The University of Southampton sure has some ideas of how to have fun with their HTC 7 Trophy...namely sending it to the upper atmosphere (18,237 meters/59,832 feet). The project is part of the University's ASTRA (Atmospheric Science Through Robotic Aircraft) program and is meant to investigate "...new technologies for making low cost observations of the physical parameters of the atmosphere."
In this case, they teamed up with Microsoft to use the Trophy, write software for the phone meant to track the balloon and predict where it was going to land. From the Guardian article:
In Flight Mode, the app installed on the handset was able to record and transmit GPS and location data part of the way up and down – while within range of mobile networks – while in Hunter Mode on the team's own handsets, it plotted the latest data and predicted a landing site on a Bing map.
So why a Windows Phone? Partly because no one wanted to program in objective C (what the iPhone uses) and also because mobile phones today, with their small size yet onboard GPS, 1GHz processor and excellent build quality just make great mini-computers. All you need to do is write the app, have the software/hardware back-end (Microsoft Azure, in this case) and a signal. Like others, they hope Microsoft extends the Bluetooth profiles so they can have the phone "talk to" some of their other equipment and that compass API might be useful too. Friday's flight was just a test run and the whole system reportedly did very well. Either way, it sounds like a cool project and it would probably make a good ad for HTC.
Version v0.8 is rather far from functional but what you see above is this: a side-loaded Windows Phone application called 'Skyper' that connects via proxy to your Skype client on your PC. It is then able to pull down your contact information to display. Right now you can't act on any of the information, or rather the messaging part is not complete. Still, it's an impressive first step in the right direction, but a little technical on setting it up.
The real question though is this: with rumored socket support and confirmed multi-tasking ('Mango"), we think there's a high chance Skype may come to market on Windows Phone this year, but will Skyper beat it to the punch? We'll keep track of both sides.
Looks like the Flickr team is on top of the biggest issue with the official client: a nice black screen upon launch. While it doesn't happen every time, it's enough that we've heard quite a few complaints from users about it. In v1.3, we also see a few other bug fixes/additions which are welcomed:
Fix problem with blank screen during startup phase for some users
Fix for application error when sharing from media hub with a large number of photos
Background photos on home panorama now change from time to time
Let us know in comments now if this app is up to standards. We already think of it as one of the best to represent WP7, but it's even better without that glaring aforementioned issue, no? And considering we just got v1.2 last week, it looks like Flickr is actively engaged with this app. Grab it here in the Marketplace.
Remember the word search puzzles that are in the newspaper? You can even find books dedicated to the hidden word puzzles. Word Search for Windows Phone 7 brings the same entertaining puzzles to your Windows Phone.
The game layout is simple. You choose between three difficulties (Easy, Medium, and Hard) then select your word topic. Topics range from Animals to World Countries and if your feeling adventurous, just swipe at the topic wheel and go with whatever appears after things stop spinning.
Once the puzzle is generated (by tapping Start) a list of the hidden words is displayed at the bottom of the screen with a field of assorted letters filling the remainder of the screen. The harder the skill level, the larger the letter fields.
Chess by Post is a community chess game for your Windows Phone that follows in the same spirit of other popular games such as AlphaJax and Spellit. Instead of bringing a community oriented game of scrabble to Windows Phone 7, Chess by Post offers you a challenging game of chess.
There are two versions of Chess by Post, a paid and free version. The free version is ad supported and contains a small ad banner that appears at the bottom of the screen. Registration is required and free to join the chess community and find opponents to compete against.
To read more on Chess by Post, move on past the break.
Cell may very well be the only Windows Phone 7 game that has a single cell organism as the main character. The developers, 2.0 Studios, has created a game that is challenging with graphics that are a little on the psychedelic side.
Cell has three game modes that have fifteen levels each for a total of forty-five gaming challenges. With each game mode, you try to absorb other single cells to work your way towards dominating the field. Simply navigating your cell around the game screen can be challenging and there are other dangers present to keep things interesting.
Although we've seen quite a few OEM apps ripped from their exclusive hardware (see Samsung, LG) there was one HTC app that proved extremely difficult: YouTube HD.
The app had unique tie ins to the hardware and some real custom programming that made ripping a functional app impossible. However, it has finally been done by Tom Hounsell, who's been very big on the XDA seen and led the charge on making these apps available for all (who have a developer unlocked device).
So what changed? HTC evidently "...did the kind thing and removed all the breaking code from the old version" as Hounsell informs us in a Tweet. So does HTC want us to rip these? We doubt it, instead it was probably done to just make things easier. Regardless, we loaded it up on our LG Quantum and had no issues running it, making it a great addition, much to HTC's probable disapproval.
A few Xbox 360 Indie Games have made the transition to Windows Phone 7 games so far – Twin Blades (now sadly MIA) and Protégé Production’s upcoming tower defense game Armored Valley come to mind. We can now add Gnomic Studios’ Square Off to the list.
Square Off started its life as an entry in Microsoft’s 2009 Dream.Build.Play Competition, where it scored second place for Australian entries. Development continued after the contest, with the full game debuting on the Xbox 360 Indie Games platform in December 2009. Soon it will also be a Windows Phone 7 indie game, though Gnomic is still hoping for Xbox Live approval.
So what’s Square Off like? Its story involves a prolonged alien invasion of Earth. In order to combat the menace, a scientist implants alien DNA into cells taken from his own brain. He straps a rocket pack onto the resulting square creature and a defender is born. The lighthearted setting is accompanied by a cartoonish hand-drawn art style with 3D backgrounds and a nice soundtrack.
Square Off is a twin-stick shooter that plays like a simpler version of Rocket Riot. In both games, players use rockets to fly around closed levels, blasting away at enemies until none remain. Whereas the console versions of Rocket Riot and Square off are multiplayer deathmatch-centric, the Windows Phone 7 versions remain single-player affairs. To compensate for the lack of multiplayer, the mobile version of Square Off will include a new survival mode in addition to the full 7-level single-player campaign of the original.
Gnomic Studios’ Square Off is scheduled for an April release. Mobile gamers who aren’t too busy with the 6 Xbox Live heavy hitters announced back on February 24 should give it a look.
Head past the jump for Gnomic Studios' full press release.
Looks like Microsoft (with AT&T) is rolling our yet another ad, continuing the same theme with close-ups of the OS on the Samsung Focus. This one is called "Surprise" asking "When was the last time your phone surprised you? In a good way." Going by the label, it looks like this will also air on TV at some point, so keep your eyes open.
So far, we like this new campaign and think it does justice to the phone and OS, as much as you can in 30 seconds.
A picture has surfaced of what appears to be a Sony Ericsson Windows Phone, sporting a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, akin to the LG Qunatum and HTC 7 Pro. The picture evidently appeared on Lizhecome and was picked up by Xperia Blog.
As Pocketnow points out, some of those tiles look like the old, early development ones from when the OS was first introduced in February 2010. That could either mean this was a prototype device, back when SE was announced as a key launch partner, or...ya know, it's fake. We're leading towards the former theory though only because of the hardware buttons--those don't looked photoshopped to our eyes and would be a lot harder to fake than a single screen shot.
If it is a prototype, it sure looks nice and we hope SE has a change of heart soon and maybe brings this out. Anywho, discuss away on your theory.
Back on February 21st, we ran a report about the Dell Venue Pro launching in India with copy/paste support. Flash forward two weeks and now we have some visual confirmation that this is indeed the case. FoneArena is not only reporting it but they have photos, OS version info (v7.0.7355.0) and even a full video you see above, showing it all in action. Note that this DVP is running the same OS build as some Samsungs and the Verizon HTC Trophy, while the Sprint Arrive runs the later build 7389. Currently, the differences between the builds are unknown.
Of course with reports that NoDo is coming as early as Monday for some, this is less exciting than it was two weeks ago. Combined with reports that Samsung users who send their phones in for servicing are getting the latest update pre-installed on return and it makes sense: OEMs have had this update for quite awhile already and they're ready to ship.
File this under rumor but plausible: Raphael Rivera of ChevronWP7 and who seems to have an inside track with Microsoft (see the Arrive prediction), is claiming that the AT&T Focus should be getting both the pre-NoDo and NoDo update this Monday.
AT&T devices have so far been left out of the pre-NoDo update fun, leaving many to believe that carriers are actively blocking the fix, regardless of evidence. Instead, it looks to be what Microsoft has been saying all along: carriers are testing and will roll out the update accordingly. AT&T seems to be taking the approach of doing both at the same time, getting it all out of the way for at least their Focus customers. Interestingly, this Monday is the 7th, which puts right around that rumored March 8th release date a few weeks ago.
The Sprint HTC Arrive (aka the HTC 7 Pro) is just around the corner and a video review has surfaced. Our friends over at Wirefly spent some hands-on time with the new Windows Phone and Sprint customers should be happy with what is heading their way.
The overhead view of the Arrive reminds me of the HTC Surround. That is until the keyboard is extended and the screen is tilted up. Then the new Windows Phone reminds me of the HTC Tilt 2. The screen comes across as responsive to the touch. The button layout places the camera button closer to the bottom right corner of the phone than on the Surround. Which may take some getting used to. It is also a little strange to see the screen maintain the vertical orientation when the keyboard is extended.
The overall appearance of the Arrive looks nice and I like the brushed aluminum battery cover. I’m curious if you need to extend the keyboard to remove it though. Oh… and did any one else cringe when the reviewer slides the face of the Arrive on the table while discussing the battery size?
The Arrive is loaded with the NoDo update that brings copy/paste to Windows Phone 7, which is also demoed in the video. The video also includes video and photo samples taken with the Arrive and camera quality looks nice.
The Sprint HTC Arrive is expected to go on sale March 20, 2011 for $199 (after contractual discounts). You can find more info out over at Sprint's Arrive webpage.
Microsoft is basing the number of users adversely affected due to the fact they have received reports from about 100 users worldwide. Granted, it could be possible that more had issues but just didn’t report them. We also don’t know how many updates were attempted. Commenting on the issue, Microsoft’s Michael Stroh stated.
“We’ve spent the last 24 hours aggressively investigating the issue, and have identified a work around for error code 800705b4. We appreciate the patience of customers affected by the error and will continue to carefully monitor the update rollout and troubleshoot any issues that arise.”
The work around consists of Windows Phone users removing all media first (songs, apps, games, etc.) from your phone before trying to install the update again. You can find step by step instructions on the work around here.
It will be interesting to how all these pre-Nodo headaches affect the actual NoDo update. Hopefully, it will enable our Windows Phone 7 devices to be updated problem free.