Mango has NOT RTM’d, probably won’t until September

I suppose the phrase “don’t believe everything you read on the Internet” goes without saying. Until it doesn’t.

Moronic bloggers far and wide, accustomed to simply printing, reprinting, and re-reprinting every single bit of information that crosses Twitter, their RSS feeds, or their email inboxes, were bit this week by a pretty obvious hoax: Windows Phone 7.5, codenamed “Mango,” has been released to manufacturing (RTM), they boldly reported, and is heading out to the wireless carriers.

What a wonderful little bit of fiction, confirmed by Microsoft’s Bill Cox in a twitter post.

Here’s what’s really happening. Windows Phone “Mango” hasn’t yet hit the RC (release candidate) stage. It will do so in late August, about one month from now actually. Then, Microsoft will RTM Mango, probably in September, and then release it to the carriers. The first shipping Mango hardware should appear in October, exactly one year after the initial release of Windows Phone 7.

But then, this has always been the case. Nothing has changed. This schedule is the one I’ve been reporting all year.

Posted in Windows Phone | 10 Comments

Changes to the App Hub developer portal

Microsoft today announced some changes to its App Hub developer portal. Additionally, it revealed that developers can begin submitting Mango apps to App Hub in August, which is likely the source of those bogus “could Mango ship in August?” rumors.

The App Hub changes are as follows:

More geographic markets for developers, consumers and advertising coverage. Developers can now publish apps to consumers in 19 new countries, in addition to the 16 Marketplace countries already supports. Also starting today, developers from seven new markets can register in AppHub and begin submitting apps. And Microsoft Advertising pubCenter will support Windows Phone app developers in the following 18 countries by the end of 2011: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

New private distribution options. Developers may distribute pre-certified applications to a group of up to 100 access controlled beta testers for up to 90 days. Then, developers may distribute applications through Marketplace in a hidden state, where they are not discoverable via browsing or searching Marketplace.

Enhanced application and account management capabilities. These updates, prompted by developer feedback, include better account management tools, a streamlined application submission process, new app categories, and enhanced reporting capabilities.

More details can be found on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

By the way, regarding that August thing, Microsoft notes that it expects to make “the Windows Phone Release Candidate (RC) tools available in late August.” So I’m thinking October is still the date for Mango general availability.

Posted in Developer | 4 Comments

Samsung Focus v1.4 to get NoDo soon

You may recall that Microsoft was surprised to discover that Samsung had secretly shipped a number of Focus firmware versions, some of which have caused problems over time with various Windows Phone software updates. The most problematic of these firmware versions, v1.4, is responsible for causing a handful of Windows Phone users to not yet receive any Windows Phone update so far this year, including 7008 (the “pre-update”) and 7390 (“No Donuts,” or “NoDo”). But now Microsoft reports, finally, that’s changing:

Updates for the Samsung Focus v.1.4 at ATT have been tested. We’re now expediting scheduling.

When the update is ready for your phone you will receive an alert, then you connect your phone to your PC to download and install the new software. You’ll receive 2 back-to-back notifications. The first is for the 7008 update. Once installed, you can then immediately update to 7392 (which will also include the 7390 “copy and paste” update).

I assume this stuff will be completely sorted out by Mango, but then that raises another interesting issue. The previously released updates have been extremely minor, and many wireless carriers held up delivery of them for quite some time. What’s it going to be like when a truly decent update like Mango ships?

Phonageddon?

Posted in Windows Phone | 20 Comments

Windows Home Server 2011 Connector for Windows Phone 7

Last month, I highlighted the near-final, RC version of the Windows Phone 7 Connector apps for both Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials. Since then, Microsoft has quietly released the final version of the Windows Home Server 2011 version of the app and its corresponding server add-in. (No word on the SBS Essentials version, sorry This may work with SBS Essentials and Windows Storage Server Essentials 2011 too. I’ll need to test that.)

Here’s some info about the app from the generally quiet Windows Home Server Blog:

Today I am pleased to announce the Release of the Windows Server Solutions Phone Connector for Windows Home Server 2011 (aka Integrating Windows Phone 7 with your WHS 2011 Server).

The Windows Server Solutions Phone Connector add-in enables you to connect to your home, business, or storage server by using your Windows Phone 7 phone. This document provides help for the integration of Windows Phone 7 into Windows Home Server 2011, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials.

After completing the integration of your Windows Phone 7 phone into a WHS 2011 server, you can use your phone to perform remote server management tasks (such as view alerts, manage users, and start and stop backups). In addition, with appropriate permissions, you can use your phone to view or access media files that are stored on the server.

The Phone connecter requires both a server sided add-in which you can download from http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=214671 , and a Windows Phone 7 Application which can be downloaded through the Zune Market place on your phone or via your PC.  You can simply search for My Home Server to find the application.

For further information you can access the Windows 7 Phone Connector help site on TechNet at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh319881.aspx.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in about this.

Posted in Windows Phone | 7 Comments

New Mango developer resources

The Windows Phone Developer blog’s Larry Lieberman today offered up a great list of resources for Windows Phone “Mango”:

There are a very large set of resources being created on a weekly basis for Windows Phone developers. Since I’m the Product Manager at Microsoft responsible for Windows Phone Developer Educational Content, I thought I’d start a series of posts to highlight the ones I think are most interesting and useful. Today’s post is specifically about Mango developer resources.

Here they are:

  1. Official Windows Phone Developer documentation on the MSDN Library. This is where we publish all of our official documentation. Quite a bit of new content was added here concurrent with our release of the new SDK, including:
    1. What’s new in the Windows Phone SDK
    2. Code Samples for Windows Phone; includes 26 new samples just for Mango
    3. Our ‘How To’ index. This is where we link to all of the specific pages within the documentation that explicitly spell out ‘how to’ implement a specific type of developer scenario. Many of these actually map to and spell out the execution of the sample code in the code samples. Some of the most interesting How To documents for Mango features include:
      1. SL & XNA together: How to: Combine Silverlight and the XNA Framework in a Windows Phone Application
      2. Profiler: How to: Improve the Responsiveness of Your Application Using the Windows Phone Profiler
      3. Fast App Switching: How to: Preserve and Restore Application State
      4. Database: How to: Create a Basic Local Database Application for Windows Phone
      5. Sockets: How to: Create and Use a TCP Socket Client Application for Windows Phone
      6. Sockets: How to: Create and Use a UDP Socket Client Application for Windows Phone
      7. Camera: How to: Create a Base Camera Application for Windows Phone
      8. Camera: How to: Extend the Pictures Hub with App Connect for Windows Phone
      9. Audio: How to: Play Background Audio for Windows Phone
      10. Periodic Agent: How to: Implement Scheduled Tasks for Windows Phone
      11. Motion API: How to: Use the Combined Motion API for Windows Phone
      12. Search Extensibility: How to: Extend Search with App Connect for Windows Phone
      13. Tiles: How to: Create, Delete, and Update Tiles for Windows Phone
  2. Windows Phone Mango Training Course. Now updated for beta 2 of the SDK. The Windows Phone Mango Training course, (like our previous training course for the initial release of Windows Phone 7), provides you step by step guidance, with complete sample code, demonstrating how to leverage the new developer scenarios in Windows Phone Mango to create a variety of real world applications. For the new training course, we decided to have the various labs all revolve around a single, more useful application, a task manager we called ‘Tidy’. You can get a video introduction to the ‘Tidy’ application here on Channel 9.
  3. The Inside Windows Phone Show on Channel 9. This show is our home on Channel 9, where we’ll provide you video walkthroughs of our new developer features, on a periodic basis. So far, we’ve conducted a number on Mango functionality, including the following:
    1. Inside the Mango Camera APIs
    2. Search Extras in Mango
    3. Sockets in Mango
    4. Inside the Mango Documentation
  4. App Hub Game Developer Resources, updated for Mango. This page is where we centralize all of our Windows Phone game developer resources, and we’ve updated it for Mango. Here you’ll find the following items, (among others):
    1. What’s new for games in Windows Phone OS 7.1
    2. Game State Management
    3. Migration Guide: From the Game Class to Silverlight/XNA
    4. Model Viewer Demo

This is but a small sample of the large set of resources we’ve currently got available. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be releasing more items targeted at helping you leverage all of the fantastic new developer features in Mango.

Posted in Developer, Windows Phone | 5 Comments

Workaround for multiple Google calendars on Mango

Anthony Chu, the lead developer of Wonder Reader for Windows Phone, has posted a wonderful workaround for Windows Phone “Mango” users that wish to access multiple Google Calendars from the same account. As I’ve documented separately, this should be possible since Microsoft has broadly enabled multiple EAS-based calendars from the same source in Mango, and Google Calendar uses EAS. But because of a misconfiguration on Google’s part, only the primary calendar shows up in Mango.

Until now.

By default, Google only syncs your primary calendar with your device. On other mobile OS’s like iOS, Google allows you to select additional secondary or subscribed calendars to sync. The problem is that Google doesn’t allow Windows Phones to access this functionality.

The Solution in a Nutshell

Google provides a web page for selecting which of your calendars to sync, but they only made the page visible to iOS devices (and also Android, I would assume). The basic idea is to make Google think you’re browsing to that page on an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) so that you can select additional calendars to sync to your Windows Phone. There are 2 ways of doing this: actually using an iOS device if you have access to one, or spoofing the user agent of your web browser to make Google think you’re on iOS. I’ll be detailing the latter approach.

There is one additional workaround before we’re able to select additional calendars; that’s because Google knows we’re trying to sync with a Windows Phone and they only allow us to select 1 calendar. Luckily, Google uses JavaScript as the only mechanism to prevent us from selecting more. So while the web developers among us are shaking their heads in disbelief at Google for using this web programming practice from 1996, this is great news for us because all we have to do to get around the limitation is to disable JavaScript.

Read the post for the full instructions. I’ll play with this today, but I’ve got a busy morning with a few meetings, so I wanted to get this news out as quickly as possible.

Thanks Anthony!

Update: I can now confirm this works wonderfully. Good stuff.

Posted in Tips, Windows Phone | 14 Comments

Microsoft issues SSL security fix for Zune HD too

You may recall that Microsoft previously issued an SSL-based security fix for Windows Phone, some months after doing so for mainstream Windows versions. Now, that fix is available for the Zune HD as well. But don’t get too excited, Zune fans—as you tend to any time something Zune-related happens—as this doesn’t represent a renewal of support for your favorite media player. There’s a version of the fix coming for KIN, too.

As with Windows Phone, you’ll see the update when you sync a Zune HD device with your PC via the Zune PC software. The update increments the build number from 4.5.109 to 4.5.114, which should give you an idea of how (non-) dramatic a change this is.

Posted in Zune | 6 Comments