Handsets

Entries in How To (4)

Wednesday
Mar302011

How To: Get the ‘NoDo’ update for WP7

Microsoft started rolling out the ‘NoDo’ update to Windows Phone 7 last week. Unfortunately it’s not a quick process – initially it’s only going out to ‘unbranded’ handsets that have not been supplied via a carrier (such as Vodafone). Very soon they will start offering it those with carrier linked handsets such as the HTC Trophy (Vodafone) and LG Optimus 7Q (XT Network) in New Zealand.

Here are Microsoft’s update pages which gives some insight in the status and availability of the update:

If you’re not too keen to wait then you may like to try a method that turns your existing phone into a handset that is not linked to your carrier. This is a quick and easy process for those who are registered with Microsoft as Windows Phone 7 (as I am) – but a more convoluted and certainly unsupported process for the general public.

If you’re willing to take the risks associated with trying to force the update then I suggest you refer to these resources:

I’ve found the update process was successful on my Samsung Focus (AT&T) – and reports indicate it’s possible to do it with most of the other Windows Phones available locally – including those supplied via Vodafone or Telecom NZ.

NoDo_Install

The update screen for ‘NoDo’ before I updated my handset.

Wednesday
Jan192011

Windows Phone 7 MicroSD upgrade - what is compatible?

When Microsoft designed Windows Phone 7 they wanted to provide an easy experience for users that didn't involve understanding where apps would be installed. Hence just one block of storage. Much like the iPod, Zune and iPhone. This meant software that was not designed to offer storage upgrades. All Windows Phone 7 manufacturers however are used to providing customers with handsets that have upgradable storage. So, Samsung in particular launched the Focus with a Micro SDHC slot for a memory upgrade. Also, most (if not all) other Windows Phone 7 devices launched to date have a hidden Micro SDHC slot which you can get to if you pull the phone apart.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan022011

How To: Enable Maps and Local Search outside USA

The initial version of Windows Phone 7 does not provide full access to maps and local search by default on some handsets. It's understood this is based on a decision made by the Bing team who are still tuning functionality for international users.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan022011

How To: Use the Zune Pass outside of USA

Microsoft's music subscription service - the Zune Pass - is truely an incredible music subscription service. Unfortunately only officially supported in a few countries so far. The good news is that there is at least one workaround for this issue. If you're really keen to try it out, you can refer to the following steps that will help you resolve this until the Zune Pass is opened up to more countries around the world.

There's lots to know about the Zune functionality within Windows Phone 7 (and on your PC and Xbox 360). Here's the official information from Microsoft's US Zune website.

The key things you need to get full content access is as follows:

  1. Windows Live ID - with location set to U.S.
  2. A Zune Pass
  3. A Windows PC that thinks it's in the U.S.

Because of the complexities of this process - most want bother and won't realise how great the 'Zune Phone' (oh, I mean Windows Phone 7) is when it's working at it's best. However, if you're dead to 'test' out the functionality then I can run you through the 'workarounds'.

Step 1: Setting up a U.S. Windows Live ID

The easiest way to do this is when you're setting up your new Windows Phone 7 handset. When you first power it on you'll be asked whether you wish to use a new or existing Windows Live ID. At this point you can step through the process of setting up a new Windows Live ID. Once you've done that if you visit the 'Marketplace' on your phone you will be asked for your region (and birthdate) - at this point set the region to United States.

Step 2: A Zune Pass

There are two methods that I am aware of:

a) Buy a Zune Pass from an online source - such as Ebay. You will either be sent a code electronically - or physical Zune Pass card via post/courier. Obviously there is usually a cost difference if not shipped electronically.

b) Buy the Zune Pass yourself via Credit Card with to a U.S. address. This sounds a lot harder but it's not in my experience (and it's cheaper). There are a few ways of doing this such as using 'Prepaid' Debit Cards. On one trip to the U.S. I was tempted to buy one for this purpose - however there is an alternative. The method I believe works best is to use a 'Mastercard' (difficult if you don't have one or only have Visa) and enter your billing address as a legitimate physical address in the US. This works quite well however I understand you can't use Microsoft's address. Best if you have a friend in the U.S. - ask permission to use theirs. It seems if you enter a local (non-US) address the Microsoft billing system picks up that you are outside the US and blocks you from registering for a US Zune account.

Step 3: A Windows PC that thinks it's in the U.S.

This is very easy on any Windows PC - just go into regional settings and set your location to "United States"

Next Step - Zune Video and TV outside the US

This is very heavily locked down. In order to access video content you will need a U.S. IP Address to download or stream TV and Movies from the Zune store (on your Windows Phone 7, Zune, Zune client software or Xbox 360).

Side Effects

Making the changes indicated above may have some impact on the way your computer or handset operates. Most of these things can be easily worked around (such as date defaulting to different format). If you have any problems - just reset things back to normal.

Success or Problems?

Please provide feedback on your success or failure with getting your Zune Pass operating - whether you're in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa or wherever - I'm keen to hear some feedback. If you have any problems with the process provided. As it's a while since I tested these steps there is a chance I've missed something. One suggestion if you do get stuck is to setup an VPN to the US (with a provider such as StrongVPN) and then try the process again.

Note: For the latest news, updates, tips and tricks on Zune and Windows Phone 7 be sure to jump on Twitter and follow @paulspain and @WindowsPhoneNZ