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3 years ago

Xbox LIVE game Flowerz gets Mango-support, more languages in update

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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

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3 years ago

Microsoft gets over 500 responses to webOS recruitment attempt

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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

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3 years ago

Android handset maker INQ considering Windows Phone due to Google-Moto deal

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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?

Source: GigaOm

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3 years ago

LG quietly makes their apps Mango-compatible in the Marketplace

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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!

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3 years ago

Skype (ergo Microsoft) buys GroupMe messaging service

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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.

via: TechCrunch

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3 years ago

Microsoft granted patent on Metro UI? (updated)

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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.

 

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: August 15-21, 2011

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It's another Sunday, so what time is it? That's right folks, prepare yourselves for the Windows Phone Summary of the Week! This week we've been briefed with our weekly Mobile Nations, but no podcast unfortunately (although one was published not-so-long ago). But we have been blessed with episode 122 of the WPCentral podcast, featuring guest Travis Lowdermilk from the Windows Phone Dev Podcast.

Dave Blake has got the latest from our forums, while one of our readers, Dalton Carl, submitted an interview he managed to run with Levi Fussell who has developed a number of apps (apologies for the absence of WPCentral interviews due to a much-needed vocation). Check out the rest of our highlights from the week after the break. 

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3 years ago

Trine's Hangman gets updated and then some

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If you like the game of hangman, Trine's Hangman is a must have game for your Windows Phone. Fantastic graphics, challenging play, Wikipedia integration to look up words and a global leaderboard that is constantly being updated helps make Trine's an appealing game. The Epic Trailer (fantastic soundtrack) above is a good illustration of the commitment Gydar Industries has made to find a way to constantly improve Trine's Hangman.

The most recent update, version 1.11.0, also reflects this commitment. The biggest change is that the Lite version and Trial version are now free, ad-supported version that are identical to the paid version.  No more limitations in game play.  The developers made every effort to avoid having the game affected by the ad-banner and in doing so, the clock bar is hidden in the ad supported versions to avoid any drastic layout changes.

If you don't want ads, another bit of good news is that paid version has been reduced from $2.99 to $1.99. The current update also has the customary performance tweaks, bug fixes and design changes to improve the overall gaming experience.

Version 1.11.0 picks up where previous updates left off. Updates that brought the ability to use pictures from your Pictures Hub as the wallpaper, new animations and a two-player mode (pass and play). And Trine's development "team of one" isn't resting now that version 1.11.0 has been released.

Version 1.12.0 and 1.13.0 are already in the works and will focus on increasing the word database to the game (currently has 10,000 regular words and phrases) and a few design enhancements. There's also a handicap mode in the works to level the playing field in the two-player mode.

And if that wasn't all, mark August 28th on your calendar. There will be a one day special on the paid version of Trine's Hangman that knocks the price down to $.99. So if you haven't tried Trine's Hangman, download the Lite Version and next weekend, take advantage of the one day sale and get the ad-free version for a steal. The developers are confident that their servers can handle the increased traffic.

Trine's Hangman Lite can be downloaded here and Trine's paid version can be found here at the Marketplace (both links opens Zune).

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3 years ago

Toy Soldiers Boot Camp to feature minigames from Xbox 360 version

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Microsoft didn’t provide many screenshots or details about Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp at Gamescom last week. We do know that it will contain at least four minigames taken from the recent Xbox 360 release, Toy Soldiers: Cold War.

The enterprising lads at WP7Connect have done a little digging and found YouTube videos of the Xbox 360 version’s minigames that will also be included in the Windows Phone game. Of course the WP7 versions will look much simpler and control differently, but the videos should at least give gamers an idea of what to expect from Boot Camp.

Follow the break for two additional video trailers for Toy Soldiers.

source: via: wp7connect

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3 years ago

Trouble sending or recieving MMS on your Venue Pro?

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A fix has surfaced for those having trouble sending or receiving MMS messages on the Dell Venue Pro using the AT&T Network. As one would suspect, it's a settings issue but you first have to pull up the diagnostic screen.

While we've haven't heard of any horror stories in tweaking these settings, please keep in mind that you proceed at your own risk. Here are the steps.

  • From your Dell Venue Pro, bring up the dial pad and enter ##634# to bring up the diagnostic screen.
  • Tap on MMS Settings.
  • Scroll to the MMS Settings section.
  • The settings should be Name: ATT MMS (all caps), APN: wap.cingular, MMSC: http://mmsc.cingular.com, MMS Proxy: wireless.cingular.com, MMS Port: 80, Username: (leave blank), Password: (leave blank).
  • Scroll up to the Auth Type, tap CHAP, and then Apply.

You should then get a "Success, Setting is Done!" message. Tap OK, then tap HOME and you should now be able to send and receive MMS messages from your Dell Venue Pro. There have been some reports that you need to restart the phone to get the settings changes to take hold.

source: 1800pocketpc

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3 years ago

Microsoft free 'Jump start ' Webinar for Mango [Developers]

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For our developer friends out there looking to learn all the new things in "Mango" will want to take this free webinar, coming on August 23rd and the 24th from 8am-4pm PDT. Via the AppHub:

"Join Rob Miles and Andy Wigley, two of the most sought-after Microsoft mobile development MVPs on the planet, as they lead you through a fast-paced, demo-rich online course. Best of all, it's free!

Windows Phone codename Mango is an important leap forward in Microsoft’s overall mobile strategy and the developer community has taken notice. Now is the time to embrace the “tile-and-app” UI and reap the rewards Mango provides your development team and user community.This webinar will teach you the ins and outs of developing for Mango."

Sounds like a good deal as Microsoft always does things right. Register here if interested!

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3 years ago

HTC to hold public event on September 1st

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HTC is planning a public event for September 1, 2011 in London to show everyone what's next. They spilled the beans over on their Facebook page and we're all wondering if a new Windows Phone will take center stage.

This isn't exactly out of the ordinary for HTC to hold such events. Last year, around the same time frame, HTC held a similar event in London to announce two Android phones. Could this year be Windows Phone's turn?

With the rumor of Mango being released on September 1st, speculation that this could be a Windows Phone event isn't that far of a reach. Maybe we'll see a Beats by Dre Windows Phone running Mango! We'll keep an eye out to see what develops. Heck, we might even unleash Rich on the event.

source: Facebook via: 1800pocketpc

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3 years ago

Gelaskins - Review

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Gelaskins - Review

We mentioned the Gelaskins last week, liked what we saw and ordered a pair. Gelaskins are adhesive, protective skins for your Windows Phones that comes in a wide assortment of patterns. You also have the ability to order custom skins using your images.

First, the ordering experience went smooth. We ordered a stock skin and a custom skin for the Samsung Focus. Creating the custom skin was simple using Gelaskin's online wizard. The order shipped within twenty-four hours of placing it and, shipping UPS ground, the full turn around was six days. Not too shabby considering the order involved a custom skin.

The order arrived packaged with the skins in cardboard envelope that was inside another cardboard envelope. Sturdy enough to significantly reduce the chances of the skins being bent or folded in transit.

To read about the fit and feel of Gelaskins, slide on past the break.

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3 years ago

Microsoft extending a hand to webOS developers

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While the aftershocks from HP showing webOS hardware the door continue to ripple throughout the smartphone industry, Microsoft is extending a hand to webOS developers. Brandon Watson has extended an offer to any published webOS developer to provide them what they need to successfully transition to Windows Phone.

According to the tweet that includes phones, development tools and training. At last check the tweet has been re-tweeted 100+ times and has received several positive replies and interest from webOS developers.

Personally, I hope webOS finds a way to survive for sentimental reasons. But it's nice to see Microsoft extending a hand to the webOS community to give developers options.

source: @brandonwatson via: thenextweb

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