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3 years ago

Exclusive: Bug Village to break the freemium barrier on Xbox Live

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As the Windows Phone game library continues to grow, a few types of games remain conspicuously absent: role-playing games, first-person shooters, and freemium games. The first two are well-established genres (on other platforms), but the term freemium is a bit different. It’s not really a genre, but a business model. Freemium games are free to play but also have optional (or semi-optional) premium content for users to purchase. There hasn’t been a proper freemium Xbox 360 game yet, but they’re quite common on PC and iOS: Farmville, Smurf Village, and even many MMO games utilize the freemium business model.

Windows Phone kinda-sorta has a freemium game already: Haypi Kingdom. However, Microsoft shot down its in-game transaction model, forcing players to email the developer outside of the game in order to purchase coins. The neutering of Haypi Kingdom raised the question: when, if ever would the big MS officially allow games with microtransactions on Windows Phone? That’s surely the number one thing keeping Zynga away from the platform, after all.

The times they are a-changing, my friends. WPCentral is pleased to announce that a freemium game is officially coming to Windows Phone, and it’s an Xbox Live title to boot! That bleeding edge title is Bug Village, first announced back in August and from the fine folks at Glu Mobile (with porting duties handled by Babaroga). Bug Village really is an important title for the platform. Gamers might remember how Microsoft’s own Beards & Beaks included paid DLC, but the game itself costs money. Bug Village establishes the freemium model for the platform, making it more than a simple iOS port.

What kind of game is Bug Village? Why, it’s a city-building game, much like the aforementioned Smurf Village. The object is to build the biggest and best village with the help of your faithful insect army. Building things costs resources, of which there are two types: acorns and coins. While players can obtain acorns through normal gameplay, coins will cost real-world money. Bug Village has another goal on top of just building: to unlock Achievements! There are 200 GamerScore worth of Achievements to earn. We were previously told freemium games would be limited to 100 GamerScore, but Microsoft recently decided to allow all mobile games the full 200 regardless of business model.

We’ve just scratched the tip of the iceberg on Bug Village’s payment model and features. To find out more, check back next weekend for our Glu Mobile Xbox Live Developer Interview.

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3 years ago

Add a twist to your messages with MyTextTwister

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Need to spice up your text messages? Want to drive your friends crazy with upside down text messages? Want to do the same with Facebook, Twitter and Windows Live posts?

If you do, check out MyTextTwister over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. MyTextTwister adds a creative touch to your messages and posts with text effects such as inverted, rounded, leet speak, and lots of ASCII art effects.  A recent update to the app added a holiday theme to the available art effects.

MyTextTwister's interface is simple. You have one field to enter your text in a normal fashion and a preview field to show the effected text. Just below these two field is where you choose your Twisting Logic. Down below are buttons to add ASCII decorations, send the text to your SMS client, email the text or send it to a Facebook, Twitter or Windows Live.

It is noted in MyTextTwister's Marketplace description that sending ASCII arts and text effects relies on your service provider's support for sending 16-bit unicode text SMS and the receiving phone's support to receive such messages.

MyTextTwister is an interesting Windows Phone app to give your text messages and social media posts a unique flare. MyTextTwister is a free, ad-supported mango app that you can grab here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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3 years ago

AT&T Samsung Focus S Giveaway Winners!

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AT&T Samsung Focus S Giveaway Winners!

It wasn't easy but we've look through all the entries in the Samsung Focus S giveaway and have identified the winning entry. The contest called for readers to submit thier WPCentral lockscreen wallpaper in this Forums discussion. We were simply amazed at the quality and number of entries submitted. Over 270 entries were submitted and picking the best was tough.

First, we would like to thank AT&T for providing the Samsung Focus S (they were impressed with the quality and volume of entries as well) and the WPCentral Accessory Store for providing the prizes for the runner-ups.  To find out who won, you're gonna have to head past the break.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: Save Dat Santa

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3 years ago

From the WPCentral Forums...we have ringtones

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That's right people, we have ringtones and lots of them in the WPCentral forums! As you may know, since the release of Mango we have had the ability to add Ringtones to our devices. The only issue has been where to get them. It's hard enough to find the perfect ringtone, it's even harder to get it formatted properly and added to your device. No worries though, the great members of our forums have you covered.

Come join us in our 'Post your Mango phones Ringtones here' thread where you will find lots of great ringers ready for download. You will also find instructions on how to get them loaded up (you will need a PC with Zune Desktop. It's really a simple process).

Here are a few of the great ringtones that you can get right now:

That's just a few from a couple of posts (we're reaching double-digits deep in that thread). If you can't find what you are looking for be sure to post up a request as our forum members love to do this stuff. We're sure someone will take the challenge and get that ringtone ready for you!

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3 years ago

Weird device shows up at Nokia press event--probably just ID badge

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We're not sure what to make of this but over at BooredatWork, they have two photos of some odd gizmo. The little screened gadget is evidently being held by Chris Weber, President of Nokia US, at the T-Mobile-Nokia event for the 710 last week. Now at this point, we could just say it's maybe just a fancy LCD business-card, an electronic badge or some type of mini-media player and be done with it, but BooredatWork says this about it:

"...we got a  brief sneak peek at a little 3-inch Nokia Windows phone pocket tablet like device. It got 3-inch display, with no apparent physical button. No idea on specs or what the device truly is as we only saw it briefly, but it is a Windows phone based device " [Emphasis ours]

Now we're not sure why they think it is Windows Phone based (we're waiting for a response) but assuming that part is true, it is certainly a strange thing. Not only odd, but it doesn't make much sense either--Windows Phone is a bit small for a 3" screen, unless we're talking about some type of changes coming in "Tango" which we've heard has support for "smaller screens". Right now though, our Spidey sense is telling us this really isn't anything Nokia is working on but perhaps just an electronic badge/media player. See the image below:

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3 years ago

WindowsBreak: Free Interop-unlock for your Samsung device

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Over on XDA, Jaxbot has just detailed a project that he has been working on.

Basically he has managed to unlock his out-the-box Focus with nothing more than a pair of pliers (yes, I'm paraphrasing).

Now, let's take a step back. What I did was interop unlock my Samsung Focus, without using Chevron Labs, AppHub, etc. Not that I'm cheap, but it's the principle here that counts. Unfortunately, there's a catch: the exploit, while working for every device, requires further provisioning. Samsung devices can do this using the diagnostics application. Other devices have some opposition to that.

Hit the break to see how this all works.

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3 years ago

Executive Caddie is now available for free over Christmas

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Enjoy golf? Own a Windows Phone? Fancy saving $30 on a top golf app available on the platform? Executive Caddie, winner of the Windows Phone App Challenge, has had its price slashed to $0 and is within reach for anyone on a tight budget after the present purchasing spree. The 20 year old golf analysis software is a golfer's best friend when aiming for the hole-in-one. 

The Windows Phone app sports a highly accurate golf course database, on-course GPS and scorecard functionality (for up to four golfers). The GPS assistance boasts some impressive features:

  • Easily see distance to front, back, and center of the green.
  • Easily see layup distance to the 100, 150, and 200.
  • Aerial Map View showing the entire course layout.
  • Map View fairway markers and rings for the 100, 150, and 200.
  • Waypoints/markers for front, back, center, layups, bunkers, hazards, etc.
  • Zoom to your current position, the green, or the fairway.

You can download Executive Caddie from the Marketplace for absolutely nothing over the festive holiday (normally $30).

 

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3 years ago

Mystery Windows Phone: Nokia Lumia 800 or something else?

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We have a little discussion going on amongst the WPCentral writers concerning the Windows Phone used in Microsoft's Hotmail advertisement.  At first we thought it could be the HTC Titan until we noticed the Nokia apps (Drive, Maps, and Music).

We now have two schools of thought. One side of the coin has this being the Nokia Lumia 800 and the actress has small hands (hobbit hands was the description actually used). The mystery device appears to share the 800's buttons and silver strip on the back.

The other side of the coin calls for this to be a new Nokia, maybe the Lumia 900? Should the actress have average hands, the screen appears to be much larger than the Lumia 800 and the backing seems more gray than black.

So, what do you guys and gals think? Lumia 800, 900 or something else?

source: Windows Live UK Thanks goes out to Dan (the other one) for the tip!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone beats Android and is top rated at Amazon

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Nothing beats more feel good stories for Windows Phone as we countdown to the big day (should you celebrate Christmas of course). We've witnessed the Nokia Lumia 800 taking top spots around the globe in terms of orders/sales. Now it's Amazon's turn with three Windows Phones taking the top three positions (beating multiple Android handsets) on the top rated, contract-bound mobile phones list. We have the HTC Titan, Samsung Focus S (4G), and the HTC Trophy. Take that Google.

Source: Amazon, thanks kooksta for the tip!

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3 years ago

Dell Venue Pro on offer from $.99 on T-Mobile or $299 unlocked

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The Venue Pro, Dell's poor first generation Windows Phone, has found itself in trouble being plagued by issues (as well as lagging behind OS updates), been at the front of some good deals, and is tagged as Dell's only contribution to the platform for the foreseeable future. Should you be after the handset which sports a 4.1" AMOLED display, 1Ghz processor, 5MP camera, and a vertical slide-out QWERTY keyboard, you can pick one up for $299 unlocked. If contracts are more your scene, T-Mobile is offering the Venue Pro on a two-year plan for just $.99, not bad. 

While it's a solid deal for a Windows Phone that runs Mango smoothly, do note that there's no tethering and the compass is out of service. Be sure to check out our review for more information, and head on over to the source below to take advantage of the deals.

Source: Dell, thanks Kyle for the heads up!

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3 years ago

LG Fantasy leaked on XDA Developers

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LG Fantasy leaked on XDA Developers

The LG Fantasy (the LS831, which passed through FCC earlier this year?) has been spotted on the XDA Developers forum. untitledmangxg has got his paws on the upcoming Windows Phone, and has published some photos to back up his claims (see above). While he hasn't provided any detail surrounding the specifications of the device, untitledmangxg does note that it sports a very nice 4" IPS display and is powered by Mango.

We've reached out to untitledmangxg for more information. It doesn't look half bad for a second generation device. What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments.

Source: XDA Developers Forum, thanks chaitanya91845 for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Something's amiss about Twitter...

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Something's amiss about Twitter...

Consider this a public announcement fellow Windows Phone users, you might notice some strange behaviour in several of your favourite Twitter-enabled apps, ours included.

We kept an eye on this story yesterday when we were alerted by Chris Field (the mind behind MehDoh) that he was spotting errors being returned by the Hammock library (a popular .NET library used for accessing RESTful web services). Specifically, it appears that Twitter have changed their API slightly, or introduced a small bug, which is causing errors when users try and log in to Twitter within third party apps.

The issue is not affecting everyone. In fact I can authorise all my Twitter apps and use all tweeting, replying and retweeting functionality, however I've also seen users of our v2.0 app beta sending me bug reports that are caused by this issue. If it happens to you, try again, it might authorise second time around.

Jump past the break if you want to know more...

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: easyHeartRate

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We all know that our Windows Phones have tremendous capabilities but did you know that there's an app out there that turns your Windows Phone into a heart rate monitor? easyHeartRate is a Windows Phone app that uses your camera to measure your heart rate. easyHeartRate not only gives you a decent heart rate reading but you also have the ability to record and monitor your heart rate history, and calculate the various heart rate zones.

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3 years ago

The Lumia 800 guide on What Not To Do

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Most people like starting things off on a positive note, but I’m of the belief that you should get the horrid stuff out of the way first, and go uphill from there.

Since I got my Windows Phone 7 I have taken it upon myself to bring as many people as I can over to our side. You can think of me as one of the Microsoft WP7 Evangelists – but without the, you know, money. So I was rather pleased when I found out a family member was getting the Nokia Lumia 800. Nokia took their sweet time to finally get a phone to market so it could only be assumed that it would be a really rockin’ device, right?

After playing with the phone I immediately realized that was only half true.  As a developer I pride myself in knowing that I have developed great stuff. It isn’t perfect (else I would be Popcap),  but I avoid the obvious pitfalls as much as I can, and for the most part, do lots of QA before publishing.  Sadly, it looks like Nokia (and Microsoft), who must have approved it all, didn’t focus too much on the software side. Here’s why…

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