Little bug in Windows Phone 7: An SMS message can crash the phone and break the messaging hub, more

According to Winrumors, you can take out a Windows Phone 7 device (they say various Windows Phone 7s on any carrier) with a single, solitary SMS message with a [redacted at request of Winrumors].  Worse (or better?) yet, it doesn’t have to be a text, it can be a Facebook message or Windows Live chat.

The flaw works simply by sending an SMS to a Windows Phone user. If the SMS contains a particular string of text then Windows Phone 7.5 devices will reboot and the messaging hub will not open despite repeat attempts. We have tested the attack on a range of Windows Phone devices, including HTC’s TITAN and Samsung’s Focus Flash. The attack is not device specific and appears to be an issue with the way the Windows Phone messaging hub handles particular characters. The bug is also triggered if a user sends a Facebook chat message or Windows Live Messenger message to a recipient.

And you don’t just get a reboot.  When your phone comes hobbling back to life, the Messaging hub no longer works.  And other parts of the OS are wonky.

If a user has pinned a friend as a live tile on their device and the friend posts a particular string of text on Facebook then the live tile will update and causes the device to lock up.

The fix? Hard reset of the device.  Ouch.

In a totally unrelated note, the head of the Windows Phone 7 division was fired today.  Read more

Shunned by Apple, T-Mobile turns to Nokia and Windows

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With Apple deciding not to include support for T-Mobile’s bands in the US, T-Mobile has turned into an Android wasteland with over 90% of the smartphones sold on the network running on Google’s OS. Looking for some diversification (besides the over million legacy iPhones), T-Mobile looks to be one of the first in the US to roll out one of the new Nokia Windows Phone 7 devices which they plan to announce on Dec 14th, a little late for the holidays.

Here’s how you can try out Windows Phone on your iPhone

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Curious to see how Windows Phone feels, but don’t have a device around to do so? Us neither. But Microsoft has just released a new HTML 5 website that allows iPhone and Android users to get a taste of the Windows Phone 7 (Mango 7.5) operating system. The trial requires no downloads or registration, and you can try it out by just going to the webpage http://aka.ms/wpdemo on your mobile device.

While it doesn’t use any of the data on your phone like your contacts, the demo does give you a pretty comprehensive look at all of Windows Phone’s features. Microsoft uses a blue dot to guide you around the operating system, and obviously some features like voice recognition just don’t work in the browser. Drat, that’s something we really wanted to try.

Will this draw users over to the Windows Phone platform? Probably not, but it’s always cool to see what the competition is up to.

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It must be the accent

Microsoft’s Craig Mundie shoved his foot knee deep in his mouth this week when he said that Siri was nothing special, and Microsoft’s own voice capabilities have been around for over a year.  The reason for Siri’s success?  Marketing, of course.

People are infatuated with Apple announcing it. It’s good marketing, but at least as the technological capability you could argue that Microsoft has had a similar capability in Windows Phones for more than a year, since Windows Phone 7 was introduced.

To be fair, Siri isn’t even about the Voice Recognition, it is what the iPhone does with it.  The voice recognition is outsourced to Nuance’s engine. The Microsoft Phone barely made it to the point where you could make sense out of what its engine produced.

If you were Microsoft, would you rather Mundie be so out of touch with the technology he is talking about that he can’t tell the difference, or that he’s just flat out shamelessly lying?

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Microsoft exec: Siri is nothing special, we’ve had it for over a year

Microsoft and Apple tackled touch interfaces in diametrically opposing ways. As Apple set out to bring multitouch on mobile devices to the masses with the 2007 release of the original iPhone, Microsoft created a blown up version with its Surface multitouch tabletop (which can now be yours for a cool $8,400, shipping in early 2012).

Microsoft also progressed natural user interfaces with the Kinect motion controller for the Xbox 360 console while Apple charted its way into the future with an artificial intelligence-driven personal assistant dubbed Siri.

So, when Microsoft’s chief strategy and research officer Craig Mundie sat down with Forbes’ Eric Savitz to talk the company’s planned expansion of the new user interface, he did what Microsoft executives typically do when challenged with a cool tech developed outside the Windows maker’s labs: He stuck his foot in his mouth over Apple’s groundbreaking digital secretary exclusive to the iPhone 4S.

In the above clip, he said (mark 1:45):

People are infatuated with Apple announcing it. It’s good marketing, but at least as the technological capability you could argue that Microsoft has had a similar capability in Windows Phones for more than a year, since Windows Phone 7 was introduced.

Windows Phones, seriously? Mundie couldn’t acknowledge Siri as an ace up Apple’s sleeve and barely accepted that Microsoft could learn a lesson or two about “productizing” technology. He then went on to describe how their version of Siri works on Windows Phones:
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The competition: Google introduces Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus

The keynote went a little bad over in Hong Kong with both the Facial Recognition and the Quick Response features not working or crashing the device. Overall though, there are some interesting new features that certainly differentiate Android from iOS and Windows Phone 7.

As for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus Phone, it has a 5-megapixel camera which has to be a letdown when compared to 8 megapixel cameras that are standardizing on the high end across the industry. Its most impressive feature (unless you are trying to squeeze it into your pocket) has to be the 4.65-inch 720P display. Although Pentile, which means not every pixel gets RGB dots, it does get close to Apple’s 326 PPI Retina display with a 316 PPI density. Like the as yet unpopular Honeycomb tablets, it doesn’t have any front facing buttons but has screen buttons that shift around as well as all of those new Android 4.0 features.

Check 9to5Google.com for ongoing coverage.

Microsoft steals the “Wait ’til next year” strategy from the Cubs

Today was Microsoft’s Windows Tablet 8 unveiling.  The product on the surface looks cool, people are hyped, but alas it will be a year before real products are given to real people.  The iPad 3 with its Retina Display will have been on the market for months and Google will have iterated 10,000 Beta releases of Android before then on 200 different pieces of tablet hardware.

On top of that, this new OS is really just smashing together Windows Phone 7 Metro UI Windowing (some admittedly nice UI features) with Windows 7 applications.  Real world use of Windows 7 apps in tablet form isn’t going to be fun.  I’ve tried using Windows on the Parallels iPad app – and it is OK in a pinch, but apps need to be redesigned 100% to work in tablet mode effectively.  Try entering data into Excel on a tablet for instance.  Then try Numbers on an iPad – it is slightly better.

Luckily, just about every iOS app was designed or redesigned first for touch over the past four years.  Microsoft is, today, telling its developers to do the same for their Windows apps.

How long can Microsoft keep up its “next year” strategy?  Windows 8 tablet isn’t the only thing coming “Next Year”.

Two years ago, Microsoft made the decision to scrap Windows Mobile and said: “Next year we’ll have Windows Phone 7″.  When Windows Phone didn’t grab much attention at the end of last year, Microsoft ‘bought Nokia’ and said, by the end of this year we’ll have some top quality phones from Nokia.  We’re waiting to see how that pans out, but by the time Nokia can produce anything with a Windows logo on it, it will have fallen from #1 in the world in smartphones to #4 or #5 behind Apple, Samsung and probably HTC and RIM.  But Windows Mango devices are coming to AT&T, have you heard?

How did this “wait until next year” thing become business as usual for Microsoft?   Read more

HTC boss: College kids don’t want an iPhone ‘because their dad has one’

Martin Fichter, the acting president of HTC America, has a daughter down at Steve Jobs’ alma mater, Reed College, where he conducted the very scientific focus group:

On the iPhone 5 hype: “Apple is innovating. Samsung is innovating. We are innovating. Everybody is innovating. And everybody is doing different things for the end consumers. I brought my daughter back to college — she’s down in Portland at Reed — and I talked to a few of the kids on her floor. And none of them has an iPhone because they told me: ‘My dad has an iPhone.’ There’s an interesting thing that’s going on in the market. The iPhone becomes a little less cool than it was. They were carrying HTCs. They were carrying Samsungs. They were even carrying some Chinese manufacture’s devices. If you look at a college campus, Mac Book Airs are cool. iPhones are not that cool anymore. We here are using iPhones, but our kids don’t find them that cool anymore.”

They also have no interest in dad’s Porsche. Read more

What if Google closes Android and goes the Apple model with Motorola?


Assuming Android goes proprietary to Motorola, it falls behind Apple in market share by 2012 and Windows Phone (the Other category) gulps up nearly half the mobile phone market.

There’s a good reason why Apple’s products “just work”. But it’s been a bumpy road for the Cupertino, California company because right from the onset competitors were ridiculing its vertically integrated approach to business. Apple’s supposedly ‘closed’ ecosystem is a major weakness, critics cry. The past decade, however, saw the marketplace validate the strategy through booming sales of Apple gear. But what if GOOG actually tried the AAPL model with Motorola, which today makes about one in ten Android smartphones?

That’s the dilemma Piper Jaffray resident Apple analyst Gene Munster set out to explore in his Friday note to clients. In short, making Android proprietary and exclusive to Motorola would add about 35 percent to operating income for Google, the accidental hardware company. By 2015, the phone biz would add $10.5 billion in operating profit and $56 billion in revenue, resulting in a per-share earnings of $25.16 by 2015. There’s just one problem with this hypothetical strategy: Read more

Gartner: Trends continue as iOS and Android swallow up smartphone industry

Gartner’s latest global smartphone numbers are out and if your name isn’t iOS or Android, the future looks pretty bleak.  While iOS continues to gain share at pace even without a new model release (up one point for the quarter and over 4 points year over year), the bigger story continues to be Android’s outright theft of marketshare from Symbian.  Just in the last quarter, 10 percent of the market shifted from Symbian to Android and for the year, the number is close to 20%

Meanwhile Blackberry continued its paced slide down another 2 points quarter over quarter while Samsung’s Bada made modest gains. In the “Other” category, Windows Phone 7 somehow lost market share falling from 2% to 1% and Windows Mobile is now off the charts.  HP’s webOS  is somewhere in the “other” as well with Meego and the ghosts of smartphone past.

Graph via PED, cross posted on 9to5Google.com Read more

IDC: Nokia share halved as iPhone becomes king of the hill in Australia

In what is becoming a global trend, IDC found that Nokia uptake in Australia fell spectacularly from almost 50% in Q1 last year to less than 25% this year.

Its first quarter 2011 figures show that in just 12 months, Nokia has not only lost market dominance, its phone market share has halved: from 49.5 per cent in the first quarter of last year and 44.2 per cent in Q4, to just 24.6 per cent in the first quarter this year.

Perhaps even more scary for the people at Nokia, who are also jumping from their “burning platform”: Windows Phone 7 is actually dropping share year over year from the previous Windows Mobile.

Who is picking up the slack? Read more

Windows Phone has fastest browser, benchmark says

The above video pits browsing capabilities of Windows Phone’s Internet Explorer 9 mobile running on a “Mango” device against iOS’ Safari browser running on an iPhone 4 and Android’s WebKit-based browser running on a Samsung Nexus S. The results clearly show IE taking the lead in terms of speed. WinRumors explains that the Windows Phone browser came in first with 20 frames per second versus only two frames per second for mobile Safari, or ten times slower. Android came in second with 11 frames per second.

Naysayers are free to test their device themselves by visiting said benchmark in mobile Safari. Something’s fishy here, if you ask me. The HTML5 speed reading test comes from the Microsoft-operated ietestdrive.com site and it’s just one of many available tests. How do we know the test wasn’t specifically designed to favor Microsoft’s mobile operating system? It wouldn’t be the first time flawed testing was used to bash Apple’s browser. Read on…
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