Thanks to Fake Steve Jobs for refreshing our memory...
After neglecting the online gaming community for so long, the Microsoft mobile folks are at least working on a killer proposition: get those online gamers into mobile.
They are talking about 25 million active Xbox LIVE users who will have access, through Windows Phone 7 to a lot of the features they are used to while playing PC games and consoles: avatars, achievements, gamerscore, etc.
This is a list of game available at launch:
. "3D Brick Breaker Revolution" (Digital Chocolate)
. "Age of Zombies" (Halfbrick)
. "Armor Valley" (Prot?g? Games)
. "Asphalt 5" (Gameloft)
. "Assassins Creed" (Gameloft)
. "Bejeweled LIVE" (PopCap)
. "Bloons TD" (Digital Goldfish)
. "Brain Challenge" (Gameloft)
. "Bubble Town 2" (i-Play)
. "Butterfly" (Press Start Studio)
. "CarneyVale Showtime" (MGS)
. "Castlevania" (Konami)
. "Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst" (MGS)
. "De Blob Revolution" (THQ)
. "Deal or No Deal 2010" (i-Play)
. "Earthworm Jim" (Gameloft)
. "Fast & Furious 7" (i-Play)
. "Fight Game Rivals" (Rough Cookie)
. "Finger Physics" (Mobliss Inc.)
. "Flight Control" (Namco Bandai)
. "Flowerz" (Carbonated Games)
. "Frogger" (Konami)
. "Fruit Ninja" (Halfbrick)
. "Game Chest-Board" (MGS)
. "Game Chest-Card" (MGS)
. "Game Chest-Logic" (MGS)
. "Game Chest-Solitaire" (MGS)
. "GeoDefense" (Critical Thought)
. "Ghostscape" (Psionic)
. "Glow Artisan" (Powerhead Games)
. "Glyder 2" (Glu Mobile)
. "Guitar Hero 5" (Glu Mobile)
. "Halo Waypoint" (MGS)
. "Hexic Rush" (Carbonated Games)
. "I Dig It" (InMotion)
. "iBlast Moki" (Godzilab)
. "ilomilo" (MGS)
. "Implode XL" (IUGO)
. "Iquarium" (Infinite Dreams)
. "Jet Car Stunts" (True Axis)
. "Let's Golf 2" (Gameloft)
. "Little Wheel" (One click dog)
. "Loondon" (Flip N Tale)
. "Max and the Magic Marker" (PressPlay)
. "Mini Squadron" (Supermono Limited)
. "More Brain Exercise" (Namco Bandai)
. "O.M.G." (Arkedo)
. "Puzzle Quest 2" (Namco Bandai)
. "Real Soccer 2" (Gameloft)
. "The Revenants" (Chaotic Moon)
. "Rise of Glory" (Revo Solutions)
. "Rocket Riot" (Codeglue)
. "Splinter Cell Conviction" (Gameloft)
. "Star Wars: Battle for Hoth" (THQ)
. "Star Wars: Cantina" (THQ)
. "The Harvest" (MGS)
. "The Oregon Trail" (Gameloft)
. "Tower Bloxx NY" (Digital Chocolate)
. "Twin Blades" (Press Start Studio)
. "UNO" (Gameloft)
. "Women's Murder Club: Death in Scarlet" (i-Play)
. "Zombie Attack!" (IUGO)
. "Zombies!!!!" (Babaroga)
Since I didn't have enough space in our news page, here are some screenshots showing what you can expect to see on your Windows Phone 7 when it gets to the market (hopefully we will not be too far behind here in New Zealand):
Microsoft has removed the wraps from one of its most guarded secrets, unveiling Windows Phone 7 Series, an operating system for mobile that promises to make it easier to work through your mobile and social life. While the company has demonstrated the software, we can't buy any handset yet because those are still at least nine months away.
Windows Phone Series 7 introduces Hubs that guide you through different use cases. In each Hub you can browse through it and change how you see information. Data is constantly updated in the background - your music, photos or social networks are constantly updated, with this being reflected in the tiles.
The new phone also ditches the old ActiveSync (Windows XP) and Windows Mobile Device Center (Windows Vista and Windows 7) in favour or Zune software. And Microsoft promised Zune Marketplace will be available wherever Windows Phone 7 Series is officially sold.
This is a move from an application centric interface to a more activities and social centric interface. Will it work well? Who knows, as I said an actual product is still nine months away. Developers will get a lot more information at MIX10.
Does it mean the death of Windows Mobile as we know it today? It appears not, according to istartedsomething, that reports both Windows Phone 7 Series and the current Windows Mobile will co-exist.
I also received some interesting information today that points in that direction. For example people buying apps from the Marketplace for Windows Mobile know that it's currently limited to a specific geographic region and developers paid to have their apps listed in different regions. This limited the reach of applications. Well, no more, since Microsoft is making it easier for developers to list their applications by removing additional listing fees. Once the application is listed in the marketplace (with its $99 fee) it can then be listed in any region for free.
Also users will have the option to browse the marketplace catalogue for other regions, with prices listed in the user's own currency. This will improve the catalogue vastly, because since launch users could only see apps available in their own regions, limiting the offerings.
These changes, plus what istartedsomething reported earlier, seem to point that Windows Mobile will continue in the market for some time, while Windows Phone 7 Series comes to life.
Microsoft has released a small update to Windows Mobile, its phone operating system. Windows Mobile 6.5.3 is a step ahead in the "facelift" of this smartphone platform, and the latest update brings the following new features:
- Capacitive touchscreen support
- Platform to enable multi-touch
- Touch controls throughout system (no need for stylus)
- Consistent Navigation
- Horizontal scroll bar replaces tabs (think settings>system>about screen)
- Magnifier brings touch support to legacy applications
- Simplified out-of-box experience with fewer steps
- Drag and drop icons on Start Screen
I am told the native browser performance has improved, with decrease in page load time, better memory management, pan & flick gestures smoothed, and zoom & rotation speed increased.
The OS comes with updated runtime tools (.NET CF 3.5, SQL CE 3.1), and support for Arabic read/write document.
The update in itself is a small release but it should bring the venerable operating system closer to current consumer markets. The first handset with the new operating system is the Sony Ericsson Aspen, just announced.
Screenshots below - click for larger versions:
It's powered by the phone itself, so I guess for longer sessions we will need the phone plugged in for power. It can be used to project presentations from Powerpoint mobile, or training - or any video really, including movies you might have on your device. Any sound comes out of the speakerphone (or your Bluetooth speakers) - I will try and get some external speakers plugged in if possible.
It adds only 50g to the phone and has a manual focus. You slide the lens cover to turn the projector on, and use the camera button to switch between landscape and portrait.
Here are some first pictures of the phone with the pico projector attachment and some projections at daytime - I will try and get a picture of a night time performance later:
Both the AT&T LG eXpo Windows Phone and the pico projector were supplied by AT&T for my review.
UPDATE: Very impressed! This is the first Windows Mobile phone I've used that actually shows Internet Explorer Mobile under a good light. Probably because of the fast processor, Internet Explorer mobile actually performs really well on this handset - unlike the HTC Touch Pro 2 which seemed too slow for Internet Explorer mobile.
It's now charging and I will then configure ActiveSync, the fingerprint scanner, and all other options. Some just-out-of-the-box pictures:
Not happy with the outcome. But waiting for a couple of new smartphones to arrive here today (AT&T LG eXpo and HTC Snap) so in the meantime I am using an Acer F900 I have around.
I have been running it for a while and here are some screenshots:
The application provides all the functionality you expect from a Facebook client, and the most interesting bit is the ability to upload videos directly from your Windows Mobile device.
Facebook client for Windows Mobile phones runs on Windows Mobile Professional (touchscreen) and Windows Mobile Standard (non-touchscreen).
So what's the truth? I got some information directly from one of the sources within, and basically he says Microsoft is not going into the phone hardware business.
Because of that Microsoft is not building a Zune-specific phone.
The company is actually deepening relationships with hardware partners - I was given a long list of reasons, but it comes down to creating better performing phones that are competitively priced, feature rich, easy-to-use and lustworthy.
There's a lot being done, starting with the upcoming availability of Windows Mobile 6.5 software that will enable OEM partners to build more compelling devices.
But for the moment, Microsoft is not creating a phone.