3 years ago
Pandemic Evolved - Review
3 years ago
Hypership Out of Control Lite - Review
3 years ago
Windows Phone 7 & Location tracking: Microsoft responds to U.S. gov't request
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
3 years ago
The Harvest is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. That's more like it!
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.
3 years ago
Microsoft to bring visual voicemail to WP7.5 [Rumor]
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
3 years ago
Microsoft Research pushes 'Engkoo' translation app for Windows Phone
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
3 years ago
Verizon Trophy spotted at Best Buy
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.
3 years ago
Children's Games Roundup: Mazoocard, Toy Xylophone, and Simon Cow
3 years ago
Birdsong v1.3 hits Marketplace, sports Live Tile & Notifications
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.
3 years ago
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.
3 years ago
Plan Bee updated, adds online ranking system
It's been a while since we first looked at the Windows Phone 7 game Plan Bee. It's a cute, mildly addictive game that has you flying around a meadow pollinating flowers and dodging spiders. Plan Bee is one of those "something different" games that grows on you.
The free game for your Windows Phone was recently updated improving the online leaderboards to the game and adding an in-game ranking system to show your current position on the global leaderboard. The update also includes a few graphics improvements.
You can download your free copy of Plan Bee here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.
3 years ago
Microsoft announces cross-platform Azure toolkit
Microsoft has announced today tool kits for their Windows Azure cloud that are available for both the iPhone and Windows phone, with a preview for Android.
The tool kits will allow developers to create applications across the major platforms on the Azure cloud and companies like Groupon are already taking full advantage of the "cloud-to-mobile" user experience. Not to mention the simplicity in supporting multiple devices with common requirements, such as; device notifications, authentication and storage.
For Windows Phone:
Originally released last month, new developer features available in the next two weeks include integration with the Windows Azure Access Control Service (e.g., a wizard, automatic setup, tooling and code), full support for Windows Azure Storage Queues and an updated user interface for the supporting Web application.
You can check out the toolkit for Windows Phone at Codeplex, along with info on/links to the tool kits for other platforms in the link below.
Source: Microsoft Blog
3 years ago
Windows Phone 7.5 preview event announced
Microsoft is sending out invites to a Windows Phone preview party in New York and we just got ours. On May 24, 2011 Microsoft will "lift the curtain on the next major release of Windows Phone". A similar event will be held on the same date in London.
We've seen quit a bit on what's in store with Mango already and it will be interesting to see everything else Microsoft has up its sleeve on Mango or should I say Windows Phone 7.5.
As more information becomes available on this event, we'll keep you posted. We're also planning on covering the event and will pass on all the details on the next major release of Windows Phone.
3 years ago
Windows Phone User Group Cardiff meet-up on June 1st [Developers]
We have another note-worthy meet-up! We won't be covering every event to arise, but just a few on each side of the ocean to help get the word out for new developers and for those who wish to network.
This UK-based event will be held in cardiff and will begin at 6pm. It's a session where two speakers will take the audience, separated by application demos and followed by Q&A. The day will officially end at 8pm, but will continue in the local boozer.
Quick detail about the group:
WPUG exists to help UK based developers who are interested in Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform learn from and with each other. With this event we are hoping to continue the success of the first meeting and begin to form regular meetings in Cardiff so registration will ensure that you are informed of future events.
I love the "Pub" at the end. It's so British (or Welsh/Scottish/Irish), it's so "this-side-of-the-ocean". If you're heading over there, let us know how it goes and if the rounds were all on tab. All you have to do is simply register (for free) and turn up.
Source: Eventbrite, via: @mikehole
3 years ago
Canadian WP7 Hackfest in Ajax on May 14th [Developers]
Quite a few hackathons/hackfest and meetups are beginning to appear, most notably in US and UK. It's always good to see aspiring developers getting together to share ideas, advice, learn and hone skills. The top feat I love about Windows Phone is the developer community - I feel it's much closer than competitors at such an early age of the operating system.
Anyway, I digress. A Windows Phone 7 hackfest is close approaching on the 14th of May in Ajax, Canada at the McLean Community Centre. Some points located on the website that defines the event perfectly:
- If you have an idea for an app but don’t know how to build apps for Windows Phone, this event is for you!
- We’ll have experts and tutors on hand to show you how to write your first Windows Phone app, and it’s easier than you think.
- If you have the skills to build apps for Windows Phone but don’t have any ideas for an app, this event is also for you!
- If you’ve got C#, .NET, Silverlight or XNA skills but can’t think of what to write, the Hackfests are a great place to brainstorm with other people and come up with ideas for apps.
- If you’re looking for a job or clients, this event is also for you!
- Okay, Hackfests aren’t actually job fairs, but they’re excellent networking opportunities, and these days, 80% of the tech jobs out there are found by networking.
The only requirements are for you to register before hand, bring a laptop (desktop if you're on steroids) and be sure to have developer tools already installed - which you should have already, right? The event begins at 9am where half-an-hour will be spent socializing and munching on some fine grub, then from 9am to 4pm is the long haul of app development.
Source: Toronto .NET group
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