Last we spoke of an app for Skype coming to Windows Phone was back in April, at MIX'11. An app was demoed and was slated for a "late fall 2011" release. Neil Stevens, Skype's Vice President and General Manager of Products and Marketing, spoke about how Skype is looking to be more integrated into the OS as opposed to being a mere app, which should be likely with Microsoft's acquisition.
We've now caught wind of Microsoft confirming the upcoming launch of a Skype app for Windows Phone, which is scheduled for late 2011. It will be interesting to see what the solution will be, we expect video calls will be supported to keep the app up to par with other platforms.
We understand some folks on T-Mobile are a little miffed about not getting the Titan and instead have to "settle" for the Radar 4G. We disagree a little bit, having handled the Radar and knowing what a svelte device it is. We also know that these second generation devices have better internal hardware, a faster CPU, newer more powerful GPU and better screens to name a few differences.
In this case, WP7.com.pl has put the HD7 next to the Radar for a side-by-side speed test. While it should be of no surprise that the Radar wins easily, it's still certainly interesting to see the margin of difference. Needless to say, a lot of us will enjoy that extra speed boost that the Radar gives, even if it still only has a 1GHz CPU (but newer build).
For those of you who don't know, Klout (Klout.com) is a new social-network metric for measuring how influential you are on specific topics. The higher the score, the more influential. It's based on things you say, who's connected to you, who re-Tweets your messages, etc.
Some love it, some hate it.
Regardless, Microsoft has teamed up with them through their 'Klout Perks' program to offer 500 Windows Phones for free to people who qualify. That's a whole lotta phones, making this a serious contest. What's more, winners will get VIP tickets to those launch events we just mentioned a few posts down.
To qualify, you'll have to have Klout connect up with your Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+ accounts. Then you have to have a Klout score of 55 or higher in Technology. That's pretty high--heck, @WPCentral is at 67 but myself (@malatesta77) is only at 52 (just a "specialist", le sigh).
By Tim S#WP, Thursday, Oct 20, 2011 at 9:02 pm EDT
Microsoft Gulf, a division of the company that is based in the Middle East, is increasing its efforts to make WP7 more accessible and usable to their customers who live in the region. By partnering with digital marketing firm Prototype, Microsoft plans to bring a number of new applications to the Windows Phone Marketplace, all of which are built for purposes and businesses that are unique to the UAE (United Arab Emirates).
The list of new apps includes titles like Time Out Dubai, to give users access to restaurant reviews and locations; Aramex, for tracking courier shipments; and mParc, an exclusive Windows Phone Mango app that will give users instant access to Dubai's paid parking lots.
As more of these localized apps are built, Microsoft is making it clear that they intend to spend their massive marketing budget wisely to increase their WP7 user-base. Expect to see more such programs launched worldwide as not only Microsoft, but soon Nokia, continue to integrate WP7 into the world of smartphone users.
If you recall, once a developer had submitted a "Mango" 7.1 app to the Marketplace, it essentially cut them off from access to the non-Mango 7.0 version. That meant that the pre-Mango version was frozen, basically forever, with no chance for bug fixes. And although the goal is to get Mango on 100% of the devices and basically all the updates are rolling out now, developers were still a little unhappy about that limitation.
As you can see from the image above, thanks to our developer Jay Bennett, devs will have the option via a drop down menu to choose which app to modify. Seems like a good solution to us and hopefully devs will take advantage of it.
Microsoft's Windows Phone developer team is offering a splendid deal for developers to get promotion and advertising for apps with up to seven apps being featured in campaigns funded by the team. Apps will be located in banners published across the MSN network of web properties, featured in the Marketplace for a single day, and receive potential PR promotion.
Unfortunately, to enter you must be a registered App Hub developer and reside in the U.S. Simply publish your app on the Marketplace and fill in the registration form found via the link below. Deadlines for the programs:
25/10 – For December 2011 campaign consideration
16/11 - For January 2012 campaign consideration
22/12 – For February 2012 campaign consideration
Head on over to the campaign to register your apps with selections being made on the following criteria:
Originality & innovation: Uniqueness of idea
Consumer friendly: Easy to use and engaging
Look and feel is consistent with Windows Phone 'Metro' user experience: e.g., panorama display
Sure enough, we got the clip for you and it's actually pretty hilarious. It's still not as cool as the Hawaii FIVE-0 spot, but good to see the ol' Focus getting some screen time. Check out our collection of TV product placements here.
We love Arcane's Tower Defense. It's easily one of the most elaborate and polished indie games we have on Windows Phone. So we're pretty psyched to see it get a Mango update, enabling fast-app resume. On top of that, we hear another update is coming in a few days with some bug fixes, new campaigns and new features.
In addition, if you didn't want to pay the entirely reasonable $1.99 for the game, you can now get a free, ad-supported version that is also Mango-ready. It's the exact same game except we hear the paid version will get some new campaign maps.
All in all, if you enjoy tower defense games with a hint of World of Warcraft, we implore you to give this game a spin. You won't be disappointed. Pick up the paid version (w/trial) here or go for the new free ad-supported version here.
Ever forget where you parked your car? How about where your hotel is? Radar is a Windows Phone app that is designed to help you find your way back to locations such as where you parked your car. The app taps into your Windows Phone compass and GPS to tag these locations and track you back to them. No data connection is required.
Radar's layout is simple with a page for the radar display and a page to tag your return locations or targets. The Radar Page is basically a compass that will display the return direction to get back to your location. There are three preset tags available on the Targets Page and all three can be in use at the same time. You have tags for your car, hotel and custom location (can be anything) that will place a corresponding icon on the radar screen.
To set a location, simply tap on the location title on the Target Page. To cancel or reset the location, tap again to stop the tracking service. As you move away from the tagged location, the distance from that point is displayed on the Radar and Target pages.
Radar is a Mango App that has the fast resume feature and will remember your tagged locations when not running. There is live tile support that will show how many targets are active from the live tile.
In taking Radar out for a brief test drive I found it to be accurate with regards to the distance from and direction to my tagged location. Radar is a very basic track back app and some may prefer having a map overlay to help guide them in the right direction. The advantage of not having a map overlay means you don't need a data connection or a heavy download to store the maps on board.
All in all, Radar isn't a bad choice if you need a simple track back application for your Windows Phone. I can see it coming in handy over the Holiday Season when you go shopping and need to remember where you parked your car at the local mall. Or when traveling and need to remember where you parked your car at the airport.
Radar is running $.99 over at the Windows Phone Marketplace (no trial version available) and you can download it here.
We do love ourselves some AR (augmented reality) apps around here, so devs, just add AR to your app to get featured here. Just kidding, but it doesn't hurt.
Case in point is this nifty little app called Heads Up Compass. It uses the camera's live feed and overlays the compass headings in cardinal points and direction on top, allowing you to scan the horizon for Tusken Raiders. Or maybe Bear Grylis.
We actually have no practical use of this outside of looking bad ass in New York City when we get out of the subway. That didn't stop us from buying it for $0.99 though. Of course you could use it for free (with ads) if you don't want to spend the buck.
Live in the US? Live near New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles or San Francisco? Then you'll want to head over here to the Windows Phone Facebook page to reserve yourself a spot, as Microsoft is set to throw two-night parties in those cities to celebrate the launch of some new Windows Phones.
Free drinks, live music from some indie bands and a chance to see and play with the the HTC Radar, Titan, Samsung Focus S and Flash. There will be food, a lounge and a chance to play others in video games, which sounds like a grand old time, if you ask us.
And yes, at least some of us will be attending (cough, me, New York City), so perhaps we'll see you there. But reserve now as space is limited! You will need a Facebook account though.
Bonus cool feature: You can send your e-Ticked to your Windows Phone, which you use to get into the event.
Bonus cool feature 2: First 20 registrants for each night get a VIP upgrade...go go!
It's no secret that Windows Phone devices like to make cameos on popular TV shows lately. We saw it used on Hawaii FIVE-0 the other day, when we compiled a few examples of SkyDrive and Windows Phone in action.
Now we got word from you folks that NCIS: LA has been making judicious use of our favorite OS. Indeed, the HD7S showed up no less than three times on three different episodes this season. Heck, there's probably more but we only have so much time.
And because we're swell people, we did all the work and compiled those three cameos into a short lil' vid for your viewing pleasure.
The gist of the interview focuses on how it used to cost $400 to produce a Windows Phone back in 2010, but for this next generation of devices, production costs for OEMs are down to about $220. The goal though is to lower that even further to below $200, which will allow Microsoft to essentially flood the market with devices ranging from low-end (where Android dominates) to high-end (where the iPhone and other Android phones take the lead).
Something we haven't heard about though is that there is a tiered licensing based on cost of production for the OEM. The cheaper it is for them to make a phone, the less they have to pay Microsoft. So even though Redmond would be making less per device, the aim is have more devices to make up the difference.
The other real interesting tidbit is the acknowledgment that Qualcomm is the only semiconductor partner Microsoft is working with for Windows Phone:
Microsoft works exclusively with Qualcomm to develop chips that power handsets using its system, allowing it to specify technical details to ensure devices run more smoothly, the executive said.
There is currently no plan to work with other semiconductor makers for Windows Phone 7 devices, he said.
Mango is out and with that it is time for us Windows Phone 7 users to get a little respect from all those other OS’s. Even Rich Jaroslovsky of Bloomberg has something to say about it. Join us in the discussion: "The Eyes Opening to WP7 Is Beginning" Now that we are starting to earn some respect, what else do we need to get this party started? O_o yah! We need some advertising and who better to get the ball rolling than Microsoft? Are we ready or has Microsoft waited to long?
What a week for our developer community. We have had a bunch of new Applications and Games land in our Spotlight forums this week and I think we might have set a new record. If you haven’t stopped in to check out what’s new, you better. Here are a few of this week’s titles.
Could this be a prototype of the upcoming Nokia Sabre? According to PocketNow it could well be, definitely looks real enough. We previously touched on the codename with Microsoft Canada revealing the Windows Phone on their website briefly. Steve Ballmer recently stated that a "bunch" of handsets will be unveiled at next week's Nokia World, so the Sabre could well make an appearance.
Looking at the photo above, the handset is following suit of the HTC Radar in terms of colour uniqueness compared to the current line of Windows Phones and looks great. Reported specifications stand at a 1.4GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 3.5-inch WVGA screen, 5MP camera and a price tag of around €300-350 ($410-$480).