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2 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: ByeByeBrain

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Windows Phone Game Review: ByeByeBrain

Yes... it's another zombie, tower defense game for your Windows Phone. But don't be too discouraged. ByeByeBrain is a wonderfully animated addition to our zombie/tower defense game line up.

Armed with five different, upgradable, volunteers to defend your city from the invading horde of zombies, the game takes on the typical tower defense goal. Prevent the hordes from passing from one side of your Windows Phone screen to the other. As you wipe out the zombies you earn cash and for each zombie that survives your onslaught, you loose a life (you only get twenty of them).

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2 years ago

T-Mobile Lumia 710 a "featured device" and getting great reviews

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Since the T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 710 launched last week (see our review), we've seen the commercials on TV numerous times (which is odd since we barely watch TV) and now if you go to T-Mo's website, you'll see the Lumia 710 as a "featured" phone. That basically means it gets top billing on the device listings page so perhaps new customers may be swayed towards the little device that could.

On top of that, it's currently sitting at an astounding 4.9 stars (out of 5) from 28-reviews which have heaped praise on the device and the OS. We have to agree too as we've been using it all weekend and we'll be posting our thoughts later this week. Until then, we can take solace in Nokia seeming to gain traction here in the US.  Hopefully we'll see some sales figures soon to back that up.

Source: T-Mobile; Thanks, DigTheNoise, for the tip!

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2 years ago

Instagram client coming to Windows Phone? [Update]

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Details are a bit fuzzy on this right now, but developer Bil Simser has been working on an Instagram client for Windows Phone called Metrogram. Instagram is an extremely popular photo client on iOS, analogous to BubbleGum for our phones, that allows users to apply somewhat kitsch filters to their photos and share them within the Instagram network (and Twitter/Facebook). File it under "arbitrary but must-have apps" for Windows Phone.

What's interesting is how quickly Simser coded the app, once again demonstrating how easy it is to write apps for Windows Phone. According to his Tweets, it did not take very long at all:

"58 minutes later an a new wp7 Instagram client is born. I think that's a record for me" "Writing the Instagram client for #wp7 has been so freaking easy. 2 hours and I have a fully functional client"

By the sound of it, this isn't just a viewer of Instagram photos but rather something to create photos with directly. However, we're not sure if this is official (and Simser was hired as a contractor) or this is just a side project. Looking at the name Metrogram, we're betting unofficial. We've reached out to Simser to hopefully find out more info, so until then, just relish those screenshots.

Update: Developer M.Saleh Esmaeili chimes in that this is just a viewer-only, as Instagram APIs restrict access (though some sites do interact with Instagram). Hopefully we'll hear from the developer soon.

Source: Twitter; Thanks, Amir, for the heads up!

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2 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: January 9 - 15, 2012

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It's that time of the week again, folks! This week has seen a good number of hardware stories come to light from CES 2012 (check the link for our Windows Phone coverage) and beyond. To help you sieve through the CES 2012 content, we've put together highlights of both day one and day two. Should that not excite you enough, WPCentral set up an interview with Joe Belfiore and Kevin Shields (of Nokia).

Because the HTC Titan II and Nokia Lumia 900 were both unveiled in the past week, we've now got two brand spanking new hardware forums to cover both handsets. We previously have two forums dedicated to shining the spotlight on developers for both games and apps, but these sections were hidden away. Now the Applications Spotlight and Games Spotlight forums are on the index page to receive maximum exposure. Just to round off a good forum-based introduction to this week's summary, we now have photo gallery support for members. No more hotlinking images!

Head on past the break for the full Windows Phone summary.

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2 years ago

Twitter notifications spotty since Thursday [Updated]

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Update (6:48PM MST): Social media notifications appear to be working for most folks now.

Windows Phone users are reporting that Twitter social media notifications – such as those found on your Me tile, under Notifications – have been spotty or (in most cases) stopped flowing to Windows Phone since Thursday (UTC-7). A cursory dissection of the communication between the phone and Windows Live APIs, shows that API requests for notification activity succeed but no actual results are returned. (i.e., the phone is working just fine.) Maybe it's time to look at grabbing a real Twitter app? (We've reviewed quite a few.)

Microsoft was asleep and therefore unavailable for immediate comment. We'll keep an eye on this and let you know when things are moving again.

Updated: as of 8pm EST, notifications seem to be working again.

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2 years ago

Pandora still not willing to support Windows Phone

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Robert Scoble is at it again, name dropping on his interactions with the tech glitterati at CES. Most of his Google+ discussion can be written off as his usual "Why Windows Phone will fail" riff (answer: not enough apps), but in the garrulous post he does bring up an interesting discussion he had with Tom Conrad, the chief technology officer at Pandora.

According to Scoble:

"I walked around the show with the CTO of Pandora. He told me he still isn't willing to support Windows Phone. Why not? We were walking around the new Ford car, which has Pandora support. Pandora was ALL OVER the CES show floor. You could see that a small company still has to decide where to put its development resources. Clearly, after walking the show floor, that's Android and iOS"

It's one thing for Pandora to hold off on Windows Phone in 2010 but to say in 2012 they still have no plans to support Windows Phone is a bit unbelievable. Even more so since we do have third party clients already doing their work (e.g. MetroRadio, Radio Controlled). Of course, we can relish in the thought that developers are making money off of Pandora and they're not seeing a dime from their continued disregard for Windows Phone. Still, that's cold comfort for the platform as a whole.

Source: Google+; Thanks, Amir, for the tip!

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2 years ago

From the WPCentral Forums: How to use our new Pictures & Albums feature

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Howdy WPCentral Forums members. Today, I want to give a quick tutorial on how to use the WPCentral 'Pictures and Albums'.

This is a great addition to our forums as members can use it to host pics to use when making new posts (no need to "hotlink" or host them yourselves). With this option, users can add pictures to their albums where they can chose to share them with others. Going further, anyone can use your pictures or optionally you can hide your albums so only you can use them. 

This tutorial will cover step by step how this is accomplished, so join me after the break...

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2 years ago

Where does Nokia's Amazing Everyday music come from?

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We've been kind of enamored with Nokia's "Amazing Everyday" music since the day we first heard it. You know, the little pop-synth riff we've been exposed to on nearly all Lumia commercials. What we didn't know was those snippets come from a band called 'Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs' (awesome) and that the song was called "Garden".

Now, we're sure some of you did know this so please forgive our ignorance on the matter. But for those who were oblivious, clicking play on the above video will be an odd experience. Odd we say because to us it's like someone took Nokia's commercial music and made it into a pop-synth song, not the reverse. But perhaps we play with phones too much.

Either way, we like it and we think you'll like it too. Thanks, Arun3, for enlightening us!

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2 years ago

Jeff Wilcox publishes a QR control library for Windows Phone

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Jeff Wilcox - the man who I've described many times as the "Gandalf of Windows Phone Development" - has just done a huge favour to all developers out there and released a control library for Windows Phone which will find and read QR codes.

That's no small feat, the control offers a "camera preview surface" which will then take care of QR reading for developers out there who'd like the capability, but don't quite know how to go about image processing.

If you're not familiar with Jeff, he is a senior software development team lead for Windows Phone, who helps out the development community in his spare time, managing the Silverlight toolkit for Windows Phone which every developer should be considering in any app development they approach. Of course he is also reponsible for the wildly popular 4th and Mayor Foursquare application.

Jeff is working on a blog post to explain the control (we'll update this post when it's available) but in the meantime you can grab the library and familiarise yourself with the ReadMe file at the source link.

Update: sure enough, here's the blog post with details on how the control works, as well as how to implement it in a simple app

Source: GitHub, via Twitter

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2 years ago

Skype is still coming to Windows Phone as an app first with integration following

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We've heard this before, numerous times. But to reiterate (and to beat the dead horse some more), Skype is coming to Windows Phone. The service will arrive as an app "soon" (we're joining others that point at a possible Mobile World Congress 2012 release?), and full integration with Microsoft's mobile platform will follow with the Apollo update. Although we were previously promised a "late 2011" release, it seems things have been delayed slightly. 

Mobile.se threw some reader questions to Microsoft, one surrounding Skype integration. A translation of the question and answer:

"Reader: When will Skype for Windows Phone? You own course, Skype, so it
ought to be easy to answer. Will there be an app or an implementation of
operatvsystemet?

Microsoft: Hi, Skype is under development and it will be in the form of an
app to begin with. There is no launch date set yet."

Hold onto your seats people, we'll get some official support soon enough.

Source: Mobile.se, via: WINGadget.se, thanks Hussein for the tip!

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2 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Timelapse Pro

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Windows Phone App Review: Timelapse Pro

Found a nice time lapse photography app for your Windows Phone the other day. Timelapse Pro is available over at the Windows Phone Marketplace for a steal of a price ($.99).

What makes Timelapse Pro a really nice photography app for your Windows Phone is the settings menu (more on this in a second). In a nutshell, Timelapse Pro takes control over your camera and captures an image at pre-determined intervals. The photos are then compiled into a video for some neat time lapse images.

Timelapse Pro's interface is fairly simple. You have one page to work from with a three dot menu that pulls up options to access the settings, read some tips/tricks, and view the About screen.

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2 years ago

Google Analytics now picks up Windows Phone as OS

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Google Analytics is now effectively detecting (and reporting) Windows Phone as a separate operating system to Windows. A few months back (August to be exact) we looked into how Google Analytics was ignoring Windows Phone as an individual OS, which was subsequently naming the mobile platform with "(not set)" when displaying reports to the end-user.

Whether the search giant was taking its time with the implementation to fix this issue, or just playing an irritating game of "we wont support it yet", we have no idea. But fast forward to just over a year since the platform was launched and we now have Google's analytics software picking up our beloved Metro platform (as can be seen in the shot above).

While this doesn't really affect consumers, it's a real pain for webmasters who are interested with reading into which mobile OS is most abound with website traffic. 

Via: WPSauce@ailon

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2 years ago

Windows Phone gets a new king of YouTube HD players

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If you caught our hands-on with YouTube Pro, the new HD/HQ video app for watching YouTube on-the-go, you'll be as excited as we are to see it is now on the Marketplace. Fetching for free (with ads) or $0.99 (no ads), the app looks to rock those who want a solid MetroTube replacement.

YouTube Pro is made by the same company who released SuperTube. The latter should be getting an update within the next few weeks and it won't be a directly updatable to YouTube Pro. However, we're told that YouTube Pro will remain at $0.99 till March 31, 2012 at which point it will bounce to the higher $1.29, so you'll want to lock in that price now if you like the app.

Feature-wise, YouTube Pro is similar to SuperTube but it has a much nicer, more Metro-influenced UI. You can play videos in HQ and HD resolutions, download (and save) videos, access your account, like/dislike videos, upload new videos to your account, push notifications with Live Tiles and more. Really, it's the full package and when we tried it a few weeks ago, we were impressed with it. But now it's your turn to have at a go and see if this fits the bill for the "ultimate YouTube app."  (Although we do worry about the name as YouTube proper could force them to rename the app).

Pick up YouTube Pro (paid with trial) here for $0.99 or opt for the free, ad-supported version right here. Let us know your thoughts in comments. Watch our video walk-through and get the QR codes after the break...

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2 years ago

WPDevCon announced as first independent Windows Phone developer conference

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Good news for devs out there and a sign that Windows Phone is gaining traction. WPDevCon, a three day conference taking place in San Francisco on October 22-24, was just announced and is being sponsored by BZ Media LLC, which

"...publishes SD Times, the leading magazine for the software development industry. BZ Media also produces AnDevCon: The Android Development Conference; iPhone/iPad DevCon, an independent conference focused on Apple’s mobile platforms; and SPTechCon: The SharePoint Technology Conference."

The conference is the first of its kind, an event 100% focused on Windows Phone development that is independent of Microsoft. The event itself is open to all developers of all skill ranges and will have three areas of focus. From the press briefing:

  • WP Essentials: These technical classes and workshops are for all Windows Phone developers, and cover all programming topics.
  • WP Enterprise: These technical sessions cover topics specific to building and managing apps for employees, business customers and partners, such as back-end integration with corporate applications and the Cloud.
  • WP Marketing: These business-oriented sessions cover everything you need to know about the Windows Phone marketplace, including app marketing and distribution.

Currently, the conference organizers are looking for speakers and other sponsors. For more information, head to their website: WPDevCon. This news helps demonstrate that the platform is finally growing beyond just Microsoft and hopefully it will be well attended with good organization. Speaking of, we're pretty sure we'll be there to cover it, maybe with a Rafael Rivera in tow for his technical expertise.

Source: SD Times; Thanks, gibbyhome, for the tip!

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