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3 years ago

Zune absent from fall Xbox 360 dashboard update? [Updated]

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It’s no secret that Microsoft is consolidating several of its brands into the uber-successful Xbox brand. Just last week we reported that the Games for Windows website is moving to Xbox.com. In the last few days, Microsoft phased out Zune original sales on their site. And of course, it’s long been rumored that the Zune brand will split up into several tiny robot lion brands.

That rumor gains more credence thanks to some recently-released screenshots of the upcoming fall Xbox 360 dashboard update. Not only does it look super slick and Windows 8-ey, but it’s also lacking the Zune logo in its music and videos sections. Zune, we’ll always have Paris.

The big question though: How will this matter to Windows Phone, going forward?


Update: Looks like Thurrott may have been a a little quick on the gun. Zune is still listed as an App in the new Xbox hub, as seen above. It's just not named for Music/Music, which may be the area in which you access local media, whereas Zune is for streaming, etc. Read more at They Lyons Den.

Source: Supersite for Windows, Live Side

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3 years ago

3D maps on WP7 [Developers]

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3D maps on WP7 [Developers]

This is pretty neat. Tim James, over at EMC Consulting, has provided a detailed how to (if you will) of bringing depth to a 2D map to Windows Phone 7. Namely, wrapping a map around a 3D sphere. Tim also explains how building a 3D map using a flat image can show signs of distortion among and top and bottom halves, while the equatorial area covers much more surface space.  All of which could give added dimension to apps.

On a side note, while reading the article I'm heavily reminded of Street Slide, except this isn't improving street view and making it appear as a more constant 3D 'walkthrough'. Check out the video below for the app Stars3D (opens Zune), which is really impressive and runs along the same idea but instead we're inside the sphere looking out.

Source: EMC Consulting

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3 years ago

AT&T testing update for Samsung Focus v1.4 devices

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The update is almost here. I'm sure Focus owners have gone beyond pulling out their hair and have waited enough, but it seems as though you'll have to wait just a bit longer. AT&T are now testing updates for v1.4 Focus handsets so we should expect to hear more information sometime next week. Hopefully it wont be a continuous drag from here on out. To refresh, the Focus comes in two hardware variations, with the v1.4 having different memory modules on board, resulting in update headaches for Microsoft.

As always with any update news for the Focus device, users are expressing both anger towards and dissapointment in Samsung, Microsoft and AT&T over the delay that has been caused. Microsoft rolled out NoDo on March 22nd. Some four months later and we're almost there and it's been over two months since Microsoft explained the issue.

Source: Windows Team Blog 

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3 years ago

Transfer movies from iTunes to WP7 quickly [How To]

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Using the Windows Phone 7 Connector for OS X can prove to be a drag when attempting to transfer a movie from iTunes to your handset. The progress bar gives the false impression that it's stuck and one tends to get frustrated, especially if you're like me and only synchronise your device just before you leave the house.

OS X user Marin got in touch with us to let everyone in on a more efficient way to transfer movies to your WP7 handset and not having to wait 20 or so minutes. Should you have an avi copy of the movie at hand with an mp3 soundtrack, you can use software such as MP4Tools to convert and then import into iTunes. Windows Phone Connect should then pick up the movie and be able to transfer it to your device with much more efficiency.

Unfortunately, Marin noticed a drawback to this method (which I can confirm). The movie wont be playable in iTunes (as well as Xbox 360 consoles) and a stand-alone media player (such as VLC) will have to be used. But this should be no problem if you have a separate m4v copy. Let us know if this guide works for you and how it compares to transferring m4v movies to your device.

Thanks Marin for the tip and guide!

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3 years ago

Fabulous news! Sally's Salon Luxury Edition coming to Xbox Live

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Casual game fans will surely love this news. Game House, publisher of the hit game Doodle Jump, has a new Xbox Live title in the works: Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition. WPCentral is proud to bring you these exclusive screenshots of the Windows Phone version. (Note that the screens are a bit grainer than the final game will be.)

Sally’s Salon is a new spin on the classic Diner Dash formula. Customers enter the salon with their hair all a-frizz and it’s up to Sally to get them seated and trimmed to perfection. She needs to exercise careful time management, otherwise patrons will go elsewhere for their lock-shearing needs. When the profits start rolling in, players can hire new employees, upgrade salon stations, and add new amenities such as coffee machines. Stylin’!

Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition is currently undergoing certification with a target release date of August. We’ll be sure to let you know more about the game closer to release. In the meantime, check out Sally’s Achievements from our friends at Xbox360Achievements.org.

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3 years ago

Garmin StreetPilot hits the Marketplace

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Garmin StreetPilot has been released over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. The GPS/Navigation app joins a host of other voice navigation apps already in place for your Windows Phone such as Turn by Turn Navigation, GPS Voice Navigation and aSpass.

Garmin designed their Windows Phone app to share similar features found on Garmin's Nuvi stand alone personal navigators. To minimize data needs, maps are downloaded for areas relevant to your planned route. Garmin StreetPilot also includes real-time traffic updates.

Additional features includes:

  • Voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions including street names
  • Real-time traffic updates included at no additional cost
  • Automatic map storage so you can browse maps you've recently viewed outside of data coverage areas
  • Speed limits for most major roads
  • Integrated Local Search
  • Millions of points of interest
  • Lane assist with junction view for complicated interchanges
  • Address book integration to navigate to contacts
  • Current weather conditions and forecast
  • Place calls directly from search listing
  • Navigate in both portrait and landscape mode

Garmin StreetPilot sounds and looks like a very useful navigation app for your Windows Phone. The downside to the picture is that there is no trial version available and the full version runs $39.99. It may be well worth the $40 price tag but it would be nice to have a trial version to let Windows Phone users a chance to take StreetPilot out for a test drive.

Garmin StreetPilot can be purchased here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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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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