Microsoft Goes Gold, Apple and Palm Announce Updates
This has been a pretty big week for upcoming smartphone platforms. Microsoft announced today that Windows Phone 7 has been released to manufacturing on schedule. Palm has released the SDK for WebOS 2 and revealed quite a bit of info on the new platform. Finally, Apple today gave details on the 4.1 and 4.2 updates for iOS.
This has been a pretty big week for upcoming smartphone platforms. Microsoft announced today that Windows Phone 7 has been released to manufacturing on schedule. Palm has released the SDK for WebOS 2 and revealed quite a bit of info on the new platform. Finally, Apple today gave details on the 4.1 and 4.2 updates for iOS.The Windows Phone team at Microsoft finished the development on Windows Phone 7 and has turned over the code to its hardware partners so they can put the finishing touches on their drivers, radio stacks and the rest of the hardware. Everything is on schedule to get devices in consumer's hands by the holiday season.
Microsoft claims that WP7 was tested more rigorously than any mobile platform they've released to date. For example, there were almost ten thousand devices running automated tests daily and three and a half million hours of stress tests that were passed. There are still things missing though, like copy and paste. We know that feature is coming, hopefully via an update from Microsoft in the coming months rather than in Windows Phone 8.
HP's Palm division released the WebOS 2.0 SDK to developers and there are a number of new features. Cards that contain apps can now be stacked with like cards so you can keep app groups together. Multitasking on a phone can be a bit difficult once you get more than a few apps open as you try and find your way back to a particular app. Palm's card metaphor does a reasonably good job but the new Stacks enhancement takes multitasking management to a new level. WebOS 2.0 will also have a beefed up universal search interface called Just Type that developers can now plug into. From anywhere, just type your search term in the box and it will scour the device looking for the information, or it will go online looking if the developer of a particular app wants it too. You can read more about these and other features at Gizmodo's overview.
Apple today announced both versions 4.1 and 4.2 for iOS. 4.1 has a some bug fixes in the areas of Bluetooth and 3G services, There are new features too like HD video upload over WiFi and Game Center, which allows you to play games with friends for starters. 4.1 should be available next week.
Apple also gave a preview of 4.2's features. First of all, all of the features in 4.1 are there but for the iPad, which thus far has been left behind with iOS 3. AirPlay is new and will allow you to stream music and video over WiFi. The iPad with AirPlay can even act as a host for Apple TV. Engadget did a live blog of the full event today if you want a blow by blow of the announcements.
What I've not seen though is a fix for the iPhone 4 antenna issues. Mexican carrier TelCel claims that Apple will release updated iPhone hardware later this month that will fix the death grip issue, but we'll have to see if that happens or not. There was apparently no mention of revised iPhone hardware at today's press release.
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