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Windows Phone goes 4G at last

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) appears to be finally preparing to "face the future" and flip the switch on fourth generation wireless technology.  Faced with a "no-LTE-no-Windows Phones" ultimatum from America's largest carrier -- Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD) -- Microsoft appears to finally have became serious about LTE, with the first 4G Windows Phones spotted in the wild.

Windows Phone fans have long defended the platform's lack of LTE with platitudes such as "4G kills battery life; "the technology is ready for the market"; "LTE speeds aren't as good as promised"; or "the coverage isn't ready yet".  These criticisms certainly single out legitimate weaknesses of current LTE deployments, but they glaringly miss the fact that rudimentary 4G -- while a work in progress -- is the state of the art, today.  And technology sells phones; without cutting edge hardware (even if it's just a little better), a phone is less likely to succeed in the fickle consumer market.

But the drought and defensive responses may at last be near an end.  The Verge cites a source cites a source close to Samsung Electronic Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) as describing an upcoming "early 2012" Windows Phone, which packs both a larger screen that the previous Samsung Focus S Windows Phone (so likely Samsung's 4.52-inch display found in the Galaxy S II HD) and a LTE modem.

Likewise a source reveals an HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) Windows Phone handset named "Radiant", which will also feature an LTE modem.  WPCentral, a top Windows Phone rumors site, has spotted the handset in the wild.  The handset was running a post-Mango build -- Windows Phone 7.10.8004.

Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) is also reportedly cooking up an LTE-enabled variant of its slick Lumia 800 handsets, which bears a bit of a resemblance to the sleek colored metal-body iPod Nanos.  

Lumia 800
[Image Source: The Verge]

Some of the details clash with the previously leaked Windows Phone roadmap (also revealed on WPCentral).  Reportedly "Tango", the next build of Windows Phone would be aimed at budget handsets, and the late 2012 "Apollo" would be aimed at higher end (i.e. LTE, HD screen) smartphones.  

It now appears both the HD screens and LTE will be launching in early 2012.  It's possible that Apollo will launch aside Tango, or it's possible that the improvements have been merged into Tango as a single super-release, similar to Mango.

Samsung is the world's largest maker of smartphones and second largest maker of feature phones.  Nokia is the top smartphone seller in China, the world's new largest smartphone market.  And HTC was on top of the American smartphone market -- the world's second largest market -- at last count.

Sources: WPCentral, The Verge [1], [2]



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get a move on
By french toast on 1/2/2012 6:06:35 PM , Rating: 3
I agree with this article, windows phones are not selling for 2 reasons
1) technology- out of date screens,processors and features (nfc)
2)marketing-not enough advertisemants, they need to get the word out there!

The windows phone road map is too slow on the hardware front, seriously, android is moving onto quadcore phones, with 2gb ram and dx 11 graphics, 3d screens came LAST YEAR as did HD screens...wp7 will be still on WVGA till the end of the year..as well as single core and a paltry 512 ram.

Even if users wont actually benefit from half this processing technology it doesnt matter...it has to be cutting edge to make people desire the product...it is a technology product after all...




RE: get a move on
By Prime2515103 on 1/2/2012 6:27:45 PM , Rating: 3
DirectX is a Windows API.


RE: get a move on
By french toast on 1/2/2012 6:35:31 PM , Rating: 1
Thanks for pointing that out, but i used dx11 because its technologically advanced..or rather 'up to date'
Maybe i should of used 'open gl es 3.0 haiti' instead.


RE: get a move on
By sprockkets on 1/2/2012 7:02:29 PM , Rating: 2
Another opinion on ars is they should have called them something else other than a "Windows" phone. In the masses mind windows=xp=that horrible mess I dealt with for years.


RE: get a move on
By Solandri on 1/2/2012 7:32:03 PM , Rating: 4
There's another problem with branding using generic words these days. It's nearly impossible to search for information on such products. If you have a problem with your Win7 phone failing to connect to wifi, a google search on the problem is going to be polluted with a gazillion hits about desktop Windows failing to connect to wifi. I use a download manager called "Free Download Manager", and searching for problem solutions is extraordinarily difficult. It took me a while to even figure out the correct home page of the app.

Branding with unique, made-up words like Google, Zune, Inspiron, iPhone, etc. avoids this problem. It insures that any searches on the product return results which are relevant to the product. A name like Windows worked in the 1980s when you wanted a name sure to stick in people's minds from watching TV ads. But with today's search-centric Internet, a unique made-up name works better. Even WinCE was a better name than Windows Phone, despite the negative connotation of the word.


RE: get a move on
By Arsynic on 1/3/2012 9:09:24 AM , Rating: 2
Such bullshit. If Windows XP was so horrible, then Windows 7 wouldn't be selling as well as it is.


RE: get a move on
By mcnabney on 1/3/2012 9:52:56 AM , Rating: 1
You don't understand how monopolies work, do you?


RE: get a move on
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/3/2012 10:15:13 AM , Rating: 2
Except that MS isn't a monopoly?


RE: get a move on
By Arsynic on 1/3/2012 1:31:27 PM , Rating: 3
Monopoly? GTFO, bro. Is Apple a monopoly in the tablet arena?

No one has to buy Windows and Windows isn't cheaper than the competition. Businesses just prefer it.


RE: get a move on
By sprockkets on 1/3/2012 10:14:14 AM , Rating: 1
Uh huh. Guess what? Gas sells like crazy too, it doesn't mean people enjoy getting raped at the pump.


RE: get a move on
By tayb on 1/2/2012 7:14:49 PM , Rating: 5
Who cares about specs? The thing that you should be focusing on is the fact that this old outdated hardware provides a snappier response and more fluid UI than these quad core Android phones with 2+ GB RAM.

Have you ever even used a WP7 device? It doesn't need more powerful hardware. The slowest WP7 feels faster than any Android phone ever released.


RE: get a move on
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/2/2012 7:45:51 PM , Rating: 2
If there was actually quad core phones out....


RE: get a move on
By french toast on 1/2/2012 7:52:13 PM , Rating: 2
Who cares about specs??

The customers do, and its less about specs, its about being 'up to date' having the same stuff as the phone your best friend/girlfriend/boyfriend/dad has.. etc.

As you quite rightly point out, wp7 works more smoothly than android, by all accounts nokia lumia looks better as well, so why then is wp7 is selling like ice creams in antartica???

Maybe its because it is out of date and expensive for what it is? after all you dont need a 500bhp engine in your ferari to get to work and back...would you still pay 150 grand if it had a 1.6l engine instead?..even if it does the same job? of course not.

If the nokia had out of date components, yet looked good, worked just as well but crucially was HALF THE PPRICE then it might have more market share.


RE: get a move on
By TakinYourPoints on 1/2/2012 9:03:43 PM , Rating: 3
Nailed it, WP7 or iOS on slower hardware is much snappier than Android. WP7 and the ZuneHD are butter smooth and so nice to use.

The fact that a 1.5ghz Snapdragon running Android feels choppier than WP7 and delivers slower benchmarks than a 800mhz A5 speaks volumes about what a pig Android is. I guess some people like it because they can spout high but irrelevant hardware specs on forums, I dunno.


RE: get a move on
By sprockkets on 1/2/2012 11:19:43 PM , Rating: 2
Android 3.0 fixed all that with full GPU acceleration and browser stores on the browser, which apple and probably wp7 already have.

Course my ancient HTC Magic with official software on a 528mhz old arm cpu is buttery smooth too. So what?


RE: get a move on
By theapparition on 1/3/2012 11:13:36 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly.

Most people haven't seen Android 4.0 running on a phone, so they'd be really surprised at how fluid it is. The vanilla build on the Galaxy Nexus is also the fastest browsing phone ever, by a long shot. So tell me again about the user experience?

Secondly, even if the OS runs buttery smooth (and WinMo7 does run nice), they need the higher spec'd hardware to run the applications behind it smoothly. Smooth OS and choppy apps aren't going to help WinMo7's case.

I'd like to see Windows phone do a lot better and get this into a threeway competition for smartphones.


RE: get a move on
By leexgx on 1/6/2012 3:22:06 PM , Rating: 2
but my phone only supports 2.3.4 (officially) so i never see that..

wp7 from the start had Full GPU acceleration from the start where as android it was an afterthought (iphone not sure maybe half gpu acceleration as it can be choppy very much so on the older 3gs and older phones)

i only really want an WP7 for the business side (always preferred the way windows does it calender) only thing thats stopping me is will it Sync with google services correctly (exchange support like iPhone and WP6.5 does) if blackberry goes bump wp7 or old wp6.5 phone be my new phone (do not like Android calender at all)


RE: get a move on
By VitalyTheUnknown on 1/3/2012 6:56:40 AM , Rating: 2
I will agree with you that hardware specs are irrelevant if you point me to a windows phone that shoots full hd videos.


RE: get a move on
By korben44 on 1/6/2012 9:45:26 AM , Rating: 2
HTC Titan shoots 720P HD video.


RE: get a move on
By sprockkets on 1/2/2012 11:23:22 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, I have. And I find it ridiculously ugly and convoluted.

That's just my opinion, one that the market currently shares with me I might add.


RE: get a move on
By PrezWeezy on 1/3/2012 1:09:43 PM , Rating: 2
Ugly I can see. That is an opinion, I happen to disagree, but I can see how one might feel that way.

Convoluted, however, is ridiculous. While iOS is reasonably simple to use and understand Android is a complete mess. Things are located all over the place depending on phone and version and carrier. WP7 is as easy or easier than iOS and 10 times more user friendly than Android.


RE: get a move on
By Reclaimer77 on 1/4/2012 12:02:42 PM , Rating: 2
How is Android a mess? Give me a break. This is supposed to be a tech website. If you can't work an Android phone, how in the HELL are you using a PC?


RE: get a move on
By leexgx on 1/10/2012 10:13:24 PM , Rating: 2
Android is an mess compared to IOS and wp7 (even blakcberry to an point)


RE: get a move on
By HackSacken on 1/9/2012 5:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
Couldn't agree more. I used a Nexus One for about 1.5 years then a Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant for about 2 months. Finally moved to the "mid-range" WP7 HTC Radar and never once thought mid-range. Only short coming is the 8GB of non-expandable space.

To answer your question though, I think it is fair to say, unfortunately, those that are ignorant care about specs. I think shopping for a phone one should be more worried about what they want it to do, how well, how simple, and how quickly (if they find it important). I suppose bragging rights seem to cloud judgement?


RE: get a move on
By Justin Time on 1/3/2012 1:24:31 AM , Rating: 2
Nokia Lumia 800 is being pushed hard in India right now - will be interesting to see what sort of uptake results.


RE: get a move on
By Tony Swash on 1/3/12, Rating: 0
RE: get a move on
By french toast on 1/3/2012 8:26:00 AM , Rating: 2
I dont agree, although i will admit there reputation has been tarnished with windows mobile, and the failed kin phone.
They also cocked up massively with vista and explorer..hasnt stopped them from pulling out decent software and reparing there reputation in those areas.

Wp7is a really good, slick operating system, they have managed to catch up with ios and android in features in the space of a year, and also apps is coming along nicely.

But they made a big mistake with the screen technology and processors. they should have launched with tegra 2 as the SOC choice, with a yearly update , so tegra 3 phones with all the hype and excitement would be releasing at mwc 2012 making them seem 'cutting edge'.
Also they would have got nvidia optimising there games on xbox live..again creating excitement and valueble free marketing.

The other major feature is xbox live integration..yet where is all the top AA+ games???
-there all on ios and android.
Microsoft really missed a trick here.


RE: get a move on
By Arsynic on 1/3/2012 9:23:27 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft and Nvidia really don't have a great relationship after they screwed Microsoft with the original Xbox, so much so that Microsoft had to kill the console early to avoid hemorrhaging cash.

Microsoft/Nokia should lock up a six-month exclusive deal with Qualcomm to get the new smaller LTE chipsets so that they can advertise that they have the best LTE battery life of all phones.


RE: get a move on
By sprockkets on 1/3/2012 10:18:03 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Microsoft and Nvidia really don't have a great relationship after they screwed Microsoft with the original Xbox, so much so that Microsoft had to kill the console early to avoid hemorrhaging cash.


News to us. Got a source for nvidia screwing with Microsoft on the original xbox???


RE: get a move on
By french toast on 1/3/2012 2:14:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yes they did, as they wouldnt alow microsoft the rights to manufacture the chip, and therefor cut costs by way of node shrink/modernisation, as the xbox was beeding money left right and centre this forced there hand on moving to the 360..they lost billions..

Back to nvidia tegra and microsoft, the thing im confused about is the fact that microsoft used tegra 1 for the zune hd?? as it used the same user interface and got rave reviews for its performance i would have thought they would have carried it over..

Yea standardising on qualcomm for now would be good to keep out fragmentation, also duel core kraits with intergrated lte and improved adreno on 28nm would be a very good fit for wp7, that and a 1gb ram and a hd screen with front facing camera and nfc...that would sell like hot cakes if the nokia n900 has it!


RE: get a move on
By Arsynic on 1/3/2012 2:18:06 PM , Rating: 2
Read it in Dean Tikashi's book "Opening the Xbox". Console manufacturers rely on cost reductions over the life of the console to recoup costs. Microsoft and Nvidia had a big dispute because Nvidia refused to reduce the price of Xbox's NV2a chip. This is the main reason Microsoft decided to own the IP for the Xenos chip for Xbox 360.


RE: get a move on
By sprockkets on 1/3/2012 5:08:36 PM , Rating: 2
I remember now, reading that in Anand's article. The xbox had the worst BOM. Course the PS3 has an nvidia GPU and they didn't get screwed...


RE: get a move on
By Arsynic on 1/3/2012 8:59:27 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
I agree with this article, windows phones are not selling for 2 reasons 1) technology- out of date screens,processors and features (nfc) 2)marketing-not enough advertisemants, they need to get the word out there!

The only spec that matters for Windows phones are the lack of front-facing camera and no LTE. No LTE was the reason why Verizon refuses to pimp the phone.

The other stuff is fluff. Windows Phone 7 is so smooth and fast that if Microsoft told you they had an octo-core processor under the hood, you would believe them.

It's quite obvious that if you're not onboard with the nation's largest carrier, you're pretty much fucked and so Microsoft had to jump on the LTE train because it's all Verizon cares about right now.


RE: get a move on
By mcnabney on 1/3/2012 10:05:26 AM , Rating: 2
The Blur or Sense layers are what slows Android down. Root your Android and you would be amazed how much faster it responds without the handset manufacturer bloat. Microsoft doesn't allow the manufactures to add front ends. Honeycombs and ICS also allow full GPU acceleration, so when talking about Mango please compare it to current Android versions. You can't compare their newest OS to Milestone-era Android unless you want Windows Mobile 6.X to be brought up. There are still more Windows Mobile devices running than WP7, which is just sad.


RE: get a move on
By jvillaro on 1/3/2012 5:20:44 PM , Rating: 2
Well I have to say, I have a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and I like it, we have sort of a love/hate relationship... It might have a tegra 2 dualcore with nvidia grafics hardware accelerated whatever and I can tell you it's NOT buttery smooth not even close to my WP7. Of coarse I can understand the many reasons for that (and yes right now it does have Samsung's touchwizz right now but at the beginning it didn't). Oh and I bought the Sony tablet S for my folks and it's the same.
I'm not dissing Android, I like it, but it does have many faults. And you can't excuse them just like I wont excuse WP7, if you put a product out there for people to buy it, prepare to take criticism. If Google/Android doesn't like being call out for handset manufacturer layers and bloat then they shouldn't allow it, but then they would have had another criticism for that. It's kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don't.


RE: get a move on
By french toast on 1/3/2012 7:56:29 PM , Rating: 2
Yea Android has many problems, but is good in other ways, together with apple it has reinvigorated the mobile scene.

BUT it is buggy and fragmented, whilst it has come on leaps and bounds it will never be as smooth as a operating system built from the ground for multi touch up ala wp7 and ios.

The reason is as i read on beyond 3d that android was built for a mouse and pointer before iphone came with multitouch and google bought it, apparently the code is built into the UI an is now connected through the apps and app store so will be very hard to change.
Whether thats true i dont know, but from my own experience even symbian is less buggy on low hardware.


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