Looking for that last minute gift for the Windows Phone user in your life? If they haven't upgraded to one of the new Windows Phones, any one of the Windows Phone 7 devices would be on the top of our list. But for those who have already upgraded to Windows Phone 7, there are plenty of accessories and applications to choose from that would be great gifts.
We have put together a short list of recommendations on apps and accessories. If you're stumped on gift ideas for your Windows Phone user, follow the break to see what we would make for great gifting ideas.
The title says it all, but let us get into some details about the closing of Microsoft's KIN Studio, which was the backbone in the cloud for the device.
Evidently, come January 31st, people with KINs (all two of you) will lose the ability to do everything over-the-air, except use your Zune Pass over WiFi and email. What exactly is everything? Check it:
Feed Reader will stop working
Search Near me will stop working
Posting Photos to social sites will no longer be possible
Most pictures currently on Kin will only appear at thumbnail resolution
Posting to Social Networks will no longer work.
No comments from the loop
Social network contacts will disappear.
Loop will stop to work
Kin Spot will only send to emails.
Social networks only accessed from web browser.
So outside of making phone calls and playing music, the KIN is really, truly dead. Why even bother after that last, half attempt at a re-launch? We have no idea either. But Verizon is trying to make things right by letting users know now to back up their data now and going one step further, allowing them to pick a 3G phone of their choice for FREE. Offer is valid only through March 31st. Attached are some images from the pamphlet that Verizon is sending out to KIN customers. More can be found here.
We've been waiting on it for two weeks but late tonight (morning for most of you), the Beezz update finally happened. [See our earlier hands-on video]
A cursory look of the app shows no major changes to the UI, but the big new feature is the ability to receive Direct Messages and Mentions as pushed "toast" notifications (those at the top of the screen) and Home (live tile) notifications, which gives you a counter of how many new Tweets have happened since your last check in. (Also, search now works as well).
Overall it seems to be working very well--it's quick to push the messages/alerts and we're quite pleased. Along with GoVoice (Google) and everything is coming along nicely on WP7 just one month out. Of course the app is still free and you can download it here (opens your Zune desktop).
Analyst Charles Wolf of Needham and Co., is calling the launch of Windows Phone 7 a success. Wolf bases his analysis not on current numbers, but on Microsoft’s commitment to marketing Windows Phone 7. The report further states that if Microsoft continues to grow market share, Google’s Android platform could be the big loser. Much of Android’s success is due to Verizon’s Droid line of phones, which in turn can be attributed to the lack of a Verizon iPhone. A potential iPhone launch on Verizon, coupled with Microsoft’s commitment to CDMA support, could leave Google the odd man out.
We made mention of an update to Beezz some time ago. The update would add a live tile, toast for direct messages, language support, and other fixes. The update ran into some snags when first submitted for validation.
Based on the Beezz Tweets, the problems have been addressed, corrected and the update has been validated. Next stop the Zune Marketplace.
Not sure how long it takes to go from validation to being pushed out by Zune but keep an eye on your Marketplace Tile for the update. Based on the Tweet, we should see it later tonight. If you haven't downloaded Beezz, you can find it here (opens your Zune desktop).
Metro Browser ($1.99 + free trial) has quickly gone through the ranks to become one of the best selling browser add-ons in the Marketplace. Hitting v2 and now v2.5, a lot of requested functionality has been integrated, including managing favorites (renaming, reordering), saving pictures, as well as adding a send link (Twitter, email, text).
We decided to give you folks a brief video tour to show off the usefulness of this browser as well as the added changes. Grab it here (opens Zune).
There are plenty of great Xbox Live games in the Marketplace but there are way more indie games to be found and here are two that rise to the top.
Impossible Shoota is actually one of the top games in the Marketplace, sitting at number nine for free games and it has had over 13,000 downloads since its release just under a month ago. It's a classic ship bullet game with simple controls, great effects and some rocking sounds. A new update was just released which includes leaderboards and some bug fixes. Cost = free, so there is zero reason not to try this game if you want some quick arcade style fun.
The second is less known, which is a shame because it's pretty amazing. Called Decimation X2 by Xona Games, it's basically Space Invaders on steroids. With huge explosion effects, rapid fire game play and fantastic music, it's tons of fun. Plus, the company has Decimation X and the brand new Decimation X3 for the Xbox 360--those latter games are in the top five in Japan and we can see why after playing X2. The cost is $0.99 which we think is worth it and there is a try-before-you-buy. (Correction: Xona Games is based in Canada & X2 doesn't have bosses, just X3; they're also working on a small update to increase the finger bar size for easier usage)
But hey, just watch the video to see them in action. Grab Impossible Shootahere and Decimation X2here.
One of the nice things about having Office Mobile is the ability to not only view those Office docs on the go, but to edit them as well. But getting those files to your device can be a challenge. We already saw one homebrew solution, which basically creates a local server for you to download files to your device.
Another, more simple solution is to just use Dropbox. While we still don't have a mobile application for the service (crosses fingers) you can use their site through Mobile Internet Explorer, which works just a well. In fact you can easily grab your files on the go this way. The only downside is you cannot upload Office documents, just photos, to Dropbox and for some that is a no-go. Then again, the free service "Send to Dropbox" allows you to easily email your modified files back to Dropbox, which we think is pretty darn cool.
Microsoft is steaming right along with it's half-a-billion dollar marketing campaign for the new Windows Phone. We've seen plugs in television shows highlighting emailing photos, using Bing and other Windows Phone 7 features.
The latest ad from Microsoft shifts the focus to Xbox Live. From touching on the Windows Phone 7 game "Need for Speed: Undercover" to having an Xbox Live Avatar in the male lead, the thirty second spot is all about Xbox.
Thanks goes out to JUST VISITING for tipping us on the video.
Jabra has been producing quality Bluetooth accessories for years ranging from wired to Bluetooth headphones and speakerphones. The latest Windows Phone accessory from Jabra is the Cruiser 2.
The Cruiser 2 is a Bluetooth in-car speakerphone that is billed as having "superior sound for hands-free calls in the car". Jabra incorporates their Noise Blackout technology, along with dual microphones, to offer clear, understandable calls.
We liked the original Jabra Cruiser and to see if the Cruiser 2 lives up to the Jabra standard, follow the break.
Update: WinRumors is reporting from an unnamed source that Microsoft will detail this update in February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. More specifically, there will be two updates: one for copy/paste + CDMA in January and this bigger one sometime thereafter.
The developer also states that the update will also relax some of the restrictions that Microsoft has placed on developers including in-app downloads and local application deployment for corporations. One thing is certain; this update can’t come soon enough for many users. What’s on your wish list? Are you waiting on additional functionality before you make the jump to Windows Phone 7? Sound off in the comments!
Eonmatrix is offering Places for Windows Phone 7 that is a location based search engine that will help you find restaurants, coffee houses, hotels and other landmarks that are in your area.
The layout of the app is simple and straight forward. The main page has nine main search categories as well as a keyword search field. Above the search field you'll find your current location that the searches will be based off of. Simply tap on a category and a listing of those business types will be generated that are in your area.
The results can be displayed in list form or by a map with pushpins representing the results. Once you've found your target, tapping on the individual listing will pull up a secondary hub that details that particular business.
Looks like Microsoft can boast a little about its new mobile operating system after all. Recently, at the Evolve conference in London, Microsoft Games Studios' Kieron Connell had some interesting fighting words regarding Microsoft, Apple and the mobile phone market:
I think there are too many people with too much money invested to let Apple win in terms of flooding the entire market
You'd better believe Microsoft is very serious about Windows Phone 7, and protecting their part of the business. It's going to be an interesting time - that's for sure.
It's been repeated quite a few times before but no matter what the numbers say, Microsoft is certainly in this for the long haul and they won't go down easy. And we know from their Xbox past, they can be very stubborn when they want a market.
We love some good competition around here and GoVoice, the original Google Voice application for Windows Phone 7, has gone 2.0 this morning making it quite attractive for those who rely on Google Voice services.
The big change is the use of GVMax, a donation-supported service that will handle the "pushing" of Google SMS and voicemail notifications to your phone (here's an overview of the service by LifeHacker). In conjunction with the live tile counter, GoVoice is the most full featured Google Voice app currently on the market (though we imagine the similarly named GVoice is going to try and play catch up real soon). You'll have to take a few minutes to set up GVMax, but it's quite painless from our experience.
The program is currently $2.99, though the developer, Nick Yu, is aiming to make it free while the push-service will cost $1.99 a year.
We'll be doing a review roundup of all the Google Voice apps currently available shortly. Stay tuned. Click here to open Zune Desktop to grab the free trial.