Update: False alarm. It appears Samsung didn't disable it, they just changed the code.: *#0002*28345# Now instead of a '6' a the end, use '5'. Thanks, malteahrens, for the info
Looks like Samsung does not want you messing with your audio settings as they have disabled access in their latest Diagnosis app for our phones.
Late last night, the Marketplace pushed an update for Samsung's Diagnostics app bumping it to version 1122 (see above pic). While not mandatory, we took this risk to see what would happen and while most menu items are still accessible, we can confirm that the audio settings used to boost sound (covered here) are now disabled. Typing in the code results in nothing, no error, no message, just nothing.
On top of that, there seems to be no benefit to the update so if you have yet to install it, we suggest you don't.
Although porting HTC apps (like YouTube and their Weather Hub) to non-HTC devices is not going too smoothly as HTC has many "checks" in the way, the reverse seems doable.
XDA developer xboxmod has successfully ripped numerous Samsung-only apps and distributed the XAP files for others to install. All that is needed is an unlocked device (developer or ChevronWP7) and to install a certificate via email. Once loaded, the apps mostly seem to work fine although we had some hiccups with the German and movie apps. But, Samsung's NOW hub, which shows weather, news and stocks loads up just fine and pulls data with no issues as you can see above, running on our HD7.
Overall, we like where this is going and hope some LG apps, including their voice-to-text (found on the Quantum) can maybe make their way over to our phones. Then again, we're not sure how those OEMs feels about all of this, though we could imagine...
We have to admit we get a little cynical with these 'analyst' stories only because we often get the feeling that these experts are often behind the curve or they make somewhat obvious, vague predictions about mobile tech.
In this case, IDC, who should be quite familiar to mobile phone users by now, has gone on to state that they think Microsoft has a chance with Windows Phone 7 in 2011, but only if they do what they basically said they're going to do. Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, wrote in a Dec. 29 publication:
CDMA phones are expected to arrive in early 2011, ensuring that WP7 devices are available on all four U.S. carriers, thus helping increase device shipments...To bring the platform rapidly to a level of parity with other major mobile platforms, Microsoft will need to deliver several key features in the first quarter of 2011.
Seems sort of obvious but okay, lets go on. What are those features? According to eWeek they are "multitasking support, copy-and-paste and increased hardware support for augmented reality applications such as business card scanning". Since we know Microsoft is doing all the requested from Al Hilwa, we guess this is a shoe in, right? CDMA devices will be announced at CES, rollout in February and we can see "several" OS updates in 2011, many bringing the required-for-success features Hilwa expects.
Finally, Hilwa concludes with
IDC believes that it will have a seat at the small table of the top two or three mobile application platform players in the next five years.
Seems to be a safe prediction. We don't see such claims for WebOS, Bada or MeeGo, do we? Although perhaps we could say RIM is knocked out of that top-three club, but even that is becoming more and more obvious with every labored BlackBerry release these days.
This one will cause a lot of envy amongst those with non-developer/ChevronWP7 unlocked phones. Developer CodeJoker has gone ahead and done the obvious: create a shortcut to the device WiFi settings. It's exactly what you think it would be--you tap the icon and you're at your configuration to turn WiFi on or off with a few less steps than the current setup. You simple install the XAP file and you're good to go, not really much to it and it works as advertised as you can see above.
Could this be technically submitted to the Marketplace and approved? We don't really see why not, it's not so much a hack and just creating a shortcut. But until then, you'll have to go the unlocked route. We're also pretty sure Microsoft has to be working on something similar from their end, hopefully some type of tile --> folder --> icons system, making such ritual changes much more easy.
On the fence about buying an LG Quantum or Samsung Focus and just can't justify spending $199 on the new Windows Phone? We've learned of some good news from AT&T in that they have dropped the price for both these phones down to $99. Enough to knock you off that fence?
Not sure when it happened but AT&T dropped the contractually discounted price and out-of-contract price (now $399) one hundred bucks. The phones do require a minimum data package of $15 a month and new activation (not sure if upgrades qualify). If you order online, AT&T will throw in free shipping to boot.
Not a shabby deal if you're in the market for a new Windows Phone. You can find all the details over at AT&T Wireless.
You can find a lot of uses for your Windows Phone. From email to web browsing to turning the phone into a flashlight, the possibilities are numerous. The Windows Phone 7 application DecisionMaster lets you use your Windows Phone to get through the hard choices in life.
DecisionMaster, developed by Tim Plourde, uses a multi-step process to help make a complex decisions that involve multiple options and criteria. Need some help deciding on what your next car will be? Should you take that trip to Disney World or take a sea cruise?
For more on this Windows Phone 7 application, ease on past the break.
One of the nice features of Windows Phone 7 is the use of Live Tiles. They allow you to monitor key information from applications such as new messages, appointments, and weather updates. Now you can track stock information with the Windows Phone application StockAlert Live.
Developed by Kabzara Software, allows you to track stock market activity at a glance with the Live Tile or you can open the full application for more detailed information on market activity and the stocks your interested in.
For more on StockALert Live and to see if the $.99 application is a worthy investment, follow the break.
The good old days of NES, gaming at its prime – retro style. Throughout the technological advancement, emulators have always been developed to allow older generation games to be played on newer hardware and software. An emulator has been developed (open source) by Matt Bettcher for the Windows Phone 7 platform, but Microsoft has advised him through contact that he will not be allowed to offer his app on the Marketplace. Apple have even allowed emulation to set sail on the App Store, so why is Microsoft blocking it?
There are - of course - legal complications surrounding ROMs and emulators alike, but that may not be the full reason as to why the huge corporation has set up a retro-gaming blockade. The WP7 has one feature that other platforms do not have to offer, Xbox Live. Having emulation (offered on the Marketplace for free) available on your mobile could possibly cause a negative impact on sales of Xbox Live titles and other games from developers.
Support from the mobile community has been called for and if you truly wish to see a NES emulator hit the Marketplace, you can head on over to the vidoe showcasing the emulator and get in touch. He has also set up a CodePlex project up for the emulator, which can be found here.
One big issue many people have with Windows Phone 7 is the inability to take screen-shots of their device to share with others, something we're all too familiar with here at WPCentral.
Of course, it's not impossible for WP7 to do this, it's just like most things, there is no access to the API/driver for developers as it is being held under wrap and key (much like socket support, live camera access for scanners, etc.).
Rafael Rivera, one for the co-developers of ChevronWP7, has evidently discovered a screen capture utility on the Samsung Focus, enabling that feature. No word on plans for release to the homebrew community, though we wouldn't doubt it with his track record. Oh and that's just it, while this will work for developer or ChevronWP7 unlocked devices, there's little chance this will be in the Marketplace for the rest of you. Nor is it unclear if this would work on non-Samsung phines. But hey, it's a start until Microsoft gives us a real solution.
When it comes to Star Wars games, there are any number of genres and game types that could be used; the two Star Wars games in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace are perfect examples; Star Wars Cantina is a strategy game based in a dining room (aka, Cantina), and Star Wars Battle For Hoth is a tower defense game in which the player reproduces the Rebel defense of the base on Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back.
To see how Star Wars Battle For Hoth plays and how it stands up as an extension of the Star Wars story, read on.
Star Wars story, tower defense game with lots of options.
Uno is one of those games whose rules are known nearly universally. Between the simplicity of learning the rules and strategy, and the flexibility of the game to handle small groups or large, Uno is one of the most popular games of all time. Card games translate extremely well to the small screen; the user interface is easy to replicate, and the graphics required for a game like Uno HD don’t even begin to tax the phone’s hardware.
To see how Uno HD stacks up against some of the other Xbox Live games in the Marketplace, see the full review after the break.
Intuitive controls, customizable rules and game-play
Some of the button-based controls can be hard to interact with.
The competition between Microsoft and Google has been raging for a number of years now. The Windows Phone and Android mobile platforms are only a small part, online services are where the real competition is raging. One of the services where Google has a clear lead is Google Voice.
If you haven’t signed up for the service, Google Voice has a number of helpful features. The basic idea is that you sign up for an account, choose a phone number, and then direct your phone traffic to this Google Voice Number. From there you can have the calls automatically forward to one or several other phone numbers. Google Voice also handles voice mail, emailing or texting you notifications, even transcribing messages so that you can get an idea of the content of a message without ever dialing your phone.
Since Google Voice is a core service of a Microsoft competitor, we will most likely never see native integration into Windows Phone, but there are already a number of third party applications that allow you to use the service on your Windows Phone. To see how they rate, keep reading.
ElektricForest has created an insightful chart (click the image to enlarge) that outlines the more frequently observed features of any mobile for Windows Phone 7. Thinking on switching to the Microsoft platform but are having difficulty with deciding which product would best suit your needs? Take a quick (or in-depth) look at the detail of this chart. Also, you may wish to admire the pretty colours used in presenting the data in an aesthetically pleasing style.
There have been a slight increase in the amount of discussions on our forums that are created about switching to Windows Phone 7, but not knowing which product is the best solution for that particular user. Hopefully this chart can shed some light on any poor soul who simply can't make his (or her) mind up.
I see it as this – why read a financial marketing book, when you have a children’s book about money with huge pictures right next-door on the shelf?
Mashable love their polls, and any reader would agree that they are fairly useful with majority of votes coming from tech enthusiasts (the majority being Apple owners over at the social media giant). Publishing the results for their holiday gifts for 2010 poll, it is clear to the eye that Windows Phone 7 has actually performed relatively well.
Having only been officially around for a few months, receiving a mixed reception, and majority of news surrounding the platform outlining negativity over positive announcements, many predicted that the platform may not perform too well over the festive period. Reaching 5,000 apps in the Marketplace, shipping a good 1.5 million products, and listening to the end-user’s feedback, Microsoft have continued to display their determination to create a solid dent in the already-established competition.
Taking a quick look at the pie chart, it’s easily noticeable that Android has continued to dominate over all other platforms, with the iPhone maintaining a healthy share. This is all to the book and is expected by, well, everyone. What’s interesting however, is where Microsoft’s new product is sitting comfortably. Taking a promising 10.3% of votes in the smart phone category is a fantastic achievement, and shows that the insane amount of investment made by Microsoft, the decision with starting from scratch and bringing a new OS to the monopoly board is beginning to show signs of positive results.
Although the chart does shed some light on the current state of the war between the operating systems, it should be noted that this is a Mashable poll, and should not be used as an accurate calculation. As for Windows Phone 7, the 2010 launch has been nothing more than a blur for most. Next year, however, should prove to be either a fast paced sprint with the proposed updates, marketing and what not, or a slow walk ensuring satisfaction is maintained at a reasonably high level.