Software

 

Those brave souls at xda-developers are at it again. XDA forum member OndraSter has released an Alpha version of an application that reportedly enables pinch to zoom functionality on devices with resistive touch screens, such as the HTC Touch Pro2.

At this point I haven’t been able to make it work on my AT&T Tilt 2, but we are talking about Alpha software; so try at your own risk. The application is tested and should work with Opera 9.5 and 9.7, and Google Maps.  Hit up the XDA post for the download. Don’t forget to donate to the project if it strikes your fancy.

 

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SPB Software updates Mobile Shell

SPB Software has updated their Windows Mobile user interface, Mobile Shell, and inches ever so slightly towards the anticipated release of Mobile Shell 5.0 (which seems to have gone missing).

The update, version 3.5.5 adds support for 320x480 resolution, fixes bugs related to the Task Widget and other routine performance fixes. If you've recently purchased Mobile Shell and are worried about the cost to upgrade, SPB offers free upgrades for all registered Mobile Shell 3.x users. Simply download the trial version and install it over your existing version.

Mobile Shell 3.5.5 is running $29.95 and is available over at the WMExperts.com App Store.

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7

World Cup Application for Windows Mobile

Are you a fan of the largest sporting event in the world? If so, the folks over at Mobile PractiCEs have created some software to give you quick and easy access to all of the latest updates.

The guys at Mobile PractiCEs built their World Cup 2010 application as a proof of concept application for a panoramic UX (User Experience) that is very similar to the “Hubs” found in Windows Phone 7. While it is technically a beta, it is free and provides access to news, scores, schedules, and more. This application requires a touch screen device and the Microsoft .Net Compact Framework v3.5.

You can download your copy of World Cup 2010 directly from Mobile PractiCEs.

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SPB TV 2.0 is out; now free

For those of you who like free things, especially when they used to cost money then SPB will make your day. They upgraded their SPB TV software to 2.0 and in turn, made it freeware (previously it was $14.99). See a review of the older version here.

Well, it does play a mini-ad before your program starts, so more like a Hulu-method sans the cool content. A lot of it is local stations and some web-based things, no major networks, so this isn't a Hulu/Slingbox replacement by any means.

Other additions to 2.0 include

  • Video-on-Demand channels added
  • High quality h264/AVC streams supported
  • Hardware video acceleration support improved
  • Advertising added into opening screen
  • Backlight supported for new devices
  • Other bugfixes

We can't say it doesn't work well and it that is serves as a great "I'm bored, need something to do while I wait for the dentist" program, so we say go for it, after all it won't cost you anything.

It's available in touchscreen and non-touchscreen versions and you can grab it right here; unfortunately it's not available yet in the Marketplace.

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Ever have a great idea for a program that no one else has thought of, yet are hampered by the fact you have ZERO programming skills and no graphic talent? Then boy does Microsoft has a contest for you.

In an attempt to further lure interest in Windows Phone 7, Microsoft is holding a contest whereby you submit your verbal design for a dream application that doesn't yet exist. The community then votes on it and the winner's creations will be turned into a free app by professionals and dumped in the WP7 Marketplace for all to use.

You'll be a legend!

Oh and the winner gets $5,000 and a free Windows Phone 7 device.

So take those old bar napkins with your hopes and dreams scribbled in boozy ink and submit right over here. As an example, you can check out Todd Portz's creation right here (yeah, he gets a free plug since he tipped us off to this contest).

Anyways, this a great idea from Microsoft. Lets see what you folks have lurking in your geeky heads...

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Microsoft's Windows Phone Marketplace polices have been updated. These policies govern the application submission and certification process.  According to Microsoft, the changes are to "attract a much wider range of developers, from large software companies down to students and hobbyists."

These changes seem to follow Microsoft's efforts to court the development community. From offering the Development Tools for free to waiving any fees for unlocking codes, Microsoft is creating a very developer friendly environment for Windows Phone 7.

The new policies include:

  • Annual registration fee of $99
  • No limit to the number of paid apps submitted 5 free apps per registration, $19.99 each after that
  • Free registration to DreamSpark students (same unlimited paid and 5 free apps applies)
  • A new optional push notification service to help developers stay engaged with customers
  • A new optional Trial API - trials mean more customers try your app, and less likelihood that they return it. The length or type of trial is fully controlled by the developer
  • The ability to publish to all available Marketplace markets through a new “worldwide distribution” option, allowing developers to pay once and distribute broadly
  • Wider range of business models; free, paid, freemium and ad-funded

What isn't changing includes:

  • A revenue share of 70/30
  • Developers manage their business with Marketplace via the self service portal http://developer.windowsphone.com
  • Payout takes place monthly for developers that have earned more than USD$200 worldwide
  • Developers can make ad funded applications
  • All applications go through a process of technical and content certification
  • Marketplace offers support for credit card commerce, and where available mobile operator billing.

A full list of the Windows Marketplace policies can be found over at the Windows Phone Developer site.

[read: windowsteamblog.com]

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Weatherbug has been a popular application for Windows Mobile and now it looks like it is on board for Windows Phone 7. In a recent interview over at Channel 9, Weatherbug developers talked about using Silverlight and Bing Maps with their mobile weather application.

Weatherbug uses both Microsoft products in their website development and is having success moving Weatherbug over to WP7. Developers see using Bing Maps and Silberlight offers them more detailed maps, easier code to transfer to WP7, and takes a lot of the worry out of developing these applications.

This is encouraging news to see a popular Windows Mobile developer transitioning to Windows Phone 7 with such ease.  The only downside to the interview comes when Weatherbug demos their WP7 app and the video abruptly ends without showing anything.

[via: Mobility Digest]

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3

Flip2Mute Released for Windows Mobile

Flip2Mute for Windows Mobile has been released which will allow you to silence your Windows Phone when it is face down.

The application, designed by x86shadow, is similar to the native features on various HTC Windows Phones such as the HD2. Your Windows Phone needs to be running Windows Mobile 6.5.xx, have .NET CF 3.5 installed, an accelerometer, and be a WVGA device.

Along with silencing your phone, you can set Flip2Mute to turn off the screen or set the phone to vibrate. This works out great for those who are constantly in and out of meetings and need a simple way to mute their Windows Phone. Simply turn on Flip2Mute and set your Windows Phone face down on the conference table.  The only bug I experienced in testing Flip2Mute was that occasionally the phone stayed on silent even after being turned face up. 

Flip2Mute is a free application and if your interested in giving it a try, you can download it here.

[read: wmpoweruser.com]

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We'll admit that we're not hip to all those popular Flash games on the internet these days, but evidently one is being ported over to Windows Mobile this month due to its popularity.

"Learn to Fly" is about a hapless penguin who is determined to overcome his flight-challenged biology. Its has bold graphics, silly achievements and it's indeed addicting. In fact we would have written this up sooner but we're playing the online Flash game for the last hour.

We'll keep you posted on the actual release and hopefully it's as smooth as the online one. If you want to waste the rest of your day at work, go here to play the free Flash version. Apologize to your boss in advance for us, thanks!

[Pocket Gamer; thanks, segadc, for the tip!]

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Not much news here, but it's always fun to see a software developer get a chance to see their work on actual hardware.

As we've been reporting, new Windows Phone 7 developers are stuck using their computers for demonstrations or even paper cut-outs. This will be changing in a few weeks as Microsoft reveals plans for developers to get their hands on actual devices to better gauge performance (currently, the emulator uses your PCs graphics to simulate a phone--not exactly a great metric).

Developer Julien Dollon, who has made a great time-management program "Ahead", recently got a chance to get his app on a phone (Samsung Omnia HD). Although it may have looked a bit boring before, it's always cool to see it on an working phone. Makes it a bit more, you know, real.

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In the first generation of the Windows Phone 7 development software, access to sockets is not available--that's what is needed for VOIP services to work and why Skype won't (really can't) hop onto the OS just yet.  Microsoft has stated that sockets support is coming, so with one of the OTA updates (fingers crossed), this will be made available.

Until then, a hybrid-approach can be used. Such method is used by companies like iSkoot where instead of using the data connection to make the free call, it re-routes the call to a local call center which then makes the call for you over the internet. It's like Opera Mini vs Opera Mobile--in the former, the "hard work" is done off the phone remotely. However, iSkoot hasn't updated their Windows Mobile software in sometime and they haven't said anything about support for Windows Phone 7.

Step in Voxofon who operates in a similar manner. They seem to be supporting all the new OSs in town, including pushing big into Windows Phone 7. So kudos to them for taking that market seriously. Now unlike Skype-to-Skype calls over true VOIP, you are charged for making calls on Voxofon. This is done like Skype where you can buy credits and they are linked to your account. Luckily, rates are very cheap making it an affordable option for making inter-continental calls: (1.3 cents per minute).

The software looks quite nice--it's a separate dialer app that log ins to your account, displays your balance and tells you the rate per minute before you call. It's no true Skype solution, but at this point we'll take what we can get.

Read more here at Voxofon.

[tipped by Alexey G of Voxofon]

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For those who are looking for some "mobile security" or at least the illusion, F-Secure just went ahead and made their Anti-theft for Mobile free for Symbian, Android and even us Windows Mobile users.

The software is a little of 2MBs in size to download and you need .NET CF 2.0, which should be in ROM already. The install was pretty basic and overall, very easy to setup and configure.

The app itself does the following:

  • Remote lock
  • Remote locate
  • Remote wipe
  • SIM control (if SIM swapped, device locks, sends you their #)

Sure, some of this you can do already with Microsoft's MyPhone, but this ain't a half bad solution either. We've been running it on our trusty Treo Pro (yeah, it even does that resolution, go .NET) and it seems to handle like a champ. Maybe we'll even try it sometime to see if it, you know, works.

Go to http://f-secure.mobi on your phone to download directly. Read more here.

Check out a few screenshots of what it looks like after the break!

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MetroTwit beta goes live

We mentioned last week about MetroTwit, the desktop Twitter client who's UI was influenced by Windows Phone 7. At the time, the software was still too early in development to be released, but alas its creators have allowed the beta our the gate.

First thing you should know is it'll require you to install .NET Framework 4 Client Profile and Extended, which it will do on its own if you allow it. That's a whopping 89MB for that entire framework, so be prepared. Then you'll have to restart your computer and the final install of MetroTwit will take place. The actual MetroTwit program is very tiny at less than 3MB, owing to its .NET coding.

Overall, it's quite a pretty program. With its configurable columns, its very much like Seesmic. You can add/remove those columns (your feed, replies, friends, direct messages) and drag and drop to re-arrange them.

Technically it can do multiple accounts, but we had trouble getting it to do so. Especially noteworthy is the live "badge" on the icon in the Windows Start bar which displays how many new Tweets you have. Other advanced features like delete, map, conversation, show in browsers are missing as of this early build, but we imagine it's just a matter of time.

Remember, this is a beta, so there are some bugs and some of the menu/options are less than intuitive, but overall it's not too bad for such an early start.  

Get it herehttp://www.metrotwit.com/

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Looks like the 'Metro UI' thing is starting to catch on and why not? Much like how the iPhone OS can be all-blowns-up for the iPad, why not influence the desktop or browser with Microsoft's mobile UI.

Turns out Long Zheng of iStartedSomething and some pals have been working on a desktop Twitter app that looks exceptionally clean, minimalist and darn useful.

The app has been in very early stages of development, meaning they're focusing on features, not yet de-bugging and has been circulating amongst a small group of users.

Long story short, website MeuWindows figured out the URL for the download link and even bypassed the authentication...just so they could try it. Luckily Long Zheng took this as flattery and there you go.

Actually, you can now sign up for the actual beta (bottom of the page), which is expected sooner than later. We're down with that!

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One of the more interesting and useful apps in development for Windows Phone 7 is "My MediaCenter Remote" which integrates with the Windows Media Center (an under-rated features of Windows 7). Well, it's useful if you don't want to splurge $10 for a physical remote, ya cheapskate.

The latest version by dgaust is near beta, although like other developers he's anxiously awaiting a physical device to actually run it on. The features so far completed are as follows:

  • View and play Recorded TV - done
  • View and play back tv stored by myTV - done
  • View music, and create album playlists - done
  • Remote control media centre - done

What's left is tweaking up some of the graphics, which are a bit dull or just missing at this point (placeholders). Overall though, considering we are still six months from the release of WP7, it's nice to know we should have some advanced media center functionality right out the gate. But we can't help but wish this could actually stream our content instead of just being a remote for it.

Check out the full video of the program's UI in action after the break

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In what could be a smart move to both lock in a game developer and spur more development on Windows Mobile (yes, we still talk about it), Microsoft is commissioning Touch Dimensions, a recent gaming startup from Singapore.

Known for creating "natural" interfaces for gaming and having knack for those sweet little simple games that people on mobile phones often prefer, Touch Dimensions has been tasked with bringing roughly twenty games to the Windows phone marketplace and they all will be free for the consumer.

These casual games will range from "...a digital sketchpad to a Whack-A-Mole-type game that lets you smack mosquitoes to oblivion".

Want to see what they are capable of? Touch Dimensions already have two games available: "Autumn Dynasty" and "Totem Star Lite"/Totem Star Christmas".  And we'll keep you posted on when these inspired freebies start popping up!

[Today Online via WMPoweruser]

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Microsoft Tag has moved out of the Beta stages with the release of Version 1. The new release also comes with a new Terms of Service as well. According to Microsoft, version 1 improves the Tag Reader, adds a Heat Map report, and makes it available in Italian, French, Spanish, Turkish and Simplified Chinese. The basic services for the Tag Reader will be offered for free.

The new ToS seems to simply transfer any tags created during the Beta program over to the ToS of the Version 1 release. You can find out more information on Version 1 at the Microsoft Tag website as well as downloading the Tag Reader directly from here.

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Foursquare updated

If your a fan of Windows Mobile FourSquare from Touchality, then you'll be interested to know that it's been updated.

Version 1.3 is now available over at the Windows Marketplace for Mobile. The update addresses the check-in bug many were experiencing as well as a few other fixes and tweaks.

You can download the updated cab file here or get through your Windows Phone via Windows Marketpla

[via: Touchality on Twitter]

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Elecont Weather gets updated

Elecont Weather has been updated, increasing the worldwide weather coverage from 41,000 to 67,000 cities. Version 1.3.5 also includes a 10-day weather graph for day and night temperatures, an independent scheduler for weather updates, and added information on moon phases and moonrise/moonsets over a ten day period.

The graphical weather app still retains features such as UV alerts, hourly UV forecasts, severe weather alerts, barometric readings, and "feels like" temperature conversions (factoring in heat index or wind chill).

You can pick up your copy of Elecont Weather over at the WMExperts.com Software Store for $14.95. If you're not sure, there is a trial version available so you can give it a try before you buy.

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