3 years ago
Bing Vision technology gets explained
Over at iStartedSomething, Long Zheng posted a nice little clip from Microsoft Research dealing with 2D object recognition, which for those who have been following, is instantiated in Windows Phone "Mango" as Bing Vision (see demo). The tool of course allows to you scan various 2D objects like CDs, DVDs, posters, barcodes, etc. which can then access a database for pricing and product info.
In this brief segment, Rick Szeliski from Microsoft Research’s Interactive Visual Media group goes into detail of how this works. While it's some heady stuff, most of you should be able to watch the ~4 minute segment and get an understanding of how this stuff happens and what the current limitations are--specifically 3D objects and "generics" likes recognizing your pet or people.
While Google has had Goggles for awhile and all of this is based on pre-existing tech, it's neat to see it explained. Plus it doesn't take the magic away when you actually use Bing Vision on your phone (as anyone who has demoed this to a non-techy can attest too). Pretty amazing work when you think about it.
Read moe at iStartedSomething
3 years ago
Developer Interview: Nice Touch Games
This week we have Richard Bunn and David Green who are the developing power behind the newly formed Nice Touch Games studio. Their first release is Windows Phone 7 exclusive Crazy Horses, which as you can hazard a guess from the title sports fairly strange but incredibly addictive and humorous game play.
Head on past the break for the run-through.
3 years ago
Microsoft's WiFi database exposed by Stanford researcher
CNET previously reported on Microsoft's lack of privacy safeguards for their database at Live.com, which both Google and Skyhook Wireless now sport. A researcher at Stanford University, Elie Bursztein, has created a web page that allows one to look up MAC addresses for pin-point location results provided by Windows Phone 7 handsets and Microsoft's army of Wi-Fi recording vehicles as to where they last connected to this device address.
Is it really that much of a problem for the average web user? We have social networking with location-based services that display where the user is currently situated and people are connecting with the www more each year. I would, however, like to see a global opt-out option for Google, Microsoft and all other data collection services should I not wish for my location to be given out.
We're not quite sure if this works with device specific addresses or simply those that are acting as a wireless access point (routers, tethered phones, MiFi, etc.). Bursztein plans to discuss his findings with two other researchers at the Black Hat security conference, being held at Las Vegas next week. Have you attempted to search for your MAC addresses and are you concerned about this information being publicly viewable?
Source: Elie Bursztein, via: CNET
3 years ago
English photos of the Fujitsu-Toshiba IS12T
Some pretty exciting stuff popping up at Nanapho with regards to a language change on the IS12T to English and a quick run through. One of the things you'll notice is the addition of adding a WiFi network (hidden SSID), which our Daniel Rubino previously covered as being present in the RTM build of "Mango".
The device, being shown off at the KDDI Designing Studio in Harajuku Tokyo Japan, is running the build 7716. Not 7720 RTM, but close nonetheless. Noted in the article is the handset isn't running final hardware or - of course - software.
For more images, check out the article at the link below.
3 years ago
Contest Results - What mobile games would our readers like to see ported to Windows Phone?
Last weekend, we asked our readers what mobile games they would like to see ported to Windows Phone as Xbox Live titles. To make things exciting, we promised to award Beards & Beaks avatar prop codes to the nine most convincing and/or interesting entries. After pouring over the overwhelming number of entries in the contest forum thread, we have chosen nine winners.
Head past the jump for the full contest results!
3 years ago
Angry Birds gets bumped to v1.1, gains new levels
Just the other day we pointed out (or were moaning about) how Angry Birds was missing about 105 levels from the v1.0 release. That's due to our port being based on an older release (v1.4.2) whereas the iPhone and Android are on v1.6.1. Basically Rovio is known to frequently update the app on the other platforms, adding new levels and making the financial investment (if there was one) quite lasting--in fact it's one of the reasons people keep playing the darn game.
Good new for us is that v1.1 of Angry Birds is now live and now features 225 levels, up from the previous 135. What that translates to is the addition of Episodes 10 and 11, which were previously locked with a "coming soon" on them. This translates to the "Ham 'em High" or section 5 in the game. In addition, as can be seen by the lead pic, the design of the game has changed a bit too, but nothing that should get anyone upset.
Hey, for $2.99 and after being out for a few weeks, kudos to Rovio/MSG for pushing this update just as many of us were finishing those 135 previous levels. Hopefully we'll continue to see this trend with this game as it progresses.
If you're one of those who haven't bought it yet, you can try it out here in the Marketplace. See our review here. Thanks, Damien H., for the heads up!
3 years ago
Windows Phone revenue "abysmal", still better than Android
The Seattle PI has done some sleuthing in Microsoft’s annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and found out that by subtracting a few figures, you get a rough $600 million dollars in revenue for fiscal year 2011 for Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.
The math comes from taking the $8.103 billion in Xbox sales away from the $8.716 billion from the whole Entertainment and Devices Division, resulting in $613 million in Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, Zune, Mediaroom, Surface and hardware sales. That means of course that actual revenue is lower than $600 million for just Windows Mobile/Phone.
Nick Eaton of the Seattle PI calls this "abysmal" and depending on how you look at it, perhaps. Compared to Xbox, sure. Compared to Android? Not so much. After all, Google makes $0 from Android sales, though they do take in some money through the limited advertising on the phone. In that sense, making money off of the OS is not Google's goal, but market saturation is. The same is the same for Microsoft at this point. While they do charge for licenses, it's not exactly an area of revenue for them, nor are they banking on it (pun alert). However, neither was Xbox which took 5 years to turn a profit (and after losing billions).
From this we can take away what we already know: Windows Phone sales are not "hot" and this does not change things, making it perhaps a moot point. Microsoft's game plan is Mango, Nokia and Skype for the future. Their make or break moment will be first half of 2012 when all of their systems (PC, Xbox and Windows Phone) really start to converge into a cohesive ecosystem. 2010-11 was more of them warming up and laying the groundwork, which is quite impressive. Throw in the fact that Windows Phone scores higher than Android in user satisfaction, there's no real reason Windows Phone can't explode in market share during 2012. So lets revisit this next summer, shall we?
Source: Seattle PI
3 years ago
Hidden SSID coming in "Mango" RTM
Good news for those of you without an HTC device but still need hidden SSID for your home or work WiFi network. According to Brandon Watson, this feature will be implemented in the final build of "Mango" aka build 7720 which went out to OEMs and carriers earlier this week.
The ability to connect to hidden WiFi networks has been long sought by Windows Phone users ever since its release in October of 2010. HTC responded by coming up with their own custom app that fills in the gap, but Samsung, LG and Dell users were left without any options. Luckily, this now looks to be remedied with Mango coming this fall. It's also one of the key differences between build 7712 and the RTM build.
Source: Twitter; Thanks, Brianna, for the heads up
3 years ago
Conquering England with Full English Fusion
Here's a sneak peak at an upcoming game for your Windows Phone. Full English Fusion places you in control of Dr. Eve L. Genius, a wacky English scientist with designs to take over England.
In the scene-based game you goal is to help Dr. Genius escape from her lab using the T.E.A. Launcher and conquer England. The T.E.A. Launch is described as a bizarre weapon that gives you the ability to combine stereotypical English items to give life to new and strange creations. Creations, when combined, will help you conquer puzzles and traps as you escape the lab.
No word yet on a release date or pricing point. Based on the teaser video, Full English Fusion looks like it will be worth checking out. Once we learn more, we'll be sure to pass it along.
3 years ago
T-Mobile prepping for a 4G Windows Phone?
Check that image out. What you are looking at are "display stickers" that T-Mobile stores receive for in-store promotions. And those stickers above clearly show Windows Phone 7 and 4G.
But perhaps it's a mistake? Ah, but s second image shows just the regular Windows Phone logo. The 4G one seems in contrast to the regular one, strongly suggesting that this isn't a mistake and indeed, T-Mo are prepping for a brand new, 4G Mango phone. Perhaps that HTC Bresson we heard about awhile back?
Exciting times, folks.
Source: T-Mo News; Thanks, Gerry!
3 years ago
AT&T to begin throttling the top 5%
If you have an unlimited AT&T data package, you'd better watch yourself come October. AT&T announced today that they will being throttling connections of the top 5% heaviest data users. The move comes as a measure to "manage exploding demand for mobile data [in a] "country facing a serious wireless spectrum crunch." AT&T was not specific about what exactly classified someone as being the the top 5%, but they did say that anyone coming close to the mark would receive multiple warnings and a grace period. Upon completion of the billing cycle, an offenders would be returned to their regular speeds.
AT&T is not the first to take steps to reign in data usage. T-Mobile began throttling certain customers back in October and Verizon recently move to tiered data plans. Ma Bell was quick to point out that only a handful of customers would be affected and that they are dealing with the so-called crunch in other ways, "including investing billions in our wireless network this year and working to acquire additional network capacity." With more and more people switching to smartphones, it makes sense for carriers to manage capacity. Still, it's still a little tough to swallow, especially when AT&T is doing well enough to buy up one of their largest competitors.
Source: AT&T; Via: PhoneScoop
3 years ago
WP7 Marketplace growth almost halted, Mango the cause?
Looks like we've experienced some kind of problem on the Windows Phone app count line shown in the above graph measuring the amount of newly added apps. It's shown to be pretty much halted. But fear not dear chaps, I've brought along some crumpets, cups of tea and some Pimms (you just never know) to keep you all patient while we work through some possible explanations.
So we've seen a sudden halt in growth, what's the cause? Well, we must not forget that "Mango" is just around the corner and developers have been using the beta tools provided by Microsoft to update their apps by taking advantage of new APIs etc. with any new projects they're undertaking. It could well be that all apps being developed now are actually taking advantage of the features (and improvements) found in "Mango" and will be submitted once the doors open up to developers.
Then again Mark, who tipped us on this news, also made a point about developers potentially having issues with the newly updated AppHub, which is backed by some reports. The platform has previously experienced a slow down in app growth back in January, as shown in the chart above and below. This certainly isn't anything to get worked up about, I'm sure we'll experience a flood of new submissions once "Mango" submissions are opened and the update is rolled out to the public.
In the end (or if you wish to have the tl;dr version of this article) - "Mango" is coming and developers may be waiting for the submission gates to open up. Nothing to worry about, quality over quantity right?
Source: WP7Applist, thanks Mark for tipping us!
3 years ago
WeatherLive v1.3 now forecasting in the Marketplace
We revealed the new v1.3 of WeatherLive the other day. It brings some great new customizable features to the Live Tile and find your location based on city instead of coordinates.
The good news is it's now available in the Marketplace -- still the same deal as before: free with ads, or $0.99 with no ads, either one gets you a swanky Metro Live Tile. Get it now right here.
3 years ago
From the WPCentral forums...
Whew it was a busy day in the forums yesterday (I'm still sweating, it's hot in Texas) with the release of the new Mango Beta 2 to developers. We love new stuff from Microsoft. Have a look at some of the other threads that are catching attention. Don't forget to stop by out Applications and Games Spotlight forums to see what great new Apps have been posted.
Woo Even More Mango - Want to know whats different in Beta 2? Join the discussion.
Grubish360 - I'm updating my phone right now! I will report back when it's finished. 1. Start up is different. The Logo is now red and square. 2. In the music and video hub the play button is now two musical notes. 3. Twitter works! 4. "Fly in" animations for Music, games, pictures, and office are different.
Improvement Suggestions - Know what you want from your favorite OS? Have a suggestion?
bhinesley - Suggestion - A TIMER FOR THE CAMERA. How many times do you see people holding their phones at arm's length to take a photo of themselves & friends? A timer feature could be the killer feature!
New from our Applications Spotlight forum - 'Where Did I Take That?'
Not Greg -Ever looked at a photo and wondered where did I take that? Well wonder no more with this app you will be able to find out exactly where you took the photo. It will read the GPS location information from the photo and place it right on a map. No more will you look back over a party photo or a holiday snap and think for days where you took it. This app will show you, along with the time and date. This app also integrates right into your photo hub. Select a photo in the hub and bring up the sliding menu, select extras and select Where Did I Take That. The photo will be sent to the app show you just where you took it. This app will also work with any photos sent to you by friends as long as they save the GPS location on their phone or camera.
New from the Games Spotlight forum - 'boxStraik'
IgnoringGames - Hello! I just released my first game, which is called boxStraik. It's free, action-packed WP7 exclusive with four unique visual themes, two epic songs, three control schemes and global highscores! I am so tired ( it's 5 am here :O ) so I wont be giving you guys any huge promotion speech but I attached some screenshots :)
Remember, it's easy to join the discussion. All you have to do is signup - it's simple and best of all it's free. When do you ever get anything for free any more? Get started here.
3 years ago
New commercial teases Toshiba's IS12T
KDDI and Toshiba seem to revving up for the IS12T's release, expected sometime in September. The device was revealed in detail just a few days ago and now a new commercial is floating around. It's actually an extension of their website flash video but nonetheless, it looks pretty snazzy as a teaser of sorts.
No doubt it will be interesting to see how Windows Phone fairs in Japan upon release, notoriously a tough market to crack (even the iPhone took time), as it offers plenty of opportunity for Microsoft if it succeeds.
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