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MyBookie Lite hits the Marketplace

MyBookie has been available over at the Marketplace for about a month now bringing the world of sports betting to your Windows Phone. There is a trial version available, the paid version will run you $1.99 and now there is a free Lite version available.

The Lite version has all the functionality of the paid version except it's ad supported and you have a lower daily betting cap. The Lite Version shares the Facebook integration, just like the full version, allowing you to compete against your Facebook friends, access the game through Facebook and share your bets for payout bonuses on your Facebook Wall.

Hundreds of thousands in virtual cash have been wagered on real world sporting events through MyBookie since its release.  We liked what we saw when we reviewed MyBookie and found it to be an entertaining way to dabble in sports wagering without loosing your shirt. 

If the $1.99 price tag has you sitting on the fence, the Lite Version might be the solution you're looking for. You can download MyBookie Lite here (opens your Zune desktop) at the Marketplace.

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Previously, we looked at how one can getting touch about Microsoft and provide feedback about their Widnows Phone 7 experience. There hasn't been a clear located channel for the community to focus suggestions and feedback, but a survey has popped up from @windowsphone on Twitter.

The first question you are faced with is (quite obviously) querying if you actually own a Windows phone, and if so what platform you currently use. Selecting Windows Phone 7 will bring you to a table where you rate (out of 5) the level of influence that particular feature had on your purchase decision.

The beauty of this survey comes after you have selected the choices and move onto the second half of the form - "What, if anything, would you change about your Windows Phone 7?” As many have stated over at the XDA Developer forum, this is a perfect opportunity to release the ranting anger inside of you about some missing functions and features. As much detail as you can provide, or a simple list will suffice.

Once complete, you receive a love note from the big MS "Thank you for taking our survey. Your response is very important to us.", you're very welcome. Take this survey at surveygizmo.

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Twitt 2.0 video tour

We've had a few requests to take a look at Twitt 2.0 a newly updated Twitter application in the Marketplace. Reason? There are two: it costs $0.99 when most Twitter apps are free and there's no trial. So naturally people want us to trial it for them and we're more than glad to take a bullet for you folks (cough, Daily Show app, cough).

The short of it is: it has pros and it has cons and whether or not it's right for you will depend on what features you feel are important. Vague, eh? Just watch the video and you'll see what we mean.

Twitt can be bought through the Marketplace right here.

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We've already seen the NES emulator ourselves and it's pretty cool, but what about one for Game Boy Pocket?

Samuel Blanchard, a French .NET developer. has evidently thrown together a rough player for Windows Phone 7 and it looks pretty darn spiffy. Noting on his blog (translated):

The emulator is far from complete. It lacks particular, the management of the Flash RAM and the backup status in the game but still playable. The display of pixels on the screen is super fast and uses a trick which I will discuss in a future article.

All we say is gimme! What is particularly impressive is the Metro interface for selecting a game and just how well is seems to play. We'll be following this one closely as we try to reclaim our youth through 21st technology. Too bad it won't be officially available in the Marketplace though...

Source: Blog of Samuel Blanchard; Thanks Samuel for the heads up and good luck with the project!

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Wasn't it just the other day it was leaked that AT&T was raising the cost of their 3G Microcells from $149.99 to $199.99? Well today's another day and it's now being reported that beginning January 23, 2011 that AT&T will be giving the Microcell away to a pre-selected group of customers.

AT&T will conduct a direct mailing to 7.5% of 3G wireless customers identified as likely to experience poor in-building coverage at home or in small offices. Those lucky 7.5% will have to accept an equipment agreement that will extend their wireless contract for 12 months. If service is canceled before the end of 12 months, the Microcell goes back to AT&T or the customer is subject to a prorated (-$16.97 per month) equipment fee.

For those not familiar with the Microcell, it is designed to function in the same way as a cell tower, but utilizes a home broadband connection as the back-haul to the cellular provider.  AT&T made a similar offer last summer but it was in select markets.  This go around, the mail out will be nationwide. There is no indication as to how the 7.5% will be selected or how AT&T will determine who has poor reception. 

I wonder if you can get a refund if you get the Microcell offer but had already purchased one?

Source: Engadget

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Last.FM slowly getting back to normal

If you've been trying to use the Windows Phone app Last.FM over the past few days, you've probably experienced a little downtime with the music app. Turns out the Last.FM servers haven't been playing nice.

Last.FM posted an explanation over at their blogsite reporting that things should be getting back to normal soon.

"A hardware failure has led to one of the most serious system outages we have experienced for a long time, and we are very sorry about the inconvenience caused to our listeners. At this moment everything should be on its way back to normal, but it could take some time for all services to return to a fully stable state. We want to apologize for this outage, and explain the problems that have led to the difficulties you may be experiencing now."

For those not familiar, Last.FM is a Windows Phone 7 app that allows users to get endless personalized radio, concert recommendations and quickly look up music from your Windows Phone. It's a free application and available here (opens your Zune desktop) at the Marketplace. Just understand that the solutions Last.FM are putting in place may take a while to stabilize everything.

Source: Last.FM Thanks goes out to Bryant for the tip!

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Andy Lein, over at PocketNow had got his hands on the Dell Venue Pro back in December (2010 for those who require reminding) and the 16GB version of the device proved to be disappointing with reliability.

"I got my first 16Gb Dell Venue Pro on December 23rd, 2010 and I soon noticed that it would freeze up or go to a totally black screen (except for the clock) while downloading and installing large apps over WiFi."

Ordering a replacement for his malfunctioning Venue Pro, Dell finally shipped his new toy, which arrived a few days ago (January 18th). I know what you're thinking - the problem must be fixed.

"Then a new Dell Venue Pro arrived on my doorstep on January 18th! Unfortunately, the new 16Gb Dell Venue Pro had the same problem. "

Ah the excitement then the sudden realization of the problem still persisting to exist. Check out the video to see what happens, should you have a Venue Pro yourself and see if you can reproduce the fault.

With the continued problems that Dell seem to be experiencing, I'm almost beginning to believe that they may be considering for a quick second "why did we enter the WP7 smartphone market?". Hopefully, Dell's future will be solid in the near future as it's fantastic to have such a huge technological brand backing Microsoft on their mobile platform.

Do you own a Venue Pro, and have problems? Have you had a replacement?

Source: PocketNow

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Today Unbound Medicine put out a press releases announcing that their many medical-based mobile apps are now available for Windows Phone 7.  The most well-known of their applications to make its way to WP7 is Relief Central, a free mobile and web-based resource for disaster relief workers.  It was recently named winner of the Windows Phone Federal Apps contest.  Other available titles include Nursing Central, 5-minute Clinical Consult, McGraw-Hill’s Diagnosaurus, Taber’s Medical Dictionary, and three versions of The Merck Manual. 

When asked about Microsoft's new mobile platform, Philip Peterson, chief technology officer of Unbound Medicine, had this to say:

"Windows Phone has made a significant contribution to the mobile platform landscape with a feature-rich and easy-to-use interface...Unbound Medicine recognizes that the Windows Phone platform is a game-changer. We will continue to develop applications as new platforms become available in order to provide our users with what they need—up-to-date information."

While these tools are unlikely to perform medical miracles when death is on the line, they will aid medical professionals and students in everyday situations, and demonstrate the wide breadth that the WP7 platform spans.  It is unclear as to whether or not Congress will attempt to repeal the apps in the near future (zing).

Check out the full list of available Unbound medical apps here or search for "Unbound Medicine" in Zune now.

Source: Unbound Medicine; via: PR.com

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Did you know that the Zune Marketplace regularly offers songs for free? No DRM, you own it, it's all yours. The catch is these "deals" are only for single songs and they're temporary. The other issue is finding them.

Developer PoppaString has created a free app to find those free songs. The app, called Free Marketplace Songs is extremely simple and to the point: you launch it, it finds free songs and then you can go grab them in the Marketplace. Cool. Version 1.1 just hit and seems to fix some early bugs, or rather we successfully downloaded a free song--so, win.

Any downsides? Yeah, for one it's a very limited selection, so if you're a picky music listener, it's highly doubtful you'll find something you like. The other would be these freebies expire quickly--so if you can grab two songs for free, consider yourself lucky. Check early, check often.  But hey, the app is free and if you like collecting music, it's a smart way of finding those deals.

Grab it here in the marketplace.

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Mediaroom is Microsoft's official IPTV streaming option and it provides a lot of media ability--in fact Mediaroom 2.0 was just announced at CES and offers "...whole-home digital video recording, on-demand capabilities, access to both operator-hosted content and Internet TV, and interactive applications.". It's like AT&T's U-verse but better.

Or Google TV but not full of fail.

As Microsoft slowly but steadily continues to merge all of their properties into one (Xbox 360, Mediaroom, Windows Phone 7, Zune, SkyDrive, Office, LIVE services, etc.) it only makes sense that they would be working on a way to take Mediaroom 2.x and integrate on Windows Phone 7 in some official capacity. Indeed, according to Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet, that is what project 'Rome' is all about.

Supposedly Roz Ho, who worked on "Project Pink" aka KIN is involved on the Mediaroom/Rome project which looks to bring all of Microsoft's media capabilities into one offering: Xbox 360, Mediacenter PC, Windows Phone, etc. hence the name 'Rome' as all roads lead to it.

No word on planned release time frame, but we're thinking that second big update aka 'Mango', later this year, may be a good time.

Source: ZDNet; via electronista; Thanks, Enzo, for the tip

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We last mentioned Beau Allison's (aka codeJoker) a few weeks back which involved creating a WiFi shortcut on Samsung phones--it basically allowed you to hop from your Today screen right to the WiFi settings to quickly toggle them on or off. It's actually one of the more simple homebrew hacks yet it's the one we use the most, for obvious reasons.

Now he's gone further creating three new shortcuts: Bluetooth, Airplane Mode and Connection Manager. The first two are self-explanatory but the last is really the best. Connection Manager brings you all the previous shortcuts under one screen. Huzzah! As you can see above, it has WiFi, Bluetooth, Mobile Network and flight mode all under one quick access panel. What's more, he's trying to incorporate the status-sliders below each setting for a direct toggle. Once again, this will only work with unlocked Samsung phones (sorry HTC, LG and Dell).

This app is so useful we don't know where to begin outside of saying Microsoft (and or OEMs)--you could do this too!

Source: codeJoker

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We mentioned about the Homebrew Device manager by Schapman which was suppose to be released this week. The application not only offers a new way to interact with the phone to load media but also unlocks the phone so one can sideload applications on it.

Since that time, Microsoft and ChevronWP7 have confirmed that the upcoming update will fix the programming error that the jailbreak exploited.

In turn, Schapman is not too keen on releasing his app only to have MS block it a few weeks later so  he's doing the "cat and mouse" thing--wait for Microsoft to patch, then make sure his Device Manager works around it.  He notes that his app works different than ChevronWP7 but regardless, we don't see any guarantees that he'll still be able to jailbreak the phone himself:

Windows Phone Device Manager release delayed until MS update, as I still haves a lot of cool stuffs to implementation, Also Want to make sure my code will not be broken and my unlock method will pass after the update.

This is all well and good but we're even starting to wonder if waiting for this Device Manager is really worth the hassle and if Schapman, who often promises a lot but tends to under deliver, can really beat Microsoft's new improved security by himself.

Source: TouchXperience Blog ; via Plaffo; Thanks, Antonino Ardizzone.,for the info

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While we have seen AT&T's Windows Phone 7 lineup heavily discounted, even going for free by some 3rd party retailers, the HD7 has remained in the $150-200 range for awhile now (except for Wirefly and a few others).

Now the HD7 is at least temporarily discounted through T-Mobile themselves for a fair $99. Of course the usual rules apply: 2 year contact, etc. But we still dig this phone's 4.3" display even if the camera is kind of lousy & reception is mediocre.

Source: Microsoft; via @windowsphone

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We covered LG complaining last week about the somewhat dissatisfying performance of the Windows Phone 7 platform, which was expected with iPhone and Android absorbing majority of the news. However, the comment made was still received with mixed feelings.

Contradictory feedback - reported by Yahoo! - from German carrier Deutsche Telekom, largest mobile provider in Europe and mother of T-Mobile:

"We are ahead of budget, Microsoft is very pleased."

Which Ingo Hofacker, Head of Consumer Marketing at the mobile giant, provided. It is a good sign that they are witnessing WP7 devices selling off shelves at speed, and one can only predict this trend to continue as updates come this year.

Thanks Philipp for the tip!

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Earlier today we mentioned that Bitbop was available for Windows Phone 7 in Beta form.  Similar to Hulu, Bitbop brings streaming television to your Windows Phone.  Shows are commercial free and can be downloaded to your phone or streamed.

Our first impressions of Bitbop are good.  The app has a polished feel to it, there's a decent selection of shows and movies to choose from and the menu system is nice.  The option to download episodes and movies is nice for those times you know you'll be in a poor reception area or without access to Wifi.

Bitbop has a free 60 day trial and a full subscription is running $9.99 a month.  You can find your copy of the Beta here at the Marketplace.  Keep in mind that this is a beta version and glitches may still be present.

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Last we checked, despite our delusions and self aggrandizement, the world doesn't revolve around English. And while parts of the world await for Microsoft to bless them with native language support, some inspiring lads are taking into their own hands. (Maybe they can fix the T-Mo HD7?)

In the above case, it's Thai, which wins for coolest looking alphabet in our eyes (Korean is really neat too). It's only for Samsung devices at the moment, but it's getting there. This joins Hebrew, which was hacked a few weeks ago at XDA as pointed out by 1800pocketpc and JapaneseGood stuff.

Source: WinPhoClub; Thanks, @TonHor for the tip!

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Viber (website) a VOIP program similar to Skype, is quite popular on the iPhone for its no-frills ability to call any other Viber client in the world for free. The app though is in someways better than Skype since you don't need to sign up or register--you just download the app and use it. The app is quite pouplar on the iPhone and there are Android and BlackBerry versions coming soon.

Well, unfortunately for the same reason as Skype, they too are saying no client from them until Microsoft allows deeper access. WinMobile.SE interviewed Talmon Marco, head of Viber Media and asked him about WP7 directly. He cites three main reasons why, despite them wanting to do one, they can't make a Windows Phone app: (1) no sockets support, (2) no native code access (so can't port audio engine) and (3) no multitasking.

Once again, no surprises here--if Skype can't do it, Viber can't. Still, it seems both parties are interested, so it's just a matter of Microsoft allowing access.

Source: WinMobile.SE; Thanks, Toni, for the heads up

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We might not have Hulu Plus on our phones (yet) but perhaps the next best thing is here: Bitbop (Beta), who is run by Fox Mobile as a competitor to Hulu and is already on BlackBerry and Android (we beat iPhone).

The service costs $9.99 a month, which is not cheap, especially since you can only watch it on your phone--but you can't beat the selection of shows, all of which are commercial free. Bonus feature includes not only the ability to stream over WiFi or 3G but the option to download the show for later--great for those trips where a signal is scarce. There's also a queue for adding shows that you want to line-up for another day. (Side note: too bad WP7 doesn't have HDMI-out support yet).

The Windows Phone 7 version comes with a full 60-day trial, which is quite generous actually and from our brief test run, it's pretty awesome. The UI is done very tastefully and it's fairly easy to navigate--for instance, this is the first app we've seen to take advantage of the "letter square" system like in your contacts, but for finding shows.

Also, if you feel burned by the official Daily Show app, you can watch that and Colbert on here in its entirety (although getting to the latest episode is awkward). App is available here in the Marketplace (free download, free 60-day trial). This is technically a beta (v0.9) so expect some early glitches.

Update: Onlay available in the U.S. Sorry, you know, the rest of the planet. 

Update Part Two: Also, check out our video tour of Bitbop here.

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In what has to be the first, developer David Tepper has created a free app called simply enough iTunes Search and it's actually quite unique.

The app allows you to search both the iTunes Music and the iOS App Stores from your Windows Phone. Of course, you can't actually download anything from those stores but once found, you can then use it to search the Zune Marketplace for something similar--which is kind of crafty. Actually, this thing handles both stores better than either native app--it looks sharp, loads fairly quickly and overall wins points for an elegant UI.

Combined with the Windows Phone ability to sync with a Mac, control your iTunes and now search the Apple App store, we're wondering what other Apple-task could come next?

Grab it here in the Marketplace.

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We've heard a lot of developers in the past speak positively of working on Windows Phone 7 (and some who have not). Fairy Engine, who make Jigsaw Guru and Jigsaw Guru Free, have had an interesting experience so far with their game actually not doing so well, nor getting much attention (sorry!).

Despite the lack of enthusiasm though, they still have high regard for the new OS. In an interview with Electronic Theater, they had the following to say:

"I'm not saying everything is perfect, but Windows Phone 7 is a very pleasant platform to develop for."

Other areas they liked were the submission process and writing in C# and XNA. They also do have plans to bring more titles (unannounced) to our OS in the future including an Xbox 360 version of Jigsaw Guru. (Electronic Theater will post the full interview tomorrow) Goes to show what having a good developer ecosystem can do.

Speaking of that game, while jigsaws are not our "thang" so to speak, it actually is a nifty little gem--especially how you can use any photo on your device that you took as a jigsaw puzzle, ranging from a few pieces to a whole lot. It should keep jigsaw enthusiasts busy for sometime. They also seem to be having more success with the free-but-ad-supported version over the pay, a similar trend we've seen with Impossible Shoota (review) and that developer.

Grab Jigsaw Guru Free here in the Marketplace, for those interested.

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