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Monday, November 08, 2010, 11:45 pm PT (02:45 am ET)

Briefly: Windows Phone 7 US launch, Mac OS X 10.6.5 beta, Adobe Flash defended

Monday's U.S. launch of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 was mixed, with some stores selling out and others selling just a handful of units. Apple has released another Mac OS X 10.6.5 beta, and Adobe's CTO defended Flash battery performance, claiming that the test was flawed and that Apple is inciting "negative campaigning" against Flash.

Windows Phone 7

Reports from various cities around the U.S. show that Microsoft's launch of its Windows Phone 7 platform has seen varied results. The prospect of free tickets to a launch concert featuring Maroon 5 drew a line of 200 people to one AT&T store in San Francisco, but only "a small handful" ended up making a purchase, according to a CNET report. Despite the crowd, the store had sold "less than half" of its initial supply of 20 devices by midday.

At a T-Mobile store in downtown San Francisco, CNET editors Josh Loensohn and Ina Fried could "hardly tell" that new handsets were on sale. According to the report, the display unit had been broken by accident, so the store was awaiting a replacement, selling "roughly 7 devices by noon." On the other hand, CNET notes that various Twitter users around the U.S. have reported that local stores were sold out of Windows Phone 7 devices, with one store reportedly selling out within 30 minutes of opening.

Early overseas response to Windows Phone 7, which launched in parts of Europe and Asia on Oct. 21, has appeared positive. According to Digitimes, the initial stock of Windows Phone 7-based HTC handsets quickly sold out in Germany and Australia, while Samsung and LG were also seeing "rising demand" from carriers.

Initial reviews of Windows Phone 7 were pleased with Microsoft's upgrades to the user interface, but found the mobile operating system lacking when compared to Android and iOS, both of which have both already undergone several revisions.

The Windows Phone 7 launch is a stark contrast to Apple's iPhone 4 launch in June. In what Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs called "the most successful product launch in Apple's history," Apple sold over 1.7 million units of the Phone 4 in its first three days of availability. Preorders for the iPhone 4 overwhelmed Apple and AT&T phone lines and servers. Apple received over 600,000 preorders for the smartphone on the first day that preorders were offered.

Mac OS X 10.6.5

Just three days after Mac OS X 10.6.5 build 10H571 was released to developers, Apple has issued a new beta of Mac OS X 10.6.5, labeled build 10H574, MacRumors reports.

Mac OS X 10.6.5 is expected to come soon, as the company has already issued the first beta for the next update, Mac OS X 10.6.6.

The release of Mac OS X 10.6.5 is partly tied to the upcoming iOS 4.2 update, as 10.6.5 will enable AirPrint wireless printing compatibility between iOS devices and Macs. Apple issued the golden master version of iOS 4.2 last week, indicating an imminent release.

Adobe Flash

Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch told Fast Company in an interview that reports of Adobe Flash causing reduced battery life are a "false argument." Last week, Adobe came under criticism after reviews of Apple's new MacBook Air showed as much as a 33 percent drop in battery life when the Flash plugin was enabled.

"When you're displaying content, any technology will use more power to display, versus not displaying content. If you used HTML5, for example, to display advertisements, that would use as much or more processing power than what Flash uses," explained Lynch, citing several studies that point to Flash as having higher battery life and more reliable playback than HTML5.

Lynch went on to take issue with Apple's behavior as of late. "I just think there's this negative campaigning going on, and, for whatever reason, Apple is really choosing to incite it, and condone it," said Lynch. "I think that's unfortunate. We don't think it's good for the web to have aspects closed off—a blockade of certain types of expression. There's a decade of content out there that you just can't view on Apple's device, and I think that's not only hurtful to Adobe, but hurtful to everyone that created that content."

Apple recently announced that beginning with the MacBook Air, Macs will no longer ship with Adobe Flash pre-installed. Though Apple cited user security as the reason for the change, the policy was picked up by the media as further evidence of continued conflict between Apple and Adobe. Earlier this year, Jobs spoke out against Flash in an open letter, labeling it unfit for the modern era of low-power devices. Adobe responded with its own letter and an ad campaign accusing Apple of "taking away your freedom."

Despite the growing tension between Apple and Adobe, Lynch remains optimistic about a future with room for HTML5 and Flash, asserting that the success of HTML5 is good for Adobe. "We support HTML. We're making tools for HTML5. It's a great opportunity for us. Flash and HTML have co-existed, and they're going to continue to to co-exist."