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3 years ago

Microsoft Tags Porsche

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Microsoft Tags Porsche

Porsche has begun tagging their automobiles. Tagging them with Microsoft Tags that is. You know, the multi-colored, triangular Microsoft Tags that can be scanned to pull up all sorts of information from your Windows Phone.

Porsche has begun adding the Tags on cars at dealerships in five States to test the waters. Porsche's hopes is to make their products and dealerships more accessible. When scanned (with your Windows Phone or other Microsoft Tag capable smartphone) the Tag will send you to mobile sites with more information about the particular model along with videos, photos and sales contact info.

In addition to tagging their cars, Porsche is including Microsoft Tags in the print ads. Initial reactions, according to Porsche, are good with customers liking the "cool" factor the Tags bring to the table. Now if they can just do something about the price tag on Porsche.

If you haven't already installed the Microsoft Tag Reader to your Windows Phone, you can find your free copy here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Source: Microsoft Tag

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3 years ago

Microsoft expediting Samsung Update

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The most recent Windows Phone update from Microsoft is indicating the Samsung Focus v1.4 update may happen sooner than later.

Eric Hautala is reporting that v1.4 has been tested by AT&T and Microsoft is now expediting scheduling. It is expected in the next 24 hours Microsoft will be able to tell consumers when to expect to see the update alert on their Focus.

Once alerted, you will receive two back to back notifications. First will to install the 7008 update and then you'll move to the 7392 update (which includes the 7390). If you need to refresh your memory on updating instructions, Microsoft still has the Update Central site up and running for help and how-to directions.

Source: Windowsteamblog

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3 years ago

Cellfire available for WP7

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Cellfire available for WP7

For those who aren't familiar with Cellfire, it's a service that provides users with an easy and less cluttered way of using coupons for groceries, restaurants, entertainment and more. The team have recently announced their submission to the Windows Phone Marketplace, we covered the app when it appeared on WinMob. Note that Cellfire is aimed at US residents only.

So if you enjoy saving money and wish to use coupons when you're out and about, let your WP7 handset do all the work for you. Clip the coupons to your grocer's savings card and away you go or simply show the sales person the coupon on your device. You can download Cellfire from the Marketplace for absolutely nothing at all.

Source: Cellfire blog

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3 years ago

71% higher ad yield with Microsoft Advertising than AdMob on WP7

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There are a few options available for advertising on WP7, our George Ponder ran through a shortlist not so long ago. According to Microsoft in a recent blog post on the Microsoft advertising website, using the Microsoft Ad SDK with Windows Phone applications, developers are likely to earn more revenue from usage compared to Google AdMob. When making such a bold statement such as this, one would need to provide evidence of findings, correct?

Herm Mogilevskiy, developer of the Paper Toss app, and Jeff Weber, the developer of the Krashlander app both took part in a test to demonstrate the effectiveness of Microsoft Advertising. Using both ad networks (Google and Microsoft) on a 50/50 rotation between June 2nd-20th, both apps accumulated almost 2.33 million impressions (or ad requests) covering both networks.

As you can see in the chart above, Microsoft Advertising brought in more revenue through a higher fill rate and eCPM (estimated Cost-Per-[1,000]Impressions). Jamie Wells continued with:

"While these results are very encouraging, we’re really just getting started in building out what we believe will prove to be the world’s most advanced monetization engine for mobile apps. We’ve got some exciting news coming in the next few months on the international front, so stay tuned to this blog for the latest on the Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Phone 7."

Herm Mogilevskiy had this to say about the SDK:

"Owning my own app development company keeps me on my toes about platform fragmentation and app monetization opportunities. I was interested in testing the two leading in-app ad solutions for Windows Phone 7 and was impressed by Microsoft’s performance. At a 50/50 test, Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Ad SDK outperformed in every single metric... delivering higher yield and fill rate than from AdMob"

Jeff Erber added his $0.2:

"Developing apps has been a passion of mine for some time now and the ability to make money doing what I love is very important. This test indicates to me that not only is the Windows Phone 7 Ad SDK less buggy than AdMob’s Windows Phone SDK, it also earns me several times the revenue over equal time periods."

Exciting stuff indeed. What do you make of these findings and what are your experiences (as a developer) with both of these advertising networks?

Source: Microsoft Advertising

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3 years ago

'Weather Live' has now been pulled from the Marketplace [Updated]

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Here we go again. The rabidly popular 'Weather Live' app which we reported on last week has disappeared from the Marketplace. The app, which started off at 3 stars quickly rose up in popularity, even bumping the #1 in News & Weather WPCentral app to #2--a first since we released our app months ago.

Now, despite receiving an update or two (we forget), the app is gone from the Marketplace without a trace. Was it the pulling weather data from an un-credited source? Did it violate the Marketplace rules? We're not sure but we hope it returns and soon as it's one of our favorites. The current version still works on your device though, so don't uninstall. This is one of numerous apps that have disappeared recently, including the Colbert Report, MTV News, Kayak, Project Sunburst and Cartoon TV (before it returned, gutted).

We've reached out to the developer for comment and we'll hopefully post a response if/when they get back to us.

Update: We've heard back from the developer--

"The app is using the undocumented (but very popular) Google weather API and late yesterday, there was a major outage at the back end. As such, all live tiles stopped working at the time. I suspect it is because Google blocked my server's access since I have ~1500 queries per hour on the hour...

I made several changes to alleviate the peak load and fortunately they seem to unblocked me this morning. So live tiles started working again. To hopefully ensure users are not subject to the downtime any more, I pulled the app from marketplace.

I do want to come back as this project is really a worthy one to me. However, I am trying to find a good source of data. As you may know, many of them prohibit use by mobile applications."

(Thanks, @Sogeman, for the heads up!)

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3 years ago

U.S. Army testing Windows Phone, Android and iOS--will choose only two

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The U.S. Army is wrapping up a six week testing of three major smartphone OSs: Windows Phone, Android and the iPhone, with hundreds of devices and even some tablets.  Evidently no BlackBerry or WebOS love. The point is for the Army to "anoint" two OSs approval for usage by soldiers who are deployed or just currently in service. They won't support more in order to keep development costs down as the Army is set to have their own app store for soldiers. In addition, the Army hopes that the variety will help ward off cyber-attacks as well as giving soldiers ample choice for personal preference.

The military is going with commercially available hardware/software in order to keep costs down, plus as they point out, today's commercially available smartphones are pretty powerful:

"It's a computer; it's a display unit; it's a video-out unit," he said. "Since it is a computer-based utility in a 7-ounce package, we just started realizing there was a vast amount of potential."

Of course, deployment into the battlefield may take some time as no platform currently has encrypted transmissions, but that is something the military hopes to overcome later in the year.

Of note, the iPhone has problems in desert grounds i.e. reception issues between AT&T's coverage and the iPhone's less than stellar performance. Also at least one Android device had to be replaced:

"One popular phone from Samsung Electronics failed to connect to cellular networks and had bugs in its Android operating system, McCarthy said. So Sprint Nextel exchanged it for a different Samsung model, he said"

However, Android and iOS were "well received" so it remains to see how Windows Phone stacks up and if it makes the cut. If Windows Phone does make it into Army hands, it will be a solid boost for the fledgling OS and a vote of confidence by a pretty well known organization. We'd like to think the iPhone and WP7 make the cut while Android, due to its fragmentation, Market security vulnerabilities, poor battery life and app crashing will keep it out of the final choice. We'll keep you posted.

Source: CNN; via GeekWire

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3 years ago

Yalla adds paid app support [Developers]

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Good news for developers outside the loving arms of Microsoft's AppHub: Marketplace submission proxy, Yalla Apps, has added a few services to make your lives easier.  First and foremost, devs can now use Yalla to submit paid apps and collect money from sales in the Marketplace.  They have also begun offering payment via MoneyBookers, making payment to international developers much more convenient. 

In addition, Yalla has changed their charging structure.  For an annual subscription price of $99, users will be able to submit unlimited paid apps and up to 100 free ones.  They will also receive a free device unlock, which normally costs 100 credits. 

"Our aim is to enable people to have easy access and availability to technology, to give them the means to use their skills. The new enhancements made on the Yalla Apps platform are the perfect way of making the platform even more accessible to developers in the Middle East and Africa region, with further ways for users to make revenue from their creations and get their apps out on the market using Windows Phone 7 Marketplace," said Gustavo Fuchs, Microsoft Mobility director, Middle East & Africa.

This news is hopefully some consolation to those who learned in March that they would have to go through a third-party to submit apps to Microsoft.  There was a fair bit of controversy, as Yalla's terms of service state that apps published through them will include the tag: "Brought to you by Yalla Apps on behalf of [Your Developer Name]."  Furthermore, parent company, Prototype Interactive, develops apps themselves, leading some to see this as a major conflict of interest.

Source: ITP; Via: WMPU

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3 years ago

AppTastic/AppAddict looks to improve upon the Marketplace

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We normally don't do these types of stories, but it's Monday and it's always fun to cover things that are coming soon.

Over at DesignCrowd, a job listing site where companies can request logo or other product designs from would-be graphic designers, a new Marketplace search app looks to be coming forth real soon. The job paid $200 for the best icon/tile design for the app, which is not small change when you're a developer, leading us to believe this is more of a development house with some cash.

The app, which will be called either AppTastic or AppAddict, looks to enhance and expand upon the current Marketplace options:

"The application provides the ability to quickly find applications in the Marketplace (AppStore) as well as have a high degree of filtering (a unique feature) which can then be saved as a favorite."

We like the idea of search favorites, making it easier to find new apps of a new category. We've covered some Marketplace enhancers before like Marketplace Search (with Live Tile), AppTracker and probably the king, the WP7Applist App,  so this is hardly a new concept, but hopefully AppTastic will bring some unique and polished offerings upon its release, which should be this week. It at least looks clean pretty.

Source: DesignCrowd; Thanks, Jeff B., for the tip!

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3 years ago

geoDefense save data bug fix on the way

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Since geoDefense’s Xbox Live debut, we’ve heard the occasional complaint from gamers who lost their save data. geoDefense isn’t a tremendously long game, but nobody wants to lose their progress – especially if they’ve put some effort into improving their scores.

The developer, Critical Thought Games, has actually been aware of the problem for a while. In a blog post at his site, designer David Whatley explains the nature of the problem:

“Well the issue is in the file handling. Essentially your highscores (and other info) are saved to a file (duh)… if the data being written is smaller than the last time, then the resulting file will still be as long as it was before the save... with the data at the end being garbage.

When I load the data, I get this trailing garbage and the whole block fails the checksum checks and thus it disregards the data as if it had been tampered with.”

So basically, sometimes when gamers replay levels, the new data ends up being smaller than the old data, corrupting the entire save file. This doesn’t affect Achievements already earned, but scores and all other in-game progress are lost.

Critical Thought has already submitted an update to Microsoft that fixes the problem. Hopefully it passes certification quickly, though we know that process can be a bumpy road sometimes. The current in-game version number is 1.5. When the next update hits, it’ll read 1.6 and your saves will be home free.

Until then, Whatley offers this advice:

“…If you play geoDefense WP7, just don't replay any levels you've already won and the bug won't happen. If it's already happened, uninstall and reinstall the game to clear the state. Once 1.6 update is out and you upgrade, then you can safely go back and replay already won levels to improve your score.”

Despite this save data trouble (which many of us have not encountered), geoDefense is one of the better tower defense games on Xbox Live. Read WPCentral’s full review for all the choice details.

Thanks, Marc G., for the heads up! The G is for geometry.

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3 years ago

Swype coming to WP7 via Nokia?

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Swype coming to WP7 via Nokia?

Swype, a virtual keyboard maker, is said to be pinning hopes on Nokia diving into Windows Phone 7 development so they can possibly move to Microsoft's mobile platform as well as covering tablets running Windows. We recently covered how Swype made entry with WinMo and shifted a good 90% of its business to Android.

For those who aren't familiar with the technology behind Swype, it allows you to swipe your finger across a virtual keyboard to create words instead of typing. Earlier this year Swype secured a $3.5 million investment from Ignition Partners and while they've turned profitable in recent quarters, CEO Mike McSherry explains the funding will help further development and deploy on other platforms.

Do you want to see Swype on your WP7 handset, or a future Windows tablet for that matter? Check out a short video of Swype (on a tablet) after the break.

Source: Examiner

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3 years ago

Customers are more satisfied with WP7 than Android says ChangeWave

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ChangeWave Research has just published some interesting data that affirms our previous coverage (where WP7 was only at 44%) about the high rate of satisfaction users have with Windows Phone 7 when compared against RIM, Android and iOS. According to the chart above, Windows OS ranks just above RIM at 27%. I know what you're thinking, "you just stated that this is supposed to prove WP7 is a satisfying OS?".

Don't be fooled by the chart above folks, the percentage of Windows Phone 7 users that are "very satisfied" is actually at 57%, but Windows Mobile is only at 14%, so the Windows OS is taking into account both values. We argue that this sort of publication does the OS no justice at all since majority of readers are interested in presented data as opposed to the text underneath the chart:

"Both industry leaders are far ahead of the overall Very Satisfied ratings for the other major operating systems – Windows OS (27%) and RIM OS (26%).

But in an encouraging sign for Microsoft, we continue to see a big difference between the high Very Satisfied rating for Windows Phone 7 (57%) vs. the much lower rating for Windows Mobile OS (14%). Even so, the higher Windows Phone 7 rating has yet to produce a sustained momentum boost for Microsoft in term of buyer preferences."

We decided to create our own chart to reflect the differentiation between Microsoft's older and newer platforms. Looks much smarter, right?

All in all, positive stuff for Microsoft. While we're still behind Apple (no surprise), it's great to see a relatively high percentage, contradicting what carrier sales staff preach. Please note that the data sample shown in this report is 89% US and 11% outside the US so we would see different results in other countries. UK being a strong example with RIM still proving to be a heavy player.

Source: ChangeWave Research 

 

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3 years ago

Microsoft testing Zune in Australia

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Microsoft testing Zune in Australia

It seems Australia are in line for some Zune improvements. The Mango 4.8 Zune client displays the music tab when locality is set to Australia and/or an Australian Live ID is used. What's more interesting is that while there's only a small selection of songs and albums available, it does reveal a proposed pricing scheme (using Microsoft Points).

Songs will set music lovers back 129 points (AUD$2.13) and albums seem to be priced per song, capped at 1299 points (AUD$21.43). As an extra bonus, Microsoft has also reportedly enabled podcasts too. These are positive signs for the expanding Zune service in Australia accompanying Windows Phone Mango and the Zune Pass.

Source: iStartedSomething

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3 years ago

WP7 team working on 'market disrupting' project?

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Microsoft has posted a new job opening for a Software Development Engineer in testing for Windows Phone 7. In the brief we see "DISRUPT THE MARKET" being used, indicating some potential big plans for the platform for end-users. 

This could possibly have something to do with Skype? Or is it to do with the US army trailing smartphones for deployment? We could take this even further and tie in the recent augmented reality license Microsoft signed. What do you guys think of this job posting and the project? See the post after the break and sound off in the comments. 

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3 years ago

Fan concept: What if Windows Phone had smaller tiles?

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There are two things we know about the Windows Phone system so far:

  1. It's constantly evolving and the WP Team are likely to make significant changes and additions in future updates, responding to user demands and usage
  2. With the new 30 Live Tile limit and 25+K apps, we may run out of Start screen space as we pile on tile upon tile (see the BBC News Mobile as an example)

Over at XDA, forum member tiny17 has come up with an interesting idea for a future Windows Phone UI design: long press on a start tile where upon you "halve the size" of it and then, optionally, once more, till it's 1/4 of the original size.

The idea would certainly create more space and allow you to see more without infinite scrolling. In addition, it keeps to the Metro/Tile UI without any drastic changes to the paradigm. Only issue we see may be with the 1/4 size may be too small on some 3.6" screens. Other than that, it's seems like a pretty ingenious idea and makes you wonder if Microsoft is already thinking of solutions like these for the future. Our opinion? We really like this approach and it looks good too.

Edit: To clear up some confusion, this model doesn't mandate 1/4 size tiles. It allows full size, 1/2 size and 1/4 according to the user's choice. Look closely at the above images and see how all three are represented.

Think you have an idea that doesn't dramatically alter the UI? Anyone starting to have too many tiles? Hit us up on comments.

Source: XDA; Thanks, @CarsonKuehne, for the tip!

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