It was a short 4th of July holiday week here in the U.S.—but still plenty of news in the world of Windows Phone. Enjoy the highlights and your weekend!
Marketplace tops 25,000
While estimates differ, unofficial Marketplace counters now peg our app inventory at somewhere north of 25,000, as multiple bloggers noted last week. Regardless of whose numbers you trust, the bottom line is that Marketplace is going gangbusters. But buzz about the overall app count overshadowed what I think was the week’s most exciting news: the boatload of brand-name apps that poured in. WPCentral counts at least 52 marquee titles in the last two weeks. Liveside.net, meanwhile, compiled its own handy list (complete with download links) of standouts. Check it out
Windows Phone records a music video
If you thought that Windows Phone in your pocket was only good for making goofy clips at bars and birthday parties, take a peek at Kurt Vile’s new music video for “Baby’s Arms”—shot entirely on a Samsung Focus. As Rolling Stone and CNET both reported this week, the video was directed by fashion photographer turned auteur Todd Cole, who filmed on location in East L.A. “Baby’s Arms” is a cut from the Philly singer-guitarist’s excellent new album Smoke Ring for My Halo. The project, the latest installment in the Windows Phone Me series, not only resulted in an entertaining video for Vile fans, but budding smartphone cinematographers won’t want miss the revealing behind-the-scenes companion footage, which shows how Cole and his Focus pulled it all off. It’s my favorite Me to date.
11 neat Mango features you never heard of
Our list of the week comes courtesy of Techie Buzz, which compiled a fun highlights reel of Mango features that haven’t bathed in the tech press limelight as much as some others—but are gems all the same. This list made the rounds here inside the Windows Phone engineering team. We enjoyed it and think you will too. Read it now
New in Marketplace: Garmin StreetPilot
With so many standout apps pouring into Marketplace in recent days, it’s tough to spotlight just one. But here I go anyway. Garmin, maker of the GPS devices you see on so many dashboards these days, has introduce StreetPilot for Windows Phone. The $40 app turns your phone into a personal GPS navigator, with voice-prompted turn-by-turn directions. The app has street maps available for the U.S. and Canada and include free real-time traffic updates. To save on data charges, maps are downloaded on demand. If early reviews are any hint, StreetPilot looks like a winner. Buy it now
Windows Phone wins major design award
Windows Phone took top honors in the 2011 International Design Excellence Awards. The annual awards, sponsored by the Industrial Designers Society of America, recognizes the world’s coolest-looking stuff. There were more than 2,000 entries in this year’s competition. From these, judges picked 27 to receive their Gold award, the event’s highest honor. Windows Phone won gold in the “Interactive Product Experiences” category. In their citation, judges called the phone “a truly elegant and unique experience.” Who are we to disagree? Read the press release or See what other Microsoft products won
Remember that official Foursquare app re-launch we announced just last week? Well, the app has already hit version 2.2, which brings improvements including a visible speed boost. It looks like the only check-ins the busy Foursquare crew is performing these days are for Windows Phone app code. Bravo, guys, bravo. Download it now
I was thrilled that windows phone 7 supported bluetooth message access profile. Are there any plans to allow push notifications and the facebook/messenger/txt integration to pass through it as well?
I've had my Focus since launch and I'm still discovering things about WP7 that weren't obvious before. I entered a calendar appointment for an event our band is playing at in November and, in the Location block, I simply put "Rosdale Park, San Antonio". Because it's essentially an all-day event (3hrs of travel to, setup, etc.) it puts it ABOVE the time grid for that day...I never noticed before that you can actually click on it there (dunno why it didn't occur to me). It switched me to the details of the appointment and had an underline beneath the location. Huh. So, I clicked on that and instantly Bing maps shows me the route from my location to the park for the gig. Ya know, it's these little conveniences that are undersold but really make the experience just that much more delightful.
@ harishankarumapathy.....OOOOOoooooh, okay, I get it now. Since WP7 already resumes music automatically after a phone call no special controls are needed. I have the Jawbone ERA bluetooth earpiece (which I LOVE), and I often listen to music on it. For only being a monaural piece, the sound quality is remarkable, and it's flashable (various apps are available for it). It's got an accelerometer in it, so when I get a phone call all I have to do is double-tap the body of the device lightly (can you say Star Trek - The Next Generation?) and it interrupts my music and answers the call. A double-tap at the end of the call hangs up the phone and resumes the music. I have no reason to expect the Bose headset wouldn't work as easily.
Micheal, No Wednesday Update ?
@Kenny Rawlins actually I think the pdf reader on WM is better than it on WP7, on WM , the pdf reader on WM can jump to the certain pages, can search the whole doc, and the speed of opening an file is really fast(almost instant for very large file) than wp7 and android, no idea about apple stuff, but now, the wp7 version of adobe reader, it's......
@ScubaDog2011 Thanks for your reply, I was really interested in a headset,where i can resume listening to music, after am done with calls. Hopefully, more vendors release accessories for WP7 products.
Can Microsoft just make their own PDF reader,especially for the mobiles?? To me it looks like Adobe hates WM and WP,the Adobe reader on WM was just crap,the one on WP sucks,buggy as hell,atimes pinch to shrink a page instead zooms and vice versa,no quick scroll, I frequently have 150pages and above PDF docs,you can't rename a file,when reading every next page appears white(blank) for sometime first.infact this app is annoying
@LiYang1989, okay, I think I understand....but what do you mean by "normal docs"? Right now, you can handle PDF, text, Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Also, I think it would be pretty rare that you wouldn't have any connectivity at all, whether WiFi or carrier. Having said that, I thought I read somewhere that future plans for the Zune software would start expanding synchronization....don't hold me to that, though--it could be just rumor.
I had no idea Sonic the Hedgehog was a Windows Phone user - windowsphonemetro.com/.../is-sonic-a-windows-phone-user
@ScubaDog2011 thanks for your reply, I understand that, but what I mean is that what if there's no connnection, I have to transfer data between device and pc,not only media files, but also normal docs
@LiYang1989, first off, welcome to the WP7 family. Now, most of the issues you mention either already exist on WP7 now--but you may not understand how they work yet--or will be coming with the Mango update. All the issues of moving files to and from your WP7 device will be fixed in Mango---but let me emphasize that you REALLY REALLY need to get an understand of the cloud concept. Microsoft's Skydrive will be your central nexus of movement. Right now, the Skydrive, and Windows Phone 7's own file management, are limited to synchronizing with Skydrive or transferring via email. But Mango will be fixing most of that. You can forget about using your WP7 device like a portable drive---those days are over. The cloud is where they are pushing people. Personally, I'm fully on board with that. Even Apple is moving that with with the iCloud. As for NOTES, you now use OneNote in the Office hub. Outlook Notes are a thing of the past. You can certainly download a number of the MANY note-taking and sharing apps in the Marketplace, but they won't be Outlook's Notes. In fact, while I like OneNote better, the Marketplace now has Evernote, which is probably the most popular note program out there, and it's on all platforms. Regarding synchronizing your contacts with Outlook, YES, you CAN already. Install the Hotmail Connector for Outlook. It works remarkably well, and I have had no issues. In fact, once I got the connector working I completely removed my old local-only instance in Outlook, so it all works as part of the connector. All my contacts are there, and if I add a contact on my phone it's automagically updated in my Outlook....no matter which device I have (I installed the connector on my desktop computer and my laptop).
@ElToro, you know that native is better than managed, and managed is better than interpretive, using HTML5 for all the apps is no good. I always prefer native apps, or at least managed, do you know why the building in IE is good , that's becasue it's written in native
and plus, there's no build in Microsoft offical messenger
I don't know if this is the right place to say, but
I am a 7 years windows mobile user, now I just got my first windows phone 7 device, and I think some very basic problems really sucks. First, file management, i can copy files to my phone, the only legal way to let the file go to my device is email it or set up a local http service, then download it, what's the..., I just want to copy some docs, pptx, excels and pdfs to read it on my device, what's more, I want to edit it on my phone, then give it to others, what if the place that do not have internet connection and no wifi or just my remain traffic is not enough to send it to others, for pdfs, if i want to read it on my phone, i must first upload it, then download it , and there's some naming bugs, the IE just tell me the file can not be opened, in this situation, how can I know, the downloaded file is deleted or just stay some where in my phone, and occupy my storage, but I have no way to delete it. this is just for adobe pdf reader, and what if the the other files, what if the reader doesn't have the delete option. second, there's so many detail options gone, for example lack of local search of sms, there's no building in outlook(i mean notes(a smart phone that you can not take any text or draw notes?), tasks ),vpn, call forward(now you can only set it to one number, but in different situation, it can be set to different numbers) and so forth. I know there's some tool can be downloaded and help to solve this problem, but I think this should be done by Microsoft, yes, you can manage all apps in this way, but at least there should have reserved free storage to user. and now I can not sync the contacts with my local outlook, this is good and very useful. I hope there's some change in the coming mango update, or I have to say byebye to WP7 and use an android or back to my old touch pro2(it not that beautiful, but with htc sense, it looks good, and you can access anything you want). by the way, I am a loyal costomer of Microsoft, I really do not want to change to others.
I really like Windows Phone, but I think what must be done soon to bring the plattform a giant step ahead is get rid of all that silverlight/native stuff and replace it by something HTML5/JS. MS should offer some framework similar to Sencha Touch to support creating Metro UI apps that run from the web or memory.
@taabello - Marketing is terrible, worldwide, right now. The only WP7 phone I EVER see ads for here in the U.S. is the Samsung Focus, and those ads only show up once in a blue moon (coinciding, usually, with AT&T running a promotion).
@Hawk - Waiting until Mango is out is too little, too late. Let's presume, for the sake of argument, that Mango comes out and has a flawless release, worldwide, in October/November 2011. That's a full year since the phones came out, worldwide. Waiting a full YEAR to advertise in the technology market isn't only foolish, it's practically an epitaph.
I hate to say it but Microsoft dropped the ball on advertising the phone. Microsoft's own advertisements were rather convoluted and really didn't convey much about the OS, other than "hey, you can take pictures quicker". AT&T has been the only carrier that has shown their own ads for WP7 devices. They ran a barrage of ads with the goofy animated aliens for about two months and then yanked them. Now they only advertise (the Focus) during a promotion.
As I posted earlier last week, Microsoft really needs to examine the way carriers and OEMs advertise their Android phones and the way Apple advertises their iPhone. There's no human interest stories, no overarching, ambiguous, statement like "a phone to save us from our phones"; Every ad for every other phone show the phone and the features. To date, none of the official ads, other than AT&T's official 2 month run, have shown anything about the phones! We need ads that show Microsoft Office, Xbox Live, the social integration, the ease of access, so on and so forth. Don't just SAY it's a phone to save us from other phones, SHOW why it is!
Early reviews were not promising, Samsung and LG coming out talking smack in January/February 2011 wasn't promising, the update issues making all the news agencies didn't help, and word of mouth advertising clearly isn't getting it done. Waiting until the end of 2011 to kick off a *real* advertisement campaign isn't going to help boost the adoption rate because all the carriers have ALREADY practically forgotten about WP7. Sprint's still plugging Android heavily with the HTC Evo 3D and HTC Evo 4G. Verizon is out there pushing the Thunderbolt, Droid X2 and Droid Incredible 2, even though they are the most recent WP7 player. AT&T is pushing the Samsung Infuse, HTC Inspire, and iPhone. T-Mobile.. well, they're just showing off their plans and Carly Foulkes (the latter of which I'm not opposed to :P). Third party resellers, like Best Buy Mobile, don't advertise WP7 phones in any of their circulars.
The onus is on Microsoft to get a good advertisement campaign going NOW. The longer they wait, the longer they guarantee WP7 ends up an also-ran because if people don't know about the product, and aren't given reasons why they should choose that product over the competition, it will NEVER sell well.
I have a feeling that their marketing will ramp up world wide once Mango comes out.
This might be off topic, but why is WP7 marketing non-existent in the UK?
How can you gain market share without reaching out to consumers? WP7 is a consumer product, you cant ride off the backs of OEMs on this one like WindowsOS, you need to reach out.
The majority of stores in London think WP7 is winmo and actually advise customers not to buy but rather go for android devices (on both occasions i went in to phone stores).
If you want great sales and consistent followership, then you need to put some real ads out there. I'm tired of watching iPad ads every 15 minutes
Well, you have part of the PA crew on board at least now.
I have to admit, I think the Tempted by the fruit of another song by Squeeze should be the theme song for Mango.
Along with @jvanderburghs comments, any idea what happened to the Kayak app? It stopped returning search results a few weeks back and now it's nowhere to be found in the Marketplace along with some other big name applications? Are these apps gone for good or just being refreshed like Foursquare was. Thanks.
@harishankarumapathy, if you are talking about software controls on the smartphone that tell the headphones how to do certain things, then, no, you're out of luck with the Bose headset. The APIs to allow that kind of interface simply weren't available with the initial WP7 release or NoDo. In fact, I'm not sure they are available with Mango. But, I don't see why the Bose headset wouldn't work in "dumb mode".
Great article! I've been testing Mango for a while now, but for some reason my marketplace has only ~10 apps.
Any change the marketplace will get some more additions here in Norway soonish?
Windows phone users - I am interested in finding out, if a headhpones with audio controls work on the windows phones ? For example, Bose has released an audio headphones Ae2i - with controls advertised working for iphone. But i was under the understanding that its a common control option and should work out irrespective of the OS. Have any of you tried such head sets with controls ?
The 25,000 apps in the Marketplace is somewhat soured by the many devs abusing the 20-submissions-per-day rule by using sites like http://www.appmakr.com to pump out apps that merely reflect RSS feeds.
@Razor - Tnx for the feedback :)
I now have Part 2 of my Editorial out: "Sell, Sell, Sell – Self Promotion outside of the WP7 Marketplace." | Sheeds' Blog http://bit.ly/nzcYt5
Featuring a number of best practice examples and using social media to engage and promote your App.
Yep, count me with the rest. I wish books/magazines/comics could be put in their own special market or, better yet, be left off. In my opinion, a book is not an app. A READER is an app through which one reads books. I think the perfect model is the Kindle app or Laridian's Pocket Bible (which I'm hoping will someday be ported to WP7!!!!). They are readers. Pocket Bible is probably the best bible & related material reader to exist because it has SO many fantastic features that work with any book you purchase & download (highlighting, notes, references, devotional tracking). But to just create a plain old book or, worse yet, flooding the Marketplace with a bunch of them? That's just sad and annoying.
Great article. I agree with your assessment of the importance for game developers to shoot for XBL certification. With a platform that is lagging in install base (how many units are in the hands of consumers) I think Microsoft needs to step up and actively engage developers. Assist them with whatever is necessary to get their game up to XBL quality. This is good for Microsoft because they will have more quality games to show off, and good for the developer because XBL games get noticed and make a lot more money.
I'd argue that at this stage it is in Microsoft's best interests to do this for free. Pick a developer with a game that's looking good and help them release it for XBL.
I'm with Lachliggity on this. The signal-to-nose ratio on the Marketplace lately has been terrible. I'm seeing a lot of the same apps, each with a tiny variation, multiple times on the Marketplace.
While some people might consider the number of apps for a given platform a sign of the health of that platform, the quality is more important. More and more buggy or poorly written apps are showing up everyday.
I don't want Microsoft to take the approach of Apple and block app submissions for silly and arbitrary reasons, but I would like to see more involvement on Microsoft's side to encourage developers to submit clean looking, bug free apps. More enforcement of the Metro UI design guidelines would be a step in the right direction.
Finally a "Me" that shows off Windows Phone well =) Good work!
That secret feature article was pretty nice overview of Mango Update
Hey.. Love windows phone but I am hating the "Folium Partners" for just posting 30 books a day for $12 in the apps marketplace.. Its soo frustrating when ppl like me want to just look at the new apps.. I understand the rush for apps but I think it would be a huge incentive for people to not spam the market place if you were to add simple filters in the options such as block producer.. It would be great to block a few of the people so I dont need to go through hundreds or thousands of spam apps to find the guy that posts one great app that he put alot of time into
Read the 11 feature list. Soooo, how do I get my Facebook birthdays to show up? I activated the calendar but the birthdays don't show.
hi is it posssible garmin will bring its app to other countries (UK) is the any way you could find out.
Glad you guys liked my article! I love Mango, it's a pleasure to use it. More people need to know about the good stuff you've been doing! It'd be great to have review units than have to wait for public developer beta builds though :P
Here's some feedback you might find interesting. I have tried to draw together what MS do or are doing once you App/Game is IN the marketplace (ie Marketing/promotion support) asd part 1 of a new editorial on my WP7 Blog:
"So your App/Game is in the WP7 Marketplace – What next? http://bit.ly/qUHqRd ?
:D Part 2 will be on self-promotion.
What happened to the Colbert and MTV apps?