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3 years ago

The Microsoft Store opening in Danbury, Connecticut - A WPCentral reader report

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The crowd at the new Microsoft Store in Danbury, Connecticut

As we reported last night, Microsoft was set to open their latest Store in the quaint state of Connecticut who famously just allowed alcohol to be sold on Sunday's just a couple of weeks ago (no joke).

Reader Nicholas R. was there and sent us this report and collection of photos from the event. Overall, we're quite impressed with the sound of things and look forward to that Huntington Station opening here in New York. Check out his telling of the event and pics(taken with a Lumia 900, of course) below!

"So I stopped by a couple hours after the store opening this morning. There were a lot of people there, but it sounds like there were even more when the store actually opened. Some people even camped out overnight in front of the mall. Apparently Microsoft was giving out Xboxes, laptops, and tablets to some of the lucky first people. By the time I got there, they only had zip-up blankets, t-shirts, and concert wristbands left.

In terms of store layout, it's actually pretty nice. Although people accuse MS of stealing Apple's idea of wooden tables and chairs, the overall store doesn't feel like an Apple store. It definitely has a different feel; I guess I would call it futuristic. They have the displays with computers, Xboxes, Windows Phone, etc. They also have some Kinects scattered around for people to play with. In the middle of the store is the Answer Desk. A big glass wall is behind the Answer Desk and separates the front of the store for the back. The back is fairly spacious and has a big TV with a Kinect attached to it. Today, they were passing out the tickets for the concert in the back. But I think they might hold other events there in the future. On the wall surrounding the store is a long screen that changes animations.

Their demos actually extended out into the mall space today. They had some more TVs setup with Kinects out in the mall. These were linked together so people could play against each other right there. They also had a DJ stand and some speakers setup, but it was unattended when I got there (I assume that was for the opening). Out in the parking lot, they do have a big stage setup for the concert later in the evening."

        

            

    

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3 years ago

Xbox Live - Monster Island expands to France and other nations

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Monster Island is an Xbox Live title with a tumultuous history. First it launched in the US-only rather than worldwide and with Achievements that broke the Live rules by requiring players to spend money off the bat, and then it got pulled. The game eventually came back with fixed Achievements, and shortly thereafter became available in the United Kingdom too. When would other nations get to visit Monster Island (which is actually a peninsula), we wondered?

Today’s the day, it seems! Monster Island is now available in the frost-bitten climes of France. The region is known for its year-round snows and deadly walrus attacks. It’s also one of the last nations on Earth to still use Latin as its official language. Also, Rayman comes from there (really). Okay, so I don’t know anything about mysterious France, but I do know people from there can finally grab Monster Island and start earning Achievements like the rest of us.

Monster Island costs $2.99 (in the US) and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace. Now that the game has launched in France, could it be available in others as well? Let us know in the comments below, readers.

Thanks to Zebrasqual for the tip!

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3 years ago

Xbox Live Developer Interview: IronSun Studios, makers of MonstaFish and Fathom

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It's been a while, but we're back with another installment of our Xbox Live Developer Interview series! This time we talk with Paul Kelly, director of IronSun Studios. The British development house has already brought IonBallEX, Battlewagon, and MonstaFish to Xbox Live. Here we discuss some of their influences, design philosophies, and even their next Live game. Head past the break for the full interview and lots of exclusive concept art!

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3 years ago

More Windows Phone Avatar props show up but this time in the Dutch Marketplace

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Earlier yesterday we reported that in Italy you can get a free Windows Phone prop for your Xbox Avatar. The prop was specifically a Nokia Windows Phone and it was "locked" to those in Italy.

Now reader Illum1na has done some searching and managed to turn on up in the Dutch Marketplace. Actually, he found four in total:

  • Black
  • Magenta
  • Blue
  • White

Not too shabby. Once again, these items are locked to the Dutch Marketplace meaning you probably won't have much luck trying to get 'em if you're not in that region. But if you are, you'll want to go to this link and grab 'em. You can actually get all four of them, in case you feel like changing it up a bit. 

Thanks, Illum1na, for the link!

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3 years ago

Vodafone Australia launches My Vodafone app for Windows Phone users

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3 years ago

Microsoft getting ready to rock Danbury, Connecticut tomorrow for new Store opening

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The new Microsoft Store in Danbury Fair mall, Danbury, CT

Microsoft is really on a roll with these official Store openings, no doubt they are in a rush to get them open in time for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 this fall. 

The latest is the Danbury Fair mall in Danbury, Connecticut. The store has been under construction since May and now not only are they throwing their doors open at 9:30am tomorrow but at 6pm, they're hosting a concert in the parking lot with an expected 2,000 people in attendance.

Who's playing? Young the Giant with "reggae-flavored rock group" O.A.R. headlining. Not bad, not bad at all.

Microsoft is also donating $1 million in software to the local chapter of Junior Achievement which adds a nice touch. The store is on the 2nd floor of the Danbury Fair mall, located between Lady Footlocker and, we're not kidding, MetroPark. Booya.

​If you feel like going, may we suggest you get there early in the morning to get your wristbands. The first 200 in line on the grand opening morning will receive two premiere viewing tickets/wristbands for the concert later that night. 

We've been promised some photos and report from reader Nicholas R. (who also sent the above shot back in May), so hopefully we can show that this weekend sometime. Either way, this is hands down one of the biggest store openings for Microsoft yet. Feels good, man. Feels good.

Click here to see the unofficial/official list of upcoming Microsoft Stores. Edit: Looks like they're also opening in Toronto, Canada, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Core Madera, CA too. (Thanks, Travis)

Source: NewsTimes, Nicholas R.

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3 years ago

Official Facebook app for Windows Phone bumped to version 2.6

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Say what you will about the official Facebook app for Windows Phone but they are trying hard to fix things and improve it. Rapidly too.

Version 2.6 just landed in the Marketplace and you can go get it now. Don't expect a slathering of new features like the last few updates but instead it addresses a couple of bug fixes that many of you have been sending into them. These include:

  1. An image posted to a group was appearing on your own wall rather than the group
  2. Users with custom privacy settings set as their default were having their updates created with "Only Me" permissions

Nothing thrilling but hey, at least they're listening and tweaking things with rather a quick turn around. You can grab the latest version of Facebook here in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Source: Facebook; Thanks, jbarinas & Todd, for the tips

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3 years ago

Nokia Maps updated, fixes issues with favorites and places

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Nokia Maps for your Lumia Windows Phone was updated to version 2.1 this afternoon to fix a few problems associated with Nokia Maps places and your favorites.

Version 2.0 brought a handful of features to Nokia Maps that included:

  • Sharing reviews on Nokia Maps Places from your Lumia Windows Phone
  • Add your photos to Nokia Maps Places
  • Sync your saved favorites from maps.nokia.com to your Windows Phone

These features give Nokia Maps more social integration and, while minor in nature, the update should resolve issues users were experiencing in uploading photos of Places and accessing their favorites.

You can download Nokia Maps from the Nokia Collection on a Lumia Windows Phone or if you're reading this article from your Lumia Windows Phone, just tap on this link to go to the Marketplace listing.

Thanks, Jamil, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Surface Tablets rumors on pricing and being WiFi-only make their rounds

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Microsoft's Surface tablet event definitely caused a buzz that was dampened a little with the Windows Phone Summit which was held two days later. In a way, Windows Phone 8 took a little wind out of Surface's sails.  While the spotlight has been on Windows Phone 8, there have been a few rumors growing with regards to the Surface tablets which we'll catch up on.

The release date is still up in the air and Microsoft is sticking with the Surface RT being released with the general availability of Windows 8. The Windows 8 Pro Surface would hit store shelves about 90 days after that. Initial availability will be through Microsoft's stores and select third party retailers. Likely Amazon.com, Best Buy, etc.

Price speculation has ranged from $500 on up with the Windows 8 Pro being the higher priced of the two. At this point, pricing is anyone's guess and Liveside.net is seeing the ballpark pricing as $399/$499 (32gb/64gb versions) for the RT Surface and $799/$999 (64gb/128gb versions). We would hope the ballpark is a little smaller but $399 for a 32gb Surface isn't too bad. Is it? In fact, over at Techie-Buzz, Manan Kakkar notes that even at $599 it's a steal compared to an iPad:

Oh...there's one more rumor circulating about the Surface's release. Initially, the Surface will only support Wifi connectivity. Bloomberg is reporting that initially the tables will go on sale without a connection to mobile-phone networks. This isn't necessarily a bad thing in that a) it will allow Microsoft to keep the cost down and b) you won't have wireless carriers potentially delaying the initial release. Models with cellular connections would hit the market at some point after the initial release.

You can also read TechRadar's early "review" of the Surface. Overall, they seem to like it.

So...we leave you with two questions. What would be a competitive price for the Surface and is "Wifi only" a serious limitation or not a big deal?

Thanks, everyone, for the tips!

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3 years ago

Poll results - Majority of Windows Phone users happy with proposed 7.8 update

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Certainly the most controversial issue for Microsoft and Windows Phone users right now is the 7.8 update which will bring the new Start screen to current devices. This update is in lieu of getting Windows Phone 8 proper which is reliant on advanced hardware for most of its new features.

Some in the tech media are portraying this as a fiasco though the majority see the light at the end of the tunnel, recognizing that Microsoft had to switch the kernel from CE to NT if it wanted the platform to move forward. Combined with the difficulty in providing direct-upgrades to Windows Phone 8 (it's not a simple "update" but rather requires wiping the device, backing update data and re-writing aspects for current hardware) we can sympathize with Microsoft in not spending invaluable time and resources on making WP8 backwards compatible. 

We put the question to you though to get your feedback. On the original article, you folks left an astounding 500+ comments. On the poll, a massive 6,500+ of you left a response. While the data may not be perfect we do get a rough idea of how you are feeling.

Certainly we can say the results are mixed but a majority of you (54%) are okay with Microsoft choosing this path for current Windows Phone users. The clear "no" category had 19.61%  thinking Microsoft could and should do more while another 20% were on the fence, perhaps waiting to see how it actually looks and feel. A tiny percentage (6%) claimed they are finished with Microsoft and are leaving the platform.

For those 20% who are unsure they may want to see exactly what the update entails. Microsoft has strongly hinted that as of now, it is just the new Start screen. The reason for that is many of the additional new features, like Wallet or voice, requires access to the core of the OS since they use new APIs not available in Windows Phone 7. In other words, if you code an app that uses the WP8 SDK with new WP8 APIs for WinRT/NT it is not clear how that can be back-ported to a CE device.

Of course we have to remember that what Microsoft showed this week technically was not for consumers. The Windows Phone team team will be having more events this summer where they show off new, not-previously mentioned features including some UI changes. In other words, there may yet still be more to Windows Phone 7.8 but Microsoft is waiting to reveal those in tandem with the consumer preview of Apollo.

In fact, Nokia US on Twitter yesterday noted that besides the new Start screen "Other elements aren't being disclosed at this time" which leads us to believe there may be yet more to come for Windows Phone 7.8.

Looks like we'll just have to wait and see but so far, Microsoft may have done enough to ameliorate the issue with users.

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3 years ago

Microsoft and Italy team up for Xbox Avatar gadget giveaway

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Nokia's Lumia Windows Phone now in mini-size

We all love those free Xbox Avatar Gadgets, especially when they're Windows Phone focused. And for those in Italy, your day just a got a little brighter.

If you follow this link code (LINK) you can download and add a Nokia Lumia gadget to your avatar all for free. It's wee little Windows Phone with Nokia emblazoned on the top and ties win with the Lumia 610 launching over in that region.

Unfortunately when we tried here in the US, we were told it's not available in our region. Heck, even changing our region settings on our 360 didn't help but if any of you clever blokes figure out how to bypass this limitation, hit us up in comments.

via: Plaffo

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3 years ago

Some users complaining of Nokia Lumia 900 "Akron, Ohio GPS bug" [Updated]

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Dear phone, we're not in Akron!

Update: Nokia just pinged us to let us know they are "...aware of the issue and it has been addressed, but users may need to restart their phones to see the fix take effect." Moreover, this does not seem to be a Lumia 900 issue per se but rather related to AT&T's LTE towers. Evidently some Android users have had this problem too.

It looks like the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T is experiencing yet another odd and seemingly random bug these days. For some users, when they fire up a GPS application such as Maps, Local Scout, Foursquare (for checkins) or Yelp, they show up as being in Akron, Ohio despite not actually being there.

The issue first popped up in Nokia's support forums with two threads and a handful of users noting the problem. Another thread appeared here in the Windows Phone Central Forums as well. But to be honest, we had only received one email complaint on the matter from reader Alex T. and we had not seen this bug ourselves to verify--so off it went into the "quirks" pile for further investigation.

This week though as we're paling around with Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott in sunny San Francisco, both of their devices suddenly had this happen. First up was Thurrott who's phone just would not budge from the great state of Ohio. Despite soft-resets, some toggling and a boatload of swearing, there it stayed.

Later that night, Rivera's phone did the exact same thing when we were at Denny's. What was curious though was how both phones, even when placed next to each other, did not have the bug at the same time. Both Lumia 900s, both on AT&T, yet one worked and the other did not. (Our 900 was in tow but we were using the Focus 2 as our primary device this week).

We're not sure if this is related to AT&Ts network for aGPS, an issue with full GPS or maybe something in between. We have noticed that more folks seem to experience it on the West coast but that could just be sampling error. 

So we figured we would crowdsource this a bit and ask you if you've experienced this on your Lumia 900. And if so, what state are you in? Hit the poll below. (And for our international users, have you had something similar?).

 

Has your Lumia 900 erroneously positioned you in Akron, OH?
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3 years ago

Nokia's Camera Extras & Play To available for Lumia Windows Phones

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Looks like Nokia was sitting on the release of Camera Extras & Play Now for its Lumia phones as you can now go ahead and download both apps from the Nokia Collection.

Camera Extras is what it sounds like, yet another camera app from the Finnish company that adds a lot of unique features to hopefully improve some of those pics. Features include:

  • Smart Group Shot - automatically selects faces, lets you create the perfect picture
  • Panorama - takes  numerous photos and stitches them together
  • Action Shot - rapidly takes photos
  • Self timer - 10 second countdown

The app downloads as a separate program but it does integrate into the camera module meaning you can just quickly load the whole thing by hitting your dedicated camera button. Overall, the features are pretty good and we think many of you will enjoy the new additions. Nokia may be late to the game but they often get it right in the end.

Next up is Play To, Nokia's DLNA app which has finally made it to their Collection. Allowing you to "stream" your Music, Photos and Videos to any DLNA capable device e.g. your TV, the app is a great way to show off your photos to friends and family.

The system auto searches for any DLNA devices over WiFi such as BluRay Players, PCs and more. We don't have one in house so can't test it, we'll leave that to you for now.

Note: For both apps it says you may need the latest update for your phone in order to work--that would be Windows Phone "Tango" (8773) for some of you or Nokia's latest firmware for others. Things like DLNA require some "ground work" done by Nokia in their firmware to be installed so if you can't install these apps or you don't get all of their features, you may have to wait till you get a phone update first.

If not available in your Market (It appears to be US, China and Inida right now) stay tuned as Nokia is rolling these throughout  July.

Pick up Camera Extras here and Play To here in the Nokia Collection. Thanks, CaliforniaDrew, for the heads up

    

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Roundup: Sports Apps

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Windows Phone Central's Roundup of Sports Apps for your Windows Phone

In this week's Windows Phone App Roundup, we're focusing in on sports apps. Apps (not games) that will keep you up to date on all the scores and news from the sports world. We have a few all encompassing apps and then a few that are sports specific.

And now for the customary disclaimer. If an app doesn't make the roundup it should not reflect poorly on things. These are just a collection of apps or games that have stood out to us. If we've missed an app that you think should have been included, sound off in the comments.

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3 years ago

Looking at Windows Phone 8 from a developer's perspective

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Microsoft has finally started to talk about the highly anticipated major update to Windows Phone, codenamed Apollo. With it we get a glimpse into the brand new Windows Phone 8.0, we've had a chance to assess some of the features that are inbound with this update and for the developers out there, it's time to start getting excited about a few of the features we're going to highlight.

  • Native C++ development
  • App-to-app communication APIs
  • NFC & Bluetooth stacks
  • In-app purchasing and the Wallet

Some of the biggest news of course is the shift in the base of the system to the new 'WinPRT' (Windows Phone RunTime), a subset of Windows Phone 8 (WinRT) with a few COM and Win32 APIs available for good measure. That means that a fair amount of code written for WinRT will be directly portable to this new WinPRT based framework.

Read on past the break for our take on exactly how Microsoft has opened up a new world of development possibilities...

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