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3 years ago

Verizon HTC Trophy just $49 at AmazonWireless (+ Amazon gift card)

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Out for only a week and the $199.99 (-$50 mail in rebate) Verizon HTC Trophy is knocked down to the low, low $49. Throw in that $25 Amazon gift card and now you're talk just $24.

We're not one to tell you where you have to buy your phone at, but darn it all, that's a good price. On top of it, the reviews on Amazon have been pretty top notch with quite a few 5-star write ups from customers (we're reviewing our Verizon Trophy soon, if you want our opinion).

Anyways, head here for the deal and here for the $25 gift-card.

Thanks, AK, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Microsoft details music & video hub changes in Mango

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The Windows Phone Blog has a nice writeup on the new features we will see in the Mango Music + Video Hub. We've known about some of the features for awhile now (see our "Big Mango consumer list" for what we know so far), but it's great to have official confirmation and more details. There are also quite a few smaller updates that don't merit their own bullet point, but will help smooth out the experience.

The on-device podcast support is a welcome feature, and many users have been asking for it since day one. The iPhone supports it out of the box, and there are a few apps in the Marketplace (e.g. Bring Cast and Podcasts!) that offer some podcast functionality, but so far, only Windows Phone has announced on-device podcast subscriptions, baked into the OS. The standard download-for-later, and stream-it-now options are supported, and users will be able to download or stream over WiFi or GSM/CDMA. New podcasts will only download automatically while your phone is charging, though, and for now, it looks like this is a US only feature. 

One of the Zune's greatest features is the Smart DJ (see earlier leak). Smart DJ mixes have always been playable on your Windows Phone, but you've had to create them on your computer, and transfer them over. Mango will give us the ability to generate them on the device, by just long-tapping the "seed" artist, song, or album, and selecting "smart dj." The Music +Video hub will then store your mixes in the History pivot.

To round out the experience, the team has modified the UI/UX a bit. They have moved around a few items, like the repeat and shuffle buttons, to make them easier to find, added bigger playback control buttons, added lock-screen music controls, better images, lockscreen album art, a streaming icon, and on-device playlist creation.

Jump on past the break for the full changelog from Microsoft themselves...it's quite the read.

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3 years ago

Is a SkyDrive App in Windows Phone's future?

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The Windows Phone Mango update should give us greater SkyDrive support within the Office Hub. But what about a stand alone SkyDrive app?

SkyDrive has an estimated 100 million users and an application that will give you access to all your stored information would be very popular. It appears Microsoft agree or at least Brian Hall, Microsoft's General Manager of IE and Windows Live. At a recent technology conference Hall stated that,

"We need to turn SkyDrive into a destination application."

In his presentation Hall used as an example a SkyDrive app for the phone that would allow users to see all the information stored in their 25GB of cloud storage. There is also some speculation that you will eventually be able to store music on SkyDrive and stream it to your Windows Phone.

Windows Phone's future has a lot of potential and being able to access your SkyDrive account directly from the phone only enhances that potential.

Source: ZDNet

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3 years ago

comScore report: Microsoft market share down again in April

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Another month, another comScore report.

Like the previous reports that have come out, this one seems to back up the notion that Microsoft has yet to stop their losses in U.S. marketshare for their mobile OSs (comScore seems to lump Windows Mobile and Windows Phone). Gathered from more than 30,000 mobile subscribers via an online survey, the data seems to be at least consistent.

Looking at April, Microsoft's U.S. marketshare is down to 6.7%. To put that in perspective, we've accumulated the last few months of data from comScore and we can see that just over a year ago, MS had 13.2% of the market and it had steadily declined to 10.2% in August and 8.4% in December. In short, Microsoft's marketshare has dropped 25% since Windows Phone 7's launch in October.

Of course with the aging Windows Mobile, we expect many to abandon the platform for alternatives like Android or...well Android (and looking closely, RIM gained as well over 2010-2011). But the problem Microsoft seems to have is converting old Windows Mobile users to Windows Phone. Then again, some of those high-end users may be attracted to Android's more "open" standards and OS manipulation, which resembles Windows Mobile in many ways. The decline though seems to be slowing a bit, but until that number becomes positive growth, Microsoft still has much area to recover.

Luckily that Nokia, Skype and Mango strategy should pay off by late 2011.

Source: comScore; via WinRumors

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3 years ago

Microsoft responds to 'App spamming' complaints, adds caps

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It was just yesterday that our own Richard Edmonds wrote an editorial here lamenting the sudden influx of many apps in the Marketplace from a single publisher. You may have seen this yourself, where the Marketplace under "New" is suddenly flooded with 50 apps that are all the same but "vary" by region.

We weren't the only blog to complain about it and your comments were unified: this was bad practice on Microsoft's part and it should be addressed sooner than later, otherwise we'll have another Android marketplace on our hands--and no one wants that.

Just 24 hours later, Microsoft has responded to the complaints via their Windows Phone Developer Blog. Todd Brix wrote up the piece and we have to commend Microsoft for both being quick and forthcoming on the process and their reasoning. They then present an fairly even-handed solution in two parts:

1. "To avoid the scenario where bulk publishing crowds out other apps in Marketplace in the future, effective immediately, we are limiting the number of apps any one developer can have certified in a single day to 20. Developers creating a large number of apps can still submit all of them for certification, but they will be certified at a maximum rate of 20 per day rather than all at once."

While 20 may still seem a lot, a cap is better than no cap and we hope that we rarely see as many apps from a single publisher. We imagine if it's still a problem, Microsoft could just as easily reduce that number. In fact, in order to prevent a developer from needlessly publishing apps, Microsoft has a part two as a solution to the problem:

2. "In addition, we are reaching out to the companies who most recently published a large number of apps with similar functionality in a short period of time. We’re offering to work with these developers to explore how they can better take advantage of the Windows Phone platform to improve the functionality of their apps and reduce the need for large numbers of similar apps."

By themselves, neither of these measures would be that effective, but combined we see this one-two punch to be a fair way to better control this ongoing issue and ensure a pleasant Marketplace experience. But now that Microsoft has said something, what do you folks think? We think MS deserves a lot credit for their response. You?

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog; Thanks, Aleksandr K./Arktronic, for the tip!

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3 years ago

F1 World - App Spotlight

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F1 World - App Spotlight

Fan of Formula One racing? F1 World is a Windows Phone app that brings you a news and information on all the Formula One racing events. The app pulls from several RSS News feeds including ESPNF1.com, Crash.net, BBC f1, Formula1.com with more feeds coming soon.

Key features include:

  • Dedicated app for Windows Phone 7
  • View all the Latest News of F1 world from famous websites
  • News related to your favorite F1 teams [Driver based team coming soon]
  • Preview window for each News along with the picture
  • Easy Navigation for news
  • Facility to read each News in F1 World with integrated browser support
  • Scroll again to directly jump to next News story, without pressing the back key
  • UI changed like WP7
  • Team & driver details added
  • Race results

F1 World presents everything in a clean, sharp looking hub. Upcoming features should include the ability to sort news items by drivers, photo feeds, and multiple language support.

F1 World is a free application and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Pop It! - App Spotlight

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Pop It! - App Spotlight

Like popping bubble wrap? Did you know there's a Windows Phone app for that?

Pop It! takes popping bubble wrap to the next level, turning it into a competitive event. The goal of the game is simple, see how fast you can pop each bubble that appears on the screen.

The downside to Pop It! is that a) you can't roll up your Windows Phone and pop numerous bubbles at once and b) you can't slide your finger down the row of bubbles to pop them. You have to pop each bubble by tapping on them individually.

Sound effects are decent and trying to find the fastest pattern for popping the bubbles can be challenging. Pop It! is a free app and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

'Where's My Update?' now displaying version numbers

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Everyone's favourite webpage, Where's My Update, is now displaying version numbers instead of months that the updates were connected to. This is a welcomed change from the somewhat confusing update titles that would become obsolete through future releases. You will now see respective versions (for example 7390 and 7392) for each build. 

AT&T users: you're still in "Testing" for 7392. So stay tuned.

Source: Where's My Update

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3 years ago

Tip: Enable 2-step verification in Gmail for WP7

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Security is always a cause for concern, whether it be with online banking or simply ordering a Domino's pizza. Passwords used online for applications or services are no different, especially with the amount of cyber crime occuring since the boom of the world wide web. Google have published an article on their blog outlining recent attacks being made on Gmail accounts and how users can protect themselves further.

One way to further protect your email account is to use OTP (One Time Password) via the web interface when logging on across multiple machines, networks and/or locations. For your Windows Phone (and other devices) you can use application specific passwords, which are password that are randomly generated and are used per device. You don't need to remember it and it doesn't affect your main login credentials. Think of it as an access key your device requires to be able to gain access to your account.

Check out the video after the break for the step-by-step walkthrough on using two-step verification and creating an application specific password for your Gmail account on your device. 

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3 years ago

NBA Game Time 2011 available for the Finals

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As the NBA Finals head into Game Two tonight, you can follow all the action from your Windows Phone. NBA Game Time 2011 is a free app over at the Marketplace that will give you access to scores, highlights and news surrounding the Playoffs.

Key features include:

  • Live Scores from every Playoff game
  • Highlight videos from every playoff game
  • Full Playoff Schedule
  • Playoff Bracket Box Score and Team Stats for every Playoff game
  • Series Views from Every Playoff Series
  • Deeper Player Stats

Okay... so it's a little late to the party but it's a clean looking, informative app. If your a fan of the Heat or the Mavs (or the NBA in general), NBA Game Time 2011 should help keep you informed during the Championship Series.

Again, NBA Game Time 2011 is a free application and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Thanks goes out to Amir for the tip!

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3 years ago

Bubble Twist - Review

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Bubble Twist - Review

Looking for a simply, yet entertaining game for your Windows Phone? Like the Bubble Burst styled games but wish they did more? Check out Bubble Twist over at the Marketplace.

Bubble Twist puts a twist on your traditional lined, bubble bursting games. The object remains the same; grouping three or more of the same colored bubbles. But the playing field rotates.

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when Bubble Twist was downloaded. To see if I was pleasantly surprised, follow the break.

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3 years ago

WP7 Explore - Review

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3 years ago

ToMetric - App Spotlight

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ToMetric - App Spotlight

Can't stand to converting U.S. measurements to Metric? ToMetric, as the name implies, is a Windows Phone app that is designed to make it easier to covert U.S. units to its metric equivalents.

The interface is simple in that you type or paste the US units and the app will return the metric results. If a measurement could be either liquid or solid (as in ounces) the app will return both conversions. Should you stump the app and enter a U.S. measurement unit not recognized, it will help you look things up on the internet.

The only thing missing is relief for the other half of the equation, converting metrics to U.S. units.

ToMetric is a free application and can be found here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

A fond farewell...

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A fond farewell...

A good friend once said of Dieter Bohn, our Editor in Chief, "He's got mad talent!". Mad talent that he's shared with Smartphone Experts over the years to help build seven smartphone communities. Mad talent that has been a joy to be around.

Today is Dieter's last day with Smartphone Experts as he has chosen to pursue new endeavors. I've work with Dieter for just over four years now and it has been a pleasure.  As others will agree, we've learned a lot from Dieter and will miss his presence.

The staff at WPCentral would like to extend our thanks to Dieter for all the work he's done to support not only Windows Phones but all the other mobile platforms that are a part of the Smartphone Experts community.  We know that where ever he should land, whatever venture he pursues, he and his mad talent will find success.

Best wishes my friend.

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3 years ago

SurfCube v3.0 now features YouTube streaming, wins an award

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It's been awhile since we covered SurfCube, the third part browser which we think we can safely say "won" the browser-wars. The browser is known for it's virtual 3D cube design, giving new life via an innovate UI to web browsing and interaction. It's unique and not just for Windows Phone 7, but for any platform.

The big addition in v3.0, besides some bug fixes and performance enhancements, is the addition of YouTube support within the browser. What this means is, if you come across a YouTube vid while surfing you should be able to play back the video without leaving the browser--certainly a nice feature. It's still limited by Mobile IE's YouTube limitations, so don't expect it to be Flash compatible, but it handles mobile sites with video quite well. We gave it a quick spin and while buffering was a little choppy (over 3g) it handled WiFi really well. The video quality was pretty darn high even over 3G and it was certainly much more convenient. (Skip to 1:34 in the video to see it in action.)

Finally, we should also mention that the browser has won a Microsoft Innovation Award in Smartphone Application category, An award we feel is much deserved.

Surfcube is available in two versions: paid, ad-free for $1.99 or free (ad supported). You can grab the paid version here (trial) and the free on here.

Source: DotNeteers

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