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3 years ago

Contract Killer sets its aim for Xbox Live on Windows Phone this week

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Ready for another freemium Xbox Live game this week? Good news then, because Glu Mobile’s Contract Killer launches this Wednesday (if not a few hours early). Today, we exclusively debut the Windows Phone version’s trailer.

Contract Killer is a first-person sniping game in which the titular assassin takes on secret missions for a variety of clients.  He’ll choose from dozens of sniper rifles, machine guns, and other NRA favorites in order to dispatch his foes. Each mission comes to life in a realistic 3D environment populated by multiple people. Find the right target, swipe to aim your gun, steadying it if necessary, and press Fire to ruin the bad guy’s day.

Each mission costs a certain amount of energy to take on. Energy restores over time, but you can also purchase snacks with Microsoft Points and get right back in the action. As with Gun Bros and Bug Village, the PDLC here is completely optional and just lets you get through the game quicker. Just buy something if you like the game, or spend nothing if you don’t.

Contract Killer will hit the Marketplace on Wednesday, July 18. Like Gun Bros, it’s free and includes 200 GamerScore worth of Achievements.

That brings us to the elephant in the room… Last week, Glu Mobile’s twin-stick shooter Gun Bros got off to a rocky start. The game is plagued by excessive load times, network issues, and other bugs. It’s a shame because if you look past these problems, Gun Bros is actually quite addictive and has some great social features.

Glu is definitely aware of these issues with the game. They’re working with Microsoft to resolve them with an update as soon as possible. A small number of players have also reported items disappearing from their inventories. Thankfully Gun Bros items can be restored regardless of the update’s arrival. Just submit a ticket at Glu’s customer support website and they’ll take care of you.

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3 years ago

Microsoft Updates iOS My Xbox Live App - Takes it to the next level

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Microsoft continues to flesh out their Xbox live app for those of us that have iPads. The latest update brings more of the once exclusive features of the Windows Phone Companion App to iOS users. Unlike Windows Phone, which has a combination of apps to take care of Xbox live business, the iPad rolls all the functions into one. Personally, I like it all integrated into one whole and have been a little confused as to why the Windows Phone has essentially stuck with the Xbox Hub plus the two addition apps called Xbox Companion app and Xbox LIVE Extras App.

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3 years ago

European Commission investigating Microsoft's possible lack of compliance with web browser choice

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The European Commission announced plans today to open an investigation to determine whether or not Microsoft has failed to comply with its browser choice commitment, which was applied in 2009. The commitment saw the software giant presenting customers of its Windows operating system with a screen listing available alternatives to Internet Explorer (see above). This was put in place due to Microsoft being found guilty of abusing its dominant position with IE in the browser market.

Joaquín Almunia, Vice President of the Commission in charge of competition policy, had the following to comment.

"We take compliance with our decisions very seriously. And I trusted the company's reports were accurate. But it seems that was not the case, so we have immediately taken action. If following our investigation, the infringement is confirmed, Microsoft should expect sanctions"

Competing browsers have previously spoken publicly about the potential antitrust violations Microsoft is dancing around by preventing third party browsers access to the same APIs IE uses in Windows 8. With the down-spiral of IE and the massive increase in users for both Firefox and Chrome, is it worth penalising Microsoft heavily for a ballot box screen, which arguably adds little value to the user experience? 

According to the announcement, the EC believes that Microsoft may have failed to implement the browser choice screen from February 2011 onwards with the release of Windows 7 SP1. It'll be interesting to see the outcome of this investigation, especially from a financial standpoint, with a possible fine of up to 10% of Microsoft's total annual turnover, should it be found guilty of breaching the commitment.

How do you feel about the bundling of software in Windows 8? Do you believe Microsoft still has a duty to provide such choice to customers regarding web browsers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source: European Commission, via: The Verge

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review - Bomberman vs. Zombies

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Zombies just can't catch a break on our Windows Phone. We're constantly hunting them down and ruining their day. Bomberman vs. Zombies is no different but instead of shooting the Zombies up, your blasting them to smithereens. Bomberman vs. Zombies has seen a fair amount of success on the Blackberry and Android platforms. Success the developers hope will carry over to Windows Phone.

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3 years ago

Nokia Destination Maps - 4000 Venues but when can we view them on Windows Phone?

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Nokia have just announced an update on how they are progressing with their Destination Maps product. The aim with the initiative is to provide an additional layer of mapping data where it makes sense. In this case Nokia are essentially aiming for Shopping Malls, Airports and other large scale public spaces. The rate at which they are adding these internal spaces is impressive, now boasting 4605 venues in 38 countries. 

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3 years ago

Rumor: Windows Phone 8 to have native screenshot capability

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File this under rumor but certainly plausible

Ever since Windows Phone hit the market in 2010, complaints that users cannot take screenshots have persisted as a fairly major annoyance for what is a technically minor issue to implement. Due to some of the media hounding various Microsoft execs about the problem it shouldn’t be a surprise that Redmond is finally addressing this with Windows Phone 8.

The site WPDang is now reporting that this feature will be built in to Windows Phone 8 with the following key-combo to initiate: press and hold Start plus the Camera button.

We are as of yet unable to confirm the validity of WPDang’s claim so take it with a grain of salt—but let’s be honest, of all the surprises that Windows Phone 8 may bring, native screenshots should be fairly predictable and doable. Such a feature would be beneficial for developers for promoting their apps, consumers for sharing bug reports and those in the tech media who need images for reviews. 

Currently, there is a hombrew option for those with developer unlocked Windows Phones. It requires sideloading of a XAP file and while it is very effective most Windows Phone users are unable to use it due to the requirements. 

Source: WPDang (translated); via Windows Phone Daily

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3 years ago

First Lumia 900 rolls off of Nokia assembly line in Argentina

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Last we reported that Compal was seeing a reduction in orders of Lumia smartphones from Nokia, fueling some speculation that either Nokia was winding down production in general or they were transferring production to their own shops.

It looks like the latter may now be the case as some of the Lumia 900s coming onto the market are now coming from Argentina. Nokia opened a factory there some time in 2011 and it now looks to have completed its transition to producing Lumia 900 phones albeit as a savings from making it directly in Finland.

Nokia is also set to launch the 900 in Argentina presumably in a few weeks, corroborating earlier reports that the device was to launch their “second half” of the year.

Source: Celularis; Thanks, Esteban T., for the link!

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3 years ago

Chickens Can't Fly version 1.2 update fries bugs, comes out tasty

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Last month, the long-awaited Chickens Can’t Fly version 1.1 update added tons of great features like Avatar awards and asynchronous multiplayer. It also rebalanced the game’s difficulty, which we exclusively explored in detail. A few bugs slipped through the crack though. As Robocop villain Dick Jones would say, “The last update made a mistake. Now it’s time to correct that mistake.”

Chickens Can’t Fly version 1.2 release notes:

  • Aquarium Lab unlocked for people that finished the Physics Lab before the 1.1 update was released
  • Everyone can now unlock the ‘Hungry Hungry Chicken’ Achievement faster (this was not working on some phones after 1.1)

Note that you’ll need to earn Gold medals in every single stage, including the Aquarium levels, in order to unlock the ‘Chickens Can’t Fly’ Achievement. In that respect it’s gotten a bit harder than before the version 1.1 update when it could’ve unlocked after finishing the Physics levels. However, it wasn’t exactly easy to get all Golds before the version 1.1 difficulty adjustments, so I’d still say gamers came out ahead in the end.

We’re pleased to see those technical problems gone, returning Chickens Can’t Fly to its proper status as one of the best Xbox Live games on Windows Phone. Check out our review for more details.

Chickens Can’t Fly costs only 99 cents and there is a free trial. Don’t ask the Colonel’s permission; just get it here on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Central Poll - Do you use your Front Facing camera?

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It's pretty but do you use it?

We’re not going to deny that in today’s smartphone world, if you’re going to sell a high-end Windows Phone (or even mid-range) a front-facing camera is a must. Presumably used for face-to-face video call, the technology has been around for years but is only becoming mainstream since 2011.

In Windows Phone 8, users will have Skype and other VOIP options built seamlessly into the OS, offering a fluid experience akin to making “regular” phone calls. And with 4G LTE finally gaining ground nationally here in the US, data bandwidth seems more than adequate for video conferencing.

While all of that sounds good the question for us to you who currently have a front-facing camera is do you use it?

It seems silly to ask but we never use ours except for a few times to test Tango Video or Skype. Other than that we can’t be bothered with the technology. But we’ve often seen those with children using FaceTime on the iPhone to keep in touch, so perhaps we’re in the minority here. The view seems to be that everyone wants a front-facing camera and it's a must-have feature but few of us are actually using it. Are we wrong?

So go forth people, be honest and take our poll. If you do use it, tell us in comments how often. If you don't, let us know why you don't. Too awkward, not enough data speed? Will widespread adoption of Windows Phone 8 and Skype across Microsoft change things?

 

Do you use your front facing camera on your Windows Phone?
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3 years ago

Shuffle Party returns to the Windows Phone Marketplace with a new update

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Speaking of Xbox Live game updates correcting issues with previous updates, last month’s Shuffle Party version 1.1 update actually introduced a nasty texture bug into the game. Microsoft quickly pulled the game itself while they investigated the issue. Developer Babaroga found the culprit, and now both a new update and the game itself are back on the Marketplace.

Shuffle Party version 1.2 release notes:

  • Improved stability when connected to Network
  • Avatar no longer turns backward

If users happened to have completed the 1.1 update a few weeks back, then this update also corrects the following:

  • Incorrect textures on table

That’s it; the developers just wanted to make sure the game experience consistently stable and polished. Thanks guys! Now we can all get back to knocking down bowling pins and collecting coins with our shuffleboard pucks. And when we're done with that, we'll play Shuffle Party! To learn more about Shuffle Party’s many game modes and unlockables, read our review.

Shuffle Party is free and offers 50 GamerScore worth of Achievements. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Microsoft Office 2013 Customer Preview now available to download

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Microsoft has made the customer preview of the upcoming Office 2013 suite available for download. Being cloud based, Microsoft has decided to integrate both SkyDrive and Skype into the suite and offer more social functionality to end-users. Signing into your Live / Microsoft Account, you'll be able to store and access documents on the cloud from any supported platform, including Windows Phone.

As well as more optimisation, Office 2013 has also gone 'Metro' with emphasis on simplicity to create an immersive experience. We've installed Office 2013 on our machines and boy does it install promptly. We didn't even have time to make a second cup of tea before it was all set up and ready to go. The suite includes Access, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher and Word.

Be sure to head on over to Microsoft's website to check out the Office 2013 Customer Preview.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: HD Scanner

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If you are looking for a fairly simple, straight forward document scanner for your Windows Phone, HD Scanner should make your short list. It was recently released to the Windows Phone Marketplace and creates .PDF files that can be uploaded to Skydrive, Dropbox or Google Docs. Created documents can also be save to your Pictures Hub or emailed.

HD Scanner can come in handy if you need to scan a receipt, scan research papers, shopping lists, or any other document you may need to archive or copy on the go.

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3 years ago

Does the Nokia Lumia 800 contain NFC? It’s complicated.

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A new video purporedly shows limited NFC functionality on the Lumia 800

A video has appeared today (which we have been unable to verify for legitimacy) that reportedly shows a Nokia Lumia 800 making brief near-field communication (NFC) contact with a Nokia Play 360 (which supports NFC pairing). The phenomenon happens when toggling WiFi on and off, suggesting the powering of the NFC is connected somehow to WiFi.

The question naturally presents itself: does the Nokia Lumia 800 in fact support NFC? And will it get an update to enable this if so? The answer is a bit messy but we’ll just be brief here and say “no” and “no”.

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3 years ago

Amazon to develop and launch Windows Phone Cloud Drive app

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According to a job listing, Amazon is looking to develop a Windows Phone app for their Amazon Cloud Player service, which enables customers to stream stored music to multiple devices, much like iTunes Match. Using the Amazon cloud storage solution Cloud Drive (amazon.com/clouddrive), the music service enables customers to upload and access their library.

The interesting part about the music streaming functionality is that unaltered Amazon MP3 purchases don't contribute to the free 5GB allowance (paid plans available should more space be required). Music can be streamed via Amazon Cloud Player on the web and on supported platforms. 

What the successful applicant will be tasked with:-

  • Lead the development and launch of Cloud Player client software on Windows Phone.
    • Manage and grow a team of developers with responsibilities across the software stack.
    • Own the operational excellence of software used by millions of users.
    • Collaborate with other development teams at A2Z . and affiliated companies.
    • Adept at communicating with both technical and non-technical people, both local and remote.
  • Passionate about creating great consumer applications.
  • Help build the best digital music customer experience

If this sounds right up your street then be sure to head on over to the job posting for more information and to apply. It'll be great to see such a solution available in the Marketplace for those who enjoy using Amazon's MP3 Store. We'll be sure to update you with any information that comes to light. Developing. Literally.

Source: Amazon, via: Insideris

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3 years ago

Pictures Lab for Windows Phone edits price

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Pictures Lab is a very nice photo editing app for your Windows Phone. The app offers a wide selection of editing tools that includes filters, borders, exposure adjustments and more. The app is in the top five photography apps on the Marketplace and has recently had it's price cropped. The original $1.99 price tag on Pictures Lab is dropped to $.99 making the app a steal of a deal.

Pictures Lab has Facebook and Twitter integration to make social sharing of your photos easier. Settings allow you to set the image quality on images you share and save. Plus you can add an artist name (e.g. copyright) to the image's EXIF file. plus you can set the image quality in the app's settings.

If you're not sure about Pictures Hub, there is a free trial version available to let you try before you buy. The full version is running $.99 and you can find Pictures Lab here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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