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The wildly popular iPhone game (yes, we're taking them all, thank you) Parachute Panic by FDG (in conjunction with MGS) is coming to our Windows Phones this week.

The game is a classic "parchute game" where you try to land your hapless skydiver on a moving ship. In the meantime, aliens, birds and even a shark all try to complicate your progress. Having played the game on my iPad, I can say it's actually quite a lot of fun: addictive and yet frustrating too.

This unique casual game requires you to successfully land a host of parachutists into passing boats. Beware of imminent dangers such as helicopter blades, U.F.O´s, sharks and thunder clouds. The game offers beautiful hand drawn graphics, smooth animations, catchy acapella music and awesome sound effects. In addition to that we created funny animations for any failed enemy encounter :D We had a lot of fun creating this game and hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

No word on pricing but this should be a pretty big hit, we think. [Update: price is $2.99, available worldwide]

Source: FDG Website; via @KarlStricker

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Due to having no sockets support, multitasking or the ability to run native code, companies like Skype and Viber are sitting on the sidelines, preventing any true VOIP application on Windows Phone 7. So leave it up to someone at XDA to try and do it themselves instead!

Developer Jefis posted this today about the project:

Hello there fellow developers. I recently made quite a progress in developing skype for WP7.

I want to share my current progress with you, so maybe someone will want to join this little project, which, in future will be released for free, and probably with source code .

I'm not designer, as you will see from the screenshots, but, if you are, and want to join this effort in making skype, contact me asap.

Current status of project: Working contacts + ability to chat. Nothing more.

Sounds like along way to go, but even offering direct Skype chat via a client would be a welcomed addition to the homebrew community. The project is still in early stages, but we know people have been hacking away at sockets support in the community, so anything is possible.

Source: XDA; via Ali Waqas; Thanks Ali!

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On the one hand, we hate concept videos only because they seem to promise more than they can deliver--it's like a big tease. On the other hand, it's nice to think big and push the boundaries a bit as it stirs innovation, design and hopefully real applications.

The above video, which is extremely well produced, was a project by Luca Trinchero (who sent this in to us) and Gianvito Toscano at the Polytechnic of Milan in 2010 and it's of a concept app called 24 Seven (catchy!). It looks like a combo of Groupon and ShopSavvy, presenting deals to you on the go, the ability to scan barcodes for price comparison and evidently a way for your roommate or partner to update your grocery list remotely (that last part is pretty darn brilliant).

Finally, the app appears to total your groceries (because you were scanning each one) and you pay using the phone. We're already seeing something like that at Stop & Shop here in the States, where they let you scan, bag and pay for your items all on your own--so very feasible.  The would-be developers do tell us "..maybe we will develop it, stay tuned!"

We will guys, keep us posted.

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We covered the notion of transparent wallpapers for your unlock screen before, so this is nothing new. But the design here is kind of swanky so why not show a little support for your brand by displaying the famous "I

Designed by Lee Whitington, there are three choices: black icons with transparency, color icons solid black, or color icons with transparency (see above). To get the transparent ones, remember you'll need to email them to yourself and not save to the device, but use as Wallpaper directly.

Think you can do better? Share 'em in our forum.

Source: Lee Whitington (DeviantArt); via the Windows Club

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Yeah, so we've fallen over the whole AlphaJax craze (see George's double review of it and Spell It!; my thoughts here)

An obvious next step for the app would be for Xbox LIVE support--after all it already has great asynchronous game play/multiplayer support, push updates and is just a solid app. But not many games have gone from non-Xbox status to Xbox LIVE certified--actually we can't think of any. That's because to get that coveted status, you need to do a lot of collaboration with Microsoft and meet their very high standards to get access to the LIVE universe.

Will AlphaJax be the first to transition? We don't know but on their Facebook page, they strongly hint at the possibility. When asked about Xbox LIVE support they responded with "stay tuned...!"

Oh we will, we will. Thanks, Ricardo Dawkins for the tip

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One current limitation of Windows Phone 7 is the inability to download and manage podcasts on your device over-the-air. Awhile back we reported on a free app called simply Podcasts! which at least allowed you to stream any podcast, though not save. The app worked very well, but if you didn't want to use your precious 3G data minutes, then you were out of luck.

BringCast ($1.99, trial available) gets around this by finally allowing you to download audio and video podcasts. The selection of 'casts is limited but that's fine as you can request your favorite to be added and more importantly, you can type in the RSS URL or OMPL file to import your selection.

The app worked flawlessly on our end, though sometimes it was a bit stuttery on screen transitions. Still, for a v1.0 app we really have no complaints--the download screen is nice, it integrates with Zune's history and we dig the "what's new" screen. Pretty solid. The trial is fully functional except you get a nag screen on 1st launch and you are limited to any three feeds--but that's more than enough to tell you if it's worth the $1.99. Grab it here in the Marketplace.

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The ChevronWP7 team finally got around to updating their blog regarding the recent meeting with Microsoft and the t-shirt heard around the world.

The team is of course under an agreed to non-disclosure agreement (NDA) so whatever details they can share are somewhat vague. But here's what we know:

  • They're "genuinely excited by many of the forward-looking presentations. We can only hope they come to fruition as soon as possible."
  • ChevronWP7 "...will work with Microsoft towards long-term solutions that support mutual goals of broadening access to the platform while protecting intellectual property and ensuring platform security."

And perhaps most importantly, we know that the unlocking tool will be disabled with the upcoming NoDo update--but they are "collaborating with Microsoft on an interim solution that will continue to support homebrew developments after the update.". No details were given on what exactly that means, but will be forthcoming. Some other information gleaned: no, your Xbox LIVE accounts won't be banned for using and unlocker and Rafael Rivera at least seems confident that we'll like the "short term stuff".

In addition, the team was able to play with and test the new update, confirming that the unlocker doesn't work and managed to receive some Asus E600 developer phones for their trouble.

In summary, while we only have some vague notion of feelings on the matter given from the team, it as least sounds as if they are satisfied and that Microsoft is working on some sort of "solution" to the homebrew question, something we vigorously support.

Source: ChevronWP7 Blog; Within Windows; @withinrafael

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Can't decide between WP7 and Android?  Thanks to some of the minds at XDA, now you don't have, if you have an HTC HD2.  Due to limitations in both operating systems, WP7 will reside in NAND memory and Android will be booted from an SD card. 

Here's what you will need for the recommended method:

Once you've gathered your materials, go here to get started, or you can find another method here.  Good luck!  Try not to hose your HD2.

Source: Ali Waqas (Thanks for the tip!); via: XDA

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One thing people love doing is turning their phones into virtual Swiss Army knives and one way of doing that is making it an bedside alarm clock.

Nite Buddy caught our attention because it's free (ad supported), automatically fetches weather (GPS), has adjustable brightness, colors and overall looks pretty nice. Plus it just works so well with the HD7 or Surround's kick-stand feature. Of course when running, it will keep the screen on, so make sure you're plugged in if you want to make it till morning.

Any of you have a go-to clock app that you swear by? Let us know in comments. Grab Nite Buddy here for free in the Marketplace.

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Have you ever considered the possibility of a comedy sketch covering Blackberry, Orange, Apple, Windows and the Xbox 360? The One Ronnie, a fantastic British comedy sketch show from the BBC with Ronnie Corbett has done just this. Turning 80 in December 2010, Ronnie is a comic legend and has appeared alongside the top names in the industry.

In one clip, he is joined by Harry Enfield. Doing what they do best, they cover the technological category of personal computers and mobile phones. Although Windows Phone 7 isn't mentioned (probably for the best), the sheer comedy value of the amusement the products from Microsoft, Apple, RIM and Orange play host to is worth every second.

Thanks, @TheGeek411

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WP7 missing features around the world

It's already been noted and made aware of, that Microsoft has poorly established their Windows Phone 7 and Zune services around the world (lucky for some, eh America?). To easily display how limited some countries are with support of Microsoft's mobile platform-based services, Andrew Birch has produced a matrix displaying what is available where.

It's actually fairly disturbing once you have a good read through the table (click the image to enlarge it). The US has complete access to all features offered, which is understandable being the land of Microsoft. UK and France are next up more access than the compared list. However, podcasts and TV is presented to be solely available to the American user base (strange when podcasts are freely available). Let us not even dare to analyze poor Canada.

This seems pretty confusing for many, sure the platform is still new and coming together nicely, plus some advancements in international monopoly may occur around the time of the proposed software update time of arrival, but I can't help thinking "why release a system that many can't use properly?". To prevent more negativity presenting itself in the harshest way, Microsoft really needs to combat their Zune, WP7 and Xbox Live deployment across the globe.

But what am I saying? Competitors have this problem, and many companies in other markets experience the same barrier. It will take time for services and features to open up. It would make sense if Microsoft were waiting for demand to reach minimal levels before taking the leap, but how would the demand rise if services aren't readily available for hardware to take advantage of?

As we mentioned in a previous article, announcing the January Microsoft WP7 survey, fill in the feedback form with what you'd like to see for Christmas. Perhaps Zune coverage in your country?

Source: Andrew Tech Help via: Windows Phone Secrets

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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:

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