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It seems that reporting on delays of the Dell Venue Pro is quickly becoming one of our favorite pastimes.   It's not that we enjoy reporting about them, but rather that the delays with the Dell Windows Phone have been so frequent. 

Well, once again, word is that the device will be delayed further in the UK. 

Though the device was expected to be available first thing in 2011, Clove reports that it won't be happening until sometime in mid-February (we can only hope).  They say that the hold up is something to do with a Microsoft MMS issue.  The Venue Pro, which is currently the only Windows Phone in the UK with a vertical slide-out QWERTY keyboard, was orignally announced back in October of 2010.

Source: Clove Via: PocketNow

 

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ArkWords is  a great little app by Arktronic that features not only a great dictionary and thesaurus but an impressive, multi-language translator. In addition, it has a swanky Live Tile that updates every morning with the WOT (word of the day).

The app is superbly built with a very minimalist and fluid UI. Plus it's free, so there's little reason to not give it a shot. And now that the Live Tile has been fixed in v1.1, all seems right with the app and gets our strong recommendation.

Grab it here in the Marketplace and go here for the developer's blog.

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What, was one penny too much for you? Or perhaps like us, you live in New York and have to pay Amazon Wireless sales tax (but not for NewEgg) and you just like their deal better.

Whatever your reason, NewEgg, hands down one of our favorite online retailers, is offering select AT&T Windows Phone on contract for free. Zip. Nada. Nothing. You even have your choice of plans, including the low AT&T 450 minute version (sometimes place like WalMart try to force you up to the higher 900 minute plan).

Phones included in the deal (these are the actual links): the Samsung Focus, LG Quantum and yes, the HTC Surround. Sounds like a good deal, but like all things, read the fine print.

Source: NewEgg; Thanks, jaethos, for the tip!

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A new advertisement exchange service, called AdDuplex, has recently surfaced.  Its purpose is to help fledgling developers get word of their applications out to Marketplace users.  Here's how it works: a developer creates ads an AdDuplex control to their application and includes an ad for their own product.  That control then begins to display ads from AdDuplex's network of clients, including the developer's and AdDuplex iteself.

Basically "Help other developers promote their apps and they’ll promote yours."

The more users of the service, the more the word spreads.  Think of it like an advertising pyramid scheme, without the shadiness.  The service is free, and if a developer later decides that they want to include advertisements from another source, AdDuplex allows them to do so, though it looks like AdDuplex’s network of ads remains.

Despite the snarky headline, we think it’s actually a pretty inventive way for developers to help each other get their products out there. Sign up for free here.

Source: AdDuplex

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Here's something familiar to all of those who have loaded custom ROMs on their Window Mobile phones. The old SPL (bootloader) screen used to get the device in a flash-ready state. Guess we could have assumed it was there on WP7, but we weren't 100% sure either.

What's it doing here? Custom ROM? Nope, unfortunately the owner, Sam Gibbs had this happen to his HTC device and he's not too sure why it happened. We're not sure either, we're just a bit surprised to see it there. Corrupted SD memory? Hopefully he's able to recover from it, otherwise we're looking at HTC to replace.

Source: @_samgibbs

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In less exciting news, but still important, Microsoft is pushing the benefits and power of Windows Phone 7 for the retail and hospitality market--a large swath of potential business, including retail stores, grocery markets, shopping centers and more.

Microsoft will be appearing at the National Retail Federation’s 100th Annual Convention & Expo, demonstrating numerous apps to potential customers:

The demonstrations will showcase how Windows 7 enhances connected store, customer and operations experiences on the desktop as well as via an array of mobile and in-store devices, including smartphones, point-of-sale (POS) devices, self-service transactional kiosks, and informational kiosks, including digital signage.

For example, a retail customer’s connected experience is enhanced through the mobile shopping experience enabled by Windows Phone 7, as well as through engagement with Windows 7-based touch-enabled devices in stores.

One real life example they give is the app Tesco Real Food, available now in the Marketplace. The app is by retail giant Tesco, who have over 5,000 stores worldwide. The app is a mobile extension of the Tesco Real Food website for recipes, so nothing too exciting.  While some of this is boring and dry, it's these connections and technology demonstrations that gets Microsoft into stores, personalized apps for unique shopping experiences and basically noticed, so we're all for it.

Source: GoMo News

For example, a retail customer’s connected experience is enhanced through the mobile shopping experience enabled by Windows Phone 7, as well as through engagement with Windows 7-based touch-enabled devices in stores.
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For those of us who like to sideload Homebrew apps on our Windows Phone, the process can be a little tedious e.g. your phone re-locks often, having to run the Zune software, etc.

The latter piece though can be avoided, that is you don't have to run the Zune Desktop just to sideload a XAP file or even unlock your device (using ChevronWP7). XDA member xbodmod has described a way to just run the "connect" part without Zune, making the process much more streamlined. The process is fairly simple:

  • Disable Zune auto-start (Zune --> Settings --> Software--> General --> "Start the Zune software..."
  • Create a shortcut to desktop from C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Phone\v7.0\Tools\WPConnect\WPConnect.exe
  • Plug in phone

That's it. Just running WPConnect.exe and allowing it load for a second does the job and now you can run Tom's XAP installer, ChevronWP7, etc. We like simplicity around here.

Update: @adamUCF lets us know that Microsoft themselves have described this exact method, so credit to them first.

Source: XDA, MSDN

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The other day, we mentioned about CNet's experience with the upcoming "NoDo" update, specifically the performance increase when loading locally stored, graphic-intensive apps.

Improvements ranged from a few to 20 seconds for something like Bejewled. Now Anadtech has posted a video basically showing the same thing described by CNet and seeing is believing. While not all apps benefit, clearly the bigger ones like Ilomilo will. Currently, some games do take awhile to load but we're not exactly complaining, so any improvement is icing for us. You?

Source: Anandtech; via: wmpoweruser

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In a somewhat interesting interview with Phil Larsen, Marketing Director with HalfBrick who made the popular Fruit Ninja, goes over how they hooked up with Microsoft to port that game over to Windows Phone 7.

In short, Microsoft wants to compete with the iPhone and bringing Fruit Ninja over was part of that strategy. HalfBrick was more than glad to do it and plan to bring their other games over as well, with time and resources being the only constraints.  Overall the company seems to have had a positive experience with Microsoft and seeing as Fruit Ninja is near the top for Xbox LIVE games, it seems the decision has paid off, literally:

How did the Windows Phone 7 port come about?

Phil Larsen: We’ve got contacts at Microsoft, and as they were launching Windows Phone 7 they wanted it to compete with the iPhone – it’s the next big mobile platform. We like what Microsoft does, and we were happy to port Fruit Ninja to it. We’ve got a team here that handles that kind of thing.

We brought it over, and we provided a bunch of good assets and information. It was released on December 22nd, so it’s only a couple of weeks old, and it’s done really well so far. It’s the number-one selling game on Windows Phone 7.

They did mention how doing an Xbox LIVE game is more work than the iPhone. The former requires you to work and go back and forth with Microsoft, who manage that aspect of gaming, whereas on the iPhone you just submit it to Apple. Still, despite that they had very little issues with the process.

Read the rest at VG247.

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User VanSoaked at DevianArt has gathered together a nice collection of over 70 high quality wallpapers, specifically cropped for your Windows Phone's lock screen.

Most of the pics fall into the buildings/scenery camp, so no babes on cars, Calvin's peeing on...things, sports or superheros. But they are certainly high resolution, have no color banding and look great on your adult phone (yeah, I went there). You can download all the pics here in one ZIP file. Definitely worth it in our opinion.

Source: VanSoaked's DevianArt page

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Julien Schapman, developer of TouchXperience, looks to have pulled off quite the programming feat by developing an all-in-one Windows Phone Device Manager, based off of the Windows 7 Device Manager framework.

It will allow you to easily transfer files, tethered or wirelessly and even unlock your device (similar to ChevronWP7) for sideloading of homebrew apps. From his blog:

Windows Phone Device Manager allows you to manage your Windows Phone 7 device from your PC, you can simply view, install and uninstall "sideloaded" applications, explore device, transfer and sync files,... It is compatible with all Windows Phone 7 devices.

Windows Phone Device Manager detects when the phone is connected or disconnected, if you don't have a registered developer device it can automatically unlock your phone, so you don't need ChevronWP7 anymore.

You can also connect to your phone via Wi-Fi, for example to transfer files from/to your phone using Windows Phone Device Manager or the provided Windows Phone application.

If Windows Phone Device Manager becomes popular I think about creating an open marketplace for non-commercial applications. Developers are welcome to join the project!

Sounds pretty nice to us. Perhaps he should team up with Dave Amenta and his Send to WP7 Desktop project (which is evolving daily). We'll follow up on this when released.

Source: TouchXperience Blog, XDA Forums; via: mobilitydigest

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Small note to our developer friends out there, Dotfuscator for Windows Phone has been released and as promised (via Windows Phone Developer Blog) is completely free through March 31, 2011

Providing so-called  "security through obscurity", code obfuscators at least can aid a smidge in protecting developers from prying eyes and hackers (though it's far from fool proof). In this case through string-encryption.  In addition, Dotfuscator for Windows Phone also provides developers with important application analytics to better understand how their software is being used and ways to improve it. For example, you can know how many people have your software installed, how often the app is run, what features are customers using the most and even performance data. Sounds good.

Source: Preemptive Solutions, Windows Phone Developer Blog

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Another week, another milestone. Yes, just like clockwork nearly every two-weeks the Marketplace adds another 1,000 apps to its belt (5K was on 12/28/10).

The good news is development doesn't seem to be slowing (20K+ developers on board now), then again, it doesn't seem to be growing more rapidly either. However, Microsoft's app approval system may be fixed to only be able to push out 1k every two weeks and not really anymore. It's all a mystery to us.

Regardless, at this rate we should hit 10,000 apps by the second week in March at which point we'll have a party or something. All we know is we're leaving WebOS in our dust and our next goal is to beat BlackBerry (16K apps). See previous 5,000 post here with each previous 1,000 documented.

Source: Marketplacebrowser

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Gorilla Glass Demoed at CES

Corning's Gorilla Glass made the rounds at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.  Rene Ritchie from our sister site, The iPhone Blog, was able to spend some time seeing how tough this glass is.

The tough as nails glass is showing up in laptops, monitors and even Microsoft's new surface computers.  Windows Phone users are becoming more familiar with Gorilla Glass seeing it used in the Samsung Focus, Dell Venue Pro and LG Optimus 7 (all listed on Corning's site, Focus is a Galaxy-S phone technically).

While I wouldn't throw caution to the wind with Gorilla Glass, the video clearly demonstrates it's one tough cookie.

Source: TiPb

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Out in the Marketplace there are quite a few Wikipedia apps. Everyone tends to have their favorite and I found mine after having gone through the bunch. It's Wikipedia Search.

Reason? It's fast, minimalist, elegant and to the point. Plus it's quite powerful with those options I'm looking for (mobile view vs desktop), dynamic search, multi-language support, etc.

It's not free (not many of the Wiki apps are) but at $0.99 it was a no brainer for me. Check out the vid to see why and grab yourself a trial version here if you want to take it for a spin. Oh and look for some full reviews of other Wiki apps soon. Finally, check out our WikiRand video for some live tile randomness.

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Android vs WP7 app development

A while back we took a look at an iOS developer having a run on Microsoft’s new mobile platform, which was surprising since the majority of Apple users don’t particularly provide Microsoft with much leniency or praise. Frode "Nilzor" Nilsen, a post-Windows Mobile 6.5 developer, has written up a spectacular case study (seriously – it’s an epic read) of his short-lived experience on the Windows Phone 7 IDE, and making the important decision on which platform is a more worthwhile investment for projects to be developed. Android or WP7?

At the beginning Frode goes into detail about what one looks for when developing on any available platform, revenue. Of course, every developer needs to cover expenses (time, investment etc.) and to ensure that a steady flow of funds is received to continue with updates and further development. To accomplish this goal, you would need to publish your product (an app in this case) to the largest possible audience with as little competition as possible. However many forget, that as a developer, the tools available and the process in creating (and updating) your app needs to be both fun and logical, and be smooth to ensure little time is wasted and productivity is high.

Frode decided to perform a small experiment and build an app for both Android and WP7, recording how long each stage of the process took, how many sells he received and how the IDEs (Integrated Development Environment) performed against each other. Using Eclipse for Android and Visual Studio 2010 for WP7, he created a simple flag & country quiz. Posting his results in complete depth, I shall summarise below his findings for each platform without going into much detail through explanation.

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If you own a LG Quantum, LG has updated it's Marketplace offerings with a handful of new, free, apps.  There are ten apps in all and they include:

  • Cocktail Flow - A cocktail recipe app
  • Doodle God - A civilization creation game
  • Color Sprouts -A drawing/coloring app
  • Envision for Basecamp - Project management tool
  • Krashlander - A gaming app pitting you against robots
  • Colorize - An image manipulation tool
  • Weave - A very good RSS reader(here's our review)
  • Talking Ragdoll - Novelty app to transform your pictures into talking rag dolls
  • Mobile Sommelier - A wine and food pairing app
  • Mr. Hat and the Magic Cube - An interesting looking puzzle game

LG is also offering a network setup app to help users configure their network settings (similar to what Samsung did a while ago).

What's interesting about this offer is that these apps (save the network setup) are all openly available on the Marketplace.  All totaled, these apps would run you about $30 but if you access them through your LG Quantum, they are free.  I guess it is LG's way to say thanks for choosing our phone.

To take advantage of these free apps, simply go to your Marketplace App on your LG Windows Phone and they'll be listed in the LG App Store.

Source: PocketNow Thanks to Mike and Just Visiting for sending in this tip!

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Yesterday we covered the updated Browser to WP7, which enabled the ability to send photos to your device via your browse with one-click. Browser to WP7 had not only gained ground, but passed the original Send to WP7 by Dave Amenta in terms of features.

Well, it looks like Amenta wasn't sitting idly but instead was working on a robust and impressive desktop app that includes the ability to send:

  • pictures
  • videos
  • documents
  • music
  • notes

Huzzah...all through this one program and with a simple click. It is integrated via Explorer and basically uploads your file to a free cloud service that then pushes to your phone. You can also write a long email or SMS and send it through your phone as well, making your netbook a great "companion device' (hello Foleo!). Anyways, you can give an early version a shot if you're so inclined. All we know is this sounds fantastic and so far, we're digging it. You?

Source: @davux

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If you are a user of Windows Home Server, and have a nice multi-media box running your 50” HD television, and are a Windows Phone 7 owner, there is some good news for you. The next release, codenamed “Vail” will feature a plugin providing support for Windows Phone 7.

Some of the functions that have been highlighted in a post over on the development blog should come in handy, and be useful indeed. An alert notifications screen clearly listing problems with the server, and information as to how to resolve the issue is available acting just like the Dashboard. Streaming photos, music, and video from your home server with smooth loading and playback (depending on connection of course) is thrown in along with the ability to upload photos you capture on your mobile device straight to the home server.

We are currently unaware as to whether or not the current version of WHS will have support for WP7, but to think of managing and streaming content from your box at home to your phone while on the go is something that will surely be welcomed. For those who are awaiting Vail, or are thinking on setting up a home server and use it with WP7, here is a sneak peek at the next release (Video after break)

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