3 years ago
3rd party Pandora SDK now available for Windows Phone developers
A few weeks ago, Windows Phone and Silverlight developer Justin Angel (see site) made a proof-of-concept app for Pandora Radio--the famed music streaming randomizing service--on Windows Phone. We gave it a spin and due to its popularity, Justin agreed to not only make the app, but make an SDK for developers. The latter would allow others to make 3rd party Pandora apps for the platform as Justin laid out the instructions for the backend/streaming part.
Now, the Metro Pandora SDK is finished and available for others to go take a gander at. We could imagine all sorts of cool applications of this, including other media streaming apps incorporating Pandora as a "feed". And now that the groundwork is laid out, Justin can presumably start working on the app itself, which we imagine will raise a few eyebrows at Pandora. Of course if the Marketplace rejects or pulls it, like Cracked Reader, there is always the burgeoning Homebrew scene which will gladly take it.
3 years ago
BlackFriday - Mango App Spotlight
Planning on hitting the shopping mall on Black Friday? Need an easy way to track the bargains from your Windows Phone? If so, check out the Windows Phone app BlackFriday.
BlackFriday is powered by the website BlackFriday.info that pulls all the deals they can find under one roof and sends them to your Windows Phone. The main pages of the app list news items, store listings, categories of shopping and a keyword search page. Once you've found a store or category you are interested in, the app will pull all the sales listings.
Tap on an individual listing and you'll pull up any web listing for that sale item. You also have the ability to map local retailers from BlackFriday and share deals with friends. The app will use your Windows Phone's location services to pull in deals within your area.
In just tinkering with BlackFriday it comes across as a useful app for the shopaholic and a nice utility to find your way to the bargains. There is a free trial version available that will give you a feel for the app but is restricted on how many bargains it will list. The full version will run you $1.99 and you can download it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.
3 years ago
Facebook app experiencing some errors
There appears to be an issue with the Facebook app for Windows Phone, with a number of readers reporting the same problem over on our forums. Should you install the Facebook app from the Marketplace and attempt to login you will be greeted by; "Sorry, there was an error." The app generally experiences problems when alterations are made on Facebook's end. A community moderator at Microsoft Answers has been made aware of the issue, but let's hope the team addresses this soon. In the mean time, the Facebook integration still works flawlessly.
Are you having these issues? Head on over to our forum to join the discussion.
3 years ago
SmartBot mini: a Windows Phone robot
Remember when we first spoke of WPBots, a website dedicated to taking Windows Phone (among other platforms) to the next level? Well, they are on the way to creating Skynet with the SmartBot mini prototype.
This robot will cater for every Windows Phone size, including the massive HTC Titan. The SDK allows the robot to be controlled with seven movements and uses the camera API to bring in the following functionality:
Tag reading (data matrix, bar code, etc.)
Edge detection for maze resolver
There's even more than this which is set to make any hackers day. Head on over to WPBots for more detail. A video demo is to be uploaded this week.
3 years ago
Official Cracked app is out
In the wake of the Cracked Reader being pulled from the Marketplace by Cracked.com, readers of Cracked.com should fear not. An official Cracked app has been released over at the Windows Phone Marketplace to fill the void.
The app layout of Cracked is very similar to the Cracked Reader that was pulled for "infringing on Demand Media's trademark and unlawfully republishing content". The Cracked app's main pages cover Featured articles, Recent articles, Craptions, Videos, and a page where your favorite Cracked.com articles can be listed. You do have the ability to share articles via Windows Live, Facebook, and Twitter (no email sharing).
All in all the Cracked app does a decent job of pulling all the Cracked.com material to your Windows Phone. Maybe as well as the previous "unofficial" version did. The Cracked app is a free application for your Windows Phone and can be downloaded here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. It is a mango app so you'll need to be running Windows Phone 7.5 on your Windows Phone.
3 years ago
Cracked.com gets Cracked Reader pulled from the Marketplace
We reviewed the 3rd party app Cracked Reader back in September and we had also helped recruit some beta testers for it earlier. Cracked Reader was a solid app for the humor site Cracked.com--elegant, smooth, lots of options. It even got a free-trial later on. But now the developer, Nash Bansal, has had his app pulled from the Marketplace by Microsoft.
Reason? For "...infringing on demand media's trademark and unlawfully republishes content from the http://cracked.com site".
Perhaps not so coincidentally, Cracked.com launched their official app just days ago in the Marketplace. That app is free and not half bad but it's honestly not as impressive as Cracked Reader. Which is probably why Demand Media wanted to eliminate their competition. Sure, they had a legally sound reason to do so, no argument there, but there are plenty of paid apps that do pull feeds and which haven't been pulled. Heck, there's a terrible unofficial WPCentral reader out there too. Lucky us.
It might have been preferable for Demand Media to just partner with Bansal, but probably due to the timing with their developer team (Nventive), it would have been difficult. Still, it's a shame to see such innovation crushed for basically a lesser app in the Marketplace. Lets just hope other media companies don't get the same idea from this precedent.
Source: Twitter 1, 2
3 years ago
Improved Mobile Nations header
As you've probably noticed, we're currently going under the knife and receiving many backend and cosmetic alterations. Not only are we changing things around at WPCentral, but on the Mobile Nations (previously Smartphone Experts) network and websites. Two big changes you are able to see already is a new header bar and footer, which look more modern and have more functionality.
The top header bar has been updated since we announced work was commencing, and should you highlight each website, a drop down will appear with a bunch of useful information. Latest articles are shown (with the number of comments), what's hot in the forums (with number of replies), and what's new in the stores. If you're one of those who visits more than one of the websites under the Mobile Nations umbrella, this new functionality will make navigation slightly more appealing and user friendly.
This is only the beginning, with more on the way. Stay tuned and we thank you for your patience through the transition.
3 years ago
Jil Sander Mobile LG-E906 now available through Expansys for £299.99
For those looking for a slim and unique second-gen Windows Phone, could we steer your attention to the LG-E906 aka the Jil Sander phone? Expansys evidently has a UK exclusive on the device and are selling it currently for £299.99.
The Jil Sander's phone is a collaboration between the famed fashion house and LG to make a somewhat unique, yet somewhat plain Windows Phone. After all, it is a refresh of the Optimus 7 from last year. What's important for you spec fiends to remember is that this does feature 16GB of storage in addition to a 3.8" screen, 1 GHz CPU and 5MP camera. It also evidently has a custom accent color in the form of "electric blue" and a matching blue internal frame (revealed when the battery cover is removed).
Killer device? Certainly not. Worthy of consideration though? Yeah, we think it looks kind of sharp actually, but we have odd taste.
Order up the phone from here and check out Expansys's hands on with the device here.
3 years ago
Nokia being positive about Lumia 800 UK launch and sales
We know Nokia has had a tough ride, especially since they ditched Symbian to pair up with Microsoft and dedicate resources to Windows Phone alone. Not only shares, but the minds of customers, have been bouncing around, following Stephen Elop's moves closely. The manufacturer has had little over six months to produce a Windows Phone since the partnership with Microsoft was announced.
According to a report over at Reuters, Nokia is attempting to keep the smiles with releasing an optimistic statement:
"Lumia 800 sales in the U.K. are off to an excellent start. Based on earliest data the sales start of the Lumia 800 is the best ever first week of Nokia smartphone sales in the U.K. in recent history. By our measures, we have gained significant smartphone sell-out share in the channels in which we are operating in the U.K."
As noted by Gigaom, the above statement is pretty vague and with no sale data published it's difficult to tell whether the company is actually doing extremely well with the launch or is attempting to liven the mood.. Were we really expecting a massive sell out? Probably not. Windows Phone is still young and requires much promotion to sway the minds of potential adopters. Nokia has come to the game with nothing and have spent erratically to pick up momentum for not only the Lumia family of handsets, but the platform as well. It's a tough assignment for a manufacturer who has been in trouble for some time.
Nokia has been busy focusing on "The Amazing Everyday" marketing campaign, with hosting impressive promotion events, setting up advertising effectively (including Heathrow Airport) and working closely with U.K. carriers. As we previously reported, the Finnish manufacturer has tripled their marketing expenditure, which should be setting the ground for their volume introduction of handsets in 2012.
The Lumia 710 and 800 (our review) are entry handsets, the first two from the Finnish company. They've continuously stated that 2012 will be the year for both Nokia and Windows Phone, while 2011 will see one or two devices to see the year through and show what Nokia is capable of. A turnaround that Nokia requires will not happen with the launch of two rushed devices on a new platform. This is going to be a marathon, just like Microsoft with Windows Phone. We'll have to wait and see how the two companies work together to make both the platform and Nokia handsets a success on a global scale.
Source: Gigaom, Reuters
3 years ago
Free retro ZX Spectrum ringtones
David Bandey runs a retro video game music blog that holds a specific focus on the ZX Spectrum, and he's created eleven retro ringtones for Windows Phone now that Mango is here and we have custom ringtone support. Should you be a fan of classic titles including Amaurote, LED Storm and more, then these tones will be right up your street. For the future, Bandey plans to add more ringtones to the collection, not just from the ZX Spectrum, but other platforms too.
To download the ringtones, head on over to the Retro VGM blog.
Thanks Dave for the ringtones and letting us know!
3 years ago
WPCentral Holiday Gift Guide: Windows Phones
With the Holiday Season fast approaching everyone is looking for the perfect gift for the Windows Phone user in their life. When it comes to gifts for the Windows Phone user, it's hard to beat a new phone. There are a lot of new Windows Phones hitting the market and while each is a quality device, one may be more appealing than the other.
While we've reviewed most of the new Windows Phones hitting the market, hit the break to catch a quick overview of each of the new phones hitting the shelves this Holiday Season.
3 years ago
Nokia Drive and Maps to be paid apps for non-Lumians? [Updated]
There is semi-official confirmation from Nokia India on Twitter that least that the Nokia Drive app (that's the full voice navigation program) will be made available for non-Nokia phones--but for an undisclosed price. Nokia Drive, up till this point, was thought to be an exclusive app for Nokia Windows Phones. But perhaps Nokia is either reconsidering this approach or this was always the plan and we're just hearing of it now.
The info comes by way of a Tweet stating that Drive would be free for Nokia users and paid for non-Lumia phones. This tweet was then reTweeted by Nokia India, which is the usual way of showing agreement on the Twitter. About an hour later, Nokia India again re-Tweeted a similar message but this time about Nokia Maps--the Bing alternative app used for finding places near your location and some basic directions.
For Drive, we think this makes 100% sense for Nokia. After all, their app was just pirated a few days ago, so what better way to stem piracy than to offer it for a modest price to everyone? Nokia Maps, on the other hand, seems a bit odd to charge for as it seems like something they should give away. However, we have no idea on prices for either, so perhaps they're looking to keep it on the low-end of the pricing scale? Either way, while all of this seems legit, we'd still like to see a little more confirmation that this is indeed the plan for Nokia.
Update x2: We've just had word from ZOMGitsCj, and it appears there was a misunderstanding. Nokia Drive will not be making its way to other handsets via the Marketplace, it will be Lumia handsets only. Nokia Maps on the other hand will be made available for everyone.
Source: Nokia India (Twitter) 1, 2; via WPXbox
3 years ago
Sprint knocks HTC Arrive's price down to $99
Sprint has lowered the on-contract price of the HTC Arrive, arguably one of the best Gen 1 phones (see review), from $199 to $99. While you can find it cheaper on Amazon Wireless, when carriers lower the price it's a sign usually of the device's "life" winding down. So is Sprint getting ready to get rid of the Arrive? We're doubtful--the device clearly has a few more months left in it and we're not betting on any Sprint Gen 2 device news till CES in January.
The only thing we can tell you that we've heard is Sprint is one of the carrier's not throwing money at Nokia for their first US Windows Phone (Yeah, it's AT&T and Verizon, fighting for it, shocker). Take that as you will. The Arrive is a great phone though and for those who need a keyboard, it's pretty killer even at $99. Still, lets hope that Sprint gets at least two devices come winter.
Source: Sprint; Thanks, Cory S., Reese and Maria, for the heads up!
3 years ago
Xbox Live: Farm Frenzy 2 ready to harvest from the Marketplace
Ready for a hoedown? Farm Frenzy 2, the first Russian-developed Xbox Live game, is now available on Xbox Live. Yes, apparently Russia isn’t all ice and Tetris pieces. They also have farms!
Farm Frenzy 2 is a light farm sim that plays a bit like a time management game. Keeping your animals alive, harvesting the goods they produce, battling off wild bears (Russia, remember), selling goods at town, and having other supplies flown in… It’s all a day in the life of a farmer. Farm Frenzy 2’s levels are nice and short, but finishing them quickly enough to earn the Gold medal can be a real challenge. Whether you went to the A & M university in your state or a real school, give it a try.
Farm Frenzy 2 costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Just watch out for bears on your way to the Marketplace.
And don't forget, Tetris the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. It joins Sonic 4, Full House Poker, and Assassin's Creed, which are also on sale this week.
3 years ago
SlingPlayer Mobile finally goes Mango on Windows Phone
It has been a long time since we talked about SlingPlayer (see our review)--mostly because we stopped using our Slingbox years ago and need to get a SOLO or PRO-HD model. But that hasn't stopped the Sling crew from doing updates for the mobile TV player. For those who are unfamiliar, Slingbox is a device that allows you to stream your TV/Cable, DVD or whatever video source to the internets, allowing you watch TV remotely at work, the hospital or wherever you can find a PC. You can also do it from your phone via the SlingPlayer software.
Version 1.7 finally adds Mango support (fast-app switching, a must for media) plus bug fixes (Grey screen issue and Remote latency). Since we don't use this fine piece of software, we can't give our thoughts on it, but we'll look in to fixing that (Translation: we're going to go by a new Slingbox). Pick up Slingplayer for the not-so-cheap price of $29.99 here in the Marketplace.
Thanks, Peter M., for the tip!
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