Windows Phone 7 at Year +1

Windows Phone 7

How do you feel about a Nokia smartphone running Windows Phone 7, with the following features?

  • High-resolution screen with a highly interactive touch UI
  • Full-fidelity HTML5 web browser
  • Copy-paste
  • Full Twitter and Facebook integration (social feeds attached to contact cards)
  • Full-fidelity Office document editing with cloud sync
  • Multitasking

Interested? Microsoft have just announced that all the above features will come to Windows Phone 7 in 2011. The phone is stable and usable today, but I’ve always said it lacks the features to make it perfect (in my opinion). These features get it pretty damn close.

To get a flavour of what a Y+1 Windows Phone 7 experience will look like, check out this YouTube video demo of multitasking:

The Nokia bit is the only thing not guaranteed for 2011, but I’d be surprised if we don’t see at least one Nokia WP7 device this year.

Microsoft had to get a device out to show they were serious about competing, but I do wonder if they would have got a better result by waiting for the features to be baked before releasing. Then again, it’s almost guaranteed that they would have missed the Nokia deal.

Windows Phone 7 Distribution by Device and Country

An anonymous associate is the developer of a popular application for  Windows Phone 7. The advertising platform he uses in the application reports on the location and nature of devices that are requesting ads. There’s nothing nefarious about this: it’s the same as any web server collecting browser statistics.

First let’s have a look at the popularity of devices. In the graph below, the I917R is the Samsung Focus, and the T8788 is the HTC Surround. Combining the Focus and the Omnia 7, Samsung is pretty much owning the Windows Phone 7 device space at the moment.

One thing you’ll note is the anaemic performance of LG. This goes some way to explaining their grumpiness about uptake of Windows Phone 7. Turns out it’s not WP7’s fault, it’s probably LGs fault for not getting their phones in the right shape, location, price, or quality to meet the market.

If we look at hits by country, the trend is pretty straightforward: North America, UK, then everyone else. The lack of hits from Germany and France are probably due to this particular application requiring a good grasp of English. I’ve heard WP7 sales in Germany are going well.

Still nothing official about those updates promised out of CES, but fingers crossed we’ll hear some news (of any sort) at Mobile World Conference in a couple of weeks.

Paid Applications Finally Available on NZ Android Market

Free applications from the Android Market have been available since at least day one of the HTC Magic release in New Zealand. Apparently local currency conversion has stopped paid applications up until now.

Today, our dedicated Android forum member, Rob, has just posted a note saying that paid apps quietly appeared last night. I guess the currency issue has been resolved. You can check out some of the top-selling paid applications on the Anroid Market here.

Video: Rugged Gadgets

Here are the water, dust, and drop proof gadgets from TVNZ Breakfast this morning:

TVNZ Rugged Gadgets 20090617

Item: Vodafone XP3 Enduro
Price:$799 (or cheaper with a plan)
Rating: 3 / 5
Info: The XP3 can take anything you care to throw at it. Rated to Milspec 810F for dust, shocks and water, which in reality means you can drop it off a roof, accidentally put it through the washing machine, drop it into a cowpat, or even run over it with your car and it will keep on trucking. It’s fairly basic feature-wise, with no 3G or camera. It does have a rudimentary web browser, and Bluetooth so you can use a headset. If you need a super-durable phone, the XP3 is certainly going to handle the knocks, but the price-to-feature equation is not too good.

Item: Panasonic FT1
Price: $799
Rating: 4 / 5
Info: Looking like its carved from a little block of aluminium, the FT1 doesn’t compromise size or looks for its rugged abilties. The FT1 is dust proof, shock proof for a 1.5m drop, and waterproof if dropped in water up to 1.5m deep. You won’t be scuba diving with it, but it will be fine on the beach or the farm, or just a good Auckland downpour. The 4.6x optical zoom is respectable, and AVCHD hi-definition video is a nice bonus.

Item: Canon D10
Price: $749
Rating: 2 / 5
Info: If you’re really keen on underwater photography, you might be better off getting a higher quality camera with an underwater enclosure. The D10 is compact and sturdy, but as ugly as any camera I’ve ever seen. Waterproof to 10 metres, it’s fine for snorkeling or shallow diving, but again, why not spend a couple of hundred dollars on an enclosure for a nicer camera? If you just want a durable camera, not one for diving, I’d go for the Panasonic FT1 – it’s much prettier, and has better features.

Item: Mini Submarine (use coupon code BM5OFF5 for a 5% discount!)
Price: $30 (US $15 plus shipping)
Rating: 4 / 5
Info: What you want from a gadget is fun for your money. For the price, this neat little submarine is hard to beat. It’s not fast or accurate, but you can’t really complain. Use it in the bath or the sink.