It’s been a while since rumblings of Kumo, Microsoft’s codename for its new searching engine offering, made the rounds. From the looks of things, that’s about to change… Big time. Redmond is said to be preparing to launch Kumo — with the final name “Bing” — alongside a massive $80 million advertising push that will aim to convince people search is broken and Microsoft has fixed it. It’s a tough sell, no question. Microsoft’s latest Laptop Hunters ad run has been quite the success of course, but there is a pretty massive difference here: Laptop Hunters addresses personal computers, where Microsoft is already the undisputed heavyweight champ with a shade under 90 percent of the market. Bing is a search engine and Microsoft’s search products currently combine to hold just over 8 percent of the market. Bing needs to build a user base, not keep one. So the task where advertising is concerned is a much different one, but the market could be ready for a true contender. According to Microsoft’s research where search is concerned, 42 percent of searches require refinement and 25 percent of clicks are the back button. As dominant as Google is, there still may be plenty of room for improvement in terms of efficiency.
The boys over at Engadget Mobile managed to get their hands on what appears to be a slide deck showcasing just about every smartphone headed to AT&T this year. Some of the slides may be a bit off as far as launch dates are concerned but wow, what a lineup AT&T has in store for its customers. We have a few obligatory Windows Mobile devices — the HTC Fortress (Touch Pro2), HTC Warhawk (Touch Diamond2) and the HP iPAQ K3 which will run Windows Mobile 6.5. The expected BlackBerry offerings will include the Onyx, the Magnum, the Gemini and the non-flip Pearl 3G. AT&T is also expected to get the rumored Palm EOS in the latter half of the year and last but not least is the HTC Lancaster, an Android-powered QWERTY slider that steals its styling from the Touch Pro2 and makes the G1 look like a kid’s toy. Hit the jump for the individual slides with all the juicy details.
Read (HTC Lancaster)
Read (Palm EOS)
Read (HP iPAQ K3)
Read (BlackBerry Onyx/Magnum/Gemini/Pearl 3G)
Read (HTC Fortress/Warhawk)
In an age where lightweight, undersized netbooks are all the rage, Microsoft is most definitely wise to manufacturers’ game. That game, of course, is to keep netbook pricing as low as possible while slowly but surely raising the bar where specs are concerned. One of the many ways manufacturers can keep netbook pricing down is by taking advantage of a cheaper edition of Microsoft’s OS, which means less revenue for Redmond. As such, Microsoft instates a set of maximum specifications a PC must not exceed in order to offer its base OS. Above to the right, you’ll find said maximum specs for Windows 7 Starter Edition. As compared to XP/Vista’s max specs, we can see that processor speed has been doubled and 90GB has been tacked on where HDD space is concerned. Nice. On the flip side of the coin, max display size has been cut from 12.1 inches to 10.2 inches. Not so nice. In the end we’re certainly left with a pretty capable netbook but if you’ll be looking for a netbook that raises the bar without breaking the bank in the near future, it probably won’t be running Win 7.
Earlier this week, news broke about the new sharing policy for applications purchased on the upcoming Windows Marketplace for Mobile. The source article cites a new policy which potentially allows a customer to install purchased apps on up to five phones; theoretically allowing the customer to share purchased applications with four friends and/or family members. According to Microsoft this is incorrect, and a spokesperson has contacted us with the company’s official statement:
So this policy, as it is meant to be interpreted, will allow a customer to install a purchased application on up to five phones that are owned by the purchaser. This five phone policy is meant to make application installation easier for an individual who switches phones frequently, demos more than one phone at a time, has lost his/her phone or has had his/her phone stolen. Application sharing however, is not permitted.
If you’re currently rockin’ a smartphone running Windows Mobile 6 or higher, it’s time to get on the MyPhone wagon. Microsoft’s new OTA backup system is now in open beta and is ripe for the picking. You get 200MB of free storage, which isn’t a whole lot, but it should make do for emails, contacts and calendar events for now. It’s a nice little taste of what a Microsoft Exchange Server will do for you, but nowhere near the same scale of course. Speaking of Exchange, MyPhone will not work if your phone is currently synced with an Exchange server — but then again if you’re using Exchange, you wouldn’t really need it. The price is right and feedback so far is positive so, Windows Mobile users, get going.
Microsoft’s Windows Marketplace for Mobile is reportedly instituting a very customer friendly application sharing policy. According to circulating reports, customers who purchase apps from the online storefront will be able to install those apps on up to five Windows Mobile devices at no additional cost. Most normal people, BGR readers aside, will not own five Windows Mobile 6.5 devices so customers will presumably be able to share purchased apps by authorizing the mobile phones of close family and friends. Daniel Bouie, senior product planner for Microsoft, says that the company “sees this as a permanent feature, and we’ve gotten great positive feedback from the vast majority of developers we’ve talked with about this.” Happy developers, happy customers — is it too good to be true?
All right file in, ever-patient Windows Mobile developers. If you’ve managed to stick with ole’ faithful this long without jumping ship to a trendier, flashier platform, the light at the end of the tunnel is finally coming into focus. Maybe. Microsoft has now officially opened its doors for Windows Marketplace for Mobile developer registration, again. We’re a bit confused here because as far as we know, registration has been open since the beginning of the month. Maybe MS means international devs can now register? Perhaps, but several developers outside the States are still reporting difficulties with the registration process. Whatever the case may be, if you’re a WinMo dev who hasn’t jumped on board yet you should. Now the only thing left is to give this bad boy a nickname. Windows Marketplace for Mobile is quite the mouth full and doesn’t have nearly the same flow as App Store or App World. So what do you guys think we should call it? WMM? WinMaMo? MarkFoMob? Hmm. We’ll keep working on this and get back to you.
[Via Windows Mobile Team Blog]
June 2009 is going to be a big month: WWDC (iPhone announcement), the Palm Pre will be in action and rumor has it Microsoft has big news for the Zune. While many would speculate that the latter would mean a Zune phone from Microsoft, we’re thinking more along the lines of a Zune HD. After all, Microsoft explicitly said, “Microsoft is not going into the phone hardware business. Microsoft is not building a Zune-specific phone.” Stranger things have happened though, right? This fire was started by a Twitter account that detailed what would be included in Office 2010, such as Twitter and Facebook integration. It then went on to say “New product launch, that’s all I’m allowed to say. Hold off from buying an iPhone/Pre.” That would imply a phone, so we’re not sure where things are headed at this point. Whatever it is, at this point the only real reason to hold off on buying a new iPhone or Pre is to avoid the lines.
Microsoft has officially opened the doors of its Windows Marketplace for Mobile to developers. Windows Mobile code monkeys with a Windows Live ID, valid taxpayer ID, bank account and $99 to spare can sign their life away up for a vendor account with Microsoft. Once approved, developers may begin submitting their Windows Mobile 6.5 applications for inclusion within the Marketplace. Similar to Apple’s App Store, each application will be reviewed and approved according to Microsoft’s application submission guidelines. With new Windows Mobile 6.5 handsets on the horizon and the Marketplace now open for applications,Ã‚Â things in the world of Windows Mobile are starting to get interesting. Umm, right?
Nintendo’s got it, Sony should have it soon enough and now Microsoft is apparently getting ready to unveil its take on motion-controlled gaming. Unlike Nintendo and Sony’s solutions however, Microsoft looks to be taking an entirely different approach to the concept by removing a physical remote from the equation and using the actual gamer as the controller — at least where motion is concerned. The solution reportedly entails a sensor bar that observes gamer movement and uses it to control compatible games. You move, it moves. You kick, it kicks. You trip over your coffee table and bust your face, it… Well, we’re not sure what happens then. The bottom line is that this could very well be a tremendous leap where motion-controlled home gaming is concerned and from the sound of it, it could definitely eclipse Sony’s solution which sounds more like catch up than anything else. In both cases however, motion control will definitely be a nice value-add for PS3 and Xbox 360 owners. We just hope Sony and Microsoft aren’t viewing these solutions as game changers — especially where sales are concerned. Sure, the Wiimote might not be as unique once these new products hit the market but its just once piece of the equation as far as Wii appeal goes. Remember, the Wii isn’t stealing the market from Sony and Microsoft. It’s creating an entirely new and much broader market.