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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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3 years ago

Windows Phone a push with CNET's Molly Wood

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Microsoft's Brandon Watson challenged several to give Windows Phone a chance and if it failed to impress, he's donate $1,000 to their favorite charity. Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, took Brandon up on the challenge and deemed the Windows Phone a winner over his iPhone and the EVO 3D Android phone.

Molly Wood, Executive Director over at CNET, took up the challenge to see if the Windows Phone could lure her away from Android. She posted the above video rendering her verdict as a push. Molly felt that Android gave her more power and Windows Phone was more on the "friendship ladder" where she likes it but doesn't love it.

Molly found Mango to be an easy to use, attractive system.  She found Zune Pass to be be "fine" and like the Skydrive concept (but not the implementation).  However, the two most important features Molly is looking for in a phone is speech to text and mapping. She was disappointed to see that speech to text wasn't integrated throughout out Windows Phone and wasn't a fan of Bing's turn-by-turn directions.

While we'd love for it to be different, not everyone is going to be a Windows Phone fan.  For those keeping score, Brandon's challenge has produced one winner and one push.

In viewing Molly Wood's verdict, I couldn't help but think that her Windows Phone was fighting an uphill battle. In the end, she acknowledged that some will find Windows Phones appealing but in her case, she'll stick with Android. Not because Windows Phones suck but because Android fits her needs best. And we can respect that.

Oh and if Molly is looking for someone to send her Windows Phone to, I'll be happy to get my mailing address to her.

Source: Cnet and thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

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3 years ago

Air Dagger soars into the Marketplace

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Elbert Perez over at Occassional Gamer is at it again. He's released yet another fast paced, challenging, free game over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. Air Dagger joins his portfolio of popular Windows Phone games such as Traffic Cop, Impossible Shoota, and Armored Drive.

Air Dagger is an air combat game that has you flying for one of three corporations. When you first begin the game you've got to pledge allegiance to either the Rinko Group, Black Air Tech or the AeroSpek Union. This is your team as you work your way through the different missions or levels.

Flight controls are simple in that you tilt your phone to steer the plane left, right, forward or backwards. Tapping the screen will fire your main guns and tapping a enemy plane will launch missiles. You do have upgrades (40 in all) that can be purchased before and after missions to help you tackle your enemies.

The game screen has your coins, level and lives displayed at the top of the screen and your energy meter along the left side (the green bar). An airplane icon will move along this meter to display your progress with that particular level.

As you blast your way through the level, you can collect gold coins that are hovering in air which are then used to purchase weapons and system upgrades.  Your scores are tallied into the respective corporation and reflected on an online leaderboard. Your personal scores are also compiled to an online leaderboard.

In tinkering with Air Dagger for just a short time, we found it to be a great addition to Perez's gaming line up and your Windows Phone gaming library. Air Dagger is fast paced, challenging, and just plain fun to play. Air Dagger is a free, ad-supported game that you can download here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Microsoft's marketing chief: It's now up to our OEMs to launch Mango

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There's been a lot of speculation on when exactly Windows Phone "Mango" will launch--or even what that means exactly. The reason it is a questions is because there are device upgrades, there are device launches and there's no reason to think the two are tied together. Hence we've seen September 1st, August 25th and the vague "this fall" all thrown around and in fact, they're most likely all true for specific situations.

Microsoft's marketing chief for Scandinavia, Peter Wissinger has taken to Facebook to clarify the "Mango" launch. In short he tells WinMobile.se that it is completely up to the OEMs to decide the timeline for launch of the next-generation of Mango devices. In fact, as has been speculated, Microsoft came out ahead of schedule this time with "Mango' which is why OEMs, who just received the RTM version, may seem a little behind--perhaps they weren't prepared to have it all ready this early (although Fujitsu seems prepared).

Of course in the US, OEMs still have the FCC and carriers to deal with before launching a device, making the situation more complicated. We're expecting a similar style to last years launch: announcement in October, availability (on AT&T, at least) a few weeks later with numerous devices.

Source: Facebook; via WinMobile.se

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3 years ago

Russian Windows Phone dev podcast launches

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Dobroye utro! Sure we're biased towards English around these parts, sorry about that. But that doesn't mean we can't give some love to our non-English speakers, after all we're pretty sure there's more of you than us. So we're pretty excited to mention that a new podcast in 100% Russian is now available for your pleasure (assuming we have some Russian readers, of course).

The podcast seems to focus on the developers perspective (so, it sounds analogous to the WP Dev Podcast here in the States) and hopefully it'll be a regular thing. Good lucks guys!

Head over to Windows Phone 7 Rocks #1 to give it a listen; Thanks, Alex K, for the heads up

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