Today was one of those days when you spot an app in the Marketplace that not only sounds useful but looks real nice too. Central Search incorporates 17 different search options into one nicely presented app...
As folks ‘in the know’ know, updating a platform’s Marketplace/app store is a challenging and laborious thing. Regular occurrences like publishing the latest Xbox Live game and updating the Deal of the Week might seem (to simple laymen) like things that could be easily set up in advance, but that is not the case at all. If you need proof, just notice how the Windows Phone Marketplace hasn’t updated yet. Challenging, I tell you!
All sarcasm aside, these late updates happen from time to time, most recently in June when Fling was scheduled to launch. Today’s delay means Sally’s Spa is not available just yet, much to my dismay (the last game was seriously fun, naysayers). Nor do we have a new Deal of the Week. Interestingly enough, last week’s sale, Need for Speed: Undercover actually ended on Monday, well before the scheduled end time of Wednesday morning. More evidence that running a Marketplace is super hard? You tell me.
Update: We hope you reserved early because within one hour, Microsoft's BUILD event has sold out.
Microsoft has today opened up registration for its Build 2012 developer event, which is to be held on October 30th. Set to be held at Microsoft's HQ in Redmond, Washington, the event will cover not only the upcoming Windows 8, but also Windows Phone 8, Windows Azure, Windows Server 2012, and Visual Studio 2012.
Pricing for Build 2012 will set attendees back by $2,095 for a standard pass (first 500 registrations can apply for 'early bird' passes priced at $1595), while a limited number of academic spots are going for $995.
Windows Phone has been growing at a steady rate, mainly down to advertising campaigns and brand pushes from Nokia with its Lumia family of smartphones. According to data released today by IDC, the platform has been sporting a year-on-year growth increase of 115% - not bad, eh? IDC also notes that the OS has been closing the gap between itself and Blackberry in the last quarter in the fight to become the 3rd major player in the smartphone market.
Uploading photos from your Windows Phone to SkyDrive can be a pain, especially since full resolution photos are resized when sent to the cloud. This is presumably due to Microsoft taking measures to optimise transfer for those on tight data plans who may not be connected to a WiFi network. While perfectly understandable, it would make sense to have this option in the Windows Phone settings for the user to configure how they'd like their photos uploaded to their SkyDrive account.
For now there's a workaround of sorts. Unfortunately a Windows PC is required with Zune installed, sporting an active Internet connection, and of course the native SkyDrive client for Windows. Luckily, Microsoft has developed sturdy software enabling Windows users to access and synchronise their SkyDrive storage locally with a smart folder set on their machine. This is what we'll be using through Zune to automatically upload photos from the Windows Phone to the cloud.
Namco Bandai’s Windows Phone output has been somewhat uneven so far. Some of their games like Puzzle Quest 2 are great, many are overpriced (Pac-Man Championship Edition DX anyone?), and a few like More Brain Exercise are simply duds. Their previous release, Pac-Man Kart Rally, fell somewhere in the middle of the quality spectrum, but I respected the developer’s boundary-breaking use of local Wi-Fi multiplayer. Now Pool Pro Online 3 pushes things even further, becoming the first mobile Xbox Live game with true real-time online multiplayer. While its online mode is unparalleled, a few fouls keep Pool Pro Online 3 from being a truly great pool game.
Windows Live Essentials has been part of most Windows Users standard installation for many years now. This familiar and ‘essentials’ set of applications does much to make Windows come to life as a useful productivity tool. Providing photo editing, movie making, blogging, email, synchronising and instant messaging apps, ‘Essentials’ forms a solid backbone for basic computing throughput when using Microsoft operating systems.
Whereas a certain other well-known fruit themed OSX has the luxury of these types of applications being built in, Microsoft decided after Vista to detangle these common apps from their OS. In part to make future updates easier to deliver and in part due to avoid any undue and potentially messy encounters with anti-trust bodies. So what’s the skinny on Essentials 2012?
With NASA’s successful landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars late Sunday night (it was streamed live on the Xbox 360) we figured we would mention a couple Mars tie-ins for your Windows Phone and even your Xbox in case you wanted to get in on all the action.
While there aren’t an overwhelming amount of Mars-specific apps for Windows Phone there are a couple that stand out to get you in the mood...
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has published the profile for upcoming Windows Phone 8 on its website, which reaffirms what has been previously extracted through scouring the leaked Windows Phone 8 SDK. According to the profile listing, Apollo will support the transfer of files between smartphones.
Moving up from Windows Phone 7.5 both the headset profile and serial protocol are missing from the specification read out, while Audio/Video Remote Control and Audio/Video Control Transport Protocol are sporting new versions, 1.4 and 1.3 respectively. To top everything off, it's Bluetooth 3 and not the latest version 4, which the Apple iPhone 4S already features.
Hopefully we'll be able to see Bluetooth in action soon with upcoming Windows Phone 8 hardware.
Of course your choice will have no bearing on the matter—so we think—but it is still fun to see if we can out-do Microsoft in this area. And knowing Microsoft’s past, it should not be too hard.
The Windows Phone community responded with nearly 450 comments with each one often containing multiple entries for a new Metro name. We parsed those names and chose the top six from the list of which we thought sounded good or had positive feedback from fellow commenters. Those top six entries are...
You'll soon be purchasing apps from the Store
In the recent announcement of Microsoft launching the new Developer Center for the Windows Phone community, the company has also revealed a potential rebranding of the Windows Phone Marketplace. This is an expected move, which we'll rate as a strong possibility. The Windows 8 Store is present in the next version of Microsoft's desktop operating system, so to remain consistent it makes sense to bring in a new name.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and that’s what we seem to have here at the Home Depot. According to one of our readers, Nate B., at least one of their stores has this new kiosk on display.
The obelisk looks a lot like a giant Windows Phone that’s been repositioned for the Home Depot’s uses although it retains a very Metro-Tile look and feel. Heck, the tiles even flip to reveal more info!
No word if these are going elsewhere or if Microsoft is involved but we do like the idea of Metro (or whatever it will be called) spreading around.
Check the video of it in action after the break and don’t forget, you can grab the Home Depot app for Windows Phone here. Thanks, Nate, for the video!
Is this the Nokia 'Phi' Lumia 800 sequel?
File this under rumor but certainly plausible. The fan site Nokia Innovations is reporting that the alleged Nokia prototype phone that was leaked last night is in fact the Nokia ‘Phi’. Mind you that’s the code-name not product name, much like the Ace and SeaRay were used for the Lumia 900 and 800 respectively. What’s interesting about Nokia Innovation’s post is that it slghtly pre-dated those images by a few hours as that site was expecting their own images to come forward too.
The notion that Nokia would make a successor to the Lumia 800 is not far fetched at all. It’s a wildly popular design, one that we prefer even over the Lumia 900 due to the curved screen. Evidently Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was impressed with the Lumia 800 that he doesn’t want to let the design go, just have it evolve which to our ears makes sense.
So without further ado, here are some of the rumored specifications of the Lumia 800 successor aka the ‘Phi’...
Microsoft today has announced the replacement for the App Hub dev portal. It's said to have been months in the making and having the underpinnings of a more robust and scalable backend the site is available to use now.
Among new feature highlights, the new website includes support of PayPal to pay for your developer account as well as be paid from the Marketplace. You are also now able to choose unique prices for each region as well as conduct far bigger beta tests encompassing thousands of testers if needed.
It's that time of the week where we bring you the latest and greatest threads that have been hot on the Windows Phone Central forums the past couple of days. Our community accumulates posts at a steady rate and interesting discussions take place on a daily basis. So what has been happening over the weekend just gone?
Over the weekend Windows Phone Central reported on a killer bug introduced in the latest Farm Frenzy 2 update. Since then, developer Alawar notified us that they are indeed aware of the problem and working on a fix. They also let us in on some good news: they have a new game on the Marketplace.
Farm Frenzy 2: Pizza Party is an expansion to the enjoyable Xbox Live game. But unlike its predecessor, Alawar has chosen to self-publish Pizza Party as a non-Xbox Live title. The decision seems to stem from Pizza Party’s similarity to Farm Frenzy 2; it is an expansion, not a true sequel. The Farm Frenzy series is already several games large on other platforms. By publishing this one as an indie title, Alawar can get Windows Phone caught up more quickly and without publishing too many similar Xbox Live releases.
What Nokia phone is this?
File this under rumor but likely something but the folks at WPDang caught some images off of a Sina Weibo stream that clearly reveal some type of new Nokia prototype phone. For those who don’t know, Sina Weibo is sort of like Twitter in China. The images show what look to be a Lumia-type device running either Windows Phone 7.8 or 8.0. (We were also sent the images by a reader of this site, talan1314)
Not much was revealed about the phone and the images were quickly deleted off of the user’s stream. No specifications were gathered either though it does sport the old Windows flag which may or may not mean something.
We reviewed CleverPhoto way back in October 2011 and gave it quite favorable feedback:
“The layout is clean. The editing tools are enough to do a decent job at cleaning up your photos or give them an artistic feel. And as someone who has processed what feels like a bazillion photos over the years, the editing history tile is a very nice touch. It's easy to forget if you've adjusted contrast or what filter was applied and the history tile leaves no room for doubt.”
The photo editing app always stood out amongst the herd. The app fetched for $1.49 with a free trial but it is now marked as free in the Marketplace with the price drop just occurring. In addition, the app hit version 2.0 at the end of July making this a double win if you had not already purchased it...
Condé Nast Digital, the product group behind the likes of Vogue, has released an official Glamour app for Windows Phone. Glamour (website) is a popular destination for those seeking the latest news and gossip surrounding celebrities in the spotlight.
The magazine is a global hit, is localised in a number of countries, and holds an annual "Women of the Year" award in the US. Topics include hair and beauty, fashion, life and love, and the publication also sports a number of competitions. Glamour for Windows Phone enables users to keep up-to-date with what's happening in glittered lifestyles while on the go.
A recent paper presented at Black hat 2012 by Peter Hannay has demonstrated a vulnerability in how iOS and Android deal with certificates whilst operating with an Exchange Server. The good news in this report is that Peter was unable to trick Windows Phone 7.5 devices using the same methods.
Using a man in the middle attack combined with a generic fake certificate, they were able to gain some traction in sending a command to iOS and Android devices to commence a device wipe. When devices are connected via Active Sync they commit to accepting certain responsibilities, one of the most important and sensitive of which is the wipe command. They tested off two sets of Exchange 2010 servers. One running with a self-signed certificate, a very common configuration for small business and another using a certificate from a trusted certificate signing authority.
Going, going, going... ah hello, Apollo!
Sprint is slowing phasing out the much loved HTC Arrive, according to Windows Phone Central forum member iknowsingh. Travelling down to the Sprint corporate store on 42nd street in New York, iknowsingh notes that the Arrive was nowhere to be seen. Confirmation came in that it was also not present at three local Sprint authorised retailers with no Arrives in stock.
A representative was able to explain that the HTC Arrive was listed as EOL after the last price change and software update. The device is still listed in the system and on the carrier website, where it can be picked up for just $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate.
At the start of the year I took up driving with gusto, you see, being a Londoner I have really had little need of a car. For one reason or another, it had started to become a nuisance not driving so I decided to change my wicked, public transport loving ways and get a license to burn fossil fuels. I took an intensive course and recently passed. During the process of getting my license I bought a Lumia 800, of course, it is a wonderful device but wanted it for those free and extensive driving maps. So how does Nokias’s mapping software get on? I have been testing it for a few weeks now, read on to see how well it works.
Last week we reported WhatsApp had disappeared from view on the Windows Phone Marketplace (it was actually set to private), and were awaiting official clarification on the matter. Turns out, according to a report over at MonWindowsPhone, the app has a serious security flaw, which requires the team to pull the app and look into the problem. An update is well on its way.
The app enables Windows Phone owners to send messages to other devices and is available for multiple platforms. German website ComputerBild reported that an Android app, called WhatsAppSniffer, allowed users to access messages sent using WhatsApp on a WiFi network. The developers of the popular messaging service are patching the app due to it sending messages via XMP protocol and in plain text.
We'll keep you posted and will announce when the app is available on the Marketplace with the patch bundled in an update for existing users. In the meantime, you can checkout some early images of the Windows Phone 8 version of WhatsApp.
Update: We've received word from a WhatsApp employee stating the following in an email,
"This has nothing to do with security. Please don't spread mis-information."
Take it as you will. We'll look forward to more information and possible clarification. Until then, WhatsApp is not available until the promised update is released to the Marketplace.
With AT&T, T-Mobile and even Verizon reportedly on board with Windows Phone 8, Sprint is the last holdout for a major US carrier in supporting Windows Phone 8. While some of our readers erroneously entertain notions that the carrier will embrace Microsoft’s next iteration of their OS, we’ve been very cautious in agreeing.
In a recent interview on All-Things D, Sprint VP David Owens is once again pouring some cold water on customer’s hopes for a big Windows Phone 8 push this fall. The carrier has 90% of their late 2012-2013 lineup already in place but what role Microsoft will play in that in unclear.
Speaking to Ina Fried, Owens notes that they are interested in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 but they may not be the leader this fall...
Although the full consumer feature list has yet to be revealed by Microsoft, due to the leaked SDK a few weeks ago a lot of the new options have been detailed already. In turn, we asked users what they thought was missing (or we saw no evidence for) in Microsoft’s next-gen mobile operating system.
The results are certainly interesting and by large margins the top three choices by users are clearly discernable...