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3 years ago

Plants vs Zombies is the killer Deal of the Week for Xbox LIVE on Windows Phone

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Are you a fan of plants? Do you hate zombies? Then if you haven’t already purchased Plants vs. Zombies from PopCap Games, now is your chance because it’s the Deal of the Week!

Plants vs. Zombies is up there with one of the best Xbox LIVE titles for Windows Phone. It has cute graphics, hilarious and bizarre gameplay and it has an addictive quality that makes many users unable to put it down. For these reasons we give it a big thumbs-up and highly recommend it.

The game mostly involves planting plants that shoot at various zombies attacking your house. Variations in plants, ammo, tactics and zombies keep this alternate-tower defense game from getting stale.

All is not perfect though as PvZ hasn’t had an update since January and it is still missing proper Mango support (gah!) which is a heck of a shame since it’s so easy to fix. Hopefully PopCap can get around to fixing that and maybe adding a few bonuses for the rest of us?

You can read our full review of Plants vs Zombies to get an idea on our thoughts and our interview with the developer, PopCap. Otherwise, grab the free trial here in the Marketplace for Windows Phone. The game normally fetches for $4.99 but is on sale for one-week for $2.99. Go!

Don't forget, tonight's new Xbox LIVE is Gun Bros.

Thanks, Thomas, for the tip!

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3 years ago

RCS-e interoperability confirmed for Windows Phone 7.8

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During the IFA Preview today in Munich, Deutsche Telekom confirmed that Windows Phone 7.8 will have Rich Communications Suite (RCS-e) functionality. The functionality was noted earlier in the leaked details and will come in the form of a separate application and integrated with Windows Phone 8. The RCS-e services will be a cross platform, cross network functionality Previously, RCS-e was announced during the Summit a few weeks ago for Windows Phone 8 but it's a technology that most people are not familiar.

In Deutsche Telekom's presentation they discussed using Joyn services that will provide chat, file transfer and video chat features between carriers. . Joyn will be interoperable between Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone networks for now with O2 Germany coming on board after launch.

The service will provide free chat and file transfers and charge for video chat. Commercial availability is planned for October. It will be interesting to see how the RCS-e services match up with existing services such as Skype. Equally interesting will be to see if the U.S. Carriers can play nice to establish such interoperability.

We've seen things like this before--think Sprint's horrid proprietary PictureMail years ago--but RCS-e at least sets some standards. Personally we think 3rd party services like IM+, Kik, Nokia's Pulse and others are the future but we're glad to see Windows Phone 7.8 getting it too, it should make carriers a little more inclined to support Windows Phone.

Source: Unwired; via: wmpoweruser

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3 years ago

Microsoft exec “[People] don't know about Windows Phone and that's a problem we intend to fix”

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As the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (MPC) in Toronto continues, Windows Phone 8 made a brief appearance today for the 16,000 people who showed up for the annual conference. In fact, anecdotal evidence from attendees suggests Windows Phone has a rather large presence at the conference.

As far as we know, no new features were presented but instead Microsoft focused on the new Start screen, being “business ready” and integration with Microsoft’s services, including Xbox 360 and Windows 8.

One of the most important signals that Microsoft is shifting strategy is the recognition that “Windows Phone” just doesn’t have the same brand recognition as Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android (or perhaps its reputation preceded it). We saw this demonstrated with “Lumia” trending higher than “Windows Phone” in Google searches. Now, Microsoft seems to have recognized this problem and is looking to take it on with Windows Phone 8.

Gruhler at WPC'12 in Toronto talking about Windows Phone 8

Speaking at the event, Microsoft’s new corporate vice-president of Windows Phone marketing, Thom Gruhler, who took the position just a few months ago, is quoted as saying:

“Smartphone users today don't know about Windows Phone and that's a problem we intend to fix”

Indeed that is something that needs to be addressed as Android and iPhone are today synonymous with smartphone users (even Blackberry still has clout). We’ve heard earlier in a private meeting with Microsoft pre-Summit that Microsoft will be pushing Windows Phone 8 very hard come the fall and that they are re-focusing on the reboot of the OS with a lot of attention.

The recent launch of the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T did do a lot for familiarizing consumers with Windows Phone—it seems to carry more weight these days—and that brand familiarity may be the ground work for Windows Phone 8 (and Nokia) to be a success. The important takeaway for us is that Gruhler is looking to shift how Microsoft markets Windows Phone and he could represent an important change within the company. 

We’ll just have to wait and see though if Gruhuler, who came up with Verizon’s “Can you hear me now?” campaign can pull it off.

Source: Microsoft 

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3 years ago

Microsoft : Re-branded - Student breathes new life into old designs

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Andrew Kim, currently attending the Art Centre College of Design has completed what I can only describe as one of the most compelling Microsoft rebranding exercises I have ever seen.  Andrew explains clearly, not only what he thinks is wrong with the current Microsoft picture but goes on to design it. And what a job he does.

Whilst Microsoft is on the tipping point of bringing together its whole eco system there remains a problem, image. Those that remember the launch of Windows 7 should know to what I’m referring. Microsoft has an often-confusing marketing message, that video, um, where they had the party to celebrate the Windows 7 launch says all. I am certainly not looking for a repeat of that! Now that Microsoft has some amazing products and the Metro UI to shout about, it is time they had a good think about a serious ‘reimagining’ of their company-wide image.

Whilst the name Windows is strong with consumers, the branding simply does not match. Andrew shows how they might be able to re-assert themselves as ‘bringers of tomorrow, a company that seeks to push our world forward though progress through technology. I see branding & marketing message as Microsoft’s next major hurdle. I feel that whilst the new Windows Logo is nice, it is not without problems, I personally also find it a little uncomfortable visually.

Andrew has deconstructed the very notion of a Windows logo by looking at how real windows look on something like a tower block in a big city, no they don’t look like windows. His ultra-minimal, logo the “slate” is born and is fully compliant with the story of Metro. Bravo!

Interesting just how good this new logo looks, both as a window showing a glimpse of a space age future, and for how smart it looks on both Windows Phone and brand new Surface Tablet/Slate. The level of thoughtfulness and attention to detail in his exploration is inspiring. The Office rebrand is actually just two ‘slate’ logos together. I like this too, symbolic of the software and hardware working together to form a whole functional unit. Whatever, I love it.

Andrew doesn’t forget Microsoft’s most accomplished design, Windows Phone, it already has the design chops to compete on its own, Andrew simply embellishes it with some snazzy alternative colour schemes and how that could look with his ‘Slate’ logo. I think the overall effect is stunning.

I would like to hear what you think of this Microsoft rebrand. Is it just crazy or is this guy onto something?  

Source: Andrew Kim

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3 years ago

Imagine Cup '12 winners announced including some Windows Phone problem solvers

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Winner of the Imagine Cup '12 - quadSquad with enable talk

The annual Imagine Cup organized by Microsoft to support student creativity in solving real world problems has just wrapped in Sidney, Australia. As usual, some of the top winners were related to Windows Phone development so we’re going to take a moment to give them their props.

Early glove prototype

First place (Software Design) – quadSqaud (Ukraine) - In what is probably one of the most unique and coolest uses of a Windows Phone so far, quadSquad have created a company called enable talk (enabletalk.com) around their gesture interpretation technology.

In short, the problem for many people who use sign-language is the inability to readily communicate with those who don’t speak the same language (there are many sign-languages out in the world and they all have the full capacity of spoken language). 

quadSquad solve this problem by having users wear special sensory gloves that detect the signing. That data is then sent to the Windows Phone where the software takes over, converting the sign to spoken word—literally. enable talk uses Microsoft’s text-to-speech feature to “say” the whole word once it’s signed, giving signers a way to verbally communicate with those unfamiliar with the language.

Creating software is one thing but the team also made the glove system by hand (pun!) which is no small feat. Then they had to record all the gestures in a computer that can be stored for later recognition. The whole thing fits well within Microsoft’s Kinect strategy and of course helps address a real-world problem too. Awesome.

The Drexel Dragons won for Game Design (phone) with Math Dash

First place (Game Design—phone) – Drexel Dragons (US) - Ah, math. We hated it in school and we still kind of dislike it as adults but who can deny that it’s not critical? Drexel Dragons took on the challenge of making a game that can help students learn math. What better way to do that than make a game called Math Dash?

Math Dash is a Windows Phone game that allows users to complete problems by dragging the answers (in the form of sparkly ‘atoms’) into the equation field. With the correct answer, users get points for the game and yes, another new math problem. A simple progress bar keeps track of you right versus wrong answers, allowing you to jump to the next level or signaling that you lost. In addition, you can drag number atoms on to other orbs to create new numbers, should you not have the right one to choose. Finally there are also power-ups and hazards to keep it interesting and feeling like a game.

The concept behind Imagine Cup is great—it gives students a chance to shine and actually makes the world slightly better; kudos to Microsoft and all the student developers who come together every year for the competition. Each first-place winning team takes home $8, 000 for their effort.

Check the videos of both winners after the break...

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3 years ago

Official London Olympics App in the works for Windows Phone

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The 2012 Summer Olympics are just over two weeks away. The London games are set to begin on July 17, 2012 and the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) is eagerly working on an official Windows Phone app for the games. LOCOG's Chief Information Officer Gerry Pennell stated the release is imminent and should be available in days.

While features of the Windows Phone app weren't mentioned, the Windows Phone version should be similar to the iOS and Android Olympics app that sends game results and schedules to the app.  A version of the app is also in the works for Blackberry devices.

There are currently a handful of 2012 Olympic apps already on the Marketplace and it will be nice to see an official offering join the ranks. Speaking of what's already available, look for a roundup of these Olympic apps this Friday.

We'll keep you posted when the official apps hits the Marketplace.

Source: V3; Thanks, Vijay, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Former I'm a WP7! app Outsider is now available in the Marketplace

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3 years ago

Experimental homebrew battery saver app Eco seeks to save power

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Faster, Eco! Kill, Kill!

Jaxbot over at Windows Phone Hacker as an interesting experiment going on for those with rooted phones (mostly first gen Windows Phones). The app is called ‘Eco’ and is an aggressive battery saver app.

In short, it turns of all unneeded processes, sensors and clears out the memory for a kind of fresh start and then some. Jaxbot is not even clear if it will actually save battery life (he’s awaiting a battery replacement, hence his need for this) but he’s looking for feedback from users to see if he should go further with it.

Windows Phone users do have a ‘Battery Saver’ option already under Settings which disables all Push services until they recharge again but ‘Eco’ is much more than that, at least in theory.

We’re quite okay with our battery life but we know there are some of you who are either extreme users or have OCD and need to save every drop.  For those peeps, you may want to give this a go.

Head to Windows Phone Hacker for more info and the XAP file. Remember, you need a rooted phone which is more than just developer unlocked. Check the demo video after the break. 

For more info on battery saving tricks, see the homebrew Live Tile battery meter, custom battery icons and how ads in free apps can be huting your power consumption

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3 years ago

Gun Bros locking and loading to become this week's Xbox Live release on Windows Phone

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Who’s the best at finding out Xbox Live releases ahead of time? Why, Windows Phone Central, of course! We’ve got the exclusive first word of tomorrow’s new Live title... Gun Bros, which we first announced back in April, launches this Wednesday.

Gun Bros is a top-down twin-stick shooter, not unlike Zombies on the Phone. But instead of a horror theme, this one’s pure sci-fi, with much more content to boot. Players choose from one of two titular bruddas, outfit them with a bevy of high-tech weapons and armor, and then descend onto several contested planets and start filling their alien invaders full of lasers. Don’t worry; I hear the aliens always drink the last of the milk and then leave the jug in the refrigerator instead of throwing it away. Such atrocities will not go unpunished!

Our hands on with Gun Bros back at E3 in June

To see Gun Bros in action and learn more about its optional PDLC purchases, check out our E3 2012 impressions with video. We do it all for you, loyal readers!

Gun Bros from Glu Mobile will debut on Wednesday, July 11 for the low price of free.

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3 years ago

gMaps Pro updated for Windows Phone, StreetView improved

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It was only a couple of weeks ago that we brought you a video overview of gMaps Pro for Windows Phone. The popular app has now received an update bringing a few welcomed feature improvements.

  • Improved and slick StreetView
  • Your places (with favorites, recent and pinned items)
  • Latitude as layer on your map
  • New localizations: Portuguese, Japanese
  • Offline Chinese offset detection

The big difference for me is the StreetView update. It was a bit jerky to say the least. The update and made is smooth and sweet, just like on the web. Nice job gMaps.

You can download the free (ad supported) version of gMaps here or use the QR code below for the Pro version. I can't stand adverts on my apps!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review - Pendulous

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Pendulous is a neat little game for your Windows Phone that has you swing gears from point to point until you reach the safety of a portal. The multi-level game scores your performance on how quickly you can navigate your gear to the exit portal.  Along the way twists, turns and electrical sparks will make the journey from Point A to Point B all the more challenging.

Nicely animated, challenging enough to keep things interesting Pendulous is a fun time waster and a nice addition for your Windows Phone gaming library.

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3 years ago

Why Windows Phone 8 is not a phone version of Windows 8 (RT)

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Over at Pocket Lint there is an interesting interview with Greg Sullivan, the Senior Product manager for Windows Phone detailing why Microsoft has decided to continue down the route of an entirely separate operating system for phones rather than using Windows RT.

Sullivan states that he believes that the phone is "unique enough to devote a specific effort... and differentiating that", going on to make comparisons to the most successful tablet on the market at this time:

"When I use an iPad I think it’s a really pleasurable experience, it’s a great consumption device, but I constantly run into guardrails. I want to connect a USB mass storage, oh I can't. I want to print to a printer other than the one Lexmark or whatever, I can't. I keep wanting to do things I can't do. I think it's primarily because of the fundamental strategy where they [Apple] took a phone OS and stretched it up to a tablet."

"We are taking a PC OS and shrinking it down. We could have done the same thing, but it doesn't make sense. When we deliver Surface or any Windows 8 device, the Pro model will run every Windows app ever written. That think will run Visicalc 1.0 from 1981. I saw a demo. It's amazing. It's part of the promise."

"They draw the line between the phone/tablet and the PC, and we are drawing the line between the PC/tablet and the phone."

Let's back up a little bit, and remember the differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT. Windows 8 is your full-fat, all inclusive, no compromise operating system which runs on the traditional x86 infrastructure. This means it can be installed on your existing or new systems built on an Intel or AMD processor (or something more exotic using the same instruction set)...

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3 years ago

2012, Microsoft’s Epic Year?

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2012, Microsoft’s Epic Year?

Steve Ballmer took to the stage yesterday at Microsoft’s annual powwow, the Worldwide Partners Conference. Steve was as bullish as ever calling 2012 an “EPIC!” year for Microsoft. Steve is always excited but this time Microsoft does have it ‘going on’. Why is Steve so pumped, and what makes 2012 a year of “epic”?

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3 years ago

Could this be Wordament's youngest champ?

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Be ready to be humbled.

Meet Joseph. He may very well be the youngest Wordament champ. He's five and a half years old and is already tearing up the Windows Phone Xbox Live game.

Joseph's game stats are as follows:

  • Best Word: Lumberjacks for 120 points
  • Total Score: 1,075,940
  • Total Words: 83,460
  • Best Game Score: 1,229
  • Best Word Count: 68
  • Full Games Completed: 3,032
  • Top Ten wins: 4
  • Best Ranking: 6

He's also a bit of a ham for the camera scoring near or above 500 points and ranking in the 90+ percentile while on camera. But we all can relate to his request for "just one more game". Most say it daily as our wives, husbands, parents, children, pets or bosses try to get our attention.  I just wish I could sit as comfortably in my lazy boy.

For those who haven't already downloaded Wordament yet, you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. It is a free Xbox Live title and very addictive. For those already hooked on Wordament, how does your Wordament stats compare to Joseph's?

Source: Wordament Blog

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3 years ago

AT&T confirms Tango for Lumia 900; Words with Friends, Draw Something 60 day exclusive to Nokia

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In addition to announcing the availability of the new Pink Lumia 900, AT&T today have also confirmed that the Tango update (either build 8773 or the slightly newer 8779) will also be coming to the Lumia 900. From the AT&T blog:

“Nokia is also bringing a lot of new enhancements to the Lumia 900. Nokia Lumia users will begin to see software updates for Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh in the coming weeks, which will add several new capabilities to their devices including flip-to-silence.”

We detail some of those new capabilities here in a previous post--in short, enhancements to MMS including multiple messages, voice notes and some minor fixes are included. In addition, AT&T reiterated that Nokia will be bringing a usage tracking counter and a new contact sharing feature in the near future as well, continuing Nokia’s trend to “fill the gaps” in Windows Phone for its customers.

Finally, it has been confirmed that those super popular Zynga games—Draw Something and Words with Friends—will be coming this fall exclusively to Nokia Lumia phones for the first 60 days. While these exclusivity agreements often annoy non-Lumia owners, the 60 day wait should not be too bad of a wait and seems fair to us (assuming Nokia was vital to the deal and assisted Zynga financially).

Overall, not bad news at all and it at least the Lumia 900 is continuing to get direct support from Nokia. 

There’s no word if other AT&T Windows Phones will be getting Tango as well but seeing as the Focus S, Focus Flash and unlocked Dell Venue Pro already are we’re confident that the HTC Titan II and Titan I will as well. If you haven't received an update for your Samsung device, you can try our guide here to get it now.

Source: AT&T; Thanks, Alexander, for the tip

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