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3 years ago

Microsoft bringing check-ins to Windows Phone this fall

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One thing we tried to push at MIX11, despite all the awesome news, was all that info was for developers, not consumers (though we tried to show why it mattered). The point being that Microsoft still has tricks up their sleeves for Mango/7.5 that we have yet to see and we're sure there will be plenty.

Evidently one of those is a built-in, native check-in system analogous to Foursquare or Google's latest addition to Latitude. This will be done via your Live account, which makes sense since you use that to "log onto" the phone.

All of this comes way of one @KADacey, who is testing said system with the Twitter source '(WindowsLive)INT', which when clicked links back to the Windows Phone site (curiously, he has since deleted the above Tweet, ahem). To make it more interesting, Manan Kakkar points out that '(WindowsLive)INT' is the Live Messenger Facebook app. So take that for what it's worth, which we think is a lot.

Big thanks to clubdirthill for finding the original tweet and Manan Kakkar for digging deeper

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3 years ago

Where'd those free LG apps go?

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Where'd those free LG apps go?

Yesterday, mentioned about some OEM LG apps that were either added or updated and in passing, we remarked that there seems to be fewer of those free apps that LG was offering (see earlier coverage of the offer here).

As it turns out, we weren't the only ones as Michael Eggleston was wondering what happened to his Weave (review). Easily one of the most popular and stellar apps of the platform, Weave was offered for free to LG users. Not any more as our current app is "frozen" at v2.4 and is no longer listed (so you'll lose it after a hard reset). Michael wrote the developers, Seles Games and asked what the deal was and here is there response:

The LG campaign was a limited-time promotion where they offered 10 apps for free for 60 days. They should be making a 2nd set of 10 apps available soon. Since LG controls that version of Weave, we have no way of submitting an update. Until they give us back control of it, it will be stuck at version 2.4.

We want all our LG users to keep getting the latest version, so we are going to put the regular version of Weave on sale for the lowest possible price ($1) starting tonight at midnight.

We are also going to be releasing a free, ad-supported version of Weave soon.

Between the $1 price promotion and a free ad-supported version, we hope al our LG users will find that they still have a way to get the latest updates and don't miss out on features.

Thank you for your support and I hope you continue enjoying Weave!

Edit: SelesGames informed us that email was from a few weeks ago and no immediate sale is planed. Still, it's great app.

Companies like Seles Games are obviously doing their best to maintain customer support and kudos to them for their effort, but LG's offer of 10 free apps seems a little less genuine than before--or are we just being grumpy in these early hours?

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3 years ago

Windows Phone 7 enters the location-data collection controversy

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Earlier yesterday, PC Magazine managed to get Microsoft on record about the whole "location-data storage" controversy (see related coverage on the iPhone here and on Android here via our sister sites). Strictly speaking, in regards to storing location data on the phone, Microsoft is in the clear, at least comparatively:

Microsoft told PCMag unequivocally that phones running Windows Phone 7 do not store location history. Like most other phones, the platform offers plenty of location-based apps, and those apps require user consent before they begin tracking. Windows Phones also offer the common feature of a "global switch" that lets the user disable all location services, and Microsoft says its "Find My Phone" service keeps only the phone's most recent location.

But it's a little more complicated than that--strictly speaking, Windows Phone doesn't store it locally on the phone where it can be "hacked" by 3rd parties and it sure doesn't sync it back to Zune either where it can also be compromised. But Microsoft does collect the data themselves and store it--after all, how else would Microsoft's location based system i.e. 'Orion' get such speed location data? It's no different than aGPS vs GPS: the more data you have available at the moment, the faster the acquisition.

According to Cnet, this is the case with Microsoft and their system:

Microsoft says its operating system transmits the MAC address of the Wi-Fi access point (but not the name), signal strength, a randomly generated unique device ID retained for an unspecified limited period of time, and, if GPS is turned on, the precise location and direction and speed of travel. That happens when the "application or user makes a request for location information," the company says.

Once again--this is not in the same league as the iPhone issue (which may be a bug, not a nefarious plan by Apple) but that data of course could be used by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA), often without a warrant as determined by the courts (GPS doesn't count as "search and seizure" and if you're on Sprint, that could be quite scary). We also don't know how much and for how long data is collected--actually there are tons of questions we don't have answers for yet. The obvious thing to do if you do not want to be tracked is to use the global switch and just turn it all off--of course that would still leave your cell signal available i.e. AFLT-Advanced Forward Link Triangulation to find your whereabouts. So basically just unplug if you don't want to be tracked, 'kay?

And we look forward to Microsoft answering CNet's questions on the matters. We'll check back.

Source: CNet 1, CNet 2; PCMag, TPM

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3 years ago

Steel Avenger - Review

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Steel Avenger - Review

Billed as one of the most cheesiest story lines for a Windows Phone 7 game, Steel Avenger turns out to be a rather decent game for your Windows Phone. Reminiscent of the classic arcade game Spy Hunter, Steel Avenger puts you in the role of Harry Kersey, an ex-cop who is trying to avenge hiis wife's brutal death.

Kersey takes out his revenge on the streets of downtown Farlix against the criminals responsible for his loved ones untimely death. With the assistance of sympathetic police force, who conveniently drop power-ups from helicopters, Kersey will weave through traffic taking his vengeance out on the bad guys.

Ease on past the break to read more on Steel Avenger and how you can help Kersey extract his justice.

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3 years ago

Fake HD7 (complete with fake WP7) discovered in China

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It's nothing new to find a cheap knockoff device pretending to be the real deal in China, but in what looks to be a first, a phone has surfaced that runs a fake version of WP7.  In reality, the HD7 imitator runs Windows Mobile 6.5, customized to resemble WP7.  Despite the chintzy OS, the Shanzai "HD7" sports a gigantic 4.8" screen with a 400x800 resolution, compared to the real HD7's 4.3" display.  Other specs on include:

  • 1GHz processor
  • Dual SIMS
  • Two MicroSD slots (total of 32GB extra memory)
  • 256MB RAM/512MB ROM
  • WiFi/Bluetooth
  • GPS

There's no word on when the phone will be available, nor how much it will cost.  But, come on...you really wouldn't buy this thing anyway.  It's just fun see what the Chinese counterfeiters come up with next.  Who knows, perhaps it might just inspire HTC to create a true monster-screen device for Windows.

Source: Shanzhai Via: UberGizmo

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3 years ago

LG updates ScanSearch, adds a Korean language editor

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Although they seem to have lost some of their free commercial apps (not sure what happened there), LG continues to update/release new OEM apps, something we've always appreciated from them.

Their augmented reality app ScanSearch (see Metro Scanner too), which allows you to scan movie posters, CDs, books, barcodes or search for coffee, stores, etc. has received a bump to v1.4. No changelog is noted but it seems a little bit quicker to us and we've always been impressed by this app.

The other addition in LGHangul, which is a text entry tool for Korean characters, allowing users to enter text in Korean into SMS, email, Bing and Google search--something we think will make a lot of people's lives easier.

Of course both are only for LG phones and can be found under the LG Marketplace on your device.

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3 years ago

Device rumors: 7 Pro headed to Verizon, Mazaa appears at MIX11? [Updated]

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Both of these rumors today are on the weak end and use a bit if induction to get to their conclusion, but we'll throw 'em out anyways.

First, Nanapho.jp is reporting that the Trophy device used during the MIX11 demo (the one that puts its browser up against the iPhone and Nexus S) is not just the Trophy but the HTC Mazaa. What makes that interesting is during the rest of the MIX11 talks, whenever the gyroscope function was demonstrated it was on this Trophy/Mazza device. Nanapho gets the info via a Microsoft rep who evidently informed them.

Of course this still leaves open who the Mazaa is for and whether or not it will have the gyroscope on launch (we were under the impression that these were just modified Trophies for Microsoft for testing purposes).

The other rumor comes via Pocketnow who strung together a few pieces of info that suggests that Verizon is game for the HTC 7 Pro aka Sprint Arrive. The process is a bit of a math/transitive relation solving. In essence, we know there is a device being used with the ID MWP6885 (see our earlier coverage of new devices). There is also an FCC device that was approved called PC93100 which is a 7 Pro (confidentiality has expired). What links them together is a user agent profile called PC93-1.0.xml which, dun dun dun, IDs the MWP6885.

So if MWP6885=PC93 and PC93=7Pro (PC93100) then MWP6885=7 Pro.

Sure, it's a bit of a stretch but technically the logic works. Of course can Verizon actually get this out by the time anyone cares? That remains to be seen.

Update: This may or may not be the Mazza but they are new engineering prototypes that Microsoft is using in house i.e. Asus devices are out. Furthermore, these have Snapdragon and Adreno GPU with gyro sensors. Thanks to our source for the info.

via Nanapho.jp; Thanks, tezawaly; Pocketnow

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3 years ago

Feed Me - Review

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Feed Me - Review

Need a RSS Reader for your Windows Phone? There's plenty to choose from and today we turn our sights on Feed Me from Forty3Degrees.

Supporting off-line browsing, Feed Me is a simple, straight forward reader that takes advantage of Windows Phone 7's Metro design. With support for your Google Reader feeds as well as ties to Twitter, Instapaper and Read It Later, Feed Me has a certain amount of appeal.

Follow the break to read more on Feed Me.

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3 years ago

Extreme Lines - Review

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Extreme Lines - Review

Ran across an interesting, somewhat addictive Windows Phone 7 game the other day. Extreme Lines by Blue Trading is a $.99 game over at the Marketplace that is line game with a puzzle twist to it.

Extreme Lines offer two game plays, Classic and Extreme and two Game Modes, Lines and Squares. With two gaming levels (easy and hard) Extreme Lines comes with plenty of game to it.

Ease on past the break to read more on Extreme Lines.

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3 years ago

Juice Factory - Review

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Juice Factory - Review

We made mention of the Windows Phone 7 game Juice Factory a while back. It's a slice and dice game reminiscent of Fruit Ninja. Your task with the game is to throw your meat cleaver (yes, your slicing fruit with a cleaver) at various arrangements of fruit.

Along the way you'll have barriers, wooden logs and moving walls to contend with. There are over 80 levels to Juice Factory, giving you plenty of playing time. To game modes and an online leaderboard help give the game a competitive edge.

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3 years ago

Possible Nodo Touchscreen Bug [Updated]

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While the Nodo Update has brought a series of improvements to Windows Phone 7, it appears it may have also brought a touchscreen bug to Windows Phone as well.

As you can see in the above video, the bug deals with the touchscreen's multi-touch capabilities. The bug doesn't effect single or double touch points but when your multi-touch deals with three or more points the the screen won't hold the points for long.  They basically disappear.

We've tested the bug on our own and found it doesn't seem to effect the WP7 game Quadra with no problems experienced playing with three points on the screen. But with Piano 7, if you hold three keys down simultaneously, after about three seconds the hold disappears (much like you see towards the end of the video). However, I didn't experience any random launches of apps or have to lock the screen to correct any errors.

So, anyone else having issues with multi-touch after updating to Nodo?

Thanks goes out to Grant for tipping us on this!

Update:  Possible bugs are put out there not only as a caution but also to solicit experiences from other users.  The video's author has reached out to us and confirms what many have mentioned in our comments.  The bug appears to be exclusive to the Samsung Focus receiving the official Nodo Update. According to the author, the bug may be a firmware issue that was created during the update process.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Garage

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Windows Phone App Garage

Microsoft and local developers are putting on a road show of sorts. The Windows Phone App Garage is a free, full day event to help Windows Phone developers get up to speed quickly on Windows Phone development.

The typical day in the Windows Phone Garage starts out with an introduction to Windows Phone development that covers the fundamentals of Silverlight and XNA development. From there you learn about what's new for Windows Phone developers which is followed by a Windows Phone application jumpstart. After the break for lunch, the remainder of the day is spent in an open lab where you can get hands on help in your app development.

Again, these are free workshops but space may be limited depending on the venue. There is a Windows Phone App Garage scheduled for Birmingham at the local Innovation Depot.  Being just a stone's throw away, we'll drop by to see what we can learn.

You can find out if a Windows Phone App Garage is in your area here.

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3 years ago

Official Groupon app is now available for WP7

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Official Groupon app is now available for WP7

We first noticed that Groupon had an official app for Windows Phone 7 way back in February during the Mobile World Congress. And about 2 months later, it's finally here:

Groupon features unbeatable deals each day on the best stuff to do in cities across the U.S. and Canada. With our Windows Phone 7 app you can buy deals, access your purchased Groupons, find the ones that are nearby, and redeem them electronically. Never print another Groupon!

The app is developed by Chaotic Moon Studios and looks excellent. Combined with SlickDeals and you have all your bargains covered. Our first impression is we really like the UI and design--very classy and Metro inspired. No sign of a Live Tile though in v1.0, just to be clear. You can grab the app right here, right now. Thanks, Manos P., for the heads up!

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3 years ago

According to Microsoft, 'Mango' is Windows Phone 7.5

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During the MIX11 sessions, we came across a slide that referred to the next update of Windows Phone i.e. 'Mango' as version 7.5. At the same time, the presenter played it off as a 'mistake' even though the slides are vetted before presentation.

Now, on the Microsoft Partner Network, we can see a new section trumpeting the new version of Windows Phone which they are clearly referring to as "Windows Phone OS 7.5". (Note: latest builds of the OS pin it at version 7.1, which means MS is still a bit off from having a completed Mango build--this makes sense being six months out).

Why is this interesting? Microsoft has been in a flux over what to call Windows Phone. For the last few years, it was Windows Mobile with the version number after it. Then came the general "Windows Phone" and we were told personally that they were moving away from the version number thing. Then came "Windows Phone 7 Series", later amended by removing "Series".

Now it looks like Microsoft is going down the road of 0.5 upgrades and labeling, calling Windows Phone 7 'Mango' version 7.5, which we guess is less odd than saying 'Mango' all the time. We'll see how this pans out by the fall as we wouldn't be shocked if they change it yet again.

Update: Brandon Watson is sticking with the "no version number has officially been announced" line.

Source: Microsoft Partner Network; Thanks, @Avi_Franchise, for the heads up

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