Microsoft is set to include a new virtual assistant in Windows Phone 8.1, named Cortana. The name itself comes from the popular video game series Halo, where Cortana is an artificial intelligence who accompanies the player throughout the story. While it's not yet known what the final name of the assistant will be, there have been new nicknames and suggestions published on our forums.
The Xbox One controller is one of the finest control pads ever designed. The same goes for the Titanfall Limited Edition Controller we just reviewed. But one flaw compared to Xbox 360 controllers is that Xbox One controllers don’t work on computers and tablets. Blame Microsoft, who have yet to release a PC driver even though it would take virtually no effort to do so.
Luckily, a hobbyist developer named Lucas Assis has developed a temporary Xbox One controller driver for Windows 7 and 8. It doesn't work on Windows RT, so this won't help regular Surface users. His solution requires the use of several companion programs (bundled with the driver) and a few quarts of elbow grease, but it does actually work. Until now, you’d have to endure a somewhat painful tutorial video in order to guide you through the process. Lucky for you guys, I’ve gone through that already so that we can bring you this easy-to-understand written guide!
It has been a rather quiet week so far with the news, but we're looking at more app updates being pushed through the Windows Phone Store. Updating your arsenal of content will surely make up for the lack of hardware announcements and help you through the wait for Windows Phone 8.1.
Today, we're looking at both 2flicka and Cal, not to mention some other apps worth noting. Slip past the break for more details.
When Microsoft released the Xbox One back in November of 2013, the console came without the ability to play multimedia from an external device, such as a flash drive. It seemed that the ultimate entertainment console would not be able to play any of your personal content and instead you would be locked to approve multimedia apps on the platform, but that is not the case.
If you are a PC gamer, then you will probably remember the days of lugging around a heavy 10-pound machine, just so you could claim the ability to run Crysis on max settings. Gaming laptops of the past were fat, heavy, and had battery life so short that you could blink and the laptop would be dead. Now, Razer has introduced a refresh to their seemingly impossibly thin Ultrabook gaming machines.
We’re less than a month away from actually seeing Windows Phone 8.1 ourselves at Microsoft’s Build conference in San Francisco. We know a lot about the next big version of Windows Phone, but there’s still more info trickling out as we lead up to the big unveil. Today we’re looking at the default camera application that Windows Phone 8.1 handsets will ship with. Video after the break.
Not everyone are fans of the native Windows 8 Music and Video apps, but for those who are looking to find an alternative solution – you will not have to wait any longer. Back in November of 2012, VLC announced a Kickstarter campaign to launch the software on both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. As of today, the application has passed certification and is now published in the Windows 8 Store for x86 and x64 based machines.
RT and Windows Phone versions will still have to wait, though they are planned.
While telephony has changed through the years – from landlines to mobiles to VoIP – voicemail has remained pretty much the same with plain vanilla functionality of receiving recorded audio messages when you can’t answer the phone.
Smart Voicemail aims to alter this perception, and attempts to be the next evolution of voicemail with status updates & availability to quickly let callers know why you missed their call.
Losing your phone can be really annoying. Fortunately, Windows Phone has a free service called Find My Phone that can help you recover your phone. It even goes a step further by giving you options to lock or erase your phone from any computer.
Head past the break to watch our how-to video.
Galaga Legions DX wasn’t the best Xbox game on Windows Phone. In fact, I named it as one of the five worst Xbox games of 2012. But still, it was that very rare thing: an exclusive Windows Phone game from a major publisher that never showed up on other mobile platforms (though it originated on Xbox 360). I even managed to get all of Legions DX’s Achievements and write a guide for them.
You’ll notice I speak of Galaga Legions DX entirely in the past tense; that’s because it was delisted from the Windows Phone Store within the last few days. That makes it the fourth Xbox Windows Phone game to disappear this year. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12, Tower Bloxx New York, and 3D Brick Breaker Revolution were all delisted in January. Only three new Xbox games have made it to Windows Phone in 2014, so we’re actually one down for the year.
Although the app-gap for Windows Phone dwindles each and every day, there are still a few banner apps missing. One of those is Starbucks for the US market (there’s already one for Mexico and Russia, who are managed by different companies).
The Starbucks apps aren’t just store locators, like the well-done app we covered this morning, but they help manage your account, keep track of awards and lets you replenish your pre-purchase card. The apps on iOS and Android are quite popular, but Windows Phones in US are left on the sidelines.
Flappy Bird is a rather special mobile game, illustrating what can happen when a seemingly unimaginative concept goes viral and the developer subsequently wishes to remove oneself from the spotlight. The game has also split communities in two with many wanting the name to simply remain dead, but that hasn't halted numerous developers across all platforms from attempting to ride on the success that is Flappy Bird.
Now the creator of Flappy Bird has said in an interview we could well see the game again.
PCMag has concluded its annual readers’ choice awards. Since operating systems play an important part in decision making for consumers on their next smartphone, we've taken a look at how Windows Phone fared against both Android and iOS. The 2014 PCMag Readers' Choice Award was awarded to (and is shared by) Google's Android and Apple's iOS, but it's interesting to see how Microsoft's mobile platform performed in the surveys.
Build 2014 is only a few weeks away, and the world is expecting Microsoft to finally unveil Windows Phone 8.1. The beta SDK is already in some hands, and we’ve even heard some 8.1 hardware is now circulating too for some devs. This is unsurprising, because Microsoft is not going to announce this thing with no release details on April 2. Quite the opposite, as Redmond appears to be taking a “hit the ground running” approach, making the OS preview-update available that day with new hardware only a few weeks later.
In that regard, seeing Microsoft check app compatibility when submitting new XAP files to the Store should not be a shock. After all, they probably want to test some things out, and we’re sure little nuggets like this will make an appearance between now and April 2. The change in the Store happened in the last five days, with people noticing late last week.
Angry Birds, the popular IP from Finnish game studio Rovio, has yet again been updated for Windows Phone. The original base title has been bumped to version 4.1 with even more content for players. Next time you fire up the game, you'll see new levels to battle through.
Location Finder is a handy Windows Phone 8 app that will find, save and share your current location. With Location Finder you can record locations such as a campsite, where you parked your car, the location of a business you need to remember or simply sharing your location with friends/family so they can find you.
Location Finder was updated to version 2.6 last night that includes a handful of changes that are user driven. For example, many users asked for shorter URLs to make sharing your location easier. You can opt for the shorter URLs in the app’s settings.
WhatsApp is a super popular messaging app, which has enjoyed substantial growth over the last handful of years. Recently sold to Facebook (for $19 billion), we added the Windows Phone client to our roundup of best messaging apps for the platform.
We know many of you actively use WhatsApp, but we've got some handy tips for you should you be getting started.
If you enjoy writing down notes while listening to music and watching a movie at the same time, then you are in luck because Music, Video, and Evernote for Windows 8 have received updates. Microsoft’s Music and Video applications serve as the gateway to Xbox entertainment, while Evernote provides a Class A experience for organizing various types of data.
During Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, SanDisk announced their largest-capacity MicroSD card ever with 128 GB of space. Thanks to WPCentral forum member, NoRomBasic, we can see that the SanDisk Ultra 128 GB microSDXC card works with the Nokia Lumia 1520. Initial tests suggest that the card has no performance issues to worry about.
Do I need an umbrella today? Most of you answer this by just looking out your window when you wake up. That might cut it in a place like southern California, but head anywhere else and you’re going to need to check the weather forecast to dress accordingly. Let’s check out the best weather apps on Windows 8.
Weather apps are a little tricky to review and rank. There are many different users who all look for something different from a weather app. You know, different strokes for different folks. Some put a higher importance on accuracy, while others want a weather app that looks good. We spent the last few days trying out a handful of weather apps in the Windows Store and walked away being most impressed by the following. In no particular order, here they are.
The long wait has paid off and Titanfall is finally here for Xbox One and Windows PC (Xbox 360 version is due soon). The game throws you into the battlefield as a Titan pilot – your Titan is the ultimate mechanical warrior to help you squash the enemy resistance. There are quite a few Titans to choose from though, and if you are stumped on which to choose, the following personality test from Respawn Entertainment might match you to the perfect robot warrior.
Few weeks back, Microsoft Studios released yet another casual, and free, Xbox game for Windows 8 devices. Microsoft Bingo is a fun, travel-themed take on the classic game of chance. In the game, you travel the globe playing your way through a variety of exotic locales and extraordinary settings as you fill your card.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is the current hot trend. (And has been for a while, really.) There are many perceived advantages for a company that allows employees to bring their own devices to work and have access to your company resources, but is BYOD right for you? Can you make mistakes when developing your BYOD policies? Can you really let any device connect to your resources?
Lets look at a few top issues that you should be aware of.
There’s some good news for those with Windows Phone devices who like to game, even more so if you like Spiderman. Gameloft has just announced that the Amazing Spider-Man 2 official game is headed to your phone “in April”. It will join a similar version for iOS and Android, finally giving launch parity to Windows Phone.
There’s no word if this will be an Xbox LIVE game though our hunch is ‘no’ as Gameloft has been foregoing certification lately (see Asphalt 8, Total Conquest and Minion Rush). Indeed, if Gameloft wants to get this game out in the same week as iOS and Android, it will probably need the freedom offered by it not being an Xbox LIVE title, much to the disappointment of many.