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Flickr app for Windows Phone 7 coming January 31st

In a plug for Microsoft's Azure cloud service and a win for consumers, Microsoft and Flickr today announced dedicated apps coming to Windows Phone 7 and Windows 7 slates.

The program looks about as smooth and integrated as you can get between cloud-based photo sharing and Windows Phone, demonstrating the strengths of both technologies. Of note is the excellent looking "comment" ability that users will be able to take advantage of when discussing people's photos, plus the basics like exploring your friend's photos, Flickr Explore, etc. Other features include:

  • Browse your Flickr photos in stunning high resolution display and touch navigation controls
  • Share photos with friends and family via email, Twitter, Facebook and more
  • Upload your latest images on the go with the in-app uploader
  • Seamlessly transition from your Windows Phone 7 to Windows 7 tablet and back again, without ever losing your place

Available for download on January 31st. Cool. Combined with those dedicated Amazon.com and Bank of America apps coming, Windows Phone 7 continues to get all the big names and services out there.

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Steve Ballmer has just wrapped up his 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show Keynote Address. He addressed three key components for Microsoft; Xbox 360, Windows 7, and Windows Phone 7.

Discussing how productive 2010 has been for Microsoft, Ballmer described it as a year filled with new experiences for consumers. Ballmer touched on the success of the Windows Phone Marketplace that now has over 5,500 apps and 20,000+ developers on board. On average, Windows Phone users are seeing 100 apps a day introduced to the Marketplace.

The success is being reflected by consumer confidence in that 9 out of 10 AT&T customers would recommend Windows Phone 7 to a friend. It was clear that Microsoft was pleased with the two month impact Windows Phone 7 has had and Ballmer continued to voice a strong commitment to the new phones.

Here are a few points from Ballmer's keynote on what we can expect in 2011 for Windows Phone 7.

OS Updates: Ballmer phrased it: "Over the next few months we will be delivering a series of platform improvements that show we are taking feedback to heart in an effort to continue to enhance the products we release. The updates will be released automatically and will include a few changes". No time frame was set but Ballmer did mention these updates will bring Copy/Paste to Windows Phone 7 as well as "significant improvement in performance when loading or switching between applications".

Sprint and Verizon: During the first half of 2011, Sprint and Verizon will join the Windows Phone family.  While there was no mention of which phones are headed where, indications remain that the HTC Trophy is headed to Verizon and the HTC 7 Pro will be Sprint's Windows Phone device.

Games: One of the strengths of Windows Phone 7 is the Xbox Live integration. Windows Phone users will see a series of new Xbox Live games heading to the platform including a version of the popular console game, Fable.

Fable Coin Golf (we're assuming it's a golf themed game) will allow any coins earned on the Windows Phone, carry over to the Xbox Live version of the game.  You also have Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 heading to the Windows Phone as well as the much anticipated Zombies!!!.

Apps: We saw a few new apps that caught our interests. There will be an Amazon.com app and a Bank of America app that will allow you to take care of your shopping and banking needs.  Hopefully, this will break the ice for more online retailers and financial institutions to bring their apps to Windows Phone 7.

It looks like 2011 is shaping up to be another year filled with new experiences for Microsoft consumers.

Update: See the entire video presentation after the break (grab a coffee, you'll need it, but it's worth it)

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Attention space geeks! Astronomy Tile of the Day may be something you want to take for a spin. The new app basically brings down new photos of the cosmos everyday to your phone for your viewing pleasure, which is something we know hobby astronomers are definitely in to. But probably one of the cooler things is this has a Live Tile meaning everyday it will show the latest pic right on your Today screen, which we think spices up the phone just nicely.

The app is both free and pay, meaning it has a fully-functional trial but the developer would appreciate the $0.99 if you want him to continue development. We think that's a fair bargain and look forward to any improvements in the future (like downloading images inline, instead of hopping to Mobile IE, something that is planned for the next update).

Grab it here in the Marketplace.

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Our attempt of the MarketPlace Enabler

There has been a known issue clouding the Marketplace on our beloved platform that has affected a good number on non-US residents (surprise, surprise) – not being able to download a good number of apps (mainly just after they are published) or even access the Marketplace itself, as India has to struggle to cope with.

I have had this problem myself, attempting to download The Oregon Trail to bring back the old days of Windows 98. Reading up on a previous post about a registry hack that changes the location of the computer and allows you to catch apps using Zune software. Now The Windows Club team have taken it to the next level (good news for the less technically savvy) and have released MarketPlace Enabler.

This handy little program allows anyone who can’t access the Marketplace to change the location and literally access it from anywhere in the world (except you wont be physically moving from your seat). As you’d be using the Zune software, free and paid apps will be downloaded just as you would on your phone, and it is all perfectly safe as the payment gateway attached to your Xbox Live/Zune account will be used to complete the purchase.

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DioDict added to Samsung Zone

The DioDict dictionary app has been added to the Samsung App Zone in the Marketplace. The dictionary application is being described as bringing together "the most comprehensive lexical contents over the world with the rich-functional dictionary search engine."

DioDict taps into the Collins Dictionary library that includes multi-language dictionaries including English, Portuguese, French, German, Italian and Spanish. The dictionary application also has a flash card feature to help memorize definitions.

It's a nice looking dictionary application and it's free. If you own a Samsung Windows Phone 7 device, you can find in your Marketplace application in the Samsung App Zone.

Thanks goes out to David for the tip!

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AT&T lays out their 4G plans

Today, AT&T unveiled it's plans to deliver the "Nation's most advanced mobile broadband experience" by adding 4G. The announcement came today at AT&T's Developer's Conference that leads up to the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.

The initiative includes three areas of concentration.

  • AT&T plans to accelerate its LTE network build and launch the services mid-2011. The network is expected to be largely completed by year end 2013.  AT&T is quickly expanding ethernet and fiber to cell sites nationwide as well as adding new cell sites to the network.  By the end of the 2011, AT&T expects that nearly two-thirds of its mobile broadband traffic will be on expanded backhaul.
  • AT&T plans to introduce 20 4G compatible smartphones by the end of 2011. Some of these phones will be exclusive to AT&T. Five to seven of these devices are expected to be available by the first half of 2011.
  • AT&T also plans to provide customers access to more mobile applications. The wireless company plans to expand it's leadership in apps with new initiatives to speed collaboration with developers.

Android will likely lead the charge with the initial 4G push by AT&T and maybe a few Windows Phones will surface within the twenty expected devices that are 4G capable.  The twenty new devices sounds promising but it's our understanding this includes not only smartphones but also wireless devices such modems, air cards, etc.

Hopefully more will be revealed on AT&T's push for 4G in the coming days at the 2011 CES.

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Tired of those embarrassing moments holding your hand out to the Parisian street vendor, eagerly expecting more change back for your Nutella crepe, only to find that the exchange rate on your currency calculator is wrong? Sigh no more. STIML (Smart Technologies In Modern Life) has created the first WP7 currency calculator with live tile updates so you can avoid such an international disaster.

Currency Tile receives live updates of exchange rates for over 150 currencies without having to run the application itself. Aside from the built-in calculator, it also offers graphs of past exchange rates for 1-day, 5-days, 1-month, 3-months, 6-months, 1-year and 5-years. Currency Tile also supports Yahoo data source.

Full features include:

  • Live Tile currencies rates
  • Currency Charts with both landscape and portrait orientations
  • 150 currencies from around the world
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Built-in convenient calculator
  • Favorite currencies
  • Regional format support

Source: STIML; via: 1800PocketPC

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Angry Birds is coming, just not yet

Angry Birds, the massively popular game that has found its glory on both the iOS and Android platforms, but has failed yet to flood the Windows Phone 7 MarketPlace, and another tweet has confirmed a further wait. A continuous stream of ETA updates from Rovio have had numerous news sites and blogs fall over each other in reporting duplicate stories of “Angry Birds app on the way!”. But are we all really that excited about its arrival?

I pose that question as a person who has not yet had the pleasure in playing Angry Birds myself, but have witnessed it in action many times and I must admit it does look like a fun little game that can absorb a few hours of your spare time. This would be why it is such a popular title on the iPhone and Android due to the majority of games these platforms have are all from small developers.

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Amazon Kindle app now available for Windows Phone 7

Good news folks as Amazon's Kindle app has finally hit the Marketplace. Well, they said "by the holidays" and though they're a few days late, we'll accept the ever so slight delay.

Considering the Kindle was one of the top selling gadgets of 2010, we're betting many of you got one for the holidays, making this app a natrual extension. What's cool of course about Kindle is the fact it keeps all your periodicals synced up, meaning you can read your Kindle then pick up your phone and continue that newspaper from right where you left off.

Our initial impression? It's pretty, darn pretty. And we like it.

Anyways, grab it here now.

via: ZDnet/@palmsolo & @derbrotkasten

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Microsoft insider and author of Windows Phone Secrets Paul Thurrott has revealed some additional details about some of the Windows Phone 7 updates we can expect in 2011. We’ve discussed several of the rumors that have been floating around, and Thurrott confirms much of what we’ve been hearing.

The first update, rumored to be announced tomorrow night at the opening keynote at CES in Las Vegas, is entitled “NoDo” (No Donuts) reportedly in response to Android 1.6 (Donut). Thurrott reports that NoDo will RTM in January, with consumers seeing the update in the early February timeframe, after testing by carriers. NoDo will have copy and paste, CDMA support, and supports Qualcomm’s 7x30 chipset.

Thurrott also confirms what we’ve been hearing about Mango, which has been termed a “Major” update to Windows Phone 7. Mango should see HTML5 and Silverlight support within the browser, also bits of the Trident 5 rendering engine contained within Internet Explorer 9. Referred to within Microsoft as the “entertainment” branch, Mango is something we will definitely be looking forward to.

From a scheduling standpoint, Thurrott makes it clear that we should expect more updates between NoDo and Mango, though he doesn’t go into additional detail.

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Oh how we love Tuesday nights around here as it's time for some new Xbox LIVE titles. As you probably guessed from reading the headline, Pac-Man from Namco and Tower Bloxx: New York are on tonight's list. We all know Pac-Man but Tower Bloxx is a popular Facebook game, meaning lots of you can take your addiction on the go.

We can expect them go live in the next few hours, so keep your eyes out.

Source: @karlstricker

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Resco is back with Radio for Windows Phone 7 [Video]

For those Windows Mobile users, Resco was a standard name for software on that platform, delivering us the much needed Explorer, Radio, Audio Recorder, Contact Manger, etc.

So it's great to see them return to our new OS with an updated and very solid Resco Radio v1.0. Fetching for a modest $1.99 (and no monthly subscriptions). Radio brings straight up internet radio streaming to your phone, with some advanced features like sleep, add station, location search and of course the ability to play under the lock screen (no background though).

We decided to give it a spin and as you can see in the video, we're impressed. We highly recommend for music and talk radio addicts to take it for a trial run. Grab it here in the Marketplace for $1.99.

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Evernote for Windows Phone 7 coming this winter

Good news for you Evernote fans (see review for Windows Moible). The popular note-taking application is finally coming to Windows Phone 7 and judging by their time frame, we're talking weeks, not months.

A brand new Windows Phone 7 version of Evernote will launch this winter...

Allowing you to take photos, save webpages, basically any bit of info you can grab, Evernote brings note-taking and cloud-computing to another level.

We'll keep an eye out for when its released.

Source: Evernote blog; via: @edbott

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Metro Home brings WP7 to your Windows 7 desktop

We've seen some attempts at bringing the Windows Phone 7 Metro UI goodness to your desktop before and now the makers of HTC Home have a "special" version of their Vista/Windows 7 widgets available.

Called Metro Home, it brings the usual widget functions including "date and time, weather information for the current day and next four days, and picture slideshow" and allows limited customization.

Oh and its donation-ware so no big commitment if you like it or don't. We're loading it up right now because we keep it geeky-real, son.

Source: HTC Home; via: InToWindows

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The NES EMU 7 project, which made headlines over the weekend for reportedly not being allowed in the Marketplace (even though no has tried to submit it), is back with some improvements.

In fact, if you have some techy knowledge and an unlocked device you can now make your own emulator + NES game to load on your phone. We did just that with MegaMan 2 (ka-lassic!) and gave it a spin on our Focus.

The NES EMU 7 project is being done by one person right now and it still has some ways to go, but so far it's looks promising. We'll check back in a few weeks to see how it progresses.

Source: NES EMU 7

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iOS developer reviews WP7, we summarize

Justin Williams, owner and developer at Second Gear LLC, is an experienced OS X and iOS developer who has ventured over to Android for a week to see how he rated day-to-day usage in comparison to the iPhone. Justin has now had a good look at Windows Phone 7, and has made his opinions known to the world.

Although reviewing the software, the Samsung Focus was also a main point when creating the opinionated review and wasn’t positive when covering the hardware.

“The rest of the hardware? It’s pretty cheap. Apple hit a home run in the ‘feel’ aspect of the iPhone 4. When you hold it in your hand, it feels hefty (but not too hefty), solid and substantial. The Focus, on the other hand, feels light, cheap and full of air.”

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Yes, like you our WeatherBug Live Tile had stopped updating quite a few days ago. And yes, probably like you we went with the Weather Channel's app as an alternative (see review).

It turns out WeatherBug is well aware of the problem and it has to do with a bug related to interval times and updates. They seem to be on top of the issue, trying to resolve it with Microsoft. But until an update for the app comes out, they evidently recommend you set the update interval to 60 minutes.

Now, we had that as our update time on our HD7 earlier today and it still wasn't updating, so your milage may vary. Let us know if it worked for you or like us, you simply went to the Weather Channel.

Source: @WeatherBugMedia

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According to Thurrott's WinSuperSite, Windows Phone 7 may be sending large chunks of 3G data behind our backs, data that is not easily explained by any apps and regardless of WiFi availability. This is actually the first we've heard of this issue, but Thurrott claims this is "widely reported" so we're not sure what to make of it.

According to one reader who wrote into WinSuperSite:

I went and looked at my AT&T account online and noticed that my phone was sending huge chunks of data seemingly in patterns. For instance on November 21-24 it sent between 30 and 50 MB of data at 10:41pm each day and Dec 1-4 it sent between 30 and 50 MB of data at 9:41am each day. On December 23rd I turned on airplane mode so my phone could no longer send data. I turned airplane mode off briefly on December 23rd and the phone sent 400 MB of data.

Curious. Personaly speaking, I have a lot of 3rd party apps installed--66 to be exact--and when I just checked my AT&T data usage, I'm below 700MB with 5 days left on my bill-cycle. Translation: I'm certainly not having this problem. Granted, I don't use Facebook nor have my pictures backed up to SkyDrive, so those two may be the culprit. [Update: And yes, I have my "send feedback" enabled for Microsoft, so that's not it either]

But enough jibber-jabbing, any of you experiencing this supposed wide-spread issue or is this just a fluke? Sound off in comments.

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Update: False alarm. It appears Samsung didn't disable it, they just changed the code.: *#0002*28345# Now instead of a '6' a the end, use '5'. Thanks, malteahrens, for the info

Looks like Samsung does not want you messing with your audio settings as they have disabled access in their latest Diagnosis app for our phones.

Late last night, the Marketplace pushed an update for Samsung's Diagnostics app bumping it to version 1122 (see above pic). While not mandatory, we took this risk to see what would happen and while most menu items are still accessible, we can confirm that the audio settings used to boost sound (covered here) are now disabled.  Typing in the code results in nothing, no error, no message, just nothing.

On top of that, there seems to be no benefit to the update so if you have yet to install it, we suggest you don't.

*#0002*28345#*#0002*28345#
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Samsung WP7 apps ported to HTC devices [Homebrew]

Although porting HTC apps (like YouTube and their Weather Hub) to non-HTC devices is not going too smoothly as HTC has many "checks" in the way, the reverse seems doable.

XDA developer xboxmod has successfully ripped numerous Samsung-only apps and distributed the XAP files for others to install. All that is needed is an unlocked device (developer or ChevronWP7) and to install a certificate via email. Once loaded, the apps mostly seem to work fine although we had some hiccups with the German and movie apps. But, Samsung's NOW hub, which shows weather, news and stocks loads up just fine and pulls data with no issues as you can see above, running on our HD7.

Overall, we like where this is going and hope some LG apps, including their voice-to-text (found on the Quantum) can maybe make their way over to our phones. Then again, we're not sure how those OEMs feels about all of this, though we could imagine...

Source: XDA

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We have to admit we get a little cynical with these 'analyst' stories only because we often get the feeling that these experts are often behind the curve or they make somewhat obvious, vague predictions about mobile tech.

In this case, IDC, who should be quite familiar to mobile phone users by now, has gone on to state that they think Microsoft has a chance with Windows Phone 7 in 2011, but only if they do what they basically said they're going to do. Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, wrote in a Dec. 29 publication:

CDMA phones are expected to arrive in early 2011, ensuring that WP7 devices are available on all four U.S. carriers, thus helping increase device shipments...To bring the platform rapidly to a level of parity with other major mobile platforms, Microsoft will need to deliver several key features in the first quarter of 2011.

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Add a WiFi tile to your Windows Phone [Homebrew]

This one will cause a lot of envy amongst those with non-developer/ChevronWP7 unlocked phones. Developer CodeJoker has gone ahead and done the obvious: create a shortcut to the device WiFi settings. It's exactly what you think it would be--you tap the icon and you're at your configuration to turn WiFi on or off with a few less steps than the current setup. You simple install the XAP file and you're good to go, not really much to it and it works as advertised as you can see above.

Could this be technically submitted to the Marketplace and approved? We don't really see why not, it's not so much a hack and just creating a shortcut. But until then, you'll have to go the unlocked route. We're also pretty sure Microsoft has to be working on something similar from their end, hopefully some type of tile --> folder --> icons system, making such ritual changes much more easy.

Source: CodeJoker; via wmpoweruser

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AT&T lowers price on Quantum and Focus

On the fence about buying an LG Quantum or Samsung Focus and just can't justify spending $199 on the new Windows Phone?  We've learned of some good news from AT&T in that they have dropped the price for both these phones down to $99. Enough to knock you off that fence?

Not sure when it happened but AT&T dropped the contractually discounted price and out-of-contract price (now $399) one hundred bucks.  The phones do require a minimum data package of $15 a month and new activation (not sure if upgrades qualify).  If you order online, AT&T will throw in free shipping to boot.

Not a shabby deal if you're in the market for a new Windows Phone.  You can find all the details over at AT&T Wireless.

Thanks goes out to Eli for tipping us on this!

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