By RogueCode, Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 at 5:33 am EST
If you haven't checked it out already, then you should head over to our developer forum. It is one of the newer sections in the growth of the forums. And it's not just for developers!
The default Metro look on Windows Phone 7 is certainly beautiful, but is not for everyone. So if you're looking to change the look of your device, then go take a look through all the different themes that our users have created, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Next up, would you like to beta test some applications/games? You will not need an unlocked phone, and it's a good chance to try out new products before the rest of the world. Also, if you are a developer why not request some testers in the forum. It always helps getting a second pair of eyes on your work.
MiniCraft is a small crafting game ported for a game Notch made.
The other day we covered Costco selling the Lumia 710 (review) for a pretty great price, specifically $0.01 on contract. The fine print also revealed at the time that the "retail price" was $269.99, which is a lot cheaper than the $350 most other places are offering it for.
Now we have an inventory screen shot showing that the 710 will be sold at select Costco brick-n-mortar stores (your guess is as good as ours as to which ones) for that very low price of $269.99. That's a heck of a deal for an off-contract phone, especially for that Nokia-quality. In addition, you can expect a free carrying case and a car charger.
Downside? Well, besides limited store-availability, you can only get black. And while black is kewl, we prefer the white one ourselves just to be a bit different. Hopefully if you're in the market for a new phone, you'll be able to find one of these stores offering this deal.
By RogueCode, Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm EST
This is a small update for those of you from South Africa that have been following the previous Nokia Lumia posts.
Previously we received a tip that the Nokia Lumia 800 would be available in South Africa sometime during the first quarter of 2012. Now Nokia has announced it officially and given a fixed date via their Facebook page. So how long do we need to wait? Well, not long at all. The Nokia Lumia 800 will be launching in South Africa on the 7th of February 2012!
I don't know how Nokia/Microsoft managed to make this possible, as South Africa is more often than not way behind the rest of the world (in terms of phone releases). But I know a lot of South Africans will be extremely excited to be able to get their hands on a Windows Phone 7, especially the Lumia 800. The official launch party is taking place on the 25'th of this month, and we will be there to report back!
Chromatic is an entertaining two-dimensional shooter that pits you against endless waves of enemy attacks. The developer is nearing the completion of a tournament style multi-player mode (demoed in the above video) for Chromatic and is looking for beta testers to help iron out the kinks.
The tournament mode will be able to play world-wide games where everyone is on equal footing with the same weapons and powerups to see who can rack up the highest score. New tournament games are generated every two and half minutes.
If you are interested in becoming a beta tester for Chromatic, just shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your Live ID. They are currently looking for testers who can test out the new game mode at coordinated times. You can find Chromatic (free) here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.
If you have any questions or comments for the developer, there's a discussion going on here in the WPCentral Forums. Speaking of, make sure you if you're a developer you post your beta-requests there and for readers, be sure to check our Beta Forums regularly for great opportunities: Developer Beta Testing.
Not content with your Windows Phone speaker for audio playback? Looking for a compact, external speaker for your Windows Phone? We may have just what you're looking for over at the WPCentral Accessory Store with the Naztech Mini Boom Speaker ($18.95).
The compact speaker isn't much larger than a golf ball, can act as a stand alone MP3 player, and comes in three color choices (pink, black and blue). The Naztech Mini Boom Speaker is an option to consider and while the sound quality didn't knock my socks off, it wasn't too shabby for such a small speaker.
If you are a Bell customer in Canada and use a LG Optimus Quantum or HTC HD7, you have reason to rejoice. Starting tomorrow, Microsoft will start pushing out its 8107 update (7.10.8107.79), which most notably, fixes the "vanishing keyboard" issue on said devices amongst other fixes. A leaked internal Bell Mobility document shows that the rollout will occur in two waves. The first will come tomorrow, followed by wave 2 on January 25.
In addition to the keyboard bug, 8107 also addresses the following:
Email. Fixes a Google mail syncing issue.
Location. Fixes a location access issue. With this fix, the Me feature in the People Hub sends anonymous information about nearby Wi-Fi access points and cell towers to Microsoft only if you agree to allow the Check In function to access and use location information.
Security. Revokes digital certificates from DigiCert Sdn Bhd to address an encryption issue.
Email threads. Fixes an email issue related to Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. With this fix, when you reply to or forward a message, the original message is now included in your response.
Voicemail. Fixes a voicemail notification display issue that occurs on some European and Asian networks under certain conditions.
There's no word on how the waves of updates get divvied up, so no telling who will get it when.
Windows Phone developers XIMAD Inc. has built up a rather impressive library of Windows Phone games. The company's portfolio includes Pandas vs Ninjas, De-Bugs Pool, Bubble Birds, and Brain Cube. Soon we will see Brain Cube Reloaded available on the Windows Phone Marketplace that will continue where the original version left off.
Brain Cube Reloaded is a puzzle game where you have to navigate your rectangular block through various levels of paths and mazes. Brain Cube Reloaded looks like it will be a challenging game for Windows Phone and we are told it will be available soon.
In the meantime, you can grab the original version of Brain Cubehere at the Marketplace. It's a free, ad supported game.
We took a look at the ZTE Tania last week at CES 2012 and came away quite impressed. Sure, the specs are no match for the US market but their design was actually much better than LG, Toshiba and Acer and that says something. (And we really think LG just needs to move on already).
Now we're getting word that ZTE will be trying to enter the US the market with either an Android or Windows Phone (or both), including 4G LTE bands. In a Reuters interview Lv Qianhao, head of handset strategy for ZTE stated that "The United States and China will be key engines driving our smartphone sales". Of course saying that and doing it are two different things as working with carriers is notoriously tricky here in the States and ZTE has had very little sway here so far.
The "fourth-largest mobile phone maker by shipments" has lofty ambitions, including moving into the high-end market. But with the likes of Nokia, Samsung and HTC it looks to be tight. Still, we like the Tania and think ZTE may offer a thing or two, but they will certainly need to do more than equal the competition--they'll need to surpass it. That requires innovation and the ability to 'wow' and we're still waiting for that.
[Note: QR code is for the old verison in the Marketplace. Download and get the new, updated version in a few days. If you want the one in the video, you can sideload the app to your dev unlocked device now]
We know what you're thinking; "What?!". We were thinking the exact same thing. Mugen Power is selling an extended HTC Titan battery that has a whopping capacity of 3600mAh. To put this into perspective (as the above chart does so gracefully), the stock battery which comes with the handset is 1600mAh which has decent performance as is. Should you require that extra juice, or spend extended periods of time finding a charger, this 3600mAh upgrade should interest you.
The only issue is that this will add some considerable weight and a slight increase in width with the included extended battery door/back cover. If you require a battery that lasts up to 2.25 times (according to Mugen) longer than stock, this disadvantage can be overlooked with over 50% increase in performance. Should you not be interested in adding size and weight to your Titan, the 1950mAh battery upgrade (also from Mugen) could be the right choice and will use your Titan's existing battery cover.
Note that this product is currently out of stock and if orders are put through now, delivery will be on February 3rd. The purchase will set you back $98.95.
Microsoft has been busy lately hammering out Android licensing deals with manufacturers. A few days after announcing an agreement with LG, word is that they are close to a similar one with Pantech, South Korea’s third largest handset manufacturer. A Pantech spokesman told Yonhap News, "We are in talks with Microsoft over the patent use, but specific details have not yet been decided."
While nothing is set in stone, it is expected that the deal will mirror others signed with Samsung and others, which require them to pay Microsoft five dollars for every device sold. Not including this deal in the making, Microsoft claims to have secured licensing agreements with 70% of all Android device manufacturers.
By RogueCode, Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 8:17 am EST
As a developer I value feedback very highly. Every morning I habitually check for new reviews on my apps to see if there are any suggestions or complaints. I have a big whiteboard with a list of to-do's for each of my apps, and I add their feedback onto that. If you have anything in the Windows Phone Marketplace, I suggest you do the same, or find something similar that works for you - because there is no better way to not make money than to ignore the very people that should be paying you.
While it’s tough for indie games to get noticed on Xbox 360, several of them have found new life as Xbox Live titles on Windows Phone. Breeze is the latest game to make the jump. Developed almost entirely by one person – Rob Hutchinson of Null City Software, Breeze doesn't quite share the scale of most other Xbox Live games. Thankfully it’s a free (and ad-supported) game, and should go over well with a wide variety of gamers.
By RogueCode, Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012 at 7:58 am EST
The Fast Track to the Mobile App contest was recently held by Core77 allowing aspiring mobile app designers to create mockups of their ideas and submit them. In December of last year the winners were announced and told to go forth and develop! The winners and finalists were given the choice to either develop their own app or choose from a list of developer bio's provided by Core77.
The 5 winners were each given the following prizes to kick-start their development:
Free Windows Phones
XBox 360 (with Kinect)
1-year App-Hub subscriptions
App Development Deal (with revenue sharing options) to bring your design to life
A month later and they have posted an update detailing the progress of two of the winners and the processes that they have gone through to get where they are.
It remains to be seen what the other 3 winners have been up to, but for now, Social Mints and Cash Hound look quite interesting.
Well, colour us not-so-surprised. It seems a 4Chan reader has made its way on the Marketplace. Should you remember what happened previously when a developer attempted to get his 4Chan app approved to Marketplace (it was humorously refused), you'll be pleased to know that 4Chan Reader will cater for all your dark, mysterious needs. The app, which will set you back $.99 (79p) for the full version, is not a fully featured client, but will allow you to keep up-to-date with what's being posted on your favorite channels.
You can download 4Chan Reader from the Marketplace. How has this app been accepted? Users are required to manually add the channels that contain more questionable content, which is the case in the iOS 4Chan app. Note that this is not safe for work, home, or anywhere in public. Requirements include a dark room, and absolute companionless.