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3 years ago

Nielsen: Gaming dominates smartphones

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Nielsen: Gaming dominates smartphones

This sort of headline is enough to make our Paul Acevedo jump around with joy and pull many smug faces to the rest of the team due to gaming dominating other categories in terms of usage on multiple smartphone platforms. Since the beginning, games have always been a major hit on iOS, especially those that are Facebook orientated. Windows Phone 7 has Xbox Live and some fairly big titles (the upcoming Beards and Beaks for example), while Android is somewhere in between.

So we're already aware of how popular games are on smartphones, what's so intriguing about this latest analytic data? The breakdown of hours on platforms.

With WP7 featuring Xbox Live, achievements, the Xbox Live hub and some arguably larger titles than competitor platforms, one would expect to see WP7 topping the above chart with more hours accumulated than iOS and Android, but this is not the case. Not only is the platform behind in the total number of hours, but Microsoft's mobile OS seems to be slightly under the industry average of 7.8 hours a month.

Is this a negative finding? Not at all if we're to take Microsoft's advertising and marketing campaign for WP7 into consideration. Remember the adverts that stated how Windows Phone will enable users to complete tasks quickly and get back to real life? Perhaps this rubs off onto gaming too? Maybe we're now so used to sending SMS messages, replying to emails, browsing the web, downloading apps and more with speed that we don't spend hours upon hours immersing ourselves into Xbox Live?

Then again, it could be that the price of Xbox Live titles and iOS ports on WP7 are just too high to justify. The final chart shown below displays the advantage of having the Xbox Live brand used on Windows Phone and the integration with the service. WP7 users are more likely to download apps than any other platform with iOS and Android not so far behind (of course this data isn't accurate), while Blackberry trails in last place (which is expected).

What do you think about this data, and do you believe Microsoft should look into increasing the average play time per user?

Source: Nielsen, via: WPSauce

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3 years ago

Xbox Live: Beards and Beaks to pop up in the Marketplace on July 13

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Now that Twin Blades is back where it belongs (on the Marketplace), new games can start making their way to Xbox Live. Next week’s release is an exciting one: Beards and Beaks from Microsoft Game Studios.

Beards and Beaks is an action-strategy title in which murders of cute but evil crows are invading peaceful Gnome Town to rob it of its riches. Crows are such jerks, don’t you think? Except for Brandon Lee, he was okay. Anyway, Beards and Beaks gives players an army of gnomes to command by flicking them all over the screen. Collecting mushrooms allows the player to unleash special powers. With simple controls and charmingly unique art style, this game could easily appeal to fans of Plants vs. Zombies and fun.

Beards and Beaks is notable for being the first Windows Phone game to be developed and produced by Microsoft Game Studios. Previous games were actually developed covertly by third parties, operating under the cover of night.

Beards and Beaks will be available on Wednesday, July 13 for the gnome-sized price of $2.99.

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3 years ago

Wizard of Words - Review

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Wizard of Words - Review

We did a round-up on the various word games available for your Windows Phone a while back. While we didn't cover all the word games available for your Windows Phone, we did receive several suggestions to add to the list. One such game is Wizards of Words.

Wizards of Words is a Boggle-type word game in which you are presented with nine letters and your job is to find all the words these nine letters can create. To help make things interesting, there are four gaming modes.

And to find out more, follow the break.

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3 years ago

'MLB at Bat 11' gets a price drop to $10 in the Marketplace

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Last week, in the avalanche of official apps that was unleashed, 'MLB at Bat 11' was hands down the most expensive, coming in at $15. The official app of Major League Baseball though had some amazing features, including radio for every game being played (often two choices), instant replay video, live stats and more.

Our own George Ponder gave it a quick review and he left impressed, even with the hefty price tag:

"If you are a baseball fan, I dare say that MLB.com at Bat 11 is a must have app for your Windows Phone. There's no indication if part of the proceeds are going to help the Dodgers climb out of Bankruptcy but MLB.com is well worth the price of admission."

But still, $15 is expensive which leads us to today's story that it has dropped to $9.99 from $14.99. That savings of $5 could make a difference for many of you, so it well worth the look for reconsideration. Unfortunately, there's still no trial, so you'll have to take a look at George's video reivew to decide--but most folks seem to be happy. Well, except for the folks having paid $5 more just a few days ago. Maybe they can hang with the IM+ crowd.

Grab it here in the Marketplace.

(Thanks, Bishop, for the heads up!)

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3 years ago

Flee - Review

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Flee - Review

Atabow is offering the Windows Phone game Flee over at the Marketplace. Flee reminds me a lot of the old board game Sorry and you can test your skills against the computer or an online community.

Simple, yet effective, graphics combined with an enjoyable gaming concept makes Flee a game worth trying. To find out more on this Windows Phone game, make the jump past the break.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Mango taking over the world with languages

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So we're all aware of Windows Phone 7 launching with five display languages; English (UK and US), French, German, Italian, and Spanish. We also know that Mango is bringing 17 new languages to the table including Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Swedish.

What's interesting to note is the more detail we've received in this article. John McConnell, Principal Program Manager, stated the following about available languages:

"I want to stress that you might not see all these display languages listed as options on your phone. The exact display options depend on your handset manufacturer and mobile operator."

This makes perfect sense to prevent languages being present on a device that may not ever be used by the majority of folk in a particular country or with a carrier, thus saving space. Languages will be installed by OEMs or operators. To allow East Asian language support Microsoft is also adding four new fonts, which will only be available should your device feature the respective language. The fonts are as follows:

  • Japanese – Yu Gothic
  • Korean – Microsoft NeoGothic
  • Simplified Chinese – DengXian
  • Traditional Chinese – Microsoft MHei

As well as the above, Mango also includes the Segoe UI Symbol font, which includes emoticons (Emoji), the new Indian rupee currency sign among other symbols.

Read on past the break for keyboard languages, Bing services and the future.

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3 years ago

EU ready to fight Microsoft on access to cloud data

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European Parliament members are up in arms after a recent admission by Microsoft that they may be required by the Patriot Act to secretly give U.S. authorities access to European data stored in Microsoft's cloud.  The controversy stems from the EU's Data Protection Directive, which dictates that companies must notify users if/when their data is handed over to another party.  If Microsoft is forced to follow Patriot Act guidelines, then that would mean the U.S. law would trump European law.  Some parliamentarians have taken up the cause to prevent that from happening.

Sophia In't Veld, a member of the Parliament's civil liberties committee, urged her colleagues to consider the matter:

"Does the Commission consider that the U.S. Patriot Act thus effectively overrules the E.U. Directive on Data Protection? What will the Commission do to remedy this situation, and ensure that E.U. data protection rules can be effectively enforced and that third country legislation does not take precedence over E.U. legislation?"

Currently, the Safe Harbor act, which allows companies like Microsoft to transfer data from European storage facilities guarantees users reasonable security and enforcement.  However, if the Patriot Act is allowed supersede that, then it renders that guarantee useless.  Theo Bosboom, IT lawyer with Dirkzager Lawyers, had this to say:

"I'm afraid that Safe Harbor has very little value anymore, since it came out that it might be possible that U.S. companies that offer to keep data in a European cloud are still obliged to allow the U.S. government access to these data on basis of the Patriot Act..."

The struggle for data protection extends beyond the issue of sovereignty of state.  Should the matter remain as is, it opens the floodgates for other companies' data to be secretly put in the hands of U.S. officials.  Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. could all be affected.  European Parliament members have taken up the cause for their constituents, but until it is fully resolved, Bosboom says that, "Europeans would be better to keep their data in Europe. If a European contract partner for a European cloud solution, offers the guarantee that data stays within the European Union, that is without a doubt the best choice, legally."

Source: PCWorld

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3 years ago

ToDo app built with Telerik RadControls for WP7 [Developers]

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Telerik provide Windows Phone 7 developers with a product called RadControls, which is bundled with a number of controls that are reportedly not available in the UI toolbox for WP7. Many apps including the #1 ranked app in the finance category on the Marketplace are developed using these tools and with MyBudget being a finance management tool, it takes full advantage of graphs and other features offered in RadControls.

RadControls is available as a free trial and is purchasable for $399/$499, but you have exactly seven days left in the Telerik sale where the price has been slashed to $99. With this fee you unlimited deployments and full redistribution rights. For an extra $100 you get free major updates and the source code.

In the image above you will see a ToDo app that was built using RadControls. Telerik have dedicated a section of the WP7 website to aid start-up developers with creating apps and how to bring everything together. There are a number of blog posts covering this ToDo app and how it was designed/developed using the tools available. The option to download the source code (and wireframe PDF) is also available to see how everything connects behind the UI.

Check out a video showcasing some apps using the software, as well as a mention of the Telerik Examples app in the Marketplace after the break. 

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3 years ago

Nokia delayed first WP7 device? Not quite

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We're all hyped and excited about the upcoming Microkia partnership taking full swing and seeing Nokia CEO Steve Elop pleading with the audience at a preview demonstration of 'Sea Ray' to not release material to the media (we still haven't posted anything about it, Steve - we promise), it got our taste buds tingling at the sight of a Nokia WP7 handset.

However, it seems there's some slight confusion with Nokia and their release dates. To cut a long story short, Nokia have never led us to believe they would begin shipping numbers this year. 2012 was always the given date. The fall of 2011 (when Mango is being rolled out) was only ever a possibility for us to see a single Nokia handset available, which Steve explained in a video a few months back. So today, when they tweeted

"The first volume shipments for Nokia phone with Windows Phone OS are expected that start early next year."

...well, that's the same story they've been telling, no news there. Nokia's WP7 portfolio is to be in full swing next year, but as Steve mentions in the video linked above, the pressure is on not only the company, but also himself to push a device out this year at least. In an interview with Forbes, Jo Harlow, head of Smart Devices at Nokia, mentioned that they were indeed ahead of scheduele but no promise was evidentially made.

Who are we kidding anyway? This is only July, early July at that. We've just entered the summer holidays and have a good number of months to go until Mango along with the fall of 2011. Let's just see what Nokia has to say closer to the date for more accurate detail.

Could their first device come this year? Possibly, but don't be disappointed if it arrives early 2012. It's still going to be one incredible ride and Nokia know they need to hit the nail on the head to survive.

We hope that clears up a few things as we wouldn't want you all to get the wrong idea about anything, would we?

Source: GeekSailor, Twitter (Nokia)

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3 years ago

Microsoft demands Samsung to pay $15 per Android device sold

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Yet more royalty charges from Microsoft (remember the report of HTC paying Microsoft $5 per device?), this time it's for Samsung, the largest Android OEM. The software behemoth is requesting a royalty fee of $15 per Android device sold by the handset manufacturer. This would prove to be a monster of a revenue stream with analysts forecasting Samsung selling around 19 million units between April and June alone this year.

The Maeil Business Newspaper quoted unnamed industry officials saying that Samsung would likely attempt to negotiate the fee and lower it to $10 in exchange for presumably more Windows Phone 7 devices and a 'deeper alliance' with Microsoft.

Via: AndroidCentral, Reuters

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3 years ago

HTC buys stake in S3 Graphics from VIA

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HTC buys stake in S3 Graphics from VIA

This is interesting, VIA has announced that they've sold their stake in S3 Graphics to HTC. Seems the Taiwan based handset manufacturer wishes to expand their portfolio and include silicon development. It will be interesting to see what this deal brings to future handsets from the company.

Even though S3 Graphics, a graphics chipset manufacturer, doesn't hold as much market share as it once did, they still play an important role in consoles, HTCs and VIA's compact motherboards. Tzu-mu Lin, Senior Vice President and Board Director of VIA, honored the transition:

"The transaction would allow VIA to monetize a portion of its rich IP portfolio, yet retain its graphics capabilities to support the development and sale of its processors and chipsets."

This move could also be fueled by Apple's recent encounter with S3 Graphics where a lawsuit has been filed against Apple for infringing two patents. HTC will now own this collection of patents, which I'm sure they'd be more than happy to use against Apple (especially after Nokia won a settlement).

Source: VIA PR, via: The Unwired

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3 years ago

Win two 3-month Zune subscriptions

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Win two 3-month Zune subscriptions

The Zune team are giving away two three month Zune Pass subscriptions to two lucky winners (so that's 6 months worth of Zune goodness each), which can be used on your Windows Phone 7 handset. To be eligible for the tweepstake, you must have a Twitter account (who doesn't these days?) and be over the age of 14, living in the US.

Entering the competition is as easy as 1, 2, 3 (no, really):

  1. Follow @ZuneSupport and visit the tweepstake page.
  2. Tweet the phrase found at the top of the page.
  3. Submit all required information in the survey. Done!

For more information (and to enter), check out the tweepstake page. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the guidelines.

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3 years ago

Seesmic updated to 1.7 and is now a game

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Seesmic updated to 1.7 and is now a game

Have you not got the latest version Seesmic yet? It's just been updated to 1.7 and now appears to be located in the Xbox Live hub instead of the usual place where applications hang out. Unfortunately, Seesmic isn't a Xbox Live title and therefore doesn't have achievements, but it's still strange how it's following suit of Shazam, which also had this issue.

Version 1.7 was supposed to address Twitter authentication issues (that's all 3rd party Twitter clients seem to do with updates) and permission alterations where users can now message authenticated accounts without actively following them. Re-authenticating your Twitter account is relatively straight forward, simply opening up the app after updating (from your Xbox hub remember?) will load the account migration wizard. This will allow you to re-authenticate your account in a few steps.

Not so long ago, our Paul Acevedo covered how Seesmic now reads out tweets to the user and this was the first step in the app taking over humanity. This is stage two, taking over Xbox Live. It's only a matter of time folks, only a matter of time!

Source: Seesmic

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3 years ago

Windows Phone on track for Japan, will launch with many local apps

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Going back to February, we knew of Microsoft's intent on bringing Windows Phone 7 over to Japan--a market that we still can't believe doesn't have the OS nearly nine months after launch. At the time, all we knew was "by year's end" for a release date and that's still seems to be accurate.

Evidently, Yasuyuki Higuchi, the corporate president of Microsoft Japan, had a little business briefing where he detailed a little more information about the upcoming Japanese-version of Windows Phone and what to expect.  As reported by NanaPho, Higuchi stated (roughly, translated):

"Mango is in the final stage, carriers and manufacturers, together with content providers, and are also developing services-enabled applications," 

Those services and applications being developed for the Japanese market include games, entertainment, food and restaurant industry, navigation, shopping, travel and SNS (social networking system). This is sort of a big deal obviously due to the need to create native apps with the Kana/Kanji writing system for the phone and Japan is a significant market for Microsoft to reach. As a side note, Yasuyuki Higuchi looks to be using a Dell Venue Pro for his personal device (see above pic).

Currently it is not known which manufacturer would be bringing Windows Phone to Japan, though seeing as Fujitsu was recently named as a new partner, we can safely guess that they will be involved with the first launch. 

Source: Keitai Watch,  PC Watch (Image); via NanaPho

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3 years ago

Kurt Vile video shot entirely with Windows Phone [Updated]

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Shooting an entire video on a Windows Phone always seems like an interesting challenge and we like seeing the results. For one, it demonstrates the phone/camera capability and number two, it makes us wonder how good can we make our videos.

Microsoft is evidently starting a "Me series" which is described as "a collection of short film essays exploring a day in the life of creative Windows Phone users." The first one, as seen above, is filmed by Todd Cole an "acclaimed fashion photographer" who was working on the video for Kurt Vile's song "Baby's Arms" using Windows Phone. From the video description: 

"Todd Cole, acclaimed fashion photographer and music video/commercial director, is known for his work with such diverse talents as Charlotte Gainsbourg and No Age to Rodarte and Commes Des Garcons. This video profile takes a look behind the scenes in his making of Kurt Vile's "Baby's Arms" music video. The video was shot exclusively using the Windows Phone camera in Cole's hometown of Los Angeles and explores the love story between a young couple living their everyday lives in East LA."

Okay, fair enough, he has some fancy editing software, professional lighting and a steady-cam setup in addition to his Windows Phone, but all else being equal, it's pretty cool. Plus the quality of the video,  when you steady the phone, is pretty top notch and gets you thinkin', no?

Update: Full video of 'Baby's Arms' after the break.

Source: YouTube (Windows Phone)

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