Monthly Archives: October 2010

Windows Phone 7 is full of win and delight

It’s hard not to fall in love with Windows Phone 7. From a distance, WP7 is undeniably fresh in a sea of familiar faces. Up close, it’s invitingly simple yet can still put a smile on your face with little gems of interactive delight; not unlike a product from Apple.

Although not the fault of the software by any means, as I’ve found after my week-long use, Australian users will be getting the short end of the stick with some essential service-based functionality watered down. Having said that, this is a great product even at the lowest common denominator.

Since the Microsoft press conference on October 12, I’ve been using an LG Optimus 7Q (also known as the LG Quantum in the US) as my only mobile phone. Bear in mind this particular handset is a pre-production device so I won’t make any judgements on the hardware, still, Windows Phone 7 shines.

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Isaiah “Old Spice Guy” Mustafa coming to Australia to promote Windows Phone 7

Look at your phone. Now back to me. Now back to your phone. Now back to me. Sadly, your phone isn’t a Windows Phone 7 but starting from next week it could be.

An obscure YouTube video featuring Isaiah Mustafa of Old Spice Guy fame tweeted by Microsoft Australia employees is apparently the internal teaser to an Australian marketing campaign for Windows Phone 7 down under, most likely to coincide with the availability of WP7 devices on October 21.

Even though this is not the first time Microsoft will be taking advantage of a popular web meme considering how well received the Double Rainbow campaign for Windows Live was, the Old Spice Guy has much broader awareness and will offer a lot more creative flexibility for the campaign.

Perhaps he will ride a horse backwards on the Sydney Harbour Bridge or a swan dive into shark-infested waters. The possibilities are endless. If one thing’s for sure, it’s going to be fun.

Australian pricing options for Windows Phone 7

At the Sydney Windows Phone 7 press conference today, Microsoft Australia and its OEM & carrier partners announced various pricing options for WP7 devices in Australia. If you’re looking for a WP7 phone down under, here’s all the different ways you can get one after October 21.

The premier local launch carrier, Telstra, has two devices available at launch. The HTC 7 Mozart will be available for free ($0) upfront on a $49 plan with a 24 month contract. The LG Optimus 7Q with a slide-out keyboard will be available on a special consumer plan with unlimited national calls, SMS, MMS and 3GB of monthly data allowance for $0 upfront on a $129 plan with a 24 month contract. (This special plan will be available at the end of the month, may be soon after launch.)

Unfortunately the elusive HTC HD7 is not available at launch. It’s officially slated to be available exclusively through Telstra next year in 2011. You would be wise to bet the first half of the year.

Optus will be offering both the LG Optimus 7 (without slide-out keyboard) and Samsung Omnia 7 for $0 upfront with a $79 Optus Cap plan for consumers and $79 Business Complete Ultimate plan for the enterprise on 24 month contracts.

Finally, Vodafone will be offering the HTC 7 Trophy however pricing has not been revealed.

Those looking for a little more plans flexibility will be glad to know that WP7 phones will be available outright. LG representatives revealed to me that both their Optimus 7 and Optimus 7Q have a recommended retail price of $799, however Telstra, Optus and retailers reserve the right to sell it for more (or less). It’s not sure whether these devices will be carrier-locked.

Four phones on three carriers. Not a bad effort for a launch a week away.

Australian range of Windows Phone 7 devices

The localized Australian version of the Windows Phone 7 portal has just been updated with the range of phones that will be officially available in the Australian market.

Those exclusive to Telstra include the LG Optimus 7Q, HTC 7 Mozart. Others include the Samsung Omnia 7 and HTC 7 Trophy, presumably available via other carriers and retailers. Features and specifications are available for comparison on the website.

Although the selection might seem limited with just four of the nine WP7 devices revealed at the official launch in NYC, it’s a great start considering many of them are not exclusive to just one carrier unlike the US market. Having said that, the much-anticipated HTC HD7 seems to be giving down under a miss. HD7 might still be coming?

Expect more information about Windows Phone 7 specific to the Australian market at the Microsoft/Telstra press conference later today.

Update: Thanks to a heads up from commenter “Mackenzie Price”, HTC’s official press release suggests the HD7 is still coming to Australia as a Telstra exclusive, contrary to both Microsoft’s website and press release.

Windows Phone 7 4G support confirmed

A page describing the various Windows Phone 7 status icons on the new Microsoft website recently discovered by Engadget reveals an interesting tidbit about the WP7 operating system, it already has support for both of the popular 4G cellular network standardsLTE (technically a 3.9G technology) and WiMAX.

Of course it’s ultimately up to the OEMs to produce 4G-enabled WP7 devices (and carriers to sell them), but at least this gives some credibility to the earlier rumors of a LTE version of the Dell Lightning and a WiMAX version of an LG WP7 phone.

With native support for these next-generation standards in the v1 version of the OS suggests that we could see such devices sooner than later. Bring on the 100Mbit data rates I say.

Note: I will be attending the Microsoft/Telstra Windows Phone 7 press event on October 12 in Sydney.

Update: The page has since been edited and many of the icons removed. You can still see the original icons via Google Cache.

Windows Live portal for WP7 teased again on video

One of the last pieces of the Windows Phone 7 puzzle yet to be fully revealed in all its Metro glory, the Windows Live phone portal, has been teased once again in a recent promotional video on Microsoft.com.

Although this isn’t the first time the screenshot has made a brief, blurry and low-resolution appearance; the first at Microsoft TechEd Australia 2010 a month ago, this video however does confirm the picture is of a web interface where features such as “Find my phone” and the ability to remotely organize photos and contacts can be accessed for free.

The video is embedded below and the screenshot appears at 0:49. Don’t blink or you might miss it.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Update: Replaced image with higher resolution version thanks to “RoguePlanetoid“.