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3 years ago

U.S. Cellular to get HTC Windows Phone device "this year"

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Good and bad news for U.S. Cellular customers: the carrier will be getting a Windows Phone device, by HTC, but unfortunately you may have a few more months to wait as they are being hush-hush on the matter.

According to a press release, U.S. Cellular is finally looking to bring over the nearly 1-year old OS:

CHICAGO (June 09, 2011) – Between now and the end of the year, U.S. Cellular (NYSE: USM) is expanding its portfolio of cutting-edge devices with more features, handset styles and pricing options to help its customers select the one that meets their needs and helps them stay connected.

U.S. Cellular plans to launch seven smartphones that run on the Android™ operating system, including its first 4G-enabled smartphone. Two mobile tablets are planned along with the carrier's first Windows® Phone 7 device. U.S. Cellular will also roll out its first wave of 4G LTE devices in November.

...U.S. Cellular plans to launch four devices from HTC Corp. beginning this summer, including the carrier's first Windows Phone device that runs the Windows 7™ operating system. The Live Tiles on the Windows 7 homescreen show all of the messages, voicemails, e-mails and social network status updates in a single glance.

No word on which device exactly they are getting: Trophy, Arrive/7 Pro or HD7, but hey, at least there's light at the end of the tunnel for those folks still on contract on the carrier.

Source: U.S. Cellular; via Android Central

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3 years ago

Pirates' Assualt updated with new level and more

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Pirates' Assualt from Dagari Studios has been updated to add more levels of play, an additional game mode and Scoreloop integration. Pirates' Assault is a tower defense game for your Windows Phone where you defend your treasure from raiding pirates.

With the update, Pirates' Assualt goes from four to five levels and adds a Survival Mode that boosts the difficulty of each level and randomizes the raiding ships' path. This makes that course of attack more unpredictable and defensive placements all the more important.

The Scoreloop integration allows for an online leaderboard with profile management. Your posting to the leaderboard will also show your level completion along with your score.

All in all the update brings more gaming to Pirate's Assault. There is a free, ad-supported version of Pirates' Assault available here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace. The ad-free version will run you $1.99 and can be found here at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

AT&T Wifi coming to a NYC Park near you

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With unlimited data packages going the route of the woolly mammoth, Windows Phone owners are leaning on Wifi connections more and more. AT&T hopes to help New York City customers this summer by providing free Wifi services at twenty six locations in twenty New York City parks.

The Mayor's Office has signed a five year initiative to provide this free service (non-AT&T customers can enjoy the free Wifi too).  All five boroughs of the City are involved and include the following parks.

  • Bronx: Joyce Kilmer Park, Bronx River Park and Devoe Park
  • Brooklyn: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Fort Greene Park, Herbert Von King Park, McCarren Park and Prospect Park
  • Manhattan: Battery Park, Thomas Jefferson Park, Central Park (multiple locations), the High Line, Holcombe Rucker Park, Marcus Garvey Park and Tompkins Square Park
  • Queens: Astoria Park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park and MacDonald Park
  • Staten Island: Clove Lake Park and South Beach

AT&T Windows Phones will automatically connect to the Wifi Networks while others will have to select "attwifi" from the list of available networks on your phone. The free service begins today so if your based out of New York or just visiting, enjoy the free wifi.

Hopefully this initiative will spread to other cities in the future.  You can catch the full press release from AT&T after the break.

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3 years ago

Microsoft releases Android to WP7 mapping tool [Developers]

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Awhile back in an attempt to woo developers over from the iPhone, Microsoft released some dev tools to help in the transition. The tools are like a pocket-dictionary for a new language--they allow you to look up commands in one language and translate them to another (for Windows Phone). While they have no illusions that devs will just drop the iPhone development, the hope is to get devs to eventually cross-develop by making it that much easier.

Today, the Windows Phone team has done the same but for Android. From the Windows Phone Dev Blog:

...although you might have a preferred language, opening your mind to others will bring considerable value to your abilities and your resume. It’s true that jumping from one platform or language to another can break your habits, but change can be stimulating and will ultimately expand your opportunities.

To aid in this endeavor, the team is releasing two tools:

  1. Android to Windows Phone API mapping tool (mentioned above)
  2. “Windows Phone 7 Guide for Android Application Developers” white paper, 90+ pages organized in 7 chapters

The tools aren't yet Mango-ready, though they are looking to update them over the summer for that purpose. Once again though, this shows how committed Microsoft is to making the transition for cross-development more simple for developers. And from what we've heard, going from iOS or Android to Windows Phone is quite and easy task.

Source: Windows Phone Dev Blog

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3 years ago

PCMag investigates carrier salespersons negativity to WP7

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Remember our coverage on how carriers aren't positively promoting Windows Phone 7 anywhere near well enough? Well, PCMag has done some investigating into the matter with Sara Yin (reporter at PCMag) going under cover as a potential customer who's interested in Microsoft's platform. What she found out doesn't come at a surprise.

While a minute number of the salespeople acknowledged WP7 as an actual existing platform, they either had no demos at all or strongly advised to go with Android instead. The spokesperson at AT&T was the only one who was actively enthused about WP7, but was embarrassed about their display - this was the single demo of the LG Quantum with a damaged screen (see the image to the right). 

You can read up on her findings in part two of her article.

Source: PCMag, thanks Lex for the tip!

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3 years ago

Nokia CTO takes leave of absence - over MS deal?

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Nokia's Chief technology Officer, Rich Green will be taking a leave of absence from the company for what is being reported as "personal reasons."  Nokia has officially confirmed Green's departure, but will not specify the length of leave, nor the reasons behind.  Finnish paper Helsingin Sanomat says that two inside sources have told them that that Green will be gone until at least the end of the year and is actually not expected to return at all.  This, they say, is due to a fundamental disagreement with the direction of the company, primarily, Nokia's decision to move exclusively to Windows Phone for their mobile devices.

We first met and heard from Green at Mobile World Congress in February and at least publicly, he seemed absolutely enthusiastic about moving forward with Windows Phone.

This is just more thing that Nokia did not need to happen in an already trying week.  They have recently seen their stock prices plummet, their credit ranking degraded and rumors surface of a buyout.  The partnership with Microsoft seems likely to either make or break the company, though to be a savior, it needs to happen soon.  Nokia's CEO, Stephen Elop, has big plans for WP7 and hopes to see Nokia-branded WP7 devices by Q4 this year.

Source: Helsingin Sanomat; Via: Cellular-News

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3 years ago

Free Windows Phone avatar prop for Xbox 360 owners

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The Xbox 360 is a great place to advertise Windows Phone 7 as the phone’s Xbox Live features are designed to appeal to console gamers. Now gamers can learn about Windows Phone and get a free avatar prop for their trouble.

Here’s what to do:

  • On the Xbox 360, switch to the Inside Xbox section of the dashboard.
  •  Find the tile that reads: Get a free Windows Phone for your avatar/Your avatar is the special guest on Hot Apps with Laura Foy (it’s marked as an Advertisement).
  • Watch the video and then…
  • You’ll see a zoomed-in view of a Windows Phone. Navigate the cursor to the “Keep the phone!” tile. Click it and download the avatar prop.

That’s it! Have your avatar call my avatar. We’ll go out for ice cream.

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3 years ago

Homemade Windows Phone bags now available

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Some time ago we made mention of a homemade Windows Phone pouch that mimics the Metro/tile interface. Jessica Engstrom, the Swedish designer, seeing that there were no cases for her Windows Phone readily available, created the pouches out of necessity.

Jessica has now produced a limited quantity (I'm sure that will change once sales of the pouch start rolling in) of these bags and have made them available for sale. They are available in blue and pink tiles and will run you $22 each or buy both (the duo pack) for $39. Prices include shipping and Jessica is set up for Paypal payments.

You can get all the information on purchasing the Windows Phone 7 Pouch at Jessica's website.

via: winmobile.se

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3 years ago

Armored Drive - Review

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Armored Drive - Review

Elbert Perez has developed his fair share of Windows Phone games. From Steam Castle to Impossible Shoota to Traffic Cop, his efforts have produced some interesting, entertaining games. One of his latest titles, Armored Drive, continues in this tradition.

It's a road race, dodge traffic and balls falling from the sky type game. It reminds me of a Spy Hunter game or Steel Avenger but unique enough not to feel like "just another road game where you have to dodge traffic and fight off the enemy".

To read more on Armored Drive, zip on past the break.

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3 years ago

Mango: 'Bing Audio' dynamically analyzes music for faster matching

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One of the cooler features we're looking forward to in WP7.5 aka Mango is the ability to use Bing to ID songs playing on the radio, TV, or in bars (and then leveraging our Zune Pass for instant gratification). The service is called Bing Audio and looks to be quite killer.

Over on the Windows Phone Blog and Channel 9 today, they've been highlighting the development of Bing Audio, what it means, how it works and what makes it different from say, Shazam. In regards to the latter part, one main area of difference will be the speed.

In Shazam, you have to "sample" the music for 10-15 seconds and then it sends it to the cloud to be analyzed, hopefully returning a result. In Bing Audio, within 3 seconds the fingerprinting service begins to try to ID the song--it doesn't need the whole sample but theoretically can ID the song as soon as there's enough info to get the job done. They're also not sending the audio over the air, but rather just the "fingerprint" aka specific acoustic properties. That means data also will be kept to a minimum.

Overall though, it sounds like they took into consideration ambient noise (bars), speed, the database and as a result, they can even ID some songs based of of the live version, which is pretty impressive. Of course, until we test it in the real world, we'll have to wait and see.

On Channel 9, you can watch Brandon Watson interview Steve Cosman, who helped develop the feature for Windows Phone. With the technology developed for the IDing and the vast Zune library, this should be a pretty killer feature (and you won't have to worry about Shazam's paid-for "unlimited tags", natch).

Check out the video after the break (HTML5/Silverlight, sorry mobile users!)

Source: Windows Phone Blog, Channel 9

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3 years ago

Ecolife Hydro Side Case - Review

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Ecolife Hydro Side Case - Review

Ecolife has a new case out for the HD7/HD7S. The Ecolife Hydro Side Case utilizes the same recyled material that Ecolife cases have become known for but also adds rubber edging.

The Hydro Side Case is a welcome addition to the WPCentral Store line-up and to see how well it matches with the HD7 (as well as the Samsung Focus), ease on past the break.

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3 years ago

The official WPCentral app is back in black with v1.2--now available

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We've had thousands of downloads, putting the WPCental app in the top five of News & Weather in the Marketplace. So we're glad to announce that v1.2 is now ready for download (see our video preview here) making the app that much better.

We listened to a lot of your feedback and we think you'll be pleased with the entire changelog, which brings greater control over the app to you:

  • Adjusted the UI layout to have consistent margins and font styling
  • Article text font sizes can now be adjusted through pinch-to-zoom gestures
  • Live tile consistency improved and added option to enable or disable the live tile
  • Optimizations to the animations to improve app speed
  • Fixed crash in adverts when the UI moved too fast for AdMob
  • Fixed crashes relating to “Parameter is incorrect” and “Argument out of range” exceptions
  • Fixed rare crash relating to feed caching
  • Fixed bug where feed refresh would sometimes fail, causing the app to never pick up new feeds

In addition, we've added a nice, swanky 'Settings' button near the top, to give you greater control over how the app behaves, including:

  1. Feedback on refresh
  2. Haptic feedback
  3. Lock portrait view
  4. All black theme
  5. Simple text title

Over all, the experience should be much better now and hopefully it should address most of your concerns. You can grab the app right here in the Marketplace.  Remember, the app is free (using the unlimited "Trial") with ads or $0.99 with no ads and some bonus features e.g. Live Tile, videos, etc. Let us know in comments what you think!

Some video after the break.

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3 years ago

Windows Mobile web Marketplace shut down

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Seems as though the Windows Phone 7 focus is going a step further with the planned closure of the Windows Mobile web accessible Marketplace on July 15th 2011. Fear not if you still use this platform since you'll still be able to purchase and download apps from the Marketplace on your Windows Mobile Phone.

My Phone is also scheduled to be discontinued on August 7th 2011, which will affect those who rely on this service for backing up your device content. Also starting on the 7th, Microsoft will begin transferring your My Phone content to SkyDrive. You'll be able to access this storage with the LiveID you used to register for the My Phone service.

Be cautious however, videos, music, documents and favorites will not be moved to the SkyDrive and will need to be manually backed up to your local machine. On October 6th 2011, the My Phone website will cease to be available. Microsoft will keep your content (on CD and DVD) from the service for one year, which can be shipped to you upon request by October 5th 2012.

For more information, please see this support article. In the meantime, can we interest you in WP7?

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3 years ago

WP7 doesn't support IPv6 yet

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WP7 doesn't support IPv6 yet

We've had IPv6 support in Windows for years, but Windows Phone 7 seems to be lacking the successor of IPv4 (one of the Mango features?). v6 has been in talks for a while and Google and other big websites adopting the protocol with network administrators and testers preparing their infrastructure accordingly. 

While it's not actually needed at the moment (since networks and ISPs still support IPv4), there will be a point where hardware such as routers will need to be updated (or replaced to increase profit for vendors). With your device, we should see Microsoft adding support for the protocol when networks and carriers start to look at making the change.

Could Nokia be bringing an IPv6 push to WP7 when their devices hit the shelves? Could well be, but for now consumers shouldn't really be thinking about IPv6 since we have a long way to go until the change over from v4 is full steam ahead.

Update: See this post for follow up information

Via: Smartphone France

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3 years ago

Zune Pass and more going beyond US and UK

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Having bought my partner (who resides in Turkey) the HTC Trophy as she's smart and didn't want the iPhone or limited Android devices available (Turkey is horrible for smartphones, had to buy the Trophy here in the UK), I know second hand how frustrating it is for someone to use services on their WP7 outside supported countries. She gets by with Xbox Live and the Marketplace working fine with my bank card on file, but we've had to use workarounds and more to get the base line functionality working.

While we haven't attempted to get Zune Pass working with OTA music streaming, it seems there are plans for services to be moved beyond the US and UK so hopefully everything should work when Microsoft enhance their coverage (doubtful Turkey will be included). Joe Belfiore (Corporate Vice President of WP) mentioned, while enjoying the Mango Twitter integration, that there are plans in the works to expand the Zune services along with speech and more. This would definitely be a step in the right direction, especially for countries that don't have the services to cater for smartphones. 

We will keep an eye on the Windows Phone Team blog for more detail when released.

Source: Twitter, via: 1800 PocketPC

Update: Andrew Birch has posted a table which will be updated as country support is updated, very handy to bookmark and keep an eye on it!

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