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3 years ago

Microsoft MVP offering advice for aspiring Windows Phone developers

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Have an app but need some tips? Or have an idea for an app but not sure where to start? Want some helps on marketing the app to the masses? Well, evidently Arian Kulp, who's a Visual C# Microsoft MVP is offering his assistance to anyone who wants it:

...As part of Microsoft’s current push to get lots of apps into the Windows Phone Marketplace, I’m offering assistance to people struggling with polishing up their apps. If you feel like you’re almost there and just need that last push, or are struggling with a given concept, contact me so I can help you. I’ll also let you know about great contests and drawings currently running to potentially get a free phone, marketplace fee refund, or free advertising for your app. All I ask is that you use my event code when you enter the drawing so I get credit for helping you.

Hey, we're all for developer outreach here and we have to commend just the idea of taking this one. So if this is something that you think you can benefit from, well just mosey on over to his site and get started: http://www.ariankulp.com/help-me-to-help-you

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3 years ago

HD7 to be first Windows Phone to get Android port?

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It looks like those ambitious folks at XDA.cn have been attempting to squeeze good ol' Android on the HTC HD7. Pocketnow reported on this a few days ago but it looks like more progress has been made, including trying to get it on to the T-Mobile version of the device.

Still, work has to be done to get everything working and it looks like the team is aiming for a June release, which isn't too far off. Of course the proof is in the pudding, as they say and the video above (the 2nd one released) shows Android to be humming along quite nicely on the device.

The question is: how many of you will bother to do this, assuming it's not ridiculously hard to load? Call us crazy, but we like WP7 as an alternative to Android. Then again, we're also geeks about hacking on these phones, so could be a fun weekend project.

Source: XDA.cn; Thanks, Jordan L., for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Verizon Trophy shows up early on Cragislist

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We're just days from Verizon finally getting their first Windows Phone, the HTC Trophy, and it looks like some early versions are showing up on Cragislist. One seller (unverified) reportedly wants a fair $160 for the phone, which sounds like one hell of a deal.

But we must caution that this is a CDMA phone, meaning it's ESN could be blocked if the phone is stolen or inappropriately authorized. So you may get the phone but you may find out that Verizon won't activate it. We suggest you just wait the extra few days and know what you're getting ;-)

Source: Craigslist. Thanks, Raul H., for the tip

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3 years ago

Telstra getting NoDo + Security updates; no news on Samsung fixes

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The Windows Phone Blog just ran their weekly update, sharing the latest info in regards to phone updates and more.

While there wasn't too much to share, for those on Telstra, you'll be happy to know your NoDo and Security Update (7392) should be rolling out now, making you folks the tail end of the caboose. This was something we knew was close, after all we heard 11 days ago that it had been finalized and was just waiting to be rolled out.

Unfortuantely, for those with Samsung devices (Omnia 7's and limited amount of Focus devices), there's no news outside of some progress being made. According to Microsfot's  Eric Hautala:

I know some of you are eager for news on the Omnia 7 and Focus issues I discussed last week. We’re making progress, but I don’t have anything new to report just yet. As soon as I do, I’ll let you know.

Hopefully that will be resolved sooner than later.

Source: Windows Phone Blog

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3 years ago

Microsoft + Skype = OMG! [Humor]

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3 years ago

Pandemic Evolved - Review

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Pandemic Evolved - Review

The viruses from Pandemic have mutated into the Windows Phone 7 game, Pandemic Evolved. Z-Games is offering the free game over at the Marketplace that puts the viruses into a tetris-like environment.

The game has groups of three viruses dropping from the top of the screen and you have to stack them up to create a match of four or more of the same viruses to contain the outbreak.

Continued after the break.

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3 years ago

Hypership Out of Control Lite - Review

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Hypership Out of Control Lite - Review

Fun Infused Games has released a fast paced, space shooter, arcade game for the Windows Phone that definitely lives up to its title. Hypership Out of Control Lite has you in control of a space ship that is, well, out of control. No brakes and the accelerator is stuck. Luckily your weapons system is stuck in the "on" position.

Your goal is to navigate your out of control ship through through various obstacles, collecting coins, bonus items and destroying various items as you fly towards the finish line. Once you cross the finish line, you move to the next wave that will progressively get harder.

Continued after the break.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone 7 & Location tracking: Microsoft responds to U.S. gov't request

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We reported a few weeks ago about the whole "location tracking" issue, which was started by the iPhone, proceeded by concerns on Android and finally Windows Phone, which was mostly exonerated from the controversy.

Regardless of the lack of tracking, Microsoft is looking to be more transparent on the matter than some other companies and in turn has directly responded to the U.S. government's 'House Energy and Commerce Committee' request for explanation on their practices when collecting data on user's whereabouts. From the lengthy and thorough document:

The collection and use of location data by smart phones can serve a variety of purposes.It therefore is worth clarifying at the outset that the term “location data” can refer to two related but conceptually distinct categories of data: (1) data that is used to determine the approximate location of a device for use by an application; and (2) data that identifies specifically where a device is or has been. The Windows Phone 7 operating system is designed to focus squarely on the first category, and we have taken steps to avoid collecting the type of data described in the second category, which can facilitate user tracking.

...This database snippet contains information about nearby WiFi access points and cell towers in the area (on average a 5-6 square kilometer area) where the user made the request. It does not show where a user is or has been within that area.

...Similar to other operating systems, when Microsoft first designed and implemented location services for Windows Phone 7, it programmed its system to collect device identifiers and store them for a limited time. While collecting device identifiers can help assemble and refine a database of available WiFi access points and cell towers more quickly and effectively than without them, these identifiers have diminishing value over time. Given the declining utility of device identifiers, Microsoft recently discontinued its storage and use of device identifiers. Further, as part of its next scheduled update to existing Windows Phone 7 devices,updated devices will no longer send device identifiers to the location service and new phones arriving this fall will not send device identifiers to the location service. [Emphasis, ours]

Anyways, it's all actually very interesting stuff if you want to know how the Windows Phone location based system (aka 'Orion') works. And it's always nice to see Microsoft being so open about its practices. Find anything we missed, holla in comments.

Source: U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee (PDF); via WinRumors

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3 years ago

The Harvest is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. That's more like it!

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Guitar Hero 5 sales not exciting enough for you? Here’s an Xbox Live Deal of the Week we can really sink our teeth into: The Harvest is going on sale for $4.99, down from $6.99.

The Harvest is an action-RPG set in a distant future in which aliens have conquered humanity. Thanks to the development of armored mech suits, the remaining pockets of humans finally have a chance to fight back. Our review praises the game’s beautiful 3D graphics, easy controls, multiple playable characters, and diversity of upgrade options.

The Harvest is that rare thing – a really impressive Windows Phone-exclusive game. But many gamers passed over it or don’t know about it due to the dreaded $6.99 price point. The sale price should help Luma Arcade’s action-RPG finally get its due.

The Harvest’s $4.99 sale begins Wednesday and will last one for week. Buy it or try the demo here (Zune link) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Microsoft to bring visual voicemail to WP7.5 [Rumor]

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Picture this - you wake up tomorrow morning, turn on your Mango powered Windows Phone (since this is entirely hypothetical), and what do you see? The voicemail alert. You open up the built-in voicemail manager and out-pops Chuck Norris. He's round-kicking his phone and informing you to give him a ring back at some point to discuss gardening tips.

According to a relatively reliable leaker in a DM to us, this is to be a reality in the next major update. To add to this, a tweet was published shortly after the visual voicemail leak which announced that with the addition of Skype and Live Messenger on the Windows Phone platform, when sending a text to a contact who is currently online on either service, the text will be sent via that available channel of communication.

Too good to be true or just logical next step for Microsoft? Perhaps we'll find out on May 24th, won't we?

Source: WP8 Twitter

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3 years ago

Microsoft Research pushes 'Engkoo' translation app for Windows Phone

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Microsoft Research (site) is doing some cool stuff and we're more than pleased to have them release multiple apps on Windows Phones, letting us test what they're doing e.g. Project Emporia.

'Engkoo' (hands down the oddest name) is a new dictionary app that is used on Bing in China (for translation) and now it can be in your pocket:

Free dictionary and translation based on new technology from Microsoft Research. Currently supporting English-English and English-Chinese (Simplified). Define/translate a word, phrase or sentence. Features include: fresh definitions and sample sentences mined from the web, pronunciation (audio), autocomplete with built-in support for spelling correction, wildcard (*, ?), and pinyin input. Learn more about the Engkoo project @ http://research.microsoft.com/projects/engkoo

The app is fairly basic: you type in a word, a phrase or a sentence and it auto-looks up the translation in Chinese--but the science behind it...woo, there's some magic happening in the cloud. Okay, so the app right now is mainly for Chinese users learning English, the point is Microsoft is figuring out how to make learning language easier and more dynamic by using the power of the web to harness better examples. In the future, it looks to be expanded to other languages and I'm not going to lie, as a former linguist, I find the project extremely interesting.

Grab the app here in the Marketplace. via WPSauce

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3 years ago

Verizon Trophy spotted at Best Buy

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Well, sorta.

We know that the HTC Trophy will eventually land on the Verizon Network with the latest target date being May 12th. Some consumers are seeing signs that this date might hold true in that "dummy" or display models of the Windows Phones are popping up at the local Best Buy stores.

Based on the photos that are circulating, there is still no pricing information set for the Trophy. The good thing is that the 12th isn't far away and we won't have to wait too long to see if it holds true.

Anyone else seeing the display models?

Source: Phone Arena, thanks to everyone who tipped us on this.

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3 years ago

Children's Games Roundup: Mazoocard, Toy Xylophone, and Simon Cow

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Anyone who has small kids knows that they are fascinated by both phones and videogames. Handing off a phone to your child while in the car or at a restaurant can be a great way to keep the little one occupied. Indie developer Ganlok Studios has produced three fine kids’ games for Windows Phones: Mazoocard, Toy Xylophone, and Simon Cow. Each title offers clean, attractive graphics, simple gameplay, and a great user interface.

Head past the break for our full three-game review.

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3 years ago

Birdsong v1.3 hits Marketplace, sports Live Tile & Notifications

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We mentioned earlier today about the Twitter app Birdsong v1.3 coming and 'hello!' here it is. This version now sports a Live Tile, push notifications for new mentions and direct messages as well as a 'reply all' feature.

But lets look at that Push Notification system. It actually does something we've never seen before: adds a "do not disturb" option, meaning you can set the hours at which it won't make a noise to alert you. We really dig that feature.

And while some of our messages were a little slow to notify us, we're just going to chalk that up to their servers warming up. Overall though, it's a nice upgrade for the app. The full version fetches for $0.99 and you can grab it here. Don't forget to see our hands on video for a quick tour of the Twitter app.

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3 years ago

Microsoft buys Skype for $7 billion

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Microsoft buys Skype for $7 billion

According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft could announce as early as tomorrow a deal to buy Skype for a near record $7 billion dollars. The deal would be the largest acquisitions by Redmond in their 36 year history.

Rumors had been circling for a few days now that Microsoft and Skype would announce either some partnership or deal, but a full on acquisition was seen as less likely:

Microsoft Corp. is close to a deal to buy Internet phone company Skype Technologies SA for more than $7 billion, and a deal could be announced as early as Tuesday, people familiar with the matter said.

Negotiations were wrapping up Monday evening, and a deal could still fall apart, the people cautioned. Representatives for Microsoft and Skype declined to comment.

So nothing definitive yet, but even the move by Microsoft is sure gutsy and would certainly give them a solid brand name to stand behind.

Of course, what we're really interested is what this means for Windows Phone 7. Although we know Skype support is coming this fall, there's little doubt that Microsoft would not seize this opportunity to deeply integrate Skype into the OS at very low level, potentially giving VOIP and social networking a huge kick in the leg. The big issue would of course be carrier resistance, but that's another battle. All we know is this is very good news for our mobile OS, if this deal happens.

Stay tuned as the story develops.

Update: According to All Things D's Kara Swisher, it's a done deal and will be announced tomorrow morning. Reportedly the press-release comes at 5am PDT/8am EST.

Update 2: GigaOM is reporting that Microsoft paid $8.5 billion in cash for the company: $7b for the company, $1.5b in debt.

Update 3: Microsoft has issued a press release stating that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire Skype for $8.5 billion in cash from the investor group led by Silver Lake.  Skype will become a new business division of Microsoft with Skype CEO Tony Bats assuming the role of president of the Microsoft Skype Division.  Skype will support Microsoft devices such as the Xbox consoles, Kinect and Windows Phones.  The purchase agreement has been approved by both Microsoft's and Skype's Boards of Directors.  Follow the break to read the full presser from Microsoft.

Source: WSJ

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