Parachute Panic dropped into the Marketplace a little while ago bringing a unique look to the Xbox Live gaming app line up. The Windows Phone 7 game offers a simple approach to the graphics and may have some of the best sound effects/music tracks of any Windows Phone game.
The object of the game is elementary. Guide your parachute stick figure to a safe landing on a boat that is drifting around at the bottom of the screen. Along your journey you'll avoid helicopters, U.F.O.'s and the stray thunderstorm. Oh and by the way, every now and then the the boats move with the currents giving you a moving target to contend with. Did I mention the man eating sharks?
To read more on this entertaining game from Microsoft Studios and ....., just jump on past the break.
While Windows Phone 7 has a lot to offer, I often find myself missing a feature from Windows Mobile; a contacts or speed dialing page. With Windows Phone 7 you could populate the Start Screen with dozens of tiles for more frequently used contacts or you could use Ryan Lee's Favorites Hub app.
The Favorites Hub is a central spot where you can put all your more frequently used phone numbers, email addresses and web links for quick access. Favorites Hub is a convienent, easy to use application that makes it easier to access large groups of those you call, email, message with regularity.
Skip on past the break to read more on the Favorites Hub.
If you have a Zune pass, finding some of the big titles and artists just a got a bit easier today as the Zune Marketplace rolled out "Album Galleries".
Broken down by music style, like hip-hop, metal, jazz, Best of 2010, etc. the section features all the best and top recognized artists in their field, giving quick access to their entire catalog for instant downloads. And going by their metal section, we have to agree with their taste so far.
This solves one of those cognitive problems with an unlimited Zune pass: when browsing for music, you basically forget everything you ever wanted to listen to after you fire up Zune. It's like when you used to walk into Record Town and as soon as you passed the door, your mind was erased of what you wanted to buy (personally, I blame those anti-theft scanners at the door--my theory says they obliterated that part of my mind, amiright?)
If you're curious, just follow this link as it opens your Zune desktop to the new section.
Keith Patton aka the man behind AlphaJax (and a few other New Zealand based apps) was interviewed recently where he discussed development on Windows Phone 7 as a platform.
The interview is quite technical, meaning developers (both new and experienced) will get the most out of it as we understand Keith shares some tips on techniques, framework, workarounds and improving performance. But the takeaway message from Patton is when he says that working on WP7 is “probably one of the most enjoyable phases of my development career" and that it's "fun" to write on WP7 as it should be.
One of our favorite games on Windows Phone just got a major update/overhaul: AlphaJax (see review)
First up, for those who don't want to throw down their hard earned money, there's now a free, ad-supported unlimited trial version available. Having all the same features as the paid except for some ads, this free edition should allow a lot more people an opportunity to play the game. Of course a paid, no-ad version will stick around for those of us who don't like them there ads, so no worries on that end.
The second big update are user statistics. While it's no Xbox LIVE support this is clearly the next best thing as now you can keep track of your stats, the top games, the top players and even the top moves in the AlphaJax universe. Oh and starting a few days ago, you can now play up to 30 simultaneous games--which is just pure insanity.
The update is in the Marketplace now and you can grab it here.
Our friends at TmoNews are reporting form one of their trusted sources that the HTC Mozart may be coming to T-mobile rather soon.
The device has that aluminum uni-body design, giving it one of the most solid builds we've experienced of any Windows Phone. It also features a rather impressive 8MB camera with dual xenon flash, 3.7" capacitive screen and a super bright LED for charging (seriously, it's blinding). There's also hints that it may come int 8GB and 16GB versions, though more details are needed.
Anyone looking to pick up this bad boy? From our usage of it (sans U.S. 3G) it's one of the most svelte phones we've handled. Peep the video above of Dieter taking our Mozart for a spin...
For those of you attending this years MIX11 in Vegas aka the annual conference "...for web developers and designers at which Microsoft showcases upcoming web technologies", you'll be pleased to know you can get the app now for your Windows Phone. MIX11 will be important for Windows Phone developers--we're expecting a big turn out this year and a heavy focus on Microsoft's new mobile OS.
Featuring the full listings of the schedule (eventually), speakers, sessions, maps, extras and even a way to favorite things (for quicker access), the app is beautifully written with a focus on minimalism, speed and has the ability to update over 3g. It should be fun to see everyone walking around with their Windows Phone using this come April.
Have a lot of friends on Facebook? Do you have people added on your contact list that you don’t know, possibly residing in a different continent? If you don’t contact them via the social giant, why would you want them accessible on your phone?
Although Windows Phone 7 performs extremely well with integrating with Facebook, some of us just wish to have a more personal experience with our phone should our social network contact list be rather large. Many potential WP7 users are asking (and have previously asked) about turning the synchronization feature within the People hub in the OS off.
While you can’t completely turn it off without removing the Facebook account, there’s an easy and simple setting within the People configuration section that sets between “Show all my Facebook friends” and “Only add Facebook information to existing contacts”. To achieve the desired alteration, go to the following location:
Settings > Applications > People
If you’d like to have your Facebook friends added automatically again, simply reverse the change. Personally, I began kicking people off my friends list and kept my phone synchronizing everything.
Windows Phone 7 owners are experiencing an error with synchronizing mail with their Google email accounts. Receiving the error code 85010001, no one seems to have a concrete understanding as to the cause of the problem, or a possible solution.
The error prevents Gmail from synchronizing your mail (whether it be automatic push or regular checks) and for those who leave their phone on during the night to catch emails in the more, this can become extremely frustrating.
A thread over at the Google Support forums has produced some potential solutions that have reportedly worked for some but not for others. If you experience this problem repeatedly, try the below steps:
Change your language from English US to English UK; reboot and change back again (US only).
Check if you have any stuck outgoing mail or draft messages.
The team at Google are attempting to reproduce the problem, but are having slight difficulty. I, myself, haven’t hit this issue yet and the problem seems to be not local, but worldwide. If you have a potential fix that has worked for you, head on over to the thread linked above to publish your findings, as well as letting us know of the outcome so we can update this post.
Are you experiencing this problem with your Gmail? Join in the conversation over at our forum. We will – of course – keep you posted with any updates we come across.
Microsoft has been busy on the researching side of the border for some time with their mobile platform. It has yet ceased to halt at its lightning pace. An interesting update with this path is the release of a Software Development Kit (SDK) for cloud services on WP7, which is designed to aid with Project Hawaii.
“Our current platform consists of a Windows Phone 7 smartphone and several cloud services, including existing Microsoft offerings and some prototype services. The existing Microsoft offerings include Windows Azure for computation and data storage, Bing Maps for mapping services, and Windows Live ID for user identification.”
This all sounds quite interesting, and would be great to see how WP7 can interact with Microsoft’s cloud – imagine having the processes and services that take majority of your smartphone resources to be carried out on a remote platform.
The Hawaii team is working on speech-to-text, OCR in the cloud that allows photos to be taken and any text present in any given image will be returned as a Unicode string, and more. You can check out the SDK, which has been released here.
Say what you want about LG but their custom Windows Phone software is hands down the best of all the OEMs today. Between offering $30 worth of apps for free (including the amazing Weave) and their homemade stuff like Voice to Text, ScanSearch and Metro Scanner (and a bunch of other tools, like panoramic camera), they really offer quite the one-two punch to HTC and Samsung.
ScanSearch and Metro Scanner are great because they are so-called augmented reality apps. Basically they take advantage of the phone's accelerometer, compass and camera to show you things you can't see, like bars, restaurants, or in the case of Metro Scanner, subway stations in your local city.
Metro Scanner works "world wide" and while we couldn't vouch for that it did a swell job in New York City. You launch the app, it grabs a GPS fix (can take a few seconds, though it has a progress bar, natch) and then it shows you where the nearest subway is in relation to you. Holding the phone flat gives you a map with compass, holding it up uses the camera to show you where it is as if you could see through all the buildings. Tapping the station gives you directions.
Metro Scanner was just updated to v1.2 to fix a compass bug and all we have to say about the app is that it's pretty darn cool, LG. Our next hope? Microsoft releases those camera and compass APIs so 3rd party developers like Layar can join in on the fun.
Polling and survey data will always be controversial--there are means, averages, sample sizes, how questions are phrased/framed, etc. resulting in multiple ways of interpretation. Recently, Microsoft's Greg Sullivan went on record with some internal survey results on Windows Phone 7 user satisfaction stating that customer satisfaction for Windows Phone 7 is at 93% and brand awareness is increasing, up 22 points to 66%.
This of course sounds real good, but we're going on Sullivan's word here and cannot verify those numbers. Now ChangeWave, an independent survey group, has come out with their own numbers and while Windows Phone is improving in status and satisfaction, they are nowhere near as high as what Microsoft claims. ChangeWave's survey involved 4,050 participants which is a very sizeable number. Here are some of their results (reprinted from NetworkWorld):
5% have their "sights set on Windows Phone"--which is an increase from the previous 1% and is the only smartphone with a boost in demand
44% of Windows Phone 7 owners consider themselves "very satisfied" (big improvement from Windows Mobile's 18%) as of Dec 2010
By way of comparison, Android has a 58% approval rating and the iPhone still tops out at 72% being "very satisfied". NetworkWorld expects those Android numbers to go up with Froyo 2.2 on Android as it "solves" many of the previous problems on that OS. Although, one could also claim the same about Windows Phone after our next few updates scheduled for this year.
Still, the point being that as of now 44% is a stark contrast to Sullivan's claim of 93%. Both sides are a little obscure on their methodology, though we can say that ChangeWave is certainly more transparent with hard numbers than Microsoft is on the matter (plus you can at least purchase ChangeWave's data). But without knowing which questions were asked, it's hard to make a direct comparison. But, reluctantly, we're less believing of Microsoft's stats than ChangeWave's for what should be an obvious difference in biases.
So which is it audience? What we want to believe, what seems more likely or both are wrong for X reason? Share in comments...
Great news for you Google folk out there--you now have a Document reader for your Windows Phone--best part? It's free*.
Actually, the real best part is how nice the darn thing is--seriously, it's fast, gloriously smooth and just a pleasure to use. Sure, as of now you can only view docs (no editing) but this is v1.0 and the developer seems keen on adding features. But we're just happy with this first attempt as it's really one of the nicer 1.0 apps we've tried around here (and we've tried a lot, thank you). Features include:
Viewing documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings and forms.
Offline (no internet needed) viewing once downloaded.
“Download all” option allows you to have all your files available for offline viewing on the go.
Very responsive and intuitive user interface.
Your password is encrypted before saving. All communications with Google is over SSL (secure channel)
All we have to say is bravo, Tasbir inc. Combined with Flory and GooNews and we're nearing in on some seriously good Google-focused apps. Now go grab this freebie in the Marketplace here.
*Update: We justgot word from the developer that is is only free for a limited time! So grab it now.