Fresh off the heels of Android’s criticism to Windows Phone and Apple iPhone’s approach to UX by Matias Duarte from an interview with This is My Next, Ballmer has a lot of criticism for the green robot. When asked to compare the appeal of a phone powered by Windows and Google, Ballmer responded:
You don’t need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows phone and you do to use and Android phone…It is hard for me to be excited about the Android phones.
The quote sounds familiar in lieu of Windows Mobile past of being a computer scientist (a custom rom, a custom overlay, a custom keyboard, tons of registry tweaks) to make Windows Mobile actually work. Even the HTC HD2, the argued pinnacle of Windows Mobile, still required lots of tweaking to make the device work.
Despite the criticism he gave Android, he praised Apple on several fronts; a complete 180 from his previous comments on Apple:
“Apple is a good competitor, but a different one.”
Both [an iPhone and a Windows phone] are going to feel very good in your hand and both going to look very beautiful physically…. but when you grab a Windows phone and use it… your information is front and centre… and you don’t have to scroll through seas of icons and blah blah blah.
Some interesting words from Microsoft for the green robot company. Interestingly before comments are given, remember Microsoft does receive profit for every Android device sold. With that said, do you have to be a computer scientist to use the green robot?
Another day, another leak for the Nokia 800 (dubbed the Sea Ray). Released from pocketnow, the device is expected to be in 3 colors: blue, black, and pink. Surprisingly, the device also seems to remove the Segoe WP font that is on every other Windows Phone in favor of a new font called “Pure”. While it is well known that Nokia and Microsoft have an agreement to allow Nokia privileges for deeper customization, the device doesn’t change immensely to completely fragment the device versus other OEMs. It is still a recognizable Windows Phone.
Nokia World is exactly one week away, is anyone else going to pick up this device for 499 Euro? Discuss!
images courtesy of pocketnow
The troubles for Dell Venue Pro, once considered the best 1st Gen WP7 device, doesn’t seem to end. Even as the Mango update DVPs on AT&T are nowhere in sight, another problem was reported about compass not working in those devices which did get WP7.5. It was xda-developers member MJCS who discovered that Dell had actually DELETED the compass driver as part of the Mango update! It was widely reported in tech blogs, but apparently word never reached Dell Inc. Thereafter MJCS himself informed Dell Support and their Board of Directors on 15 Oct giving them a week to respond. We had confirmation that Dell was indeed looking into the problem when Lionel Menchaca, Dell’s Chief Blogger responded with this tweet on 17 Oct.
Before we could hear anything more from dell, MJCS found that while Dell had deleted the CompassDrv.dll file as part of Mango update, they had uploaded another file, CompassDrv_ms.dll, which MJCS presumes to be the compass driver. However the compass apps look for CompassDrv.dll and don’t work because the file is absent. I approached Wayde Gradwell, developer of the free app, 123 compass (Marketplace link) and asked him if he could, probably develop a DELL ONLY patch referencing the driver with a changed name. But he has informed that developers are not in a position to do anything to solve the issue.
According to Wayde Gradwell, when developers use the WP7.5 API, they do not reference any individual driver files on the phone. Microsoft provides an API wrapper to access the drivers. He further cited the MSDN library article on Windows Phones Sensors saying that the dll developers reference is Systems.Devices.Sensors (no mention of CompassDrv.dll anywhere) and in the code, the API call Compass.Is.Supported returns true for Dell Venue Pro. So the developer has to assume that the device supports the compass and the app would work. If the API call would have returned False, the developer is expected to inform the user and ‘fail gracefully’ as under.
// The device on which the application is running does not support
// the compass sensor. Alert the user and hide the
// application bar.
statusTextBlock.Text = “device does not support compass”;
ApplicationBar.IsVisible = false;
// Initialize the timer and add Tick event handler, but don’t start it yet.
timer = new DispatcherTimer();
timer.Interval = TimeSpan.FromMilliseconds(30);
timer.Tick += new EventHandler(timer_Tick);
So, what are the options before us now? It turns out that the only possible options involve Dell and/or Microsoft. The simplest option is for Dell to provide a fix that again adds CompassDrv.dll or corrects the name of CompassDrv_ms.dll in line with WP7.5 API. The other option is for Microsoft to provide an API patch for Systems.Devices.Sensors with the alternate dll which developers can reference in their apps. Any which way, the ball is firmly in Dell/Microsoft court. Can we hope that the beleaguered Dell Venue Pro owners will get some love rather quickly this time?
HTC Radar was officially announced in India on the eve of official Windows Phone launch on Indian soil. Media suggested that HTC Radar will be available in a week or two post announcement. We haven’t been able to spot Radar on retail stores, Windows Phone online store or even Flipkart but we managed to find HTC Radar on Ebay India with One Year manufacturer warranty (legit) awkardly priced at Rs. 24,790.
Before you hit the purchase button, don’t forget to check out our feature comparison for 2nd generation Windows Phone devices coming to India to see where Radar stands. Do you think the price is right? Let us know in the comments below.