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While many app developers have merely reworked their Android or iOS apps to function on Windows Phone 7, a handful of independent app makers are developing exclusively in Microsoft’s mobile operating system. Why are these bootstrapping coders throwing all of their (spare) time behind the insurgent OS, and not Android or iOS?

With just over 30,000 apps available for WP7, and only 2 percent of the United States smartphone market, Microsoft is a very small fish in a very competitive pond. But it is growing: According to Microsoft’s stats, Windows Phone 7 gained some 5000 apps in the past two months. Sure, that’s nothing next to the half-million apps on iOS, and the 200,000 you can find on Android, but WP7’s growing apps store shows that some developers think the platform is worth the time and effort.

Hearing the Good Word: Microsoft Evangelists and Thumba

At the moment, Microsoft is still trying to get its little app garden to flower. When Windows Phone 7 hit the market early last year, reports said that Microsoft was offering free equipment, revenue guarantees, and even cash incentives to developers to make apps for the WP7 platform, something that Apple and Google have never had to do for iOS and Android.

“The hard reality of our competitive life is, we have to go where the developers are,” Bencke says. “We realize we’re in a bit of an arms race, and the number of apps we have matters.”

The Evangelist method has seen some success. It’s responsible for Thumba, a photo-editing app that rivals most of the image-editing apps on iOS, and pretty much every photo-editing app on Android.

Although Voloshyn says the team hasn’t made any money from Microsoft for developing the app, they have made a considerable sum selling the app itself, which costs $0.99. WP7 developers usually keep 70 percent of their earnings from the app store. Voloshyn notes that even though he couldn’t live off what he makes from his app, its earnings did help him pay for his recent wedding and honeymoon.

That said, when asked what kind of phone he owns, Voloshyn admitted that he still uses a feature phone: “I’d love to have a WP7, but the price here in Brazil, when it comes, is charged with so many taxes that it discourages me. But I still have a hope of getting it with a fair price.”

A Labor of Love: Feed Me

Calum McLellan’s story is a bit different. A New Zealander living in Germany, he works at a German software company, programming a data-management system. He wanted to try creating mobile apps, and he figured he’d have enough spare time to do a little coding in the evenings after he put his son to bed.

“I was considering starting with Android last year, but then WP7 came out,” McLellan says. “I have a lot of experience with Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation, and Silverlight. I was also turned off by Android due to the number of apps available, the poor average quality of the apps, and the lack of developer support. I didn’t want to work with Apple because it’s very difficult for someone without a Mac. And, in my opinion, these are the only three mobile platforms really worth considering at the moment.”

Despite clocking over 45 hours a week at his full-time job, McLellan created the app Feed Me, a mobile RSS feed reader, and released it in early 2011. He said he spends about 10 hours a week keeping up the app, and about 30 to 40 hours a week right before he releases an update. He plans on issuing one more update before releasing a Mango version this fall.

He still thinks Windows Phone 7 is a better platform, because it’s an enclosed consumer phone like the iPhone, rather than an open-source mess of possible tweaks and adjustments. “I spent quite a while with Android last year, looking at the two OSs. With Android, I just couldn’t stop messing with it, and that drove me nuts. Windows Phone saves me a lot of time.”

Still, the slow profits are a concern not just for app developers but also for Microsoft, who clearly wants to see app makers win big. Microsoft’s Bencke says the company has been predicting a gold rush for developers. But where is that rush? “It’s 1847 for us, and the ’49ers haven’t arrived in droves,” he says, laughing. “We’re seeing lots of positive signs, and we do have developers who are making great money. It’s early in the gold rush.”

The Company Line: Social Lookout

While McLellan is a somewhat “platform agnostic” developer who actively chose between Windows Phone 7 and Android, Geert van der Cruijsen became a WP7 developer because he was already working a lot with Windows software creation tools. van der Cruijsen is Dutch and works as a consultant at Avanade, a company that builds software using Microsoft technologies.

Even so, van der Cruijsen is pragmatic about Windows Phone’s potential. “I don’t see WP7 catching up to Android anytime soon. I think Windows Phone 7 has more potential than iOS, except for the coolness factor that Apple has for some reason.” His app development remains a hobby and hasn’t made him any money, although he’s working on paid and ad-supported apps for the future.

Like McLellan, van der Cruijsen expresses displeasure with how easily average users can get lost in the überfunctionality of the Android platform. “Android is really open, so it has more potential, but it is also a danger because it can get to hard to use for nontechnical people,” he says. Android is now the leading OS for smartphones, but developers like McLellan and van der Cruijsen prefer to give customers apps that they won’t have to “fiddle with,” subscribing to the idea that there’s potential in constraint.

And van der Cruijsen thinks Mango is round two for the fighting OS: “Windows’ Metro UI is really adding something, and I like that lots of things are integrated in the OS that you use a lot, like Facebook and Twitter.”

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Windows Phone 7 Series Hands

Windows Phone 7 Series hands-on

Microsoft have officially launched Windows Phone 7 and with it the Windows Phone Series, promising we’ll see the first devices on the market in time for the holiday 2010 shopping season.  Windows Phone 7 marks a new, more end-user aware phase for the platform, with Zune and Xbox integration, together with stricter controls over the overall end-user experience: third-party UIs, such as HTC Sense, will not be allowed (though OEMs will be able to add into the new WP7 UI), and while they’re not yet revealing the details, Microsoft have a long technical specifications list for handset manufacturers that will better standardize the platform.

There are no handsets debuting today – though HTC, Dell and Qualcomm are among the manufacturers onboard – and all of the demo devices are unbranded, generic models specially built by ASUS.  Still, they’re a decent example of what we can expect: a large, multitouch-friendly capacitive touchscreen with a glass front, three front-panel buttons (back, Start and search), GPS and a rear-mounted camera.  They also have a front-facing camera, though there won’t apparently be support for it natively in Windows Phone 7, and OEMs are limited to what hardware controls they can add; it’s pretty much down to volume buttons, camera shortcut and power.

Windows Phone 7 Series hands-on video:

The on-screen Start button has been retired, and the hardware Windows flag now takes you directly to a blocky homescreen.  Each app on the screen is dynamically represented, pulling in the user’s content and constantly shifting; the gallery icon, for instance, transitions through recent shots from the camera.  Microsoft contrasted it to the iPhone OS, where the extent of user app customization is rearranging the icon layout on their homescreen; Windows Phone 7, meanwhile, pushes up constant reminders of the user’s content.  Swiping to the right, however, gives instant access to the entire app list, again something prompted by user requests for easier access.  Microsoft have created six “hubs” – People, Pictures, Games, Music + Video, Marketplace and Office – which collate similarly themed content.  So, the Music + Video hub resembles the Zune HD UI, and if you install a media plugin, such as Pandora (which Microsoft also announced today), it will integrate in here.  The Games hub links in with a user’s Xbox Profile, and you can modify your profile, view those of others, and play games (though Microsoft haven’t announced a list of titles yet).  The People hub pulls in updates from across the phone and various linked services – though we only saw Windows Live and Facebook mentioned – and you can post your own updates and read those of others.

Microsoft are retiring not only their “Windows Mobile” nomenclature but ActiveSync and any other desktop sync app they’ve used in the past.  Instead, the Zune desktop manager software is being rolled-out worldwide, and that will be used to sync Windows Phone 7 devices.  Both wired and WiFi sync will be possible, which is long-overdue.

Confirmed carrier partners includes AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Orange, SFR, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telstra, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone, while manufacturers Dell, Garmin-Asus, HTC, HP, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Qualcomm are on-board.  Those partners won’t be able to change the onscreen QWERTY keyboard – which is one of seven layouts (including numeric) Microsoft have developed – but they will be able to add on a hardware QWERTY.  For the moment, since Microsoft have screen aspect ratio specifications, they’ll have to be landscape rather than portrait QWERTY devices, too.  In the display units Microsoft showed us, the accelerometer wasn’t working properly, but final devices will flip automatically between portrait and landscape on-screen keyboard layouts.

We had a chance to try out some of the prototypes – though not take photos or video yet – earlier on today, and first impressions are reasonably positive.  Microsoft were at pains to point out that it’s still an in-development build, and indeed we saw various bugs and slow-downs.  Often these would take place when opening an app, with data being pulled in but no on-screen indication of that taking place nor its progress.  The touchscreen on the development device seemed responsive, as was the onscreen keyboard, and the animations are smooth.  The browser supports pinch-zoom and will eventually reflow text on a double-tap.

Windows Phone 7 UI Demo:

Press Release:

Microsoft Unveils Windows Phone 7 Series

New phones designed for life in motion to debut at holiday 2010.

BARCELONA, Spain – Feb. 15, 2010 – Today at Mobile World Congress 2010, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the next generation of Windows® Phones, Windows Phone 7 Series. With this new platform, Microsoft offers a fresh approach to phone software, distinguished by smart design and truly integrated experiences that bring to the surface the content people care about from the Web and applications. For the first time ever, Microsoft will bring together Xbox LIVE games and the Zune music and video experience on a mobile phone, exclusively on Windows Phone 7 Series. Partners have already started building phones; customers will be able to purchase the first phones in stores by holiday 2010.

“Today, I’m proud to introduce Windows Phone 7 Series, the next generation of Windows Phones,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. “In a crowded market filled with phones that look the same and do the same things, I challenged the team to deliver a different kind of mobile experience. We believe Windows Phone 7 Series is a phone that truly reflects the speed of people’s lives and their need to connect to other people.”

Designed for Life in Motion

With Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft takes a fundamentally different approach to phone software. Smart design begins with a new, holistic design system that informs every aspect of the phone, from its visually appealing layout and motion to its function and hardware integration. On the Start screen, dynamically updated “live tiles” show users real-time content directly, breaking the mold of static icons that serve as an intermediate step on the way to an application. Create a tile of a friend, and the user gains a readable, up-to-date view of a friend’s latest pictures and posts, just by glancing at Start.

Windows Phone 7 Series creates an unrivaled set of integrated experiences on a phone through Windows Phone hubs. Hubs bring together related content from the Web, applications and services into a single view to simplify common tasks. Windows Phone 7 Series includes six hubs built on specific themes reflecting activities that matter most to people:

* People. This hub delivers an engaging social experience by bringing together relevant content based on the person, including his or her live feeds from social networks and photos. It also provides a central place from which to post updates to Facebook and Windows Live in one step.

*Pictures. This hub makes it easy to share pictures and video to a social network in one step. Windows Phone 7 Series also brings together a user’s photos by integrating with the Web and PC, making the phone the ideal place to view a person’s entire picture and video collection.

* Games. This hub delivers the first and only official Xbox LIVE experience on a phone, including Xbox LIVE games, Spotlight feed and the ability to see a gamer’s avatar, Achievements and gamer profile. With more than 23 million active members around the world, Xbox LIVE unlocks a world of friends, games and entertainment on Xbox 360, and now also on Windows Phone 7 Series.

* Music + Video. This hub creates an incredible media experience that brings the best of Zune, including content from a user’s PC, online music services and even a built-in FM radio into one simple place that is all about music and video. Users can turn their media experience into a social one with Zune Social on a PC and share their media recommendations with like-minded music lovers. The playback experience is rich and easy to navigate, and immerses the listener in the content.

* Marketplace. This hub allows the user to easily discover and load the phone with certified applications and games.

* Office. This hub brings the familiar experience of the world’s leading productivity software to the Windows Phone. With access to Office, OneNote and SharePoint Workspace all in one place, users can easily read, edit and share documents. With the additional power of Outlook Mobile, users stay productive and up to date while on the go.


Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Windows Firewall Has Blocked Some Features Of This App

With the launch of Windows 11/10, Microsoft seems to have toiled real hard to augment the security of its operating system, both with the addition of new tools to defend against hackers as well as new features that make it convenient and much more secure to use.

Windows Firewall with its Advanced Security is a vital part of a layered security model. By offering a host-based, two-way network traffic filtering system for your devices, Windows Firewall with Advanced Security blocks any unauthorized network traffic flowing out of or into the local devices.

The older versions of Windows Firewall allowed one only to set rules for the incoming connection, whereas the newer versions, like the ones in Windows 11 and Windows 10, offer control over outgoing connections as well. That means if the users want, the system lets them prevent certain software or apps from connecting to the internet or limit them to using only secure connections. Windows Firewall does it by working with the Network Awareness system that lets it apply security settings that are appropriate to the forms of networks to which the device is connected.

Windows Firewall has blocked some features of this app

All these strict security measures are a great option for those worried about leaking personal information over insecure connections and blocking malicious inbound & outbound connections. However, the Window’s Firewall sometimes becomes quite irritating due to the repeated notifications that ‘Windows Firewall has blocked some features of this app‘. You will see this message on Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7 as well as the earlier versions.

According to Microsoft’s official support forum, usually, this notification requests the user to permit access to a process or a program, however, as soon as the corresponding activity starts, the notifications start appearing repeatedly. It is mostly seen when using a web browser. The most common culprit behind this notification in web browsers is a malicious plugin or a plugin that tries to connect to the internet without the user’s permission. Other causes may include software or apps that try to update themselves in the background without your permission as well as viruses and malware on your computer.

If you receive this message frequently, here are a few things you could try.

1] Anti-virus scan

The priority should be to scan your computer for viruses with your antivirus software and see if it is some malware that is causing this popup.

2] Disable VPN Network Adapter

If it does not help, you may turn off each of the Network Adapters one after the other and see if any one of them is causing this problem.

3] Whitelist the process in the Windows Firewall

If the process you know is safe for sure, you may allow the particular program through your Firewall by whitelisting it as follows:

On the list of programs that appears, tick/check both ‘Private’ and ‘Public’ options for the program or app for which you’re getting repeated notifications.

4] Restore Windows Firewall settings

If you think you may have disturbed the default Windows Firewall settings, you may want to reset Windows Firewall settings to defaults.  This post will show you how to Import, Export, Repair, Restore Default Firewall Policy.

Hope something helps!

See these posts if you face the following issues:

How to Check Firewall Details with current profile?

Read: How to open Windows Firewall

How do I allow a program to run that firewall is blocking?

Why Your Android Phone Memory Is Partitioned As Internal Storage And Phone Storage

Why do I keep getting Low storage message even when i have so much storage free?

All preloaded apps are installed on precious internal storage space. Most users won’t find this problematic as 2 GB is good enough for Apps, for an average user. What makes matter worse is apps dumping their data in this storage space and several logs which can go up to 100s of MB.

Rooted users can use apps like DiskUsage and go to /Data directory to see how their storage is being consumed. Don’t be surprised to see heaps of Log files (which you can delete to free space), dalvik cache and more.

Why do OEMs partition internal storage in the first place?

The main reason to do so is security. Users and most importantly other apps, shouldn’t be allowed to peek in other app sensitive data and system files and thus a separate partition is used in the internal storage with proper permission setup. This is what you know as 2 GB or so of internal storage.

This part doesn’t function as a FAT32 file system, which means there is a proper permission setup that apps have to go through before reading or writing at any place. The other part, the phone storage discards all permission checking and behaves like a FAT area similar to your SD card (although its not based on FAT file system) . FAT32 is a mess and its all or none permission structure isn’t very secure (once permission is granted, complete read write access is granted). Since SD cards are compatible with large array of devices apart from Android phones, they will remain based on FAT file system for compatibility,

So in Indian market, you mostly see phones which allow you to store apps and data on entire internal storage, but in such devices Apps can’t be stored on SD card or there is no SD card slot at all. On the other hand, you see phones which allow you to transfer some apps or parts of apps (sensitive part is kept on device)to SD card, but have only 2 GB of internal storage space.

Why you can’t have both Unified storage and Apps on SD card?

There is no hardware restriction to it, but this will make everything complicated. With security issues addressed in Android Kitkat, the goal is even more difficult to realize in practice. In Google engineer Dan Morrill’s own words – “One of the core Android principles is that you never need a file manager. Ever. We wanted to avoid the obnoxious “sneeze and a file picker appears” syndrome of basically every other OS. Local data that apps know how to handle should just be magically available within the apps, or stored in the cloud. You shouldn’t have to go spelunking on your SD card to find data.

Changing Trends

With earlier Android version, SD card played a very significant role. Only OS and some files were present on the device while everything else including apps, their data and Media was supposed to be situated on your SD card. Later OEMs started partitioning internal storage and dedicating one as  internal SD card or Phone storage. Google introduced “Move to SD” in order to move stuff to SD card (app data and parts of apps), and there has been confusion ever since.

With Honeycomb, Google introduced a unified internal storage model, where entire storage on your device was available for all, but it wasn’t widely adopted. Since SD cards are formatted on FAT file system, an app which has permission to access SD card can write everywhere on the SD card including system folders. For better security and preventing apps from dumping data anywhere on your SD card, this has been changed with Android 4.4 Kitkat

What changed after KitKat?

Now power users can’t dump files anywhere on SD card if they want to do anything more than read them. For example, if you have images scattered on SD card , your photo editor app can read them but can’t save edits and changes you make to them. File explorers and backups won’t work as earlier either.

Also if you delete an app, all data in its folder will vanish as well. So if you have Images and important photographs stored in third party app folders, you should transfer them someplace else before you uninstall the application.

All these changes can easily be reverted by rooted users, but conventional users would have to comply. This is good for security but takes away the SD card freedom we have come to love in Android phones over years. In India we can see the adoption in several 8 GB, Android kitkat phones popping up these days.


The internal storage partition is there because of security reasons and the issue will be better handled in the next generation devices. The security patches in Kitkat aren’t all bad. Depending on your perspective, this can be a much needed initiative for improving Android security – a change which has been due for a long time. This definitely is annoying for power users and takes some getting used to, but such users can root and get back to as things used to be.

Facebook Leaves The Privacy Barn Door Open To App Developers

Updated Post

Yesterday afternoon, Miranda Miller of Search Engine Watch broke the news about how some Facebook app developers are exploiting the private information of social media users. In her article, she relates the story of Bogomil Shopov, an Internet marketer and blogger.

“You don’t need to be a hacker to harvest these data. Any programmer can write a script that harvests profile links and looks for email addresses on those profiles. Surely, you’ll find 1 million email address amongst roughly 1 billion FB accounts. There’s nothing illegal about it and there’s nothing FB can do against it, except for hiding all e-mail addresses on all profiles.”

Shopov was concerned about how much data he was able to access in this manner, so he went the extra step to contact Facebook.  Here is how he describes the encounter on his blog:

When Miranda Miller contacted Facebook about this story, the Facebook spokesperson told Search Engine Watch:

“We have dedicated security engineers and teams that look into and take aggressive action on reports like those raised here. Since this is ongoing, we are not in a position to discuss the investigation at this time.”

In other words they got an answer that really wasn’t an answer.

If you haven’t already, go to your Account Settings, select Apps, and go through each and every app running on your profile. Once you have gotten rid of all of the ones that you don’t feel comfortable about, you need to consider what you want to do about email addresses and other information that has been leaked from those developers to whoever was willing to pay the $5 for the data.

4:30 10/26/2012  UPDATE:

From Chris Kraeuter:

It is the honest hope of this writer that Facebook does indeed take appropriate action in this case.  We will be keeping a sharp eye as this story continues to develop.

Smackdown: Windows Phone 7 Phones Vs. Iphone 4 Vs. Droid X

Microsoft on Monday introduced a portfolio of smartphones based on the new Windows Phone 7 operating system to take on the iPhone 4 and the Android army. Of the ten new Windows Phone 7 devices, six will be headed to the U.S. market: AT&T will have the HTC 7 Surround, the LG Quantum, and the Samsung Focus; Sprint will have the HTC 7 Pro; and T-Mobile will get the HTC HD7 and the Dell Venue Pro (aka Lightning).

The six new Windows Phone 7 devices due out next month all run on a 1GHz processor, as do most smartphones on the market today. The LG Quantum and the Samsung Focus have 256MB of RAM, the Dell Venue Pro has 512MB, and each of the three HTC devices offers 576MB.

The HTC 7 Pro, the HTC HD7, and the LG Quantum carry 16GB of on-board storage for your music and videos. The HTC 7 Surround, the Samsung Focus, and the lower-end version of the HTC HD7 come with 8GB of storage.

If you’re looking for a large-screen Windows Phone 7 device, you have a wide range of choices. Screen sizes start at the 3.5 inches diagonally (the same size as the iPhone) for the LG Quantum, and move up to a whopping 4.3 inches diagonally (the same size as the Droid X) for the HTC HD7. Display resolution is 480 by 800 pixels on all of the Windows Phone 7 devices, putting them on a par with the Droid X and the T-Mobile G2. The iPhone 4, with its 3.5-inch display still boasts the highest pixel density and the largest resolution in this comparison.

If you want a hardware keyboard, you have three choices: the Samsung Focus and the HTC 7 Pro have lateral slide-out keyboards, while the Dell Venue Pro has a vertical QWERTY slide-out keyboard. If you don’t need a keyboard, you can always go for the HTC 7 Surround, the Samsung Focus, or the HTC HD7.

All six Windows Phone 7 devices come with a 5-megapixel camera, with a flash. All of the cameras can record video, too, and on the HTC devices you get HD (720p) video capture, as on the iPhone and Android phones. The only U.S.-bound Windows Phone 7 device with a front-facing camera for handling video calls is the Samsung Focus.

Other features shared by all six Windows Phone 7 smartphones are Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth; none of them has an HDMI slot, however, as the Droid X does. On the other hand, perks such as a slide-out surround-sound speaker on the HTC 7 Surround, and Dolby Digital sound on all three HTC phones, should compensate for this omission.

Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 OS has some difficulties to overcome. The OS lacks such functionality as copy/paste and multitasking–features that rivals like Apple took their time to implement but now do have on the market. Like iOS, the Windows Phone 7 devices lack Adobe Flash support; and in contrast to most Android smartphones on Verizon, they can’t act as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Applications will be another challenge for Microsoft, as developers have yet to rush to create apps for the platform (despite cash incentives). In comparison, Apple has over 270,000 apps, and Android over 100,000, so Microsoft has some catching up to do in this department.

The as-yet untested Windows Phone 7 devices could have a bright future. My colleague Ginny Mies spent some hands-on time with the new OS, and despite her doubts, she was impressed with it. The OS on an HTC HD7 was fast, Mies reported, and she liked what she saw in the first encounter.

Follow Daniel Ionescu and Today @ PCWorld on Twitter.

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