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Acer Allegro Windows Phone Coming to Europe for 299 Euro

Microsoft’s current Windows Phone strategy involves selling devices at different price points to meet all consumer needs and demands. The strategy has been noted with HTC and Samsung, each with their announcements of low end Windows Phone models and higher end Windows Phone models at different pricing. Now Acer is set to step into the mix with a reasonably priced Windows Phone 7.5 device. The Acer Allegro is such a device. And while not many hardware specifications are given, the device is expected to have 8 GB of onboard storage running Windows Phone 7.5. Due to Microsoft’s strict chassis specifications, it can be deduced that the device will at least have a 1 gHz Qualcomm snapdragon single core processor with 512 MB RAM and a 5 MP camera at a WVGA resolution. With a price point of 299 Euro unlocked, many can overlook that it is not a powerhouse of a smart phone offering like the HTC Titan or the Samsung Focus S. But you have to wonder if Acer is going to release a high end device like Samsung and HTC.

Would you suggest anyone to purchase a low end Mango device?

Source: Telecompaper


Navigon For Windows Phone Gives More Direction At a Price

When Windows Phone 7 launched last year, maps were under control of bing mapping services. And while admirable of a job bing performs with basic mapping, the lack of offline mapping and international mapping support was lacking. Deustch Telekom released Navigon for their select Windows Phones, leading to several developers attempting to make the map services work outside Europe. With Navigon’s current release, USA and European users will rejoice with more mapping options, for a price.

Navigon provides several options for users, such as:

  • Traffic Live – Reality View Pro
  • NAVIGON MyRoutes
  • Lane Assistant Pro
  • Speed Assistant
  • Safety Camera
  • NAVIGON Reality Scanner
  • Text-to-Speech and precise spoken announcements
  • Different voices (accents)
  • Extended Pedestrian Navigation
  • Google Local Search
  • Destination entry with coordinates
  • Emergency help
  • Sending current position via SMS or email
  • Special destinations along the route

And several more options and major languages of the US and Europe. In addition, Navigon also released a traffic information app called Traffic4All, allowing you to view current traffic information at a glance. Both options indefinitely extend functionality for users that require extra options that bing doesn’t provide yet.

The Navigon mapping solution for Windows Phone comes at two different pricepoints: $29.99 USD for Navigon USA and a whopping $69.99 USD for Navigon Europe. Sadly, the prices of the app are expected to increase after November 15 to match the similar price points found on other platforms. Secondly, if you’re planning to use the program immediately, you will be shocked to find that massive downloads of map data are required before initial use. For US customers who purchased Navigon, 1.6 GB of map data will be installed on your device and for European cusotmers, 2.3 GB of map data will be installed. For users with devices that are only 8 GB in onboard storage, the downloads may be far too extreme.

Is this an app you will purchase? Let us know!

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How Global is the New Bing

Having watched the series of new Bing ads for WP7.5, also detailed in Micheal Stroh’s post in Windows Phone Blog , I decided to try out the goodies available in India on my Windows Phone. After All, built in search functionality was the one feature I could proudly show off to my less fortunate iPhone and Android owners. I was already aware that Music Search and Local Scout is not (yet?) available in India but Bing Vision was high on my wish list. I touched the Bing Button and was delighted to see the icons for Vision and Voice Search appear at the bottom of the screen. I clicked on the “Eye” and aligned the camera on the bar-code of the Otterbox Commuter Series DVP case lying nearby. Nothing happened!!! Instead, it said “Nothing Found – try searching with text or voice”. I tried with every other thing which had a bar-code – nothing! Books – Nothing, CDs/DVDs – NOTHING. If you think I was crestfallen, you’d be grossly underestimating. I fired off a tweet to @WinPhoneSupport and also a comment on Michael Stroh’s blog looking for answers. But they didn’t know. WinPhoneSupport was positive that I should be able to scan everything as advertised. When I told them that on starting Bing Vision, it offers to scan only QR Codes and Microsoft Tags, they had to say this

Surprise surprise, even Microsoft doesn’t know which Microsoft features are region specific. Or are we surprised at that anymore? Then Sushovan De, my fellow contributor at WP Sauce, suggested that I change the locale on my phone to English(US) and try again. Nothing happened when I changed Region Format or System Locale, but when I changed my ‘Browser & Search Language’ to English(US), suddenly I had the entire suite of Bing Vision features – bar-codes, QR Codes, MS Tags, Books, CDs, DVDs. I even had Local Scout!! I tried a few more languages and drew different results, soon realising the huge disparity in Bing Services available around the world.

There are five levels of Bing Services and the locations/languages which have access to these levels are detailed below :

  1. The Full Bing Suite – This is the top dog. You get everything – Voice Search, Vision, Local Scout and Bing Audio(though I cannot get it on my phone no matter what I change). Bing Vision is also fully featured and you can scan QR Codes, MS Tags, bar-codes (only UPC), books, CDs & DVDs and also text which can be translated. For getting this level of access you have to be an English speaker in the US. No Sir, Canada or UK don’t have it, and neither do Spanish speakers in the US.
  2. Local Scout, Limited Bing Vision and Voice Search  – In this level of Bing access, you can scan ONLY Microsoft Tags and QR Codes in Bing Vision apart from text/translation. The supported languages/countries are just English (Australia & UK) and French (France).
  3. Limited Bing Vision and Voice Search – No Local Scout and only QR Codes/MS Tags and text/translation in Bing Vision. Supported languages are Chinese (Hong Kong, Mainland China & Taiwan), Danish, Dutch (Belgium & Holland), English (Canada, India, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore & South Africa), Finnish, French (Belgium, Canada & Switzerland), German (Germany & Switzerland), Italian (Italy), Japanese, Norwegian (Bokmal), Portuguese (Brazil & Portugal), Russian, Spanish (Argentina, Mexico, Spain & US) and Swedish (Sweden).
  4. Voice Search Only – Just the Bing app with Voice Search and no additional services. Available for Afrikaans, Chinese (Singapore), Croatian, English (Belize, Caribbean & Zimbabwe), Galician, Greek, Italian (Switzerland), Kiswahili, Romanian, Serbian (Cyrillic – Monte Negro), Spanish (Uruguay) and Tatar.
  5. No Bing App – Yes, the rest of the world does not even have a Bing app. If you were to own a Windows Phone here, the default Bing Button would open the Bing web page in the browser. The supported, uhh… unsupported languages are Albanian, Azeri (Cyrillic & Latin), Basque, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (Macao), Czech, English (Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago), Estonian, Faroese, Filipino, French (Luxembourg & Monaco), German (Austria, Liechtenstein & Luxembourg), Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Korean, Kyrgyz, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Mongolian, Norwegian (Nynorsk), Polish, Serbian (Cyrillic & Latin), Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish (Entire Latin and South America except Argentina, Mexico and Uruguay), Swedish (Finland), Turkish, Ukrainian and Uzbek (Cyrillic & Latin)

Please remember that all the above listed languages are supported in WP 7.5 codenamed Mango. There are scores of other languages like Hebrew, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Persian, Thai etc which are not even supported in Windows Phones yet. But the most perplexing issue for me is the reason for this selective treatment and I fail to understand why Microsoft has done so. Nothing stops me from changing my search language to English(US). And I get no special benefits by selecting English(India) anyway. Microsoft Tellme doesn’t understand my accent and consistently returns results for ‘Admin Folder’ when I ask for Windows Phones and ‘Eurosport Winter’, when I ask for US Open – no matter if I have selected English in India, UK, USA, Singapore or Spanish in Guatemala. However, one thing is for sure. Microsoft’s penchant for Region Specific services is beginning to border on the ridiculous. So much so for their global ambitions.

Image courtesy – & Twitter.


LTE, Dual Core, in Windows Phone Future

Phone hardware means a lot to some users, and it can make or break a potential sale if the phone that a consumer is interested in doesn’t utilize current technology. While hardware seems to be the major deterring factor between Windows Phone and Android, it is often believed Windows Phone is behind utilization of current and future smartphone hardware. Right now, Android utilizes LTE, 4g, and dual core processors, and Windows is trying to change that.

In an interview with AllthingsD, Andy Lees, Microsoft President of Windows Phone Division, made some very interesting points about LTE and dual core processors:

“They’re [current windows phones] all single core, but I suspect that they will be faster in usage than any dual-core phone that you put against it, and that’s the point…They’re all single core, but I suspect that they will be faster in usage than any dual-core phone that you put against it, and that’s the point

The first LTE phones were big and big (users) of the battery, and I think it’s possible to do it in a way that is far more efficient, and that’s what we will be doing”.

Despite Microsoft not supporting LTE and dual core, Lees contends that Microsoft will be at cutting edge in the future. It’s very possible that Microsoft will have support for the new Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Krait based SoCs announced in July by mobiletechworld.

So, is it likely that Windows Phone will use new dual core snapdragon processors?

Image Courtesy of Microsoft
Source: All Things D


Windows Phone Marketing to Get Aggressive

Last year’s Windows Phone sales have been lukewarm to say the least. While the reasons to why people may not purchase Windows Phone are varied, the two major reasons that rise above the rest are marketing and carrier push. The get in and get out campaign that adorned several movie theaters and aired on television failed to resonate with consumers. Moreover, customer service representative indicated a negativity toward Windows Phone according to PCmag. So, how will Microsoft correct the errors that led to poor sales? Get aggressive!

During an interview with Bloomberg, President of Windows Phone Division Andy Lees outlined several steps to ensure Microsoft is in the top three smartphone platform for the next year. Lees noted that Samsung and HTC are increasing their marketing budget for Windows Phone. Lees also clarified that carriers will undergo extensive training to promote Windows Phone and increase retailer incentives. Finally, OEMs will offer affordable smartphones for prices under $100 US dollars on contract; a key market that will improve due to Nokia’s Windows Phone involvement.

For what it seems, Microsoft is improving in several areas that will make Microsoft Windows Phone a marketing success for the holiday season. Only time will indicate whether Microsoft’s aggression will work in the long run. Hopefully it does and Microsoft becomes number 2 mobile platform.

Image Courtesy of All Things D

Source: Bloomberg

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Nokia 800 Promo Materials Leaked?

The anticipation for Nokia’s windows Phone has many media outlets eager to get their hands on the company’s Windows Phone offerings. Pocketnow has obtained two promotional materials highlighting Nokia’s Windows Phone – the Nokia 800 (also known as the Nokia Sea Ray). From what it appears in the images, the Nokia 800 looks very similar to the Nokia N9 with a polycarbonate unibody design, multiple color choices, and a 8 MP camera. The messages from the leaked promotional material emphasize that Nokia 800 is a device for adventurous consumer that is always connected to their social media outlets. Interestingly, the material also incorporates Microsoft’s “People First” campaign, while adding a new dimension of adventure and sharing with the world. Nokia appears to be marketing their Windows Phone as their daily driver because of its connections to social networking, powerful Nokia hardware, and the flexibility of Windows Phone to suit many needs. It’s modern, chic, and begs some attention. This is the sort of advertising that Microsoft needs to appeal to the average consumer.

However, some have considered the leaked promotional material fake. What do you think?

source : Pocketnow