How To

Taiwanese blog I Heart Windows Phone has released a set of three Halloween-themed wallpapers for Windows Phone 7. All three feature what appears to be the site’s mascot in different costumes, drawn with an attractive cartoonish art style. These wallpapers are an adorable way to show your Halloween spirit on the go, perhaps as you make a trip to the store to pick up some candy for the trick-or-treaters.

To get the images, use one of the following methods:

  1. Visit the blog on your phone (Google Translate it for a nice introduction to Halloween for foreign readers)
  2. Tap on one of the images to display the full version
  3. Tap and hold on the image and then select ‘save picture.’
  4. Once saved, find the image in your phone’s Photo section
  5. Tap the … button at the bottom of the screen to bring up the menu
  6. Select ‘use as wallpaper’

OR

  1. Download the zip file from your phone using this link
  2. Select one of the three images
  3. Tap the … button at the bottom of the screen to bring up the menu
  4. Select ‘use as wallpaper.’

Source: I Heart Windows Phone  Thanks to Grace for the tip!

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1

Bing search and speak recognition [How To]

We've looked at Local Scout among other improvements brought to the user in Windows Phone Mango, but nothing beats a British walk through of how to search, use Bing services and the speech recognition. Take a quick look at the above video for a brief overlook in what's new with the search functionality in Windows Phone, while the below how to takes us through running commands with voice in favour of touch.

More information can be found at the Windows Phone UK blog, link below.

Source: MykindofPhone

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This is pretty sweet, there's a quick trick on the Samsung Omnia 7 with the AllShare app. Should you attempt to run the app an error will pop up stating that this "This device does not support AllShare. AllShare will be terminated." What the app doesn't tell you is that it will be back (in the awesome words of Arnold Schwarzenegger).

In the above video (it's in French but you should be able to follow visually) we can see Sogalas, a MonWindowsPhone reader, walking us through how he can work around the error and actually launch the app. It's incredibly straight forward. As soon as you launch AllShare, quickly hit the home button before the error shows and the app will close. Now hold the back button to enter multi-tasking and swipe to the right to find AllShare. Selecting it will launch the app successfully, bypassing the error.

To recap, here's the full walkthrough:

  1. Download Samsung's AllShare app
  2. Launch and press the "home" button before the error message appears (if it appears before you're able to close the app, just keep trying)
  3. Return to the application by holding the "back" button and enter multi-tasking control
  4. Select AllShare and you're now inside the app, bypassing the error message
  5. You can now connect to your computer, media devices or your TV (configured with DLNA) and select multimedia content shared with your device to view on the big screen or play on the massive speakers

Let us know in the comments should you get this working. I attempted myself and successfully ran the app, however I always seem to have issues with DLNA and my router (Apple Airport Extreme) thus wasn't able to test out the streaming capabilities. We're not aware as to whether or not this trick works with the Focus so do let us know.

Update: We've confirmed that this trick works with the Focus too, updated the title. Enjoy.

Source: MonWindowsPhone

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46

WPCentral Tutorial - Custom Ringtones with Mango

One of the many welcomed features of Windows Phone 7.5, more affectionately known as Mango, is the ability to use custom ringtones. But how do you get the ringtone to the phone?

First, there are few limitations. The ringtone file must be in MP3 or WMA format, less then 40 seconds in length, less than 1mb in size and not protected with digital rights management (DRM).

There are a few ringtone apps reaching the Marketplace and we'll cover a few of them in the coming days. Most appear to be collections of ringtones that you can save to your Windows Phone but they don't allow you to create ringtones. That you can do on your own and to find out how, hit the jump.

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Mario and friends WP7 wallpapers

Fan of the jumping cartoon with continuous growth spurs? You can no get Mario and friends on your Windows Phone as a cool wallpaper after some cropping of Cenix13xpe's designs for the iPhone and iPod. Wallpapers included in the pack:

  • Princess Peach
  • Yoshi
  • Toad
  • Princess Daisy
  • Bowser
  • Mario

Head on over to 1800PocketPC (link below) for the Windows Phone wallpapers and visit Cenix13xpe's DeviantART profile for the original wallpaper for iPhones etc. The wallpapers, once added to your handset, look awesome.

Source: 1800PocketPC, original image credit: Cenix13xpe

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After yesterday's news that HP is discontinuing all webOS mobile devices, many members of the very passionate and loyal webOS community, including myself, have been shocked into wondering what we are supposed to do next. While I'm not saying that I've already jumped ship to Windows Phone 7 from webOS already (I still love my devices and the community behind them), it's not uncommon to see that many of you are already planning your trip to the store to pick up a new smartphone to replace the soon-to-be-antiquated HP Veer, Pre 2 or even the original Sprint Palm Pre (what we back at PreCentral call the Pre-Minus). Let's get this straight, because I know how loyal you guys are to your platform, switching to a WP7 device is not abandoning the webOS platform - but HP has made it very clear that they're not making phones anymore, so what else are you supposed to do? 

I've been using WP7 on my Dell Venue Pro for a little while now, and even though it's not a shiny new HP Pre 3 running webOS 3.0, it does have a whole lot going for it. If I absolutely had to make the decision tomorrow (which I don't and I'm not... yet), it would be very easy for me to make Windows Phone 7, and WPCentral.com, my new home in the smartphone universe. Let me put it to you this way: If you're thinking about switching to another platform from webOS, WP7 is one of the best options, if not the best, out there for you to choose today.

It's easy to say all of that, though without backing it up; but that's why I've come to WPCentral today to help ease the pain and make things a little more comfortable for those of you joining this community. The webOS platform had a whole lot going for it as an operating system built on mobile devices. Synergy, Just Type, Multitasking, Touchstone Charging, Exhibition Mode, non-interrupt notifications system and other great features (just to name a few) made webOS wholly unique and intuitive - but to say that WP7 isn't already pushing forward with many of these concepts (and even jumping ahead in a few) is to be ignorant of the facts.

To be quite frank - WP7 over any other platform is probably the most similar to webOS as being intuitive and market-changing, and even though many of you might choose this platform simply because it isn't iOS, Android of Blackberry, you should also be choosing it simply because it's a great operating system to use.

Here, by popular request, is a guide to help your transition from whatever webOS smartphone you might be using over to a Windows Phone 7 device. Written by someone who has loved webOS since the day it was announced and will stick with it until the day that it is finally put to rest. 

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We've seen the improvement coming in "Mango" to Bing, which are nothing short of impressive: Vision, Scout, Music, info cards, images, etc. But (and it's a big but) some of those services won't work everywhere in the same fashion. We're talking of course about Scout and Bing Vision. Specifically on the latter, we know it won't do movie posters, books, CDs, barcodes etc only MS Tags and QR codes outside of the US. That's a huge bummer for many as Bing Vision works quite well.

Reader Leon Y. writes in to let us know that these services are not available in Canada--at least on the Mango 7712 ROM. It's actually very simple:

"I currently have the dev build 7712 and I don't know if it works in the RTM build. Also I think this works because I speak English and not another language.

Here's how to do it: Go into the Region+languages in the settings and change the browser & search language to English (United States) and hit the back button to save the changes. The local scout works like a charm and the Bing vision is amazing. I think this will work in other English speaking countries. I don't see a reason for Microsoft disabling this feature for other countries other that the US. I just wanted to share this discovery with everyone"

Anyone else want to confirm and share their experience? It's odd that Local Scout will actually pull info down in countries where it's not available in the OS. We hope for a least a handful of you this will enable these awesome features and that other countries will soon get these services as well.

Update: Works in Germany according to reader @Cyrus1989

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16

Group Messaging in Mango: the MMS gambit

We actually heard about this little issue from our own Jay Bennett, but others have taken note as well. In short, when using the Group Messaging feature in Mango, by default the messages will use the MMS format instead of SMS. The reason for this is not too clear, though it has something to do with trying to keep all the messages grouped together in a thread (perhaps someone with more knowledge can explain in comments).

However, you can (and probably should) turn this off.  Like a lot of folks, you may have a limited monthly allotment of MMS messages and you be charged a ton for a 'few' conversations otherwise. To disable this feature, simply go to Settings --> Applications --> Messaging and turn off the MMS part. So what about Group Messaging? Well, as far as we know, it still works but will now use the SMS method. Only downside, which we have to verify, is that it might not group properly. Still, that's a small inconvenience versus a large, unexpected bill at the end of the month, no?

Big thanks to 'We Love Windows Phone' for the tip and screen shots.

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Mango not only promises to bring 500 new features for regular users but also numerous other languages for the rest of the planet. For those who want some Japanese on their Windows Phone now, or perhaps those looking to explore how to add other language, a neat little hack has appeared over at NanaPho.

The trick requires a registry edit before you upgrade to Mango (you can't yet edit the registry on Mango devices, as far as we know) and may be good for those playing with DFT's custom ROMs. While in NoDo or earlier, simply launch the registry editor and make these changes:

1. add this entry on your NoDo (7390 or 7392) phone.

key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\MUI\Available

name: 0411

value: Japanese

2. update to Mango Beta 2 Refresh

3. you will get Japanese language

Of course the potential is there to add other languages, though it has to be verified. Other language packs which are made available with the Mango release include 0413 (Netherlands), 0419 (Russian), 0804 (Simplified Chinese), 0404 (Traditional Chinese) and in theory, those should work too. Looks to be a cool trick for those not wanting to wait the extra month or two for the RTM Mango to hit.

Source: NanaPho

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We've seen some "epic" style Captain America wallpaper a few weeks ago, but how about some custom "cute" styled ones? In the traditional Chinese style of taking all things menacing and making them freakin' adorable, those cats at IHeartWindowsPhone have made two versions of Capt. America that are pretty slammin'. Or just cute. Whatever.

We're not even comic fans but have to admit these are pretty great and since their free, why not just grab them here. A big thanks to IHeartWindowsPhone for sharing.

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6

Custom ringtones in Windows Phone Mango [How to]

The Microsoft team updated us awhile ago on how custom ringtones, a long sought feature, will work in Mango. And while quite a few of us (mostly devs, a few who are not) are running Mango with a beta Zune client, even we don't have the automatic ringtone maker on board.

Over at Mobility Digest, James Schneider has figured away for those running Mango now to make custom ringtones. All in all, while not as easy as the official version (when it arrives), it's not too hard either. In essence you'll need Audacity, a great freeware audio mixer (we use it for the podcast), some music and a few seconds to cut and export the file following those guidelines

  • 39 seconds or shorter
  • smaller than 1 megabyte (MB)
  • saved in MP3 or WMA format
  • not copy-protected (i.e. DRM free)

By simply adjust the HZ rate, mono/stereo, etc. you can alter the size to keep it under 1MB. Then you just drag-n-drop the file through Zune, creating a new category in your Collection called 'Ringtones' and walla, you're done. Check out the entire guide with screenshots at Mobility Digest.

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You should know by now that Windows Phone "Mango" has Facebook Chat built in to the Messaging app (see our full Mango review). Turning it on is actually pretty simple: navigate to the Messaging (SMS) app, hit Setting and enable. Or you can do it under Settings --> Applications --> Messaging. Easy enough, so why the how to? Well, this is more a "troubleshooting" thing i.e. you're one of the very few who can't it to work.

See, since I've been running "Mango"  (nearly a month next week), I could not get Facebook Chat enabled. Yup. Every time I'd throw that lil' switch, it would ask me to setup Facebook Chat, it would then open what looks like an embedded IE window where it would return with a "Page cannot be found". Seriously. It did this dozens of times and I just thought "welp, it's not enabled yet".

Long story short: I didn't have my Facebook account linked to my Windows Live one. Who knew it was necessary? It would have been nice for an error message to explain that but alas, I was lost till I ran across Mobility Minded's excellent step by step guide on setting this up. The guide was perfect right up to the point when I had to enable the feature and bam...it still didn't work.

The solution was an extra step not in Mobility Minded's otherwise great write up: delete the Facebook account on the phone and set it up again (just name and password). The next time I headed to Messaging --> Settings, Facebook Chat was magically enabled and all is good. Of course the funny part in all of this is I don't use Facebook or Chat period, except for testing. Still, this issue was nagging me and hopefully if any of you have something similar, it'll help too.

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12

Multiple Google calendars in Mango [How to]

 

Should you have multiple Google calendars set up and used frequently you'll smacking your head against a brick wall when it comes to adding them in Windows Phone 7. Luckily, with Mango, Anthony Chu (lead developer of Wonder Reader for WP7) has posted a tutorial on how to enable multiple Google calendars. It's actually really simple and takes no more than five minutes (unlike attempting to use other Google services).

Requirements for this are as follows:

  • WP7 device running Mango
  • More than one Google calendar set up
  • Safari (for Windows/OS X) 

With the above requirements met, what we need to do is get to the section on the Google website where you can select which calendars to synchronise with devices that are connected to your account. By default, this seems only viewable to iOS devices and presumably Android handsets. We need to change our user agent in our browser to fool Google into believing we're Safari on iOS.

In the walkthrough below, Anthony uses Safari as it has built-in ability to manipulate the user agent easily and quickly. Any desktop browser will do so long as you can alter the UA. Head on past the break to view the steps. 

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Kik is here, but there's a slight issue that we picked up on a while back when it was released. Being in the UK I attempted to use my .co.uk email address. Unfortunately Kik seems to have a slight issue with registering email addresses using this country code.

Fortunately, after much frustration, I used my GMail address and of course it worked. I don't really use my Google account for email so I decided to have a good look through the settings within the app and sure enough there's an option to change the account email address. Entering my .co.uk address seemed to work and I received an email from Kik confirming the change.

It seems as though it's limited to registration only, so use a .com email for signup and then simply make the change in the app settings. Job done! Kik have said they are working on the fix. Are you using a country code which is not .com and are experiencing the same issue? Let us know in the comments.

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Using the Windows Phone 7 Connector for OS X can prove to be a drag when attempting to transfer a movie from iTunes to your handset. The progress bar gives the false impression that it's stuck and one tends to get frustrated, especially if you're like me and only synchronise your device just before you leave the house.

OS X user Marin got in touch with us to let everyone in on a more efficient way to transfer movies to your WP7 handset and not having to wait 20 or so minutes. Should you have an avi copy of the movie at hand with an mp3 soundtrack, you can use software such as MP4Tools to convert and then import into iTunes. Windows Phone Connect should then pick up the movie and be able to transfer it to your device with much more efficiency.

Unfortunately, Marin noticed a drawback to this method (which I can confirm). The movie wont be playable in iTunes (as well as Xbox 360 consoles) and a stand-alone media player (such as VLC) will have to be used. But this should be no problem if you have a separate m4v copy. Let us know if this guide works for you and how it compares to transferring m4v movies to your device.

Thanks Marin for the tip and guide!

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Organizing your Live Tiles and Live Tile generators are nothing new (see our earlier post on the topic). Heck, our own Rich Edmonds created a pretty swanky one on his blog for everyone. In that regard, MyLiveTile is not exactly ground breaking, but it is designed well enough and perhaps this post will serve as a reminder on how to do this or even that you can do this.

All this site does is create a perfectly sized square that you can "pin to your start screen" using Internet Explorer. The effect is spacers between your Live Tiles to give a better sense of organizations e.g. separate your games from your contacts from your apps. Pretty cool and it's actually quite handy, once you have 20 or more tiles on your device.

So navigate to http://www.mylivetile.com/ using IE on your device, follow the directions and walla, you're done. Now go organize your clothes closet already and no, we're not helping with that one, so don't ask.

(Thanks, Ramiro, for the heads up!)

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Yesterday we saw the developer release of "Mango" for Windows Phone 7. The method requires a $99 AppHub subscription and for you to make a backup of your phone before the flash. It also voids your warranty.

Today, of course, people have already figured out ways around having a developer unlocked phone to flash Mango to it. We want to stress a couple of things first though:

  • This voids your warranty
  • You can't upgrade to the final Mango from this build, so you MUST back up
  • If you loose your backup, your phone is permanently in preview-Mango mode--no going back, no going forward
  • If this flash doesn't work and you brick your phone, it's your fault. Remember, even the offiical method has some issues (see here).

The first method comes by way of WPSauce. In essence, it requires three steps:

  1. Reverting back to 7004 or 7008 (aka pre-NoDo) by using your backup in Zune
  2. Using ChevronWP7 to unlock your phone
  3. Downloading and installing the official Mango update tools

We won't link to the files here, but safe to say you can do a little sleuthing around to find them yourself. This method at least will create a backup of your device (which you should also backup) and allow you to go forward once the real Mango update comes out this fall. Of all the ways, this is the safest (though still risky).

The second method comes via Windows Phone Hacker. It does not require you to revert back nor have a developer unlocked device. It basically will "...provision your device to receive beta updates. It requires the Windows Phone Support Tools to be installed, and your device needs to be updated to NoDo or beyond". Note: it does not create a backup, but you can do it yourself.

Once again, we caution you to hold off on doing this, at least for a few days. Wait till others have tried it, wait till Microsoft responds, wait till we know more about what is happening here. The second method is certainly the most risky and no one wants to hear your story about how your phone broke because you did this, so patience is a virtue here.

Source: WPSauce, Windows Phone Hacker

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2

Import contacts from Outlook to WP7 [How To]

 

Should you be looking to purchase a Windows Phone 7 handset, or have just recently made the switch, you may be wandering if you can import your contacts from Outlook if you don't have an Exchange email account or have your contacts stored remotely elsewhere. Well, you can and it's fairly straight forward too.

Before we begin, you'll need the Microsoft Office Outlook Hotmail Connector, a nifty little program which enables synchronisation and connectivity between the two services. Now, make a brew, get comfortable and let's begin.

For Outlook 2007:

  1. Open Microsoft Office Outlook 2007
  2. Click Outlook Connector, then click “Add a New Account” and enter the information for your Windows Live account.
  3. Restart Outlook (close and open).
  4. Click Contacts and now you’ll be able to move people from your main Contacts folder to the new Windows Live account folder.

For Outlook 2010:

  1. Open Microsoft Office Outlook 2010
  2. Click File, then “Add Account,” make sure that “E-mail Account” is selected, and then enter the information for your Windows Live account.
  3. Click Contacts and now you’ll be able to move people from your main Contacts folder to the new Windows Live account folder.

Once the above steps have been carried out, you should be able to see your contacts on your Live account. Make sure you use a Live ID that you either already use or will use on your WP7 and after synchronising the account on your phone to import your contacts your People hub should reflect the newly added associates.

Source: IntoMobile

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Creepy transparent spider wallpaper is creepy

We don't have arachnophobia per se, more or less just an aversion. But that's us. For all we know, you're a bunch of tarantula fiends who yearn desperately to have one big spider prominently displayed on your pretty little Windows Phone.

Well, tonight's your night as Downright Wireless has taken the Samsung Infuse 4G's spider (see commercial here for reference) and transplanted him to Windows Phone, ala transparent wallpaper for maximum effect. Like we said, it's not our thing, but darn it all...creepy or not, it is pretty awesome looking.

Grab the wallpaper and matching Tiles for your device right here with instructions.

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Since Evernote for WP7 appeared on the scene yesterday, there have been reports of a bug that causes a white screen that locks the application up.  This  will apparently happen after installing Evernote on some devices, then pressing the "Sign in" button.  And while it is both expected and disappointing that any highly-anticipated app has bugs in its initial release, it is good to know that a workaround has already been found.

If you experience the Evernote white screen of death, here's what you should do:

  1. Uninstall Evernote from your phone
  2. Turn on Airplane Mode
  3. Turn on your wireless and connect to a network
  4. Download and install Evernote from the Marketplace

If you make it to the point where you can log in and create notes, then you can safely turn off Airplane Mode and continue living your newly-organized life.

UPDATE: According to one of our readers, you do not actually need to turn on Airplane Mode, nor uninstall the application. If you can connect to a wireless network, log in, and do the initial sync, then you should be good to go.  Thanks for the tip, da4thrza!

Source: Plaffo

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