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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Tile Master

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Xbox Live Review: Civilization Revolution

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The Windows Phone Xbox Live lineup has long lacked strategy titles. Last year saw the release of Fusion: Sentient, which turned out to be more of a sophisticated boredom simulator than an actual game. Thankfully, 2K Games’ very first Windows Phone release is not just any strategy game. No, it’s part of the illustrious Civilization series: Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution.

From humble origins

The overall goal of Civilization Revolution (or Civ Rev as I’ll now call it to be cool) is to steer a tiny settlement from the year 4,000 B.C. into modern times and beyond. There will also be multiple NPC civilizations that yours can deal with in a variety of ways. There are actually four different ways to win the game, allowing for a variety of play styles:

  • Domination: Capture all of the other civilizations' capital cities and hold them for one full round.
  • Culture: Gain a total of 20 great persons, wonders, and/or converted cities in any combination, and then build the United Nations wonder.
  • Economic: Acquire 20,000 gold and then build the World Bank wonder.
  • Technological: Research all technologies necessary to build and launch a spaceship, and finally be the first to reach Alpha Centauri.
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3 years ago

...I'm a WP7! getting a face lift and name change

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Changes are coming to the popular Windows Phone app ...I'm a WP7!. Changes that will give the app a name change and a few design changes.

For those not familiar ...I'm a WP7! is a popular Windows Phone app that lets you locate Windows Phone users in your area, interact with them, share tips and tricks, have access to daily and weekly wallpapers, tap into custom ringtones and tons more. ... I'm a WP7! has grown so much since it's launch in April of 2011 that a core group of users have put together the "Uber Outsiders Guide for Noobs" to help guide everyone through the ...I'm a WP7! environment.

With Windows Phones moving to Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 right around the corner, the developer has decided to change the name to better capture the nature and intent of the app. The version 3.12 update has been submitted to Microsoft for certification and will give ...I'm a WP7! a new name and slightly new look. With the update, ...I'm a WP7! will become Outsider for Windows Phone.

Why the "Outsider"? Since the app is heavily “unrecognized” by Microsoft and the Windows Phone Team, the term “Outsider” has been chosen in direct contrast to “Insider”. The app's concept and features won't change (well... the features will continue to grow), it's just the name.

Look for the update to be pushed out in about a week and if you haven't checked out ...I'm a WP7!, it's followers number over 300,000 and span 189 countries. It is a free app that you can grab here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Oh...and you can find the "Uber Outsiders Guide for Noobs" here on Skydrive. It's a OneNote document and is a work in progress.

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3 years ago

Xbox Live - Final Fantasy secret Achievements and Achievement Guide

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Final Fantasy is finally available, and we’ve already provided some beginner tips and resources to help players get started. Even advanced players will need help with the game’s Achievements, though. Why? They’re all secret, meaning players can’t view them in-game or through Xbox Live prior to earning them. This led many to speculate that the Achievements would all be story-related. As it turns out, that did not prove to be the case.

We know this because Achievement hunter-extraordinaire Zebrasqual managed to uncover Final Fantasy’s full Achievement list. Windows Phone Central then broke those Achievements down into categories for your convenience. Not only that, we’ve got tips and resources for the more challenging ones that will set you on the right track. It won't be easy though, so prepare for a lengthy journey!

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3 years ago

Supposed leaked screenshots of Windows Phone 8 Apollo appear, show off Skype and Lenses

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Is this Windows Phone 8? We think so...

With less than week before Microsoft is expected to show off Windows Phone 8 in San Francisco, some leaked (and terrible looking) screenshots have appeared on the site Nokia Innovation.

The shots supposedly show off integrated Skype, including an incoming video call as well as a data usage app. You may also note the mention of "RCSe" near the bottom which stands for "Rich communication suite", an important feature coming to WP8. The next screen shot shows the camera app with a new button. Nokia Innovation does not know what that lower button is but we can tell you that it's for the "Lenses" function, which will most likely be revealed next week.

In fact, the only reason we're giving these sceenshots some credibility is the fact that Lenses button is 100% accurate. The rest we cannot vouch for but it does jive with what we've learned and seen ourselves.

The data usage app (called "Data Smart" officially) was also confirmed by Joe Belfiore back in February in the leaked video for OEMs which detailed Apollo (yes, we've seen the video and can vouch for everything said in it). According to Nokia Innovation "the first bar shows how much data you have left, the second shows how many days remaining on your data plan, and it seems you can even adjust your data plan based  on the data report ". Such integration is part of the customization that carriers and OEMs/Microsoft will bring to Windows Phone 8 this fall.

This "data control" is a big focus in Windows Phone 8 which when combined with the data compression for web browsing will allow users to better monitor their data usage. In fact, data compression in IE10 should reduced data usage by up to 30% on top of speeding up browsing in general.

Finally, what is supposedly Nokia Drive 3.0 is also shown with updated traffic report and re-routing. That's the standalone app though and not part of Windows Phone 8.

Source: Nokia Innovation

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3 years ago

Official CNN app now available for all Windows Phones

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"This is CNN...on all Windows Phones"

Well look at that, it looks like Nokia's 90 day exclusive on the official CNN app has finally expired--certainly a rare sight to see. The CNN app, which was developed in conjunction with Nokia and announced back at CES 2012, embraces the Metro design with unique features like the iReporter function for reporting news on your own.

For many on Windows Phones, the stranglehold on "exclusive" apps by Nokia was a thorn in the side--well, at least for those without a Nokia Lumia. But now you can download the exact same app with push notifications and local news to your non-Nokia device, resulting in what we imagine to be a loud cheer.

The CNN app ranks up there with the USA Today app as far as elegance and functionality. It's great to see it displayed on other Windows Phones for all. 

Pick up the official CNN app for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Scott H., for the tip!

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3 years ago

At last, Final Fantasy appears on the Windows Phone Marketplace

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Final Fantasy, one of the most-anticipated Windows Phone games ever, is now on the Marketplace! Why so popular? First off, it’s the only straight-up RPG (or JRPG) in the mobile Xbox Live library. Besides, while the Final Fantasy series is extremely popular the world over, Final Fantasy (part I) is only the third entry for Microsoft platforms, the first two being Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 on Xbox 360 (if we count the online-only XI, that makes a total of four). Windows Phone gamers finally have a chance to experience the series’ origin.

While the first Final Fantasy initially appeared on the 8-bit NES system, the mobile version is based on 2007’s enhanced Playstation Portable remake. Players will assemble a party of four warriors from a pool of iconic classes and then set out to save the world from the surprisingly unhelpful Elemental Fiends. Overworld and underworld navigation utilizes a funky-looking virtual pad for movement while the battles are more tap-focused. Mainstay RPG elements like grinding for experience and money to purchase new equipment and a huge danger-filled world to explore promise hours of entertainment.

When we revealed the first screenshots of the Windows Phone version, we were slightly disappointed that the game still runs in the same aspect ratio as the iPhone game it was ported from as opposed to the wider ratio of the PSP and Windows Phone screens. The screen remains off-center, a seemingly odd decision – until you notice the clock occupying the black space. Tap that area and the phone’s battery life, wireless, and cellular signals appear as well. Considering the length and addictive nature of Final Fantasy, having instant access to the time and your phone’s battery life is actually quite useful.

Strategy

Since many of you are new to this installment of Final Fantasy, we’ve got a few tips to get you started. The first decision you make upon starting a new game, that of which character classes to take along, is very important as you’re stuck with those for the rest of the game. Choose poorly and you’ll face a much greater challenge. The default selection (Fighter, Thief, White Mage, Black Mage) is actually one of the best parties to go with. At any rate, you absolutely must have a single White Mage or Red mage on hand to heal the rest of the party.

Saving is another important area to wrap your head around. Whenever you exit to the title screen, press the Home button, etcetera, that creates a temporary save file. To start back where you left off, simply pick Resume from the title screen. The file is temporary though, as resuming, choosing to Continue a permanent file, or starting a New Game will overwrite it. To create permanent saves, simply enter the menu by tapping the names of your party in the lower-right corner of the screen while outside of battle. Then choose the Save option at the bottom of the screen. (Thanks to Cadwr for the correction!)

One last thing - pressing and holding on the party status indicator in the lower-right corner of the screen while outside of battle brings up the overworld map. You'll need it!

For more Final Fantasy tips, check out the following resources:

Now that you're prepared...

Final Fantasy costs $6.99 and there is a free trial. It clocks in at a whopping 91 MB. If you love RPGs, don’t wait for a sale. Head over here to the Marketplace and start adventuring!

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3 years ago

Tentacles makes for a gooey Xbox Live Deal of the Week once again

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Repeat Deal of the Weeks are all the rage lately, and what better game to put on sale again than the graphically impressive and challenging Tentacles from Press Play? Just like back in December, Tentacles is on sale again. But the price is actually lower this time thanks to a recent price drop, making this the best deal yet.

Tentacles is the tale of a Japanese fetish gone awry. Wait, wrong tentacles! Actually, the game stars Lemmy, a small tentacled creature who ends up inside the body of his mad scientist creator. Unique touch controls allow Lemmy to move one tentacle at a time, navigating dangerous levels and eating eyeballs for health. With 40 levels (plus optional PDLC levels), beautiful 3D graphics and 2D story sequences, and an atmospheric soundtrack, Tentacles could be a game you’ll fall in love with.

One caveat though… As mentioned in our review, the difficulty ramps up in later levels (say 20 and on), leading to bouts of frustration. Depending on your patience and constitution, your experience could be different.

Tentacles is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

What is a Windows Phone VIP?

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What is a Windows Phone VIP?

Very Important People. That is what VIP means to everyone, but what is a Windows Phone VIP Ambassador?

Microsoft created a training website called Expertzone, where Retail Sales Professionals could log in and take training courses on selling Microsoft products. In 2010, Microsoft created the Windows Phone VIP program and BIll Bush was at the helm building a new Windows Phone community. The program has grown to over 13,000 VIP's and nearly 100 Windows Phone Ambassadors.

Retail sales professionals can join  this exclusive site to get first hand knowledge, special events, contests, and fellow windows phone users to bond with. With a small amount of users of Windows Phone, there was an even smaller amount of sales associates that actually knew anything about the OS. With the Expertzone site, new employee's train to learn about  key features and talk to real windows phone users for advice on problems they were having, how to demo properly, and enter some really cool exclusive contests. The whole point of the program is to reward those individuals who really love windows phones by giving them more knowledge, exclusive meetups, rewards like t-shirts, pins, and phones. Their community is growing strong and keeps growing.

Microsoft is now upgrading the program to Windows Phone Advisors, where a current WP VIP's can refer other associates who want to become an Advisor.

The role of a Windows Phone Advisor is being the go-to guy/girl for Windows Phone at their work. They are the "experts" because of their knowledge and have gone above and beyond to represent Windows Phone. They also train their fellow sales associates on windows phone and customers.  

This program is something special because they are getting dedicated, passionate fans of Windows Phones who sell them excited about Windows Phone. Knowing you belong to a larger community where you can talk to about the various devices and have the other people completely understand what you are talking about is a great feeling.

Microsoft understands they are the low-man on the totem pole,and this program gives them an amazing opportunity to get direct feedback from the people who sell their phones. They get insight to what customers are saying, what they like, don't like, have trouble with, etc... and they have time to react to their thoughts. Maybe that is why Windows Phone 8 might be taking longer, they are listening and changing things for the better!

If you sell phones, go check out Expertzone, and join the VIP Advisor program! Help spread the Windows Phone love!

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3 years ago

Facebook app and People Hub connection not playing nice

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We have received a number of tips that the Windows Phone Facebook app and People Hub integration are not working. There are reports of the Facebook app not loading, passwords not being accepted and status updates not refreshing.  So far hard resets, deleting the account and re-installing, and tinkering with Windows Live permissions have been tried with no success. Manually syncing the Facebook account in the Windows Phone settings also fails to correct the issue.

While we would like to give you a reason for the problems but we are experiencing the same issues and have not heard of a cause. Some have suggested it may be an API issue with Facebook.  On my end, I've been watching the load screen for the Facebook app pass the four dots across the screen for the past five minutes.  And the last Facebook updates in the Peoples Hub was from last night.

If you feel like venting, feel free to join the Windows Phone Central Forums discussion here or sound off in the comments. Just remember as you express your frustrations that this is a family friendly site. Should a solution or reason for this problem come about, we'll be sure to pass it on.

Thanks, everyone, for the tips!

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3 years ago

Quick Shift updated, adds free version and new game modes to the mix

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Quick Shift is a puzzle game for your Windows Phone that was recently updated to bring two new game modes to the table. There is also a free, ad-supported version now available.

Quick Shift presents you with a five by five grid of numbered tiles. You have to find numbered straights that run vertically or horizontally. You earn points by collecting the straights and each round has a target score that must be met before you can advance to the next level. Rows and columns can be shifted to line up the straights. The game is played in timed rounds with the challenge coming with a secondary timer that will shift the tiles around every eleven seconds.

Key features include:

  • 90 levels of play
  • In-game achievements
  • Game statistics
  • Local leaderboard filtered by each game mode
  • Live tile support

The new games modes are unlocked as you complete the first game mode.  You have the original numbers mode and now there is an alphabet mode (create letter straights) and a mix mode that combines numbers and letters.  As you progress through the levels, the game gets a little more challenging by adding more numbers and letters into the mix.  For example, with the numbers mode you start out working with one through five but more numbers come into play the further you advance.

All in all, Quick Shift is a nice game for your Windows Phone that not only challenges your powers of observation but speed skills as well. You can find the free, ad-supported version of Quick Shift here and the ad-free version ($.99)  the Windows Phone Marketplace.

                     

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3 years ago

St. Louis Windows Phone Development Workshop with Nokia (Reminder)

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Here's a quick reminder for the June 22, 2012 St. Louis Windows Phone Development Workshop. Nokia Developer Ambassador Rich Dunbar will be leading the workshop. If you're interested in developing for Windows Phone, it sounds like a great opportunity to network with other developers and get some help building your app.

The workshop will run from 5:30 p.m. until around 9:00 p.m. and will be held at the Microsoft Offices in St. Louis.

The goal of the workshop is to help developers get started on their first Windows Phone app. Nokia will be sponsoring the event and will provide pizza and beverages.  No guarantees but Nokia may also provide a few door prizes as well.  Attendees will need to bring their own laptop and have the necessary development tools installed. You can find a full list of the tools that you'll need here in the Windows Phone Central Forums discussion.

Registration is required (so enough pizza is ordered) for the workshop and you can find that easy process here at GroupSpaces.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Countdown Tiles

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3 years ago

Generation App, helping you build a Windows Phone app in 30 days

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Develop a Windows Phone app in 30 days

Do you have an idea for a great Windows Phone app but have no idea where to start? Microsoft may have just the help you need to get started in the right direction.

Generation App is a Microsoft partnering program that will walk you through the process of developing a Windows Phone app. "How to develop a Windows Phone app in 30 Days" ("30toLaunch" for short) breaks everything down over four weeks and provides all the resources and support you need to build an app. In many ways, Generation App is a one stop source for all your developing needs

The thirty day schedule covers design principles, creating the interface, designing a splash screen, understanding the various Silverlight aspects, adding ads to your app and every other possible factor involved in app development. Each week has a videos to help you get through things and links to the necessary tools and resources.

Generation App's tag line is "Start with an idea. Code that idea. Then market it to the masses". The "30toLaunch" website wraps everything you need up in a nice, single source package.

Source: Generation App

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia 900 Case Review: Case-Mate Tough Case

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Nokia Lumia 900 Case Review: Case-Mate Tough Case

If you are looking for added protection for your Nokia Lumia 900, the Case-Mate Tough case might be something to consider. The case is a two piece set-up with a rubber sleeve that wraps around your Lumia 900. A harder, plastic shell then wraps around the rubber sleeve to complete the case.  The Tough Case is a nice protective option for your Lumia 900 but it does considerably attract lint and adds a bit of bulk to the rather slender Lumia 900.

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