Software

Microsoft is rolling out another update to its SkyDrive Windows Phone client today. Not a huge amount has changed in the latest version but it does bring some welcome graphical changes.

The logo has been updated to now fall in line with that seen on the web and on the desktop version  of the client, gone is the swish and onwards with the ‘flattening’. It is also adhering more to the Metro feel, dropping the rather dull skeuomorphic yellow folder icons and replacing them with their authentically digital counterparts. Yes, that means blue squares to you and me.

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Phew! We've been following the evolution of eBuddy XMS on Windows Phone since inception. The once ugly duckling app is now a beautiful and powerful alternative to the native Threads feature built into Windows Phone.

We're now hearing from the team that an update is propagating through the Marketplace, enabling 30-way group messaging across iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone devices! (If your friends are still rocking Nokia s40/s60 devices, they have to wait a little longer.)

eBuddy XMS is a free app that you can find here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. We haven't gotten our hands on the update yet, but if you have, share your thoughts in the comments or on our forums.

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Microsoft has released an update to the Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac, the app which allows Windows Phone owners to connect their devices to their Apple PC and carry out a number of tasks. From updating the smartphone to synchronising media files, the software suite is a must-have for any Windows Phone owner using a Mac.

So what's included in the v2.02 update? We're not entirely sure as the change log that's stated to be for 2.02 is actually from the previous 2.01 update. We suspect that improvements have been made to increase reliability and avoid the pesky connectivity issues between the Mac and Windows Phone. Be sure to head on over to the Mac App Store to download it, should you not have the app already.

Thanks, everyone, for tipping us!

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HTC has recently updated their Locations app for Windows Phone, which now sports handy offline navigation. Nokia beat the gun with implementing support for navigation not requiring data connectivity in their Drive app. Now HTC handset owners will be able to enjoy the same functionality as both Lumia and HTC Android owners.

HTC Locations enables the user to "share your favorite locations with photo, voice and note. Share your favorite locations to your friends", with downloadable maps as well as offline navigation. It's a pretty simple app with neat functionality.

Should you own a HTC Windows Phone, you can download HTC Locations from the OEM collection of apps.

Via: Engadget; Thanks, SolunaKitty, for the tip!

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Windows Phone hacker Heathcliff74 is announcing the immediate availability WP7 Root Tools 0.9 today. 'Root Tools is a suite of tools for Windows Phone that we've been following since inception and already features a full blown registry registry editor, file system browser, and certificate injection capabilities. But the new version comes jammed pack full of additional new and exciting features that will no doubt re-energize the homebrew community. I'm talking about features such as:

  • True and unfettered root access
  • Better performance
  • Increased device support
  • A new policy editor
  • A new software development kit

The more exciting news here, however, is the shiny new SDK (0.1) in tow, offering homebrew developers a set of APIs that tap into the same root-level features that the tool relies on. An application wishing to wield such power, however, must first seek permission from the user. That is, the users must explicity mark a particular app as "trusted". Grumble all you want, this gate is in place for obvious and serious security and privacy reasons. You don't want all those private photos on Twitter, right?

With no shortage of gullible install-everything phone users out there (see Android) policing root-required homebrew applications, Heathcliff74 admits, "will be tough." At this stage, we'll have to rely on the attentive homebrew development community to continue sniffing out crapware. In the future, however, a more centralized model complete with app certification may be in order.

All that serious stuff aside, Heathcliff74 was kind enough to let me play with the SDK prior to release and let me tell you: it's easy to use and full of awesome. Working with Delphi aficionado [ed -- *snicker*] David Golden (@GoldenTao), of MetroTwit fame, we decided to retry the implementation of my grandiose hackathon idea -- to create a complete backup the phone, including Marketplace apps. And succeed we did.

 

Screenshots of the upcoming Complete Backup app.

While the app isn't quite ready yet -- we still need to button up some networking code, resolve app guids to names, create a restoration app, etc. -- it will support the complete backup (and eventual restore) of Windows Phone application data to the PC via native sockets. And better yet, it'll be completely open-source and available on GitHub.

So at this point, you're probably thinking: "Where do I get this spoonful of delicious?" Simple. Head over to Heathcliff74's new home on the Internet, where he will blog about and host the WP7 Root Tools XAP. But be warned: The software drills deep into the phone. I can't recommend enough that you use Zune to backup your device prior to install. Oh, and you need to have a device that's "Interop Unlocked" (or flashed with a custom hacked ROM). Sorry.

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Though we reported awhile back that BitTorrent applications had an uncertain future in the Windows Phone Marketplace (for perhaps obvious reasons), it looks like Microsoft may have decided what to do about potential app submissions.

'TorrrentRemote' is a new app from codeJoker and it looks like it's near complete. What's more impressive and pertinent though is evidently Brandon Watson from Microsoft told the developer it "should be fine" for the Marketplace. Of course, this isn't a native BitTorrent application but instead accesses uTorrent running on your PC remotely. Presumably this is why it can get approval through the marketplace, as opposed to DTor.

Of course we know mistakes can be made in these areas, so we'll wait and see what happens. But if accurate, we're at least a little excited.

[via 1800PocketPC]

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File under: Whoa, completely forgot about that...

Last February, we got a gander at SPB's Mobile Shell 5.0 and then , never heard about it again. (See out hands-on video at MWC).

Well, today that's changed as SPB has finally re-announced the extremely popular UI replacement for Windows Mobile (and Android and Symbian...wait, whuh?)

Some of the key features mentioned are

  • The first complete 3D mobile phone interface, offering an extremely fast and natural user experience. User interactions become much more intuitive in a real 3D environment.
  • Single place to access all smartphone features: combining traditional widget based homescreen and application launcher via stunning 3D homescreen.
  • Fast switching between screens with a single gesture.

There's no date on when you can buy it and unfortunately, SPB seems to be aiming at OEMs and carriers as their #1 customers. Lets hope they didn't cut our the end-user!  Stay tuned...and check out that swipe at HTC Sense in the video. Hello!

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Microsoft has released Windows Live Messenger for the Zune HD. Messenger for the Zune will let you check out social updates from Facebook, Flickr, or MySpace and chat with your friends. It also supports Facebook Chat just like Messenger on your Windows PC.

Messenger is available for download through the Zune Marketplace and could be a good indicator on what Messenger on Windows Phone 7 might look like.

via: windowsteamblog

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Microsoft released Windows Live Essentials 2011 yesterday afternoon. While the Windows Live software package is focused on PC functionality and Windows 7 integration, there is a growing connection to Windows Phones.  Especially Windows Phone 7.

For those not familiar with Live Essentials, it is a series of tools and applications that range from Family Safety filters for the internet to Windows Live Mail.

Essentials also contains several connected services that we expect will integrate with your Windows Phone 7 device. These services include:

  • Windows Live Photo Gallery:  A photo management application that has the ability to share photos on your Skydrive, Flickr, and Facebook accounts.
  • Windows Live Movie Maker:  A video editor that has the ability to instantly publish movies to YouTube.
  • Windows Live Messenger:  While known for it's instant message ability, Messenger now allows you to stay in touch with friends on Facebook, LinkedIN and MySpace.
  • Windows Live Mail: An email application that keeps you in touch with your Hotmail and other email clients.
  • Windows Live Mesh:  Mesh will give you the ability to sync files across multiple devices and to your Skydrive making them accessible wherever you are.

How tightly integrated these connected services will be with Windows Phone 7 has yet to be seen.  We could easily see taking a photo and it's automatically uploaded to your Photo Gallery storage on Skydrive or create a Word Document on your PC and have it accessible through Mesh on your Windows Phone. While you can do all this now, everything will be native to the Windows Phone and third party apps or plug-ins won't be needed.

We have heard that Windows Messenger will be a part of Windows Phone 7 and cloud storage has been increased with Skydrive increasing from 2 gigabytes to 5 gigabytes.

The one feature that most will agree was the KIN's strongest feature was the KIN Studio. The KIN Studio offered online access to your phone's photos, videos, messages, contacts and social feeds. Many felt it was the one feature that should carry over to Windows Phone 7 and with the updates to Windows Live and the release of Essentials 2011 we may very well see this be WP7's Studio?

You can download your copy of Windows Live Essentials here and follow the break for some screen shots and observations on the update process and finished product.

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Police Scanner headed to Windows Phone 7

Police Scanner for Windows Phone 7, developed by Carmelo Milian (developer of PhotoWiz), is dialed in and ready for release. The application taps into Police and other emergency service feeds from various cities in the U.S. and abroad.

Based on the demo video, locations range from Los Angeles, California to Memphis, Tennessee to Manitoba, Canada. The application browses for feeds, pick country, then state, then get all feeds (a little over 2,000). You also have a handy "Ten Code" reference to make it easy to interpret what "10-09" or "10-20" means.

Police Scanner is an interesting application that brings a new twist to Windows Phone 7. It will be nice to see this one in action.

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PhotoWiz transitions to Windows Phone 7

The popular photography app, PhotoWiz, is making the transition to Windows Phone 7. The application is a quick reference guide for photography providing information on exposure, shutter speeds, depth of field calculations, as well as tips and tricks to improve your photography.  We liked the Windows Mobile version and based on the demo, the Windows Phone 7 version looks just as good.

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The popular HTC Sense Home Tab modifier, Cookies Home Tab (CHT) is on the road to being updated. Version 2.0 Beta has been released to the public over at XDA Developers. The highlights of the update include:

  • left/right sliding pages configurable from 1 to 7 pages (separately configurable for portrait, landscape and lockscreen)
  • redesigned softkey area, bottom menu and tab slider (tap and hold the slider button, don't just tap and release)
  • quick links can be configured in any row by column layout
  • new links that are can be freely moved anywhere on the screen (free links - add from popup menu)
  • free links have a slide-to-launch feature on the lockscreen
  • more widgets: email, sms, RSS, weather, clocks (digital, flip and analog)
  • add-on widget framework: widgets can be made by anyone and installed as an addon cab
  • widgets can be pinned into place and some can be freely re-sized

The most noticeable change with v2.0 Beta is the softkey redesign. A softkey panel overlays the traditional Sense slider. If you press and hold the three-directional arrow icon, the Sense Slider will appear. I'm not sold on the softkeys yet but if you end up preferring the more traditional look, you can turn the softkeys off in the Cookies Home Tab Editor (which is also in the v2.0 beta stage).

Version 2.0 requires Sense 2.5 running on a WVGA or VGA Windows Phone. HVGA is not supported. You will also need .NET CF 3.5 which can be found here. Unfortunately, settings for previous versions of CHT are not compatible with v2.0 Beta. There is good news though, exported settings for v2.0 will be forward compatible with future 2.xx versions.

While v2.0 Beta looks really good it is a beta version.  We still we have to toss out the customary caveat that the beta version may have bugs and you should proceed at your own risk. In testing out v2.0 Beta I did experience a few bugs ranging from Sense restarting on a finger swipe to the Cookie's main page being off-set just a smidgen. Nothing critical but just signs that this is a beta version.

Cookies Home Tab has built a reputation for bringing extensive customization and functionality to HTC Sense. Version 2.0 lives up to that reputation and then some.  Once the bugs get ironed out of the Beta, v2.0 will be hard to beat.

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We saw some early renderings of the Foursquare app for Windows Phone 7 way back in March, since then not too much. The social-check-in network has become one of the more popular inventions of late, as it not only allows you  to alert your friends of your location (plus quick directions for them), but by unlocking "badges" and "mayorships", you can have some fun with it too.

Above are some actual shots on a Samsung device and we have to admit....lookin' good

Not too much to say otherwise, just that we're psyched when we launch the Windows Phone Marketplace on Day 1, it will be populated with all the major apps of 2010/2011.

[via Anand Lyer (Twitter)]    

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For the uninitiated, Kinoma Play (and FreePlay) is one of the very best multimedia apps available for Windows Mobile. The slick UI, support for numerous media types, social integration, and massive content selection make Kinoma one of those apps that really sets the bar for everyone else. For those of you still using Kinoma on a regular basis, an update is available for both Play and FreePlay. This update apparently addresses issues with YouTube playback.

Anybody out there still using Kinoma on a regular basis?

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'Zombies!!!' is the latest title slated for the upcoming Windows Phone 7 launch. Based on the award-winning board game by Twilight Creations. Software developer Babaroga will be offering the graphically pleasing game for WP7.

Promising to bring murder, mayhem and plenty of Zombies to your Windows Phone 7 device, Zombies Mobile Edition will worth checking out. Graphically, the game takes a unique player perspective and has excellent design, offering what looks to be hilarious campy fun.

Peep the full teaser-trailer after the jump. Totally worth it.

Oh, and can someone pass that cup of...braaaaains!? --Mal

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Microsoft has released Office Mobile 2010 for Windows Mobile in various languages. You can find Office Mobile 2010 over at the Marketplace in the following languages.

Russian, Czech, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Portuguese, Swedish, Polish, Norwegian, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Greek, German, French

As you can tell from the screen shot, the title of each version is long enough to cut off which version is which. It may take a little effort to find the language you are looking for but, hey, it's a free app!

via: mobilitydigest

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Winmote 7 (or WMote 7) is a remote control application for Windows Phone 7 that allows you to access and control your computer through your Windows Phone 7 device.

In watching the video demonstration, WinMote allows you to control and view multi-media apps that reside on your computer. Granted my French is énormément rusty, but loosely translated the features include:

  • Remotely control your browser to access web sites
  • Listen to radio channels
  • Watch videos stored on your computer from your Windows Phone
  • Remotely control television viewers
  • View and download photos
  • Remotely control and view Powerpoint presentations

Running from what appears to be a Windows Phone 7 developer's unit, WinMote appears to run smoothly and interfaces nicely with the PC.  No word on when or where WinMote will be available. It's an interesting application worth looking for when Windows Phone 7 hits the masses.

via: mobilitydigest

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Microsoft just announced their international roll-out of the Zune music and entertainment service to more than 20 countries this fall. Seeing as the Zune marketplace and software is at the core of Windows Phone 7, this announcement is not too surprising, but it is welcomed nonetheless.

Beginning this fall (we bet October), Microsoft will make the Zune services available in U.K., France, Italy, Germany and Spain and 15 other European countries (part of that EFIGS list, no doubt). In addition, we'll see the new Zune software bumped to v4.7 which will add the Windows Phone 7 device support (goodbye ActiveSync!).

The Zune marketplace allows syncing of music, videos, podcasts (audio and video), pictures, games/applications and will now includes the ability to watch HD movies:

The updated Zune software will also enable instant streaming of high-definition movies, allowing you to watch some Zune Marketplace movies in HD, with no download time, directly on a Windows PC.

Consumers will now be able to purchase movies to download and watch anywhere — on the big screen in the living room with Xbox LIVE or their Windows-based PC as well as sync it to their Windows Phone 7 to enjoy on the go.

Huzzah! We like this a lot.

Prices in the U.S. will remain the same at $14.99/month for the Zune Pass (not required), which gives unlimited music downloads and the ability to "keep" 10 MP3s a month. (So much for that price reduction rumor).

No word on Mac support, but we're assuming Microsoft will do something about that in the future as well--after all, large updates to our new phones are reliant on desktop-syncing (with small updates available OTA).

What can we say? We love the Zune marketplace, Zune Pass and the ability for '3 screen' support of all our music, podcasts, pictures and now HD movies and TV. We can't wait till this all comes together in a few weeks...you?

Read the full presser after the break.

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In a nice demonstration of just how easy it is for Silverlight developers to port over their creations to Windows Phone 7, the developer of the classic online game 'Zero Gravity' has ported brought over his creation for our new OS. He had this to say about the process:

What amazed me the most out of this whole experience is that the codebase written back in WPF/e was able to be recompiled with very little modification into the latest version of silverlight

You can read more on Ryan's game here and if you want, you can just play the game right now online by going here: http://zerogravity.terralever.com/  We just love the cartoony graphics.

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As an alternate to the official Twitter app and Seesmic, Twozaic seems to offer quite a radical departure in terms of UI for the popular social network.

In a new and reportedly "final" video for the software, we get to see exactly how it will play out on our future Windows Phone 7 devices.

The program differs mostly in the UI, specifically featuring a "cloud" view of your contacts in addition to the traditional "long scroll" view. It seems a bit busy to us, but we're all for different takes on software and we know some of you will prefer this--alternatives are always good.

The listed features of Twozaic are:

  • Twozaic supports different views of all your twitter timelines: cloud view, histogram & ordinary list view.
  • You can also post pictures with geo location using Plixi (Tweetphoto), Yfrog or Twitpic.
  • Twozaic supports multiple accounts with easy switching.
  • You can search users and tweets.
  • You can create your own lists, add members, and follow lists of other people.
  • Twozaic offers full support for managing your friends and followers as well as sending and managing direct messages.

Read more on it here: http://www.virtual-remote.com/twozaic; watch the full demo video after the jump!

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