If you are in the UK and have come to love the new Windows Phone 7 operating system, here is something that you would love to hear. Samsung Omnia 7, the first Windows Phone 7 handset for UK is now available on pre-order. T-Mobile UK, the carrier that will offer the connectivity in the market will make the device available at a price of anywhere between £0 and £300.00. As you guessed it, the difference here will be in the price.
Subscribers looking for a free handset will have to sign up for a two year contract for a monthly cost of £35 at least. On the other hand, customers looking for a cheaper monthly plan can get the device at £300.00 and need to only pay £10 a month.
Microsoft has called the press up for a media event on Tuesday this week at the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington. According to a statement from the company, the announcements scheduled for this week are likely to be about Microsoft Office. No further details are known yet.
That, however does not stop us from speculating. It has been widely known that the Microsoft Office 2011 edition for Mac computers is slated for release later this month on October 26. What that could mean is that Microsoft’s announcements tomorrow will inevitably discuss this upcoming release. The company had announced last month that the software had already been shipped to Apple for being incorporated in the upcoming versions of Mac.
Besides that, there are also speculations that Microsoft could be announcing a mobile Microsoft Office suite geared to iOS devices. That remains a speculation however.
Microsoft appears to be doing really well in the gaming console segment. The company has reported that over 484,000 units of their XBox console was sold during the month of September 2010. That makes Microsoft the number 1 player in the segment for the fourth month in a row. The sale numbers are also up 37% compared to XBox 360 sales in September last year. The company has also announced that the sale of games have seen a terrific rise thanks to the launch of the new Halo : Reach. Microsoft apparently sold 3.3 million units of the game during the month of September.
The numbers are interesting on two counts. Firstly, Microsoft will be entering the holiday shopping season on the back of this impressive sale numbers over the past four months. Gaming consoles are one of the very hot selling commodities during this season and Microsoft should expect to do well. Secondly, the impressive sale numbers should also help the company in the sale of Windows Phone 7 handsets considering that the mobile platform is tightly integrated to XBox Live. Existing users should surely contemplate buying a Windows Phone 7 device.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) shares rose 1.23% in the market yesterday and are currently trading at $25.57 in the after-hours.
Microsoft could be working on a new kind of physical keyboard that will render different set of keys depending on the application that the user is working on. For example, a user who wants to play a two-player racing game does not need to use the W-A-S-D set of keys to navigate. Instead, these keys could dynamically change to display the various arrows on launching the gaming application. Similarly, the keys on the keyboard can also suitably change when the user launches a word processing document or a spreadsheet.
These innovations are described in a patent application filed by Microsoft in April last year which has been made public only today. In the application, Microsoft also notes that these keys shall be touch-sensitive in order to enable easy toggling between the various display alternatives. For instance, to change the display of a key from “q” to “Q”, the user may simply touch the key and gesture a slide-up (as shown in the picture below).
The patent application also describes the way such a keyboard will operate. The application notes,
“A light source 210 may be disposed within body 202 of adaptive input device 200. A light delivery system 212 may be positioned optically between light source 210 and a liquid crystal display 218 to deliver light produced by light source 210 to liquid crystal display 218. Light provided by light source 210 may be internally reflected within the optical waveguide. A reflective surface 214 may direct the light provided by light source 210, including the internally reflected light, through light exit surface 240 of the optical waveguide to a light input surface 242 of liquid crystal display 218.
The liquid crystal display 218 is configured to receive and dynamically modulate light produced by light source 210 to create a plurality of display images that are respectively projected onto the plurality of depressible keys, touch regions, or background areas (i.e., key images, touch images and/or background images). “
I’m not sure how popular such a keyboard shall be compared to the present day ones. Nevertheless, this is an interesting technology that is worth keeping track of. You can check out the USPTO documents by clicking here.
Update: Nick Eaton from SeattlePi points me to this link about Microsoft’s Adaptive Keyboard. Check out a video demo of this interesting product.
Microsoft’s newly unveiled Windows Phone 7 handsets come with the ability to expand storage with the help of external microSD chips. However, while this can help you add more content to the phone, it is not technically swappable. That is, users cannot simply cannot take out the microSD card and replace it with another card. This is because of a new system that integrates the external storage with the main memory while processing data. Microsoft explains,
“Windows Phone uses a special high–performance SD card that works differently than SD cards in other devices. When your phone is built and first set up, its internal storage and SD card are combined and recognized as one storage system. You should not remove the SD card in your phone or replace it with a new one because your Windows Phone won’t work properly. Existing data on the phone may be lost, and that SD card can’t be used in other devices or Windows Phones.”
What this means is that you can swap microSD cards, but only after a hard-reset which will basically wipe out all data on your phone. Not something that will thrill you, but then this is also something that should not affect most users since not everyone needs more than the basic 8GB or 16GB of content.
With the launch of Microsoft Windows Phone 7 handsets imminent, the company is apparently getting ready to make associated software and tools available for all the major platforms available. Zune Software, which will now be the iTunes equivalent for Windows Phone 7 phones could soon be made available for the Mac platform. This comes from Oded Ran, a UK based Microsoft executive in charge of Windows Phone 7 marketing. In a tweet posted recently, Ran had written,
“DAILY #WP7 ANNOUNCEMENT: I’m glad to confirm that Mac users would be able to use Zune on their Macs to sync with #WP7. More details soon.”
Not surprisingly, the tweet got deleted soon after though it had gotten into the hands of several of his Twitter followers by then. But considering that Ran was actually “glad to confirm” this news indicates that an official announcement in this regard is not too long away.
If you are a voracious music listener, then this offer is something that is a pretty good deal for someone looking to purchase a new phone. As you know, Microsoft announced their new Windows Phone 7 operating system. Now, the company has offered a free three month Zune Pass subscription offer to anyone who pre-orders one of these WP 7 handsets.
What you will need to do is visit this link to be notified of upcoming pre-orders. Once you are notified of one, you may go ahead and place an order in order to receive this free three month Zune Pass. A big disclaimer here – this offer works only for users in the United States.
The offer is not a pretty bad deal. Zune Pass costs $14.99 a month and lets you stream an unlimited number of music from any web browser besides getting an opportunity to store up to 10 songs a month. If you love music, this is a pretty good bargain.
Quite a few promos of the soon-to-be-announced Microsoft Windows Phone 7 platform were recently unveiled and some of these materials made an interesting reference to the popular Angry Birds gaming application. While this was a probable indication that Rovio Mobile – the developer of the application – have been building an application for the upcoming platform, we however hear now that that is not the case.
Rovio has indicated that the company has still not committed themselves to the new platform and that Microsoft had actually referenced Angry Birds on their promo materials without consultation. Rovio has said,
“Nothing to do with if we do or don’t, it’s just that we decide that for ourselves … We could do a WP7 version of Angry Birds, not the issue. We have not agreed to do that (yet). Will support all relevant platforms.”
Microsoft too has clarified that the company is yet to finalize any partnership with Rovio and have attributed the improper reference to a misunderstanding,
“It appears information was mistakenly posted to Microsoft’s website, and has been removed,”
We are only moments away from the start of the Microsoft media event where the company is expected to launch the new Windows Phone 7. Microsoft has already been making a lot of updates in the back-end to prep up their infrastructure to handle the new platform. As we wrote just sometime back, the new Zune desktop software just received an update in this regard.
Though the OS launches today, the handsets are not expected to come until later. From what we’ve heard until now, the first Windows Phone 7 based handsets are expected to launch in Europe in October 21 and in USA on November 8. We hope these dates will be officially announced during this conference.
Microsoft is live-streaming the announcement. You can now head over to this link to start watching the announcement live.
Just as you would know, Microsoft is all set to announce the new Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system in just an hour or two from now. Like with any other smartphone platform, all eyes are now on the application marketplace for Windows Phone to see how this would work vis-a-vis the iTunes App Store and Android Market.
Folks at Engadget have got hold of a few interesting pieces of information that will give users an idea about how the Windows Phone App Marketplace will work. First and foremost, Microsoft has already updated their Zune desktop software to version 4.7 today. The new version is capable of setting up new Windows Phone 7 handsets (the earliest ones are expected to come ten days from now in Europe). Users will need a Windows Live-ID to sign into the Zune software and apparently, only 86 apps are available on the marketplace at present. 2000 apps are expected to be up and running before the official launch happens. Out of these 86 apps, 22 are free and others cost between $0.99 and $6.99.
Basically, the Windows Phone app marketplace is pretty similar to an App Store except for one crucial difference. Microsoft appears to be offering an incentive to users who have their friends and family owning Windows Phone handsets as well. This is with the help of their App-Sharing feature. Essentially, users may use the same Windows-Live ID on as many as 5 different Windows phones to download the app on all these different handsets. What this means is users can pool in money from their friends who are on Windows Phone to share expensive applications and be able to download these apps to their individual handsets. This is definitely an intelligent strategy to not only help proliferate the adoption of the platform, but also encourage app developers to price their apps higher since their applications could now be shared by several users.