3 years ago
U.S. Army testing Windows Phone, Android and iOS--will choose only two
The U.S. Army is wrapping up a six week testing of three major smartphone OSs: Windows Phone, Android and the iPhone, with hundreds of devices and even some tablets. Evidently no BlackBerry or WebOS love. The point is for the Army to "anoint" two OSs approval for usage by soldiers who are deployed or just currently in service. They won't support more in order to keep development costs down as the Army is set to have their own app store for soldiers. In addition, the Army hopes that the variety will help ward off cyber-attacks as well as giving soldiers ample choice for personal preference.
The military is going with commercially available hardware/software in order to keep costs down, plus as they point out, today's commercially available smartphones are pretty powerful:
"It's a computer; it's a display unit; it's a video-out unit," he said. "Since it is a computer-based utility in a 7-ounce package, we just started realizing there was a vast amount of potential."
Of course, deployment into the battlefield may take some time as no platform currently has encrypted transmissions, but that is something the military hopes to overcome later in the year.
Of note, the iPhone has problems in desert grounds i.e. reception issues between AT&T's coverage and the iPhone's less than stellar performance. Also at least one Android device had to be replaced:
"One popular phone from Samsung Electronics failed to connect to cellular networks and had bugs in its Android operating system, McCarthy said. So Sprint Nextel exchanged it for a different Samsung model, he said"
However, Android and iOS were "well received" so it remains to see how Windows Phone stacks up and if it makes the cut. If Windows Phone does make it into Army hands, it will be a solid boost for the fledgling OS and a vote of confidence by a pretty well known organization. We'd like to think the iPhone and WP7 make the cut while Android, due to its fragmentation, Market security vulnerabilities, poor battery life and app crashing will keep it out of the final choice. We'll keep you posted.
Source: CNN; via GeekWire
3 years ago
Yalla adds paid app support [Developers]
Good news for developers outside the loving arms of Microsoft's AppHub: Marketplace submission proxy, Yalla Apps, has added a few services to make your lives easier. First and foremost, devs can now use Yalla to submit paid apps and collect money from sales in the Marketplace. They have also begun offering payment via MoneyBookers, making payment to international developers much more convenient.
In addition, Yalla has changed their charging structure. For an annual subscription price of $99, users will be able to submit unlimited paid apps and up to 100 free ones. They will also receive a free device unlock, which normally costs 100 credits.
"Our aim is to enable people to have easy access and availability to technology, to give them the means to use their skills. The new enhancements made on the Yalla Apps platform are the perfect way of making the platform even more accessible to developers in the Middle East and Africa region, with further ways for users to make revenue from their creations and get their apps out on the market using Windows Phone 7 Marketplace," said Gustavo Fuchs, Microsoft Mobility director, Middle East & Africa.
This news is hopefully some consolation to those who learned in March that they would have to go through a third-party to submit apps to Microsoft. There was a fair bit of controversy, as Yalla's terms of service state that apps published through them will include the tag: "Brought to you by Yalla Apps on behalf of [Your Developer Name]." Furthermore, parent company, Prototype Interactive, develops apps themselves, leading some to see this as a major conflict of interest.
Source: ITP; Via: WMPU
3 years ago
AppTastic/AppAddict looks to improve upon the Marketplace
We normally don't do these types of stories, but it's Monday and it's always fun to cover things that are coming soon.
Over at DesignCrowd, a job listing site where companies can request logo or other product designs from would-be graphic designers, a new Marketplace search app looks to be coming forth real soon. The job paid $200 for the best icon/tile design for the app, which is not small change when you're a developer, leading us to believe this is more of a development house with some cash.
The app, which will be called either AppTastic or AppAddict, looks to enhance and expand upon the current Marketplace options:
"The application provides the ability to quickly find applications in the Marketplace (AppStore) as well as have a high degree of filtering (a unique feature) which can then be saved as a favorite."
We like the idea of search favorites, making it easier to find new apps of a new category. We've covered some Marketplace enhancers before like Marketplace Search (with Live Tile), AppTracker and probably the king, the WP7Applist App, so this is hardly a new concept, but hopefully AppTastic will bring some unique and polished offerings upon its release, which should be this week. It at least looks clean pretty.
Source: DesignCrowd; Thanks, Jeff B., for the tip!
3 years ago
geoDefense save data bug fix on the way
Since geoDefense’s Xbox Live debut, we’ve heard the occasional complaint from gamers who lost their save data. geoDefense isn’t a tremendously long game, but nobody wants to lose their progress – especially if they’ve put some effort into improving their scores.
The developer, Critical Thought Games, has actually been aware of the problem for a while. In a blog post at his site, designer David Whatley explains the nature of the problem:
“Well the issue is in the file handling. Essentially your highscores (and other info) are saved to a file (duh)… if the data being written is smaller than the last time, then the resulting file will still be as long as it was before the save... with the data at the end being garbage.
When I load the data, I get this trailing garbage and the whole block fails the checksum checks and thus it disregards the data as if it had been tampered with.”
So basically, sometimes when gamers replay levels, the new data ends up being smaller than the old data, corrupting the entire save file. This doesn’t affect Achievements already earned, but scores and all other in-game progress are lost.
Critical Thought has already submitted an update to Microsoft that fixes the problem. Hopefully it passes certification quickly, though we know that process can be a bumpy road sometimes. The current in-game version number is 1.5. When the next update hits, it’ll read 1.6 and your saves will be home free.
Until then, Whatley offers this advice:
“…If you play geoDefense WP7, just don't replay any levels you've already won and the bug won't happen. If it's already happened, uninstall and reinstall the game to clear the state. Once 1.6 update is out and you upgrade, then you can safely go back and replay already won levels to improve your score.”
Despite this save data trouble (which many of us have not encountered), geoDefense is one of the better tower defense games on Xbox Live. Read WPCentral’s full review for all the choice details.
Thanks, Marc G., for the heads up! The G is for geometry.
3 years ago
Swype coming to WP7 via Nokia?
Swype, a virtual keyboard maker, is said to be pinning hopes on Nokia diving into Windows Phone 7 development so they can possibly move to Microsoft's mobile platform as well as covering tablets running Windows. We recently covered how Swype made entry with WinMo and shifted a good 90% of its business to Android.
For those who aren't familiar with the technology behind Swype, it allows you to swipe your finger across a virtual keyboard to create words instead of typing. Earlier this year Swype secured a $3.5 million investment from Ignition Partners and while they've turned profitable in recent quarters, CEO Mike McSherry explains the funding will help further development and deploy on other platforms.
Do you want to see Swype on your WP7 handset, or a future Windows tablet for that matter? Check out a short video of Swype (on a tablet) after the break.
3 years ago
Customers are more satisfied with WP7 than Android says ChangeWave
ChangeWave Research has just published some interesting data that affirms our previous coverage (where WP7 was only at 44%) about the high rate of satisfaction users have with Windows Phone 7 when compared against RIM, Android and iOS. According to the chart above, Windows OS ranks just above RIM at 27%. I know what you're thinking, "you just stated that this is supposed to prove WP7 is a satisfying OS?".
Don't be fooled by the chart above folks, the percentage of Windows Phone 7 users that are "very satisfied" is actually at 57%, but Windows Mobile is only at 14%, so the Windows OS is taking into account both values. We argue that this sort of publication does the OS no justice at all since majority of readers are interested in presented data as opposed to the text underneath the chart:
"Both industry leaders are far ahead of the overall Very Satisfied ratings for the other major operating systems – Windows OS (27%) and RIM OS (26%).
But in an encouraging sign for Microsoft, we continue to see a big difference between the high Very Satisfied rating for Windows Phone 7 (57%) vs. the much lower rating for Windows Mobile OS (14%). Even so, the higher Windows Phone 7 rating has yet to produce a sustained momentum boost for Microsoft in term of buyer preferences."
We decided to create our own chart to reflect the differentiation between Microsoft's older and newer platforms. Looks much smarter, right?
All in all, positive stuff for Microsoft. While we're still behind Apple (no surprise), it's great to see a relatively high percentage, contradicting what carrier sales staff preach. Please note that the data sample shown in this report is 89% US and 11% outside the US so we would see different results in other countries. UK being a strong example with RIM still proving to be a heavy player.
Source: ChangeWave Research
3 years ago
Microsoft testing Zune in Australia
It seems Australia are in line for some Zune improvements. The Mango 4.8 Zune client displays the music tab when locality is set to Australia and/or an Australian Live ID is used. What's more interesting is that while there's only a small selection of songs and albums available, it does reveal a proposed pricing scheme (using Microsoft Points).
Songs will set music lovers back 129 points (AUD$2.13) and albums seem to be priced per song, capped at 1299 points (AUD$21.43). As an extra bonus, Microsoft has also reportedly enabled podcasts too. These are positive signs for the expanding Zune service in Australia accompanying Windows Phone Mango and the Zune Pass.
3 years ago
WP7 team working on 'market disrupting' project?
Microsoft has posted a new job opening for a Software Development Engineer in testing for Windows Phone 7. In the brief we see "DISRUPT THE MARKET" being used, indicating some potential big plans for the platform for end-users.
This could possibly have something to do with Skype? Or is it to do with the US army trailing smartphones for deployment? We could take this even further and tie in the recent augmented reality license Microsoft signed. What do you guys think of this job posting and the project? See the post after the break and sound off in the comments.
3 years ago
Mobile Nations Monday Brief - July 18, 2011
3 years ago
Fan concept: What if Windows Phone had smaller tiles?
There are two things we know about the Windows Phone system so far:
- It's constantly evolving and the WP Team are likely to make significant changes and additions in future updates, responding to user demands and usage
- With the new 30 Live Tile limit and 25+K apps, we may run out of Start screen space as we pile on tile upon tile (see the BBC News Mobile as an example)
Over at XDA, forum member tiny17 has come up with an interesting idea for a future Windows Phone UI design: long press on a start tile where upon you "halve the size" of it and then, optionally, once more, till it's 1/4 of the original size.
The idea would certainly create more space and allow you to see more without infinite scrolling. In addition, it keeps to the Metro/Tile UI without any drastic changes to the paradigm. Only issue we see may be with the 1/4 size may be too small on some 3.6" screens. Other than that, it's seems like a pretty ingenious idea and makes you wonder if Microsoft is already thinking of solutions like these for the future. Our opinion? We really like this approach and it looks good too.
Edit: To clear up some confusion, this model doesn't mandate 1/4 size tiles. It allows full size, 1/2 size and 1/4 according to the user's choice. Look closely at the above images and see how all three are represented.
Think you have an idea that doesn't dramatically alter the UI? Anyone starting to have too many tiles? Hit us up on comments.
Source: XDA; Thanks, @CarsonKuehne, for the tip!
3 years ago
Windows Phone Summary of the Week: July 11-17, 2011
Today marks the end of what has been a monster of a week (possibly the most populated summary we've had yet?) but we shall remain vigilant, grab a strong drink and battle through this summary together. We can rejoice that Mr Rubino shares his wonderful voice with the public in another WPCentral Podcast. Yep, they're still going and this isn't a joke!
Head on past the break for our weekly breakdown.
3 years ago
Blackjack Caribbean - Review
3 years ago
Dotastic - Microsoft brings social pressure to your to-do list
Here's an odd little number: Dotastic hit the Marketplace sometime today and it's yet another official app from Microsoft, specifically their FUSE Labs, which specialize in social networking technology (see the WP7 'Project Emporia'). If you're not familiar with them here's their mission statement:
"FUSE Labs works in partnership with product and research teams to ideate, develop, and deliver new social, real-time, and media-rich experiences for home and work."
Dotastic is an app that mixes a to-do list with the fun and pressure of social networking--its motto is "Achieve Together". Think of it as broadcasting things to get done to your friends, where you then compete against each other by collecting points upon task completion. It's a method of using social pressure but in a positive way, which we think is pretty ingenious (so long as your task isn't too private, ahem). From the app description:
"Dotastic is a fun way to challenge your friends and help each other get things done. Earn points for completing tasks and compete with your friends to be at the top of the leaderboard. Incentives and social pressure helps you stay motivated as you complete your tasks and share your achievements with everyone."
It's like Twitter, but with a point. The app seems to coincide with the website www.dotastic.com, which is not yet live. We imagine that website will allow you to access your account (which is done via Facebook) and use it as primary interface, whereas the mobile app is for...well, when you're on the go.
You can downland the app by clicking this link, but understand at this time it's currently not working. The app needs to communicate with the Dotastic server, which is that aforementioned website. Until that goes live, you won't be able to complete the setup. One thing is for certain, Microsoft is having fun playing around with social networks, apps and technologies akin to Google (but nicer looking).
3 years ago
13CABS Taxi lands down under
13CABS Taxi is a free mobile cab booking app for Windows Phone users in Melbourne. 13CABS allows users to by-pass call queues and book taxis direct to their location using the Windows Phones' location services. Other features include:
- Create multiple booking for future dates and times.
- Use previous locations and maintain a library of favorites for quicker bookings.
- Where's my Cab? feature allows users to check the real-time location of their cab.
- Fare estimator to give you a good indication of how much a particular fare will cost.
- Ability to sync with their my13Cabs account.
There is also a "shake to whistle" feature you can use to hail a cab to your location. All in all, 13CABS Taxi looks like a great app for your Windows Phone if you rely on taxis.
Again, this app is restricted to the Melbourne, Australia Marketplace. You should be able to download your free copy of 13CABS Taxi here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.
3 years ago
Pirate's Mind picks up online leaderboards at port
Indie developer M80 Games may be hard at work on their upcoming puzzler Buzzwords, but they haven’t forgotten about their first Windows Phone title, Pirate’s Mind either. The game recently saw two new updates in the span of a week. Let’s check ‘em out.
Pirate’s Mind version 1.6 release notes:
- This was a hotfix for unsupported characters in the font set preventing the leaderboards from showing.
Pirate’s Mind version 1.5 release notes:
- Leaderboards added!!
- Players will need to choose a username the first time the game is launched.
- Each game mode has its own leaderboard.
In our review of Pirate’s Mind, I wished for online leaderboards, and they’ve finally become a reality. We initially expected the leaderboards to utilize the third-party Scoreloop system, but M80 switched to the open-source Mogade system during development. The results do not disappoint. The game’s leaderboard now lists the top fifty daily, weekly, and all-time scores as well as the player’s position in each category. This adds a welcome competitive element to an already enjoyable game.
Not only is Pirate’s Mind free, it doesn’t even have a single in-game ad to offend the eye. Puzzle game fans should give it a spin. You’ll find it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.
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