Articles

Microsoft Surface Tablet

We updated yesterday's story on the Microsoft Surface Tablet price possibly costing more than $1,000 but wanted to make sure the update got out. For those who didn't catch the original story, Swedish website Webhallen.com listed the Microsoft Surface tablet at a price of 6990 krone (about $1,160 US) with Fourth Quarter 2012 availability.

This took us (and everyone else) by surprise because earlier speculation had pricing in the $399-599 range.

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
33

New Map Features in Windows Phone 8

New Map Features in Windows 8

The Windows 8 SDK is pointing to some tantalising improvements to the maps functionality. Specifically maps will now support overlaying Landmarks, in this example, a 3d transparent building and pedestrian features. The pedestrian feature show in the example seems to be that of stairs.

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

WP Central SDK

Applications in Windows Phone 8 will, according to the SDK, have the ability to launch if associated with that file type, it also suggests you’ll be able to make a custom file type icon so it looks nice and neat. That’s good news, there are plenty of file types on WP7 devices that are simply not recognised so having the ability to extend the platform by creating the app to launch it will be a welcome addition. 

Of course, that’s as long as WP8 hasn’t already reserved the file types to open with the build in apps. Although a quick scan over the reserved file types suggests there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to file type compatibility.

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

WP Central

Microsoft has announced open enrollment for their 2012 (fall) Xbox LIVE update for the Xbox 360 console.

The new features for this update we revealed at E3 back in June are the ones coming for this update so getting a sneak peek is always a blast. Some of those new features for this preview include:

  • Internet Explorer for Xbox
  • Personalized dashboard recommendations
  • Enhanced category search and discovery features
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

WP Central

In what should be a very exciting addition for developers, Windows Phone 8 will finally give access to Voice Command (aka TellMe).

According to the leaked Windows Phone 8 SDK, developers can add functions to their app that uses the Voice Command feature, enabling customers to launch the app with a sub-query which will take them to a specific area of the app:

"Users can use voice commands to both launch your app and execute an action. For example, a user using the Contoso Widgets app could press the Start button and say "Contoso Widgets, show best sellers" to both launch the Contoso Widgets app and navigate to a 'best sellers' page, or some other action that the developer specifies."

(An example of this would be Jay Bennett adding a feature to our WPCentral app whereby you hold the Start button to access Voice Command (TellMe) and say “WPCentral, go to reviews”).

0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

WP Central

One area that Windows Phone has been lacking so far is the ability to do anything with Bluetooth besides connect to hands-free headsets or speakers. Windows Phone 8 looks to finally expand Bluetooth functionality with the leaked SDK detailing some new features available to developers.

For instance, peer-to-peer file sharing is now allowed for apps that want to “talk” to each other. As an example, we could add an ability for the WPCentral app to share links or photos to another phone. Presumably this feature could be used for all sorts of features like in games by unlocking a feature when you pair up with another phone i.e. a social aspect...

0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Windows 8

The Windows Phone 8 SDK Preview has been leaked on the Internet today before being released in the coming weeks. What's included in the upcoming version? 

App Development

Windows Phone 8 Developer Preview supports native C++ development and is able to support a significant subset of the Windows 8 SDK, allowing developers to share a significant amount of code between apps on Windows Phone and Window 8. The lack of native development support in Windows Phone 7.x has proven to be an issue with developers in the past, which has now been recognised by Microsoft.

The SDK Preview reduces the need to port and maintain components such as compute engines, graphic libraries, and API sets. Direct3D is also making its way to Windows Phone, which will enable developers to create and release games built using DirectX and share code base between PC titles (D2D, DWrite and WIC aren't supported). The supported vertex shader model version is 2.0, as is the pixel shader.

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

Auto Upload App

Windows Phone 8 will now include the ability to create apps that can auto upload  in the background using a background agent, according to the leaked SDK. The background unloading looks to be targeted at apps for uploading photos. The task like unlike other will not expire. The potential for camera apps on WP8 looks to have gotten rosy indeed. I'm thinking flickr and photobucket could do with this..

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

WP Central

We’ve hinted at this before and the leak of the Windows Phone 8 SDK is validating our claim that “Apollo” will allow richer notification support for 3rd party developers.

Developers will now be able to have their app send notifications to the Lock Screen with the content reflecting the app’s Live Tile:

“In Windows Phone, the lock screen contained a handful of notifications such as the number of new Outlook emails and text messages. In Windows Phone 8 Developer Preview, end users can choose to customize this area with any third party apps they choose. As a developer, you can enable your app to be used in this feature. “

An app can provide content for the following four items on the lock screen:

  • The background image. This image is unrelated to lock screen notifications, and is documented at Lock screen background for Windows Phone.
  • An app icon
  • An app count
  • App text
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

WP Central

As we parse our way through the new Windows Phone 8 SDK which was leaked this morning, we’re starting to get an idea of some of the new features.

One of those is Camera Lenses, a method by which developers can add a “mini app” of sorts to within in the camera function. This will allow devs to have much more creative control over the Windows Phone camera app, allowing the creation of unique augmented reality apps and filters to really add a customized experience.

Head past the break to read the excerpts from the SDK…

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

WP Central

Although we’re expecting Microsoft to release the Windows Phone 8 SDK within the coming weeks, this morning the full SDK has managed to leak online via the site WPXAP.

The full SDK is available via two methods—the official Microsoft server with a password or a third party file site (which requires a 3rd party app to install first). We have downloaded the SDK and validated that it is indeed the full package.

Files include the SDK, which can only run on Windows 8 64-bit preview edition meaning many folks won’t be able to run this right now. In fact, we’ve heard that the official SDK will be a Windows 8-only release (both 32 and 64 bit).

WP Central

The files included are

  • Network Monitoring for Windows Phone Applications V1.pdf    
  • Optimizing Windows Phone Applications for Efficient Battery Consumption V1.pdf          
  • RPALSDK_LKG25.zip
  • Simulation Dashboard for Windows Phone Applications V1.pdf
  • Windows Phone 8 Developer Docs.chm
  • Windows Phone Apollo Release Notes.htm        
  • wpexpress.zip

The Developer docs (CHM) containing all the documentation with the new dev options--screenshots are posted below. We’ll get more up as soon as we can go through the files.

Developing...

Source: WPXAP; Thanks, talan1314, for the tip. More shots after the break...

0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Freshmen at Seton Hall University are receiving free Lumia 900s and Windows 8 tablets, thanks to collaboration between Nokia, AT&T, Microsoft and the University itself. The entire class of 2016 will receive the Samsung tablet and Lumia 900 to support the University's mission of providing state of the art technology tools to enhance the student's college experience.

Last month we reported on the announcement and in the above video you can see the rollout commence. Stephen Landry, Chief Information Officer at Seton Hall, explains that the university had a large pileup of Android tablets and iPads, which proved to be unproductive for students. He notes that they require the functionality of Microsoft Office - something both Windows 8 and Windows Phone supports out the box.

Students with the new Windows devices will be able to make use of a SHUmobile app, which provides access to campus news feeds, directories, maps and other University resources.

Source: YouTube; thanks, Daniel, for the tip!

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

Summer Of Metro Continues – SkyDrive gets the new look

The metrification of Microsoft’s web properties continues. Yesterday we reported that the Accounts page update was rolling out. This time Liveside are reporting a leak of the new, flatter SkyDrive. Word is, that we will see these changes appear around August time. Amongst the changes deduced from the screenshots looks like we can expect to see:-

  • Thumbnails of Office document types
  • Ability to select files from the thumbnail view
  • Improved access to storage management, tagging and changing language type
  • Groups accessible from the left hand column
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

Good Technology Report – Windows Phone Enterprise Activations

Good Technology has released their annual report detailing the spread of device activations for Q2. Good are well known for being at the forefront of providing technology for IT departments to facilitate users who wish to use their own devices for work, commonly referred to as BYOD, or to allow departments to use technology that's not quite as secure or manageable out of the box. The premise is simple; the software provides a heavily encrypted shell to keep corporate email private and secure. Windows Phone is making its presence known in the workplace according to this report.

The Good Windows Phone client was only debuted in April 2012 but already it’s showing as accounting for 1.2% of the overall activations. Bear in mind that the lion’s share of activations are currently going to the non-enterprise friendly, but current executive fondle-thing-business toy, the IPad. The iPad is accounting for a whopping 94.5 of all activations.

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

WP Central

The highest rated phone on Sprint is...

The HTC Arrive, one of our trusty go to devices on Windows Phone especially for you physical-keyboard lovers, never got too popular despite its uniqueness. The phone is a bit thick and sort of lacks that ‘sex appeal’ that Nokia or Apple bring to the market yet it’s still a darn good device despite its age and lack of updates.

Looking over Sprint’s customer ratings though, the device comes out on top with 89% of customers recommending the phone (from 402 reviews). Here’s how the Arrive ranks compared to the competition...

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

WP Central

Backing up app data on SkyDrive--not cool with Microsoft?

An interesting controversy spring up over at the AppHub forums over the use of SkyDrive for backing up app data—not so much photos and documents (which is fine) but rather unintelligible files created by apps for app-specific data.

The crux of it was someone from the SkyDrive team made a comment that using SkyDrive for such a purpose goes against the user agreement for the API and it could result in the Windows Phone app being yanked from the Marketplace.

Justin Angel, Principal Engineer for Windows Phone experience at Nokia, fervently objected to this idea noting

“As SkyDrive API usage is not part of the Application Certification Guidelines I resent that team threatening app developers with expulsion from the marketplace for misuse of their API.”

It’s certainly a good point although we see the reasoning behind the SkyDrive team’s position. Luckily things are not as dire as expected.

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
40

Microsoft begins rolling out Microsoft Account logins

WP Central

The new Microsoft Account page is now live but no longer 'Live'

We’ve reported on the slow rollout of 'Microsoft Account' for a few weeks now. The replacement for 'Live is slowly transforming as we’ve first noted it back at the beginning of June with the commerce site showing the new style.

Today, we’re getting reports (and have verified ourselves) that Microsoft Account is showing up on the https://account.live.com/ site, allowing you to create a new account (if you already didn’t have one). We saw this a few days ago but now it seems to be finally go wide today. You can of course login but you’ll be taken to the familiar services like Hotmail (still a terrible name) but they have not yet had their Metro makeover, which along with SkyDrive should be happening soon...

0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
18

Aupeo! Radio app now available for Windows Phone

WP Central

Aupeo! is now packing a punch on Windows Phone and released an app on the Marketplace last week. The app enables users to listen to over 120 pre-developed stations, which cover a range of genres including pop, rock, R&B, heavy metal, country, techno, classical, and punk. Stations that follow a specific theme, genre or music mood can also be selected.

In addition to the above stations, users can tune into 'artist stations', which (as the name suggests) plays music related to a particular artist. Aupeo! supports a mood tuner that provides stations based on musical mood - happy, relaxing, aggressive, dramatic, stressful, etc. The service is ad-supported, with a premium version available which removes the adverts and includes higher quality music among other features. But the best part is you're not required to sign up to get cracking, unless you want personalisation, etc.

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
37

Lumia 900 available for pre-order from Nokia in Brazil

Lumia 900

We've been informed the Lumia 900 Windows Phone is available to pre-order from Nokia in Brazil. The choice of black, cyan or white is present at a price tag of R$ 1.799,00 (about $880 / £560). The Lumia 900 is Nokia's flagship Windows Phone, sporting a 4.3" AMOLED display (with Clear Black technology), 1.4Ghz CPU, 8MP shooter (with FF camera) and 16GB storage.

No word has been given on the release date (though the website says "buy"), and Nokia's Lumia Momentum Map is of no help. We'll keep you guys posted once more information comes to light. Will you be ordering a shiny new Lumia 900?

Source: Nokia Store.br; thanks, @igor_limap, for the tip!

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

WP Central

Attending developers prepping for presentation

Last week, Wednesday 18th to be exact, we headed to the Windows Phone User Group meetup in London. The Shooting Star was the venue of the day's presentations and talks about Windows, Windows Phone, apps and other miscellaneous topics. It's a perfect chance for developers to pitch ideas, make contacts, receive help and advice, and meet us folk from Windows Phone Central.

The reason we pop along is simple - to help you (the developing community) receive as much exposure to our readership and beyond as possible. Without developers, apps and games we wouldn't have the same complete Windows Phone experience we have today, so it's important we provide developers with the opportunities to drive more traffic their way. From reviews to update coverage, Windows Phone Central has the means to help developers kick-start promotion and marketing.

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
106

More Windows Phone Tango updates being reported

More and more people are getting the Tango update

Man, you guys are quick! It's only been a couple of days since our Tango carrier roundup and already we have another list of carriers and phones that are reportedly getting Windows Phone Refresh (aka, Tango). The Tango update shows up as version 8773 or 8779 and, for most devices, brings minor enhancements, bug fixes and features. But for those of you with any of Nokia's Lumia line of phones, you should see some bigger changes.

0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

geoDefense

geoDefense has returned as this week's Xbox LIVE Deal of the Week on Windows Phone. Previously taking the title back in November 2011, it's good to see the futuristic light show tower defence game returning with a discounted price tag. The much loved Xbox LIVE title now has an older brother, geoDefense Swarm, but many still power up this classic while on the move.

geoDefense puts the player in charge of forming a tower-based defence around a generated path. This path is where creatures and critters will make their way along to the end where a number displays the remaining lives. Should a creep make their way to this point, a life will be deducted. A solid strategic mind is required to ensure the placement of towers, as well as types used, prevents these pests from making it.

0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
25

Microsoft announces BUILD 2012 developer conference

WP Central

Although Microsoft’s MIX conference is now kaput the plan was to merge that dev conference with the bigger, more exciting BUILD event. And today, Microsoft has announced BUILD 2012 is a go for October 30 through November 2 at home base, Redmond, Washington.

The timing is of course perfect—Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Surface, new Xbox updates and more. You almost get the feeling that Microsoft has been planning to sync all of this together for one big explosive event.

Registration opens August 8th at 8am PDT, so make sure you sign up and book your flight for what’s sure to be an exciting few days—especially since it overlaps with Halloween.

We’ll of course be there with our A-Team for live coverage and analysis should you not be able to make it.

Read more at Buildwindows.com

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

WP Central

Fulfilling our tradition of badly punned headlines, this week’s Xbox LIVE title is Asphalt 5 from Gameloft. And it's ready for your challenge. The weird part? This game was one of the "original 50" Xbox LIVE titles for Windows Phone, meaning it's like just 2 years late.(Seriously, it was announced in August 2010).

Racing games can be fun and Asphalt 5 should make many folks pleased with some punchy high resolution graphics of dreamy sports cars. Well, at least that’s how Gameloft is selling the game. In fact, it features over 30 cars including such beauts as the Audi R8, Ruf Rt 12, Ford Shelby GT500, Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce, Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano.

The game clocks in at 109MB, so you’ll need Wi-Fi to install and it’s priced at a moderate $2.99. While that won’t please you “It must be $0.99!” folks we’re okay with the $3 price range for games—especially ones which have high replay value....

0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Windows Phone!

The seaside is a wonderful place for sun, sea, sand and Windows Phones! Looks like Nokia are at it again, but this time they've teamed up with Quiksilver and a load of Surfer dudes to promote Windows Phone. If the images and video in this article are anything to go by, it looks like they had a hoot at Biarritz in France, this time hosting the Roxy Pro surfing tournament. Nokia have teamed up with Sosh and Quiksilver to launch a youth oriented variant of the sleek and stylish Lumia 610.

It’s would seem that no Windows Phone event by the sea is complete without a pair of oh-so-trendy Windows Phone endorsed white sunglasses. Microsoft and Nokia were there in force showing off the full range of Windows Phones, giving the beach boys n girls plenty of hands-on time. Of course no Windows Phone event would be complete without the “Smoked By Windows Phone” team smoking peoples phones so you’ll be happy to know they're at it again. If that's not enough, looks like spray on ‘I love Windows Phones’ tattoos were being dished out. Lets hope they come off this time?

0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...
0
loading...

Pages