Looking for a cool game for your Windows Phone? Something with a little twist? If so, check out the Windows Phone 7 game Shift2.
Shift2 is part platform game and part puzzle game. Your goal is to work your player from one side of the screen to a door that appears at various locations throughout the games levels. All in an effort to escape the experimental lab you're trapped inside.
The puzzle challenge comes into play because the route to the door is never direct. You have a shift button that will flip the screen, moving the floor to the roof. It turns towering obstacles into dangerous pits.
Follow the break to read more on Shift2 and to see a video of the game in action.
Love is spreading throughout Microsoft with a section of the Windows Phone website now dedicated to the upcoming Valentine's Day, featuring the top picks of apps for finding that one true love, seducing the colleague you have a crush on at work, or simply making a restaurant reservation for your partner.
Valentine's Day can be difficult to consider, especially in a relationship. I, myself, can confirm the daunting fear in experiencing the inability to conceive the perfect plan ensuring the partner feels special on the day of love (arguably an excuse for media and businesses to earn more revenue). Why not turn to your WP7 device (Man's best friend) to aid you in Man's most troubled yearly event?
Some of the featured apps on the Windows Phone 7 website include Match.com, Love Quotes, Seymour and OpenTable. Have any of the apps on the Marketplace aided you with Valentine's Day?
For those of us who may travel outside of the United States, taking the Samsung Focus with us to use on Europe's vast GSM network seems like a no-brainer. Of course, lets assume we're going for an extended time and/or just don't want to use AT&T's high-priced voice/data roaming--what do you do? You carrier unlock of course, enabling the use of non-AT&T SIM cards on the phone and you're in pre-paid GSM heaven.
Not so fast there buddy, says AT&T.
Evidently, AT&T has an exclusive deal on the Focus till, we hear, at least May 2011. What that means is if you call them, regardless of your sob story, they will not give you a SIM unlock code for your Samsung Focus. Many have tried and as far as we can tell, none have succeeded.
What about the other route? Paying a third party for the database access, like cellunlocker.net who are charging a modest $4.99 for the code. Nope, won't work either. In fact calling Samsung directly is even resulting in the run-around (though at least a few have succeeded). Unlocker sites will return with "not found in database" (true) and Samsung will point you back at AT&T. Pretty lame.
The only solution we heard about (and we confirm works) is FastGSM.com, who provide a software tool to do it. This process will set you back though about $20, which is hardly ideal but at least works. If you go this route, make sure you follow the video and not the software-tool's instructions. To verify your unlock status, follow these directions. To get an idea of what to expect, you can see the video after the break...
Anyone have other solutions that worked or advice? Share in comments.
The title says it all, folks. According to a video posted by YouTube user kendimcefg, a HTC HD2, hacked to run WP7, runs many basic functions faster than a HD7 which natively runs it. We knew that the HD2 was a versatile device, but this is pretty amazing, if accurate. If seeing is believing, then color us impressed. Check out the video for yourself, but try not to rock too hard to the soundtrack.
For those of you who know about Machinima.com, you'll be pleased to know they just published an official app for Windows Phone. Machinima is basically a top-rated gamer site, that features news, reviews and general entertainment, including some humor--all nicely laid out and professionally done. The Windows Phone app, likewise, is also extremely well executed. From the app descritiption:
Machinima.com is the premier online network providing entertainment for the gaming culture, showing game trailers, gameplay videos and tips, video game reviews, first looks, and original series created in video games. One of the most viewed YouTube channels in the world!
Watch your favorite Machinima shows
Sort through top videos of the day, week, month, and of all-time.
Watch the most popular videos on the Machinima Network including all your favorite gameplay videos.
Keep up with gaming news, reviews, behind the scenes and Machinima videos
From our quick run, the app has beautiful graphics, the videos play well and the layout is nice. Scrolling though is a bit laggy what with all of those graphics. But we always see this with v1.0 apps--build the foundation, optimize later, so we can't be too harsh, especially since for Machinima fans, this app is pretty golden. Grab the free app right here in the Marketplace.
UK site ElectricPig got their hands on a GSM HTC 7 Pro, which just hit the market there. Putting it through its paces, EP concluded that the 7 Pro is "absolutely" the best Windows Phone 7 device out there, if you "prioritize email over anything else".
The review highlighted the outstanding keyboard, both in terms of flat out typing and its excellent hinge mechanism, an improvement of the "laggy" Touch Pro 2 of past. Battery life also was very good, allowing them to run it all day with WiFi, 3G and ample usage--which is great news for the device which sports 1500mah of juice. Likewise, the camera was also received well with low noise demonstrated in photos taken (though video was not as smooth).
Some downfalls are the obvious: the LCD screen pales in comparison to AMOLED and is "unremarkable, if not its weakest aspect"--a common theme with HTC's latest LCD choices (contra CNet's findings). The other obvious criticism is size: coming in at 185g and 15.5mm thick, the device is quite chunky for the pocket, but we think it's a valued trade off with that great keyboard. Having said that, build quality was deemed "seriously sturdy, and the metal and plastic edges shrug off fingerprints".
Overall, EP seemed quite pleased with the phone, giving it rather high praises. What weakness were present (including rough landscape support in the OS) are sort of run of the mill for HTC these days. One area they need to obviously invest is in screen quality--if not AMOLED than something more impressive than their current supplier is offering. Regardless, we still can't wait till Sprint gets this bad boy, as EP notes, the 7 Pro is "the most productive Windows Phone 7 model yet". We like the sound of that.
One thing there is not a shortage of in the Marketplace are "tower defense" games. To be sure, there are some real good ones out there (Confession: big fan of Next War)--but hey, we can always use something that raises the bar a bit, right?
Featuring stunning graphics, including shimmering water, textured layers and detailed movement, Arcane's is shaping up quite nicely as demoed in the video above. But probably one of the more unique elements demonstrated later in the video is the level-editor, enabling you to create your own levels for what we imagine an endless amount of replay value. This last part is no small achievement either and we're quite excited about giving the app a spin, once it sees the light of day (hopefully soon).
Leave it up to a crafty highschool student, @shugonta, to fill a gaping hole in Windows Phone 7: lack of Japanese language support.
JPinput is a free app available in the Marketplace to all and will allow our Nipponese friends to finally text, email and search in their native Kana/Kanji. From the app description:
The input system is "Kana-mekuri", used by many cell-phones in Japan. This app provide two ways to convert "Kana" into "Kanji". One of them is "Predict conversion". The app predict what you want to type automatically,when you type a letter. The other is "Kana-kanji conversion". After you write up the sentence, you can transfer it to "Web search","e-mail", and "SMS" with using the icons of the application bar.
And considering the NoDo update is right around the corner, this app will be even more useful what with that whole copy/paste feature, allowing the Kana/Kanji to be used in nearly every app.
Nice work done here by the dev community. The developer's team "PAKEN" won the ImagineCup 2010 Japan last year and he just received an Optimus 7. He's obviously put it to good use, making life easier for a whole demographic. Grab the app here in the Marketplace. See the developer's blog here.
via: Nanapho.jp; Thanks, tezawaly, for the heads up
Looks like for some reason we're down to just one title a week on Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone. Perhaps Microsoft wanted to burn through those 50 titles as quickly as possible and now we're on the "regular" schedule. Either way, this weeks title is a puzzler type game from GameHouse called TikiTowers.
The description is as follows:
Save the monkeys! Only you can lead them to safety in this amazing new puzzle game featuring construction, destruction and problem-solving! Travel between five tropical islands, leading your tribe of monkeys to safety by building bridges and towers out of bamboo, coconuts, and vines. If you're not careful, your structures will collapse and your monkeys will perish. Clear all the levels to acquire the ceremonial masks of an ancient tribe and discover their mythical lost treasure. Tiki Towers is action and puzzle gaming at its best!
It did win some awards including “Best Casual Game” – 5th Annual International Mobile Game Awards 2009. Meh, maybe it'll be good but it's sort of hard to excited about. The game will probably go live sometime late tonight/early tomorrow.
We’ve looked at dictionaries before, but the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace offers other reference applications as well. National Geographic World Atlas is one such program aimed at geography students and enthusiasts. And who doesn’t like learning about far away lands or the shape of the world?
National Geographic is one of the largest educational institutions in the existence. Does the mobile World Atlas live up to their usual high standards? Read on past the break to find out.
We've heard that a new version of the Zune Desktop application is required for the upcoming Windows Phone 'NoDo' update and sure enough, an update just went live.
If you go to your Zune Desktop --> Settings --> Software --> General, you can force an update-check to grab v4.7.1404.0--which seems to be the same version as before, so we're unclear of any direct changes.
The new version of Zune Desktop is suppose to allow your Windows Phone to be backed up in preparation for 'NoDo', allowing you roll back if there are any problems during the flash. Of course the bigger news is this probably signifies that the actual Windows Phone update is only days, if not weeks away or that MS is gearing up for some changes in anticipation. (And call us crazy, but Zune seems to load a lot faster now).
Update: Cursory look so far reveals no significant changes besides perfomance. Find anything? Tell us in comments.
Update 2: While the overall version number is the same, two components have changed as noted by reader mparker: ZuneWmdu.dll and ZuneWmduResources.dll are both now v4.7.1407. Microsoft's support page in fact mentions these as needed for the software backup: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2498092 So this does look like a prep for the 'NoDo' update.
If you have an HTC developer unlocked ("jailbroken") phone, then this trick may be for you: evidently you can convert PDF books into .PRC files that can then be sideloaded on the device and viewed with Amazon's Kindle app. The reason? As DominikZ over at XDA notes, Charles Petzold's eBook "Programming Windows Phone 7" which is 100% free, costs $22.53 on Amazon (we actually see two versions, one XNA, one Silverlight, but both do cost ~$20 for the Kindle edition). Through this trick, you can convert the free PDF version of the book to a Kindle compatible one.
The task is not too difficult, but hardly elegant. As noted, only HTC devices can do this right now because the trick relies on TouchXplorer, which doesn't work to well on non-HTC devices.:
Copy the newly created *.prc file to your phone. If not already done, install TouchXplorer and go to My Documents\Zune\Content\0400\03 and cut the newly created file (It will be renamed to*.z)
Paste it to Applications\Data\48195FB4-EE0E-9264...\Data\IsolatedStore\kindle
Now rename the file so you will remember the it (e.g. programming.prc).
Start up Kindle and the newly added book should be available.
Like we said, not easy but once you do your first one, the rest are a breeze. Conversion usually takes less than five minutes from our experience and this seems a great way to load school PDFs, free eBooks, etc. onto your Windows Phone.
We've seen some great third party support for podcasts on Windows Phone 7 (see BringCast & Podcasts!), filling in the inablity to download over the air, while you're out and about.
Over at Monsmartphone.net, a reader named pth has submitted some pics of what look to be latent podcast support not yet complete around the Zune player and Marketplace. We asked monsmartphone.net about what exactly was "hacked" around the system to reveal those buttons (download or view) but have no response yet (we're not sure if 'pth' shared the trick). It should be noted that nothing around this feature yet works--so we're not missing anything that can be enabled via a hack.
What it does look like though is that the Zune team as setting up this function in Windows Phone but have yet to complete it. Considering how much is left out in v1 of Windows Phone, this makes sense. But the next question is when will we see this officially?
Update: Gilles responded and notes that the change is in an (unspecified) system file. More info may be coming later.
A few years back on Windows Mobile, we had a nifty little freeware app called Notes2Self--the app was mappable to any key and allowed you to record a quick audio note which was then emailed to yourself for safe keeping (works great with Google tags).
Flash forward a few years and while we can't map any keys, we get the very worthy Voice2Mail app made by MaSta Software (WebIS, ironically, said they're not doing WP7--their loss). The app fetches for $1.99 with a nice free trial. The price is actually quite fair when considering how soild this v1.0 release is and how well it works.
We dig the graphics, the customization, the ease of use and options. Overall, a worthy app for those on the go or need to be organized themselves. So if you like having voice memos in your email, this is the app for you. Of course, you can also save locally, in case you don't like the email route. Check out the video and grab it here in the Marketplace.
Intellectual property is a tough area in software and game development--often the lines are blurred and depending on how fierce the IP owner is, enforcement has a huge ranged from nothing too stringent.
Windows Phone developer Marios Karagiannis who has published the popular 'Monster Up' game has another in the Marketplace called 'Tetrada' which yes, is very much a Tetris clone. He just received a C&D letter from "Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A. Attorneys at Law, on behalf of the Tetris Company asking us to remove Tetrada from the Marketplace because they say it looks too similar to their game and violates the copyright of Tetris (TM)."
Marios, being an indie, student developer is of course complying as he has no resources to take on such a company--who has been vehement about enforcing their IP of the Tetris brand on other platforms. The question is, of course, what does the Tetris company have a claim on? The name? The logo or the actual game play? We're not sure, but Marios is under the impression it is just the name/logo, not the game play itself, in which case his game does not violate their copyright.
The game is being pulled as we speak from the Marketplace and had fetched for $0.99. We bought it anyways, because hey, these things are now like collector items. Having said that, it's actually a darn nice game--outstanding graphics, good UI and a pleasure to play. And that's probably the rub here: this game was better than the Tetris brand on Windows Phone (see review).
Either way, consider this fair warning for other Tetris clones in the Marketplace, of which there seem to be quite a few.