Articles

16

Microsoft brings Photosynth to iOS but not WP7

Photosynth is a fantastic app that allows you combine multiple shots when one capture is simply not enough, perfect when requiring to take a landscape photo beyond the capabilities of the mobile device and engineer some cool panoramas with a 360 degrees effect.

Using the latest computer vision technology, the Photosynth app makes capturing panoramas fun and engaging, while creating sharp, high-resolution results. With the app, you can process, view, and store your panoramas directly on your device. Then, share them in a variety of ways, including to Facebook as images or as interactive panoramas (hosted for free) on Photosynth.net

It has been readily available for download on PC, but has now made the leap to the iPhone line of devices - no sign of a WP7 offering though. While slightly confusing as to why Microsoft would offer their app to iPhone users before their own platform, it's understandable to an extent with iOS and OS X (arguably) being home to designers, photographers etc.

The app will enable iPhone users to upload their panoramas to Bing Maps, which will then become publicly viewable on Microsoft's Photosynth "map app", further enhancing a continuous viewable image of the world. Are you looking forward to the tool coming to WP7, and do you believe it's a smart move to go to iOS first?

Source: Malaysian Insider

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9

WP7 security patch due out May 3?

Back in March we reported on some fraudulent SSL certificates that could make WP7 users vulnerable to phishing/spoofing attacks, and the possibility that MS would be releasing a security update to fix it. According to SlashGear, sources have revealed that MS plans to roll out the update on May 3. It is still unknown whether the patch will come in the form of an OTA push or through Zune software updates.

The fake certificates were brought to light by Comodo, who issued them without fully verifying their validity, and affect nine different websites. Comodo has since revoked the certs in question, while Microsoft posted a bulletin for desktop users of Internet Explorer. The sites affected are:

  • login.live.com
  • mail.google.com
  • www.google.com
  • login.yahoo.com (3 certificates)
  • login.skype.com
  • addons.mozilla.org
  • “Global Trustee”

Source: SlashGear; Via: PocketNow

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11

WP7 now features a sex offenders app

With all the 'bad people' out there and how smartphones solve Human problems (wireless communication, entertainment values, etc.), one would hope that an offering would reach Windows Phone 7 to combat sex offenders. Well, it has.

An app called Sex Offenders Search is slightly like Bronseal's slogan; "It does exactly what it says on the tin" (if you don't know Bronseal), where it displays to the user all registered sex offenders in and around your area (using GPS and maps). The app allows you to select an offender and view a photo, name, address and offenses. 

Sex Offenders Search is currently only available in the US, bit of a pain for us Europeans, and can be found on the Marketplace for $1.99 here.

Source: WP7 Connect

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10

Awesome Portal 2 wallpaper pack for Windows Phone

Ahhh..it's the week for Portal 2 to hit the market. Not going to lie (the cake will do that), but Portal is probably my #1 favorite game that I've ever played. So as soon as I saw these Portal 2-inspired wallpapers, especially with transparent effect that we've covered before, well I had to share.

The pack of six wallpapers comes courtesy of George from the site Conflicting Gamers. The task is easy enough: you download the zip file, extract, choose which you want and email yourself the wallpaper.

Go right here to Conflicting Gamers for all the info and check out the sweet vid above to see all the options.

WPCentral, we do what we must, because we can. Thanks, SeNiLe911, for the heads up!

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We've been following the Homebrew Device Manager by Schapman for some time now and it has now been released as a Beta. The Device Manager features include:

  • Applications management: view, install/uninstall homebrew applications
  • File management: explore device, exchange files with your phone
  • Sync files, folders and favorites with phone
  • Send to Windows Phone (to send files, apps, ringtones, web links in one click)
  • Detailed device information (CPU, ROM, RAM, storage, network, battery, OS,...)
  • Add and manage custom ringtones

Additionally, TouchXperience for Windows Phone 7 has been released as a Beta. The navigation app was well received back in the Windows Mobile days and it doesn't miss a beat on Windows Phone 7. Key features of TouchXperience include:

  • Create custom menus
  • Add folders, apps, contacts, websites, maps, documents, and many other widgets
  • Organize applications & games
  • File explorer
  • Multitasking support
  • Panorama background customization
  • Contact manager
  • Communication manager
  • Profile manager
  • and more

Keep in mind you'll need a registered or unlocked Windows Phone 7 device to use either. You can find all the details on Windows Phone 7 Device Manager and TouchXperience here at the TouchXperience website and after the break, you can catch a video demo of TouchXperience.

Thanks, @KingpinEX, for the  heads up

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We covered Rowi (free) a few weeks ago when they rolled out their fast-user lookup while writing a new Tweet (it really works brilliantly). At the time, we mentioned that the Rowi team was gearing up to release a paid version which loses the ads and gain push notifications/Live Tile functionality.

Well, that day is here as the full version was released over the weekend. We had an early look at the app and give it high praise for it's speed and minimalist appeal. The push notifications/Live Tile has been work very well for us and the overall "clean" look to the app is a nice departure from some other clients.

The app fetches for $2.99, which is a bit high for a Twitter client these days. But, even at that price, the app delivers and works exceptionally well. In other words, if you're a fan of the still-available free version aka Rowi Lite (with ads), you'll want to take this one for a trial spin.

Grab it here in the Marketplace.

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17

WP7 neck and neck with webOS; more gains on the way?

Research group, Chitika, is reporting that Windows Phone 7 has gained enough of the smartphone market to bring it on par with HP's (Palm's) webOS.  Since February, WP7 has risen from 0.44% to 0.5%, putting it in a virtual tie with webOS' estimated 0.53%, down from 0.84% in the same period.  While this may not seem very impressive at first blush, it is significant because newcomer WP7 is now even, and set to overtake, an already established OS.  Windows Phone has been slowly gaining ground since its launch, while webOS has been steadily declining. 

Chitika predicts that WP7 will potentially spike once it makes its way over to Verizon, though its arrival has seen more than its fair share of delays.  Verizon has worked wonders for market leader, Android, as it accounts for more than half of all Android devices out there.  The slow growth of Windows Phone 7 seems to be less about quality, as most devices seem to receive high marks, and more about accessibility.  Once Big Red gets in the game, it could mean some substantial gains for Microsoft.

Source: 1800PocketPC; Via: Chitika

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4

HTC Hero running WP7 on Smallville

This is pretty impressive to see, a HTC Hero (my previous Android device prior to WP7) has been spotted on Smallville, why is this important? It's not running Eclair (2.1) but Windows Phone 7.

As you can see in the capture above Lois Lane's contact picture with an obvious WP7 home screen in the background. This device was a powerhouse on Android, to see it on WP7 would be exciting indeed. 

Source: Engadget

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0

DropDown - App Spotlight

The Windows Phone 7 Marketplace has its fair share of jumper games where you have to jump your way up the phone's screen. DropDown takes you in the opposite direction.

In DropDown you guide a ball through an array of bricks, dropping it towards the bottom of the screen. Layers continuously move up the screen with holes you have to drop your ball through. If you get trapped at the top of the screen, your ball bursts and the game is over.

DropDown supports both touch screen and the Windows Phone accelerometer to move your ball about the screen. There are bonus items along the way that will pause the screen, destroy bricks and sets the ball on fire. Additionally, you have a limited number of bombs you can use to create holes to drop through.

DropDown is a free game and you can download it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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1

Grocery Total - App Spotlight

Do you experience sticker shock when you reach the check out line in the Grocery Store?  We ran across an interesting Windows Phone 7 app that might help lessen the shock and help you manage your grocery budget a little better. Grocery Total is a Windows Phone app that helps you add up your grocery bill (including tax) as you place the items in your shopping cart.

The interface is straight forward with a static field for your local tax rate and another field to enter the price of your item. At the bottom of the screen you have controls to add the cost or subtract it. A ditto button is also available to help enter multiple items at the same pricing point. Just beneath the entry fields you will see the total number of items, total amount in sale tax, your shopping total and an itemized listing.

Along with tracking your grocery expenses, Grocery Total also includes a utility to compare costs of items. How much do you save when comparing 16 ounces of cereal at $4.99 to 24 ounces at $5.25?

Grocery Total is a free application and you can download it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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Last week, Centipede - a very nice arcade port and Game Room title - hit Xbox Live. This week, Microsoft follows up with two more Game Room games: Asteroids Deluxe and Pitfall.

Asteroids Deluxe, like Centipede, is an arcade game that Atari published in 1980. Players pilot a ship through an asteroid field, blasting both asteroids and aliens. The arcade version of Asteroids Deluxe is unique for a couple of reasons. First, it featured vector graphics (instead of traditional sprites, everything is composed of lines) that were tinted blue by a transparent overlay. Behind the vector graphics, a printed backdrop added a bit more color. Second, unlike most arcade games, Asteroids Deluxe did not use a joystick for movement. Instead, individual buttons turned the ship left or right and cause it to accelerate. This control style should translate well to Windows Phone, though touch screen buttons will never provide the tactile feedback of real ones.

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We just got word that the Facebook app for Windows Phone got bumped to v1.5, which you can grab right now in the Marketplace.

Earlier, we reported that this app was supposed to be getting notifications and that it was coming "soon". While an update did in fact come soon, we're not seeing any options under Settings for notifications but perhaps we're missing something (it's only been about 5 minutes since we updated). We did noticed the "Refresh" setting is now "Cache expiration" and set at 10 minutes, but other than that...

Anyways, you can grab the app here. Sound off in comments on anything you notice different or better and we'll update this post with the info.

Thanks, @deeper2k, for the heads up

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29

AT&T's "unique" NoDo Features

We're learning a little more on the upcoming AT&T NoDo Update for the Samsung Focus and LG Quantum. As we mentioned the other day with the expected release on April 19th, the NoDo update will contain additional features unique to AT&T.

Microsoft's Eric Hautala has confirmed that the AT&T update has moved from Testing to Scheduling and adds,

"I forgot to mention the update we’ll be shipping to AT&T customers also includes support for two special AT&T features. The first is “WISPr” protocol support, which makes it possible for your phone’s data connection to automatically switch over to AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots when in range. The update also includes support for AT&T Address Book."

The WISPr support sounds interesting and if you frequent AT&T hotspots, this may save you on data package minutes. You can find out more about the AT&T Address Book here but basically it's an online address book you can sync with your Windows Phone. While having another source for contacts may not be that exciting, the online components to AT&T's Address Book does look interesting.

Hautula also recognizes that delay with the update for Surround owners is probably a letdown but explains that third party software earmarked for the Surround needed additional testing.

source: windowsteamblog

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11

Notifications for WP7 Facebook app "coming soon"

Not much else to say on the topic beside what you read above. Basically for those who use the Facebook app on Windows Phone 7, you can expect an update "...soon" that will finally enable notifications. At least so says Matthijs Hoekstra, Developer Evangelist at Microsoft/Windows Phone 7 development (Netherlands).

Hopefully this will finally bring the popular FB client up to par with other platforms and make it a little more complete.

Update: Hoekstra is now refining his response: "What i meant is that 'an' app is coming for that, not sure about the official facebook app". Take that how you will.

Source: Twitter

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0

MIX'11 Sessions Download tool

An awesome silverlight-built MIX'11 session download tool has been developed that allows visitors to download the sessions at MIX'11, fantastic for people who have watched bits and peieces, wish to recap on individual sections or want to share the video with friends.

Warning: When first downloading a session, it will send you a .bat file that will enable you to download what you want - rest assured that it's safe. If you'd prefer a text-based recap, check out our everything you need to know about MIX'11 guide, enjoy!

Via: @pmarwa

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7

HTC ad suggests 16MP camera, a WP7 device? [Rumor]

This is filed under rumour (rumor for those who dislike the British usage of the English language), so take it with a pinch of salt. The above advert (published by PocketNow) shows what appears to be a HTC advert covering a device that will feature a 16 megapixel camera with 2 LED flashes. We're not sure what device will sport these features (if this rumour holds true) but let's hope it's another addition to the Windows Phone 7 family of products.

Although this could be all well and dandy, I -- like many others -- would prefer to see better lenses as opposed to doubling pixels, I prefer my Samsung Omnia's camera over a comparable HTC for example and I don't believe doubling the MP will make a whopping difference. What do you make of the video and rumour of 16 megapixels maybe coming to WP7?

Edit: Daniel Rubino says: "I just want HTC figure out getting 5MP to look decent,  then we can worry about 16" (zing!)

Update: If you squint, it almost looks like the rumored HTC Ignite, no? Almost.

Source: PocketNow

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12

WP7 certified 8GB SD Cards at AT&T store

There's been much discussion surrounding the SD card slot on the Samsung Focus (we also previously covered AT&T offering compatible cards) with successfully inserting a microSD card into the slot to extend available memory bringing numerous reports of issues arising. There has been no sign of any official, supported, solution-bringing product on the horizon, until now.

It appears an AT&T store has been receiving a fresh stock of "certified" 8GB Class 4 microSDHC cards. Taking a look at the design of the packaging in the image captured above, it's clear to say Microsoft is taking a step to lead, especially with the Windows Phone logo at the top-right, and it seems SanDisk has been brought on-board to provide hardware. 

At $32 it's quite a major investment for an SD card, but it shouldn't through a tantrum when inserted into your device and we hope they'll soon be readily available for the mass of Focus owners to test. Excited or skeptical?

Source: Engadget

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1

MonsterUp weekend sale

We’ve lavished plenty of praise on Karios Games’ MonsterUp in our review and coverage of its frequent updates. MonsterUp is a Doodle Jump-clone that surpasses the original in many ways. It’s also that very rare thing, a truly high-quality indie game for Windows Phone.

MonsterUp is already a great value at its standard price of $1.99. That’s why it’s exciting to announce that the game is on sale for half off this weekend, April 16-17. Grab it now and start unlocking a variety of lovable jumping monsters!

Grab MonsterUp here (Zune link) on the Marketplace. There is a free trial, but for 99 cents, what have you got to lose?  Not familiar with MonsterUp?  Follow the break for a video demo.

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19

Nodo heading to AT&T on April 19th? [Updated]

Call it a strong rumor. One that many would like to see com true.

A leaked AT&T email to support personnel is indicating that AT&T will finally push out the Windows Phone 7 Nodo update on April 19th for the Quantum and Focus. The HTC Surround should receive the update in mid-May.

Quoting from the leaked email,

"Effective April 19, 2011, new Microsoft maintenance release updates will be available to AT&T customers with existing LG Quantum and Samsung Focus Windows Phone 7 devices. Approved updates for the HTC Surround are scheduled for availability in mid-May and will be communicated once approved."

The memo also indicates that this will involve the release of two new Maintenance Release updates (7008 and 73390). The 7390 update is being referred to as NoDo that adds copy/paste as well as additional functionality that is unique to AT&T.  There is no mention as to why the Surround's update is being delayed.

Sounds promising and fortunately it won't be long before we can tell if this rumor is a good one.  Oddly, the Microsoft Update page still shows AT&T's update as "Testing". Then again, Microsoft hasn't updated the update page since April 6th.  We'll keep you posted if we hear anything more on this.

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8

Microsoft offers President Obama a WP7 device

It seems Microsoft will do anything to get Windows Phone 7 devices in the hands of everyone who desire "cool" and "hip" products, like the president of the United States -- Mr. Barack Obama. In a recent report published by Fox News (interestingly enough), it seems the president is tired of old and boring technology, he demands new fancy buttons and big screens!

The Oval Office, I always thought I was going to have really cool phones and stuff. I'm like, c'mon guys, I'm the president of the United States. Where's the fancy buttons and stuff and the big screen comes up? It doesn't happen.

Microsoft took this opportunity to (amusingly) offer the president a free WP7 device, as shown in the image above. I'm guessing an official White House app would have to be developed in-house? Control the world with the power of pivots, the world will be powered by Windows - Microsoft's dream.

Source: FoxNews, via: WinRumors

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Back to MIX, Istvan Cseri (Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft) revealed the new Windows Phone 7 chassis that OEM's can use to build handsets which is to be released in the coming months.

Observing the image above, we can see the Qualcomm MSM7X30 and MSM8X55 (800MHz) are included in the platform requirements and both feature the Adreno 205 GPU. Gyroscope sensor addition is optional and manufactures will be able to use multiple combinations of memory, gyroscope support and SoC as long as they don't go below current specification requirements. Screen resolution is kept at 800x480 (WVGA). Watch the presentation after the break.

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28

HTC Mazaa heading to Sprint?

Leaked images of a new Windows Phone have surfaced. The HTC Mazaa appears to be sporting a 3.7" screen and, according to unconfirmed reports, will be headed to Sprint in the next six or so months.

The Mazaa resembles the HTC Trophy and is rumored to use DDR2 memory to improve overall speed. The tipster makes not of what appears to be an IMEI number on the phone which could mean the Mazaa has GSM capabilities. Could Sprint be poised to launch a Windows Phone 7 world phone?

All of which leads us to the inevitable question, which will hit the market first, the Sprint Mazaa or Verizon Trophy?

Edit: The red under the speaker grill is exactly like Verizon's "Red" accented Trophy. We find it a bit difficult that Sprint would opt for the same color scheme and at least I'm a bit skeptical. Even AT&T changed the color accent on their HD7 versus T-Mobile's. D. Rubino

Source: XDA Developers via: Pocketnow

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Windows Phone UK just put up a video showcasing the best Windowns Phone games and if you watch closely, you can catch a glimpse of 'Toy Story Mania' and 'Asphalt 5' coming to the platform.

Now 'Asphalt 5' was announced with the original 50 titles, so it's technically not new, but it's been so long since we saw that list it might as well be! Having said that, 'Toy Story Mania' is somwthing we haven't seen before and certainly looks interesting.

Anyways, rock out to the vid and enjoy the showcase.

Source: Windows Phone UK; via WPSauce

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A look at the new database feature in Mango [MIX11]

Another new feature coming to developers next month and which we'll be the beneficiary of when 'Mango' is released in the fall, is database access.

Now before you groan with boredom, we should point that this little thing is actually quite huge--developers are pretty ecstatic about the addition. Why? Because now they can write apps that pull info from your contacts (read only) and calendar (also read only) and use them in their apps directly.

If you take the moment to watch the above video in a demo wine app, you can see how the augmented calendar works within an app (it both pulls down days and appointments), allows you invite people from you address book including their address, adds it to the calendar and then allows you to email all of it. Very slick. None of that can be done today, which is a quite a big hole in feature ability.

The slide below though does show there are limitations e.g. the read-only feature (which we think is fine) and the fact that Facebook is limited to contact name/picture and evidently Twitter will have no accessible user information (we're not sure why that is exactly). The point to take away though is that devs are very excited about this as it will allow them to create faster apps (less "pull from the cloud") with more robust features that are much tighter integrated with the OS.

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