Category Microsoft

Hacker George ‘Geohot’ Hotz offered free Windows Phone 7 device by Microsoft

It seems that these days, a mobile platform is only as successful as the apps that define it, and we all know you can’t have killer apps without the talented developers who design them. Among the most passionate and proficient programmers of any platform are the homebrew community that rallies around it. Whether we’re talking the Dev Team, xda-developers, or WebOS Internals, there is no denying the serious potential on tap in the hacker scene. Apparently someone ‘on loan to Microsoft focused on getting our developer mojo back’ gets this.

In a tweet directed at infamous hacker George Hotz aka Geohot, entrepreneur Brandon Watson offered the talented 21-year-old a free WP7 device to ‘let dev creativity flourish’. No word on whether Geohot has taken up on Watson’s offer, but a recent post mentioned he was ‘going out to buy a Windows 7 phone’ and is interested in jailbreaking Microsoft’s brand new mobile operating system.

Geohot has quite the résumé. He was one of the first individuals instrumental in jailbreaking and unlocking Apple’s iPhone and has recently been sued by Sony for publicly releasing jailbreak code for the PlayStation 3 console.

If you ask me, Geohot is the sort of guy you want pushing the limits of your platform. Kudos to Watson, Microsoft, and the Windows Phone team for reaching out to a prominent member of a largely unsung and untapped developer community. I look forward to seeing what Geohot can accomplish with WP7.

Source: @BrandonWatson via SlashGear

Windows Phone 7 phones now available for purchase in the US

Microsoft’s bid to recapture the mobile market starts today here in the US. I won’t be ditching my iPhone any time soon, but Windows Phone 7 is the first product Microsoft has offered that truly impresses me. So, anyone purchase a Windows Phone 7 device today? If so, which one?

My preliminary thoughts on Windows Phone 7

I won’t lie — I’m impressed. WP7’s Metro UI is refreshing — unique, functional, simple — not an easy accomplishment. It excites me the way webOS excited me the first time I saw it, albeit to a lesser degree. I admire Microsoft’s willingness to break away from Windows Mobile and start with a clean slate from the ground up — a necessary step if they are serious about gaining back mobile market share. Time will tell whether they were too late.

I am also excited about the ecosystem that Microsoft brings to the table: Zune, Xbox, Bing, Live and Office integration are just a few services in Microsoft’s portfolio that lend Windows Phone 7 some serious fire power out of the gate.

On the other hand, I am turned off by Microsoft’s insistence on sticking with the licensed OS business model. Although Microsoft has gone to much greater lengths to avoid the fragmentation and non-standardization problems that Google’s Android faces, I still believe that hardware, software, and ecosystem should all be an in-house, intimately integrated affair for maximum consumer satisfaction. Apple, RIM, HP, and even Nokia seem to get this. Hopefully, Microsoft will see the light and bless us with a phone built entirely to their specifications.

Speaking of phones, I am uninspired by the initial bevy of Windows Phone 7 handsets. The Samsung Focus, HTC HD7, and HTC HD7 Pro are all premium products, but they all seem too ‘me-too’. Their single greatest asset is that they run Windows Phone 7 — as far as hardware goes, however, there is nothing present that is truly revolutionary. In fact, the HTC Surround seems to be trying too hard to distinguish itself. One innovation I do appreciate, though, is the mandate of a hardware camera button that takes a picture whenever pressed, although I can see several problems with having such functionality enabled.

It is also interesting to see Microsoft have multiple handsets available at launch. I’ll definitely be checking a few out, but I don’t foresee too many current smartphone users making the switch to WP7. It will be interesting too see how many first-time smartphone owners choose Windows Phone this holiday season.

Windows Phone 7 — Microsoft’s bid to recapture the mobile market — was unveiled at Mobile World Congress back in February and was officially launched last week at events in NYC and London. You can get the latest news on Windows Phone 7, including a video of the NYC press conference, at the link below.

Link: Windows Phone Newsroom

No CDMA Windows Phone 7 devices until 2011

If you are on Verizon or Sprint and were planning on getting a Windows Phone 7 device for the holidays, it looks like you’ll be getting an IOU courtesy of Microsoft. Windows Phone 7 will be GSM only in 2010. Product manager at Microsoft Greg Sullivan recently spoke to CNET:

We had to make some trade-offs. Even Microsoft doesn’t have unlimited resources. We had to prioritize doing fewer things, really, really well….For the worldwide market, the vast majority of phones are GSM phones, so we focused on GSM first and then plan to deliver an update that will have great CDMA support in the first half of 2011.
The statement from Microsoft comes shortly after Verizon announced it would not have any WP7 devices in its lineup this year. AT&T has gone on the record stating it will be the ‘premier launch partner’ for Windows Phone 7. A T-Mobile WP7 device in 2010 is not out of the question, either. Expect Windows Phone 7 to launch worldwide on October 11 at an event in New York City.

Source: CNET via SlashGear

IE9 beta ready for download

Internet Explorer has come a long way. Yesterday, Microsoft released the public beta of version 9 of the once de facto standard in web browsing. Although Internet Explorer still maintains market dominance, in recent years, it has seen its lead rapidly decline to more efficient, extensible, and web-compliant competitors such as Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome.

Gone are the days of bloated UI, frustrating performance, and egregious lack of compliance to modern web technologies. IE9 seeks to remedy everything that went wrong with Internet Explorer and appears to do so splendidly. IE9 was designed with speed and efficiency as its primary goal and leverages the freshest web standards, including HTML5, while employing a much cleaner interface. IE9, of course, defaults to Bing for search.

You can give IE9 beta a test drive by clicking the source link below. Sorry Macheads — Windows only, for now.

Source: Microsoft via TechCrunch

Windows Phone 7 set for October 11 launch?

Chalk this up as probable rumor, but Pocket-lint has confirmed with multiple reliable sources that Microsoft will officially kick off its global launch of Windows Phone 7 on Monday October 11, 2010 at an event in New York City. Windows Phone 7, which recently went Gold Master and has had numerous handsets leak online, is Microsoft’s bid to recapture the smartphone market it once dominated with Windows Mobile.

With the paradigm shift in mobile computing led by Apple’s iPhone in 2007 and its iPhone OS — now iOS — and continued by Google’s open-source entrant Android, Windows Mobile has slipped to near oblivion in mobile OS market share. Microsoft is betting big on its complete do-over having built Windows Phone 7 from scratch to better compete in an increasingly consumer-oriented phone economy, hoping its unique blend of services can alleviate its tardiness to market. With a portfolio that boasts the likes of Zune, Xbox, Office, Exchange, and Silverlight — all ready to seamlessly integrate into the Windows Phone 7 experience — Microsoft may be late to the party, but still has a viable chance of becoming the belle of the ball.

Source: Pocket-lint via Engadget

Hotmail users to get Exchange ActiveSync starting Monday

Although I switched to Gmail as my primary email provider years ago, I have always kept my Hotmail account active as a backup if only for nostalgic reasons. It was my very first email account that I acquired in my senior year of high school back in 1999 as I was making my first forays into the World Wide Web. With the introduction of Gmail, it was hard to see any benefit in my Hotmail account other than for the correspondence therein. Gmail had vastly more storage, threaded messages, a better user interface, and was more or less hassle-free compared to the kludge that was Hotmail. Even as Microsoft upped the storage and improved the user experience, it continued to lag behind Gmail in features, most notably, its lack of IMAP support and push email.

Starting this Monday, however, all that will change. Hotmail users will finally get Exchange ActiveSync support granting them the push and syncing capabilities that every modern day email service ought to have. I, for one, will be happy to have access to all my folders from the comfort of my iPhone and Palm Pre. With Windows Phone 7 around the corner, this is a great move by Microsoft to bring Hotmail up to speed. Welcome to the present!

Source: CNET via PreCentral