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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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3 years ago

Streaming music not headed to SkyDrive

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There was hope. There were rumors. There was a chance that with the Windows Phone Mango update we could stream music files from our SkyDrive accounts.

But those hopes were dashed in a comments section over at the windowsteamblog. In a question to Mike Torres, a Microsoft's Group Program Manager for SkyDrive, in the comments section of his post on the new features heading to SkyDrive he was asked,

"If there is an mp3-File on skydrive is it possible to stream it to the phone?"

His response was short, sweet and to the point.

"With MP3s, the Office hub won't stream your MP3s, no."

So it looks as if the hopes of streaming music from the cloud have been dashed for now.  Still, the eternal optimist might point out that while Torres rules out the possibility to stream music to the Office Hub, he didn't rule out streaming music to the Zune Hub....

Or am I reading too much in between the lines?

Source: windowsteamblog via: LiveSide

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3 years ago

geoDefense now available on the Marketplace. Start building those towers!

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It’s the third week of Microsoft’s Must Have Games promotion. This week’s Xbox Live release, geoDefense, comes from Critical Thought Games. It’s now available in the marketplace.

geoDefense is a traditional tower defense game in which waves of enemies travel along a path on their way to the player’s base. Building and upgrading towers along the way is your only defense. geoDefense’s claim to fame is its Geometry Wars-inspired vector graphics. Everything is made up of colorful neon outlines and explosions are accompanied by a cool background warping effect. geoDefense gets pretty hard eventually, but I found it much easier to learn to play than the existing Xbox Live tower defense games,  Battle for Hoth and Zombie Attack! 2.

geoDefense costs only $2.99 and there is a free trial. Tower defense fans will definitely want to grab it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Wake up! Glyder is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week

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Last week’s Deal of the week, Pac-Man, underwhelmed us due its poor controls and steep difficulty. This week’s sale game isn’t too exciting either, though it’s kind of by design. You see, the game in question is Glyder: Adventure Worlds from Glu Mobile. It’s on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

As our review explains, Glyder is a very sedate game with no real story or sense of urgency. But it does have lots of flying around wide open 3D spaces. Activities include item collecting, races, and that’s about it. Control-wise, players can opt for tilt or touch-screen controls – always nice to have a choice. Glyder will appeal to patient, even-tempered gamers. People who can read a Stephen Baxter novel without dying of boredom. If that sounds like your thing, put down that hefty copy of The Time Ships and give the demo a try.

Glyder is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Collect it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Microsoft store selling select Windows Phones for a penny

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Although Microsoft stores (physical) are few and far between, you can still order online from Microsoft directly. And in the latter case, they seem to be taking a lead from some 3rd party retailers by offering select Windows Phones from U.S. carriers (sans AT&T) for the low, low-cost of $0.01.

Heck, they even throw in free 'next business day shipping' and free return shipping if you're not happy with the phone. Mind you, this deal also counts for new lines, upgrades/renewal or add-a-line, which is something that some 3rd parties don't offer (often, they only offer the deal for "new customers").

The three U.S. devices that are available for a penny are the Sprint HTC Arrive, Verizon HTC Trophy and T-Mobile HD7. Sounds good to us, so if you were looking to upgrade, this seems to be a solid deal.

Source: Microsoft Store; Thanks, AK, for the heads up

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3 years ago

All in 1 Toolbox - App Spotlight

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All in 1 Toolbox - App Spotlight

Looking for a swiss army styled app for your Windows Phone? No, not one that comes with tweezers and a nail file but one that has a healthy collection of tools? If so, you need to check out All in 1 Toolbox.

All in 1 has nine tools in the box that include:

  • Flashlight: 4 different themes
  • Unit Converter: length, area, volume, weight, temperature, angle and time
  • Secure Notes: protects your notes with a password and encryption. Organizes your notes to categories.
  • Date Calculator: adds days, time and subtracts dates
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) Calculator: calculates BMI and shows BMI category
  • Tip Calculator: calculates the tip and splits the check
  • Counter: +/- buttons for counting, with save and load
  • Password Generator: generates a customizable password and saves it to the secure notes
  • Product Comparison: compares 2 products with price, quantity and discount.

The tools are launched from a "lazy susan" styled menu and are an interesting assortment of applications. I can see some coming in handy on a daily basis, while others may only be used once in a while.

The All in 1 Toolbox is running $1.99 and there is a free trial version available to let you give a whirl before buying. You can find All in 1 Toolbox here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace. 

Oh... there is a free, ad-supported version of All in 1 Toolbox.  Toolbox Free has the same nine tools and simply adds an ad banner into the mix.  You can find Toolbox Free here at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Pod Rods - App Spotlight

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Pod Rods - App Spotlight

Jacksonville.com, the website of The Florida Times-Union has an interesting app for car lovers, Pod Rods. The app offers the latest automotive news, information on First Coast car events, plus photos, videos and podcasts from the automotive industry.

The Times-Union isn't new to the Windows Phone arena, having launched four apps for the Windows Mobile platform; the Jacksonville.com App, Ultimate Jaguars, the University of Florida Gators, and High School Sports.

The app also offers traffic and road construction updates to keep you informed as you travel from car show to car show. In touching base with the developers they felt that Pod Rods would be a good way to gauge interest for the Windows Phone 7 format and promote local car events.

Pod Rods is a free application and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Sat Rad Player - App Spotlight

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Sat Rad Player - App Spotlight

Peronica LLC has developed what is being billed as the first satellite radio player for Windows Phone 7. Sat Rad Player is being offered over at the Marketplace for $.99 and allows you to listen to your Sirius/XM Satellite radio subscription from the convenience of your Windows Phone.

Key features include:

  • Sort Channels by name or number
  • Channels can be grouped by Genre
  • Channels can be navigated by Genre heading
  • Favorite Channel management.

The developer does make note of a few conditions. There is currently no support for playback through Bluetooth devices, your US based Sirius or XM subscription must include the option for internet play, and while Sat Rad Player will run under a lock screen there is a brief pause once the Windows Phone locks.

There is a free trial version available to let you try before you buy and the full version runs $.99. You can download both here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Thanks goes out to Chris for the tip!

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3 years ago

Pro Bowl Quarterback gets a Trophy

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Pro Bowl Quarterback gets a Trophy

Matt Hasselbeck, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, was interviewed over Twitter by the Seattle Times about his use of Windows Phone 7. He has been using a Samsung Focus for a while, and recently switched over to the Verizon HTC Trophy.

His app recommendations? Hasselbeck recommends 4th and Mayor and often uses TweetCaster and Weatherbug daily. He also mentions using an iPad, but seems open to a real competitor, like Windows 8. There isn’t a whole lot to the story, but it’s good to see some high profile Windows Phone fans out there.  

Source: Seattle Times

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3 years ago

Microsoft "Flattered" by Apple

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Microsoft "Flattered" by Apple

Joe Belfiore posted another interesting pair of tweets late yesterday, reminding people that quite a few of the features that Apple is including in iOS 5 are already available or announced in Microsoft Products, either Windows Phone 7 or Windows 8. He tweeted one yesterday, mentioning just the camera button.

Today, he took it a bit further, and listed off several items that Apple has seemingly taken from Windows phone 7, or Windows 8. In Apple’s defense, the Windows 8 thumb keyboard was announced last week, but the rest… You can decide.

Slide on past the break to see how the similarities break down.

Source: WinRumors

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