If you use Xbox LIVE Extras on Windows Phone 7, you may have noticed an update pushed to you today, specifically v1.50012.0 (up from v1.3). And if you're like us, you're wondering what changed? Don't worry, we got you covered:
New countries, new languages! We’re making Xbox LIVE Extras available in new languages including French, Italian, German, and Spanish. This also means that Xbox LIVE Extras will now be available in all the official countries where Windows Phone and Xbox LIVE are available!
Manage friend requests inside Xbox LIVE Extras! You’ll now be able to accept, or reject friend requests inside of Xbox LIVE Extras. Additionally you’ll be able to manage your friends’ lists as well as requests to others.
Even more additional features! We’ve also added a bunch of additional features such as new Avatar animations and configuration options, and displaying your motto on your profile. We’ve also worked to improve overall stability of the application!
We also can't help but notice it's finally faster to load, which is a welcomed change as well. We're going to bet that some of our Euro friends will be happy with the additional language support, allowing them to join in the party.
While the 2011 Mobile World Congress is still about two months away, rumors that we will see some new Windows Phones announced during the conference are surfacing. Leading the rumors is the ASUS E600.
The E600 is still a bit of a mystery with very little detail being leaked on the companies first Windows Phone 7 device. The phone is rumored to be heading to AT&T and dispels any rumors that ASUS was shying away from Windows Phone 7.
Other potential new phones making an appearance at the 2011 MWC could include one from Acer (the other "A" manufacturer), the CDMA phones (Trophy and 7 Pro) and a GSM 7 Pro. We keep hearing Acer is going to join the Windows Phone 7 crowd but have yet to see much movement.
We're also expecting more details on the Windows Phone 7 China launch at the 2011 MWC. This will also generate new phones from Lenova, ZTE and Huawei that could be showcased at the 2011 MWC.
While it has only been a few days, the popular Twitter client Beezz is gearing up for a v1.2 update that should make a lot of folks happy.
First off is the new Live Tile, with counters for messages, new Tweets and mentions--not too shabby, though it looks a little crowded. Still, we like innovation. The next features are some biggies that a lot of folks have been clamoring for:
That just about fills out the most popular Twitter features and we're pretty excited about giving it a spin. No word on ETA this time, but hopefully it will have less hangups than the last update ;-) Stay tuned for more.
Leave it up to good old HTC to release the first full YouTube client for Windows Phone 7. Too bad it's only for HTC phones, but you knew that would be the case, right?
The app is surprisingly not yet listed in the HTC App Hub, but you can find it under Apps --> Music & Video --> New for now. Overall, the design of the program is very similar to the old Windows Mobile version but with the panoramic styling of Metro. More importantly, when over WiFi the program supports full HD (aka HQ) playback, as can be seen above. The program is fast, zippy and even search is pretty solid (though make sure you choose your region and extend the range). Other features include Most Viewed, Most Discussed, Top rated, Categories and History along with thumbnails for each.
Not bad HTC, not bad at all. Combined with their Weather hub update, things are looking better for their app selection.
Update: For those having trouble, try this link for the Zune Marketplace.
As developers learn the intricacies of what sells and what does not with the Marketplace, they will adapt. Such a case presents itself with the developer of Impossible Shoota (see hands on), which has been downloaded 21,000 times already, making it one of the most popular apps out there (#6 in games). One of its secrets is that it is free.
Much like on Android and the iPhone, free apps that are ad supported tend to do the best. In response, Elbert Perez who makes Impossible Shoota, has made his other two games free too since they have not been doing nearly as well when selling for $0.99. Because the Marketplace doesn't yet allow developers to go from a paid app to free, he has to re-release them with a "+" at the end so "Scribble Defense+" and Zombiedmix+" are the new names. Later, these games along with Impossible Shoota are expected to gain ads through Microsoft's new XNA-supported ad system. Perez is hoping this works for him and us noting:
Hopefully this will be a successful business model for me because it benefits me and everyone out there looking for a quality game for free.
Even Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds have gone free with their Android version and it has been a huge success for them. Could free and ad supported be the secret developers need for success? We think so.
Download Scribble Defense+here and Zombiedmix+ here. Videos after the break of both games.
Microsoft watchdog Mary Jo Foley is reporting that Microsoft is prepping a major update to Windows Phone 7 for the fall timeframe. Codenamed Mango, the fall update is rumored to add Silverlight run-time and HTML 5 support as well as additional languages. Foley speculates that Microsoft may ramp up the enterprise functionality with Mango, in particular additional support for Exchange ActiveSync policies that enforce security requirements for mobile devices.
Rumors about the schedule for updates to Windows Phone 7 and what those updates will include have been flying recently. The current best guess is that we are going to see one or two updates in the January/February time frame, quite possible announced or released at CES in January. Many of the talking heads in the industry see that as a likely scenario because the rumored CDMA support would offer carriers like Sprint and Verizon the ability to announce their Windows Phone 7 launch hardware. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is delivering the pre-show keynote on January 5th. One could assume that there would be other minor updates before Mango is released in the fall. Foley also mentioned the possibility of a Windows Phone 8 (codenamed Apollo) launch in late 2012.
We told you last week that Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst was due for release on this day and sure enough, here it is. Fetching for a very reasonable $2.99, the Xbox Live app looks to bring geolocation and asynchronous gaming (aka turn-based multiplayer) to Windows Phone. Very exciting, indeed. (See a video discussion with the developers + footage here)
Overall, we like what we see and you can give it a spin from the Marketplace yourself. Hit us up in comments on your thoughts of the game!
Grab Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst here (opens Zune).
For those mo-bloggers out there, you'll be pleased to know that WordPress has gone ahead and released a full-fledged mobile client for Windows Phone, all for free of course. The app allows you to write offline, moderate comments, publish and view your site's stats all from your phone.
WordPress is the largest blogging platform out there today, so having it on board Windows Phone is quite welcomed, especially since the choices up to now have not been that stellar (although BloghuB looks pretty good too). It's even more important since Microsoft closed down Live Spaces and managed to port their users over to WordPress in an official partnership between the two mega companies. Last we checked, about one million have made the transition so far.
We're not sure if we'll keep doing this every time they hit another thousand programs in the Marketplace, but it is worth noting for now only because of the trend: the rate of submissions to the marketplace is growing, fast.
The area of interest above is after November 4th when everyone could begin to submit apps to the Marketplace. Whereas it took three weeks to gain one thousand more apps, this time around they did it in two. Although it would not be a surprise to see it slow down a bit with the holidays, we'll be watching to see how fast the Marketplace continues to overall grow. One thing is for sure, WP7 development doesn't seem so far to be a passing fad.
We mentioned earlier that the Dell Venue Pro was once again delayed. Likely shipping out the first of January 2011.
Dell has addressed the delays in a very informal, unofficial manner (a post on their support forums) in hopes of explaining the latest delay and retaining a few customers. It appears that the delay is due to a hardware issue with the Phone which Dell is working closely with Microsoft coordinate a plan of action.
Apparently these issues are not only effecting new orders but also delaying any replacement orders that need to be shipped. While we've heard rumors that everything should be fine and dandy by January 6, 2011, the "unofficial" update states,
"Once we have good stock in place, then we have the ability to provide replacements. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a good estimate of when that will be."
The information update continues to state,
"If you are waiting on a new order and it misses the original estimated ship date, you do have the option to cancel by contacting the sales team."
If you're waiting on the Dell Venue Pro, this isn't the most encouraging news. We're not too confident in the January 6th target date. Follow the break for the full, "unofficial" update from Dell.
HTC has updated their Windows Phone 7 Sense Hub to version 1.5. The update has minor fixes and the option to have a Live Tile that displays your current weather conditions.
The app now supports automatic location based weather that will update the Tile every hour, every three hours, six hours, twelve hours, pr once a day. You can set the Live Tile to your location or manually to another location.
It definitely helps give the HTC Hub a little more functionality.
Paramount today announced an interesting twist to movie watching on your Windows Phone: Silverlight Enhanced movies. Fetching for $9.99 and starting with School of Rock, you can download the application/movie combo from the Marketplace allowing you to watch and interact with the movie.
The best way to describe this is a DVD menu + extras on your mobile using the power of Silverlight. The features include the ability to
...create custom clips, view the movie with pop-up trivia powered by 'Scene It?', and a Movie Info feature offering users the ability to identify actors, objects, music, and places in the movie, while providing rich, contextual information, such as bios, descriptions, and even maps to the locations.
Other movies coming down the line include Zoolander, Waiting for Superman and GI Joe: the rise of Cobra. Not exactly our favorite titles, except for Zoolander, but hey it's a start. Normally, our lame-meters are going off with this kind of thing but dare we say, this might work if they get the right titles (and maybe lower the price)?
Head here to download it. Remember, $9.99 and no trial (obviously).
Although it's been rumored and hinted at for a little while that Microsoft was planning on releasing Windows Phone 7 in the second half of 2011 for China, today it was confirmed by Yang Tianyang, Microsoft's communications sector director for the Greater China region.
The announcement is pretty huge for a few reasons. For one, the market in China is obviously quite large, giving Microsoft ample opportunity to potentially sell millions of devices. In 2010, 62 million smartphones are expected to be sold, up from 21 million just one year earlier. Number two, historically, Windows Mobile was one of the top selling mobile OSs in that country, meaning Microsoft has some positive legacy to build off of. On the other hand, just like everywhere else in the world, China is plagued by mass iPhone and Android adoption, making the challenge their just as significant as it is here in the States.
The other big news is that Microsoft is in talks with Lenovo, ZTE and Huawei to build WP7 devices specifically for China. Huawei is already a huge contender in the Android market but who knew Lenovo was in on the game too? While we'll probably never see such devices over here, it's good for Microsoft to continue to augment that OEM portfolio.