We don’t know when Windows Phone 7.8 will be rolling out to current handsets, but it is seeming less likely the roll-out will be as smooth as we first believed when Microsoft said they would take direct charge of it and ensure all handsets are upgraded.
If you own a first generation Windows Phone flashing a custom ROM may be the quickest route to the latest software.
Lars on XDA-Developers has cooked the first custom Windows Phone 7.8 ROM for the HTC Surround. The software comes with full unlock, allowing one to use all the homebrew goodies, and is apparently fully functional and free of any major bugs. It supports US and UK English and also Dutch.
To flash the ROM the handset of course needs to have HSPL installed â€“ if you can figure out how to do that the rest should be a doddle.
Find the ROM and associated thread on XDA-Developers here.
The HTC Surround was not the most successful Windows Phone, and may in fact have been the least, using its bulk for speakers instead of the more useful keyboard and with the Zune media player not even supporting landscape mode fully.
It seems however HTC has not let the idea die, and has been working on more designs for the smartphone with speakers.
Above is a version with retractable landscape speakers, and to the right is a more simplistic version which merely separate the speakers by using a kick stand, and rely on echoes to induce audio separation.
The designs were revealed from a patent application from Q1 2011, after the release of the HTC Surround.
WindowsPhoneDaily notes that with HTCâ€™s purchase of Beats they have clearly not let go of their music market aspirations, so who knows, maybe a Surround 2 will one day hit the market after all.
Telus has posted a support page advising users that the 8107 â€œdisappearing keyboardâ€ update for Windows Phone 7 is now available, fixing a number of issues.
The updates are available for the LG Optimus 7 and the HTC Surround and can be accessed by connecting your phone to your desktop via USB and using desktop Zune to check for updates in settings.
See the page here.
Thanks Tommy and Patrick for the tip.
Click for full size
WPCentral reports that AT&T has marked their current Windows Phone 7 line-up, including the Samsung Focus, LG Quantum, HTC Surround and also the HTC HD7s as end of life, meaning current stock will be sold-out but not replenished.
Fortunately AT&T has already announced their new Windows Phone 7.5 line-up, including the Samsung Focus S, HTC Titan and Samsung Focus Flash. Interestingly it does mean the end of Windows Phone 7 device with a hard keyboard on the network, but I suspect those were never big sellers.
Now the only question which remains is when AT&T will release the new crop of devices.
It appears the HTC Surround, always a rather odd duck entertainment device, has received its curtain call, as a search on both AT&T and Telusâ€™s websites will show the device to be no longer available.
Hopefully this is to make way for another entertainment-focussed device, the HTC Titan, although it would have been an even better substitute if the Titan supported Beats Audio, which we believe it does not.
It does however seem time to say farewell to the older generation of Windows Phone 7 handsets and welcome a new set, which on AT&T will include the HTC Titan, Samsung Focus S and Samsung Focus Flash, all worthy successors, into the fold. Hopefully the handsets will hit the market soon, before the holiday season gets too near.
We are expecting a few new HTC Windows Phone 7 handsets this autumn, so the two new HTC device names just trademarked may be relevant to our interests.
HTC has asked for protection for two new devices, which may be smartphones or tablets.
One is the HTC Enamor (presumably a device aimed at women?) and the other the HTC Rhyme, clearly a music focussed handset, possibly like the HTC Surround. HTCâ€™s merger with Beats Audio of course makes another music-focussed handset much more likely.
We should see the first new HTC Windows Phone 7.5 handsets within the next 6 â€“10 weeks, so all mysteries will be revealed soon.
The HTC Surround had been left behind when Microsoft started rolling out the NoDo update for AT&T.
They did not have to wait too long however, with MobilityDigest reporting their phones are now receiving the software update.
Now of course they are only one update behind, with the security update unfortunately not bundled in
Thanks Sam for the tip.
Last NoDo updates to all WP7 handsets should start being delivered in 10 days (update: except Telstra and Telefonica)
It seems we will soon be able to put the NoDO debacle behind us, with Eric Hautala from Microsoft saying that the update is now in scheduling for the HTC Surround on AT&T, for customers of Deutsche Telekom in Europe and also for Optus customers in Australia.
According to the Whereâ€™s my phone update? page that means
all the carriers listed all carriers except Telstra and Telefonica are now either in scheduling or delivery, and for those who are in scheduling delivery should start in around 10 days.
With the end of NoDo in sight ironically we are soon expecting a new update to provide a patch for a certificate security issue starting in May.
Thanks Attila for the tip.
Winrumors have received an internal email from AT&T which strongly suggest AT&T will start pushing out the pre-NoDO and NoDo update for the LG Quantum and Samsung Focus on the 19th April. Surprisingly HTC Surround owners will have to wait till mid-May for their update.
Interestingly the email notes that while the headline feature is copy and paste, AT&T have also added their own â€œadditional functionalityâ€ unique to the network.
See the email after the break.
Another week has passed, and the prospect of an AT&T push of the NoDo update has also been pushed back another week, as the latest update of Microsoftâ€™s â€œWhereâ€™s my update pageâ€ ironically shows.
As Windows Phone Metro poignantly states, the only evidence of any change is that the date on the table has been updated. Given that â€œearly Aprilâ€ is rapidly receding, it is likely the second starred item will soon also disappear from the table.
Of course with all manner of hacks available to get the update on your phone for those most eager to get it, it is likely pressure on the carrier has been much reduced.
Thanks Steven for the tip.
In 2009 Cypress Technologies announced a capacitive multi-touch controller for Windows Mobile and Windows 7. The controller offered a fast and accurate response to touch, and supported features such as a low-cost 3mm passive stylus input, proximity detection that enables ear/face/palm rejection, water proofing and a "hover" feature.
Cypress today announced that HTC chose TrueTouch for the HTC 7 Surround and HTC 7 Mozart mobile smartphones. While this suggests the HTC 7 Surround may support precise capacitive touch screens, it is also ironic that this seems to be one of the devices plagued by strange touch screen problems.
The above video appear to show a new issue bubbling up with the HTC Surround. The issue appears to be the lock screen becoming unresponsive, causing great difficulty unlocking the device and of course missed phone calls.
One of the affected writes:
I have tried:
Taking away the transparent lock screen ( didn’t work)
Uninstalling the last few app ( didn’t work)
Soft and hard resets ( didn’t work )
Removing the calendar appointment for the day ( didn’t work )
Thought it might be the light sensor doing something funny so I took it off of automatic ( didn’t work )
Turning off the Wifi ( Didn’t work )
Turning off Bluetooth ( Didn’t work )
Full Reset: Problem still there………
â€¦ which to me suggests a hardware issue. On the other hand the issue appears to exist on a number of hardware models, including the HTC HD7 and Samsung Focus, according to this thread on the Microsoft forums. Users are complaining at HTCâ€™s forums here and here also, and it appears the HTC Surround are most affected.
Are any of our readers on other models having the same problem? Let us know below.
If you feel your HTC Surround is completely useless with only 16 GB, and you don’t mind destroying it in the process of upgrading it, Pocketnow have published a step by step video detailing how to get deep inside your device and swapping the memory card.
Now I think 16 GB is quite a bit, but if you have a deep and undeniable yearning for more, see full instructions at Pocketnow here.
iFixit.com today released their first teardown of a WP7 device, the HTC Surround, and found that its internals are very similar to those of Google’s aborted Nexus One smartphone, released very slightly over a year ago.
Silicon building blocks in common between the two handset designs, in spite of the dissimilar software builds, include a:
Qualcomm RTR6285 multi-band UMTS/EGPRS transceiver with integrated GPS
Qualcomm Snapdragon QSD8250 1GHz RISC microprocessor with embedded DSP
Qualcomm PM7540 power management IC, and
Skyworks SKY77336 power amplifier module
Like the Nexus One, the HTC Surround also embeds two MEMS microphones in conjunction with an Audience audio IC to process the mic outputs in order to suppress ambient background noise, therefore striving to improve perceived voice quality on the other end of the cellular connection.
That the phones share many components should come as little surprise – after all, both are similar-spec devices made by HTC – but the phones’ inner workings are so similar that the HTC Surround is, inside, essentially the same phone.
If you like me have unpinned HTCâ€™s Hub due to the software generally being useless, you may now be tempted to return it to your start menu.
The Hub has just been updated, and now supports automatic location-based weather, which should update every 3 hours. The tile also changes appearance e.g. Cloudy Evening as it is now in grey England.
Will this update tempt our readers to use the HTC Hub more? Let us know below.
Thanks sixseven for the tip.
Black Friday is a great time to get a good deal on a phone in USA, and Microsoft is taking advantage of this by offering a Buy One, Get One Free deal on all AT&T Windows Phone 7 handsets on the 26th November.
BOGOF has been a staple of Blackberryâ€™s success on Verizon, and hopefully this will also be a good shot in the arm for Windows Phone 7.
Of course the deal comes with terms and conditions as long as your arm, which can be best read at Microsoftâ€™s site here.