HTC: We Will Customize Windows Phone 7 Over Time
Posted by at 2:02 am, December 26th 2010.

One of the great debates surrounding Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system focuses on whether the design guidelines the company set for its manufacturer partners allow for adequate expression. How can companies like Samsung, LG and Dell keep their Windows Phone 7 (WP7) handsets looking cool and different when Microsoft specifies the basic button layout, display resolution and user interface framework these companies should use?

The key may be patience. HTC, which is one of Microsoft’s key WP7 partners, believes it will eventually be able to import more aspects of its Sense user experience to WP7, says Drew Bamford, the company’s head of User Experience.

In other words, though the Taiwan-based smartphone maker’s first round of WP7 handsets, including the HTC Surround on AT&T and the HTC HD7 on T-Mobile USA, offer little evidence of Sense, future launches will probably incorporate more.

“We have a good relationship with Microsoft so we’re continuing to work with them to figure out how to enable a Sense experience without breaking their model,” says Bamford. “Our expectation is that we will be able to do more over time.”

Sense is often described as a user-friendly software overlay, but HTC typically describes it as a user-facing experience that unifies its products, differentiates its brand and benefits HTC device owners. It sits on top of the phone’s operating system, which in this case is WP7.

Bamford did not detail what a more complete version of Sense would look like on WP7 but did outline his thoughts on the future of Sense generally. In short, the experience will evolve to become a content acquisition and discovery tool and a software system that could tie together multiple devices in a wireless home. Some of this work will happen on HTC phones, some on HTC’s corresponding web portal,

The plans reveal HTC’s ambitions for Sense — and corresponding desire to see it added to WP7, where relevant. “HTC’s goal is for the Sense experience to span all of our products,” says Bamford. “Microsoft has its own goal of consistency across Windows Phone 7 products. I think it comes down to working closely with Microsoft to do as much as we can.”

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Skype CEO says System Stabilized
Posted by at 2:00 am, December 26th 2010.

I would like to take a moment to thank each of you for your patience, understanding, and support during Skype’s outage. We know how important your Skype conversations are to you and we take any disruption to our service very seriously.

Skype continues to be stable and all of our core services – audio, video and IM – are back to normal. Just in time for the holidays, we’ve been able to re-instate group video calling, which is already available for many of you, and should be fully operational for everyone within the coming hours.

We are excited about this latest development, since it’s important to us that you have the chance to share your holiday moments in a group video call with your family, friends, and loved ones.

Our engineering team and operations teams have worked very hard to bring back our services, and they are very dedicated, working through their holidays, to monitor and ensure Skype is available to you. Some of the outstanding areas our engineers are continuing to work on include bringing back offline IM and adding further robustness to the Skype infrastructure.

I mentioned that a post-mortem with a root cause analysis about Skype’s outage would be provided soon. We will have that ready to share with you early next week from one of Skype’s engineering team members.

I want to thank you again for allowing us at Skype to be a part of your life. Happy Holidays.

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