For those looking for a good opportunity to buy an HTC HD7, what with it's giant 4.3" screen, this Friday and Saturday may be your moment.
T-Mobile is confirmed to be having an "All Smartphones Free" sale on February 11th and 12th and that includes the HTC HD7. Sure, you have to sign a 2 year contract (conflicting info on whether upgrades count--best to go in ask directly) but if you like dealing with T-mo directly, here's your chance.
If you took the under bet on the the number of times the Dell Venue Pro would get delayed, chances are you lost your money. According to Clove, Dell has once again pushed back the release in the UK; this time until early March (we'll believe it when we see it). They have not offered any explanation of this latest delay.
In other very timely news, Clove now has the HTC 7 Pro in stock for £360.00. They are also including a free HTC BH M300 Bluetooth headset. So if you are tired of waiting for Dell to get their act together, and you don't fancy the Quantum, here's your chance to get a slide-out-keyboard-equipped WP7 device in the UK.
And if you're so inclined, check out Clove's video tour of the 7 Pro after the jump...
Bad news if you enjoy Last.fm on your "iPhone, Android device, Logitech Squeezebox, Sonos system, Revo AXiS, Ikon, Domino or Heritage device, Roberts Stream 63i, 205, Colourstream and 83i radios, Teufel machine, Onkyo AV receiver and Denon and Marantz AV receivers"--your Last.fm will now require a subscription service.
Good news though if you use Last.fm on Windows Phone 7 and Xbox--it's still free for our side. Oh snap.
Yes, as it turns out Last.fm is switching their ad-based revenue system in for a paid, monthly subscription one. From the Last.fm blog Matthew Hawn, Last.fm's VP of products said:
On the Last.fm website an ad-supported, free-to-listeners model is what supports our online radio services in the US, UK and Germany. In other markets and on emerging mobile and home entertainment devices, it is not practical for us to deliver an ad supported radio experience, but instead, we will migrate to what we believe is the highest quality, lowest cost ad-free music service in the world.
Subscriptions will run $3 a month and you non-MS folk can sign up here. Regarding Windows Phone 7 and Xbox, Hawn said:
Last.fm Radio will remain free on the Last.fm website in the US, UK and Germany and for the US and UK users of Xbox Live and Windows Mobile 7 phones (through 2011). We’ll also continue to offer radio for free via the Last.fm desktop app.
No word on the exact reason as to why Microsoft services are unaffected, but we imagine MS has some deal behind doors allowing the exception. Hey, it's our win.
Probably in the near future, Windows Phone 7 ROM developers (yes, there will be some) will be needing a method by which to mass install their homebrew apps back on to a newly flashed device--or even those of us who do a hard reset.
Mengow over at XDA has solved one little problem by making a mass-XAP installer, allowing you to just drag-n-drop your collection of apps. The app is simple enough and seem to work quite well so far, making mass installation that much easier. Up till now, we had to install an app one by one by one with lots of double clicks in between, now the process is more streamlined, making this a welcomed addition to the homebrew community.
A week or so ago, Jabborworx released the Windows Phone 7 game Chicks n Vixens. The game was released as a Beta and while the first version of the game was a little on the rough side, two updates have polished the Windows Phone game up nicely. Graphics have improved, load times quicker, and overall performance is better. Additional updates are in line that will add more features and clean things up even further.
The game premise is simple. You launch your supply of chickens from a canon to take out a group of foxes that are hold up in various strongholds built of wood, glass, stone and steel. You have an assortment of chickens at your disposal that go supersonic, explode, and drop egg bombs all in a unified effort to destroy the foxes. Sounds a lot like Angry Birds, right? The game has just as much potential as the game it's modeled after and with a few more updates it could be just as popular.
In playing Chicks n Vixens, we found it to be an enjoyable, mildly addictive game. For the most part, the game ran smoothly with no major bugs, glitches or crashes experienced. The canon can be a little sensitive (at times it fired while scrolling around the playing field) and the game lacks a Help or How-to section. All of which should be addressed in future updates.
Chicks n Vixen is a free game and you can download your copy here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace. Once you give Chicks n Vixens a try, feel free to chime in over at the Forums with any suggestions you may have for the developer.
Ease on past the break to see Chicks n Vixens in action.
Document scanners can be a useful utility for your Windows Phone. We've already looked at HandyScan and now turn our sites towards DocMe. DocMe is a simple, straightforward document scanner developed by Amberlabs.
As with similar applications, DocMe uses your Windows Phone camera to capture images of documents and converts them into various file types. Additional integration with your Windows Phone camera includes DocMe being added to your phone's Share Menu. This allows you to take advantage of the camera's quick picture and then worry about uploading the image for conversion.
To see how well DocMe performed, just ease on past the break.
The biggest change is of course the availability in English (and Italian) which should make the program more accessible for many out there (we love how it still says "googles" though). The other addition is it now has built in Facebook IM, which acts through the Flory servers bringing direct, pushed chat right to your phone. Combined with the already featured Google Talk and this is one powerfully IM app.
The program is still free and after Flory upgraded their servers today, everything seem to be in working order. Grab it here, nao. Thanks, Alan, for the heads up.
Your Windows Phone is about to go underground. Microsoft Studios and InMotion Software has released I Dig It for Windows Phone 7 that will have you digging to the center of the Earth in search of treasure.
You pilot a modified bulldozer that is fitted with a heavy-duty drill bit. As you dig, you gain points and you can cash in by selling your buried treasures. Cash that can be used to upgrade your digger, buy specialty items, repair your digger and most importantly buy gas.
I Dig It has fantastic graphics, challenging game play and there's no telling what buried treasure you will find. To find out more on this Xbox Live game for your Windows Phone, dig on past the break.
For the most part, the camera hardware on the new Windows Phone 7 devices perform really good (save the HD7's pink color cast). The biggest headache the Windows Phone 7 camera presents is on the software side. Tweak the settings and when you exit the camera, the phone reverts to the default settings.
MobileTechWorld recently put the latest unlocked emulator through the ropes (which reflects the pending WP7 update) and discovered that the update doesn't address this feature. Camera settings continue to revert to the default settings when you exit the app.
No official word from Microsoft if this "fix" ever made the drawing board for the update or, like the screen capture feature, wasn't brought up enough in research groups. There is a long shot that adding the ability to retain camera settings made it to the update after the emulator was updated but we're not holding our breaths on that one. We can only hope it makes the next update.
Oh and if Microsoft is listening, this (along with screen captures) is a feature we'd like to see.
Smartphones have always had the label of "battery eaters" when compared to a regular mobile phone. A good number of years back, a Nokia 3210 would last for an entire year (although we still believe they were secretly powered by miniature nuclear reactors). Windows Phone 7 is not exempt from this battery life issue for majority of owners, but there are ways to tackle the problem and preserve some battery - at the loss of some functionality.
Surfcube wins for one of the most innovative browsers on the Market with its 3D effects, smooth transitions and full-screen browsing.
But one thing that was missing and has been promised for awhile was tabbed browsing. That along with a new way to navigate (the "joystick") looks to be quite the step up for the 3D browser. We especially like the options for tabs (on the left side of the cube or actual tabs) though we are a little unsure about the joystick--but being able to move it around looks petty nifty.
Anyways, we like innovation around here, so nice to see the developer (Kinabalu Innovation) thinking outside...the cube (ba dun dun!). Look for the update in the next few weeks and we'll take another look.
If your a developer, you've probably already received word about the new "January refresh" to the Windows Phone developer tools. The main feature is of course copy and paste in the emulator, allowing devs to dry run their apps with the new function (in fact, here are the directions on copy & paste for those curious). In addition to copy and paste, the tools also include "...updated reference assemblies, a new version of the Windows Phone OS emulator image, and several minor bug fixes", which should keep devs busy poking and prodding for awhile. (Note: Microsoft is not "seeding" NoDo updates to developers as far as we know). The updated tools can be downloaded right here.
Microsoft's Brandon Watson goes on to note that most apps won't need to be recompiled/resubmitted to the Marketplace---they should be just fine with copy and paste and the other changes. For those devs whose apps are non-standard, MS has scanned the market for them and will be contacting the devs. The third bit of info is that the Windows Phone developer tools have been downloaded over one million times--quite the big win.
Finally, Microsoft has made it "easier" to get developer phones (HD7, Focus, Surround) by partnering with Zones. All this really means is they gave an outlet to buy unsubsidized Windows Phones with no carrier contract, but the phones are still locked.
So when will anyone actually get the famed NoDo update? Rumors suggest February 7th, but we're not so confident just yet...
Board Express Pro (see site) just went 2.0 this week and it was quite the major overhaul of the Tapatalk message board client. Featuring a new UI, faster scrolling and just overall smoother operation, it seems to have finally hit the "recommend zone" by us.
We just took v2.1 published the other night for a spin and were quite impressed. The app is compatible with thousands and thousand of message boards around the globe and even our own forums right here. Enabling you to log in, post messages, check your PMs, favorite forums for quick access--it seems to have it all from our end. Also new in 2.x is themes support--from dark to light, to using your accent color, to some presets, it gives a nice, custom look to your message board.
The app does fetch for $2.99 which is a bit high, but if you're a forum junky, we can say it is money well spent. There is also a full-trial that limits your to 60 characters per post and you can only favorite three boards--but it is certainly robust enough to let you decide if it's for your. Download the trial here in the Marketplace and post your thoughts in our thread on the topic--great way to get your feet wet, eh?
Star Wars: Battle for Hoth (review) and Rocket Riot (review), two Xbox Live games for Windows Phone 7, both received updates this week, but no release notes in their store descriptions or anywhere else. So we contacted their developers, Fluffy Logic and Code Glue, for details.
Star Wars: Battle for Hoth v22.214.171.124 changelog:
Minor tweaks to difficulty of some levels based on user feedback
Fix for rare crash bug affecting players resuming paused games
Fix for trial version bug
Which levels got tweaked? The boss waves in the last five or so levels now have less health. It may not sound like much, but Battle for Hoth is a very challenging game. Every little bit helps!
Rocket Riot v126.96.36.199 changelog:
Rocket Riot controlled pretty well to begin with, but it’s nice to see Code Glue continuing to support the game after release. Now if only Namco would fix up the Windows Phone 7 version of Puzzle Quest 2…
Star Wars: Battle for Hoth is a tower defense game based on the iconic Hoth battle from The Empire Strikes Back film. It costs $4.99. Rocket Riot is a side-view shooter with retro-inspired graphics (full review soon). Though Rocket Riot had previously dropped to $4.99, its price is back up to $6.99. Both titles have free trials. You can grab Battle for Hoth here (opens a link to your Zune software) and Rocket Riot here in the Marketplace.