In a surprising turn of events, our new favorite app Flory (see here) which handles Google Talk instant messaging (plus ICQ and FIM via jabber), is nearly ready for a US release. The developer Florian Seffert, who we understand is doing this all on their own, just told us in an email:
The en-US translation is nearly done and I'll release the US market version next week.
Timestamps will work then! ;-) And btw... you don't need to logout... Flory take care of all messages even when your phone is offline.
Another nice feature: all transports are secured and 256 bit encrypted... so no one can read your messages while you are writing messages on a public network.
We liked every single word in that statement and are pretty excited about having this hit the US. Anyone see this as becoming one of the top apps very quickly?
ScoreMobile hasn't been a part of the Windows Phone Marketplace for long and we're now hearing rumors of what the first update will entail.
It is our understanding that developers are wanting to add Live Tile functionality to ScoreMobile. Maybe a tile that will display your top three favorite team scores? Maybe notification when a score for a favorite team changes?
Another addition should be to increase the sports leagues the app will monitor. Other platforms cover a wider range of leagues and one glaring omission with the Windows Phone 7 version is Major League Baseball. ScoreMobile plans to add MLB and a few other sports leagues in their next update. Hopefully, in the nick of time for Spring Training.
So...if you could bend the ear of SportsMobile developers, just in case they're listening, what would you like to see added?
First the good news:Flory is a free instant messaging app that supports Google Talk, has push notifications and a live tile. On top of all of that, it completely works, allowing you to be signed in and receive messages "in the background". Huzzah!
Now the bad news: It's in German and therefore only in the German Marketplace for Windows Phone. [Update: Flory is coming to the US Market very soon. See here for more info]
Yes folks, those crafty Germans have had this app for awhile unknown to us while we patiently wait for IM+. We've been running it for the last day and it's behaved like a champ. Sure, the menus are in German but you can still finagle your way through the logins. The app works through a service called Flory, which then enables you to login to Google Talk. Incoming IMs are pushed to the device via Toast Notifications (the ones at the top) and/or the Live tile. The delay is no more than that of an SMS message, that is, it's fast and has been very reliable for us.
So how do you get this on your phone? We'll go over three options after the break...in the meantime, check out the video hands on.
Good new for our friends in the North, Bell Canada is set to launch the HTC HD7 on February 10th. Full retail price is a steep $599, but that appears to be a place holder, meaning no finalized prices with plans have been decided.
The HD7, coming in with the largest Windows Phone screen at 4.3" will be also packing 16GB of memory, which is a good amount for music fans. In addition, Bell will have a bunch of cases and accessories available when the HD7 finally hits stores.
So any of you up past the border excited about the HD7 or are you still waiting on something else?
Samsung has updated its Windows Phone 7 application, Now, to includ Facebook and Twitter support. For added touches, a nifty audio jingle has also been added to accompany the opening animations of the news reader.
Top news stories, pulled from Rueters, can now be shared through your Facebook or Twitter account as well as via SMS or email. Weather information is still pulled from Accuweather.com and your stock information is provided through Yahoo Finance. While the Facebook and Twitter support are the obvious new additions, the app seems to have a little more zip to it suggesting that overall performance tweaks were also part of the update.
The Now Hub is a free application exclusive to Samsung Windows Phones and the update should be listed in your Marketplace app under "updates". If for some reason you don't have the Now Hub on your Samsung phone, you can find the full app in the Samsung Zone in the Marketplace.
Microsoft is sending out newsletters to all the registered developers for Windows Phone 7 apps. Call it a state of the Marketplace update for developers. The newsletter doesn't reveal anything earth shattering but does re-affirm some of what we already know and reflects Microsoft's desire to work closer with developers.
The newsletter offers some insight and tips that will help developers submit apps more efficiently as well as design and marketing suggestions.
We made mention of a homebrew bar code scanner earlier and now AT&T has countered with a code scanner of their own. The AT&T Code Scanner reads QR and Data Matrix barcodes that you find on every day products, in advertisements or online. From there you'll be sent to a web page with product information.
Additional features of the application include:
History Menu that allows quick reference to your last 100 scans
Customizable personal profile
Adjustable sound and vibrate scan settings
Auto confirmation button for quicker results.
In a brief test of the application on various items scattered about the house, it scanned the barcodes nicely. The code needs to be well lit and don't use the flash. While the code scanned alright, the website consistently returned the dreaded "Page Not Found" error. We're hoping that this is simply a case where the website end of this application is a little slower going on-line.
AT&T also gives you the ability to create your own personal codes with AT&T Create-a-Code. Creating the codes was simple, straight forward and these scans worked great. Feel free to give these a try and see where it sends your browser.
If the AT&T Code Scanner is of interest, you can find it in the Marketplace from your AT&T Windows Phone. For some reason the app isn't located in the AT&T AppCenter but rather the main Market. Simply do a keyword search for "AT&T Code Scanner" and you'll see it.
While there are over 7,000 apps for Windows Phone 7, the one sorely lacking area in development is a good sport's score app. Hopefully, that's about to change. Last month, we mentioned that Score Media was working on bringing ScoreMobile to Windows Phone 7 and the app was recently released over at the Marketplace.
The app allows you to follow NFL, NBA, NCAA Basketball and Football, NHL, and EPL Soccer scores and news. ScoreMobile also allows you to tag your favorite teams for easy look-up and includes any T.V. coverage information.
The initial impression is good and we'll take ScoreMobile out this weekend and get a full review up shortly. It's a free application so if you want to check it out, you can find it here (opens your Zune desktop) at the Marketplace.
We saw 'Zombie Attack' listed a few days ago in the list of leaked Xbox titles, plus it was on the "original 50" list, so we're thinking this is coming out sooner than later. In fact, the images you see above are reportedly from the Windows Phone 7 port--so we must be getting close.
From the Windows Phone 7 description of 'Zombie Attack':
Lovers of zombies and tower defense-style games combined have a second chance to tear into more zombies with more weapons and in more locations than ever before. IUGO built upon what you loved best about the original Zombie Attack! game making it bigger, better and bloodier! Your mission: play as a survivor from the ultimate Zombie Apocalypse, protect your shack and stay alive. Kill zombies, earn points and cash to upgrade your weapons and bolster your fire power. Easy touch-screen controls make ZA! 2 an instant WP7 favorite.
Other features include:
7 turrets (3 new, including the Pulsewave)
New upgrades to super turrets
4 maps of varying sizes including Backyard and Trailer Park
Hordes of challenges, 5 for each map
6 zombie types (4 new, including the Hound and Cheerleader)
Instantaneous save when quitting the app
Online high scores list for each map, local lists for challenges and personal records
So tower defense + zombies. Got it. No word on pricing.
It shows the Homeland Security info like threat level (color codes, though we abandoned that though) as well as airport statuses via lookup. It also has links to the Department of Homeland Security websites for quick reference. But really, it's the color coded Live Tile that's kind of cool here--even though it is set to expire in April.
The app has been out for awhile now and fetches for $0.99. While it is nicely done and works well enough, we can't help but think it's not much use either, especially after April. But if you're the "I own a bunker" type, then we got you covered. No trial. Grab it here in the Marketplace.
One of the big limitations you may have noticed with apps like ShopSavvy or even Microsoft's own Tag app is that live-scanning of barcodes is not permitted--you have to snap a photo, which is then scanned before a look-up is performed. It is technically possible but Microsoft is not allowing developers access to the APIs necessary to implement--not yet at least. [Edit: Although LG does have a live scanner called 'ScanSearch' available on the Quantum and Optimus 7]
Sensboston, who's been doing lots of neat tricks for our new OS (e.g. flashlight), has managed to use the previously documented API to release a working scanner. Based on zxing library and Kevin Marshall's (from Clarity Consulting) code, the app works like other barcode scanners on other platforms: you turn it on, it live scans and gives results. The app works offline, can save info to email or SMS and searches for info using Bing or Google.
You'll need good light for it to work and the auto-focus seems to time out after about 15 seconds (save battery?) but overall, it works pretty darn well. Sensboston is looking to add features/improve the UI, so if you have any ideas, let him know in that thread. Looks like the hombrew scene is raging these days...
Dell has plans to launch "several" Windows Phone 7 devices. While the news of more Dell Windows Phones has a certain appeal, it would be nice to see their maiden effort, the Dell Venue Pro, to be hitting on all cylinders before we see more.
The revelation comes from an interview with Michael Dell where he stated that the demand for the Venue Pro was exceeding their expectations. While Dell's sole Windows Phone is being circulated in the U.S. market other markets, such as the U.K, are still waiting for the new phones. Granted the production delays, returns, and other glitches the Venue Pro has experienced hasn't helped matters.
Dell didn't expand much on the particulars of how many, what type or when we might see the "several new Windows Phone 7 models". Hopefully, Dell's experience with the Venue Pro will make any future model launches a lot smoother.
Dell is planning an event on February 8, 2011 in San Francisco (we'll be there) and maybe more information will be available then. So, does the prospect of more Dell Windows get you excited?
Having quick access to connection settings is one of those top request by Windows Phone users--after all, if you toggle your WiFi or Bluetooth on or off frequently, doing the whole 'Settings' thing feels like a few too many steps.
Now, Schaps has created quick links to Connections, WiFi, Bluetooth, Location and Airplane mode, all with cool custom icons. More importantly, these seem to work on all Windows Phones (they were like a charm on our LG Quantum, see above). As a reminder, this is only for developer unlocked devices, since it has to be side loaded (and you'll want that program to break the 10-app limit too).
Location sharing is a key component to Windows Phone 7. From apps to photos, your location is used with regularity when you access your Windows Phones. Curious about how location based services are used, in conjunction with Data Privacy Day 2011 (January 28, 2011), Microsoft commissioned a study on various aspects of these services.
The 1,500 person survey was conducted in December of 2010 and involved consumers in the U.S., Japan, Canada, and Germany. The survey found that only 51% of the participants had used location-based services but that 94% found them to be valuable. 84% of those surveyed were worried about the services sharing their location without permission.
An odd limit of unlocked Window Phones (even our sanctioned developed unlocked device) is the ability to side load more than 10 apps on the device--you simply can't do it. Reportedly, this was put into place to prevent developers from creating a ton of "cheap" apps.
Now, (nico) over at XDA has created a program that goes on the device itself to remove this limit, making it a lot easier for developers to bypass the ten-app barrier. It works on Samsung, LG and HTC, though we're not sure abou Dell--so your mileage may vary. The good news is there is a rollback feature in case it doesn't work out. We know for our purpose on this site, bypassing this limit helps out tremendously.