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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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3 years ago

Accuweather for WP7 joins the crowd

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It has been on heck of a week over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. From Angry Birds to Best Buy as well as Fox News and the New York Times, we've seen a lot of new apps hit the Marketplace.  Even Major League Baseball got into the act.

Closing the week out Accuweather for Windows Phone 7 has blown into the Marketplace. The popular weather website is now mobile bringing you a ton of weather related information.

Features include:

  • Accurate and localized forecasts for all global locations. Forecasts include hourly forecasts for the next twenty-four hours, plus day and night weather forecasts and information for the next ten days. All updated hourly.
  • Panoramic views with easy swiping between your stored locations (up to seven plus your current GPS location).
  • Current weather conditions include time, temperature, wind speed, wind gust speed, and wind direction; humidity, visibility, UV Index, cloud cover, pressure, and sunrise and sunset.
  • Severe Weather Alarms for all global locations and severe Weather Alerts for the U.S. – visible from all screens.
  • Special lifestyle forecasts, such as conditions for specific sports and other outdoor activities.

You also have animated radar, satellite maps, interactive Bing Maps, and weather videos. The day and night forecasts include precipitation amounts, wind data, and Accuweather's RealFeel temps. This takes various weather conditions such as wind, humidity and other factors to give you an idea how it feels outside.

We'll give Accuweather for WP7 a test drive over the holiday weekend and get a video review up shortly. In the meantime, you can download your free copy of Accuweather for WP7 here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Thanks goes out to Tahiti Bob for the tip!

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3 years ago

Thought the sweepstakes were finished? Think again Developers!

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Remember our recent reminder of the last sweepstake entry date closing in on developers? Well, the date did close, but we have another sweepstake to let you in on! Unfortunately this doesn't feature free advertising including a large bundle of impressions, but 10 unlocked Samsung Focus handsets are on offer.

Entry process is pretty much identical to previous user group sweepstakes. Build apps, submit them to the Marketplace, then fill in the form on the sweepstake website.  Sounds good but there is no code displayed when filling in the form and clicking the "what's this?" link on the event code field brings up a window that suggests using JULY1 as the code if one isn't displayed.  We've reached out for confirmation/clarification on this and once we get a reply we'll update things as necessary.

You can enter with more than one app to increase your chance in winning. Entry closing date for this round is July 31st. I wonder if there'll be an August one too? Be sure to check out the content rules and you can find the entry form using the link below.

Source: WP7 User Group, via: Silver Arcade

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3 years ago

Microsoft to buy Hulu?

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Microsoft to buy Hulu?

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Microsoft is one of several companies interested in buying online video giant Hulu.  Anonymous sources said that Google and Yahoo! have also met with Hulu reps in meetings arranged by Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners, their financial advisors.  The three potential suitors are eyeing the mass of popular shows that millions over viewers tune in to online, and the over 600 advertisers that have jumped on board with Hulu, including big players like McDonald's, Toyota and Johnson & Johnson. Of course, as these things go, none of the alleged parties are admitted anything.

Hulu's ownership has been struggling with the site's popularity, as they have attracted advertising revenue, but at the same time have caught serious flak from cable and satellite providers, who carry the same content.  They backed off from an earlier initial public offering that was projected to earn them a cool $2 billion, so it is thought that that may be what it would take for a sale to happen.  Netflix, who is seen as a similar kind of service, is valued at just about the same amount. 

Microsoft seems like a good fit, as they already offer access to Hulu Plus on XBox Live.  The acquisition would make further integration with XBL, and potentially WP7, that much easier and sweeter.  Their recent purchase of Skype is a clear sign that they are not afraid to throw around some cash to expand their multimedia capabilities. 

Source: Los Angeles Times; Via: SeattlePi

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3 years ago

IM+ drops in price to $4.99

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IM+ drops in price to $4.99

Wow, this will either make you thrilled or really ticked off. But yes, if you can actually make it to the Marketplace today (see here), you can grab IM+ for the low, low price of just $4.99 (see our video tour). Actually, for the quality of that app and services, we think that is a fair price. No telling if it's a temporary price drop or permanent.

For those of you who remember, IM+ launched about two weeks ago for a whopping $10, a price that most of us scoffed at (even we passed). Either SHAPE Services noticed that it wasn't selling well, or the competition (i.e. Kik Messenger) made them change their mind.

So if you passed over before, now seems like a good time to reconsider. Of course, if you paid the $10 we really wish we could give you a hug right now, since you're down about $5 this week. Get you purchase-on right here in the Marketplace. (Thanks, NarutoFan, for the tip!)

Update: For those who are not seeing the price drop, sorry, not sure what to say. Here it is in the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

FlightAware lands in the Marketplace too

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FlightAware (see site) also hit the Marketplace this week, though it slipped through the cracks for us. While there are a few "flight tracker" apps available for WP7, a lot are pay apps and a few aren't so good. Developed by Chaotic Moon Studios, the app is sharp, clear and to the point.

However, FlightAware for WP7 is just darn cool.


For one, it's free. Number two, it has a super cool Bing-Flight tracking map overlay (see pic) that looks awesome and three, it has a really minimalist and clean UI. Features include:

  • Airport activity (delays, alerts)
  • Nearby (Bing-powered flight tracking map based on location)
  • Track by: flight number, tail number
  • Search by flight route
  • My Flightware
  • Alert history

We don't fly very often, but when we do, this is the app we're using. Just an excellent looking app. Start tracking flights right here in the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

"Orange Selects" kicks off with free apps

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Orange is kicking off the launch of their new Orange Selects Marketplace feature by giving away apps for free throughout July.  Selects is a list of the carrier's "top apps" and appears as a folder in the Marketplace on their customers' phones.  Orange announced the offer to customers today via text messages:

"Celebrate the launch of Orange Selects and get a free app every day throughout July from the Windows Marketplace - exclusively for Orange customers. That's 31 apps for free. Check out today's free app by choosing Orange Selects from the Marketplace hub on your phone.  3G connection required. Data charges may apply."

Unfortunately, the month-long offer is only for Orange customers and not O2 or Vodaphone.  Today's free app is Krashlander, with more to follow, for a total value of about £70. The launch of Orange Select comes right on the heels of the quickly-growing Marketplace hitting 25,000 apps.

Source: Orange; Via: Paul Boocock (Thanks for the tip!), Pocket-Lint

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Marketplace slowdowns today?

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Is the Windows Phone Marketplace acting up for you? Having trouble loading, just general slowness? You're not alone.

In an informal polling of our users and from comments, it seems like the Microsoft servers are having some lag issues. Some are reporting that it has been going on all day for them, others cannot connect at all (it's just slow for us, but we can still download). Maybe all of those official app downloads are taking their toll...

We haven't found a reason yet, nor of any ETA when it could be fixed. But we'll keep you posted.

Update: Seems to be worldwide and Zune (streaming, downloading) too: Germany, Italy Switerland, the US are all having issues. Developer/Senior Consultant at AgileThought, Bill Reiss thinks it may be a DDOS.

Zune.net, which is also having Marketplace issues, reports this ((Thanks, @rpmadelo):

"You won't be able to browse, stream, download, or buy things at the Zune marketplace or on Zune.net. We're working on the problem. Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for your patience."

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3 years ago

Qype coming to WP7 (Update: It's already here)

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Update: App is already out, look at that! You can grab it here in the Marketplace. (Thanks, @hellboy552000 & Oli, for the correction)

Wait, we didn't say the stream of official apps was over did we? Good, because it seems Qype is in line to come to Windows Phone 7 too, scoring a deal with Microsoft. A huge brand in Europe, being the largest consumer review website, and is an extremely popular app on iOS, Android and RIM with over 1 million downloads accumulated.

With Mango coming up, Qype will be able to take advantage of some great features being introduced to developers. The app will make use of Bing's geo-location feature to locate the best places across almost 1,000 categories and provide you with instant-use vouchers. Neat, eh?

Combine this with Local Scout (should it be appearing outside the US) and we'll have a winner in your pocket for travelling. The app wont be limited to only basic Qype features too as check-ins can be published via Twitter and Facebook, reviews can be written and photos uploaded. We'll also have some exclusive-to-WP7 features as Ian Brotherstone, CEO of Qype, explains;

"Exclusive to Windows 7, users will be able to track their friend’s check-ins on a location map, filter searches even further and view important information and tips on the Windows Panaroma Screen. The apps’ big advantage is personalised recommendations; “Someone who has a passion for certain types of bars in London for example, can receive recommendations for similar places in Paris, Hamburg or Buenos Aires."

Frank Fischer, Director Mobile Communications at Microsoft Germany, said:

"More and more smartphone users are accessing the web for local recommendations and Qype is leading the charge in this area. With the innovative local services of the Windows Phone our customers will now be able to access this information whenever and wherever they want to."

Some may see what Microsoft doing is "buying" brands, but I see this as an excellent strategy to build solid interest on the platform and bring big brand apps (which are used by most smartphone users) to customers.

Source: Rooster PR

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3 years ago

Official Engadget app is here (or back)

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Funny thing: months ago Engadget actually had an app in the Marketplace, published by AOL. Then it was pulled after a day or so, no reason given. Flash forward to July 1st and what a shock, they too are pushing their new app. Sure, they've been accused of an anti-WP7 stance, but doesn't mean you can't have them on the go!

Featuring all their major section like HD, Mobile and Alt., the app has a nice and vibrant layout, with videos, podcast and galleries available. Commenting is handled by hopping to the browser instead of native and there's no way to share articles (though you can save them) but at least it looks good for a v1.0 and scrolling is pretty solid.

You can get downloading from the Marketplace here.

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3 years ago

Orientile - Review

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3 years ago

Official New York Times app released

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Carrying on from the batch of official apps we've had this week, New York Times is now readily available on the Marketplace. You can view and browse through the latest headlines for free, or you can subscribe for a small fee to unlock all the sections in the app, plus blogs, videos and slide shows.

This app supports synchronization to pull down content for offline reading and stories can be shared via Twitter and Facebook. You can download the New York Times app from the Marketplace (Zune link) for no cost at all.

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