How to convert Degrees to Radians and Back in C#

This is quite simple, but may be useful for somebody…

 public double DegToRad(double angle)
 {
     return angle * (Math.PI / 180);
 }

 public double RadToDeg(double angle)
 {
     return angle / (Math.PI / 180);
 }

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New SkyDrive: Don’t lose your 25 GB, act now!

A few minutes ago, a new SkyDrive has gone live!

If you are a current SkyDrive customer, all you need to know is in this picture. To see this offer, you have to log in twice!

SkyDrive 7 GB to 25 GB upgrade fr current customers - act now!

SkyDrive 7 GB to 25 GB upgrade fr current customers - act now!

But: It seems to work only for accounts where at least one file was uploaded before the change. :-(

You can also download a new SkyDrive application for Windows here.

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Fixing the Mango Microphone issue – part 2

In the first part of this short series I have demonstrated that Mango has somewhat broken XNA Microphone object, at least when it is used in Silverlight. Even the standard Microsoft’s own Silverlight Microphone Sample generates a broken sound record with some data missing, if you change the buffer length from default 500 ms to 100 ms.

Look at the sound sample recorded with 500 ms buffer on Mango, or with 100 ms buffer on NoDo:

Debug Wave recorded by NoDo 7.0 Emulator in SDK 7.1

Joined 100 ms NoDo or 500 ms Mango Debug Wave records on both phone and emulator look similar to this graph (click on it for a bigger picture).

The same sound sample recorded with 100 ms buffer on Mango:

Debug Wave recorded by Mango 7.1 Samsung Omnia 7 with 100 ms buffer

Joined 100 ms Mango Debug Wave records on both phone and emulator look similar to this one. The wider (louder) marker waves are unevenly spaced, so some data is missing.

My next step was to measure the real rhytm of the buffers generated by the Microphone. Note that you cannot use System.DateTime.Now property, because of its ca 50 ms resolution. Instead, we will use System.Diagnostics.Stopwatch object, which provides better than 1 ms accuracy.

In theory, the Microphone should fire the BufferReady event every 100 ms. But the reality is quite different.

This is the list of the intervals – measured in milliseconds – between the subsequent 100 ms BufferReady events in the (emulated) NoDo:

101
51
151
101
51
150
51
152
101
51
151
51
151
51
101
151
51
152
51
101
152
51

As you can see, there is a regular pattern of the three 100+, 50+ and 150+ ms intervals, with some swaps. Ten intervals usually make ca 1011 ms. The length of the buffer is always 3200 B and the buffer contains 1600 x 16bit samples, which make 100 ms of sound. Buffers are perfectly connected to each other and no sample is missing or superfluous. (I haven’t yet cracked the interesting question where are going these surplus 11 milliseconds.)

Let’s switch to Mango:

97
139
69
105
68
135
70
104
138
69
139
35
138
138
35
139
69
105
137
70
138
69

This is recorded on Samsung Omnia 7. The emulator produces different values, but with a similar pattern: This time there are four, not three typical lengths – ca 100, ca 140, ca 70, ca 35. The sum of ten intervals is usually ca 1005 ms now, so it’s better, but the output data is incomplete. It seems that the intervals longer than 100 ms overflow the buffer.

The Microphone object is part of Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Audio namespace. It is dependent on the XNA Framework game loop. You can use it in the Silverlight Windows Phone project, but you have to simulate the game loop with a code like this:

DispatcherTimer dt = new DispatcherTimer();
dt.Interval = TimeSpan.FromMilliseconds(33);
dt.Tick += new EventHandler(dt_Tick);
dt.Start();

void dt_Tick(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
     try { FrameworkDispatcher.Update(); }
     catch { }
}

33 milliseconds is a timer interval used in the Microsoft’s Silverlight Microphone Sample. I have used the same value, but my next step was to experiment with different timer intervals. Indeed, the resulting Microphone tick lengths were somewhat different, but there was always some data missing, overflowing the buffer - the fundamental issue hasn’t disappeared.

Perhaps you already suspect the solution: We just need a bigger buffer! So, let’s record it with a 6400 B buffer.

Debug Wave recorded with a 6.400 B buffer

Folks, this looks promising! At first look, when we erase the gaps, and join the signal segments, the resulting record may be perfect… Let’s try it in Excel…

6400 B buffer segments compacted in Excel

Oops! :-( What could have gone wrong???

Why are some segments too long, but no segment is too short? These 35 ms segments should have been short, I guess? Wait! Do I clear the buffer every time? No, it wasn’t necessary in NoDo, because the buffer was always filled up to its fullness in every Microphone tick. In Mango, the Microphone buffer must be cleared before every BufferReady event. :-( Let’s go on!

Cleared, recorded and compacted 6400 B buffers.

Bingo!

So the winning process is:

  1. Allocate bigger than nominal buffers.
  2. Clear them.
  3. Fill them.
  4. Join only the filled parts of them.

This seems weird. The Microphone object has GetSampleSizeInBytes method. So we should just invoke this method after (or before) every tick and it should return the actual buffer size… but no, it doesn’t work this way. I have played with it for some time, but it always returns just the BufferDuration x 3200 value. It doesn’t reflect the real tick record size, just its ideal size, which is always matched in NoDo, but never in Mango…

The issue with the XNA Microphone object in Mango with 100 ms buffer is that the real buffer length is variable and there is no working API to get its length!

The good news is that no data is really lost. We just don’t know we actual size of the one tick record, so we have to figure it with some workaround. The way to go is to count zeros from the end of the buffer backwards. It may be slightly wrong in some cases, when the sound samples are actually zero at the end of the partial records, for example when the wave crosses the X axis and has exactly zero value at the end of the record. But these cases are quite rare and we can neglect them – at least if we are building a tuner.

In the next and the last part of this mini-series I will publish the source code of the Carousel object, which uses the above described methods to deliver solid data from the capricious Mango Microphone. The living proof of its reliability is my app Accurate Tuner Pro, probably the best pitch tuner for Windows Phone.

INSTALL ACCURATE TUNER PRO UNLIMITED TRIAL FOR FREE

What should Microsoft do now? Change GetSampleSizeInBytes of the Microphone object to return the actual size of the just recorded buffer.

Let’s hope it’s fixed in Tango. But still, Tango rollout is going to take some time, so the Carousel object may help you.

To be continued.

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VIDEO: Accurate Tuner Pro Demo

Accurate Tuner Pro with Guitar:

 

Free DownloadInstall Accurate Tuner Pro from the Windows Phone Marketplace

 

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Accurate Tuner Pro Overview

Accurate Tuner Logo

Accurate Tuner Pro is a chromatic instrument tuner, which combines two classical pitch tuning methods: Needle and stroboscope.

The needle enables fast and comfortable rough tuning, while two optional stroboscopic animations facilitate fine tuning. Both methods are used at the same time, so it’s not necessary to choose one of them. Detected notes are shown on a musical staff. Adjustable sensitivity will help in not so quiet environments.

Accurate Tuner Pro Screenshot

Free Trial Version

  • Fully working needle and strobe tuner with no time limit, supported by ads
  • Strobe accuracy: +/- 0.5 cent
  • Needle accuracy: 5th octave: +/- 0.2 cent, 6th octave: +/- 1 cent, 0th octave: +/- 6 cents
  • Range: A0 – B6
    The tuner is able to measure tones in the 0th and 1st octaves for some harmonically very rich instruments only, as common phone microphones are not able to detect these low frequencies. Still the tuner tries to compute these tones from higher harmonics, sometimes successfully. Even a human ear works this way.
  • 126 instruments + “Any instrument” mode
  • Transposition: +/- 4 octaves, two transposition modes
  • Adjustable sensitivity
  • US (CDEFGAB), German (CDEFGAH), scientific (C2, C3, C4) and Helmholtz (C, c, c’) notations
Accurate Tuner Pro supports 126 instruments

126 instruments

Full Version

  • Tone Generator able to play notes from A0 to C8 (88-key piano range) or any frequency from 27.5 Hz to 4186.01 Hz. You need solid external speakers or headphones for the two lowest octaves.
Accurate Tuner Pro - Tone Generator

Tone Generator

You can set the frequency directly and also set the levels of harmonics and form the wave shape this way (not the wave envelope).

  • Screen Lock Blocking
Accurate Tuner Pro - settings

Small part of settings

  • Adjustable base frequency (note A4) in the range of 300 – 500 Hz
  • 32 temperaments
Accurate Tuner Pro - temperaments

Accurate Tuner Pro supports 32 temperaments.

  • Many alternate instrument tunings, including 70 guitar, 25 banjo and 19 mandolin tunings
Accurate Tuner Pro - alternate instrument tunings

Accurate Tuner Pro supports many alternate instrument tunings, including 70 guitar tunings.

  • Unlimited number of custom instruments and tunings
  • No ads (on rare occasions it may recommend another app in a non-intrusive way)
  • Bigger stroboscopic part

Future Plans

  • Metro design

Marketplace on the Web

Tamara Volskaia domra, Iskrina Matveeva piano: Tchaikovsky Danse russe:

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Fixing the Mango Microphone issue – part 1

Last september, when Windows Phone 7.5 Mango update was released, it broked my Accurate Tuner Beta. I’ve analysed the issue and was able to release the update that fixed it.

The two videos below illustrate the situation. First the trouble (Mango is installed on the phone, while the emulator still uses NoDo and works properly):

Then the solution:

I promised to explain it in detail back then, but I lacked the time to do it. Now, when I have sent Accurate Tuner Pro to the Marketplace certification, I can fulfill my promise and write a short series about this issue.

Perhaps it is not so important now, because new Tango update is behind the corner and may fix it. In the last part of this series (3rd or 4th) I will publish the source code for the Carousel object, which is used by Accurate Tuner for harvesting solid sound data from somewhat broken Mango microphone.

To map the problem I have created a simple tone generator. It produces a 500 Hz wave (B4 + 21 cents) with a specific shape: “Normal” wave has the amplitude of  5.000, while every 10th wave has the amplitude of 15.000. The resulting “hedge clipper” shape makes a growling sound and looks like this:

Source Debug Wave 500 Hz with 50 Hz markers

Source Debug Wave 500 Hz with 50 Hz markers

Click on it for a bigger picture.

Wave parameters:

  • Sampling rate: 16 000 Hz – the default sampling rate of Windows Phone OS 7.0 and 7.1
  • Base frequency: 500 Hz, wave length 32 samples
  • Frequency of the markers: 50 Hz, wave length 320 samples

Tone Generator source code:

/// <summary>
/// Creates the DEBUG Wave with the debug parameters
/// </summary>
public void CreateDebugWave()
{
    // DEBUG PARAMETERS
    _samplingRate = 16000;
    _frequency = 500;
    double _normalAmplitude = _amplitude = 5000;
    double markerWaveAmplitude = 15000;
    int markerWaveStep = 10;

    int waveLength = (int)(_samplingRate / _frequency);
    int markerSampleStep = markerWaveStep * waveLength;

    double doubleSample = 0;
    Int16 intSample = 0;
    byte[] byteSample = new byte[2];
    double b = (Math.PI * 2) * _frequency / _samplingRate;

    int j = 0;

    // The wave buffer is one second long
    //
    // This works for whole number of waves (= integer 
    // frequencies) only. 500 Hz or 440 Hz is OK, while
    // 261.63 Hz will make a snapping sound every second.
    //
    for (int i = 0; i < _samplingRate; i++)
    {
        // Marker wave creation
        //
        // This is simple and clear, but not very efficient.
        // It doesn't matter here.
        //
        if (i % markerSampleStep == 0)
            _amplitude = markerWaveAmplitude;
        else
            if (i % markerSampleStep == waveLength)
                _amplitude = _normalAmplitude;

        doubleSample = Math.Sin(i * b) * _amplitude;
        intSample = (Int16)Math.Round(doubleSample);
        byteSample = BitConverter.GetBytes(intSample);

        _buffer[j] = byteSample[0];
        _buffer[j + 1] = byteSample[1];

        // DEBUG For debug visualization purposes only
        _bufferInt16[i] = intSample;

        j += 2;
    }
}

/// <summary> 
/// Creates and plays the wave.
/// </summary> 
public void Start()
{
     // DEBUG 
    CreateDebugWave();

    SoundEffect sound = new SoundEffect(_buffer,
                        _samplingRate, AudioChannels.Mono);

    if (_isPlaying)
    {
        _soundInstance.Stop();
        _soundInstance.Dispose();
        _soundInstance = null;
    }

    _soundInstance = sound.CreateInstance();
    _soundInstance.IsLooped = true;
    _soundInstance.Volume = _volume;

    _isPlaying = true;
    _soundInstance.Play();
}

/// <summary>
/// Stops playing the wave.
/// </summary>
public void Stop()
{
    if (!_isPlaying)
        return;

    _soundInstance.Stop();
    _isPlaying = false;
}

By the way, the more universal version of this tone generator is included in Accurate Tuner Pro.

Now the interesting part begins: To avoid any mistake in my code I’ve used the standard Silverlight Microphone Sample provided by Microsoft. It uses 500 ms long sound buffer by default. This is the record it produces on NoDo (recorded in the 7.0 Emulator of the 7.1 SDK):

Debug Wave recorded by NoDo 7.0 Emulator in SDK 7.1

Debug Wave recorded by NoDo 7.0 Emulator in SDK 7.1

I’ve carefully reviewed much longer part of the record and found no irregularities. This data is solid and can be safely used by Accurate Tuner for two purposes:

  • Wave vizualization, which is phase-normalized for the stroboscopic efect usable for fine tuning.
  • Fast Fourier Transformation algorithm, which analyses component frequencies for rough tuning.

Next, let’s run it on Mango:

Debug Wave recorded by Mango 7.1 Samsung Omnia 7

Debug Wave recorded by Mango 7.1 Samsung Omnia 7 with 500 ms buffer

The growing amplitude is probably caused by the automatically adjusting microphone sensitivity of the phone and is not interesting for us now, it reaches some maximum amplitude and then stays constant. Another thing is more important – I haven’t found anything wrong with this signal too.

Is this the way Accurate Tuner records sound? Almost. 500 ms sound buffer is good enough for most recording purposes, but it is too long for tuners or sound visualizations, because you need fast response in these cases. The shortest buffer length allowed by WP 7.0 and 7.1 is 100 ms and Accurate Tuner uses this buffer length.

So let’s change the buffer length to 100 ms. The picture is wider now, so click on it to maximize it:

Debug Wave recorded by Mango 7.1 Samsung Omnia 7 with 100 ms buffer

Debug Wave recorded by Mango 7.1 Samsung Omnia 7 with 100 ms buffer

Folks, this is clearly wrong!

Apparently, some sound data is lost!

This explains everything: While common sound visualizations used for estetic purposes only will still look as usual, a stroboscopic animation will be inevitably completely broken. FFT will provide more interesting and confusing results, as there are still big portions of correct waves here, but these portions are phase-shifted. The final results will be unstable and very inaccurate, but not completely wrong.

Which is exactly the behavior of the original Accurate Tuner Beta algorithms.

(I’m skipping the chart of the NoDo 100 ms buffer, but believe me the record is perfect and looks just exactly as the chart with the 500 ms buffer. I would also point out that the described issue is present in the WP 7.1 Emulator too, so it isn’t specific for Samsung phones.)

What to do with it??? FFT will work correctly, if only “safe part” of the buffer is used, for example 50 ms. But it will be extremely inaccurate. In fact, even 100 ms is not enough and several buffers must be joined for the analysis to be meaningful. Or I can change the buffer size to 500 ms, but the FTT results would be very delayed in such case and almost unusable. And the wave visualization delayed by 0.5 s will be just comical.

We will see next time.

To be continued.

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Accurate Tuner Pro Sneak Peek

Accurate Tuner Pro has been finally submitted to the Marketplace certification process! It should be available for download in a few days.

Can you tell 10 differences? ;-)

Accurate Tuner Beta vs. Accurate Tuner Pro

As you can see, on the surface almost nothing has changed. So sorry folks, still no Metro design. (But don’t worry too much as I plan a major design overhaul for the next major update.) This update was about improving the internals. And they have been much improved!

Another source for concern may be the apparently missing ad banner. Is the Pro version paid? Yes, it is. But don’t panic, there is a free ad-supported trial with no time limit.

Free trial version has all the features of the Beta with just one exception – it doesn’t support adjustable base frequency and has A4 fixed at 440 Hz. On the other hand, it has some additional features and even this free trial benefits from the improved algorithm with better accuracy, stability of results, sensitivity and range! The paid version has many new features.

Robert de Visée: Suite en la mineur, Prélude et Allemande, Jonas Nordberg, theorbo:

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Sony Vaio BIOS update killed the battery

I’ve just updated the BIOS on my Sony Vaio VPCSB 1 V9E to version R2081H4 using the standard Vaio update tool.

The new BIOS killed the battery. :-(

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First Nokia 800 teaser is on air!

Nokia has already started to tease its first Windows Phone device – Nokia 800 – in the UK. The ads are very short clips, just about one second long, flashing between other TV adverts on several channels.

MyNokiaBlog was able to join these micro-spots into one, cca 10 second long video, without sound:

The official launch of Nokia 800 and at least one more Window Phone is expected this Wednesday at Nokia World in London.

The countdown has begun!

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Accurate Tuner finally works on Mango

I’ve docummented the issues my Accurate Tuner Beta 1.0.0. has with Mango. Put simply, it does not work at all. After quite a lot of hours, I’ve finally managed to repair it!

Yes, it was more demanding than I expected, but all’s well that ends well. After some final testing I will publish the update, so it will be available in the marketplace in a few days. Also, I will publish my findings about the changed Microphone object behaviour in Mango on this blog.

Let’s comment on the video:

  • Notice the Middle C on the Yamaha keyboard is marked as C3, while the tuner shows C4. It is correct – it really is C4 in the scientific notation, used by the Accurate Tuner (261.64 Hz).
  • My left thumb is shaking… no, I’m not that old or terrified, just a little cold. :-)
  • The fundamental frequency detection is not perfect. Different tone letters or octaves are flashing at times – this is typical for this hard-to-tune guitar with nylon strings I used for this video. Fortunatelly, it’s better with other instruments, including steel-string guitars. In fact, all these tones are harmonics of the base frequency, so do not really matter. All harmonics are in tune at the same time, so you can safely ignore letters and concentrate just on the needle and/or the wave.
  • When you get accustomed to it (and use steel strings ;-) ), you can tune your instrument extremely fast using the wave only.
  • Accurate Tuner design is not Metro and not even beautiful, I know. But it works! Don’t take it for granted, smartphone tuners in general rather do not work well. ;-)

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VIDEO: Mango vs. NoDo – A Developer’s Trouble (update)

This is my Accurate Tuner Beta for Windows Phone.

Top: NoDo OS version (WP 7.0 – emulator from SDK 7.0, spring 2011 update)

Bottom: Mango (WP 7.1/7.5 RTM, Samsung Omnia 7)

Select 720p.

When in tune, the Wave above the Needle must stand still.

This beta has better than 0.1 Hz accuracy on NoDo, but doesn’t work at all on Mango. Microsoft has changed the Microphone XNA object behavior. The FFT part (Needle) of the Tuner is less accurate and unstable now, results are completely wrong for lower frequencies. The strobo part doesn’t work at all. And the sound wave has very different shape, it seems to be flipped on both axes…

The app had average rating of 4.88 in the Marketplace before Mango. It will go down fast now, of course. It will take at last a week before the update will be published. I should have test it on Mango before the Mango public release, I know. ;-) But I honestly hadn’t expected this kind of change… I’m trying to figure these changes in the XNA sound processing and to fix it ASAP, but it doesn’t seem to be trivial at first. Does anybody know what has exactly changed with Microphone, XNA events dispatching in Silverlight etc. in Mango?

http://accuratetuner.com

**********

Status update

I hope I’ve already localized the issue – and yes, there is a real change of the Microphone behavior, although it probably still is in accordance with the documentation.

Unfortunately, it’ll take some work to adapt my tuner to that change, but it should be possible. I plan to describe it in my blog later this week.

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Český návod: Aktualizujte svůj Windows Phone na Mango ihned!

Note for English speaking readers: If you want to force your Windows Phone to Mango right now, you can! The English instructions are here.

Včera začal Microsoft distribuovat dlouho očekávanou zásadní aktualizaci Windows Phone – verzi 7.1/7.5 s kódovým jménem Mango. Update je však rozloženo do několika týdnů a jen asi 10% uživatelů bylo nabídnuto hned první den. Naštěstí existuje jednoduchý způsob, jak váš telefon k update přinutit.

Návod

  1. Protože je součástí update zálohování obsahu paměti telefonu, které může trvat desítky minut, doporučuji před aktualizací odstranit z mobilu hudbu a odinstalovat nepoužívané aplikace.
  2. Připojte telefon k počítači. Spustí se program Zune.
  3. Vyberte Telefon -> Nastavení -> Aktualizace. Pokud je zde k dispozici update, už na vás došla řada a prostě je potvrďte. Pokud vám Zune stále tvrdí, že je váš telefon aktuální, pokračujte dalším bodem.
  4. Zvolte z levého menu Zune jinou volbu, např. Bezdrátová synchronizace. V této chvíli musí být váš počítač připojen k internetu. Připravte se na jeho rychlé odpojení, například vytažením ethernetového kabelu nebo vypnutím WiFi hardwarovým tlačítkem.
  5. Klikněte opět na položku Aktualizace a asi sekundu poté odpojte počítač od internetu. Pokud budete mít štěstí, Zune vám nabídne aktualizaci.
  6. Počítač opět připojte k internetu a aktualizujte.
  7. Při neúspěchu bodu 5 opakujte body 4 až 5 stále dokola. Chce to trpělivost, mně se to podařilo až asi na dvacátý pokus, jiným napoprvé.
  8. Protože se před Mangem (build 7720) musí nainstalovat aktualizace 7392 a 7403, je možné, že budete muset celý proces několikrát opakovat, jak se to stalo některým lidem v zahraničí. Já jsem už měl nainstalován build 7392, nabídlo se mi update na 7403 a po něm se automaticky nainstalovalo Mango RTM 7720.

A užívejte si Mango, které je opravdu chutné! Všechno ve vašem telefonu bude najednou fungovat lépe a první dlouhý stisk tlačítka Zpět (multitasking) je opravdu zážitek.

Jediné zklamání, které mi update připravilo, bylo uzamčení mého zcela legálně, avšak nestandardně, odemčeného telefonu. Nové odemčení je pro mne poněkud komplikovanější, neboť ještě nejsem registrován jako český vývojář. Ale to jsem stejně v nejbližších dnech plánoval udělat.

Naopak velmi příjemným překvapením je česká klávesnice. Domníval jsem se, že bude k dispozici jen na nových telefonech, ale update ji přineslo i na ten můj.

Fotoreportáž

Váš build 7392 je OK, Mango není k dostání

Váš build 7392 je aktuální, Mango pro vás nemáme!

Wireless on

Jsem připojen k síti. Vyberu v menu aktualizaci a...

Wireless off

...rychle odpojit od sítě! Myslím, že jsem uspěl, když jsem to udělal asi po půl sekundě.

7403 je k dispozici

No vida, Mango leželo pod pultem. Tedy přesně řečeno je to přípravná aktualizace 7403. V této chvíli nezapomeňte znovu zapnout internet, já osel jsem to poprvé neudělal a vše bylo třeba opakovat. :-)

7403 under construction

Aktualizujeme...

2nd update

Po nainstalování 7403 se automaticky začala instalovat aktualizace 7720, tedy vlastní Mango. Záloha telefonu znovu neproběhla.

Hotovo

Hotovo.

7720 nainstalováno

Mango je Windows Phone 7.1, Microsoft je nicméně marketuje jako 7.5. Nenechte se tím zmást.

Tublatanka, Dnes:

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TabCo is fusion Garage Grid 10 tablet and Grid 4 phone with GridOS

Chandrasekar Rathakrishnan, CEO of fusion Garage, presented their new mobile operating system GridOS, used by both Grid 10 tablet and Grid 4 phone, today. GridOS is based on the Android kernel, but it’s not Android. The user interface is… different.

There should be some pictures and an ordering form on their website fusiongarage.com, but I wasn’t able to find it yet. There were no mentions of a promised SDK and very little about native 3rd party software. They will open Grid Shop – their own app marketplace – soon, and Grid OS is able to run side-loaded Android software.

Grid 10 Tablet

Tegra 2 dual-core, 10″ LCD, 1366 x 768 pixels, 1,3 Mpx front facing camera, 16 GB, microSD slot, Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G optional

  • without 3G: 499 USD
  • with 3G: 599 USD

Grid 4 Phone

Qualcomm dual-core, LCD 800 x 480, rear-facing  camera 5 Mpx with autofocus, front-facing camera 0,3 MPx, 16 GB

  • unlocked: 399 USD

So I was right it is not Nokia and/or Microsoft. ;-)

(Just kidding.)

Green Day, Boulevard Of Broken Dreams:

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Nokia / TabCo will release Windows 8 tablet tomorrow (just dreaming)

I guess you have already seen this page: http://www.whoistabco.com/

If not, it may be the right time to see some of their teaser videos. For example that first one, made during Apple WWDC 2011, with the help of skytypers

TabCo is (probably) a virtual company preparing a big media event for tomorrow - Monday, August 15 at 9 a.m. PDT (18:00 CET) - so less than 24 hours from now. They say they are going to launch a new tablet, that will be… er… different. They have said or shown very little so far, but let’s recap these scarce fragments.

  • Avaliable for order in USA in August, in some European countries in September
  • 400 – 500 USD
  • 16:9 screen aspect ratio
  • USB, Bluetooth, SD card slot, WiFi and 3G (no 4G)
  • Build quality comparable to Apple or Nokia
  • Innovative GUI is predictive and takes inspiration from spheres and Rubik cube
  • Will be distributed with a set of apps from the beginning
  • There probably aren’t heaps of native software yet, but Angry Birds and office apps are available
  • Development SDK will be available after the launch

Other observations:

  • They have mentioned Apple or iPad many times, almost always in positive light
  • They have mentioned Google or Android many times, almost always in negative light
  • Microsoft and Nokia were mentioned rarely, usually in positive context

What could TabCo be:

  • Amazon tablet
  • Some startup full of energy and borrowed money
  • ELSE Ltd.
  • Acer Iconia 2
  • Xoom 2, TouchPad 2, Playbook 2 or Galaxy Tab II
  • New Tabasco flavour
  • Well-funded joke
  • Huawei UFO Tablet with Android 2.x much improved by NonSense UI layer
  • Apple iPad HD
  • Nokia (or Intel) MeeGo / Maemo tablet
  • Nokia Windows 8 tablet

The last option is undoubtedly the most interesting one. Let’s dream about it from a developer’s perspective for a while… This would mean that there will be no big revelation at BUILD in September, exactly one month from now. On the contrary, SDK will be available tomorrow and everybody will download it immediately and will frantically play with it for the next few weeks. Many developers will take their own Windows 8 tablets to the BUILD in fact. Everything will be inside out this time…

Although so blatantly betrayed by Microsoft, most developers will be jumping for joy and consider their dreams fulfilled. This new attack of Metro UI will help Windows Phone sales too…

Why this won’t happen

  • We all know Windows 8 is scheduled for 2012. It’s in some unimportant Milestone phase now.
  • Microsoft always gives things to developers first and then - 6-12 months later – the best customers may get something too
  • There are leaked Windows 8 builds with no traces of a tablet interface and these other cool things
  • The Windows 8 UI revelation event showed no spherical interface elements
  • Interface hints in the above video are different – for example that circular context menu hasn’t been shown, video controls were different etc
  • The lack of software for the new platform. Even old Windows software will not work, because this tablet is almost for sure built on the ARM platform.
  • Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott haven’t seen it coming
  • Microsoft is never so fast
  • Microsoft is never so cool (except for that XBox 360 R2D2 Star Wars edition, of course). While some other companies are habitually cool, Microsoft is habitually cold.

Top Secret Microsoft’s Corporate Exchange leak:

Steven Sinofsky: We should develop Windows 8 in a stealth mode and in just two years. That would surprise everybody and make the Wow effect we so desperately need. That would be cool!

Steve Ballmer: NO WAY! WE ARE MICROSOFT! WE NEVER! DO! COOL! THINGS!

XBox 360 Star Wars Limited Edition

XBox 360 Star Wars Limited Edition Kinect bundle is the coolest Microsoft product ever (for sure ;-) )

Why this may happen after all

  • What we have learned about Windows 8 in June was a total surprise to everybody. So Microsoft is able to hide things if it wants (and Sinofsky is in charge). It’s quite probable it wasn’t the final version of UI.
  • That infamous Microsoft silence about the Windows 8 development platform is just insane. It simply makes no sense to hide things just from developers! On the contrary, it sometimes makes sense to hide things from the general public. But a developer conference is not the ideal place for revealing things to the general public! The conclusion? Some revelation is planned before the BUILD.
  • There were hints about Windows development taking just two years, about Windows 8 tablets coming this fall, about Win division defeating Dev division, about Microsoft selecting just a few hardware partners for the first W8 tablets, about Nokia working on a well-thought tablet etc.
  • Nokia – Microsoft pact makes much more sense from a Nokia viewpoint if this is in cards.
  • Software is important. But Microsoft may provide Office, old Windows software written in .NET may work even on ARM, and Windows Phone emulator may provide some not so optimized, but working software. This plan worked for Apple after all.
  • Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott haven’t seen it coming ;-)
  • This may just work

:-)

Nokia Sea Ray possible virtual buttons

Windows 8 tablet with the Windows Phone emulator. Oh wait!

The Kinks, You really got me:

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Filed under Windows 8

Accurate Tuner Beta finally available in the Marketplace

My new app has found its way into the Windows Phone Marketplace. Accurate Tuner is a chromatic instrument tuner, which combines two classical pitch tuning methods: Needle and stroboscope.

The needle enables fast and comfortable rough tuning, while two optional stroboscopic animations facilitate fine tuning. Both methods are used at the same time, so you are not forced to choose just one of them.

Accurate Tuner for Windows Phone App Screenshot

Detected notes are shown on a musical staff with highlighted positions used by a selected musical instrument. Adjustable sensitivity may help in not so quiet environments.

Accurate Tuner Beta for Windows Phone - App Screenshot

With an integrated help system you won’t end up lost. Advanced settings take care of specific needs. It is simply worth a try. Download this free beta now!

Free DownloadInstall Accurate Tuner Beta from the Windows Phone Marketplace

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Filed under My Apps