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Tipped off by Chris Walsh, we noticed a few Kinect sensors on stage for the MIX11 keynote talks. Three of them can be seen in the above photo and we're told that there are five in total (we think they're in front, near a speaker).

How are these Kinects being used? We're not too sure, but it's kind of neat knowing that these things have like a billion uses. Oh and we hear from WPSauce (Rahul Mathur) that the Kinect SDK gets released tomorrow. Stay tuned for more on that as it happens.

Edit: There's actually six Kinects, maybe even seven Seems Microsoft has some big Kinect news for tomorrow.

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Microsoft announces IE10 Platform Preview-

Las Vegas, April 12th

Microsoft today announced the Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview for deveopers, which can be downloaded from http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/, where code will be refreshed every 12 weeks.  The new platform will "push the boundaries of what developers can do on the web even further" and includes "support for additional standards, such as CSS3 Gradients on background images and CSS3 Flexible Box Layout"

Additonal partnerships and demos, including Foursquare were showed off as well as Namco which can be viewed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/events/mix.  No word on Windows Phone support for IE10, though presumably it may come with "Windows Phone 8" sometime in 2012.

Update: IE Blog has much, much more info on IE10 which can be found here.

Developing...

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Comparison of copy & paste on multiple platforms

PocketNow has published a video comparing the different implementations of copy & paste (including old skool WinMo) that takes us through the variations and shows how it's all extremely similar, yet indifferent. A great watch for all your copy & paste lovers. The devices used in this demonstration include the Blackberry Torch, Samsung Galaxy S (4G), iPod Touch and Nokia N8.

Which platform performs the function best for you, and what would you see improved for your choice of platform? Let us know below.

Source: PocketNow

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Mix11 Day 1 Keynote livestream

We are live on the ground at MIX11 in Las Vegas. Check out the live stream after the break below for all the action at the day one keynote over in Las Vegas, remember to head over to our forums for discussion on topics brought up, and keep an eye out for the main site here at WPCentral for articles based on topics.

Livestream fully in effect starting at noon Eastern / 9 Pacific - for the first keynote we're expecting them to discuss IE9 and HTML5 today - watch it here http://live.visitmix.com/ or after the break!

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According to reports over at WinRumors, Microsoft may be planning to announce a more flexible hardware specification allowance for manufacturers of Windows Phone 7 at MIX11. 

"According to sources familiar with the company’s plans, the new hardware specifications will allow device manufacturers such as Nokia to create cheaper Windows Phone devices. The announcement may be made as early as the company’s MIX11 conference this week. The new flexibility will offer device makers the option to use cheaper components to bring the overall cost of a Windows Phone down. Microsoft is understood to be open to flexible specifications in order to gain smartphone market share and eat into Google’s Android efforts."

We also received this info from @WindosPhone8 (still rumour guys!): "New flexible spec #Wp7 chasis requires no wi fi, bluetooth, 3g, camera, fm, compass, gyro. Must have wvga 3.5"+, gps, accelerometer, 2g+"

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More concept designs for WP7

Adrian Manteuffel has created some concept designs that cover multitasking on the platform as well as further customization of Metro UI, which includes altering tile transparency, changing themes (beyond what's currently available) and applying wallpapers to the home screen.

The above concept shows multitasking added in on the right-hand side of the home screen, which is probably not a bad idea (if you don't mind losing more 'negative space' which the UI is famed for), but I don't see it working with a large number of apps open at once - I don't think a scrollable list on the side of the tiles is a good idea.

For the email tile that now takes up two positions, I don't like at all. I'm a heavy email user (compared to SMS anyway) and I prefer to have a minimal amount of tiles present. Unless that email tile can flip through the email accounts every few seconds then I don't see that being adopted by many.

See the other two designs after the break.

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MIX'11 Keynote covering IE9 and WP7

Dean Hachamovitch, Windows Internet Explorer Corporate Vice President, is keynoter tomorrow and after eight platform previews, one beta, one release candidate and one final version of IE9 it's going to be a must-see.

As well as the above, Joe Belfiore, who oversees Windows Phone Program Management, and is responsible for the design and software product definition will also keynote MIX. He will be accompanied by Scott Guthrie, who is head of Microsoft's .NET Developer Platform and manages the teams who are responsible for Silverlight, Visual Studio and .NET framework technologies.

If nothing else, it's going to be huge and we're going to be right there amid the presentations. We'll be following up this post soon with coverage and discussion to allow your opinions to be voiced.  The Keynote is slated to start at 9am PST on Tuesday and you can check the full MIX11 schedule here.

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HTC rolls out Touch Pro2 stability update

The HTC Touch Pro2 has not been forgotten by the Taiwanese manufacturer and they have just released an official system stability update, being the first official update since 2009. Since there are no patch release notes we can't confirm concrete fixes or information, but according to some comments on the article at PocketNow it's a European only patch and fixes the SoD (Sleep of Death) issue reported on the XDA forum.

Let us know should you find anything while/after updating in the comments below. 

Source: HTC, via: PocketNow

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MIX'11 Cocktails for WP7

Thinking of throwing a party with some cocktails featured in the Windows Phone 7 Cocktail Flow app? Some good news for you - the app is available for free via an unlock code which includes a special MIX'11 package that bundles an array of mixes named and mixed after Microsoft products. You can view the drinks and more information on this offer over at the promotion page. I'll have a Visualtini. Shaken, not stirred.

Being a favorite in the Marketplace with high ratings and amount of downloads, the Cocktail Flow app really shines through the incredible Metro UI implementation and high resolution illustration. The Cocktail Flow team are planning in giving away these promo codes throughout the week of the MIX gathering in Las Vegas (11-15 April).

To get your hands on a code and receive the app for free (including the new MIX'11 package), simply look out for guys in Cocktail Flow shirts at MIX, or (if you're not attending or are impatient) you can follow them on Twitter. Let us know how your mixing goes and should they go horribly wrong (in either taste or color), take a pic and show us in the comments.

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Due to the over-powering excitement surrounding Windows Phone 7 (and not too long after the UK Hackathons), there are two competitions being ran, both student only and an incentive programme that is open for all (within the UK it seems). If you're lucky enough to be a student, you are allowed to enter both programmes with the same WP7 app - pretty neat.

To enter the student competition, all that is required of you is to successfully publish an app in the WP7 Marketplace, email ukstucom@microsoft.com with your publisher name, app title coupled with a screenshot and they do the rest. Requires almost no effort on your part. Should you win this competition, you could find yourself claiming a Microsoft LifeCam Show and/or Windows Phone 7 t-shirts in each round of the competition (six rounds total), while one of the six winners (one from each round) will win the grand prize of a HTC 7 trophy! But wait, there's more...

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Special offer for Telstra HD7 purchases

We previously covered Telstra bringing the HD7 to their network, now there is a special offer being ran where should you purchase the HD7 on Telstra you are entitled to either 3000 Microsoft Points or two Xbox 360 games. Though we're not certain what titles are available in this limited offer, Halo:Reach and Kinect Joy Ride are present in the promotional illustration. Fantastic news for our Australian/Kiwis friends!

To be eligible for the above prizes, you must purchase your device before the 31st May, competition doors close on the 6th June. According to Gizmodo, the offer is limited to 5000 prizes and the redemption period is activated on April 13th for which you are required to provide proof of purchase and have a valid Live ID.

Source: Xbox,via: Gizmodo

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SharePoint on WP7 authentication issues?

wp7geek, over at myWindowsPhone, has gone into some detail about how he couldn't access SharePoint via the Office Hub, but could successfully connect in the IE mobile browser. Upon attempting to connect from the Office Hub, the following error message was displayed: 

Sharepoint doesn't support this authentication scheme. For assistance contact the person who manages this SharePoint site. You can try opening the content in your web browser instead. 

wp7geek moved onto explain the cause of this error, which is apparently due to WP7 not supporting NTLM authentication that is used to login on hosted SharePoint servers. While a workaround is possible until Office Hub is updated, it requires changes on the server side of the connection, which involves contacting your host. They would need to either:

  • Deploy a Forefront UAG server (UAG settings are built into Office hub)
  • Enable Forms Based Authentication on the SharePoint Site

Forms Based Authentication (FBA) is basically creating your own login method. To authenticate, a SQL Server, XML, Windows Live IDs, etc can be used. Existing Windows Identities must be migrated to FBA identities to avoid multiple SharePoint identities for a single person. This makes it problematic for hosting companies who may have huge internal SharePoint deployments which reply on windows authentication.

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MIX11 announcements for Windows Phone 7 [Rumors]

(See that big ol' rumor tag? Heed it. What we have here are some rumors from a new source, who, to be honest, is not completely verified. Having said that, what they say will be announced this week at MIX11 is in line with other things we've been hearing officially and unofficially--meaning this is all very plausible. So lets get to it...)

This coming week, Microsoft is hosting their developer conference in Las Vegas, NV, aptly called MIX. They usually announce new tools for developers and roadmaps for features there as well, so it's kind of a big deal as we get a look into what is coming next. Here are a couple of things developers can expect, we're told:

  • Interoperability: devs can now use both Silverlight and XNA inside a single app
  • Bundled SQL CE on the device
  • Full camera API access e.g. for augmented reality apps
  • Live tiles and push notifications will be improved and easier for developers to use
  • Sensor framework and controls - easier access
  • Silverlight 4 for Windows Phone
  • Full network / sockets access (we've heard this before)
  • More on 'Mango'

Like we said, none of the above is exactly crazy and we can totally see Microsoft giving Windows Phone developers these tools, which would really advance the platform. Of course, there's only one way to find out and we'll be there all week covering the event to see if any of this pans out. Fingers crossed.

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The Microsoft Stores are put on hold

Recent reports have suggested that the almighty powerful Steve Ballmer has shelved plans to build a staggering 300 Microsoft stores to compete with Apple. While this is probably a good move as they’re still building on WP7’s early days, the question should be put forward to them, do they need the stores? More importantly, do we need them?

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Windows Phone 7 app reveals new OS test builds

We just posted about the app 'Dude, Where is my Update?' which focuses on the NoDo OS upgrade (and presumably future ones). In version 1.1 a statistics collecting feature was added which anonymously garnered your OS version and device model numbers--something we thought would be useful.

Looks like some folks at Microsoft or partnering OEMs saw the app too and were curious. One of our readers, larryb, noticed a few hitherto unknown builds of Windows Phone 7, presumably early builds of 'Mango' or at least branches leading to that goal:

  • 7.0.7003 (old)
  • 7.0.7008 (old)
  • 7.0.7355 (old)
  • 7.10.7608 (1 user)
  • 7.10.7613 (2 users)
  • 7.10.7614 (2 users)

The builds which are in bold may signify a new milestone with the 7.1.xxxx denotation versus the earlier 7.0.xxxx. Currently, the latest confirmed build is 7.0.7390 and the most frequent for NoDo is 7.0.7389. Interestingly, we don't see any '7.0.7753' builds, leading one to believe that the Windows Phone Italy post may be hoax/faked.

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Win a Tablet of your Choice

Just a reminder, folks that to celebrate 1 million downloads of their SwiftKey keyboard app, TouchType is giving away a tablet each to THREE lucky winners! Which tablets? Whichever the winner chooses so long as they're available for purchase for up to $800 where he or she lives. iPad 2, PlayBook, Xoom, Galaxy Tab are all on the table.

How do you enter? TouchType has put together a small survey which shouldn't take more than five or ten minutes to complete. That's it - well, that and a quick perusal of the official entry rules just to make sure you're eligible (sorry minors and SPE employees). The contest is open to readers of Android Central, CrackBerry.com, TiPb, and WPCentral and ends at midnight Pacific on April 14.

Not familiar with TouchType? You may have also seen that TouchType made a splash at this year's CTIA with their tablet keyboard for Honeycomb - that's coming soon, but SwiftKey is available now for Android devices. 

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Microsoft releases TouchStudio [Developers]

Ever wanted to list all songs on your phone that are less than 3 minutes in duration? Now you can with Microsoft's TouchStudio. Available for free on the Marketplace, TouchStudio allows one to write variables, statements and actions that manipulate the phone with use of APIs.

There's a large array of code that's available for insertion and manipulation while the app remains user-friendly throughout use to invite non-code savvy owners to turn their ideas into executable scripts. The app provides users with access to sensors, radio, media controls, emails, contacts and more.

If anything other than useful, it's a helluva lot of fun to mess around with. As mentioned already, this app is completely free and now available on the Marketplace. Comment below on what scripts you create, including their uses of course!

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Dude, WIMU goes to v1.1, gets statistics

For those of you still waiting on your NoDo, or even if you're just curious about those around you, you'll want to grab the new version of 'Dude, Where's my update?'. See our original coverage here.

How it works is you choose from a menu your regional location and phone type and the app does the rest. Showing your current OS version, if you have OS updates ready and now the stats. The stats, both local and global, are actually really neat. As you can see from the above pic, here in New York City there are already 40 users at 6am with the majority running 7004 and eight running 7390. Not bad, NYC, not bad. Scrolling down and you can even see what phones are popular in your area. (Hint: Samsung Focus owns in Manhattan)

We imagine if enough people use this, it can actually be a useful guide for garnering real numbers in your area. The app is of course free and we really dig the whole concept behind it, so endorsement or whatever. You can download it here in the Marketplace.

Thanks, Alan, for the heads up

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Students develop WP7 app to combat malaria

A strong team of graduates have been working on an app for Windows Phone 7 that will aid in the fight against malaria, greatly benefiting healthcare workers in remote locations who may not have an Internet connection. Before it gets much-deserved recognition, the team are looking to win the Imagine Cup 2011 national finals in Seattle. The contest, sponsored by Microsoft, invites entrants to "imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems."

Tristan Gibeau, the project's software designer, said "It's going to make a difference in trying to contain the outbreak of malaria. In the big picture, it'll hopefully help in the fight against most diseases out there and make everybody's life a little easier."

The app Tristan and his team have developed uses a a modified smartphone that features a microscopic camera lens. The application takes a photo of a blood sample and identifies malaria parasites, calculates how many are present and draws a red box around the clusters. Not only that, but the stored data can be uploaded for analysis to detect trends. Tristan is also said to be working on an app that detects sickle cells among other diseases.

Post-development and gold releases are planned to be easily adaptable for lab-based microscopes. Next steps for his team include patenting and marketing the application/technology.

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Verizon Trophy pushed back...again?

We can't be too hard on Verizon here, since they never officially announced the HTC Trophy. But c'mon, we're not dumb either and we know the device exists, have seen pics (more pics), knew it was in final testing stages and that that they were offering Microsoft employees discounts to get it.

That latter part is what this is about as evidently they keep pushing back that "offer" from December, then till April 1st, then April 7th and now...May 5th. That goal line keeps getting pushed back for a reason and we bet Verizon fans are not too happy at all.

We'll keep following till we hear more. Sorry folks.

Source: Verizon Store; Thanks, Jesse and Brian, for the tips!

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Yesterday we covered Microsoft's official MIX11 app for next week's big ol' dev conference in Las Vegas (yes, we'll be there) as well as two other third party apps, which are just as good.

Today, we have a new, but very different one from Matthias Shapiro called 'MIX11 Outsider' and it's like a Foursquare plus MIX11:

MIX11 Outsider is the MIX11 app that doesn’t care about your schedule. It cares about something more important: the people you want to talk to, meet, or otherwise hang out with at MIX. Using a map of the conference floor and a simple “battleship” mapping metaphor, you can tweet, email or text your position at the conference. Don’t eat alone in awkward silence… instead find that Twitter friend who doesn’t have a clear picture of themselves in their avatar. Don’t spend half your pre-keynote time waving your hands in the air. Just tap where you are on the map and send out a link like this one.

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CPM or upfront payment? [Developers]

There have been recent reports that developers are noticing a gradual decrease in revenue from CPM (cost per [thousand] impression) advertising within their apps, is this a notable trend due to fluctuations in the algorithm on Microsoft’s side or the amount of active users of that app?

The chart above displays Elbert Perez’s, developer of Impossible Shoota among other WP7 titles, eCPM earnings. The most likely explanation would be that his app(s) were used less than previously - note that uses does not count downloads. Someone could download an app and never run it, thus the adverts not being displayed and contributing to the eCPM. Another explanation could be Microsoft’s advertising algorithm used for each individual app fluctuates with a number of factors, which is more than expected. Microsoft replied to the cries about lower CPM earnings with:

Variation in ad CPM is expected behaviour as the algorithm used in the Microsoft Advertising Exchange for Windows Phone 7 actively learns the performance of each ad-enabled application(s). In some cases, these are sweeping changes. The Mobile Ad Exchange takes into account many variables when determining how an ad impression is valued in real time. This can include, but is not limited to; ad unit categories, location of the device/user and active advertising campaigns.

The chart above shows Elbert Pereze's impression count for the advertisements in regards to the first graph in this article. Comparing them both there is a notable trend with number of impressions almost equalling to the revenue earned. There is a slight dip in revenue while impressions remained at a high level, but this could have been due to the advertisers at the time bidding lower, etc. So what’s the whole shebang about?

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While individual teams across Microsoft tend to have their act together, not all the teams are aware exactly or work together on things--often getting their lines crossed. That's the angle we're taking here with Bing showing off the ability to "Get the app by visiting m.bing.com/download with your mobile phone" and showing of Windows Phone (a Focus no less and an HTC device above).

Basically, we think there are two explanations here:

  1. The Bing team really thinks there is a downloadable version for Windows Phone and/or it is coming--interesting
  2. They're talking about Windows Mobile or just plain wrong--lame

The first option could be curious as it has been reported that the Bing app can also be updated independently of the OS ala Mobile Internet Explorer. In fact, we've seen our competition on the iPhone get numerous updates, blowing away our version in terms of features. But we have to remember, the Bing team is just concerned with getting their app on any device, not being beholden to just Windows Phone--that's how Microsoft's intra-companies work/see things.

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