With the launch of a new platform like Windows Phone 7, there is a learning curve for everyone involved. One of the best ways to get familiar with Windows Phone 7 is to read this website, another way is to read a book. There are pros and cons to both methods; websites are more dynamic and up to date while books are easier to read cover to cover, or refer back to from time to time.
We’ve got several books in-hand, and after the jump we’ll break down the similarities and differences.
Noise cancellation in Bluetooth headsets is something that manufacturers have thrown all kinds of technology and techniques at, with mixed results. For high end headsets like the Jawbone Icon or the Plantronics Voyager Pro, noise cancellation is a top priority.
Motorola is one of those electronics companies that seem to have their fingers in every aspect of the industry. I’ve reviewed several of Motorola’s Bluetooth offerings in the past, and have met with generally favorable results. The Motorola Finiti is the follow-on to the HX1 Endeavor, which uses bone conduction technology to achieve the highest possible sound quality.
Microsoft is giving away free Xbox games when you purchase a new Windows Phone 7 device. Regardless if you purchase the phone through AT&T, T-Mobile, from Amazon.com or any other Windows Phone retailer you can claim your game.
The offer is valid on purchase made between December 17, 2010 and December 31, 2010. The game titles aren't too shabby and include:
Kinect Joy Ride
To claim your game, you'll need to complete a redemption form that is available at www.myfreexbox360game.com and send it in along with a copy of your purchase reciept and a copy of the UPC code from your Windows Phone packaging. You can find the full Terms and Conditions here.
It may not match Telus's offer to give you a free Xbox 360 gaming system, but it's still a very good offer on some very entertaining games.
If there's one area the Focus doesn't need improvement on is sound--it's loud, clear and did we mention loud? Still, we know for some of you, there's never enough volume so for you, we bequeath this tip.
Like the detailed battery check and USB tethering before, you'll need to access the Diagnostic Menu on your Focus. It's easy enough and then you just enter a few codes and you're good to go. The only downside is this won't survive a soft-reset (but how often are you folks doing that anyways?). But the boost in volume is significant and if you want to compete with the Surround, now's your chance. Here we go:
Enter the dialer
##634# --> Call
Now you'll have three fields which you want to change:
System Gain: 7 change to 10
Class Gain: 7 change to 10
Device Gain: 7 change to 10
That should be it. Like we said, it's just a temporary change so no harm is done to the device. Let us know in comments if you notice a difference. We haven't done any scientific tests ourselves on this but it seems louder to our ears.
Update:Some reports suggest this does not work,, so take that as you will (thanks, electricbopeep, for the reference)
While we don't know just how many Mac users out there have a Windows Phone, for those brave enough (we salute you) there is some good news as Microsoft has published an update to the Connector app. To refresh, Connector allows Mac users to sync certain amounts of information and media to Windows Phone 7. While not a full Zune client, it's a step in the right direction for many who don't want to be tethered to Apple's ecosystem.
The latest version (0.6 beta) released on December 16th addresses some ongoing issues:
Fixes playback for the AAC files synced from iTunes that wouldn't play
Reverse sync MP3s bought from the WP7 phone
Properly sync from remote iTunes installs
Transfers bookmarks, ratings, release dates that were previously left out
Direct device browsing has been given much more control and lets owners not only manually import individual items from the phone but delete them or preview them.
Other media forms also get improvements. Connector now better handles iPhoto '11 libraries and will organize iPhoto collections by event first and by album only if necessary. The video preparation process has been improved, Microsoft said. Remaining changes bring early support for updating a phone's firmware, faster overall syncing, a new device setup experience and a more graceful handling of when the phone needs to be unlocked with a PIN code.
Sounds like quite the update and not just some minor bug fixes. You can grab the new version right here.
Although many would say Bing maps is a pretty solution to mapping in Windows Phone 7, one thing users always enjoy is choice. Two new mapping applications have arrived in the Marketplace recently and while neither is the be-all map-app, both offer some unique features that a few may be interested in. Unlike TA Maps which exploited Google's mapping servers but also required you to 'jailbreak' the device, both of these apps are distributed through the Marketplace, albeit for a price.
Advanced Maps Viewer ($0.99 + no trial): uses Google Maps and includes Street, Satellite, Hybrid and Physical maps in addition to geolocation positioning. OpenStreetMap integration is coming. This app is the most similar to TA Maps including "locate me" but also offers different map layers. It's fast, efficient and works. Downside is no routing. Grab it here in Zune on your phone or desktop.
JustAnotherMaps ($1.29 + trial): Uses OpenStreetMap (not Google) with routing and searching. This is actually great since it can give directions but it severely needs a "locate me" icon to zoom to your current position. Nothing a simple update couldn't improve upon. This app is better for those in Europe and other countries where Bing Maps is not so accurate or available. Grab it here in Zune on your phone or desktop.
Like we said, neither is perfect and it depends what you want more: Google Maps + Layers or mediocre Search + Routing. Someday we'll get it all, but for now, we'll keep watching what these two developers continue to offer.
Update:@mahoekst alerts us to the very cool and quite impressive Maps Mania (get it here), which also does Google Maps, Bing Maps, OpenStreetMap and custom maps. Nice.
Although we barely have a T-Mobile version out the gates for what is turning out to be quite the tumultuous launch, an updated version of the Dell Venue Pro sporting AT&T's 3G bands (WCDMA Band II and V) has cleared the FCC. Other candidate carriers include Rogers, Bell, or Telus.
Right away we think that's good news, but as Engadget points out, Dell has a history of getting things approved but not releasing them. A sort of "just in case" methodology, we suppose. However, we think in this situation an AT&T bound Venue Pro is quite likely, after all Ma Bell has been aggressive with the WP7 devices so far and we're expecting a "second wave" from them and others in a few months. Not to mention, despite the terrible launch of the VP, it's still a coveted design for many consumers and is only offered by Dell.
If you use Xbox LIVE Extras on Windows Phone 7, you may have noticed an update pushed to you today, specifically v1.50012.0 (up from v1.3). And if you're like us, you're wondering what changed? Don't worry, we got you covered:
New countries, new languages! We’re making Xbox LIVE Extras available in new languages including French, Italian, German, and Spanish. This also means that Xbox LIVE Extras will now be available in all the official countries where Windows Phone and Xbox LIVE are available!
Manage friend requests inside Xbox LIVE Extras! You’ll now be able to accept, or reject friend requests inside of Xbox LIVE Extras. Additionally you’ll be able to manage your friends’ lists as well as requests to others.
Even more additional features! We’ve also added a bunch of additional features such as new Avatar animations and configuration options, and displaying your motto on your profile. We’ve also worked to improve overall stability of the application!
We also can't help but notice it's finally faster to load, which is a welcomed change as well. We're going to bet that some of our Euro friends will be happy with the additional language support, allowing them to join in the party.
While the 2011 Mobile World Congress is still about two months away, rumors that we will see some new Windows Phones announced during the conference are surfacing. Leading the rumors is the ASUS E600.
The E600 is still a bit of a mystery with very little detail being leaked on the companies first Windows Phone 7 device. The phone is rumored to be heading to AT&T and dispels any rumors that ASUS was shying away from Windows Phone 7.
Other potential new phones making an appearance at the 2011 MWC could include one from Acer (the other "A" manufacturer), the CDMA phones (Trophy and 7 Pro) and a GSM 7 Pro. We keep hearing Acer is going to join the Windows Phone 7 crowd but have yet to see much movement.
We're also expecting more details on the Windows Phone 7 China launch at the 2011 MWC. This will also generate new phones from Lenova, ZTE and Huawei that could be showcased at the 2011 MWC.
While it has only been a few days, the popular Twitter client Beezz is gearing up for a v1.2 update that should make a lot of folks happy.
First off is the new Live Tile, with counters for messages, new Tweets and mentions--not too shabby, though it looks a little crowded. Still, we like innovation. The next features are some biggies that a lot of folks have been clamoring for:
That just about fills out the most popular Twitter features and we're pretty excited about giving it a spin. No word on ETA this time, but hopefully it will have less hangups than the last update ;-) Stay tuned for more.
Leave it up to good old HTC to release the first full YouTube client for Windows Phone 7. Too bad it's only for HTC phones, but you knew that would be the case, right?
The app is surprisingly not yet listed in the HTC App Hub, but you can find it under Apps --> Music & Video --> New for now. Overall, the design of the program is very similar to the old Windows Mobile version but with the panoramic styling of Metro. More importantly, when over WiFi the program supports full HD (aka HQ) playback, as can be seen above. The program is fast, zippy and even search is pretty solid (though make sure you choose your region and extend the range). Other features include Most Viewed, Most Discussed, Top rated, Categories and History along with thumbnails for each.
Not bad HTC, not bad at all. Combined with their Weather hub update, things are looking better for their app selection.
Update: For those having trouble, try this link for the Zune Marketplace.
As developers learn the intricacies of what sells and what does not with the Marketplace, they will adapt. Such a case presents itself with the developer of Impossible Shoota (see hands on), which has been downloaded 21,000 times already, making it one of the most popular apps out there (#6 in games). One of its secrets is that it is free.
Much like on Android and the iPhone, free apps that are ad supported tend to do the best. In response, Elbert Perez who makes Impossible Shoota, has made his other two games free too since they have not been doing nearly as well when selling for $0.99. Because the Marketplace doesn't yet allow developers to go from a paid app to free, he has to re-release them with a "+" at the end so "Scribble Defense+" and Zombiedmix+" are the new names. Later, these games along with Impossible Shoota are expected to gain ads through Microsoft's new XNA-supported ad system. Perez is hoping this works for him and us noting:
Hopefully this will be a successful business model for me because it benefits me and everyone out there looking for a quality game for free.
Even Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds have gone free with their Android version and it has been a huge success for them. Could free and ad supported be the secret developers need for success? We think so.
Download Scribble Defense+here and Zombiedmix+ here. Videos after the break of both games.
Microsoft watchdog Mary Jo Foley is reporting that Microsoft is prepping a major update to Windows Phone 7 for the fall timeframe. Codenamed Mango, the fall update is rumored to add Silverlight run-time and HTML 5 support as well as additional languages. Foley speculates that Microsoft may ramp up the enterprise functionality with Mango, in particular additional support for Exchange ActiveSync policies that enforce security requirements for mobile devices.
Rumors about the schedule for updates to Windows Phone 7 and what those updates will include have been flying recently. The current best guess is that we are going to see one or two updates in the January/February time frame, quite possible announced or released at CES in January. Many of the talking heads in the industry see that as a likely scenario because the rumored CDMA support would offer carriers like Sprint and Verizon the ability to announce their Windows Phone 7 launch hardware. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is delivering the pre-show keynote on January 5th. One could assume that there would be other minor updates before Mango is released in the fall. Foley also mentioned the possibility of a Windows Phone 8 (codenamed Apollo) launch in late 2012.