Mar 4, 2011

Updated Windows Phone 7 update isn't updating some Samsung phones for March update

Man, talk about a flustercuck. After missing a cycle with its mobile phone strategy, the last thing Microsoft needed was a support fiasco related to its very first Windows Phone 7 software update. But after re-releasing a patched software update meant to solve the update issues seen by some Samsung owners, we're now seeing reports of a new issue on Twitter and in a variety of support forums and blog comments. At the moment, there's no clear fix to the dilemma characterized by a wonderfully descriptive "error code 800705B4." Unfortunately, what solves the problem for some (reboots, removing apps, freeing up space on the handset) doesn't work for others. Microsoft's official Windows Phone 7 Support Twitter account has responded to one frustrated customer saying, "We are aware of the error code are are looking into it right now," telling another to hold off on the update while MS investigates. Funny thing is, this minor WP7 update wasn't meant to do anything except prepare phonesfor the first feature update scheduled for early March. Not funny ha ha.

Disgruntled Android developer sounds battle cry, rallies troops, demands Market tweaks from Google

A dude making a living writing Android apps -- who, by all appearances, is an upstanding guy with actual quality software in the Android Market -- is taking Google to task this week for what he calls "unacceptable" treatment. His beef seems to originate from the unexplained pulling of one of his titles -- Rapid Download -- a fact that he discovered not through any sort of communication from Google, it seems, but by the fact that he noticed was no longer making any coin from it. He goes on to say that he was unable to get anyone in Mountain View to explain the situation until his third attempt, at which point he received some unhelpful "generic information" plus a threat tacked on that if he violated the rules again, he'd have all of his titles pulled. For someone whose Market apps are breadwinners, we can imagine that would be a little scary.

Long story short, this particular developer decided he wasn't going to take it -- not after paying "over $14,000 in 'service fees'" -- and started a site to get his story public and enlist fellow devs unhappy with the way Google's been treating them. Now, we can't vouch for the accuracy of the guy's story, but if this movement and ones like it gather enough steam, it puts Google in a precarious position; the Market, after all, is the crown jewel in the company's strategy of allowing only approved devices to be the most relevant to consumers. Take away the absolute importance of the Market -- like, say, Amazon is trying to do -- and the power structure starts to shift.

Update : If you look at the legacy Market posting for Rapid Download on AndroLib, we can immediately spot at least one thing that's wrong here -- the guy is encouraging users to infringe copyrights right in the product description. Whoops! Sure, Google should be more proactive in letting developers know where they went wrong... but if you don't see the problem in this, you probably have no business being a professional developer -- at least, not one that's claiming ethics on their side.

Video - inPulse Bluetooth smartwatch gets Facebook Places check-in app for Android

Ever since Allerta released an SDK for its well-hyped inPulse smartwatch, it was only a matter of time before we start seeing more practical applications that take this Bluetooth peripheral beyond the BlackBerry ecosystem. For instance, the latest example comes from the inPulse's very own Lead Designer Eric Migicovsky, who happens to be a fan of Facebook Places and possibly an Android convert. Rather than having to pull out his Nexus One for every check-in, Migicovsky can now use his simple app on his inPulse to grab a list of nearby locations off the phone, and then check in with just a click of a button. Pretty neat, eh? For those interested, you can grab the project code off inPulse's website and get programming.

Apple's Tim Cook hints at cheaper iPhone, prepaid possibilities to come?

Apple COO Tim Cook got all buddy-buddy with Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi this week, talking about Apple's business strategy -- nothing out of the ordinary there -- but this morning, that analyst decided to publicly paraphrase an intriguing part of the interview. Guess what? It sounds like a cheaper iPhone may indeed be in the cards:

While Tim stopped short of explicitly stating that Apple would pursue a lower price iPhone, he did state that Apple was working hard to "figure out" the prepaid market and that Apple didn't want its products to be "just for the rich," but "for everyone"; he also stated that Apple "understood price is big factor in the prepaid market" and that the company was "not ceding any market." Cook noted that Apple executives – including himself – had spent "huge energy" in China, noting that it is "a classic prepaid market." He further noted that the handset distribution model was poorly constructed and that Apple would look to "innovate" and do "clever" things in addressing that market.
As you can see, there aren't any statements of fact here, just some general strategy ideas, but if Apple indeed plans to put an iPhone in every pot, it would be helpful if it didn't have to rely on the carrier subsidy model.

Beleaguered Huawei encourages US government to investigate it

When you're the second-largest supplier of communications infrastructure in the world and your president is an ex-member of the Chinese military, suspicions of espionage -- warranted or not -- are pretty much a foregone conclusion. Indeed, Huawei has suffered a couple of high-profile business setbacks in the past year over vague concerns that the company could be some sort of Trojan horse for Chinese intelligence, and they're fed up: after being pressured into shelving a planned acquisition of server virtualization firm 3Leaf Systems' intellectual property by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, they've published a lengthy open letter that implores the government to fully vet the company to put to rest any concerns or fears it has.

The gist of the letter is that Huawei is owned by its employees, not the Chinese government, its loans are commercial, its products are continually audited by third-party companies for security, and the tax breaks it gets from the government are consistent with what private corporations in other countries receive. Huawei also manages to quote both Obama and Lincoln in the letter -- just to make sure it has both Democrats and Republicans covered, we suppose -- and concludes by saying it believes that "any thorough government investigation will prove that Huawei is a normal commercial institution and nothing more." Sounds like a challenge to us.

Angry Birds Coming To Windows Phone & 3D

Everyone's favourite enraged avians will shortly be landing on Windows Phone 7 as Rovio Mobile has confirmed that it is working on a version of Angry Birds for the platform. Interestingly enough it seems that any delay in bringing the super popular game to Windows Phone might have been due to none other than Microsoft ...

Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio's 'Mighty Eagle', commented "Let's just say, Microsoft has a lot of lawyers." Ouch! That doesn't sound like a recipe for plain sailing now does it? Presumably Microsoft much be feeling some anxiety over not having one of the biggest, if not the biggest, mobile gaming title available for their platform.

Apart from run ins with the Big M Rovio are also working on a 3D version of Angry Birds because ... well I don't actually know to be honest, but apparently these days everything is better in 3D. With gaming systems like the Nintendo 3DS and handsets like the Optimus 3D coming to market I suppose there is now the hardware there to actually run such a game.

As for when we can expect to see any of this I'm afraid your guess is as good as mine. Windows Phone users and 3D enthusiasts will just have to keep watching the skies for those Angry Birds.

Picture: the HTC keyboard slider family

Clockwise from the top left, that's the the Sprint Arrive, the likely-for-Verizon Merge, the Sprint Evo Shift 4G, and the T-Mobile G2. If we had to rate them, we'd say the Arrive has the best key feel, followed by the Merge, the Evo Shift, and finally the cramped G2 -- although the super cheap-feeling hinge on the Evo Shift knocks off several points. We'd also say the physical keys on the G2 feel better than the mushy keys on the Merge, but the G2's cramped layout doesn't do it any favors. In any event, picking one of these is a pretty great problem to have, don't you think?


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