Tag Archives: Microsoft

Why Microsoft sued Motorola for Android-related patent infringements

3 Oct

With too much at stake when it comes to smartphones (the high-margin game), it is not surprising for Microsoft to sue Motorola for patent infringement. The Seattle, Washington based software giant claims that Motorola’s Android-based smartphones infringe upon its patents.

“Microsoft filed an action today in the International Trade Commission and in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against Motorola, Inc. for infringement of nine Microsoft patents by Motorola’s Android-based smartphones. The patents at issue relate to a range of functionality embodied in Motorola’s Android smartphone devices that are essential to the smartphone user experience, including synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.”

We doubt if Microsoft managed to rattle any cages in Chicago, Illinois, where Motorola is head quartered. Remember, Microsoft cut a deal with HTC, which makes smartphones running on both Android and Windows Phone operating systems, to share IP and help HTC stand against Apple, which had sued it for patent infringements. Motorola, on the other hand, is devoted to Android alone (at least for the time being) and hence, is a potential threat to Microsoft. Smartphones from HTC, LG and Samsung, running on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 devices are expected to be launched later this month.

This is also Microsoft’s ploy to warn others that using an open source operating system will make them vulnerable to such IP-related lawsuits. Unlike Google, Microsoft licenses Windows Phone 7 operating system to manufacturers which frees them from getting hassled with these lawsuits.

Mysterious HTC WP7 phone shows up

26 Jul

Photographs of an unseen, unheard of HTC phone running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 (WP7) OS have been splattered on Engadget. The device, which looks like the WP7 version of Desire (sans the trackball), has a 3.7 inch display and is powered by a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It also has an 8.0 MP snapper.

With WP7 launch around the corner, we should be witnessing more such leaks. But more than the new devices, we are curious to see how WP7 performs when pitted against Android, considering both the platforms share more or less the same OEM ecosystem.

Microsoft demonstrates Market Place on Windows Phone 7

14 Jul

Market Place or Microsoft’s application store for Windows Phone 7 (WP7) was one of the key features that was not talked about during the announcement of the new OS in Barcelona earlier this year. I attended the packed press conference (had to wait in a queue for over an hour to barely get myself a seat on the last row) and there were murmurings whether WP7 would even have an application store or not. We all knew it would but strangely it did not figure in any of the demos.

Anyhow, last month Microsoft posted a video (wonder how I missed it) of how Market Place would work on WP7. The layout seems much better than WinMo 6.5 and it shows that users won’t just be able to buy apps but also music and podcasts (not sure if that would be available in all markets). Check out the video below to see for yourself.

Microsoft releases Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta, to ship Windows Phone 7 devices to devs from July 19!

13 Jul

Microsoft has today released a beta version of developer tools for its upcoming Windows Phone 7 OS and devices running on it. With first Windows Phone 7 smartphones expected to be released around October or November, there is not much time left really for some cool apps for the OS. Along with the tools, Microsoft is also sending out a bunch of pre-production Windows Phone 7 smartphones to select developers who have registered with them! The first devices will leave Redmond on July 19 and we bet that some of them will end up on eBay in less than a week’s time. If you are a developer, you should check the Windows Phone Developer Blog and the rest of us should keep our eyes set on eBay!

The countdown begins, Microsoft starts handing out Windows Phone 7 devices

9 Jul

Two American teenagers became the first people outside of Microsoft and its partners to ‘officially” receive Windows Phone 7 devices. Nope, they did not find it at a bar but Microsoft actually gave them the phones for winning the Windows Phone Rockstar contest at the Imagine Cup 2010. The team, Beastware, developed a game “Droid Assault” (ironic?) that requires controlling a droid using the phone’s accelerometer. In case the phone doesn’t have one, the teenagers – Christian Hood (17) and Eric Lo (16) – even hacked a Wii-mote that can be paired via Bluetooth.

At the moment, the make and the features of the first Windows Phone 7 devices to be given out in public are not known, but we don’t think it will be much longer before the beans are spilt and videos of the devices emerge. Heck, who knows, you might even find it on eBay, once the teenagers get bored with it and return to their iPhones.

It also indicates that Microsoft is comfortable with the state of Windows Phone 7, which could mean that it might just push the launch date ahead of its original ‘holiday season’ plan. Well, things are certainly heating up here… Anyway, here’s the video demo of their award-winning app.

Beastware Droid Assault Demo from Anand Iyer on Vimeo.

via The Windows Team Blog

LG outlines its smartphone strategy

5 Jul

LG today outlined its global smartphone strategy during the launch of its latest Android smartphone, the Optimus Z, in Korea. From whatever little we could glean off this crudely translated LG Korea press release, it seems that LG will launch its Optimus Series of phones globally. The series includes the high-end Optimus Z, which runs on Android 2.2 and has a 3.8 inch display, HD video recording and probably even HD TV-out. Then there is the Optimus Q in the mid-segment and one Optimus Chic as the entry-level Android smartphone that will run on Android 2.1.

The press release also mentions Android-based Internet tablet devices in Q4 apart from a Windows Phone 7 smartphone. Looks like we are staring into a string of high-profile launches from LG. Stay tuned in…

Microsoft pulls the plug on KIN

1 Jul

Barely weeks after its launch on Verizon, Microsoft has decided to pull the plugs on its teenager-centric, social phones called KIN. While we were no big fans of the KINs considering their monthly subscription plans were expensive ($60 a month!) and it was functionally flawed, Microsoft’s decision to pull the plug so soon comes as a surprise.

According to a Microsoft statement to CNET, the company won’t be shipping the KIN to Europe as it was announced earlier. Instead, it will integrate the KIN team (essentially ex-Danger employees) into its Windows Phone 7 team.

Microsoft had acquired Danger, the maker of Sidekick range of devices that were popular with teenagers, in 2008. The company wanted to create a product that was cheaper than a smartphone and connected to the cloud for storage and interactivity. The project was codenamed Pink and the result was the two KIN devices – the KIN One and the KIN Two. (You can read more about the KIN here.)

With devices running on Windows Phone 7 expected to be announced in October and the fact that Project Pink was supposed to be separate from Windows Phone 7, it is unlikely that we will see any integration of concepts from KIN into Windows Phone 7 immediately. However, we won’t really mind if Microsoft did integrate the concept of Spot for drag-and-drop sharing and Studio for syncing our media online into Windows Phone 7.

May the KINs rest in peace.

Android 3.0 aka Gingerbread gets detailed, gels well with our theory

30 Jun

Eldar Murtazin strikes again! The editor of Russian site Mobile Review and the guy who gets the dope before even many product managers inside companies has just detailed Google’s plans for Android 3.0 aka Gingerbread in a podcast. While we are no native Russian speakers but thankfully our good friends at Unwired View are and they have translated his podcast.

If Murtazin is to be believed (we believe him), Google will for the first time release a minimum spec requirement for Android 3.0. Of course, modders will hack and port it into devices with lower specs but essentially any phone to run Gingerbread needs to have at least a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB RAM and at least a 3.5 inch display. If the requirements sound familiar, well these are almost the same that Microsoft wants in phones running Windows Phone 7 OS.

Google will be announcing Gingerbread sometime in October (Murtazin claims October 15 or 16), with first devices ready to hit shelves in time for holiday shopping. Gingerbread will also come with a new UI throughout menus that would leave handset vendor skins like HTC’s Sense UI and Motorola’s Blur useless, but we doubt if Google would bar vendors from adding their own skins, like Microsoft has done with Windows Phone 7.

Google is also working on making the OS work with devices having displays bigger than 4.0 inches and resolutions as high as 1280×760 pixels, which means that Android might finally do more, much more, on an Internet Tablet device.

So essentially, what we have over here is that Gingerbread would be the OS for high-end Android phones, while lesser mortals would go as far as Android 2.2 aka Froyo. This is exactly what I had written in a post almost a month back:

Considering that there are all sorts of phones at all possible price points and hardware configuration, it would help Google (and Android) if it classified which categories of phones run on which version of Android. This could be based on the processor/memory configuration of the phone. What this would do is ensure that the highest-end segment of phones run on the most advanced OS version while the phones in the lower-end of the spectrum run on a more basic/lite version that gives most features but skips the processor-intensive stuff. By doing this, users will get a more refined user experience suited to their choice of hardware, which has been one of the main reason for the iPhone’s success. It would also mean that developers will be able to target high-end devices with better quality apps.

Well, it seems like Android might finally come of age this holiday season!

LG E900 destined to be a Windows Phone 7 smartphone

25 Jun

With the launch of smartphones running on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 looming closer, it is all but natural to stumble upon some documents related to some of these upcoming handhelds. We have come across one such document related to the LG E900, which appeared to be a normal dumbphone with a WVGA display till we scrolled down to the browser properties and were surprised to see it running IE7 (mobile IE for Windows Phone 7 devices). Yup, the E900 will be one of the handful of Microsoft’s assault team to take on Apples, Androids and BlackBerries of the world.

We don’t know about the specs that the E900 will offer but we can be sure that it will support multi-touch, at least a 1 GHz processor and superb graphics rendering capabilities – the mandatory pre-requisites for any Windows Phone 7 device.

Gotta fresh app idea? Microsoft wants to give a Windows Phone 7 device and $5000!

8 Jun

You know it’s like OMG! when you get an opportunity to give your own app idea which might fetch you a Windows Phone 7 device and $5000. That’s exactly what Microsoft wants you to do if you’re a US resident. Do a bit of brainstorming and think of some authentic app idea and then either record your idea or just pen it down on their blog. The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges from 150 most viral (most voted) entries. The winning app idea will become an app and Microsoft will make it available for a free download at the Windows Marketplace and that super lucky winner will get a Windows Phone 7 device and $5000.

Yeah, there is some scope of luck for runners-up as well. Four runners-up, again selected by a panel of judges from the 150 most viral entries will receive a 16 GB Zune HD. We feel extremely sorry for creative people like us in India who can’t share our wild ideas (only US residents are eligible). Microsoft, why show a red flag to other countries? You see, competition is directly proportional to creativity!