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3 years ago

The Sims 3 - Review

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The Sims 3 - Review

The Sims, the hit life simulation series of games, originated on the PC and has since landed on practically every platform under the sun including the Windows Phone 7 platform. In these games, the player creates a digital avatar and then directs it through the rigors of everyday life: eating, sleeping, work, fun, and all that stuff. I do some of that stuff myself, and let me tell you, even the fun isn’t all that fun. But somehow the Sims makes everyday drudgery enjoyable, hence the game's millions of fans. The Sims 3 for Windows Phone 7 brings a fair helping of the PC game’s magic to mobile gamers, although this version’s many issues prevent it from being a must-have.

Cruise past the break for our full review.

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3 years ago

Nodo heading to AT&T on April 19th? [Updated]

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Call it a strong rumor. One that many would like to see com true.

A leaked AT&T email to support personnel is indicating that AT&T will finally push out the Windows Phone 7 Nodo update on April 19th for the Quantum and Focus. The HTC Surround should receive the update in mid-May.

Quoting from the leaked email,

"Effective April 19, 2011, new Microsoft maintenance release updates will be available to AT&T customers with existing LG Quantum and Samsung Focus Windows Phone 7 devices. Approved updates for the HTC Surround are scheduled for availability in mid-May and will be communicated once approved."

The memo also indicates that this will involve the release of two new Maintenance Release updates (7008 and 73390). The 7390 update is being referred to as NoDo that adds copy/paste as well as additional functionality that is unique to AT&T.  There is no mention as to why the Surround's update is being delayed.

Sounds promising and fortunately it won't be long before we can tell if this rumor is a good one.  Oddly, the Microsoft Update page still shows AT&T's update as "Testing". Then again, Microsoft hasn't updated the update page since April 6th.  We'll keep you posted if we hear anything more on this.

Source: winrumors Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

Update: We just checked in on Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Update Page and, as PugetChowder notes in the comments, it has been updated.  The Quantum and Focus are listed as "Scheduling" which typically means the update will be distributed within the next ten days.  The Surround update, unfortunately, is still listed as "Testing".

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3 years ago

Microsoft offers President Obama a WP7 device

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It seems Microsoft will do anything to get Windows Phone 7 devices in the hands of everyone who desire "cool" and "hip" products, like the president of the United States -- Mr. Barack Obama. In a recent report published by Fox News (interestingly enough), it seems the president is tired of old and boring technology, he demands new fancy buttons and big screens!

The Oval Office, I always thought I was going to have really cool phones and stuff. I'm like, c'mon guys, I'm the president of the United States. Where's the fancy buttons and stuff and the big screen comes up? It doesn't happen.

Microsoft took this opportunity to (amusingly) offer the president a free WP7 device, as shown in the image above. I'm guessing an official White House app would have to be developed in-house? Control the world with the power of pivots, the world will be powered by Windows - Microsoft's dream.

Source: FoxNews, via: WinRumors

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3 years ago

Latest WP7 specs include 2nd gen Snapdragon & optional gyro

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Back to MIX, Istvan Cseri (Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft) revealed the new Windows Phone 7 chassis that OEM's can use to build handsets which is to be released in the coming months.

Observing the image above, we can see the Qualcomm MSM7X30 and MSM8X55 (800MHz) are included in the platform requirements and both feature the Adreno 205 GPU. Gyroscope sensor addition is optional and manufactures will be able to use multiple combinations of memory, gyroscope support and SoC as long as they don't go below current specification requirements. Screen resolution is kept at 800x480 (WVGA). Watch the presentation after the break.

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3 years ago

HTC Mazaa heading to Sprint?

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Leaked images of a new Windows Phone have surfaced. The HTC Mazaa appears to be sporting a 3.7" screen and, according to unconfirmed reports, will be headed to Sprint in the next six or so months.

The Mazaa resembles the HTC Trophy and is rumored to use DDR2 memory to improve overall speed. The tipster makes not of what appears to be an IMEI number on the phone which could mean the Mazaa has GSM capabilities. Could Sprint be poised to launch a Windows Phone 7 world phone?

All of which leads us to the inevitable question, which will hit the market first, the Sprint Mazaa or Verizon Trophy?

Edit: The red under the speaker grill is exactly like Verizon's "Red" accented Trophy. We find it a bit difficult that Sprint would opt for the same color scheme and at least I'm a bit skeptical. Even AT&T changed the color accent on their HD7 versus T-Mobile's. D. Rubino

Source: XDA Developers via: Pocketnow

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3 years ago

Toy Story Mania, Asphalt 5 for Xbox LIVE on WP7 shown off [Video]

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Windows Phone UK just put up a video showcasing the best Windowns Phone games and if you watch closely, you can catch a glimpse of 'Toy Story Mania' and 'Asphalt 5' coming to the platform.

Now 'Asphalt 5' was announced with the original 50 titles, so it's technically not new, but it's been so long since we saw that list it might as well be! Having said that, 'Toy Story Mania' is somwthing we haven't seen before and certainly looks interesting.

Anyways, rock out to the vid and enjoy the showcase.

Source: Windows Phone UK; via WPSauce

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3 years ago

A look at the new database feature in Mango [MIX11]

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Another new feature coming to developers next month and which we'll be the beneficiary of when 'Mango' is released in the fall, is database access.

Now before you groan with boredom, we should point that this little thing is actually quite huge--developers are pretty ecstatic about the addition. Why? Because now they can write apps that pull info from your contacts (read only) and calendar (also read only) and use them in their apps directly.

If you take the moment to watch the above video in a demo wine app, you can see how the augmented calendar works within an app (it both pulls down days and appointments), allows you invite people from you address book including their address, adds it to the calendar and then allows you to email all of it. Very slick. None of that can be done today, which is a quite a big hole in feature ability.

The slide below though does show there are limitations e.g. the read-only feature (which we think is fine) and the fact that Facebook is limited to contact name/picture and evidently Twitter will have no accessible user information (we're not sure why that is exactly). The point to take away though is that devs are very excited about this as it will allow them to create faster apps (less "pull from the cloud") with more robust features that are much tighter integrated with the OS.

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3 years ago

Everything you need to know from MIX '11

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MIX'11 was eventful to say the least, with a large array of Windows Phone 7 announcements being made within the space of an hour on day two--then there were the sessions for the next 2 days. We were situated at the front of the action and were able to cover everything from the introduction of Internet Explorer 10 to Spotify making an appearance on WP7.

Should you have not been able to follow all the 'goings on' at the event, take a look at the list below (located after the break) featuring our coverage with everything you need to know. Please feel free to share as we think this is quite comprehensive.

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3 years ago

Mango to bring Marketplace options and ratings

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One more tid bit from MIX11 for the day.  Mango is expected to bring a few more options to Windows Phone 7 developers with regards to distribution options and will require game ratings.

Private Betas and Private Apps will join the Public Distribution options for developers. Private Betas will not require certification but will require user registration by the developer by way of the user's Windows Live ID (limited to 100). Private Betas will have a life cycle of 90 days and should help developers iron out all the bugs before releasing the app for Public Distribution.

Private Apps will need to go through the certification process and will not be searchable in the Marketplace. Developers will distribute these apps via a deep link to allow recipients to download the app. This distribution will be well suited for enterprise/corporate applications.

Marketplace games will also require a rating and certification of those ratings if it's required by the region of distribution. This should open the door for gaming titles where concerns about mature content are present (remember Twin Blades). This would also suggest that parental controls will be present in the Marketplace as well.

via: mobilitydigest

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3 years ago

Help turn Brandon Foy's video into a TV advert

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We mentioned this yesterday that Brandon Foy had made a fan video for Windows Phone 7 that became rather popular and even attracted the attention of Microsoft's Windows Phone team. Microsoft was so impressed that they used the video as the introduction to the Day 2 Keynote Presentation at MIX11.

Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's VP over Windows Phone Program Management, also tossed out a challenge to fans of Brandon's work. Should the video pass 200,000 views, Microsoft will use the video as a television ad.

We bring this up again because a) the video looks good and b) the video count needs a little help.  Plus it's always cool to see fan-based work make it to the big stage.

In just over 24 hours, the view count is hovering around 33,300. So spread the word, tweet your friends and let's help Brandon's video make it to a television near you. You can find the video here or click on the "Watch on YouTube" link in the embedded video above.

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3 years ago

Last Chance: Win a Tablet of your choice from TouchType!

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Just a last minute reminder that to celebrate 1 million downloads of their SwiftKey keyboard app, TouchType is giving away a tablet each to THREE lucky winners! Which tablets? Whichever the winner chooses so long as they're available for purchase for up to $800 where he or she lives. iPad 2, PlayBook, Xoom, Galaxy Tab are all on the table.

How do you enter? TouchType has put together a small survey which shouldn't take more than five or ten minutes to complete. That's it - well, that and a quick perusal of the official entry rules just to make sure you're eligible (sorry minors and SPE employees). The contest is open to readers of Android Central, CrackBerry.com, TiPb, and WPCentral and ends at midnight Pacific on April 14 (that's tonight!).

Not familiar with TouchType? You may have also seen that TouchType made a splash at this year's CTIA with their tablet keyboard for Honeycomb - that's coming soon, but SwiftKey is available now for Android devices. 

So get cracking on the survey, folks - these tablets aren't going to give themselves away.

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3 years ago

A look at Mango's overhauled Live Tile system [MIX11]

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Wow, so we were just schooled by Windows Phone Program Manager Thomas Fennel on the updated Live Tile andn Push Notification system coming with the May developer tools and to Mango for consumers. Needless to say, we're impressed and if you watch the above video you'll see why.

Some cool features:

  • Local notifications: these aren't push, but instead are purely local--great for alarms, reminders, "note tiles", etc.
  • Deep Toast: Say 'Weather Bug' gives you a flood toast notification, when you click it, it can now take you directly to the flood alert, instead of just opening the app. This is very cool.
  • Multi-tiles: One app, 'X' amount of tiles. For example, you have a news app with World, Local and Political news, you can now create individual Live Tiles for each category, or whatever the dev allows
  • Live Tile limit bumped: Currently, you can only have 15 Live Tiles on your phone. Starting with Mango, that goes to 30.
  • Tile flip: When a notification comes in, the Tile can "flip" with a back image (see video)
  • Improvements: Reliability, performance and efficiency (15 min polling, down from 60) have all been adjusted and made better

What can we say, we're totally excited about the new Live Tile and Push Notification system. Microsoft is keen on making it easier, more robust, "smarter" and more than just a simple alert system. Oh and we did ask Fennel about the "issues" many of you are experiencing with Live Tiles e.g. they go completely dead. In short, we're contacting him with more info and will be working with him to get to the root of this ongoing problem.

Check after the break for a few slides...

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3 years ago

Does XNA + Silverlight break the '3 screens' paradigm? Technically, yes.

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Coming out of talk on Silverlight and XNA (remember, devs can now combine both, making regular apps with 3D, immersive graphics), an interesting question was brought up: Can developers mix Silverlight and XNA on Windows or Xbox? Answer: no, they cannot. 

Microsoft does not have any tools for devs nor anything to announce on the matter, though they have built the Windows Phone tools with Windows and Xbox programming in mind, but as of now, there seems to be no immediate plans to bring over that functionality. What's interesting is this technically breaks the much touted "3 screens" model whereby devs can write roughly 80% of the app and have it compatible with the PC, Xbox and Windows Phones. Now, with the addition of Silverlight to games (and devs do like that ability), this is not the case anymore.

Will it have a big impact? Too early to tell and certainly Microsoft can port over this feature to PC and Xbox in the future. But for now, devs will technically be breaking that ability if they use both languages in the same app or game.

Anyways, for fun though, watch the top vid to see some more XNA + Silverlight combos. The first part shows how video can now be manipulated dynamically, making it like a liquid to the touch...very cool (the audience clapped after this) and the second shows a demo augmented reality app with 3D graphics "floating". The ability to add XNA graphics to the camera can result in some really cool 3D effects.

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3 years ago

HTC releases Hidden WiFi app for Windows Phone

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HTC releases Hidden WiFi app for Windows Phone

Hooray! If you're an HTC Windows Phone user, you can now go to the Marketplace and download a free app to connect to hidden WiFi networks.

For those who may have forgotten, Microsoft disallows the addition of Hidden SSIDs for WiFi networks, irking many who have such a setup. It's a philosophical thing for them but those in reality, it's not very convenient.

Now, with this HTC app, you can punch in the hidden SSID or network name and it'll add it your WiFi list. The app is barebones simple so we think it should be simple enough for you to figure out. Remember, only HTC phones can use this and if you have click that link below on your phone.

Grab the app here; via WPSauce

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3 years ago

Coming with Mango: Apps can download in the background too

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One really cool feature that comes with Mango (because of multitasking) is that 3rd party apps can now download data in the background. But being Microsoft is concerned with what they call "health" aka battery life, cpu and mem usage, etc. there are restrictions on how it all works.

First of all, things download serially when the screen is on i.e. you're probably using it. This makes sense as you don't want your radio and cpu overwhelmed while trying to do your task. This is a huge problem, in our opinion, with Android, which just tries to swallow data regardless if your using the device, on battery or whatever, often slowing it down significantly.

There are also two modes: on battery ("Periodic Agents") and when plugged in and on WiFi ("Idle Agents"). The former is when your phone is in your pocket or your actually using it--apps can pull data down, serially, at specified intervals (up to the developer, but only every 30 minutes--this number is being debated though, may change). This is good for small updates, geolocation, "checking in", etc.

The latter scenario, "Idle Agents", could be thought of as "night mode"--when your phone is plugged in, on your home WiFi not being used. In this case, the phone "feasts" on data (yummy!). This is where apps can pull down whole podcasts, tons of images, etc. Basically anything goes, though each app only gets a 10 minute "window" so it can't waste the whole night (though it can try again later).

All in all cool stuff and smart, very smart.

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