2 years ago
E3 2012 - The dazzling cars of Forza Horizon
One of the Xbox 360 games revealed during Microsoft’s press conference yesterday is Forza Horizon, the latest entry in the popular Forza Motorsport racing game series. After releasing four simulation-oriented installments from Turn 10 Studios, Playground Games is in charge of this more accessible spin-off. We don’t know much about the gameplay other than it will be open-road based instead of focusing on closed tracks like previous games. The change in direction could be just what the Forza series needs – until the fifth numbered game comes along for the next Xbox console (as some of us predict).
To celebrate Forza Horizon’s announcement, Microsoft is showing off two very beautiful sports cars here at E3. Head past the break for more lovely photographs.
2 years ago
Windows Phone Marketplace hits 100,000 apps!
According to data published by AllAboutWindowsPhone, using their in-house Marketplace tracking system, the Windows Phone Marketplace now boasts a healthy catalogue of apps / games. 100,000 to be almost precise. It has taken just 20 months to accumulate the total, which is four months quicker than Android, but slightly behind iOS at 16 months. Data shows that approximately 300 apps are being added to the Marketplace on a daily basis.
The chart below takes us through the submission numbers per-month since Windows Phone officially launched back in October 2010. What's clear to see is the substantial increase in 2012 compared to numbers from 2011. Of course, out of the 100,000 available apps, there are a number (estimated at around 10,000) that aren't available to consumers, due to Microsoft and / or the developer pulling content. But it's not always about quantity, right?
AAWP have noted in their report that UK and US data show a stable 12% of apps being of some quality - taking into account apps and games that are frequently downloaded and rated numerous (more than five) times. It's relatively difficult to judge how many available apps are useful to consumers and are not spam, but the report does suggest that Windows Phone is no different to competitor platforms. In the end, there'll always be crap in the Marketplace.
The above (and last) chart shows us the category breakdown of the Marketplace. Surprisingly, it's not games that takes up the largest chunk. Entertainment is up top at 19%, Tools + Productivity is next with 15%, and Books + Reference is third at 13%. All-in-all, taking into account the growth figures above, Windows Phone is on the steady increase. With Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and the announced updates to Xbox Live this coming fall, not to mention Xbox SmartGlass, we could see the momentum build for the platform. Here's hoping anyway.
We'll not repeat all details that are contained in AAWP's report, so be sure to head on over there for more juicy graphs and info.
2 years ago
Zune and Xbox websites announce arrival of Xbox Music
Coming off a big presentation yesterday at E3 2012, Microsoft has updated both the Zune and XBox websites to introduce Xbox Music. Xbox Music will replace Zune as the Microsoft-branded music service. The Zune page comes in the form of a simple FAQ and offers very little information other than the fact that XBox Music will bring new ways to and share across Xbox, Windows and Windows Phone. The FAQ also ensures current Zune Pass subscribers that they will continue to have access to their subscriptions through the new service.
Over on Xbox's site, you will find a snazzy video that offers a quick glimpse of what's to come, a ubiquitous music service that works across platforms. In the video, a woman listening on a tablet, only to plunk down on the couch and bring her playlist up on her Xbox, clearly depicting the newly-touted Xbox Smartglass, announced yesterday at E3. There are also shots of social media features, like seeing what friends are listening to, and discovering new music through Smart DJ.
All in all, if you have been using Zune, there isn't too much that is new here, with the exception of Xbox Smartglass, but it's a fun little pep rally of sorts.
2 years ago
Wordament update on the way, bringing improved connectivity and other features
While the developers of the popular Windows Phone word game Wordament have been busy adding new language support and building a Windows 8 Xbox Live-enabled version, the team have managed to get an update packaged for Windows Phone that should be hitting the Marketplace very soon. So what's new in Wordament version 1.1?
By popular request from players, the system tray (the status bar at the top of your Windows Phone screen) will now be displayed after it was previously removed when the game was Live enabled. In the official blog post detailing these improvements, there's a humorous explanation that the developers received numerous reports from users who missed classes, trains, etc. because they couldn't see the time while hooked on the addictive gameplay. The time, battery and signal indicators, and more will now be accessible.
As well as the system tray reintroduction, the team will also be adding an option in-game to change the orange brand-driven background to a more neutral colour for those who detest the mashup of red and yellow. The choice will be colourful rainbows or monochrome madness, both looking pretty sweet in the Metro UI influenced title.
If you so happen to encounter connectivity issues, instead of relying on the not-so-easy-to-find FAQ detailing what could be causing problems, the developers have added better error reporting within Wordament. A good example of this in action is the pesky "Can’t connect to Wordament.net" error which would normally throw the player out to the main menu. The app will now attempt to use the newly applied network retry logic to be more resilient to temporary network outages.
Coupled with more user-friendly reporting, the app will now perform less calls on startup with reduced data on transit between the app and backend servers. This will aid those in areas with weak signal coverage or on tight data plans, which is surely going to please many. The last improvement added in version 1.1 is targeting those with larger screens (eg. Lumia 900). The developers used code that tunes Wordament to work well on smaller devices but later found out this actually had negative implications for those with beefy Windows Phones. This has now been corrected in the update.
As always, the developers are eager for feedback to be sent their way for improvements to be continuously applied. Read more about the upcoming changes over on the Wordament blog. You can download Wordament from the Marketplace.
Thanks, Brandon, for the tip!
2 years ago
Windows Phone App Review: Photosynth
2 years ago
Nokia Maps updated to version 2.0
Nokia has released an update for the Maps app found on Lumia Windows Phones. The app, which was previously updated to version 1.3 back in March, is now much more socially integrated with the backend of Nokia Maps, using Nokia accounts. Users can add photos, reviews and descriptions of locations, which will subsequently be available to other users on devices or at maps.nokia.com.
Everyone has a favourite place in mind so Nokia has added synchronisation for user favourites across the service. Any locations listed as a favourite on Windows Phone will be present on the web, as well as the mobile version available on competitor handsets. Locations, categories and destinations can also be pinned to the home screen on a Lumia Windows Phone for more convenient access.
You can download Nokia Maps from the Nokia Collection on a Lumia Windows Phone or if you're reading this article from your Lumia Windows Phone, just tap on this link to go to the Marketplace listing.
Source: Nokia; Thanks to everyone who tipped us!
2 years ago
Summing up the Microsoft E3 Presentation
Phew! It's been a hectic morning / afternoon / evening for those who tuned into Microsoft's E3 media briefing presentation, which showcased Halo 4, Xbox SmartGlass, Nike+, Internet Explorer for Xbox, and more. Should you find yourself being in the dark and didn't manage to catch the broadcast that was streamed a few hours ago, fear not as we have you covered from the floor.
So what was announced? From top games to new sport media sources, there's a lot planned for Xbox this year and beyond. Head on past the break with a coffee and supply of biscuits.
2 years ago
3 Screens, 1 Voice: How Windows and Xbox are merging
Xbox SmartGlass is Microsoft’s strategic move against Apple’s Airplay system (and preemptively against Google TV); it’s an evolution for your Windows Phone, Windows Desktop and Windows 8 Tablets. Why is it the evolution? Because Microsoft’s ecosystem is growing and they are focusing on inter-connectivity with all of their devices (and even those outside of their branding). No phone left behind, no tablet ignored, no Desktop chained down. Windows 8 is bringing a fresh look and giving users a better feeling experience while they use these devices.
Microsoft is effectively making their move to make your involvement a complete one with any of their devices. It’s a smart move because Windows 8 may be challenging for some people to learn and get used to. SmartGlass will give people the confidence in Windows 8, that it will not be another Vista, it is changing for the better. It's a straight up consumer feature.
Here’s the breakdown on how each device will pair with Xbox SmartGlass:
If you are using a Windows 8 tablet, and are watching a video, you can pause on your tablet, and continue on your Xbox. The Tablet then becomes a companion device streaming live information about the movie you are watching, giving you access to the behind the scene details
When you are playing a game, like the new Madden for Kinect, your Tablet can be used to make plays and actually play the game
Your Windows Phone will do the same as the tablet, but there wasn’t any information that you will be able to control games with it, which is a little disappointing but I am sure more information will be released as we get closer to Windows Phone 8
Use your phone to scroll web pages when using Internet Explorer for Xbox
Your PC will be able to put up content to your Xbox, via video hubs, and also act as a companion device as well (but there was no demo, so we must assume there will be a few limitations when comparing using your windows phone or windows 8 tablet with SmartGlass)
Everyone knows about Apple TV and Airplay, but you need to buy separate devices and even then it is limited on how they interact. Airplay only mirrors your iPhone or iPad device but with SmartGlass your devices are much more than a mirror they become another opportunity for anyone to gain more content and control your Xbox. Everyone has an Xbox, and if you don’t, you’ll be needing one because SmartGlass is giving you what you always wanted; any Windows 8 Device to control and give you more information about what you’re watching on your Xbox.
This is great to see since Microsoft is adding more and more content to the Xbox Live experience, enhancing it to be your only multimedia device in your living room. As our culture gains more momentum in consuming content through the internet people are okay with paying for streaming services instead of traditional cable or satellite. Microsoft is giving the consumer the opportunity to have any kind of connected device they want, and their content will be available on all of it.
It's a smart step by Microsoft for growing their brand, and using it to its fullest potential. Needless to say, we like the future...
2 years ago
gMaps Pro returns to the Marketplace (Updated)
A few weeks ago, at Google's request, gMaps Pro was pulled from the Windows Phone Marketplace due to a copyright infringement request.
According to the developer Alexey Strakh, gMaps Pro was originally to be hidden from the open Marketplace while the app was re-branded. For some reason (Alexey notes a problem with Microsoft) the app wasn't hidden and eventually pulled. Gmaps was flagged for violating Google's trademarks, something we reported on earlier as other apps had the same problem.
The skinny of it all is that gMaps Pro v1.23 is now available on the Marketplace but upgrades from previous versions are not possible without paying for the updated version. Because it was pulled or deleted from the Marketplace, v1.23 is considered a new app creation and updates to the old versions not possible.
Strakh has suggested for those who had already purchased gMaps Pro before the re-branding complain to Microsoft about having to pay for the app a second time. It's not the best of situations but on has to wonder if Google could offered the new version of gMaps Pro for a limited time as a free app to allow previous owners to upgrade for free?
Nonetheless, gMaps Pro is back on the Marketplace with a free trail version available to let you try things out before buying. The full version is running $1.99 and previous versions are not upgradeable.
You can find gMaps Pro here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Source: gMaps Pro (Facebook)
Update: We've just learned that Alexey Strakh is working on offering gMaps Pro v1.23 for free this Friday. We aren't sure if it will be a midnight to midnight offer and once we get all the details, we'll pass them on. If you are a current gMaps Pro user, it may be worth the wait to hold off on updating for a few days.
2 years ago
Slacker Radio bringing music, sport, comedy and more to the Xbox 360
Slacker Radio has announced plans to arrive on the Xbox 360. The service, which is already available on Windows Phone (see our review), will bring music and content to Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers. The free radio app will be made available on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace and will pack Kinect features for gestures and voice commands to be supported.
Over 200 music stations are included in the lineup, with the likes of ESPN and ABC News headlining the selection. Each station can be personalised, ensuring a unique and relevant experience is possible for each user. The catalogue of not only music, but comedy, news and sport content makes Slacker Radio a varied experience with a reportedly 10x larger selection than Pandora.
Check out the press release after the break.
2 years ago
Microsoft promises a sneak peek into the future of Windows Phone on June 20th
Today, in conjunction with the plethora of E3 announcements, Microsoft has revealed the final plans for the June 20th Dev Summit happening in San Francisco.
The event initially spanned a couple of days but is now down to one and while details are unannounced, Microsoft teased that this will be a "a sneak peek of of the future of Windows Phone". That can of course only mean one thing, Windows Phone 8 aka Apollo will be revealed, at least in part.
In speaking with some publishers here today, we can expect some demonstrations of some new games for the new OS as well as details for developers. Windows Phone 8 is thought to be introducing 4 display resolutions, dual-core support, native access for gaming, integrated Skype, NFC and other more "high end" features in addition to a new base layer for the OS. Make no mistake, this is a new OS not just an update.
The big questions on everyone's minds revolve around device updates and how much of a "break from the old" developers should expect. No word if this summit will answer all of those questions but at least we'll get a "sneak peek" of what's to come.
Of course, myself and Rafael Rivera will be there to cover the event, providing perspective of what the new changes mean in layman terms. So stay tuned.
2 years ago
7Dialer celebrates recent update by going on sale
JDBPocketware, developers of the Windows Phone app Handyscan and SkyManager, have been hard at work improving another one of their apps. To celebrate their hard work on 7Dialer, they're putting the app on sale.
7Dialer is is a utility dialer that allows you to use the dial pad to pull a listing of your contacts that correspond with the letters dialed. On top of that, there is a tabbed page that you can use to pin frequently called contacts.
Additional features with 7Dialer include:
Copy and Paste numbers or contact details
Automatic contacts syncing
Options to call, SMS or email
"Call Later" reminders
Custom backgrounds for dialer
Dial pad sounds
Live Tile support
The dialpad sounds range from the traditional tap sounds to a lightsaber. In just tinkering with 7Dialer, it comes across as a nice alternative to the traditional Windows Phone dialer.
There is a trial version available for 7Dialer to let you try things out before buying. The standard price for the full version is $2.49 but for a limited time, you can snatch it up for $.99. You can find 7Dialer here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.
2 years ago
Microsoft unveils Xbox SmartGlass at E3 to bring the living room TV to life
Microsoft held a fairly eventful press presentation at this year's E3, which saw the company unveil new services related to their best selling game console - the Xbox 360. More on these new services later, for now let's get through Xbox SmartGlass. As we previously covered, Xbox SmartGlass will connect the gaming console to other devices, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone as well as competitor platforms (Android and iOS). Think of the Xbox Companion app, but on steroids.
Apps developed for all supported platforms will enable users to control their Xbox 360 and interact with services on the big screen. Microsoft is attempting to transform the bog-standard home television into a Smart TV with the power and connectivity to pull down rich media content from the Internet. As mentioned above, SmartGlass will work with other Windows platforms, but will also be available for iPhone / iPad and Android devices.
Example: should you happen to be watching a movie while on the go and would like to continue where you left off on the big screen, SmartGlass will enable you to resume the video on the Xbox 360. Gaming will also be taken to a new level with integrated through SmartGlass. A short demonstration was provided in the presentation with the upcoming title Halo 4. Halo Waypoint will come into play by offering lore information on in-game elements, as well as turning the mobile device into a companion device with match requests from friends being accepted on the handset, and then synchronised while in-game on the Xbox.
Internet Explorer was last to be announced with SmartGlass. The Xbox console will soon sport its own web browser, but instead of using the controller to navigate through the web, which could cause issues, Microsoft will use SmartGlass to allow users to choose Kinect or support mobile devices. Check out the video below for a quick run through of everything announced for SmartGlass.
Watch out for the release of SmartGlass sometime later this year. Be sure to check out our updates from the floor at E3 2012 where our Daniel Rubino and Paul Acevedo will continue to hunt down the latest news.
2 years ago
All Liquid Daffodil apps now available for free through June 7th
Attention all Windows Phone users! Liquid Daffodil, the developer brand behind the likes of glƏƏk!, ...I'm a WP7, among other popular apps, has made all apps available for free through June 7th. Starting today, you'll be able to make a saving of $6.96 (£5.36) should you download every app on offer. Why has this deal been applied? ...I’m a WP7! has been awarded 'Best Free App' in the 2012 WP App List Awards, as well as coming 2nd in 'App of the Year'.
A quick recap on what apps are now available for free from the developer:
As illustrated by the image above, this deal will end on June 7th at 7am (PST). Find the QR codes below (in order of appearance above).
2 years ago
Microsoft Xbox E3 Liveblog!
We're here in Los Angeles for Microsoft's big Xbox announcements. Stay tuned as we report the morning's events and you can join in and share your thoughts.
&amp;amp;lt;a data-cke-saved-href=&amp;amp;quot;http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=624fe134f8&amp;amp;quot; href=&amp;amp;quot;http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=624fe134f8&amp;amp;quot; &amp;amp;gt;Xbox E3 event&amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;gt;
Show More Headlines