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One of the more interesting and useful apps in development for Windows Phone 7 is "My MediaCenter Remote" which integrates with the Windows Media Center (an under-rated features of Windows 7). Well, it's useful if you don't want to splurge $10 for a physical remote, ya cheapskate.

The latest version by dgaust is near beta, although like other developers he's anxiously awaiting a physical device to actually run it on. The features so far completed are as follows:

  • View and play Recorded TV - done
  • View and play back tv stored by myTV - done
  • View music, and create album playlists - done
  • Remote control media centre - done

What's left is tweaking up some of the graphics, which are a bit dull or just missing at this point (placeholders). Overall though, considering we are still six months from the release of WP7, it's nice to know we should have some advanced media center functionality right out the gate. But we can't help but wish this could actually stream our content instead of just being a remote for it.

Check out the full video of the program's UI in action after the break

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5

Free wifi with your Happy Meal?

Free wifi isn't a new concept but did you know McDonalds offers it at select locations? It was news to me the other day and have to admit it was nice to use my Windows Phone via wifi while feasting on my Big Mac.

McDonalds isn't alone in providing customers with free wifi. Starbuck's offers free wifi for AT&T customers (two hour limit per day), free AT&T wifi is scattered across the nation at various airports, and you can find hot spots at select Barnes and Noble stores.

And free wifi seems to be spreading.  Just checking my neck of the woods on OpenWiFiSpots.com, asides from the local motel/hotels Buffalo Wild Wings, T.G.I. Fridays, and Panera Bread are other national chains offering free wifi.  AT&T recently announced they are launching a pilot program to offer free wifi in New York City at Times Square to see if it can lighten the load on their 3G networks.  If successful, it may spread to other downtown centers.

So, when you're out shopping or enjoying a hot cup of joe or a plate of hot wings, do you take advantage of the free hot spots with your Windows Phone or laptop? It's a great way to speed things up and if your on a limited data plan, a good way to save on your data usage as well.

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Well looks like Microsoft made a bit of mistake when citing IDC in that recent ReMix event.

If you recall, IDC reportedly suggested that Microsoft could sell 30 million Windows Phone 7 devices, worldwide, by the end of 2011.  That number quickly burned around the web with lots of "yeah right!" tweets and the like.

Well, here's the real story: it was actually 32 million.

But that's all Windows Mobile devices (WM6.5.x) and not Windows Phone 7, which it has made no analysis nor predictions about. In fact, IDC said it won't be able to do any forecasting on Windows Phone 7 till it actually ships and they can do their own research by talking to vendors and operators.  Makes sense.

So now your task is clear: undo this damage and spread the word--Tweet and reTweet!

And IDC--yeah, sorry that you had to go through all of that.

[via PC World and IDC, p.c.]

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7

LG Panther (GW910) specs get detailed

While we knew some of the details about the LG Panther (GW910), we didn't have all the little nitty-gritty bits.

Granted, this is not the sexiest phone we've ever seen, but functional? Heck yeah, it seems like it'll do quite well with our new OS. The other thing is this is not final and LG might be apt to change or modify things before launch. Of note is the 720p video recording, something which is becoming more and more the norm these days.

But currently, it's not so bad, though we're hoping to see what HTC can bring to the table. Come on guys, leak something already...

 [via TechArena]

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In what could be a smart move to both lock in a game developer and spur more development on Windows Mobile (yes, we still talk about it), Microsoft is commissioning Touch Dimensions, a recent gaming startup from Singapore.

Known for creating "natural" interfaces for gaming and having knack for those sweet little simple games that people on mobile phones often prefer, Touch Dimensions has been tasked with bringing roughly twenty games to the Windows phone marketplace and they all will be free for the consumer.

These casual games will range from "...a digital sketchpad to a Whack-A-Mole-type game that lets you smack mosquitoes to oblivion".

Want to see what they are capable of? Touch Dimensions already have two games available: "Autumn Dynasty" and "Totem Star Lite"/Totem Star Christmas".  And we'll keep you posted on when these inspired freebies start popping up!

[Today Online via WMPoweruser]

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12

Microsoft may cut cost of Zune Pass: $9.99 a month?

Competition is hot these days in the music-download biz and Microsoft's $14.99 a month Zune Pass may instead get chopped down to $9.99, according to senior product manager Terry Farrell in an interview with Business Week.

While Phil and I think the $14.99 a month price is fair (you get to purchase 10 songs a month with that $14.99, in addition to unlimited downloading), others in the industry, notably Amazon and Rhapsody, offer a similar service for $10.

Microsoft does need to position itself here carefully: they want to make a profit and find that sweet spot, but they also want to make sure when you buy an upcoming Windows Phone 7 device, you take advantage of the Zune Marketplace.

Finding just the right combo could be killer, because while Amazon has some presence on mobile (notably Android), Rhapsody is less straight-forward and has less presence. (Plus in comparison, Zune Marketplace is a better experience than Amazon's on Android). This is still the one area that Microsoft can really exploit against Apple, who still don't have a monthly pass subscription.

And while they're at it, we'd like to see Microsoft implement some type of Zune Video Pass, which was rumored to be coming. The idea of having unlimited video streaming/downloading on my Windows Phone 7 would be fantastic.

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4

T-Mobile HTC HD2 ROM is back...again

At first it was here, then it was, then it was back, then it was gone...and now it's back. (Get it here)

That finicky HD2 ROM from T-Mobile has once again returned to the site, ready for download after being recently removed reportedly due to technical issues causing mischief on people's ginormous black slabs.

So what was fixed? Evidently nothing.  In T-Mobile's forum they blame the last ROM yanking on server issues. Yeah.

Due to overwhelming demand, some customers experienced slow download times when attempting to access the HTC HD2 software update from the T-Mobile Web site. As a result, we temporarily removed the link from our Web site to ensure the best possible customer experience.

Now that we have solved our server issues, we are happy to announce that the software update for the HTC HD2 is now available on the T-Mobile Web site for customers to download and install on their HTC HD2 smartphone.

If you have already downloaded and installed the software update to their HTC HD2, please continue to use your device as normal. You do not need to reinstall the software.

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Just can't wait for a Windows Phone 7 device? Here's the next best thing: use this paper cutout made by Swedish software developer Jayway. Simply download and print out the .pdf file (other formats available) and off you go.

Now on a serious note, this was actually made by a developer for developers so they can get a better idea of how their program would look like on a "life-sized" device instead of a 24" high-resolution monitor. In this case, the Jayway team was interested in font size. Basically you can print out your images of your test application and smack them on. Or even cut out slits and have a pull-through panorama style experience.

(Hint to Microsoft: developers really want prototype devices sooner than later!)

For us, we're going to print one HUGE one out so we can walk around NYC, reenacting those 'Trigger Happy TV' bits (must watch) "Heeello! What? Yes the iPhone is total rubbish!"

Read more and grab it here.

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3

Google Buzz website now works with Windows Mobile

While we've had Google Buzz available to us for quite some time via the mobile Google Maps application, the website was never fully optimized for mobile use (it was for the iPhone and Android).

Now if you browse over to buzz.google.com, you can login and see all your updates that way, sort of like a web-Twitter feed.

There's still no dedicated feed program for Google Buzz on Windows Mobile (that we know of), but then again since we're sort of creeped out by the whole thing and prefer Twitter, that's okay.

Read more here: Google Mobile Blog

 

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4

Microsoft Tag moves out of Beta

Microsoft Tag has moved out of the Beta stages with the release of Version 1. The new release also comes with a new Terms of Service as well. According to Microsoft, version 1 improves the Tag Reader, adds a Heat Map report, and makes it available in Italian, French, Spanish, Turkish and Simplified Chinese. The basic services for the Tag Reader will be offered for free.

The new ToS seems to simply transfer any tags created during the Beta program over to the ToS of the Version 1 release. You can find out more information on Version 1 at the Microsoft Tag website as well as downloading the Tag Reader directly from here.

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1

Foursquare updated

If your a fan of Windows Mobile FourSquare from Touchality, then you'll be interested to know that it's been updated.

Version 1.3 is now available over at the Windows Marketplace for Mobile. The update addresses the check-in bug many were experiencing as well as a few other fixes and tweaks.

You can download the updated cab file here or get through your Windows Phone via Windows Marketpla

[via: Touchality on Twitter]

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12

Ballmer: Windows Phone 7 devices by Christmas?

We keep hearing various time-frames for the release of Windows Phone 7. Usually "holiday season" is tossed around, which here in the States stretches from mid-October (if you count Halloween) through January 2nd.

Some of us have been hearing October as the big month, but we're not even sure if that's just announcing products or actual release date. For instance, we can see Microsoft back here in NYC at their "Open House" event kicking off WP7 with a bunch of OEMs and developers, but not releasing till...well later.

Ballmer today is India, once again doing what he does best, giving speeches and pep talks, much like an impromptu Chris Farley. In response to a question about WP7, Ballmer reportedly had this to say:

We have to deliver devices with our partners this Christmas...We have got our work cut out on Windows Phone 7, but we are good competitors.

We suppose this isn't really news if they do "deliver" by Christmas, after all that is still the Holiday season.  But we can't help but wish it was more October-ish? And to throw in a zinger, he also reportedly said this

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2

Arkanoid ported to Windows Phone 7

 

Not much to report here, but for all you old school gamer fans, the classic Arkanoid in the form of XNArkanoid (cute) has been initially ported for us to play...whenever we actually get devices to load it up on.

At this rate, we'll have a nice catalog of apps by July.

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

 

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Pharos offering swap-out program for the Traveler 137

Pharos is offering a free swap-out program for those who purchased the company's Windows Phone, the Traveler 137. Pharos will ship for free, replacement phones that will lack the power management issues and faulty power button issues the early production models developed.

According to a company spokesman, some of the Traveler 137 units would require a soft reset or removing the battery to power down the phone. The phone would then operate normally for a few days and then go on the fritz again.

In addition to swapping the problematic phones, Pharos will upgrade the replacement phones (which ran Windows Mobile 6.1) to Windows Mobile 6.5. A nice plus seeing that the current Traveler 137 models are shipping with Windows Mobile 6.5.

[read: twice.com]

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13

Ballmer: No plans for WP7 in tablets?

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is in Singapore today to help promote the launch of Office 2010/Imagine Cup Awards Ceremony, nothing too surprising there.

Evidently Steve took some questions from the audience and on Windows Phone 7, he reportedly had this to say:

We're focused on putting Windows Phone 7 in phones, no plans for tablets.

With the cancellation of Courier, the uncertain future of HP's Slate and the likes of Bach and Allard leaving, what exactly is Microsoft's strategy for tablet computers going to be? We know WP7 can scale up to large resolutions and evidently has a robust enough DPI to handle a high-resolution tablet.

So was he just being cagey or legit? It's not like he would just announce a Windows Phone 7-Tablet initiative in such an offhand way. Then again, MS has made some boneheaded moves in the past, and not taking advantage of WP7 + tablets could be one of them.

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Looks like the folks at MobileTechWorld got to play with the Samsung Omnia HD modified for Windows Phone 7.

They note that the processor has been updated from the lackluster TI OMAP 3430 to a Snapdragon (presumably 1GHz) and that this device probably won't make it to production, for obvious reasons.

Their impressions? Very positive noting 

As you can see in the video below everything is running smoothly with no sign of lag or stuttering and everything was functional on the handset (GPS, data, and even camera). It’s the smoothies mobile experience I have ever witness (on par with the iPhone) and it definitely feels a lot better when used on a real handset compared to the desktop emulator.

That seems to be the consensus lately on anyone who gets to play with one of these prototypes, which is a great sign considering finalized hardware and software is still months away.

Also, the video game 'Twin Blades' by Press Star Studio was shown off. The game is currently available on Xbox Live Arcade (400 points) and was ported in under 2 weeks by one programmer. It's already fully integrated with Xbox including achievements and this will be available when WP7 launches. Sweet--going to download to XBox right now.

Both videos after the jump.

[via MobileTechWorld; Twin Blades]

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Elecont Weather gets updated

Elecont Weather has been updated, increasing the worldwide weather coverage from 41,000 to 67,000 cities. Version 1.3.5 also includes a 10-day weather graph for day and night temperatures, an independent scheduler for weather updates, and added information on moon phases and moonrise/moonsets over a ten day period.

The graphical weather app still retains features such as UV alerts, hourly UV forecasts, severe weather alerts, barometric readings, and "feels like" temperature conversions (factoring in heat index or wind chill).

You can pick up your copy of Elecont Weather over at the WMExperts.com Software Store for $14.95. If you're not sure, there is a trial version available so you can give it a try before you buy.

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Another day, some more demo Silverlight apps beings built for Windows Phone 7. We've been stating for awhile now that the combo of Silverlight and XNA as a development platform for the OS would be huge and so far, developers seem to be loving it.

First up is "Paper Ball" by Jimmy Interactive, which looks stylized enough to be something on an iPhone. Think of it as literally paper-football, where the paper are people cutouts. You direct your offense/defense by drawing their plot and then watch what happens. Looks to be a fun little time-waster and the graphics are just superb. Also check out his other game "Frog Log". Video demos after the break!

The other notable app is one for the London Tube which shows you their current status and pushes notifications to your phone if there are delays or problems. Similar programs exist on the iPhone for the NYC subway, so we look forward to others using Andy-Team G's code to use as a starting point.

Once again, while apps like London Tube are nothing revolutionary, the fact so many developers are making these mini/widget programs with in so little effort, bodes well for when Windows Phone 7, you know, actually comes out five months from now.

[via @jamesfdickinson and @andy_gore]

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Shakeup at Microsoft?

The eminent Wall Street Journal is reporting late last night that Microsoft may be significantly altering its corporate structure around the division focused on videogames, mobile phones and other consumer devices (e.g. Zune, Ford Sync).

As we reported earlier, J Allard is sadly still expected to be leaving Microsoft. The WSJ is also backing up the story that his departure is a result of the Courier cancellation.

Likewise, Robbie Back, who oversees the Xbox Live and Mobile division, may also be part of the re-organization process, reportedly as a result of Microsoft's continued poor performance against Google and Apple. This is especially evident as we are on the eve of Apple surpassing Microsoft for the #2 spot on the S&P 500, which though not ultimately important, is certainly symbolic and revealing.

This may also just be routine with Microsoft preparing for the emergence of Windows Phone 7 and Project Natal in the fall. Either way, we hope it works out.

Update: Robbie Bach is retiring in the fall; J Allard is leaving; transition plan detailed

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Ahead Project Manager for WP7 gets demoed

We admit, you don't need to fasten your seatbelts to view this application. While not the most exciting thing to grace mobile devices, so-called 'time' or 'project management' applications are very important for those who actually need them.

A few French friends got together to make this program for some competition but now they're committed to releasing it to the Marketplace and overseeing its continued development.

Following the minimal-design principles laid about by the Metro UI, Ahead is not flashy but does enable quick access to basic project management sections including: tasks, time tracking, projects, accounts (funding), clients and settings.

But less talk more action. The developers have made a great demo video which walks you through everything. You can watch that after the jump to get an idea of just how polished the program is at this early stage in Windows Phone 7 development or just go to their website to see it all in action: Ahead--manage your projects on the go

     

[via @ahead_app]

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2

HomeScreenJump now available for Sense 2.5

For those who don't follow Android news, about a week ago the HTC Wildfire became official. One cool trick that HTC added was the ability to jump to different screens in Sense via multi-selector screen, instead of sliding all over the place. (See Tracy & Matt's hands on at 0:42)

And anyone who's used Sense 2.5 on WinMo can know the feeling of having to slide the tabs all over the place to just find that one you're looking to use right now. It can be frustrating.

Well combine those two ideas and you have HomeScreenJump from XDA member dotcompt!

Simply install the HomeScreenJump.cab and tap the icon to run and there you go.  Want to go the extra step? Install two more .cab files and now you can map it to your Start button as a long press.  Now you can call it up wherever, whenever.

Our thoughts? We highly recommend this mod. And do map it to the Start key. This method makes it very fast, efficient and darn it all it just works well. You now have quick-access to your Home, People, Messages, Mail, Weather, Twitter and Programs tabs.

[XDA forums via PDA.pl]

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Marketplace Spotlight: Glympse vs. Wizi

 

Some time ago we looked at Glympse, a GPS Tracking app.  More recently, we've also taken a look at Wizi, a similar GPS application.  While we've reviewed both, we thought a comparative piece was in order.  Is Wizi strong enough to lure you away from the Marketplace or does Glympse have more to offer along with the convenience of the Marketplace?  (Okay...so it's not like downloading the Wizi .cab is all that inconvient but we needed to tie this into the Marketplace.)

Follow the Break to see how these to GPS location apps measure up.

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1

Settlement proposed in AT&T "locked phone" lawsuits

AT&T has proposed a settlement that will end several class action lawsuits that surrounds the software locks on most AT&T phones. These locks are put in place to prevent AT&T phones from operating on other compatible wireless carriers.

Each of the four lawsuits, in some shape, form or fashion claim it is improper for AT&T to sell phones that have been programmed not to operate on compatible services and that this restriction hasn't been properly disclosed to customers (still scratching my head on the latter claim).

The proposed settlement allows customers owning eligible phones who have completed a minimum of 90 days of active service with AT&T and be in good standing, upon request, receive an unlocking code. Phones that have an exclusivity sales contract with AT&T of ten months or longer (e.g. the iPhone) are excluded from this settlement. Phones with an exclusivity sales contract of less than ten months the exclusive period mush have expired before the unlocking code is released.

Customers are limited to five unlock codes per year and AT&T will pick up the attorney's fees, on the litigation, up to $5.7 million. The settlement proposal now goes to those suing AT&T to allow anyone not interested in the proposal to opt out or object to the terms. The Court will determine whether or not to approve the settlement on July 2, 2010. 

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Conflipper recently posted some info about two HTC devices slated for 2010:  Huashan and Hengshan, named after mountains in China.

Sinces these reference-names are Chinese and not very Western e.g. Mondrian, Rhodium, Whitestone, it's a pretty good indication that these are devices that we'll never see here in the U.S. or Europe for that matter. Well that and they're on Dopod's release schedule.

Going further, Engadget are calling these Windows Phone 7 devices which is incorrect (WMPoweruser was savvy enough not to make this mistake). The following reference is inside the files:

Microsoft Internet Explorer Mobile 6

5.2

In case you forgot, this is Internet Explorer Mobile 6 (5.2), the same one that debuted with WM6.1.4 and is in WM6.5. That browser is quite at odds with the Windows Phone 7 browser based on the IE7 and IE8 Trident rendering engines. Just going by screen resolution (480x800 and 320x480) tells you nothing meaningful to differentiate between the two OSes.

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