The other day, we mentioned about CNet's experience with the upcoming "NoDo" update, specifically the performance increase when loading locally stored, graphic-intensive apps.
Improvements ranged from a few to 20 seconds for something like Bejewled. Now Anadtech has posted a video basically showing the same thing described by CNet and seeing is believing. While not all apps benefit, clearly the bigger ones like Ilomilo will. Currently, some games do take awhile to load but we're not exactly complaining, so any improvement is icing for us. You?
In a somewhat interesting interview with Phil Larsen, Marketing Director with HalfBrick who made the popular Fruit Ninja, goes over how they hooked up with Microsoft to port that game over to Windows Phone 7.
In short, Microsoft wants to compete with the iPhone and bringing Fruit Ninja over was part of that strategy. HalfBrick was more than glad to do it and plan to bring their other games over as well, with time and resources being the only constraints. Overall the company seems to have had a positive experience with Microsoft and seeing as Fruit Ninja is near the top for Xbox LIVE games, it seems the decision has paid off, literally:
How did the Windows Phone 7 port come about?
Phil Larsen: We’ve got contacts at Microsoft, and as they were launching Windows Phone 7 they wanted it to compete with the iPhone – it’s the next big mobile platform. We like what Microsoft does, and we were happy to port Fruit Ninja to it. We’ve got a team here that handles that kind of thing.
We brought it over, and we provided a bunch of good assets and information. It was released on December 22nd, so it’s only a couple of weeks old, and it’s done really well so far. It’s the number-one selling game on Windows Phone 7.
They did mention how doing an Xbox LIVE game is more work than the iPhone. The former requires you to work and go back and forth with Microsoft, who manage that aspect of gaming, whereas on the iPhone you just submit it to Apple. Still, despite that they had very little issues with the process.
User VanSoaked at DevianArt has gathered together a nice collection of over 70 high quality wallpapers, specifically cropped for your Windows Phone's lock screen.
Most of the pics fall into the buildings/scenery camp, so no babes on cars, Calvin's peeing on...things, sports or superheros. But they are certainly high resolution, have no color banding and look great on your adult phone (yeah, I went there). You can download all the pics here in one ZIP file. Definitely worth it in our opinion.
Julien Schapman, developer of TouchXperience, looks to have pulled off quite the programming feat by developing an all-in-one Windows Phone Device Manager, based off of the Windows 7 Device Manager framework.
It will allow you to easily transfer files, tethered or wirelessly and even unlock your device (similar to ChevronWP7) for sideloading of homebrew apps. From his blog:
Windows Phone Device Manager allows you to manage your Windows Phone 7 device from your PC, you can simply view, install and uninstall "sideloaded" applications, explore device, transfer and sync files,... It is compatible with all Windows Phone 7 devices.
Windows Phone Device Manager detects when the phone is connected or disconnected, if you don't have a registered developer device it can automatically unlock your phone, so you don't need ChevronWP7 anymore.
You can also connect to your phone via Wi-Fi, for example to transfer files from/to your phone using Windows Phone Device Manager or the provided Windows Phone application.
If Windows Phone Device Manager becomes popular I think about creating an open marketplace for non-commercial applications. Developers are welcome to join the project!
Small note to our developer friends out there, Dotfuscator for Windows Phone has been released and as promised (via Windows Phone Developer Blog) is completely free through March 31, 2011
Providing so-called "security through obscurity", code obfuscators at least can aid a smidge in protecting developers from prying eyes and hackers (though it's far from fool proof). In this case through string-encryption. In addition, Dotfuscator for Windows Phone also provides developers with important application analytics to better understand how their software is being used and ways to improve it. For example, you can know how many people have your software installed, how often the app is run, what features are customers using the most and even performance data. Sounds good.
Another week, another milestone. Yes, just like clockwork nearly every two-weeks the Marketplace adds another 1,000 apps to its belt (5K was on 12/28/10).
The good news is development doesn't seem to be slowing (20K+ developers on board now), then again, it doesn't seem to be growing more rapidly either. However, Microsoft's app approval system may be fixed to only be able to push out 1k every two weeks and not really anymore. It's all a mystery to us.
Regardless, at this rate we should hit 10,000 apps by the second week in March at which point we'll have a party or something. All we know is we're leaving WebOS in our dust and our next goal is to beat BlackBerry (16K apps). See previous 5,000 post here with each previous 1,000 documented.
EntwicklerX has developed A Frog Game for your Windows Phone. It's an entertaining game for Windows Phone 7 that has a simple approach; leap from one lily pad to another and gobble up as many flying insects as possible.
Sound simple enough? Toss in a few bugs that don't really appeal to your appetite and a count down timer and things can get interesting.
Leap on past (couldn't resist) the break to read more on this Windows Phone 7 gaming app.
Kitendo Labs is offering an interesting Windows Phone 7 application. ContaSconto is a simple, straightforward application that calculates cost discounts.
Italian for "Count Discount", ContaSconto is a handy application for your Windows Phone if you need a quick and easy way to figure out how much your savings will be. ContaSconta is presented in a clean, easy to navigate manner.
Follow the break to read more on this Windows Phone app along with some screen shots.
The Windows Phone application Currency Tile is being billed as the first currency converter with Live Tile support. The Windows Phone 7 application is being offered over at the Marketplace for $.99 and has a lot more going for it than just a Live Tile.
Currency Tile not only offers exchange rates but you can also track the currencies exchange rate history. To see if Currency Tile is worth the $.99 price tag, slide on past the break.
Corning's Gorilla Glass made the rounds at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. Rene Ritchie from our sister site, The iPhone Blog, was able to spend some time seeing how tough this glass is.
The tough as nails glass is showing up in laptops, monitors and even Microsoft's new surface computers. Windows Phone users are becoming more familiar with Gorilla Glass seeing it used in the Samsung Focus, Dell Venue Pro and LG Optimus 7 (all listed on Corning's site, Focus is a Galaxy-S phone technically).
While I wouldn't throw caution to the wind with Gorilla Glass, the video clearly demonstrates it's one tough cookie.
I don’t believe Microsoft could have fit anything else into CES this year without the entire building expanding, providing the audience with insights into what’s coming and what’s to be expected. There were many key products announced while all things Windows Phone 7 left many slightly disappointed.
A Microsoft employee threw some comments about where the mobile platform may head from here on out. A feature that was discussed is an application sharing the same concept as FaceTime. However, the obvious observation being that no WP7 device currently has a front-facing camera. Could be a new feature for future WP7 devices, or a WP8 requirement? A front-facing camera for WP8 has been hinted at.
One feature of the iPhone that owners are extremely pleased with (and is the reason as to why some wont switch) is FaceTime – a family member came round my house with her new iPhone 4 the other day needing assistance with setting it up. It is pretty impressive, wandering around talking and watching someone who is doing the exact same thing, only thousands of miles away.
Microsoft may be slightly behind in the smart phone marathon, but they are pulling out all guns and a FaceTime feature for Windows Live wouldn’t be surprising, which would make a partnership with Skype less likely. The service they offer through Live is growing along with its user-base (I, myself have barely used it prior to WP7) and integrating services such as this would be a huge plus, especially for the platform itself.
Out in the Marketplace there are quite a few Wikipedia apps. Everyone tends to have their favorite and I found mine after having gone through the bunch. It's Wikipedia Search.
Reason? It's fast, minimalist, elegant and to the point. Plus it's quite powerful with those options I'm looking for (mobile view vs desktop), dynamic search, multi-language support, etc.
It's not free (not many of the Wiki apps are) but at $0.99 it was a no brainer for me. Check out the vid to see why and grab yourself a trial version here if you want to take it for a spin. Oh and look for some full reviews of other Wiki apps soon. Finally, check out our WikiRand video for some live tile randomness.
A while back we took a look at an iOS developer having a run on Microsoft’s new mobile platform, which was surprising since the majority of Apple users don’t particularly provide Microsoft with much leniency or praise. Frode "Nilzor" Nilsen, a post-Windows Mobile 6.5 developer, has written up a spectacular case study (seriously – it’s an epic read) of his short-lived experience on the Windows Phone 7 IDE, and making the important decision on which platform is a more worthwhile investment for projects to be developed. Android or WP7?
At the beginning Frode goes into detail about what one looks for when developing on any available platform, revenue. Of course, every developer needs to cover expenses (time, investment etc.) and to ensure that a steady flow of funds is received to continue with updates and further development. To accomplish this goal, you would need to publish your product (an app in this case) to the largest possible audience with as little competition as possible. However many forget, that as a developer, the tools available and the process in creating (and updating) your app needs to be both fun and logical, and be smooth to ensure little time is wasted and productivity is high.
Frode decided to perform a small experiment and build an app for both Android and WP7, recording how long each stage of the process took, how many sells he received and how the IDEs (Integrated Development Environment) performed against each other. Using Eclipse for Android and Visual Studio 2010 for WP7, he created a simple flag & country quiz. Posting his results in complete depth, I shall summarise below his findings for each platform without going into much detail through explanation.