Square Off is a fine twin-stick shooter from Australian indie developer Gnomic Studios. Just see our review if you don’t believe me (then again, I wrote that, too). Since their game’s release, Gnomic has shown the game a lot of support with multiple updates and the release of a free, ad-supported version. In fact, just recently they published a new update for paid and free versions alike.
Square Off version 1.5 release notes:
Choose any colour for your Square Avenger!
Downloadable ring-tones and wallpapers (the free version has 1 of each, the paid version has 4 ring-tones and 3 wallpapers)
Option to disable in-game vibration
Messages from the Developers
Stability and bug fixes
What’s more, the paid version is on sale for only $1 until the end of January. A perfect time to snag it and get those extra ringtones! Gnomic was also kind enough to provide a Square Off lockscreen wallpaper for our readers, which you can see to the right.
Square Off (paid) is on sale for $1 for a limited time only. Get it here on the Marketplace. The ad-supported FREE version can be found here.
With day one of CES 2012 packing the Windows Phone punch that we were all hoping for, with the Lumia 900 being announced, AT&T backing the platform, the HTC Titan II surprising technology minds, as well as Steve Ballmer skating around the convention to get to multiple sessions. It was an eventful day to say the least. Day two, on the other hand, was relatively laid back with WPCentral setting up some insightful interviews with the big names behind Nokia and Microsoft. We also took a look at some new Mango handsets that weren't seeing much spotlight coverage.
Interview with Belfiore and Shields: We took Microsoft's Joe Belfiore and Nokia's Kevin Shields hostage for half an hour while we interrogated them about the platform and what plans the two companies have for 2012. Check out the interview for some insightful and enlightening responses.
Lumia 710 & 800 heading to Canada: Stephen Elop announced in an interview with Nokia Conversations that the 710 and 800 will be coming to his homeland, Canada. We've received numerous complaints from Canadians who feel left out when it comes to Windows Phones, so this is great news for those who wish to get their hands on the latest family from Nokia.
Windows Phone smoking the competition: Microsoft's Ben Rudolph (Ben the PC Guy) has been hoarding himself around CES looking for prey to humiliate. Should you have an iPhone, Android handset, or other competitor handset, you could be in with the chance of pocketing $100 by attempting to best Windows Phone in a challenge. With results so far, Windows Phone is holding its head high.
Acer Allegro: We take a look at the Acer Allegro (finally). The low-spec'd handset is destined for new smartphone owners and the developing markets, but don't let that fool you. Acer's Windows Phone is actually not a bad device overall, and it's good to have the choice available.
ZTE Tania: If you thought 8GB and 16GB wasn't enough for your music collection and apps, try 4GB for size. The Tania from ZTE is a low budget handset and the specs reflect this, but the Tania really took us by surprise by how good the handset looks/feels. If only ZTE would up the specifications on another model and ship to Europe and the U.S.... we can only dream.
Be sure to check out our first day recap, should you have been asleep throughout the day and missed the big announcements.
The French mobile network Orange is offering to purchase five apps from the Marketplace for new Nokia Lumia 800 buyers. When downloading the first five apps, instead of using an attached credit card, the Windows Phone owner can choose "Orange bill" as the payment option and the carrier will not charge these five apps to the next bill. The beauty of this offer is Orange will allow any app that costs up to €14.99, so in theory you could get €75 worth of apps for free. Not bad!
The offer is for new purchasers of the Lumia 800 (available in black and magenta), and will be running from January 12 to February 8, 2012.
Nokia has had a good amount of success with the European launch of the Nokia Lumia 800 and has hopes that success continues as the company begins its push into the North American market. The first Nokia Windows Phone for the U.S. Market is the Nokia Lumia 710, that is now available over at T-Mobile.
The Lumia 710 is a compact, entry level Windows Phone that sports a 3.7" screen that is protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass. The latest Windows Phone feels solidly built and comfortable in the hand.
As with other second generation Windows Phones, the Lumia 710 is designed more for a specific audience and may not appeal to everyone. Some will find the 8gb of storage limiting and the missing front-facing camera disappointing. It may not suit your fancy but the Nokia Lumia 710 is a very good Windows Phone and a nice entry level model. It represents Nokia very well as their first U.S. Windows Phone.
Bug Village – the first freemium Xbox Live game (smartphone or otherwise) – is now available. What’s a freemium game? That means everyone gets the full game for free. But the developers at Glu Mobile also offer some premium content (PDLC) for dedicated players to buy. The PDLC here (Coins) allows you to build special structures and/or speed up the time it takes your bug minions to complete tasks. It’s completely optional and you can earn the full 200 GamerScore without spending a dime, so no worries!
Bug Village is also the first city-building game on Windows Phone. As mentioned, you’ll be recruiting an army of hard-working insects and expanding your village as you see fit. With detailed 3D graphics and the aforementioned Achievements, Bug Village is a game every Windows Phone owner should try. See our developer interview for more details.
Ready for a deal? Implode! - the Xbox Live Deal of the Week, has officially gone on sale for $1.99. Not a bad price for such a lengthy game!
Implode! takes place in a classroom setting with each puzzle drawn on a chalkboard. The goal: blowing up buildings as efficiently as possible. Over the course of 150 levels, you’ll get to use a variety of different explosives and face many challenging conditions such as wind, low gravity, and neighboring buildings that mustn’t be harmed. I hate those buildings! Don't they know you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette? Anyway, as our review indicates, Implode!’s puzzles get quite tough sometimes, but it remains fun throughout.
Implode! is on sale for $1.99 (down from $2.99) for one week only. Pick it up here in the Marketplace and let the explosions commence.
WPCentral was lucky enough today to sit down with Nokia's senior vice president, Windows Phone program management Kevin Shields and Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone program management.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the focus was on Nokia, the Lumia 900, re-entering the US market and anything else would could think to ask. Having said that, sorry folks, no new feature announcements were revealed about the Windows Phone OS as both gentlemen outsmarted our attempts. (We're betting on Mobile World Congress next month for more info on "Tango").
The interview, all 25 minutes of it, can be seen above and we think it is quite interesting, especially as we ask about what are Microsoft's and Nokia's biggest challenges in the US, how did the Lumia 900 come to be (including the design process), what should we expect from the LTE experience and more. Clearly Microsoft is expecting Windows 8 to add another "jolt" to Windows Phone in 2012 and we couldn't agree more.
In addition, we had some more hands-on time with the Lumia 900 and folks, we're really excited about this beauty as it is quite the Windows Phone. More on that later this week in our podcast.
A big thanks to Microsoft and Nokia for extending the opportunity for this interview and iMore's Rene Ritchie for assistance.
Edit: The last few minutes got cut off, so we have a new version coming up in a little bit.
The ZTE Tania is an interesting Windows Phone. It only features 4GB of storage (the lowest of any with only 2.9GB available), a 5MP camera and yet has a really decent 4.3" screen. To top it off, we really like the design of it, especially with the chrome accent. Of all the entry-level Windows Phones we played with today, the ZTE Tania kind of surprised us.
Even the back had a nice, designer look to it, which makes us wish ZTE would just step up the specs here for the States and Europe. Throw in 16GB storage, an 8MP camera with a front-facing counterpart and ZTE could be making some waves here. Make it 32GB, AMOLED and 4G and we're talking head turner. Let us just say, we're interested in this phone and company.
Look at that, the Acer Allegro, an admittedly low-spec'd device is here at CES 2012 in Las Vegas. Microsoft is showing off the phone with numerous laptops on the show floor.
While the 1GHz device with a 3.6" screen doesn't inspire "oohs and aahs" it ain't half bad either for developing markets. With a 5MP camera and 8GB of storage, it should satisfy a lot of new users to the smartphone world. Either way, it was finally nice to see one in person.
Do you use MetroRadio and/or RadioControlled for your Pandora interaction on Windows Phone? Then you may (or may not) have noticed that those apps have stopped working...again.
Reason? Simple, really. These apps use undocumented APIs to access the Pandora service. Pandora, for whatever reason, changes them on occasion breaking app functionality. Are they doing it on purpose to disrupt these apps? Who knows, maybe or maybe not. What we do know is that it means you'll have to wait till both developers update their apps to fix it and from what we've heard, both devs are hard at work on fixing it.
Until then, MetroRadio is "hidden" from the Marketplace and RadioControlled has submitted their fix (and "future proofed" it against this type of situation occurs again). Stay tuned though, we'll give you a tour of the new working Radio Controlled soon enough.
Carly and the gang over at T-Mobile are running a new ad focusing on T-Mobile TV and the wireless carriers 4G network. You will also be introduced to America's first Nokia 4G phone, the Lumia 710.
The T-Mobile TV app comes pre-loaded on the Nokia Lumia 710 (and probably every other smartphone T-Mobile carries) and will be available tomorrow at T-Mobile.com, authorized retail stores and Target, Costco, and Wal-Mart stores nationwide. With contractual discounts, you're looking at just under fifty bucks for Nokia's first U.S. Windows Phone.
Microsoft is giving a preview of five new Xbox Live games today at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show. No specifics on pricing or in which order these games will be released and some of these titles we've heard mention of before. They all look really nice and as we learn more about these titles we'll definitely pass it along.
As we mentioned earlier, Microsoft's Ben Rudolph (known as Ben the PC Guy) is on-site at CES, looking for inferior phone users willing to accept his speed test challenge. The test in question, from what we hear, involves both Ben and a challenger performing a selected common scenario -- like taking a picture and pushing it to Twitter as fast as possible --, network and fat fingers permitting. (They get a warm up session in an attempt to even the playing ground.) Whoever finishes that scenario first takes the bacon.
Judging by the results thus far, Windows Phone is smoking the competition. You can keep an eye on the steady stream of losers by following @BenThePCGuy or watching tweets tagged with #smokedbywindowsphone.
(Edit: Turns out pushing to Twitter is only one of a few scenarios you can pick from. I genericized the post to reflect this.)
Yesterday, it was revealed that the Nokia Lumia 800 will be sold here in the US through Microsoft's growing chain of stores as well as online. Since there are no plans for any US carriers to sell the 800, buying it unlocked through Microsoft is really the only way consumers here can grab that phone.
The big question everyone has was what GSM bands would this feature? We just met with Microsoft and Nokia and figured we'd ask. Turns out, it will be optimized for AT&T, which depending on your current carrier (and loyalty) is good or bad news. Here are the bands it will support:
No details on exact release dates but we're probably looking at just a few weeks at both Microsoft Stores and their online market. It should be a pretty good score though for those who want the smaller Lumia as the 900 can be quite large for small hands.
Remember Brandon Watson's charitable challenge to known technology enthusiasts last year to see if they'd like Windows Phone? We're back with a similar offer, but this time it's aimed at the general public and $100 is on the table. Should you be using an iPhone, Android handset, Blackberry, etc. then you're eligible for the speed test against a Windows Phone. Ben Rudolph (Ben the PC Guy) is at CES 2012, and is on the hunt for challengers who believe their smartphone can best Microsoft's platform.
Should he be beaten, the victor will pocket $100. Should Rudolph reign champion, all you need to do is admit that your phone was smoked by a Windows Phone. There also may be a nice consolation prize in the mix as well. Be sure to follow Rudolph on Twitter and keep an eye on Microsoft/Windows Phone Facebook pages to see where he'll be hosting the challenges. Oh, and be sure to follow the hashtag #smokedbywindowsphone on Twitter too.