3 years ago
Love Clean Streets and Windows Azure [Video]
Remember when we covered the BBC coverage of Windows Phone (among other platforms) aiding in the battle against vandalism, fly-tipping and more? Well we're back with another video going into slightly more depth about Love Clean Streets and Windows Azure working together.
Councils across the UK as well as boroughs in London can make use of this technology to provide the public with some power with alerting appropriate authorities for quick responses in keeping Britain streets clean. As explained in the video above with Medway, all entries are categorized, location pinned and available for viewing by personnel who can co-ordinate a response.
Can it get any better? Actually, yes. Once the vandalism has been dealt with, fly-tipping cleared and graffiti washed, the authorities can take a photo of the cleaned area and the member of the public who filed the report will receive confirmation that the problem has been looked into.
You can download Love Clean Streets from the Marketplace for nothing at all.
3 years ago
Preview: Official WPCentral app for Mango [Video]
We're getting real close to Mango being pushed out to the masses, so it's only appropriate that we show what we've got coming up. Our developer Jay Bennett has been hard at work with v1.4 which will unleash the Mango power:
- Multiple Live Tiles - pin sub-sections like Games, Reviews and Apps to your Start screen
- Flipping Tiles - tile reveals latest headline, last update when it flips over
- Toast Notifications - get alerted to the latest story within 10-20 mins of the story; notifications also deep-link to the story itself
- Live Tile counter - Shows number of new stories awaiting your review
- Fast app switching
- Background downloading - app will download story text in the background, making articles load faster on launch
- Enable/Disable System Tray - for those who insist on seeing the time, battery life, cell signal, etc. you can now have this area show within the app
- Live Tile settings - see what tiles are enabled, when they will next update and other diagnostic info
- Podcast overhaul - Play podcast with app in background (uses music controls); Mobile Nations podcast support, fast forward/rewind, podcast episode description and graphic, resume at last left spot if stopped
- Etc: bug fixes, other minor enhancements, things we forgot to mention
So as you can see, this will be quite the nice update. We're nearing completion of the beta and should have in the Marketplace sooner than later. For those of you on Mango, you're sure going to love this update. Stay tuned, folks...
3 years ago
HTC September 1st Event to focus on Mango?
HTC is holding a public event in London on September 1st but very little details on the event have surfaced. About this time last year, HTC held a similar event to launch a handful of Android Phones.
Our friends at BGR have received information that this year, the centerpiece of the event will be Windows Phone Mango. Specifically introducing the HTC Eternity and the HTC Omega to the public.
While the source of this information didn't disclose and particulars, speculation has the Eternity heading to AT&T and the Omega headed to T-Mobile. One bit of promise was that the release is expected to be sooner than expected.
Nothing official from HTC and hopefully everything will come into focus on September 1st.
3 years ago
De-Bugs: A buggy release from XIMAD
De-Bugs is the latest Windows Phone release from software developers XIMAD. The game has you de-bugging 95 acres of lakes in the land of Mystery Pond.
To clear the ponds of bugs you essentially knock them into each other to get them to fly off. You have two means of accomplishing this. You can flick/swipe at the bugs to get them to slam into each other or the age-old method of tapping, pulling and launching them. You can bank the bugs off the edges of the screens as well as bouncing them off one another.
When hit, the bugs will start to flitter their wings and fly off. Only being hit by a like-colored bug will get them to fly off and to make the game challenging, your racing the clock to clear your lake. If you miss your target or hit a bug of a different color, you'll loose points.
Another thing to be careful of is leaving a single bug of any particular color in the water. Eventually another bug of the same color will appear but it will cost you precious seconds off the clock. You get three chances per game and then it's game over.
De-Bugs does have an online leaderboard and a "secret" tilt control (hadn't figured that one out yet). De-Bugs is an entertaining, free, ad-supported game. You can download it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.
3 years ago
Case-Mate Pop - Case Review
3 years ago
Fix for Samsung Focus SIM/MMS trouble
Should you be experiencing issues with MMS on your Samsung Focus then this small fix may be just what you need. WPCentral Reader Seth has located a quick solution for his MMS problem, which occurred post-updating to Mango RTM (leaked ROM). He reported that the fix does indeed work and was tested on a Samsung Focus attached to AT&T.
Here are the steps one must take to greatness:
- Enter 40*047#3 in the diagnosis app.
- AutoSimSetting will be reported as now enabled, restart your device.
We're not currently aware of this fix working on the Omnia 7 handset or with unlocked devices. Let us know in the comments what outcome you get should you perform the above.
Source: XDA Developer Forum (post), thanks Seth for the tip!
3 years ago
Fujitsu IS12T gets benchmarked, crushes older Windows Phones
Tezawaly of NanaPho over in Japan managed to get his hands on the Fujitsu IS12T, which is expected to ship within 3 days. He did the smart thing and ran WP BenchMark on it to see if there was anything different. While we don't know all of the specs of the IS12T, there's little doubt that it has to have the Adreno 205 GPU chipset on board due to the outstanding performance, in addition it has the later-gen Qualcomm MSM8655 at 1GHz. You can see Tezawaly's results compared to other "normal" Windows Phone in WP Benchmark's stats below:
Needless to say, the results are impressive. Next up you can see it compared to the more popular Samsung Focus. Once again, the GPU average at 40 on the IS12T versus just 19 on the Samsung Focus. Looks like that new Mango hardware will be harder and hader to resist, no?
Source: NanaPho; Related: See the HTC Mazaa benchmark results for comparison
3 years ago
Xbox LIVE game Flowerz gets Mango-support, more languages in update
It's starting to happen folks: Microsoft's Xbox LIVE catalog is getting a Mango refresh, meaning more languages and just as exciting, fast-resume support for app switching.
The first game to get this is the freebie Flowerz. The game was just recently bumped to v1.2 and now features Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Czech and more languages on board, matching Mango's language expansion. In addition, we were able to confirm on our Mango phones that indeed, fast-app switching is working, meaning this was recompiled with the 7.1 dev tools.
What's interesting is that Flowerz was the very first Xbox LIVE game in the Marketplace, meaning we may expect this to happen in a sequential ordering (at least for the older games). Very cool, very cool...
Grab Flowerz here in the Marketplace to give it a go.
via: Professeur Thibault
3 years ago
Microsoft gets over 500 responses to webOS recruitment attempt
Looks like Microsoft's Brandon Watson got more than he expected when he Tweeted about webOS devs switching to Windows Phone. In a follow up Tweet, he notes the overwhelming response:
"...I have >500 emails in just the last 22 hours. Had to rethink the algorithm for responding to all."
Watson goes into more detail in the letter to soon-to-be-former webOS devs who expressed interest in the Windows Phone developer system:
"First things first. Thank you so much for reaching out to the Windows Phone team to signal your interest in bringing your talents to our platform. To be honest, we didn’t expect this level of response, so we were caught a bit flatfooted. It took a few days (on the weekend) to pull all the mails together into one place to allow me to respond in a smart way and not retype every mail by hand. Consider this a first step in building a relationship with the Windows Phone team. We are psyched to have you aboard and to see what your imagination can do on the Windows Phone canvas."
As the news and ramifications of HP dropping hardware development for webOS sinks in, it will be interesting to see where webOS customers and developers head--Android, Windows Phone or the iPhone. So far, it seems like many have expressed interest in Windows Phone due to its elegance and lets face it, superior developer support. Either way, good job on Watson for seizing the moment and giving hope to devs who may need some work ASAP.
Related: see our guide for consumers switching from webOS to WP7
3 years ago
Android handset maker INQ considering Windows Phone due to Google-Moto deal
A lot has been discussed about what the Google-Motorola deal means to the smaller Android OEMs on the market. Om Malik of GigaOm has noted that several "mobile industry insiders" have expressed concern over the deal and relying too heavily on Google for Android. Now, one small handset maker, INQ who came up with the Skype and Facebook phone, is taking a serious look at Windows Phone 7 and saying so publicly. The owner of INQ Hutchison Whampoa, went on record saying:
“We see a number of major vendors very seriously considering Windows Mobile as a core platform and therefore we are following their lead and examining it as well to complement our work in Android to date...The advantages with Windows Mobile is that the legal issues and resulting costs seem to be much less." (Note: he uses "Windows Mobile" here accidentally)
He notes that due to Android's success, it has become a big target for litigation and perhaps if Windows Phone were that big, the same thing could happen. (While a possibility, we'd suggest that Microsoft is in much better shape with IP and patents than Google.) Finally, after discussing Windows Phone he knocks Motorola down a notch stating
“It is telling that the Motorola Board decided that they could get more value out of 15-20 year old patents rather than use their huge R&D to create new exciting technologies over the next 10 years which is what Motorola used to do very well.”
While INQ is hardly a major player in the field, seeing as the owner of the company, Whampoa also owns the 3G mobile network "3", so they could be a big deal in the future. What can we say other than we like where this is all going for Windows Phone?
3 years ago
LG quietly makes their apps Mango-compatible in the Marketplace
We know that developers will be able to start submitting their Mango-versions of their app to the Marketplace begging this week, but what's not clear is if OEMs would have the same limitations. A reason to ask that is because OEMs always seem to get a little lead time and also deeper access to the OS than regular 3rd party devs.
A few tips have come in noting that LG's catalog of apps have been quietly getting version bumps in the last few days, specifically ScanSearch which is their feature-rich augmented reality app. Sure enough, we fired up our LG Quantum with Mango 7720 on board and downloaded v1.9 of the app and noticed two things:
- We get a compatibility warning stating that our phone doesn't have a compass
- Fast app switching/resume now works with the app
Those two things right there tell us that indeed, this app is now Mango-compatible. Interestingly, other apps such as LG's Today and Weather & Clock do not offer instant resume, meaning those still need a refresh. However, when we installed LG's Metro Scanner app we get a "Device does not support compass" warning upon launch and that app also supports fast resume, meaning it too is now Mango compatible. We suppose it makes sense that their two augmented reality apps get update so that presumably that folks can test new LG hardware that will feature more robust compass and gyroscope support.
Interesting to see that OEMs can sneak those apps in the Marketplace. We should also mention that we've heard that some HTC apps have also been updated, but we could not verify that they were Mango compatible as they lacked fast-resume. Thanks, Ahmed, for the tip!
3 years ago
Mobile Nations Monday Brief: August 22, 2011
3 years ago
Skype (ergo Microsoft) buys GroupMe messaging service
The official GroupMe app was just released for Windows Phone not too long ago and while nice, it seems a bit redundant with Mango's groups feature. Still, it's a neat service and was one growing very quickly even though it's just over a year old. For those of you who don't remember, GroupMe's gives you the ability to create a group and then text or conference call that group with one number. What's neat is that you can use your data connection for texting the group, which can save some people money in addition to creating a unique conference call number which anyone in the group could use. Although the deal between Skype and Microsoft has been approved, it's still technically in motion, hence Skype buying GroupMe.
The Windows Phone app was still not feature-complete at the time, but it's still looking promising. What does this mean for Windows Phone users now that Microsoft (via Skype) owns the technology? We'll hope to see that conference call feature perhaps built in as well as the data-messaging system integrated into Mango's Group feature--that is, we expect GroupMe's tech to augment and enhance what's already there. We're okay with that. We can also see Skype getting some group features as well, which could also greatly enhance that service for more robust functionality.
For at least now though, the company and brand will remain separate with integration points coming down the line. Negotiations between Skype and GroupMe started around the same time as Skype and Microsoft, hence the overlap of deals.
3 years ago
Microsoft granted patent on Metro UI? (updated)
Good news for Microsoft as their patent for the Metro UI, filed under "Visual motion for user interface feedback", has been approved by the USPTO. The patent was originally filed in early 2010 but finally approved on August 18th. We're still waiting on the official patent number to appear, which we're told usually takes a few days to be generated and listed--for now we have the issue date within the application itself. From the application abstract comes a very abstract description of the UI:
"Aspects of a user interface that provides visual feedback in response to user input. For example, boundary effects are presented to provide visual cues to a user to indicate that a boundary in a movable user interface element (e.g., the end of a scrollable list) has been reached. As another example, parallax effects are presented in which multiple parallel or substantially parallel layers in a multi-layer user interface move at different rates, in response to user input. As another example, simulated inertia motion of UI elements is used to provide a more natural feel for touch input. Various combinations of features are described. For example, simulated inertia motion can be used in combination with parallax effects, boundary effects, or other types of visual feedback. "
This is of course a welcomed approval as Microsoft gets to use Metro on the Xbox, Windows 8 and Windows Phone without fear that someone can come along and just lift it. This extra protection is especially important in this case since one could argue 'Metro' is the new look and feel of Microsoft and with it being so successful for them, it stands that they would want it protected. All we know is we're glad we don't have to write up patent applications. Eghads that's boring.
Source: USPTO (patent application) via Tweakers.net; Thanks, Sander G., for the tip!
Update: We did a little more digging on this based on your comments. The patent process is about as confusing as the way the some of the applications are written. The August 18, 2011 date could have meant two things, approval or publication. A delay between approval and assigning a patent number is not uncommon and it appeared as if the date was an approval date.
In discussing this with a patent agent, we have confirmed that the date is the publication date. The application has now been docketed for examination and prosecution. The USPTO will review the sixteen claims from Microsoft and basically rule whether or not Microsoft has a legitimate claim on these inventions. There is no time frame on the examination and prosecution but it is usually lengthy and solely at the discretion of the USPTO as to how fast things roll.
So, for now, Microsoft hasn't been awarded the patent on Metro UI but is one step closer on what could be a very lengthy journey.
3 years ago
Windows Phone Summary of the Week: August 15-21, 2011
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