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3 years ago

ChevronWP7 Labs unlocker a few weeks from launch, new details released

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Now that Mango has come to a lot of Windows Phones, there's still a few big things to look forward to this year: Skype, Nokia and of course ChevronWP7 Labs. For those new to the site or community, ChevronWP7 Labs is the little project by Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng who originally unlocked Windows Phone in the pre and post NoDo era (with Microsoft's indirect and humorous approval).

The Labs project has one goal:"......to allow hobbyist developers to install, run, and debug unsigned applications on their personal Windows Phone". That is, it's a way for you, the regular user, to toy around with some advanced tools without breaking the bank and while being sanctioned by Microsoft.  And now that day is nearly upon us, meaning you can soon join the homebrew community to side-load some apps on to your Windows Phone.

Here's how the process will work when launched in a few weeks:

  1. You'll need a Windows Live ID (it can be different from your Windows Phone Live ID)
  2. Purchase an "unlock token". Cost is $9.00 via PayPal and is good for infinite unlocks per single phone.
  3. Download and install an unlocking too, which is similar to the official AppHub registration one
  4. Your phone will be placed in a queue to be unlocked and that's it!

All in all, this will provide a great opportunity for those who aren't full-time developers nor those who can't afford to pay the regular $99 to unlock their phones. It should also expand the hobbyist and homebrew community significantly, giving Windows Phone users a new avenue to explore as well as apply new ideas.

The team is wrapping up the final preparations now and we can look for an official launch in a few weeks. We'll of course keep you abreast of all and any new developments.

Read the full details from the ChevronWP7 Labs team right here.

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3 years ago

Official blog for Microsoft Studios’ Xbox LIVE Arcade and Windows Phone games launches

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Here's a cool little site you'll want to bookmark: www.playxbla.com

The new site is described as "the official voice for Microsoft Studios’ Xbox LIVE Arcade and Windows Phone games" and looks to be a neat little place to get the latest info on gaming as well as interacting with developers and Microsofties. They've been on Twitter for awhile, linking to other gaming sites, but now they have a home of their own.

The site looks nice enough and features exclusive articles on new and upcoming games. And while our own Paul Acevedo often gets the scoop first, it's always nice to see what the official team has got going. Plus, you can probably gripe to them (instead of us) about missing Xbox LIVE games for Windows Phone. We keed, we keed...

So head to their websitexbla and follow 'em on Twitter here @PlayXBLA. (Thanks, TheWeeBear, for the heads up!)

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3 years ago

Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada - Review

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It's been a busy week for Windows Phone navigation apps. First we see NAVIGON released that brings on-board maps to your Windows Phone to eliminate the need for a data connection for route calculations and maps. Now we see GPSTuner, developer of Outdoor Navigator and Turn by Turn Navigation, release a new version of Turn by Turn that also includes offline maps.

But wait, the original version of Turn by Turn had downloadable maps. True, but the process was a little cumbersome and the original version still required a data connection for routing and for the times you strayed from the map shot you downloaded.

The new version of Turn by Turn Navigation allows you to choose regional maps to eliminate the need for a data connection. This also allows you to minimize storage requirements by allowing you to choose what maps are downloaded. If you never stray from the Western US, why should you tie up storage with East Coast maps?

The app itself has changed very little (you do have a new search function) but the performance is noticeably improved with the addition of on-board, offline maps. To see how Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada managed the open road, move on past the break.

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3 years ago

Funny Faces augmented reality app for Mango

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Schulte Software Development has released Funny Faces, one of the first Mango apps to use augmented reality.  Using your phone's camera, Funny Faces will detect people's faces and overlay your choice of ridiculous head wear.  Choose from Afros, mustaches, different hats, or the famed internet hero himself, Chuck Norris. 

Once you have sufficiently sillied-up your target, Funny Faces allows you take a picture with the camera and save it to your photo album.  Better yet, you can share your snapshot with friends  directly via email, Twitter and FaceBook.  There are already quite a bit of overlay options, with more on the way. The devs are also asking for suggestions, so if you have any ideas, feel free to share them right through the app itself.

You can get Funny Faces from the Marketplace for $.99, or try it free first.  The trial version has a few overlays to try and a one-time ability to save/share your creation.

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3 years ago

Use Microsoft's Live Tile app to quickly toggle 3G data [Tip]

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About two weeks ago, on "Mango day", Microsoft quietly sneaked out a neat little app that's especially useful for those on limited 3G data plans. The app is simply called Cellular Data and all it does is create a Live Tile that directly links to your Data Settings page. This gives you a quick and easy shortcut for toggling your data on and off, instead of drilling down the Settings menu.

What makes it a Live Tile though is that it updates every 30 minutes with an on/off notification in the corner, letting you "glance and go" to see if your data is on or not, possibly racking up costly roaming data.

The app is free and certainly worth the install. Pick it up here in the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Bing search and speak recognition [How To]

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Bing search and speak recognition [How To]

We've looked at Local Scout among other improvements brought to the user in Windows Phone Mango, but nothing beats a British walk through of how to search, use Bing services and the speech recognition. Take a quick look at the above video for a brief overlook in what's new with the search functionality in Windows Phone, while the below how to takes us through running commands with voice in favour of touch.

More information can be found at the Windows Phone UK blog, link below.

Source: MykindofPhone

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3 years ago

Birdsong Twitter app hits v1.6 and goes for Mango

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One of our top Twitter apps, Birdsong, has finally gone all Mango on us which is now live in the Marketplace. Birdsong has some unique fetaures in it, making it worth considering if you're browsing for a new Twitter client. For one, it has detailed controls over the Live Tile (mentions/messages) as well as Push Notifications (mentions/messages) and it even has a "do not disturb" option so you don't get any alerts during specified hours.

Version 1.6 brings a host of Mango features as well as some other fixes and additions:

  • Fast switching - One of Mango's biggest features, allows you to return to Birdsong from another application quickly and with the application state entact.
  • t.co link wrapping
  • Browser configuration - You can now configure whether to use the internal browser or launch IE directly. The default is now IE as fast app swtiching makes this a much nicer experience.
  • Toggling Favourite had broken due to a change in the Twitter API
  • Added Japanese Language support
  • Added integrated picture viewing support for http://instagr.am/

Our impressions? Birdsong has greatly benefited from the speed and scrolling enhancements in Mango, making this quite a nice app. It would have been to have a more robust Live Tile (no flippy action is used here) but otherwise, it's pretty solid. Birdsong can be had for $0.99 with a free trial. Pick it up here.

Thanks, ShipWreck and themoose14, for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Call frequent contacts more easily with 7Dialer

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Do you find that you can't pin enough contacts to the home screen for quick access? Introducing 7Dialer, by JDBPocketware, a solution for those who wish to create a contact wall where frequently contacted people can be pinned and accessed within seconds. The app features two main panes, the first is an intelligent search, while the second is the people wall.

A few limitations are present unfortunately. These include the inability to edit, remove or add contacts from the app (official People hub will need to be used, followed by  synchronising 7Dialer) and phone numbers for contacts pulled from Facebook will not be available due to privacy policies.

Some highlighted features include:

  • Smart dialling/filtering either with number pad or characters pad
  • Option to call, SMS or email
  • "Call later" reminders
  • Pin contacts as Live Tiles to start screen, as a to-do related to a contact
  • Fullscreen People wall (aka favourites) with customisable layouts
  • Dial tone sounds
  • Breathing effect for contact tiles
  • Live tile display options

7Dialer can be downloaded from the Marketplace for £1.49 ($1.99) and a free trial is available.

Source: JDBPocketware, thanks TheWeeBear for the tip!

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3 years ago

MS commits £20m to advertising Nokia phones, Samsung gets some too

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Just in time for the holidays, Microsoft has given Nokia a gift of their own, £20 million to advertising Nokia's new line of WP7 phones in the United Kingdom.  The money will fund a barrage of advertising across all media, focusing on different aspects of the phones' capabilities, including social media, gaming and wide variety of apps.  It comes as part of Nokia's agreement to scrap its proprietary operating system, Symbian, in favor of Windows Phone.  The partnership is huge for Microsoft and make or break for Nokia.  According to one source:

"Microsoft is funding a massive campaign with Nokia across every single media you can imagine. It’s the last roll of the dice for them. They must go big, bad and boldly. Microsoft is desperate to kick the hell out of Android. If they can get across how amazing Mango is they could really crack it this time."

And shortly after making their own financial commitment to marketing WP7, Samsung is receiving some help from Microsoft as well.  The Korean handset manufacturer has partnered with MS for a £8 million holiday push for the Omnia W, touting it as a multimedia device for everyone.  Details on how much of the £8m Microsoft contributed are scarce, but in a statement Windows Phone Division president Andy Lees said:

"It’s not good enough to have a ramp that’s similar to other guys, you have to ramp faster. That’s what we are aiming to do this holiday season, and particularly into 2012."

Great attitude!  WP7 fans have been wanting to see the word get out for a long time now.

Source: MobileToday, Via: WMPowerUser

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3 years ago

Dell's ongoing Venue Pro problems: No compass driver in Mango?

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Anyone who's used the Dell Venue Pro know its a love-hate relationship. And  just as things were looking up for the device with Mango and some new firmware, a new issue has cropped up, one that has been bothering us too.

The compass doesn't work. For any app. No Stars 3D, no compass, no augmented-reality, nothing.

The compass drive and API are up to the OEM to provide which is why when you update to Mango you get two updates: the OS and the firmware. And while Dell did deliver the firmware (jumping from 212 to 219) they evidently botched it with the compass driver, as is becoming obvious for many users.

Now at XDA, some sleuthing has in fact shown this to be the case. Mitchell S., has taken a look at the log during the Mango setup and found this:

**** Starting IMGFS Update @ 16:46:58 ****

Deleting file compassDrv.dll.  &$^4?!

CustomSettings.cab.pkg->5E542BF4-046F-41AA-8BB7-FFB031E0F024.rgu @ 16:46:59

Setting invalid OS state

QC_8x50_OS_SHIP.cab.pkg->D3F0E60E-DE7C-11DF-930A-3D26E0D72085.rgu @ 16:46:59

CustomIcon.cab.pkg->05E12A31-F993-40A4-8A58-136879E5CCEC.rgu @ 16:46:59

Even if that wasn't the reason, it still doesn't explain why our compass is locked at 100 degrees. What say you, Dell? Are we going to have to wait another six-months for this to be fixed?

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3 years ago

Pumpkin Smash arrives in time for Halloween

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A spooky pumpkin-catapult-undead-smashing indie title has flung its way onto the Marketplace and is available for free (ad supported). GlowPuff, the developers behind the likes of Gridrunner Girl and Impossible Mountain, are the brains behind this thriller, which will have you firing pumpkins to keep the enemy at bay. The gameplay is simple, but addictive.

Some highlighted features:

  • Engaging hand drawn graphics and animation
  • 30 levels of increasingly challenging battles
  • Normal and Easy mode for each level
  • Attack with Fire pumpkins, Ice pumpkins, and more!
  • 12 different monster types, each with unique weaknesses
  • 5 epic boss battles against famous movie monsters!
  • Score Combos and Multi-Kills for bonus points and extra candy rewards
  • Full musical soundtrack

You can download Pumpkin Smash from the Marketplace for absolutely nothing at all.

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3 years ago

Look who's talking, Microsoft closes Skype deal

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Microsoft has closed the deal on its acquisition of Skype, which saw the software giant forking out $8.5 billion. What's interesting to see from this deal is what will be brought to Windows 8 and Windows Phone. We're aware of Skype support coming to the platform but it will be exciting to see how both Skype and Microsoft go about implementation.

Skype CEO, Tony Bates, is set to remain at the top within the division at Microsoft and will report directly to Steve Ballmer. Microsoft has a neat and tidy portfolio of services with Skype, Live, Office, Windows and the Xbox to name but a few. 2012 is going to be one hell of a year.

Check out the full press release after the break. 

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3 years ago

Microsoft responds to Xbox Live release drought

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As gamers have surely noticed by now, there was no new Xbox Live release for Windows Phone this week. The same applies to last week, which means we haven’t had a new Live game for two weeks in a row. It’s a frustrating situation for avid gamers and Achievement hunters, and has lead to much speculation about the cause of the release drought.

Who better to ask about the situation than Microsoft themselves? So we asked and this is what Michael Yaeger, Senior PR Manager for Xbox Live, had to say about it:

We are actively working with our partners as they finish development of new mobile titles, and look forward to sharing them with you as they become available.”

In other words, while many games are in development, none of them has been ready to publish in the last couple of weeks. Yes, it’s disappointing to people who want more games to play. But Michael stressed the importance of properly testing games and maintaining Xbox Live’s high quality standards. I can see his point there – I would rather have no game than a buggy game that takes months to get fixed (like I Dig It, whose patch finally went live recently).

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3 years ago

More on Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada

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Earlier this week, NAVIGON was released on the Windows Phone Marketplace bringing us a GPS navigation solution with offline maps. Today, Turn by Turn Navigation released their GPS navigation app with offline maps, Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada. The application itself doesn't seem to have changed (here's our original take on Turn by Turn) asides from giving you the option to download complete maps to your Windows Phone.

While having your navigation maps stored on your Windows Phone is an advantage, Turn by Turn takes this advantage a step further by allowing you to choose what maps to download. NAVIGON missed the boat on this one and requires you to download the full 1.6GB of maps on to your Windows Phone.

The initial download for Turn by Turn Navigation US and Canada is 37mb. Using my regions as an example, I will have to download the South US and Southeastern US map packages (roughly 730mb). My total storage needs for Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada will be roughly 767mb as opposed to the 1.6GB for NAVIGON.

Additionally, Turn by Turn is running $28.99 and while NAVIGON is running just a dollar more, that's an introductory price. After November 15th the $29.99 price for NAVIGON jumps to $49.99.

While Turn by Turn will give you a savings both in cost and storage requirements, we'll take the offline version out for a test drive to see how well it performs with offline maps. NAVIGON is still an outstanding navigation app in it's own right but Turn by Turn may give you a worthy alternative if cost and storage space is a concern.

We'll take Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada out for a test drive and see how well the offline maps perform.  Look for a follow up performance review up shortly (if all goes right by tomorrow evening).

There is a trial version available for Turn by Turn that allows you to download one map package and try it for 24 hours. The full version will run you $28.99 and you can find Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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3 years ago

HTC Brazil set to announce the Ultimate Windows Phone on the 20th

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We've mentioned how the HTC Ultimate aka Titan, with its massive 4.7" Super LCD screen managed to pass through Brazil's FCC equivalent ANATEL. That's a pretty good sign that the phone is coming to Brazil sooner than later, heck we even saw its accessories and manual to boot.

Now we have a date for its announcement (but not release): October 20th

On that day, HTC is set to reveal "the launch of the year" with Lee Ittner, Vice President from HTC Latin America, Cristina Palmaka from MS Brasil and Hilton Mende from Vivo (a Brazilian carrier) in attendance.

At the press conference, we can expect to see the Ultimate née Titan in its full glory and we bet a release date will be given too. Our guess is it won't be more than a few weeks into November, which gives you some time to save up for that slick phone!

Source: Gizmodo BR; Thanks, Lucas S., for the tip and translation!

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