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3 years ago

Angry Birds - Review

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Angry Birds - Review

Angry Birds may have been one of the most anticipated Windows Phone games. Most are familiar with the game as it's been available for some time on other platforms.  While I've played my fair share of Angry Birds on other platforms, it was nice (almost refreshing) to see the popular game come to the Windows Phone platform.

For those not familiar with the game, evil pigs have stolen the birds eggs and have angered the feathered population. Negotiations fail and to arms (or wings) the birds go.  The pigs fortify their positions with sticks, rocks, and anything else they can get their hoofs on.  Your mission is to destroy the pigs by hurling an assortment of birds at them from a slingshot.  You work your way through the various levels to eventually take on the pig king.

Sounds easy, right? Shoot on past the break to see how the Windows Phone version of Angry Birds measures up.

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3 years ago

TripIt Travel Organizer official app now in the Marketplace

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Guess we're going to have to keep adding to that list. Yes, the official app for TripIt by Concur Technologies is now available. Up till now, we only had the excellent MyTrips 3rd party app which we still recommend you take a look at, as an alternative. But you can't beat free and so it's nice to see the super popular travel planner service now on Windows Phone.

We actually all use TripIt around these parts when our various Smartphone writers are globe trotting to conferences and events. If you haven't tried the TripIt service, it scans your email for travel information (flights, hotels, etc.) and automatically adds them to your upcoming trips. It's eerily awesome how well it works, allowing you to add things to your calendar, share them with others and just keep all your travel itinerary in one, accessible place.

You can grab TripIt here in the Marketplace and if that doesn't suit you, give MyTrips ($1.99) a whirl. (Thanks, sixseven, for the heads up)

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3 years ago

Licensed National Rail apps comparison

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Britain's railway network is a love and hate relationship with us Brits, right? When it's working as it should and trains are on time it's arguably one of the most reliable railways in the world, but when there's a fault somewhere it turns into the worst within seconds. To help keep on top of timetable changes, delays and cancellations we've been using smartphones to aid us in our travels.

Windows Phone 7 has now two officially licensed apps in the Marketplace, which both share the same base functionality and high price (£4.99 – to be expected with licensing). The big question is what separates Rail Planner and Train Travel? Let's run through the nooks and crannies of both apps and see what functionality is missing in one that the other features and which is best worth the high price tag (please be aware that this article is intended for folk living in the UK, should you download these apps you may be disappointed if you abroad).

Head on past the break for the full two app comparison review (you can skip to the video at the end for a quick walk-through).

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3 years ago

Google+ destined for iOS, WP7 on the horizon?

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The search giant is pushing forward with its latest social media product (anyone remember the rise and sudden fall of Buzz?) called Google+ and beta testing has been well underway with invites being rolled out. TechRadar reports that Google has confirmed that an iOS app will be hitting the App Store in the closing future which will feature native support. Question is, will they support Windows Phone 7?

Google+ is seen as the potential Facebook Killer and has a lot of hype to live up to according to the social media sphere. Since we already have Facebook and soon-to-be Twitter integration, I think Google+ could be a worthwhile addition. If we look at the current Google presence on WP7, it's nothing to be proud of. Users of docs, calendar, GMail, GTalk and other services have to switch between apps and there's no fluidity.

Google+ could become a hub of sorts, which could include all the social features which is present on the web version (chat, video conferencing, messaging etc.) while bringing in other Google services into one location. Then again, we do have Skype coming and WP7 is a very social integrated OS already. Would we really need another social network?

Via: TechRadar

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3 years ago

WP7 PlentyOfFish app released

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WP7 PlentyOfFish app released

What's that? Yet another official app? Of course it is, this is international official app release week for Windows Phone 7 remember? It seems even the WP7 users who are seeking love will be able to use their handsets to find romance with the official PlentyOfFish app entering the Marketplace.

While no information is detailed in the description as to what features are presently available in the app (apart from search and profiles), we'd assume messaging and more is included. You can download the app (Zune link) from the Marketplace for free (as well as register and use the service) but be aware that a payment is required to use advanced features.

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3 years ago

Windows 8 UI on Android Tablet [Video]

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Windows 8 UI on Android Tablet [Video]

This is a pretty neat video of not only the Windows Phone 7 lock screen for Android, which is being worked on by the guys at WP7Android, but they have managed to build a Windows 8 live tile look too with Desktop Visualizer and ADW EX on a Galaxy tablet, running Honeycomb 3.1. Apart from the stock Android style clock and icons on the bottom left (which I cannot stand personally) what they've managed to achieve with the tiles is really impressive.

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3 years ago

Make money with Microsoft Ad Control [Developers]

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The July 2011 issue of the MSDN Magazine features a great resource for aspiring developers - making money on Windows Phone 7 with Microsoft Ad Control. We wont cover absolutely everything since the article is massive but the detail it goes into is great for anyone new to the whole advertising and revenue realm. Unfortunately PubCenter is still not yet available to anyone outside of the US.

Before you dive onto this path of revenue, you must first ask yourself if this is the most effective way to earn revenue from your app(s). We have covered the debate surrorunding paid apps vs advertising (also which advertising network should you use). Once you've decided on what's best for your app(s), should it be advertising then you should check out the article as it will help you (as a developer) to:-

  • get started and set up with Microsoft Advertising in your application(s).
  • create an advertising-supported app using XAML or in code.
  • improve the advertising experience for your users and potentially earn more profit.

Be sure to read through the article (using the link below) to pick on some useful tips and tricks or to understand completely with how to successfully kick off your free app campaign backed by advertising.

Source: MSDN Magazine

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3 years ago

WP7 style Birthday cake

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WP7 style Birthday cake

This is pretty awesome and it looks delicious. Just a shame I wouldn't want to eat it and keep it on display instead. Twitter user Alper Özçetin celebrated his birthday with a twist this year. A full size Windows Phone 7 styled Samsung Birthday cake, isn't this every user's dream? Designed by Duygu Dem, we noticed the missing back and search buttons, but it's still darn impressive.

Source: Twitter, via: WPSauce

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3 years ago

Pokédex Mobile - Review

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The stereotype of Xbox 360 gamers is that they’re only interested in first-person shooters and games with lots of violence. People like that wouldn’t give Nintendo’s Pokémon series a second thought. Stereotypes are often wrong though, as plenty of 360 gamers like me enjoy all kinds of games. Besides, while it’s very common for Windows Phone gamers to also own Xbox 360 consoles, that doesn’t mean they don’t also have a DSi or 3DS. What I’m trying to say is that while the crossover between Windows Phone owners and Pokémon fans may not be tremendous, such people do exist. Pokédex Mobile from indie developer Imaginary Pocket aims to be a useful tool for active Pokémon players.

The Pokémon series of games revolves around collecting a large variety of Pokémon (Pocket Monsters), training them to learn new abilities, and commanding them in battle against rival Pokémon teams. While the original GameBoy Pokémons contained 151 different monsters to catch, each generation of sequels adds to the pot. The current DS offerings have pushed the total number of monsters up to a whopping 649. That’s a lot of Pokémon to keep track of! When you consider that even the same monster may appear in different places and have different abilities in each sequel, the need for an all-encompassing resource becomes readily apparent.

Journey past the break for our full review.

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3 years ago

Developer Interview: IQ, makers of Pikchur

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This week's interview features Dave McCanless (Designer) and Roger Peters (Director of Technology) from IQ Agency, who are the developing power behind the recently released official Pikchur app (not to mention a concept for Tesco). Dave and Roger walk us through the development process on Windows Phone, how IQ is using the mobile platform for establishing brand awareness and what they think of WP7's future in this competitive market.

We first hooked up with IQ when their live tile categorisation idea broke into the WP7 community.

Head on past the break to read the interview.

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3 years ago

Smartphone OS shapes

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Smartphone OS shapes

This is an extremely interesting observation. Many would ignore shapes used on smartphone handsets, simply because those shapes would be tied to app launchers or tiles which all contain either images or information. As one can see in the image above, Clayton Miller, a graphic and interaction designer (creater of 10/GUI), has aligned the different shapes adopted by the smartphone market.

From one perspective, you could assume that the shapes shown above is an illustration of the transformation from a square to a circle. Microsoft use the simple four-sided approach with the Metro UI, Apple keep things aesthetically pleasing with a roundrect, Nokia use a squircle and HP have a full circle to play with. Clayton states that Android doesn't have a unified shape, a possible symptom of fragmentation?

It's worth noting that smaller competitors use same shapes as the big players, Bada from Samsung makes use of squares but can't come close to Microsoft's tile implementation and RIM use roundrects throughout but are no match for Apple's iconic design.

Source: Clayton Miller

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3 years ago

Games for Windows moving to Xbox.com

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Games for Windows moving to Xbox.com

Microsoft is continuing to merge services together, which is fantastic news particularly in this case. The Games for Windows Marketplace is merging with Xbox Live's website, even though it was just overhauled back in November . We've always personally found Microsoft products to be horribly fragmented, but it seems Windows Phone 7 is the start of something magical and is driving change within the big company too. Leading to design improvements in Windows 8, advancement in mobile technology and Xbox Live, acquisition of Skype and now the combining of games for multiple platforms in one location.

"Games for Windows Marketplace will fully transition over to Xbox.com. Now you can get all of your gaming needs in one place. It’s convenient, it’s concentrated, and it’s a whole lot of great games."

In the PC world, Steam plays a heavyweight competitor to Microsoft's Games for Windows, merging the marketplace with Xbox.com should hopefully improve the dated layout. There are many Xbox gamers who also use their PC as a platform, I'm sure they'll welcome the merge with having both stores in one location. Could we see the implementation of Microsoft Points in the Games for Windows store?

Source: Games for Windows, via: GamePro

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3 years ago

The recent Windows Phone Marketplace blitz summarized

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There's no doubt that if you've been to our site over the last few days you've seen how Microsoft has flooded the Marketplace with some big name apps along with the conveniently timed Mango preview and Angry Birds for Xbox LIVE.

While we're used to having a few "official" apps every week added, the last 14 days has been a whirlwind, so much so that we wanted to tally it all up. From our count, Microsoft has gained some 51 big titles or apps in the last two weeks. That number we're prepared to revise in case we missed some--something that's easy to do. It's also worth noting that we've hit 25,000+ apps in the Marketplace--a number reached in just 8 months of effort.

This strategy by Microsoft was brilliant in many ways, getting our attention along with the media's in general as they were fixated on "Mango" (also, we're sure devs are quite happy this week too). The question we have is: How long will this flood last? In all likelihood, things will wind down this weekend. On the other hand, perhaps this is sustained effort. Needless to say, we'll be keeping our eyes open. One thing is for certain though: Microsoft is playing for keeps here and they are certainly courting all the big companies for apps, making sure customers have all the options available to them on the Windows Phone platform.

So to recap, join us after the break and see the big ol' list of who recently made it to the Windows Phone 7 party. Did we miss something? Shout out in comments and we'll add it!

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3 years ago

Bonus Mango ringtones coming to WP7.5 (featuring Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo)

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We haven't had a chance to listen to episode 34 of Windows Phone Radio, but we know they featured Matthew Bennett, who helped design the ringtones and sound scheme for Windows Phone:

“This week we crash the studio of Matthew Bennett, the senior sensory designer behind the soundtrack to Windows Phone. Matthew talks about the design and philosophy behind the sounds of Windows Phone, and what that might lead to in Mango.”

That's all well and good (and we hear very interesting) but the bigger news could be that  some extra ringtones will be coming to Mango users this fall. As reported earlier, Mango features customized ringtones via Zune Desktop and software on the phone, so having the ability add extra ringtones is now doable. Evidently Bennett has teamed up with Mark Mothersbaugh, lead singer of Devo (who recently put out a new album) to do a few new takes on the official ringtone of Windows Phone.

These extra ringtones won't be on any retail devices and will be made available via the Windows Phone Radio site. From Sheeds' Blog, who first reported on this and did an excellent write up:

"Don’t expect ‘Whip it’ – or any of the many Movies, TV or Gaming compositions (some quite famous!) Mark has contributed since his Devo days, but rather a “mash-up” and variations on the existing themes and styles of the Metro ring-tone and audio composition styles – which Matthew refers to as their “audio DNA and Design language”.

Sound good to us. It's always nice to get some bonus ringers and with Mothersbaugh on board, we're sure they should be quite interesting.

Source: Windows Phone Radio; via Sheeds' Blog

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3 years ago

Official Foursquare app gets bumped to v2.1, minor bug fixes

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Yowser, that was fast. The return of the official Foursquare app has been less than 36 hours and they've already pushed through a v2.1 update. Though it's still a bit laggy for our likes, at least from user comments you seem to enjoy the new look and functionality. Oh and that Live Tile is kind of kewl too.

Changes in v2.1 include:

  • Addresses a few small reported issues.
  • Improves robustness of photo uploading to check-ins,venues and tips

Hopefully they can work on optimizing the speed of the app in a v2.2--usually devs like to get some quick bugs out of the way before tinkering with the code, so we'll patiently wait. Grab the updated version here in the Marketplace. (Thanks, Strick979 & Amir, for the heads up!)

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