The body of WebOS is still warm, one day after Hewlett-Packard announced it would cease developing the platform — indeed, HP may yet find a buyer who can bring it back to life. But Microsoft is wasting no time in luring the mourners away with free gifts and offers of support.

Microsoft’s chief Windows Phone evangelist, Brandon Watson, tweeted this afternoon: “To Any Published WebOS Devs: We’ll give you what you need to be successful on #WindowsPhone, incl.free phones, dev tools, and training, etc.”

The latest version of Windows Phone 7, codename Mango, has reached the release stage and will be officially launched this fall — so it’s prime time for Redmond to try wooing developers. Mango adds features such as multitasking and cloud integration to what has so far been a fairly moribund platform.

And it looks as if Watson has had a smattering of interest. He spent the afternoon tweeting the same reply to inquiries: “Send me an email, tell me where you are located, and we connect you to one of our mobile champs for some personal attention.” (Watson’s email, for those interested, is thephone@microsoft dot com.)

Windows Phone may be among the least popular smartphone platforms at the moment, but analysts expect that to change in short order. A recent prediction from Gartner says WP7 will double its market share in 2012 to 10%, and hit 20% by 2015. If those numbers are for real, app developers who get in early could be looking at a gold rush as new users pour in. And Microsoft, flush with cash and desperate for attention in the mobile space, is hardly likely to abandon the platform any time soon. That will come as a comfort to anyone currently feeling burned by HP.

Will Microsoft’s tactics work? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: HP, microsoft, webOS, windows phone 7

For more Dev & Design coverage:




Appcelerator and IDC released their Q3 Mobile Developer Report on Wednesday, which looks at how mobile developers currently view the smartphone and tablet landscape. The report revealed that developers are most excited about the mobile potential of Google+ and Apple’s iCloud.

Despite it being just a month old, Google+ is showing plenty of potential, according to devs. The majority surveyed say Google+ has what it takes to compete head-on with Facebook. Meanwhile, iCloud’s mainstream potential has iOS developers enthused about the possibilities of integrating it into their apps.

Looking at the report, the one area that hasn’t changed since last spring is developer interest in the main mobile ecosystems: iOS and Android continue to be the platforms that developers are “very interested” in developing for.

There is a clear disparity between the number of developers that indicate interest in Android tablets and the relatively small number of Honeycomb-optimized apps. Scott Schwarzhoff, Appcelerator’s VP of marketing, says Android tablets are in a holding pattern. Interest is still high — based on the belief that the tablet market will mimic what we’ve seen in the mobile phone market. But tablet pricing, availability and market share are keeping many developers from taking that first step.

For the first time, Appcelerator and IDC added HTML5 to its list of platforms. Some 66% of respondents indicated that they were very interested in that format.

As we’ve seen with Twitter‘s new HTML5 iPad website, the trend of creating both native apps and HTML5 web apps — rather than choosing one or the other — remains strong.


Where’s the API?


To us, the most interesting part of the survey are the questions on social networking and cloud computing APIs.

When asked what announcement would have the biggest impact on mobile growth and adoption, near-field communication (NFC), Android patent issues and rumors of an Amazon Android tablet were all outshone by Google+ and iCloud.

Why is this compelling? Because Google+ doesn’t even have a public facing API. At the time of the survey (two weeks ago), the state of the iCloud API was still relatively limited. Ultimately, we’re not convinced that these statistics will mean a lot in terms of real-world usage, until the APIs are actually released and broadly understood.

On the social front, two-thirds of developers believe that Google+ has the potential to challenge or catch up with Facebook. Again, these numbers are compelling, but they don’t mean a whole lot until Google can back up the hype with a real, tangible API.


Easy Does It


On the cloud computing front — Amazon, the leader in the last few surveys — was essentially tied with Apple and its iCloud platform. Schwarzhoff says iCloud, unlike Amazon’s AWS, is thought to be easier for developers to implement.

Dropbox and Box.net, cloud collaboration and storage companies that have mobile APIs and are already in use by dozens of mobile apps, were not included in the survey. We think iCloud will be used by developers the same way that Box.net and Dropbox are used now, for easy access to storage and syncing tools.

Does the latest mobile survey mirror any of your thoughts and experiences with mobile app development? Let us know in the comments.

More About: appcelerator, Google Plus, icloud, mobile developer reports, stats

For more Dev & Design coverage:

3d-edge

The Mobile Web is the most important development in the online world since the internet itself. Due to better services and smaller, cheaper devices, there has been a huge explosion in mobile technology that far outpaces the growth of any other computing cycle.

Are you ready for this?

Our brand new title Build Mobile Websites and Apps for Smart Devices is a practical guide for innovative front-end web designers and developers. You’ll discover a fun and accessible approach to mobile web design and development, with enormous scope for opportunity.

If you need convincing as to the mobile web’s impact, simply look around you. Everywhere you go, people are accessing the Web from their devices. Check out these statistics:

  • By the year 2014, consumers will be buying more smartphones than PCs and Laptops.[1]
  • Since the launch of the iPhone, more than four billion apps have been downloaded, with an average of 47 apps per user. Android and iPad app stats are also in the millions.[2]
  • Worldwide mobile browsing has increased 148% in just a year. [3]
  • The number of users accessing Facebook and Twitter through their mobile devices has more than doubled in a year.[4][5]

Clearly, the need to develop for mobile devices is very much alive, and will only become more necessary as time goes on. This book will take you from turning a basic website into a sexy mobile site, from cool mobile app to lucrative and seductive native app.

For the first time ever, you can grab a multi-media bundle including the epack, print book, and a comprehensive online course. The course is from our sister-site, Learnable and taught by one of the book’s authors, Myles Eftos.

You can grab the bundle here for only $49.95 (Saving of 50%!) and take part in this comprehensive learning experience!

The crew with their toys

 

Motorola has just released a new promo video for its upcoming Atrix 4G smartphone.

We were really impressed by the Motorola Atrix 4G when we saw it at CES. Packed with a powerful dual-core 1GHz processor, this Android phone is fast.

It’s also versatile. Motorola will be selling two different docks for the Atrix 4G. The first dock will transform the phone into a netbook (for surfing the web in Firefox or chatting with friends), while the second is a multimedia dock for connecting the device to your TV.

With early reports indicating that this phone will be $150 when it hits AT&T later this spring, this handset is definitely on our radar.

What do you think of the Atrix 4G? Do you like the idea of turning your smartphone into a laptop? Let us know.

[via Pocketnow]

More About: android, Atrix 4G, Motorola Atrix 4G, smartphones

Encoding.com launched a new, easy video-encoding service called Vid.ly in private beta Monday. Using Vid.ly, users can upload a video file and serve it to multiple devices and web browsers all from a single URL.

Vid.ly simplifies and automates the process of not only transcoding video into multiple formats (WebM, H.264, Ogg, etc.) but also selectively serving that video to various device types.

For content creators who don’t want to use Vimeo or YouTube, finding a way to encode, transcode and serve video in multiple formats to multiple devices can be frustrating.

Once largely concentrated around mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, these frustrations have extended to the desktop in recent weeks. Google’s decision to phase out H.264 support in its Chrome browser, at least in regards to HTML5 video, has created a new set of problems.

HTML5 video (or to be more specific, H.264-encoded HTML5 video) was supposed to be our savior; instead it has just become another complication.

With Vid.ly, Encoding.com hopes to help alleviate some of the pain.


How it Works


Using the web browser, users can upload video (up to 1GB in size for the standard free accounts) to Vid.ly. The uploader is robust, supporting FTP and HTTP uploads, standard local file uploads, and cloud services from Amazon S3 and the Rackspace Cloud.

Then, using Encoding.com’s encoding scripts, that video is converted into more than a dozen different formats and sizes. The resulting video is served from a single URL, vid.ly/XXXX.

Users can share that short URL, and browser detection will determine what version of the video is played back. Even better, Vid.ly offers an HTML5 embed code that can be used on web pages or blogs, as well as access to a VP6 Flash file for use with custom players.

What this means is that content creators who want to serve HTML5 video to all visitors don’t need to worry about using Ogg for some browsers, WebM for others and H.264 for the rest — the HTML5 embed code will work across the board.


Pricing


In its private beta, Vid.ly is offered as a free service. File sizes are limited to 1GB and profiles cannot be adjusted.

In the next few months, a professional version, Vid.ly Pro, will become available. Vid.ly Pro won’t have the file size limitations; instead, it will let users customize encoding profiles and will support adaptive bitrate for iOS devices. Vid.ly Pro users will also be able to use Vid.ly with their own CDN.

Encoding.com President Jeff Malkin tells us that — aside from the professional accounts — the company hopes to benefit from the Vid.ly landing page and branding from URLs shared across social networks and SMS.

Until now, Encoding.com has primarily targeted more professional users. Vid.ly can certainly be leveraged by professionals, but there is a lot of potential for consumers with more minor video needs.


Invites


Encoding.com was nice enough to give Mashable access to 1,000 invites to Vid.ly.

To sign up, simply go to http://vid.ly and enter the code MASHABLE2011

Once the code is entered, users can try out the beta, upload videos and invite others to join.

More About: encoding.com, HTML5, html5 video, mobile video, vid.ly, video codecs, web video

For more Dev & Design coverage:




Sony will unveil a new version of its handheld game console PlayStation Portable on January 27, as well as a gaming-oriented smartphone in February, Bloomberg reports, citing two people with knowledge of the company’s plans.

Rumors of Sony working on a combination of a portable gaming device and a smartphone surfaced early last year, but the details about the device were very scarce, and they still are.

No new details have been revealed about the next generation of PlayStation Portable, except that it will be revealed at a briefing on January 27, which Sony has declined to comment. The PlayStation phone will have a touch screen, and will be presented at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, held February 14 to 17.

Regardless of the technicalities, it’s clear that Sony needs to rethink its portable gaming strategy, as recent numbers show that the iPhone and Nintendo DS are causing Sony’s share in the portable gaming market to rapidly shrink.

Sony plans to do exactly that. The company will outline a new strategy to combine its various online services and enable users to share games, movies and music among devices such as handhelds and TVs, Bloomberg‘s sources claim.

[via Bloomberg]

More About: playstation, PlayStation Phone, PSP, sony




Nokia will be shutting down its Ovi Music Unlimited (also known as Comes With Music) service in 27 countries due to lack of interest, Reuters reports. The service will stay live only in select markets including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Turkey and South Africa.

The service provided customers with unlimited, free music downloads included in the price of the phone, and was backed up by Vivendi’s Universal Music, EMI, Warner Music Group and Sony. However, the music was protected with DRM (Digital Rights Management) software and tied to the device, which drove off many users. “The markets clearly want a DRM-free music service,” said a spokesman for Nokia.

Ovi Music Unlimited users will still have access to their old tracks after the service is shut down, but they won’t be able to buy new tracks. Nokia will continue to run its music store in 38 countries, where users can purchase DRM-free music tracks.

[via Reuters]

More About: Mobile 2.0, music, Nokia, Ovi Music, Ovi Music Unlimited




The next generation of the iPhone and iPad will sport a new version of Apple’s A4 chip with a dual-core graphics processing unit that should enable even higher resolutions on these devices, as well as support for HD (1080p) video playback, AppleInsider reports, citing sources familiar with the matter.

More precisely, the chip in question should be a dual-core SGX543 GPU from Imagination Technologies. The rumor goes hand in hand with another rumor that claims the iPad 2 will have a much higher resolution screen than its predecessor, although the jury is still out on the exact number of pixels it’ll have.

The SGX543 graphics chip will most probably be paired up with a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, which should make the iPad 2 a very powerful machine, more than capable of playing HD video.

As far as the iPhone 5 goes, the most recent rumor has it that it will also sport a multi-core CPU, and that it will be completely redesigned compared to iPhone 4.

[via AppleInsider]

More About: apple, Chip, chipset, dual-core, graphics, ipad, iphone, smartphone, Tablet