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3 years ago

Windows Phone developer Babaroga expands to London

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We’ve interviewed Xbox Live developer Babaroga in the past, and today we look at the studio in more depth. Zombies!!! is the developer’s best-known Windows Phone title, but Babaroga has actually worked on more than 9 Xbox Live games, including Minesweeper and Sudoku. Both tiles are published by Microsoft and available for free in multiple territories. History Babaroga opened its doors in Chicago in 2001. From day one they focused specifically on mobile phone games development, making dozens of games prior to the proliferation of smartphones. That experience made it easy for them to migrate to more powerful devices as they debuted, including Windows Phone in 2010.  To date they have released over 50 titles, including the previously mentioned Xbox Live games as well as Spore Origins and EA Sports MMA, both published by Electronic Arts on iPhone. Expanding for the future Babaroga recognizes the tremendous opportunities that Microsoft platforms bring to game developers. As such, they now focus primarily on Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Xbox Live Arcade development. The strategy has paid off so far; their Xbox Live titles have enjoyed praise from critics like yours truly and fans alike. After more than ten years of crafting mobile games, Babaroga has recently opened a new studio in London, just a stone’s throw away from WPCentral’s own Richard Edmonds. Spearheading the European office is David Bachowski, VP of Business Development. The  London team is currently looking for programmers and 3D artists who share excitement and passion for Windows Phone and mobile gaming as a whole. Interested parties should contact Babaroga by email. Don’t forget to let us know how it goes!

We’ve interviewed Xbox Live developer Babaroga in the past, and today we look at the studio in more depth. Zombies!!! may be the developer’s best-known Windows Phone title, but Babaroga has actually worked on more than 9 Xbox Live games, including Minesweeper and Sudoku. Both tiles are published by Microsoft and available for free in multiple territories.

History

Babaroga opened its doors in Chicago in 2001. From day one they focused specifically on mobile phone games development, making dozens of games prior to the proliferation of smartphones. That experience made it easy for them to migrate to more powerful devices as they debuted, including Windows Phone in 2010.  To date they have released over 50 titles, including the previously mentioned Xbox Live games as well as Spore Origins and EA Sports MMA, both published by Electronic Arts on iPhone.

Expanding for the future

The London office of Babaroga LTD

Babaroga recognizes the tremendous opportunities that Microsoft platforms bring to game developers. As such, they now focus primarily on Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Xbox Live Arcade development. The strategy has paid off so far; their Xbox Live titles have enjoyed praise from critics like yours truly and fans alike.

After more than ten years of crafting mobile games, Babaroga has recently opened a new studio in London, just a stone’s throw away from WPCentral’s own Richard Edmonds. Spearheading the European office is David Bachowski, VP of Business Development. The  London team is currently looking for programmers and 3D artists who share excitement and passion for Windows Phone and mobile gaming as a whole. Interested parties should contact Babaroga by email. Don’t forget to let us know how it goes!

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3 years ago

A closer look at Samsung's Extra Settings in the Flash and Focus S

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Use Auto Display Intensity', is for when you use the "light" background and everything is white. It will dynamically adjust the brightness so that the screen is not so intense to look at e.g. when you open Outlook. Plus it saves battery life.

  • 'Use Key Vibration Feedback' is for enabling/disabling the capacitive feedback on the three main buttons. We actually really like feedback, but we imagine there are a few who don't. Plus turning it of can help save a tiny bit of battery, we presume.
  • Finally, 'Use Echo Cancellation' is for phone calls and basically does what it says--makes the audio more stable with less echo. We see no reason why we would want to disable it but it's nice it's there, we suppose.

While not groundbreaking settings, we do like the little extra control Sammy has given us. Unfortunately for the first setting, while it works well with the  "light" theme, the Focus S still suffers from an over-zealous, power-conserving light sensor, making the phone more dim than we think it should be. To solve that, you can disable auto-brightness in Settings and leave on Medium (although that's a bit too bright sometimes).

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3 years ago

T-Mobile HTC Radar 4G Review

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T-Mobile HTC Radar 4G Review

While the curtain has been lifted for some time on the HTC Radar, it is still a fresh face on the Windows Phone market. The white/silver color scheme and unibody design makes the phone stand out amongst other Windows Phones. The lighter color pattern may extend the Windows Phone appeal to new users but how does the Radar hold up to other Windows Phones?

The Radar isn't just another pretty face amongst smartphones. With respect to design and feel, the HTC Radar can easily hold its own against other Windows Phones on available today. The aluminum unibody is curved to fit your hand comfortably while giving the Radar a quality build. The screen is vibrant, responsive and has a bit of a pop to it. While the color choice for the Radar may not appeal to everyone, there's no denying this is a well built Windows Phone.

We've put the Radar to use over the past few days and to see how this second generation Windows Phone has held up, bounce on past the break.

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3 years ago

Samsung Focus Flash - 1st Impressions [Video]

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AT&T, as expected, released the Samsung Focus Flash and Focus S today. We've already shared our first impressions on the Focus S and now we turn our sites on the Focus Flash.

The Focus Flash is a compact Windows Phone sporting a 3.7" Super AMOLED screen. The phone comes across as well built and comfortable in the hand. The Flash weighs in at 4.1 ounces which is strangely .2 ounces heavier than the larger Focus S.  It's virtually identical to the Omnia 7 and comparable in feel to the HTC Surround (but thinner and lighter) and the HTC Radar (tad shorter).  The phone is 4G compatible which will be a nice thing once 4G service becomes more widely available.

Having only tinkered with the Flash for a short time it makes a nice impression. Here are my initial reservations. First the size may not appeal to everyone. If you like compact phones, you'll love the Flash. Next, the Flash is fitted with 8GB of storage and doesn't have an expansion slot. After all is said and done with preloaded software, you are left with just over 6GB of storage left. Some may see this as too restrictive.

Even though there are some reservations with the Focus Flash, the Windows Phone makes a nice first impression. The screen looks fantastic, the 1.4GHz processor moves things along nicely, and I like the physical Start button.

The Focus Flash is running about $399 out of contract from AT&T and we've seen contractual discounts dropping the price as low as $.01 (here at AmazonWireless).  Could we tag the Flash as a Windows Phone for the budget minded?

I'll echo Dan's earlier thoughts in that it's nearly impossible to say which is the best Windows Phone out there. HTC, Nokia, and Samsung have all stepped it up by producing quality second generation phones. Again, this means you don't have to worry about the quality of the phones but instead, concentrate on finding the Windows Phone that fits your personal needs/tastes best.

Look for a full review of the AT&T Samsung Focus Flash in a few days.

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3 years ago

Samsung Focus S - 1st Impressions [Video]

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We've had our Focus S now for a few hours and feel we can share some thoughts with you in this video.

First off, it's the lightest and thinnest phone out there, weighing in at 3.9oz. The design is real slick with nice curved edges, lending it a great feel in the hand. The screen: Super AMOLED Plus is nice, but the difference between it and HTC's Super LCD is less extreme than back in 2010. In fact, we like the color representation a little better on the Titan when compared side by side. That's not a knock though on Samsung, as both devices have really good screens, though we are finding the Focus S screen a bit more dim than we would like. In addition, it auto-adjusts very frequently, which results in a brief but frequent flicker of the screen as it constantly changes screen brightness.

With the gyroscope, compass, 16GB of storage, 512MB of RAM and an 8MP rear camera, the specs are pretty top notch. We actually have HSDPA+ ("4G") service around here and it is faster, though we still think T-Mobile's edges it out a bit e.g. the Radar 4G. One of our favorite aspects are the buttons--both in layout (side power button) and implementation--they feel perfect, are easy to identity and have just enough travel.

So, what's the best phone out there? Nearly impossible to say. HTC has really stepped up their game with the Radar 4G and Titan, taking away any huge advantage that Samsung may have had last year. That's a good thing though as it means you don't have to worry about odd details, but can concentrate on aesthetics e.g. size and looks, instead of performance.

We'll have more comparisons coming up this week, so stay tuned. And try our forums for questions or discussion!

(Side note: Yes, I have a bad head cold, so sorry if I sound kind of sick...but it's because I am!)

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3 years ago

Samsung Focus S - Did you get yours yet?

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The Samsung Focus S has arrived at AT&T today, meaning you can go to your local store and see it on display or purchase outright ($550 without contract).

We have ours and are uploading a comparison/first impressions vid as we speak. So far it's a pretty killer device--extremely thin and light are the key factors here. Screen is "okay" and the reason we say that is only because HTC has really stepped up their game with Super LCD on the Titan and Radar, meaning in our opinion Samsung has lost the edge here on that feature.

In the meantime, head into our forums to discuss your thoughts and opinions, or ask any questions as we're sure some folks will answer. We'll also have some Focus Flash hands on up in a bit too, don't fret.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: November 1 - 6, 2011

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3 years ago

WRC Live now available for Nokia Windows Phones

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Nokia has already showed off their exclusive ESPN sports hub at Nokia World, and now they're set to offer World Rally Championship fans an app too. This free app will enable Nokia users to keep track of the latest happenings of the event, calendar, maps and videos. This should not come as a surprise since Nokia announced a partnership with the FIA WRC, and is also a listed sponsor.

Nokia owners can download the WRC Live app from the Marketplace for free.

Source: 1800PocketPC

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3 years ago

AT&T Focus S and Flash now available for online ordering

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In case you're too far (or too busy) to get to an AT&T store to pick up a new Samsung Focus S or Flash, you can now order one from the safety of your couch. Yup, just as planned, both phones are available online for ordering with free overnight shipping and a waived activation fee.

The Focus Flash is the "budget" phone, offering a 3.7" Super AMOLED screen, 8GB of storage with a 5MP rear and 1.3MP front facing camera for $49.99. We're not sure if it has a compass/gyroscope yet, something that the comparable T-Mobile Radar 4G lacks, but we'll let you know tomorrow with our first impressions.

The other is of course the Focus S. Sporting a 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus screen, 1.4GHz CPU, 16GB of storage and an 8MP rear and 1.3MP front facing camera, it'll cost you $199.99 for that top of the line phone.

We have a feeling most of you will be going for the Focus S, seeing as it is the proper upgrade from the Focus. But how many of you are holding off for the awe-inspiring HTC Titan?

Check out the new phones here. Thanks, Josh and Tim, for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Quick Windows Phone Tease for Monday

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3 years ago

More on Windows Phone hardware--devs to get access to proximity and light sensors?

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MS_Nerd noticed an interesting note on the hardware specifications page for Windows Phone that simply reads

"Additional sensors, such as proximity and light, are on the phone but are not available for developer interaction yet."

Of course the key word there is "yet" which certainly implies that Microsoft will be further opening up dev tools to more advanced features on the phone. Such access will of course allow some more interactive software and hopefully spur developer creativity, resulting in light-sensitive apps or ones that use the proximity sensor as a trigger for an alarm, etc. Perhaps we shouldn't see this too much as a surprise. Microsoft built smart developer APIs for the other sensors, so it is just a matter of time before they expand it other areas. Seems obvious.

Also of interesting note is although Windows Phone OEMs could drop the camera, MS_Nerd in our opinion correctly suggests that this was more for government and enterprise reasons than consumer. It's very standard that a requirement for government issued phones or for those working in certain areas of enterprise don't have cameras on their devices to prevent espionage. BlackBerry, Treos of yore and even Windows Mobile devices commonly had variants where the camera was removed from the device and there's no reason to believe that Microsoft wouldn't want to have their phones in this specialized area as well.

Source: MSDN; MS_Nerd

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3 years ago

Microsoft loosens hardware requirements and camera now optional

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It would appear that Microsoft has relaxed their hardware requirements (on September 23rd) to exclude the camera as a necessity. This would allow lower-end handsets to be brought out at a more affordable price, something we know Nokia wish to do. In fact, these changes are already here. We already know the Lumia 800 has neither a front facing camera nor gyro and the HTC Radar has no compass or gyro on board.

Check out the revised hardware requirements below:

Standard Hardware

  • A common set of hardware controls and buttons that include the Start, Search, and Back buttons.
  • A large WVGA (800 x 480) format display capable of rendering most web content in full-page width and displaying movies in widescreen.
  • Capacitive 4-point multi-touch screens for quick, simple control of the phone and its features.
  • Support for data connectivity using cellular networks and Wi-Fi.
  • 256 MB (or more) of RAM and 8 GB (or more) of flash storage.
  • A-GPS
  • Accelerometer 

Optional Hardware

  • Compass
  • Gyro
  • Primary Camera
  • Front-facing Camera

Source: MSDN, via: @manan, Mobility Digest

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3 years ago

Official: AT&T Samsung Focus S has 16GB of non-expandable storage

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Yes, the big mystery that really wasn't a mystery has now ended. Even though the phone goes on sale tomorrow morning, many were still left wondering how much memory the Samsung Focus S would have on board.  Eight, sixteen, thirty-two gigabytes?

Well, as you can tell by the title of this post, the correct answer is: 16GB resulting in about 13.76GB of actual storage after the OS

The device also appears to be using Samsung's NAND memory and there doesn't seem to be a clear way to expand it. The benefit here is it will be very fast, faster than just a microSD card for memory. The downside is yes, 16GB is all you get. The info above comes direct from AT&T themselves via their support pages, so we can consider it quite legit and reliable.

We'll be honest: for our needs, 16GB is fine and we're totally okay with this. In fact, it's exactly what we expected. But we know some of you will be disappointed, while others will be grateful it wasn't 8GB like the HTC Radar (but we never believed it had that little anyways).

So what say you: Satisfied or upset? Let us know in comments!

Source: AT&T Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 Big thanks to Ryan for the great sleuthing in finding those links!

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3 years ago

Official Soundhound musid ID app now available

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While Windows Phone 7.5 has Bing Music on board for ID'ing songs, it's not available everywhere nor does it have many bells and whistles. Enter Soundhound, a popular music ID service similar to Shazam but in many ways, better. The service is extremely popular on iOS and Android so it's nice to see it finally arrive on Windows Phone--better late than never, right?

The app is free, Mango ready and pretty well thought out. You simply tap the big button, let it sample the music and it'll ID it for you. From there, you can "buy" the song by jumping to the Zune Marketplace directly (nice), share the find on Twitter and/or Facebook or take a gander at the lyrics.

Searches are saved for you in the "my stuff" section and you can set it auto-share your search results to Facebook or Twitter, if you so desire. There are nicely added context menus to your "my stuff" section if you want to delete previous finds and the ads (yes, there are a few here and there) are unobtrusive.

Coolest feature? Pin the "listen button" to your Start screen. With one-tap, it hops into the app and starts listening for the song. And really, that's what it's about, right? You need to launch music ID apps as fast as you can to get that song before the commercial is over or the radio is changed. So brilliant use of the Live Tile there.

Unfortunately, we couldn't get it to work with our Facebook, but perhaps a glitch on our end and the quick-launch mentioned above is still a tad slow. But for a v1.0, we're impressed and look forward to future updates. Highly recommended.

Grab Soundhound here in the Marketplace for free. Thanks, Richard E. for the tip!

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3 years ago

Accent color changes in Mango. No your eyes aren't playing tricks.

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Anyone noticed in Mango some slight tweaks to the Accent colors? Specifically the Lime and Magenta colors seem to have become less deep/contrasty? Well, according to @MS_Nerd, indeed those two colors have undergone a slight modification as you can see above.

MS_Nerd also notes that "Fujitsu uses original lime as custom color.", referring to the IS12T. Going further, HTC now has an "HTC" Accent color on the Radar and Titan that is also more closely matches the old lime, which we like.

While on newer screens, the A2C139-Green isn't too bad, it looks completely washed out on some of HTCs older offerings e.g. the Arrive and HD7. In that sense, we understand why HTC is opting for their own green now, giving users no less than three shades.

Source: @MS_Nerd

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