They are like a disease covering social media realm, and CES 2011 was not going to be an exception. Mashable had a quick look at a demonstration for an upcoming Ford app on all mobile platforms (including Windows Phone 7).
Alan Hall presented, and quickly ran through what the app will offer users (owners of the upcoming Ford Focus Seden). From seeing what charge the car currently holds, planning short or multiple stop journeys, locating charging stations, pre-heating/cooling the car, and more, the MyFord app is a pretty nifty bit of kit. You can even post statistics and more to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, sharing with the world how you are doing your bit to save the environment.
Hoping the app will make the somewhat daunting switch from highly explosive liquid to energy charged cells less challenging for the average driver/car owner, Ford have created a more than useful tool that I’m sure will prove to be invaluable for owners of the Focus Seden – especially since mobile phones are rarely out of one’s hand.
CNET managed to get some more information from Microsoft regarding the upcoming January/February update to Windows Phone 7, described by Ballmer during his keynote. While we know about copy and paste but the other new feature quoted as a "significant improvement in performance when loading or switching between applications" was left a little vague.
Aaron Woodman, director of Microsoft's mobile communications business, went over some of the details with CNET and it turns out to be pretty interesting. In short, front-loading, graphic intensive apps will see the most, maybe even dramatic, improvement, while more text-based apps won't see as much. Basically, things like XBox games and apps with locally stored information will get a huge boost. However, apps like Flixster won't see much of an improvement, only because they pull down their data from the web and that's a different thing altogether.
When given an example like Bejewled, the comparison between an updated and non-updated device was given to CNET. Evidently, the updated device loaded Bejeweleda full 15-20 seconds faster than the non-updated version, which Woodman appropriately called "dramatic". What is nice of course is the fact that developers need not make any changes to their coding--this is all on Microsoft's memory architecture and how it allocates resources, so technically every app will see a gain, just some more than others.
Finally, you can also sense the nervousness of Microsoft regarding app-updates. While there are many "unknowns" about the whole process, the feeling from this and other interviews on the matter is Microsoft doesn't know either: they taking baby steps to make sure it all goes smoothly and they are leaving themselves wiggle room to adjust if needed.
Taking geekdom to a whole new level for no other reason than to say "it has been done!", WindowsPhoneHacker has managed to squeeze an old HTC 8525 into a GameBoy Advance case.
Why? Well to obviously compete with that Sony Playstation phone, hello. Anyways, check out the video and head over to the site for step-by-step directions for what looks to be a killer weekend project.
We mentioned the news of Game Room coming to Windows Phone 7 a few days ago and we were able to catch a demo of the games while at CES this week.
Game Room will bring classic, arcade style games to the Windows Phones. Initial titles will include Shao-Lin's Road, Asteroids, and Centipede with more to come. The games have been ported from the original and game play and controls seem to represent the original very good. Games will have shared leader board and achievements that will add to the appeal of these classic games.
The games look good but does anyone else feel old when we're reminded that it's been thirty years since we've played these games in the arcade?
Being known for unbeatable prices on many products online, Amazon have carried savings over to Windows Phone 7 on AT&T by Amazon Wireless. The price drop is to celebrate their massivly popular Kindle service that now covers the new platform to provide a complete solution for users. So, what models are available you ask? The HTC Sorround, LG Quantum, and Samsung Focus devices are available on contract through Amazon Wireless.
If you are interested in making the jump to Windows Phone 7, you will need to act fast as this promotion is only lasting through to January 17th.
No word on when Fable Coin Golf will be available to download, but the idea of collecting gold in your spare time that you can actually use in-game on Fable III is pretty fly. The game itself looks clever - with lots of upgrades and tricks to keep it from being a boring mini-golf game. All those features apparently add a whole lot of load time, because as you can see above, the game spent its sweet time loading up.
What little Windows Phone 7 news there is at CES centers around gaming. We stopped by their booth to check out a few of the new apps that are coming, including Full House Poker, above. It's a decent enough onilne poker client, it works pretty much the way you'd expect it to. Avatars are fully included, of course, but the main feature is the Xbox integration: money you earn on the mobile version of the game counts towards your total chip count to help qualify you for the regular tournaments on Xbox Live.
We covered Browser to WP7 a few weeks ago and left impressed. It not only allows you to send text and URLs to your device via your web browser (Chrome, IE and now Firefox) but it also allows you to act on that info by SMS, email, Bing, Google, dial, etc. Really impressive.
Now in a new update, the developer has added the very useful ability to send pics. While browsing on the web, if you find a photo you like, you can just right click and hit "Send to Windows Phone" and it gets instantly sent to your device. From there, you can save it to your photo library. Seems a great way to try new wallpapers for your lock-screen, no?
Also, due to an error in the Marketplace, the live-tile notification, which was only available in the $0.99 version, will be made for the free one in the next update. That live-tile is good for the Facebook chat option (see Browser To WP7 Friend Connect). Nice.
Our friends over at Phone Scoop were able to snag a few minutes with Sprint's first Windows Phone 7 device, the HTC 7 Pro. No release information was passed on but the first impression sounded good.
The device is built by HTC, which is even more obvious when you slide open the keyboard and see the screen tilt at an angle from the sliding QWERTY, similar to the way the old HTC Touch Pro 2 tilts.
The only complaints noted by Phone Scoop was that the keyboard was a little stiff and the screen rotation was a little slow. It was noted that this was a pre-production model so I'm sure there are still a few bugs to be ironed out.
They did mention that the 7 Pro felt solidly built and compact enough to fit easily into a comfortable pair of pants. Still no mention of a release date or pricing but with the phone carrying the Sprint logo and design tweaks, we may see this sooner than later.
Regardless, it does sound like Sprint customers will be please with their first Windows Phone 7 device.
Fast-forward today and it is being claimed (not yet demonstrated) that certain aspects of PVK has been breached. But, like before, they're still far from a viable implementation. Pocketnow has summarized this as follows:
Several different methods are being attempted to bypass the limitation, including the search for a so-called "corporate key," which would essentially be a universal PVK for large-scale activations. Unfortunately, because all devices are security-flashed at the factory, such a key may not even exist. Secondly, overseas developers -- beyond the reach of Microsoft legal, apparently -- are said to be hacking the different bits of the device-side authentication piecemeal, but because of the unusually intricate security measures employed by Redmond, "it doesn't really look good" according to our source.
What does this all mean? In reality, that nothing has changed. While porting portions of the WP7 OS to the HD2 is doable, attempting everything is and will remain very difficult. So difficult in fact, it begs the question if this is worth all the effort. At least here in the U.S., with a new Samsung Focus fetching for $99 without 3rd party sales, WP7 hardware seems cheap enough to negate the value of hacking a broken but new OS onto the HD2.
San Francisco based startup AppMakr announced today at CES that it will be bringing its application-building platform to wannabe WP7 developers in the near future. AppMakr, which is currently only available for iOS, "enables anyone to build rich content based apps using a point and click solution," regardless of programming experience or know-how. The company also revealed that they will be launching Android support at the time as the Windows Phone version in February, boasting the "industry’s first 'No Coding Required' mobile application platform for multiple mobile OS."
AppMakr co-founder, Daniel Odio, expressed cautious optimism at the quick success of WP7: “We’re definitely making a little bit of a bet here, but we see it paying off early.” The company also extended the opportunity to beta test to anyone who wishes to sign up at: http://go.AppMakr.com/beta
Here's to bringing geekdom to the people. And probably more fart apps, flashlights and tip calculators. Come on people! Enough already!
Rocket Riot (review coming soon), is probably one of the best Xbox LIVE games on Windows Phone 7 right now: catchy music, great combo of retro and 3D graphics, fun gameplay. Only downside was cost: $6.99 made it one of the most expensive games on the Marketplace, which even I avoided paying.
Luckily in the last few days it dropped to a more reasonable $4.99, making it more worthy of consideration. Only thing we're hesitant about are the few complaints about the game "not loading" after a few days of playing. This seems to be isolated but hopefully the developer will have a v1.1 soon.
Live in the UK? Love cute, cuddly, adorable, puzzle games? Well you are in luck! Developer Southend Interactive has officially released Ilomilo a few days ago, which was locked to the AT&T network alone. Branching off from our review of Ilomilo, this beautiful little fantasy adventure will be ensuring that you forget Narnia, and focus on reuniting with your other half of the coin.
I have waited some time for this as some folk I know have explored the depths of puzzling on their phones, which has led to them to venture on a boasting spree. Installing and opening up the title, I hadn't put it down for a good hour and half making my commute on the train bareable. Below is a video from our review, by Rob, giving a great run through the game.
Head on over to the Marketplace to pick up this title for £3.99 ($4.99).
Although Windows Phone 7 coverage at CES 2011 has been a bust (more on that later) a CDMA verion of the HTC Trophy has run its way through the FCC guantlet. There was no direct mention of the "Trophy" name; however, a nearly identical model number to the European version of the Trophy was mentioned in the docs (PC40200 vs PC40100). The device was also granted approval through the WiFi Alliance using the same certificate as HTC's Mozart and Surround.
As previously reported, Verizon is intending to release a WP7 Trophy in early 2011. While it is unclear when exactly "early" refers to, this FCC approval means it's on the horizon. Our bet? Latest: end of February.
Slacker Radio has been one of the cornerstone apps of Windows Phone 7, offering users a solid alternative to that other brand (pssstt..Pandora).
Unbeknownst to us, evidently in Canada you only had a 30-day trial and then it was pay-as-you go at $3.99 a month. Ka-razy! Now, Slacker is changing their tune (see what I did there?) and offering a free-version just like here in the U.S.. Basically every few minutes you'll have to hear an ad in between your songs (so it's like normal radio). Of course our Canadian friends still have the "Plus" option which offers unlimited song-skips, lyrics, song requests and of course, no ads.
Hey, options are good and we're glad for our northern neighbors. Of course you also have that Resco Radio option...just sayin'.
Read our Slacker Radio for Windows Phone 7 review here.