Carmelo Milian, developer of the Windows Phone 7 application SoundEscape 7, is bringing an interesting Twitter app to the Marketplace. Tweet Translator promises to translate your tweets from or to a wide range of languages.
Other features of Tweet Translator include:
View your personal tweet time-line
Search people tweets
View public tweets
Hear the tweet with text to speech for various languages
Real-time translation for more than thirty languages
Languages covered in Tweet Translator range from Arabic to Haitian Creole to Vietnamese, as well as the customary French, Italian, Spanish, German and English. It will be interesting to see how well the text to speech feature of Tweet Translator will shake out.
According to the developer Tweet Translator has been submitted for certification and should be available at the Marketplace soon for $.99.
Some of the tiles are interesting: for instance the analog clock is new as wel as the "maps" icon, leading presumably to some of Nokia's mapping technology. Who knows if those are in fact proposed tiles or just fillers.
Of course none of these phones have been made yet, but it looks like Nokia is fast-tracking to have a device out before years-end, a goal which we think is achievable. Question is: how do you think they look? To us, they seem a lot like the Samsung Focus with the addition of bright colors. Then again, we're still early in the game for this long, strange trip with Nokia.
Developer Rudy Huyn was looking for an idea for a Windows Phone app to make and also looking for a challenge: to completely code it up in 30 hours (including sleep).
Well the project was finished and on time, just as promised. The app is called TVShow, submitted to the Marketplace and should be available by next week (unclear if this will be an English version of the program). The program looks to be one of the TV-scheduling apps that are quite popular (but very few "get right") so we'll be interesting in taking it for a spin.
What's all of this prove (besides great publicity for Rudy)? What we already know: writing apps for Windows Phone 7 is quite easy compared to the competition and perhaps even enjoyable. Heck, even you can even watch the whole thing above in the video and check out the screen shots from TVShow below.
There wasn't much new information coming out of Nokia's Mobile World Congress Press Event concerning the company's new partnership with Microsoft. However, two interesting things did happen during the presentation given by Nokia's CEO Steve Elop.
Someone at the presentation yelled, "Are you a trojan horse?". Elop didn't dodge the question but answered it directly.
"I'll take that question. The obvious answer is no. We made sure that the entire management team was involved in the process, and of course the board of directors of Nokia are the only ones that can make this significant of a decision about Nokia. They made that final decision on Thursday night."
Well our plane(s) have landed and some of the vast SmartphoneExperts staff are here at Barcelona getting ready to cover Mobile World Congress 2011 aka the biggest mobile phone/technology conference and show on the planet.
Head editor Dieter Bohn (also, PreCentral), Phil Nickinson (ex-WinMo, Android Central) and myself will be here for the full show, covering every aspect.
For Windows Phone 7, we'll have plenty of things including Steve Ballmer's keynote speech tomorrow, events with HTC, Samsung, LG, SPB, Qualcomm and a Microsoft developer day on Wednesday, with Brandon Watson giving a "State of the union" address on WP7.
Things we can expect:
More on the NoDo update, specifically timing of release
CDMA support? Sprint & Verizon hopefully announcing their devices
Updates on the chassis requirements for WP7 (Chassis 2?)
We'll have plenty of video, photos, interviews, etc. on hand in the next few days, so stay tuned. Remember to follow us on Twitter at @wpcentral (or me personally @malatesta77 if you want behind-the-scenes shenanigans) and on Facebook for all the latest. Also the tag "mwc11" will bring you just Mobile World Congress content.
One of our favorite word games for Windows Phone 7, Trine's Hangman, has received a major update (our review). The original version wasn't too shabby to begin with and we found it to be an entertaining and addictive game for your Windows Phone. The update adds a handful of new features including:
A two player mode
You can select your own picture for the background
More player statistics
A "See who's playing now" feature
Faster resume/start-up time
Server side enhancements
Assorted other tweaks to improve performance.
For those who haven't tried Trine's Hangman, the Trial Version has also improved. The Trial Version has the full 2-player mode, the time limits have been removed, online features are available until you reach 500 points and the word count has increased from 20 to 100. According to the developer a Lite Version is in the works that will give you more playtime.
In playing Trine's Hangman after updating, you can tell the game has a little more pep in its step. The new animations appear to be concentrated in the transition and information banners. You also have three new wallpapers to choose from and the flaming Jack-o-Lantern is particularly creepy.
If you like word puzzles, Trine's Hangman is a must have game for your Windows Phone. The full version is running $2.99 and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.
Already own Trine's Hangman? Just check your Marketplace app on your Windows Phone for the update.
Need a boost in your AT&T Rollover Minutes account? Simply text "Yes" to 11113020 and AT&T will add 1,000 minutes to your Rollover Minute total.
It appears this began as a AT&T promotion where iPhone customers received an AT&T text offering the free minutes. More than likely an iPhone owner shares the info with an Android user who shares it with a Windows Phone user. Then someone blogs about it and the next thing you know everybody is taking advantage of the offer.
So far we haven't seen any strings attached to this offer but the reply does state it'll take up to 4 weeks to process (the minutes will probably appear on the next billing cycle. According to the iPhone text original distributed by AT&T, the offer ends on March 31, 2011. However, with everyone taking advantage of the offer we don't know how long it will take AT&T to catch on and pull the rug out from under this offer.
We mentioned the Homebrew Device Manager by Schapman some time ago and that its release was delayed for various reasons including a desire to wait until the first update for Windows Phone 7 hit the airways. It is our understanding now that the software will become available next week.
"As the WP7 update is delayed I will not wait until March to give you WP Device Manager, there will be a private beta on next week and it will be Publicly released soon after if it's alright. Former contributors and beta testers will get access to the private beta, developers HAVING Also node devices are welcome to join."
The Device Manager does sound promising and it will be interesting to see how it shakes out.
Remember when we discussed the debut of Haypi Kingdom, the first MMO for Windows Phone 7? We were surprised to see a free to play game that is supported by microtransactions make it onto Microsoft’s mobile platform. After all, doesn’t Microsoft prohibit microtransactions in Windows Phone 7 games?
Developer Haypi Inc. kindly straightened out the matter for us. As it turns out, microtransactions are indeed forbidden on the platform. That’s why games like The Sims 3 that have lots of optional purchasable content on iPhone don’t offer the same downloadable content on WP7.
So how does Haypi Kingdom manage to sell players in-game coins for real life money? PayPal! You see, coins aren’t purchased through the client itself. When a player decides to make an optional coin purchase, the game launches an external web browser. Purchases are made through PayPal’s site, not the actual game, so Haypi Kingdom isn’t breaking any rules. UPDATE: The workaround has been removed - currently there's no in-game method for purchasing coins.
Haypi Kingdom’s payment model works the same way on Google’s Android platform, where microtransactions are also prohibited. Before coming to Windows Phone 7, Haypi Kingdom had already made a name for itself on Android and iPhone.
To read more on this ground breaking game and the Press Release from Haypi, follow the break.
It's a problem that has plagued photography for decades; taking pictures without the camera sound disturbing everyone around you. Most digital cameras have the ability to mute the simulated shutter sound but Windows Phone 7 owners aren't so lucky.
Regardless how you have your ringer volume set, that distracting sound is always present once you press the shutter button. For those who have a developer unlocked/jail-broken Windows Phone there's a solution out there.
The solution requires you to modify the system registry (proceed at your own discretion).
Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Audio\StreamClass\Output\10 and set "BypassDeviceGain" to 0.
Apply the changes, reboot your phone.
Your Windows Phone camera application will now follow the phone's audio settings. Simply mute the ringer and you mute the shutter.
There's still a bit of buzz lingering from Nokia and Microsoft's newly announced partnership with Windows Phone 7. The ink has barely dried on the press release and we are now seeing concept photos on what the first Nokia Windows Phone might look like.
The concept phone resembles the Samsung Focus but has the power button joining the micro-USB port and 3.5mm jack at the top of the phone. One can only assume that the camera and volume buttons rest on the left side of the phone that isn't shown. Right now we can only guess what might be under the hood.
While the colors add a little flair to the Windows Phone line-up, does the concept phone look a little plain for Nokia? Or does it hit the right spot?
It will be interesting to see what additional details come to light at the 2011 Mobile World Congress. We've got a crew flying the ocean blue this weekend and will be pounding the pavement trying to find out all that we can Windows Phone related.
As the dust begins to settle on the Nokia/Microsoft partnership announcement, we're learning that Nokia may have more latitude with Windows Phone 7 than other WP7 partners. Nokia is of the opinion that their agreement with Microsoft will allow them to make better use of Windows Phone 7 than other manufacturers. Stephen Elop, Nokia's CEO stated,
“We have the ability to do customizations and extensions to the software environment that are unique and therefore differentiate. It’s very important to understand this is not a standard OEM agreement. Microsoft is placing a big bet on us."
Elop was quick to follow up that while Nokia had the ability change things, he felt it would be the worst possible option.
Additionally, Elop added,
"We will resist the temptation to customize simply for the sake of customizing."
With devices not expected until 2012, we can hope that any modifications/customizations will be well thought out and that the momentum Microsoft has built with Windows Phone 7 isn't jeopardized by Nokia giving into such temptations.
In a seperate interview with All Things Digital, Elop describes the relationship with Microsoft as one of balance with deliberate dependence in both directions. Elop felt that both Microsoft and Nokia would work to offer an overall successful ecosystem.
The new relationship between Nokia and Microsoft has a strong potential for success and puts a little pep into Windows Phone 7 development. Still, one has wonder if Nokia's freedom to customize is a good thing? Is Microsoft headed down the same path with WP7 as we saw with Windows Mobile in that you eventually have multiple variations of the same system. Variations that often frustrated developers.
We mentioned yesterday that Microsoft was spearheading a hardware engineering team for Windows Phone--to expedite development in new mobile hardware, almost like their own R&D department for phones. That addition gives Microsoft an interesting ability to better control the future and direction of hardware for their OEMs by basically getting their foot in the door on developing mobiles.
Flash forward a whole day and we have Nokia and Microsoft merging their smartphone strategies. As has been pointed out, this is not "Nokia is now an OEM for Windows Phone" but much deeper, more substantial. Nokia's services will run into Microsoft's, Microsoft's will mix with Nokia's and more importantly, Nokia will have a say in the direction of Windows Phone. From the joint open-letter: "Nokia will help drive and define the future of Windows Phone." Yowza.
In a New York Times article, is was pointed out that both Google and Microsoft were throwing money at Nokia to commit:
To get Nokia to switch, Google and Microsoft are offering hundreds of millions of dollars worth of engineering assistance and marketing support, according to a person who has done consulting for the company and was told of the talks.
What caught our eye was the whole engineering assistance, which sounds a lot like what the new Hardware Group of Microsoft's Mobile Communication Business (MCB) department is all about. Reader Henripple pretty much caught this yesterday in comments, suggesting that this may be the groundwork to speed up that Nokia agreement and get devices to market, faster.
On a related note, Ina Fried at All things D is live-blogging the event and when asked, Nokia CEO Elop said this about device availability: "We’ll be shipping in volume in 2012" so we have some time yet before we see a device, though we imagine by "holiday 2011" we'll definitely see some devics about to launch.
And on the much controversial issue of tablets:
“We are not announcing today a specific tablet strategy,” he reiterated, saying that Microsoft creates opportunities.
Elop noted that there are rumors of Windows Phone and Windows that could power tablets.
“We could do that,” he said. “We might do that.”
Also an opportunity for Nokia to step back into the game using its own software.
Certainly intriguing and we hope both companies come up with a solid strategy here.
The rumors have been swirling for days but this morning it was official announced by both companies that Nokia will be adopting Windows Phone 7. In a joint open letter, both companies spelled out what the partnership means--let it be clear it's as big as it is deep--this is not just Nokia using Bing but a whole agreement in a virtual merger on smartphone strategy:
The core of the decision is for Nokia to use Windows Phone as its primary smartphone OS, with MeeGo going to the back-burner (but living on). The OVI store will merge with Microsoft's Marketplace, Bing will be on all Nokia services and Nokia wil provide mapping data for Bing.
The combination of Nokia, who's the largest cell phone maker (by volume) and Microsoft should create quite the juggernaut and gives Windows Phone the gravitas it needs to be taken more seriously (by consumers, carriers and the market). Indeed, this changes everything today. Will it pay off? Who knows, but we're happier with this decision than without it.
Why not Android? According to Nokia CEO Elop:
We explored the opportunity with the Google ecosystem. We would have had difficulty differentiating within that ecosystem, and so Microsoft represented the best opportunity to build and lead and fight through with a new ecosystem.
Have they started collaborating on a device yet? From Ballmer:
We’re already working together to create the first Nokia Windows phones and you’ll hear more from us in all of those areas in the next weeks and months.
When? “We’ll be shipping in volume in 2012”, varying price points -Elop (via AllThingsD)
Hooray! Seesmic seems to be on the go again, delivering another solid update to their popular Twitter app. While still lagging in some areas, they're filling in some big gaps.
Version 1.4 just hit the Marketplace and here are the changes:
Support of Salesforce Chatter: Add your Chatter account as a space and see your chatter feed, comment on updates, post updates, see your groups and view their feed.
Support of Facebook Pages and Private Messages: Harness the ability to post to the Facebook pages you're an admin of, from the composer account selector and view your inbox of private messages (in read only).
Translation of a tweet to English from the action menu.
Support for Landscape mode in the composer (more to come soon).
Context menus are now available for quick access to the essential features when long pressing on a tweet, a user or a direct message thread:
Ability to see and manage attachments in the composer before you upload them, when sending your update.
Ability to choose the size of the pictures you upload for faster upload times.
Ability to see the public conversations from a tweet when tapping on "in reply to" inside a tweet.
Ability to delete an entire direct message conversation.