Welcome to this week's Windows Phone Summary of the Week, which is a special edition should you reside in the UK as this weekend is dedicated to celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. But alas, Windows Phone. Before we crack into the summary itself, we've been taking a look at the best independent games for your smartphone. Speaking of software, our official app celebrated its first Birthday by being offered for nothing at all for a 24-hour period.
Our community forum has witnessed activity with threads regarding the Lumia 900 and its battery life. Should you be experiencing any issues, or would like to engage with other Windows Phone enthusiasts, we recommend you check out our growing community. Lastly E3 is taking place through the next number of days, and Windows Phone Central will be at the front of the action to bring you the latest news about gaming on Windows Phone as well as the Xbox and Windows 8 platforms. Now, let's crack on with the summary after the short break.
If you're on the cutting edge of Windows Phone hacking and homebrew then you probably have a fully unlocked device with a custom ROM running "Tango" 8773. If so, then you may want to take a look at this latest creation from Zealson over at XDA.
The simple XAP file will launch a mini-app to allow you to change the battery meter to a custom version. The meters have four options available: default, horizontal, vertical and circular with the latter three having a percentage number for a semi-accurate reading of your remaining battery life.
We say semi-accurate as the percentage doesn't get down to the 1% range and instead looks to be at 10% increments. Such a limitation is due to the API though who knows what magic these devs can whip up, so there may be hope for 1% changes too.
Tomorrow is the semi-kickoff for E3, the big gaming and entertainment expo that's going on here in Los Angeles till Thursday and that means one thing: Microsoft.
Starting at 9am PDT, Microsoft will be showcasing what's coming next for the Xbox 360 including games and perhaps the bigger story, entertainment. Microsoft already launched Amazon Instant Video last week and also teased Smart Glass for Windows Phone. What else is coming? Well our Paul Acevedo speculated on some of that here but we're sure Microsoft also has a few trick up their sleeves.
You can watch the event live on Xbox.com or Spike TV in addition to watching our Liveblog going on during the event--join the chat with us. Afterwards, since we're here in LA covering E3 all week, you can expect us to get some hands on with the latest services and titles coming to Xbox (and Windows Phone) during the day, so stay tuned.
E3 2012 – the Electronic Entertainment Expo is coming to the Los Angeles Convention Center tomorrow and Windows Phone Central will be there. The crew will be Daniel Rubino and Paul Acevedo. These guys will be giving up there week and some sleep in hopes of staying on top of all the breaking gaming news. Poor guys, we really feel sorry for them don’t we?
What is E3? Well E3 is the largest gaming event in the world and is open exclusively to members of the industry. The Windows Phone Central Crew qualifies so off we go. You can get all the information on E3 and what we expect to see and do when we get there in this article: Windows Phone Central comes to E3 2012
The WPCentral Forums is the place to go for all the in depth conversations. With that in mind we have opened up a new events forum just for E3. We positioned this new area right at the top of the forum. Every time we have an event like this WPCentral will open a new events area so we can discuss the affair. When the affair is over all the event exclusive content will be moved to our events sub forum.
Why do we do this? Because we love our community and we want to make sure our community members get all the latest information.
Campaign Live has reported Nokia signing a product placement deal with UK television soap opera Hollyoaks, that will see Lumia Windows Phones being used and promoted in a number of episodes. The show will have characters using the Lumia 800 and 710 Windows Phones with Monster Purity headphones. The village bus stop will also sport Lumia advertisements, starting from July.
As well as the TV promotion, Lumia Windows Phones will be displayed on other platforms that stream the programme, including the Channel 4 website which will reportedly see the devices come to life with two Hollyoaks characters tweeting their on-screen personality. The deal is set to last for an initial four-month period. John Nichols, head of marketing at Nokia UK, had the following to say on the deal:
"This partnership is another example of how we are pushing the Lumia brand in new innovative ways, with a human approach across multiple platforms."
This is a superb move by Nokia as the show is popular with a strong young audience, something the company has admitted it needs to target to rejuvenate the brand.
A new video of the Sony Ericsson "Julie" (branded "Jolie" in the video) Windows Phone has been published to the Internet. Unfortunately, the company, now Sony Mobile, has continuously stated that they have no immediate plans for Windows Phone. Which is a shame as the handset itself doesn't look half-bad. Slap Windows Phone "Apollo" 8 on there and you could have a winning next-gen slider.
It's interesting to note that this version gives us the impression there's more than one variant of "Julie", as it's an all-black design unlike the earlier prototype we saw pictured. With "Apollo" itself, the next major Windows Phone upgrade, expected to be released later this year, we could see support from Sony Mobile should the platform maintain this steady increase with regards to market share and positive feedback from carriers.
Source: YouTube; thanks, Daniel, for the heads up!
Hot on the tail of the Dark Knight Rises app for Lumia phones comes Nokia Trailers. The app pulls no punches as it is what it sounds like--an app for viewing all the latest trailers and teaser clips from the latest Hollywood movies.
The app though goes beyond just streaming by allowing you to also download the trailer for offline viewing. In addition you get a cool Live Tile to alert you when new trailers are added to the system so you can keep up on all the latest Hollywood blockbusters. Other features include:
Watch list - Set reminders for movies you want to see
Share your favorite trailers with friends
Locate local theaters nearby
We'll be honest, we've been looking for such an app for a long time on Windows Phones and this fits the bill nicely. We're big movie fans around here so being able to stream and watch the latest trailers with no garish ads, having reminders for movies and being able to share on our social networks are all pretty cool features. Nice job, Nokia.
The Dark Knight Rises app for Windows Phone is now available to all Lumia handsets. We last looked at the recently released app back when UK retailer Phones 4u announced availability of the limited edition Batman The Dark Knight Rises Lumia 900. Should you not be able to pick up the special Lumia 900, but own a Lumia Windows Phone, don't fear as you can download the app and enjoy the experience.
What's included in the app? Trailers, wallpapers and ringtones, as well as a countdown to when the film is set to premier. Coupled with the counter, the app displays the nearest theatres that will be showing the title, using the location of the user. Directions to theatres are available on-hand so it requires little effort to get planning for the big day.
Should you login and connect to your Foursquare account, you get to choose your side (Batman or Bane) and play a Foursquare-based mini-game titled Claim Gotham City. A map is presented to the user that enables locations to be taken over by either side (checking in), earning points and exclusive content. As well as taking over locations on your own, joint attacks can be performed with other players. It's a fun twist.
Red Badger has finally released update 1.7 for Birdsong, the Twitter client for Windows Phone that has been left collecting dust on the shelf for a fair few months. We previously looked at version 1.7 when it was announced on the Red Badger blog that the update would be pushed out soon.
Without repeating ourselves too much, this version fixes the login issue that users were experiencing, as well as the setting save 'fail' that prevented live tile functionality being enabled. The search has been revamped, which now sports saved searches pulled down from the micro-blogging website. If saved searches weren't enough, the team have also thrown in trending topics functionality.
You can download Birdsong from the Marketplace - we'd recommend a fresh install if you've been experiencing problems with previous versions.
When Windows Phone Central first wrote about Electronic Arts’ Battleshipcoming to Windows Phone, we were concerned that it might be a timed exclusive for Nokia phones. Thankfully that has proven not to be the case, as Battleship launches Wednesday, June 6 for all Mango-supported devices. Phew!
Battleship has little to do with the corny movie of the same name. Instead, it’s an adaptation of the popular board game from Milton Bradley. In the Classic game type, two sides take turns blindly firing at each other, trying to find and destroy the other’s ships. Salvo mode works much like classic, but moves faster than traditional games because you’re allowed to fire as many shots per turn as you have remaining ships.
The videogame-exclusive Superweapon mode adds a variety of new weapons to the gameplay. These weapons unlock based on ships sunk across all game modes, tying the whole package together. We’re pleased to bring you the first official screenshots of Superweapon mode... As you can see, it also jazzes battles up with 3D graphics. Don't worry, Classic still looks like the game you remember.
E3 2012 – the Electronic Entertainment Expo kicks off with Microsoft’s press conference this Monday, June 4. We’ve already outlined our predictions and plans for the event, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new to share right now. A number of developers have released trailers of the console games they’re showcasing at E3 ahead of time.
First up is Skulls of the Shogun from Haunted Temple Games and Microsoft Studios. Skulls is a beautiful and fast-paced strategy game that’s scheduled to arrive on Xbox Live Arcade, Windows 8, and Windows Phone as an Xbox Live title. We’ll be playing it at E3, so look forward to our impressions!
Head past the break for a big batch of E3 Xbox 360 game trailers!
The illustrious club of 99 cent Xbox Live games on Windows Phone has a new member this weekend: Super Monkey Ball from SEGA. The game rolled out at $4.99 on April 6 last year; dropped to $2.99 only a month later; and has at last settled on the rock-bottom price of less than a dollar.
Should you buy the first Super Monkey Ball right now when a much-improved sequel is due later this summer? Sure, if you can tolerate some truly terrible tilt controls. The awful, non-customizable controls and sadistic stage design are really the only things holding SMB back. The core gameplay itself always makes for a good time. The graphics feature very appealing art and color design, and the music isn’t bad either.
Although many of us are now hardcore SkyDrive users, some people still rely on or need Sugar Sync (www.sugarsync.com) for their file sharing and storing needs. And while Sugar Syncis working on a Windows Phone client, we have no ETA on when that app will arrive. So it's with great pleasure for us to see Sweet Sync on the Marketplace fulfilling that role.
The client offers most of what you would expect a mobile Sugar Sync client to offer:
Allows the creation, modification and deletion of any file or folder in your account, including received shares
Upload, Download and View Images
Create public links for your files and share them with friends
Open documents with public links directly on your phone (Not all filetypes can be opened)
We just took the app for a spin and it's hella-nice. Bold graphics (which are not Metro but still look nice), ease of use, plenty of options. Heck, we're impressed with it and while it may not replace our SkyDrive, we're not against adding extra storage when and where we can either.
We're getting a few reports, including one over at tech site cnBeta.com that the Windows Phone Marketplace is undergoing a lengthy blackout. Specifically when users try to download an app, the progress bar gets about half way (full downloaded) and then an "attention required" message pops up with an error 805a01f8.
What's perhaps worse is these errors have been going on for nearly 20 hours now, making this a significant down-time for many new Windows Phone users in China.
The error users are seeing in China right now when they attempt an app download
Word from cnBeta is that there is no official comment from Microsoft China on the matter and users are basically on their own until the system is fixed, leaving many users disgruntled and frustrated.
Companies like Nokia and HTC have both recently made a large push into China signaling a successful attempt at selling Microsoft's OS to new customers, however such a setback with the Marketplace could create some negative blow-back from early adoptees.
If you're in China and experiencing these problems or if they have resolved themselves, let us know in comments.
Does your color preference in Windows Phones uncover a personality trait? Whether it is a white Samsung Focus 2 or a cyan Nokia Lumia 900, does your choice of colors reflect more than a fashion statement? There is some school of thought that the choice of color isn't a conscious effort but rather a sub-conscious choice. Color psychologist Angela Wright states,
“Every time you make a color choice, you’re making a statement about what’s going on in your head, even though most you the time you don’t know it. Around 80 percent of our color choices are sub-conscious.”
So how do the color choices break down? Here's what the color psychologist has to say.
Cyan - The Thinker: The cyan blue is a happy color that conveys an intellectual and considered nature. It is a balanced color that is inspiring. The blue helps to focus your thoughts and clear your mind.
White - The Sophisticate: White gives off an impression of a sophisticated smartphone aficionado with high standards.
Reuters Insider landed in the Windows Phone Marketplace the other day with exclusive programming for financial professionals. You'll need to be a financial markets professional to use the app and will need a corporate email address to register. We have been told that University email addresses will work as well for students and faculty members.
Reuters Insider has partnered with over one hundred and fifty financial information providers such as CNBC, Citibank, Nomura and Roubini. The app is designed to deliver breaking news, exclusive interviews, and in-depth commentary on financial market issues.
Should you be a financial professional with a corporate email, Reuters Insider appears to be a useful app for your Windows Phone. Reuters Insider is a free app that you can grab here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.
MobileSyrup have received a tip detailing TELUS plans to launch and push the Lumia 610 Windows Phone. The unnamed source sent in a photo of a prototype Lumia 610, which is already launching across Europe, and states that it's scheduled to launch on the Canadian carrier sometime in the summer. TELUS is already sporting the Lumia 800, a Windows Phone that has pleased VP of Mobility Solutions at TELUS, Brent Johnston.
MobileSyrup speculate a price tag of between $200 – $250 and also add NFC into the specification list for the upcoming device, something we're aware that's exclusive to Orange who plan to launch an NFC supported Lumia 610 sometime in Q3. Note that the Lumia 610 only packs 256MB RAM, which brings with it limitations.
ESPNcricinfo is a Windows Phone sports app to keep you up to date on all the cricket action going on around the world. Cricket the game, not cricket as in Jiminy Cricket.
ESPNcricinfo covers international matches, ICC tournaments and major domestic leagues including English county championships, Indian Premier League and Champions League. The app is laid out nicely, as with any ESPN app, with pages covering match scores, news, magazine articles, and a tile menu that pulls up stats, videos, settings, rankings and more.
Just when we thought the patent wars were over, Google has announced yesterday that they've filed an antitrust complaint in Europe, pointing a finger at Nokia and Microsoft regarding patents. The search giant is arguing that both companies are using third-party agencies (which are internally branded "patent trolls") to increase the costs for mobile devices, which would in-turn provide a strong advantage to the Microsoft ecosystem. An example is provided by Google, where the company states that Nokia and Microsoft have entered into revenue-based agreements with the likes of Mosaid Technologies.
Last year the two companies in question transferred a total of 2,000 patents to Mosaid, as well as Nokia selling 450 to IP Bulldog. Google views a threat on the horizon where more fees placed on OEMs may force manufacturers to look elsewhere, Windows Phone in this case, for cheaper production costs. While details of the filing has not been published, a statement from Google has been provided:
"Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that sidestep promises both companies have made. They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices."
By colluding with both Microsoft and Mosaid, Google alleges that Nokia has betrayed its previous open-source commitments. A Microsoft representative has responded to these claims with the following comment:
The Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) is just a few days away and Microsoft has given us a small glimpse at a new Xbox companion, Xbox Smart Glass. Xbox Smart Glass will be optimized for Windows tablets and phones to allow users to control their Xbox console, play videos and other media from their tablets and phones, and send videos to the Xbox to play on the television.
The app sounds similar to the Windows Phone Xbox Companion app but with a lot more gusto. Plus there's the Windows 8 tablet coming into play which is appealing in and of itself. Xbox Smart Glass will also be available for Android and iOS tablets and phones.
Microsoft will be demoing Smart Glass at E3 next week and hopefully will shed more light on the capabilities of Xbox Smart Glass. We'll be in attendance at E3 and hopefully we can shed more light on Xbox Smart Glass.
We've covered the popular "jumper" game MonsterUp previously on Windows Phone Central--published by Karios, the game features great music, bold, adorable graphics and interesting twists on an old concept. Though Doodle Jump gets the headlines, MonsterUp to us was always more creative. Now, Karios has returned with MonsterUp Adventures and we got a little sneak peek of the upcoming tile.
Instead of just a straight sequel i.e. yet-another-jumper, MonsterUp Adventures is more like a proper video game now. It features:
Levels you need to complete
Gems, jewels and coins to collect to unlock new monsters
A shop to purchase new monsters (who each have unique powers)
Whereas before the goal was to just jump as high as you can, now on each level you need to "jump to the end" to complete it. It takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes per level and yes, it's quite challenging at times (especially on the 2nd half of the island). The collecting of jewels to purchase new monsters is well done as it gives you motivation to try new combinations, plus it adds to the replay value. The bosses, while not very difficult, add a nice break to the jumping and the exquisitely drawn and unique backgrounds keep the visuals fresh.
Sadly, MonsterUp Adventures as submitted to be an Xbox LIVE game but was denied by Microsoft. Like Karios, we're not sure what the criteria is for making into that coveted camp but compared to the last few stinkers on Xbox LIVE, MonsterUp Adventures more than makes the cut in our mind.
The plus side is MonsterUp Adventures will get to your phones sooner than if it were on Xbox LIVE and Karios can deliver more updates, more frequently.
So our verdict? We really like this game. Jumpers are fun but they can get old fast. Karios Games have taken that concept to a new level with 'Adventures, breathing new life into the growing franchise. With fantastic graphics, a catchy tune and high re-playablity we're impressed.
Look for MonsterUp Adventures to arrive in the Marketplace very soon. Check out the promo vid after the break...
"Enthusiasts" can now load custom ROMs on devices like this HTC Titan
Good news for those with "2nd generation" Windows Phone like the HTC Radar and HTC Titan, the Dark Forces Team (DFT) have released their custom Hard Secondary Program Loader (HSPL) for those devices, including a "wizard" to guide you through the somewhat complicated process. Announced back in March, the team has made solid and steady progress over the last few months on the project.
HSPLs are needed to "unlock" the bootloader of certain smartphones in order to get custom ROMs to load onto them (think of it as a layer of security). Without this tool-set, modified OS's for those devices simply have nowhere to go. Now that these tools are available comes the second step: the creation of custom ROMs which will require some "chefs" to cook them up,
Second generation HTC devices have been notoriously difficult to crack for DFT so this is a fairly big win for the homebrew community. Unfortunately, devices like the Titan II still won't work with this tool so it's best to still wait for DFT to get that going.
They make code from their basement office or from a start-up company but some of these games can give the larger software companies (EA, Microsoft, etc.) a run for their money. We've rounded up a handful of games from the Marketplace's independent developers that we have found to be entertaining, fun, well presented and a worthy addition to anyone's Windows Phone gaming library.
The Carphone Warehouse has the Lumia 710 at an attractive price of just £99.99 (excluding required £10 top-up), which widens the gap between itself and the supposedly "dirt cheap" Lumia 610 priced at £180 with Clove UK. The Windows Phone is the first Nokia smartphone to be priced below £100 since the partnership began with Microsoft.
The Lumia 710 will remain priced at £100 with Carphone Warehouse until June 7th, so be sure to get in quickly should you be looking to pick one up. The Windows Phone is perfect for those who don't require a device like the Lumia 800, Samsung Omnia, or HTC TITAN, and sports a 1.4GHz processor, 512MB RAM, and 8GB storage.
Well, if there's one thing we learned tonight it's that a lot of you watch Kiefer Sutherland's "Touch" series on Fox, at least judging by the amount of tips we received. Evidently tonight was the two-part season finale (yes, the show was renewed) and the main child prodigy gets his hand on a cyan Lumia 900. What's more, the scene is fairly long by product-placement standards, resulting in some nice screen time for the hit device on AT&T.
Also note the appearance of the AT&T AirGraffiti app for Windows Phone. For those of you who don't know, AirGraffiti was a concept app from AT&T that allows users to "...leave videos, photos and songs “in the air” at physical addresses for friends or others to retrieve when they visit that location". It's a very cool concept that uses the phone's media resources, social networking and Location Based Services (LBS).
AirGraffiti on Windows Phone?
No word though is that app is actually coming to Windows Phone or AT&T and Nokia are just teasing the hell out of us. Let's hope it's the former as that'd be a very cool win.