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3 years ago

Creepily keep track of those you love (and who don't love you back) with PhoneStalker

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Ah, the combination of GPS technology and distrust of your loved ones. Forget making phone calls! What better way to use your smartphone than to track those around you?

Well, if you fall into the camp of wanting to use your phone, most likely illegally, to spy on those you supposedly care about, you may want to try out the combo-software suite of PhoneStalker and RealTimeSpy. Together, the two apps will reportedly allow you to record where folks are going. Granted, you have to literally give up your phone to do so by placing in the person's vehicle, but someone's gotta sacrifice, amirite? Here are the features of PhoneStalker:

  • Total Trip Measurement - The trip recording function creates a 3D breadcrumb trail of any trip the phone is taken on. The Map screen shows the phone creating the breadcrumb trail real time as the phone moves. You can save the trip on the local phone and restore it back to the Phone's map at any time. Your total distance, average speed, and time taken are recorded. You can tell the app to send you an email with your trip file included where you can then view the trip 3D on Google Earth, Bing Maps, or Google Maps on your PC or Mac.
  • Distance Measurement - The Mark and Measure functions allow you to measure straight line distances.
  • Real time GPS Stats - The GPS screen shows you real-time your speed, direction,longitude, latitude, and altitude.

So the idea is you place your phone running PhoneStalker on someone's vehicle, then launch their website from your mom's basement (watch those Cheetos, you're running low), enter in the pre-set email address and bam, instant violation of Federal law. But what if you're a busy stalker and you need to get more Cheetos? You bust out your second Windows Phone and enable RealTimeSpy. That program will allow you track the object of your desire from the comfort of your unmarked white van:

RealTimeSpy is a free* viewer for owners of either myTripTracker or PhoneStalker Windows 7 Phone apps which allow you to view trips being taken in real time by going to the DeanBlakely website.  RealTimeSpy allows you to view such trips from another Windows Phone 7. RealTimeSpy increases the usefulness of the tracking apps by allowing you to track someone while you are moving about.

Creepy and convenient! If any of this sounds remotely interesting, you can head to the Marketplace now and grab PhoneStalker here and the companion app, RealTimeSpy here. There's also myTripTracker. which is less malevolent.

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3 years ago

Xbox Companion App coming Tuesday, December 6th

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Hot on the heels of the Xbox 360 Dashboard update comes the Xbox Companion App for Windows Phone. The Companion App for Windows Phone is one of the first apps that will truly augment your Xbox 360 user experience, giving you a parallel method to effortless retrieve current information about media, in addition to selecting things to watch. From the Windows Phone Blog a few months ago:

  • "Finding Content: Just like on your Xbox, the Xbox Companion gives you instant access to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace catalog of games, movies, music and TV shows. I used it to search “Featured Content” and pulled up the X-Men: First Class.
  • Learn more about what you’re watching, listening to, or playing: Once I found the movie and touched the movie tile, the Xbox companion app took me to an info page that has all the related details about. And the content is really rich, too – for example, when I swiped to the “cast” page and touched an actor’s name, like star James McAvoy, I was taken to other movies starring him. From there, I could easily learn more about the other movies, their cast, etc. It’s an infinite road of interactive content.
  • Control & Play: Once I selected the content and hit play, the Xbox Companion flips into “controller mode” in which I could navigate my Xbox, or control video playback of your video. The best part here is that controls are virtually instantaneous – easily as fast as using my controller or a TV remote."

We got to personally play with the app back in October at Nokia World and we were quite impressed with it. The main reason? It didn't feel gimmicky or something "cool but we'd never use" (like our front-facing camera on our phone), but instead it felt like an app that we would use a lot and for legitimate reasons. Combined with that Xbox 360 Dashboard update, which we've been rocking for a few weeks now, this mini-overhaul to the Xbox should be pretty killer for an already great system.

We'll keep our eyes peeled for it on Tuesday and in the meantime, you can check out our video hands on after the break.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: November 28 - December 4, 2011

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Phew, what a week! Before we get into your Windows Phone weekly summary, the WPCentral app has been updated to 1.8, which includes a number of bug fixes that appeared during website development. We've also been joined by Gergely Orosz for this week's developer interview who's the brains behind AppFlow, Cocktail Flow, and Flashlight 7. For the full summary, head on past the break. 

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3 years ago

Four big name apps for Windows Phone present at Microsoft Acceleration Week

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Last week was Microsoft Mobile Acceleration Week 2011 in Israel, where inneractive, an app monetization exchange, helped judge an app development contest for the week. This contest saw not only indie developers creating apps in the tight time frame, but big names were present also. Three winners, who also have apps on other platforms, included Doat, Touch Apps, and Babylon. All three received the Nokia Lumia 800 as prizes. Runner up was WorldMate, a well known cross-platform travel app.

From the app descriptions written by inneractive, who reported on the event:

Doat - "A mobile app that will change the experience of searching on your phone. Instead of presenting non-optimized links as search results, Doat offers your HTML5 apps based on your search query. The UI of the Windows Phone app is beautiful and actually very different than the same app on other competing platforms."

Touch Apps - "A less well known developer, Touchapps has seven apps all together on various platforms and spent the week developing one of their top apps called Makeup Girls. Yes, I know how it sounds, but it is actually kind of brilliant. Maybe me or you are not the target audience, but the ability to choose a picture and apply makeup as you see fit appeals to millions of girls across the world, as the app’s download numbers have shown. Well, now Makeup Girls, following in the footsteps of iOS will be available to Windows Phone users."

Babylon - "As the leading name in text translation, it was only natural that Babylon would transition over to mobile devices. And so they did. Already available on iOS and Android, Babylon for Windows Phone allows you to translate any word, in any language, to the language of your choice, in real time. Of course, there is a lot more to the app including a currency converter, since presumably you will be using the app when traveling. The UI is super simplistic and hence very intuitive and does exactly what it is meant to do, how it is meant to do it."

This follows the four major apps unveiled at Microsoft Mobile Acceleration event in New York. Sure, while these apps aren't unique to the platform or a major game changer, it's good to see quality choice coming to Windows Phone, which will slowly dissolve the problem potential buyers have with Microsoft's OS - the lack of big name apps.

Source: inneractive; Thanks, Amir, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Sloppy AT&T store uses original Focus for Focus S display

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We're pretty sure if you took a tour of the thousands of AT&T stores across the country, you will find tons of sloppy displays, errors, etc. Anyone who has ever managed retail knows the difficulty in trying to control appearance, which is why chains employ internal checks, secret-shoppers, etc.

In that case, perhaps this AT&T store in Florida is not that different and we're just picking on a single case. But using the original Samsung Focus as the display phone for the brand new, much praised Focus S is a bit much (we're forgetting for a second the lack of display card too). And while mistakes and sloppiness like this are sure to happen on occasion, Windows Phone simply cannot afford to have instances like this occurring.

Update: Reader Justin A. sent us this photo from another AT&T store. Here they are mixing up the Focus S for the Flash. Sigh.

Big thanks to Jack F. for the photo!

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia ad shows up on Xbox 360 Dashboard

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In what seems like an obvious venue for pushing one of your flagship partner's phones, Microsoft and Nokia have evidently begun displaying Lumia ads on the Xbox 360's Dashboard.

The adverts appear to be localized, meaning if you're in the States you'll be hard pressed to find them. But at least in Europe and perhaps elsewhere, there's a good chance you could catch it.

Advertising Windows Phone on Xbox 360 has always seems like the most logical way to ramp up sales of the slow, but growing mobile OS. The Xbox is one of the top selling consumer devices (with the Kinect holding a world record), so riding on its coattails just comes across as the best choice. And while we think this is a right step, it is really just the beginning of what we think Microsoft should do with Xbox and Windows Phone.

Our advice? In every promo image or advert you have, place a Windows Phone next to it.

Source: @alextaylornet; via TheNokiaBlog; Thanks, @XB_Mod, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Bank of America app updated. No new features but it works again!

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The Bank of America app received a minor update yesterday, but it gives one new major function: it works! Yes, for nearly the last month, you've been rightly complaining that the BoA app would error out when you tried to log into one of your accounts, making this app pretty useless (less you just need an ATM finder).

While the app didn't add anything new and is still not Mango ready (c'mon folks, it's not that hard), at least its main function has been restored. From the changelog

  • Bug fixes
  • The same special characters (such as “/”) that are allowed in Online Banking Online IDs and Passcodes are now also accepted in Mobile Banking

Pick up the new version here in the marketplace.

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3 years ago

Native-code access "on the radar" for Windows Phone developers

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We have what looks like great news for current and potential Windows Phone developers. Now that Microsoft has made great strides with Windows Phone 7.5, they appear to be turning their attention to native access for developers, at least in some form. Up till now, developers have had no access to certain aspects of the OS, including telephony, codecs, graphic engines or deeper file access. Reasons for such restrictions were thought primarily to revolve around OS-stability and security. Now, Microsoft seems to be seriously considering opening up some native code to developers--either as part of a reconsideration of the policy or perhaps just being able to focus on implementation.

Stemming from a discussion on the Microsoft WPDev Feedback site, one of the most requested features is native development. In a subsection titled "How can we improve the WPDev application platform?" a suggestion of a Native SDK is sitting in the 4th spot with 1,000 votes. The thread is quite revealing as devs discuss how the current  limitations of the platform are hurting their work. One example comes from an iOS developer who states "I want to do DSP on WP7. My DSP algorithms in Tunepal (my app) take fractions of a second on IOS and Android (written in C++) and about 10 seconds to run on WP7." Likewise, others discuss the need for 3rd party gaming engines e.g. Unreal or Unity, both of which are currently not allowed in the OS.

Cliff Simpkins, Senior Product Manager for Windows Phone 7, posted a response to the native SDK request and didn't pull any punches:

"...we are interested in providing developers with more options to develop great apps for Windows Phone, and native is one item that is high on the radar."

The goal of his post, dated just three days ago, is to solicit specific feedback on what exactly developers want most e. g. C++, third-party gaming engines, etc.. As he points out, while it would be nice to give developers everything, Microsoft is on a fixed schedule needing to prioritize any such opening up of the platform. Clearly Microsoft would need time to develop the SDK, APIs and do what they do best which is make premium, easy to use developer tools. Putting that aside, it seems quite clear that Microsoft wants to open up the platform to developers, resulting in more feature-complete apps and games for consumers.

Microsoft's only hesitation at this time seems to be:  What parts do you want now and what do you want later?

Source: WPDev Feedback/User Voices; Big thanks to Amir, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Xbox Live Developer Interview: SEGA, makers of Sonic CD

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As our review indicates, I’m a big fan of Sonic 4, the first Sonic game released on Windows Phone. SEGA is now gearing up to release Sonic CD, a new and improved version of the classic Sega CD game, for Windows Phone and other platforms. In the latest installment of our Xbox Live Developer Interview series, we grill Ken Balough, Brand Manager at SEGA, about the upcoming Sonic CD remake.

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3 years ago

Dan Lyons enjoys the design and feel of both the Lumia 800 and the OS

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Dan Lyons, known across the bloggersphere for "Fake Steve Jobs", was comparing the "two best phones on the market" - the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Lyons took both handsets for a spin, but turned out to fall for the underdog. The Nokia Lumia 800, powered by Windows Phone Mango, took the fake Steve Jobs by surprise with how great the device looks and feels, as well as the Metro UI.

"Recently I had a Nokia Lumia 800 running Windows Phone in the mix — and every time the phones rang, the Nokia was the one I picked up. The design is just really nice, and it feels great in your hand. I’m doing an interview with the head of design at Nokia next week, and I’m anxious to talk to him about the Lumia 800. It really is a gorgeous device, and the Windows interface is really fresh and different."

Not a huge deal, but interesting to see a look at two competitor handsets (and platforms) turns out to bring Microsoft on top. Head on over to Dan Lyon's blog for the full read through.

Source: RealDanLyons, via: WPSauce

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3 years ago

Samsung Omnia W popular on Telenor

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Samsung Omnia W popular on Telenor

The Samsung Omnia W, a second generation Windows Phone, is proving to be pretty popular in Sweden on Telenor. The carrier has the device listed on their "most popular" page joining the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Nokia N9 and HTC Sensation. We've only just covered the Omnia W arriving to Telenor, so this is a positive sign of the demand for a Mango handset.

Source: Telnor, via: Wingadget.se thanks Peter for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: LineBirds

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Windows Phone Game Review: LineBirds

LineBirds has had success over on the iPhone and Djinnworks is hoping to see similar success by bringing the popular game to the Windows Phone platform. LineBirds is an obstacle course type game where you try to navigate your bird through a maze of lines and obstacles.

The goal of the game is to navigate your bird the furthest through the maze. Brush one of the lines and all you'll loose is a few feathers. If it's more than just a glancing touch, game over. You also have moving dangers to avoid (airplanes) that will ruin your day as well.

Continued after the break.

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3 years ago

Developer Interview: Gergely Orosz

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Developer Interview: Gergely Orosz

This week, for our series of developer interviews, we're joined by Gergely Orosz who is an established developer with the likes of  AppFlow Cocktail Flow and Flashlight 7 under his belt. Head on past the break for the interview and to read up on his advice and thoughts on the Windows Phone developer experience as well as the platform itself from a consumer perspective.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Marketplace works...pirated software promptly removed

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An interesting thing happened yesterday which we chose to not cover in detail. In short, someone published an app to the Windows Phone Marketplace that was pirated. Specifically it was a popular GPS navigation app which cost a good amount of money.  The person responsible presumably ripped the original XAP from the Marketplace and simply re-submitted it, pawning it off as their own.

Did they try to make money from it? Nope, they did something possibly worse--they offered it for free.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone app makes fives times more than iOS version - A developer case study

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We like single case studies. You get exceptional detail and that personal touch. We also know you can't extrapolate the result to every similar situation, but they are useful for drawing some conclusions. For example, a few months ago, we wrote about about a Mortal Kombat guide for Windows Phone versus its Android version (Part 1, Part 2), with the former having a higher return in ad-revenue. Now we turn to a case with iOS.

The story is told by Anlock, who specialize in child-learning apps for mobile platforms. They make the same apps for both iOS and Windows Phone except that the iOS version is "more enhanced". They were making only iOS apps but were persuaded to try their hand at Windows Phone--since they had all the content, porting was easy. On both platforms their apps received the same 4 and 5 star reviews and both were even featured at some point in the Marketplace and App Store. The only difference between the two, really, was Anlock tried an "extensive advertising campaign" with iOS (that failed) whereas on WP7, they had no out-of-pocket advertising program. So what was the outcome?

"In terms of ranking, our WP7 app has been number 1 in the US in the Kids + Family category for the past three months in the Marketplace. As for the iPhone app, it has been ranked in the top 400 in Games\Educational for more than 2/3 of the entire time frame, reaching the top 100.

The end result? As said, FIVE time more sales of our WP7 app vs. our iPhone app."

The next question of course is, why the difference?

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