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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: December 12-18, 2011

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Welcome to another Windows Phone weekly recap! Kicking us off is Dave Blake from the WPCentral forum with some updates. Two new forums have been added, Custom Themes and Beta Testing will both open up new discussions to be held between developers and consumers. We've got episode 133 of the WPCentral podcast up and ready for your viewing.

We're also running a contest for wallpaper designs to be made for Windows Phones. The winning reader will receive a brand new Samsung Focus S, be sure to get your entry in now as the closing date is December 22nd. Head on past the break for the full summary.

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3 years ago

WeatherMaster gets bumped to v2.0

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WeatherMaster gets bumped to v2.0

WeatherMaster is a simple, yet detailed weather app for your Windows Phone. When we first took a look at WeatherMaster we found it to be a very nice weather app choice for your Windows Phone.  WeatherMaster was recently updated to version 2.0 to bring mango features into the mix.

Some of the key features to the update include:

  • You can add new cities/locations (unlimited) or use your current position (GPS) as well
  • Seven day forecast with detailed view and temperature chart
  • US and Metric units are supported (Fahrenheit/Celsius, mile/km)
  • Mango Live Tile support with current weather condition and two days forecast info for selected city / current location
  • Pin as many Live Tiles (with city weather) as you want
  • Weather Map with Weather/Cloud/US Radar layers to check out nearby locations quickly
  • Supports Dark/Light mode and Tile icon uses your Accent color as background to integrate perfectly
  • Intelligent caching of weather data to avoid unnecessary data transfer

You still can't animate the radar layer on the weather map view (maybe in the next update) but it's nice to be able to add locations to your city list from the map view.  There is a free, two-week trial version available that is fully functional. The full version of WeatherMaster is running $1.99 and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Nextgen+ ROM hits version 2.0 for the HD7

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If you fancy yourself a custom ROM, you may want to take a peek at the latest version of Nextgen+ which just received a nice little makeover. We covered the previous release here, noting that it offered some very interesting additions, including a stripped down core and new color emoticons for things like messaging and system icons. Version 2.0 looks to go even further and is now available in 'lite' or 'full':

  • Windows Phone 7.5 (Build 7740.16)
  • MultiLanguage (in Full Version)
  • High Speed
  • Full-Unlocked
  • Installing *.xap from IE
  • The easy, optimized and modified ROM
  • New exclusive iconpack
  • OEM apps, Wallpapers, ringtones, sounds from Nokia Lumia 710 / 800
  • Internet Sharing
  • Visual Studio Debugging
  • Colored Themes
  • New, great wallpapers, pictures, sounds
  • Some minor reg Tweaks
  • OEM apps from HTC Omega / Eternity

Not a bad set of features, in fact we may have to fire up our HD7 and throw this on there to see how it performs. Plus you can expect some excellent battery life and the usual speed improvements, which is great for that Gen1 hardware.

Source: XDA Forums; Thanks, volpi3000, for the link!

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3 years ago

Another Windows Phone wallpaper site pops up

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We're certainly not having a shortage of wallpaper sites these days and this morning, we have another. This one comes from reader Criss and while the selection isn't massive, they are unique and minimalist, featuring the Windows Phone logo and a variety of colors. We're actually digging some of these, especially the variety of colors to match your preferred accent. [Edit: Heads up, if you keep scrolling down, you might see some scantaliy clad ladies]

It certainly wouldn't hurt to browse over there on your phone and take a gander: http://wpwalls.wordpress.com/

And don't forget if you're into making wallpaper, we're having a neat-ol little contest here where you can win a brand-new Samsung Focus S. We already have some amazing entries here in our forum but maybe yours will be the winner? Runner-ups will also get featured here on the site and within version 2.0 of our official app, so crack open that Photoshop on this idyllic Sunday and go for it!

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3 years ago

Mugen Power selling 1950mAh extended battery for HTC Titan

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Love your Titan? Use it so much that you're killing the battery prematurely? We actually doubt there are many of you who are doing that as the Titan gets excellent battery life, but hypothetically speaking, lets say you wanted a bigger battery for your monster device. Mugen Power is now selling a slim-extended 1950mAh at a reasonable price.

Slim-extended means no new cover--this will take simply replace your existing battery and presumably add a bit of weight. At 1950mAh, you're getting about 18% more battery than the standard 1600mAh that comes with the Titan and Mugen claims it will last 1.22 as long. The battery is fetching for a reasonable $44.95 and you can save $3 with the coupon 'FACEBOOKSPECIAL'--that's the good news. The bad news is that it is currently out of stock and won't ship till after the 30th--so if you order now, don't expect it till the new year.

Now Mugen batteries, especially when they're "the same but bigger" are always a bit controversial with folks, which we understand. So we ordered one for ourselves and will put it through the tests after the new year to see if it really delivers. Sound good? In the meantime, you can ponder if you need it or not.

Source: Mugen Power

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3 years ago

eBuddy XMS for Windows Phone beta now live

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We previously touched on eBuddy earlier this year when we noticed a job posting for a Windows Phone app, now Mi Móvil Windows has cooked up an article briefly covering the eBuddy XMS beta for Windows Phone, which was made available to selected users yesterday. They note that while the app lacks features sported in other messaging apps that are already available on the platform, it does have an attractive UI.

Some features highlighted in the version 0.9 beta:

  • Ability to add contacts by scanning the handset address book, Facebook contacts, directly with PIN or eBuddy
  • Allows you to copy and delete entire conversation threads
  • Push Notifications of received messages
  • Displays the contact's online status
  • Displays information about the delivery status of a message
  • Phone Compatible with Windows 7.5 and higher Mango
  • Languages ​​available: English, Dutch and Russian

Limitations to take note of:

  • Does not allow to send or receive images
  • Does not display emotions sent from other platforms
  • Only allows text chat

Keep an eye out on this space should you be looking forward to eBuddy making an appearance.

Source: Mi Móvil Windows (translate)

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3 years ago

Lockergnome takes on Microsoft's Metro UI

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Continuing the ongoing change in tech-media attitudes (see here, here and here) comes a good read from the folks at Lockergnome, run by Chris Pirillo. Pirillo is one of those guys you either find fascinating or extremely annoying--we're actually in the former camp as we appreciate his geeky observations and dedication to the field, but we digress.

The post, written by Robert Glen Fogarty, deals with a novice's experience with Metro UI specifically on the new Xbox 360 dashboard update. While many of us take Metro for granted, reading the perspective of someone new to it can be quite informative.  Fogarty's take on it is from using the new Netflix app and he seems impressed:

"At long last, the little status bar filled and I was surprised at the very different-from-expected interface that greeted me. At first I was puzzled, and hoped that learning to navigate wasn’t going to be a counter-intuitive experience...As it turned out, everything was just as easy to find as it was with the last design; in fact, I think the new interface utilizes space with better efficiency so that features are more easily accessible than they were before. (In my experience so far, it seems that there’s much less aimless scrolling necessary)."

Pirillo takes on the question “What do you think of Microsoft taking Metro to PCs and Xbox? I would love to know how Metro works with a keyboard and a mouse.” and moves on to the benefit of Microsoft bringing over Kinetcimals, Bing and My Xbox Live to iOS--a controversial move that has left many of you furious at Microsoft. For the record and setting ourselves up for some, ahem, negative feedback, we totally agree with Chris here because lets face it, porting over Kinetimals to iOS is not going to damage Windows Phone.

More importantly, spreading the gospel Metro UI seems to be a much more wise endeavor for Microsoft in the long run. With Xbox 360, Windows 8 and Windows Phone, Metro UI really is more than the sum of its parts. Either way, positive tech-media coverage for Metro UI is a great thing for Microsoft and seems to be a growing trend these days.

Source: Lockergnome

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3 years ago

Folders for Windows Phone Mango updated [Homebrew]

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We previously covered the homebrew Folders for Windows Phone app, which allows users to create live tile folders to store multiple tiles within. It's become fairly popular in the homebrew community and Windows Phone Hacker have updated the app to version 3. What's included in the update:

  • Support for custom accents (have to enter the colour code manually)
  • Optimization and bug fixes
  • Easier to pin applications
  • Able to use applications from other markets (e.g France)
  • Able to save the XAP to deploy manually (makes things easier)

You can download Folders for Windows Phone from Windows Phone Hacker. Remember that you require an unlocked handset and need to be running Mango.

Source: Windows Phone Hacker

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3 years ago

Feed Me removed from the Marketplace

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For those not familiar, Feed Me is a well laid out RSS reader for your Windows Phone (here's our review). We've been contacted by the developer of Feed Me, forty3degrees, and informed that the Windows Phone app has been temporarily removed from the Marketplace.

"Feed Me will be temporarily removed from the marketplace within the next few days. Due to personal reasons I am unable to further develop or support feed me for the immediate future. However, I do hope to have a new version back online towards the end of the first quarter of 2012.Thanks go out to all of the people that have supported feed me over the last 10 months."

The developer is considering publishing an unsupported beta version of Feed Me until he can get a new version back on the Marketplace. You can reach out to forty3degrees through their website or Twitter account (@forty3degrees) should you need to reinstall Feed Me or voice your support for the Windows Phone app.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Device Manager Version v1.8 public beta now available [Homebrew]

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For those looking to literally explore more of your developer-unlocked Windows Phone (including CheveronWP7 Labs), you'll want to grab v1.8 of the Windows Phone Device Manger by Schaps. The app is a one-stop place for doing all sorts of cool things on your phone via your Windows Desktop--it's basically the old Device Manager from Windows Mobile but augmented with many news functions. Here are just a few:

  • Applications management: view, install/uninstall & update applications
  • File management: explore device, exchange files with your phone
  • Sync files, folders and favorites with phone
  • Send to Windows Phone (to send files, apps, ringtones, web links in one click)
  • Detailed device information (CPU, ROM, RAM, storage, network, battery, OS,...)
  • Detailed storage information
  • Add and manage custom ringtones
  • Send SMS, E-mail, notes directly from PC (without needing cloud services)
  • Remote screen view and take screenshots of the phone
  • Backup/restore files and application data
  • Create and manage backup/restore of the phone
  • Full access to apps isolated storage....

And there's much more. Anyways, the latest version is now available to the public and seems to be working on most 2nd generation phones, including the HTC TItan and Samsung Focus S. The app is technically free but a donation (if you use it) is highly recommended for continued development of this project.

Source: TouchXperience; WPDM v1.8; via WPCentral Forum (dragonide)

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: Rise of the Mummies

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3 years ago

Kinectimals using Unity engine? Not likely.

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Earlier this week, various blogs picked up on a tweet alluding to the use of the Unity game engine in the cute and fuzzy Kinectimals title for Windows Phone. This comes after Unity Technologies CEO David Helgason came out and said, in November, that the company was “skipping” Windows Phone 7, looking forward instead to its successor – Windows Phone 8.

The rumor floating around has two main components to it:

  • The Kinectimals XAP contains a library (UnityEngine.dll) that contains the word Unity.
  • The UnityEngine.dll has classes that look like Unity code.

While the Kinectimals XAP does contain a library named UnityEngine, we couldn’t verify this library was in any way related to Unity Technologies’ game engine. In fact, we found evidence to the contrary:

  • The library contains .NET metadata indicating copyright belongs to the development shop Frontier Developments Ltd., not Unity Technologies as expected.
  • Frontier Developments Ltd. specializes in cross-platform technology. We believe the UnityEngine references are merely artifacts from recycling their code targeting iOS and other platforms.
  • The game doesn’t use any native code. As we’ve seen from a number of applications on the Marketplace, Windows Phone can run native code. It doesn’t make sense that Unity’s game engine would be ported in whole to a pure XNA solution for cost and performance reasons.

Regardless, we simply don’t have enough information to say one way or the other. We'll follow up when we hear more from the developers next week.

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3 years ago

Investment firm calls for RIM to adopt Windows Phone OS

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There's little doubt that the once bulletproof Research in Motion (RIM) is now in dire-straits with their current lineup of BlackBerry devices--such a down fall has given Microsoft leg room to vie for third in the smartphone category worldwide. To combat their current downward trajectory, RIM is betting a lot on 'BlackBerry 10', but now the company has revealed that their next-generation OS and hardware won't be ready till late 2012. That delay has caused their stock to plummet, dropping 77% in the last year (12% just on Friday) and in addition, has caused many investors (and consumers) to lose faith that the company can recover.  Palm was in this same position with their transition from PalmOS to webOS and they didn't live to tell the tale. Microsoft too was in a similar position back with Windows Mobile--but Microsoft has other businesses and mobile, while important, is not make-or-break for the company.

Some investors have called for RIM to sell itself off or at least its patents. Others have called for their buyout, with some suggesting even Microsoft would be a good suitor (we're not convinced). Now, Evercore Partners, an investment banking advisory firm, is calling on RIM to adopt Windows Phone for their OS:

"We now believe that RIMM needs to adopt an existing ecosystem (Windows Phone) in order to remain a relevant player in the smartphone market"

Or as CNN put it, RIM needs to become the Canadian version of Nokia. Granted, Evercore is but one firm suggesting this but that is usually all that is needed to get people (and people with money) talking. We're not sure of the feasibility of such an adoption in the long run, but you have to admit, if RIM to did announce next week that they were switching to Windows Phone OS, they would certainly get a huge boost in their stock as a vote of confidence (or perhaps just relief). Microsoft too would gain much more gusto as they would have secured yet another prominent and reliable hardware partner--one with an outstanding reputation.

So while we don't see this actually happening, we sure do like the sound of it. In fact, it sounds a lot better than Microsoft buying RIM. We say let RIM live on,  but with another ghost in the machine.

Source: CNN Money; Image credit: Crackberry.comThanks, Paul C., for the tip!

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3 years ago

Lumia 800 available for pre-order at Hutchinson 3G Austria

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Austria's Hutchinson 3G, part of the Three Mobile brand, announced via Facebook that the Nokia Lumia 800 is now available for pre-order.  It is listing for free with a monthly plan.  The Lumia is also expected to hit Austrian stores in the next week.  This is comes a month after 3's UK counterpart got the Lumia 800, but hey, better late than never.

The Nokia Lumia 800 is a stunning device that has been winning its fair share of accolades, including What Mobile's Phone of the Year.  It is nicely equipped with:

  •     Single-piece body.
  •     3.7-inch AMOLED display at 800x480 resolution
  •     1.4 GHz Qualcomm MSM 8255 processor with hardware acceleration
  •     Windows Phone 7 Mango
  •     1450 mAh battery
  •     16GB internal storage, 512MB programmable memory
  •     Quad-band EDGE (850/900/1800/1900); quad-band 3G (850/900/1900/2100); 14.4Mbps
  •     8MP camera with Carl Zeiss lens and LED flash
  •     720p video capture at 30 fps
  •     Dimensions: 116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1 mm
  •     Weight: 142 grams
  •     Wifi: 802.11 b/g/n
  •     Bluetooth 2.1
  •     aGPS

Source: Hutchinson 3G (Thanks for the tip, Patrick!)

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3 years ago

Jon Rettinger from TechnoBuffalo switches from iPhone to Windows Phone

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Jon Rettinger of TechnoBuffalo has published a video of himself explaining that he's switched from the iPhone to Windows Phone, and the HTC Titan is now his main handset. One of the main features he loves about the platform (and the device in this case) is the size of the live tiles and content on the massive 4.7" screen. Rettinger's main concern with making the switch (as is with every potential buyer) is the choice of apps on the Marketplace, but goes onto state that every app he required was actually present in the catalogue, or an equivalent available.

Overall he's impressed. What's more is that when Rettinger shows his Titan to other people when out and about, there's generally a positive response, but he notes that the biggest flaw of the system that could be turning away a lot of folk is the attached "Windows" brand. Let's not forget that Microsoft is in a reforming stage, if you will. Closing up, he has no regrets in switching and doesn't look back at the iPhone 4S. Take that Siri.

Source: TechnoBuffalo, thanks Theo for the tip!

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