful color reproduction that you’d expect from a $10 feature phone. (More pictures and example of color banding after NoDo upgrade — Trophy user Santiago Castelo.) Microsoft is of course shrugging the issue off with claims that “it shouldn’t be noticeable…” via Microsoft’s own forums:

“When HTC launched the HD7 and Trophy they upgraded the color depth to 32 bit, which was outside of Microsoft’s design requirements of 16bit. Microsoft implemented the design standards to help ensure the best possible and consistent experience for all customers on all Windows Phones. To continue to deliver a stable and consistent customer experience, HTC returned the devices to the 16 bit design requirements as part of the March (7.0.7390) update.

The color palette change should not make a noticeable change to most customers experience on their Windows Phone 7. Microsoft’s goal is to ensure that the device is performing as optimally as possible – and as always their engineering teams continue to investigate the opportunities for future improvements.” Aled T, Microsot Support

The only problem of course is that the change by Microsoft is noticeable and makes WP7 look far less attractive and overall cheap — not something M wants to be doing as they continue to struggle with the WP7 platform.

Hopefully Microsoft can (1) push out an update that doesn’t break a large chunk of their user base the first time and (2) stop shooting themselves in the foot with tactics such as this.

Xbox Live PayPal Transactions Going Global!

  • May 10, 2011 8:12 am

U.S. Xbox Live subscribers have been able to enjoy the fruits of PayPal payments across Microsoft’s online gaming service for some time now. Global markets, however, have not. That changes in the coming weeks. Between May 19th and May 30th, a series of mini-updates will be pushed out to all Xbox 360 consoles enabling the feature outlined above.

Though if PayPal payments aren’t your forte, there are a couple other treats primed and ready. Perhaps just as important as PayPal support, the upcoming XBL update will also bring compatibility for Xbox Game Disc Format (XGD3). This new spec will give game developers an extra ~1 GB of space to use.

Finally, the nifty Avatar Kinect features we saw back in January at CES will officially debut to the masses. Think of it as a Playstation Home on steroids + facial recognition (and without appalling security practices in place).

Who’s ready?