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3 years ago

Windows Live Messenger, Bing Image Search also on Windows Phone 7.5

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As if a dam has broken, even more info has leaked out about Windows Phone 7.5 aka 'Mango' (see earlier coverage). The latest comes from a Chinese site called Cnblogs.com, evidently from a developer who manged to take some pics of the OS in action.

Although the post has since been conspicously pulled, the images above were captured by LiveSide.net and show off some hitherto unknown (but speculated to be there) features. These include:

East Asian Language Keyboard, Handwriting and Dictionary Support--[we saw this mentioned a few days ago]

Improved SkyDrive sync in Office hub - adding Word, Excel, and PowerPoint sync support. Each document type will now be indicated by the color of the tile:

Bing Image Search, Bing Vision, and Bing Audio – besides Bing Vision and Bing Audio as revealed earlier this morning, it seems like Bing will now feature Image Search as well.

Windows Live Messenger integrated in People hub – as we have predicted earlier, the Chinese developer confirms that Windows Live Messenger will be integrated in the People hub. You will be able to directly IM someone on your contact list.

The biggy of course is the addition and integration of Windows Live Messenger to the mix. We knnow direct Twitter support is on board for WP7.5, though we have to actually see it, but it's nice to see MS finally embracing their Live Messenger as well.

In fact, we've heard that Windows Live Messenger is pretty smart too: "when sending a message the phone will autopick the best method - IM or SMS", according to @WindowsPhone8 (DM).

Finally, one other feature we heard about from the above source:

  • Lync client (aka Microsoft Office Communications Server) is coming in the Mango timeframe

We knew about Lync and Windows Phone from last November, but looks like Mango is when it will happen.

Source: Cnblogs.com, @WindowsPhone8; via LiveSide.net

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3 years ago

Lunar Lander is this week's Xbox Live game

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Last week’s Xbox Live game, Enigmo, broke three straight weeks of Game Room releases. To be fair though, Harbor Master also came out alongside Centipede. Anyway, I hope you like retro games, Windows Phone gamers, because this week’s Xbox Live title is another Game Room entry: Lunar Lander.

Atari’s original Lunar Lander arcade game came out in 1979. Yes, this week’s release debuted the same year I was born. It’s 32 years young! Lunar Lander was the first Atari title to use vector graphics (just as Asteroids Deluxe did a few years later). Its graphics are composed entirely of white lines on a black background. The object is to safely land a spacecraft on the surface of the moon. The original arcade game used an actual lever to control the craft’s thrust and buttons for steering. It will be interesting to see how the game’s controls have been adapted for mobile touch screens.

See that? I didn’t say anything negative about Lunar Lander or how inexplicable it is that someone chose to release it on Windows Phone over so many other Game Room titles. That’s me, Captain Optimism!

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3 years ago

Earthworm Jim HD - Review

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Earthworm Jim HD - Review

During the 16-bit gaming era, Shiny Entertainment’s Earthworm Jim made quite a splash. It boasted very unusual character designs, an off-beat sense of humor, and excellent graphics and sound. It was also frustratingly hard, but so were a lot of games back then. Earthworm Jim was such a success that it spawned a few sequels and its own cartoon series.

Fast-forwarding several years, Gameloft - the developer/publisher known for producing mobile clones of popular console franchises – has brought the original Earthworm Jim to Windows Phone as an Xbox Live title. Is Earthworm Jim still as groovy as he ever was? Yes and no. This version is pretty rough around the edges thanks to some poor design decisions from the ‘loft.

Swing past the jump for our in-depth review.

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3 years ago

Infinite Flight - Review

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Infinite Flight - Review

If you are a flight simulator fan, Infinite Flight is being offered over at the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace that might suit your fancy. You can pilot a Cessna 172SP or a Cirrus SR22 (future updates will bring more aircraft to the app) around the San Francisco Bay area.

From realistic flight controls to multiple airport destinations, there is a lot to Infinite Flight. And to read more on this Windows Phone flight simulator, glide on past the break.

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3 years ago

Turn-by-Turn directions, Voice to text, Bing Audio/Vision all coming to WP7 Mango

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We kept emphasizing at MIX11 that the information revealed there was geared for developers, not so much consumers and that we expected more details to come forward over time. Combined with the fact that Mango/WP7.5 is not yet finished nor finalized, it's feature-set is still in motion but becoming more solid as we get closer to it going 'Gold'.

On the Windows Phone Developer Podcast, a plethora of new features were announced that will really bring Windows Phone up to par with the competition:

  • Bing Audio: Think Shazam, but built into Bing and we bet of course Zune Marketplace. Country support is initially limited to the U.S., Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Germany.
  • Bing Vision: A full blown image scanner using your camera. It can detect, identify and search using barcodes, Microsoft Tags, QR Codes, CD’s, DVDs, Books, and text using OCR (see here for history)
  • Turn-by-turn navigation: “voice guidance during driving directions” (we heard about this awhile ago)
  • SMS Dictation: Using Microsoft's TellMe service, you can use voice-to-text for SMS messages by tapping a microphone near the bottom

According to Paul Thurrott, who detailed the above, there's a lot more to the podcast, so take a listen. And your thoughts in comments: does this change things?

Update: See info regarding Windows Live Messenger, Skydrive & more in WP7.5 here

Source: Windows Phone Dev Podcast; via Windows Phone Secrets

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3 years ago

Ener-Jewels - App Spotlight

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Ener-Jewels - App Spotlight

There are a few "bejeweled-like" games available over at the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. One such is ImproviSoft's Ener-Jewels.

As with most "bejeweled-like" games, the object is to create a vertical or horizontal combination of three or more of the same jewels. Ener-Jewels has four game modes,

  • Infinity: A never ending game mode.
  • Power-up: As you create the combinations, you obtain power to move to the next stage. The power-up meter is at the bottom of the screen and when it fills, you move to the next level.
  • Time Race: You race against the clock to score as much as you can. The more combos you create, the slower the countdown timer runs.
  • Burst: You have sixty seconds to complete each level. Fail to do so and the game's over.

As you power up, the levels become more challenging. Should you get stuck, there's a hint button just below the power bar to help you out.

Ener-Jewels shares the same addictive quality that the original Bejeweled possesses. Graphics are crisp, sound effects nice, and with the multiple gaming modes there's plenty of game time available.

Ener-Jewels comes in two versions. You have Ener-Jewels TGIF, a free, ad-supported version and if you don't like the ads, there's a paid version without ads that runs $1.99.

You can find Ener-Jewels TGIF here (opens Zune) and Ener-Jewels here at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: May 2-8, 2011

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Welcome to our first summary of the week (SOTW). We will be publishing a weekly collection of the top news, reviews, games and other useful tid-bits, just in-case you've missed out on anything.

Highlights

Gaming

Software

Hardware

Fun

Developers

There's your round-up of this week's news! Be sure to stay up-to-date with our posts via Twitter, RSS and of course by checking the site regularly.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone selling poorly? Not necessarily.

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There has been a fantastic, insightful article published at My Nokia Blog today, which summarises how Windows Phone 7 is doing as a platform in the competitive market against the likes of iOS, Android, Symbian etc. We get to look at what countries are currently targeted by Microsoft's marketing campaigns, how a few major languages are supported, estimation of handset sales, marketshare predictions in the US and more.

Microsoft reported it had sold 1.5 million handsets to carriers in mid-December, in late January however they reported a total sale of 2 million units to carriers.
So in about a months time Microsoft managed to sell another 500,000 units to carriers. Why would carriers buy another 500,000 units (a full third of the amount bought a month ago) if the OS was a failure?

Looking at the above quote, I agree. If the OS was a flop, carriers would be extremely cautious - they hate to see any loss, right? We even heard Samsung had to use alternate memory modules to keep up supply with the Focus. Surely the investment would have been made due to the proposed marketshare gain, and at the end of the day this is Microsoft. "OS" is pretty much in their name, so one would assume if anyone could tap into the smartphone marketshare, it would be Microsoft.

The ending conclusion is a fair take on the current state of Windows Phone. It's a new platform and while it's not making a huge impact to competitors, it's certainly not a flop by any means. The post is a must read though, truly recommended.

Source: My Nokia Blog

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3 years ago

iPhone dev praises Windows Phone SDK, prefers it to Android

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One of Microsoft's angles for leveraging better smartphone market share is to lure iOS developers to Windows Phone (see their API mapping tool). Although they would prefer such devs to completely switch, just getting them to co-develop would be a 'win' in many ways.

In that case, it'a always interesting to see Windows Phone development from the iPhone side. We've seen this before in a head to head developer contest (see here) and now we hear it form Steve Troughton-Smith, who makes numerous apps for the iPhone, including Orbit, Stack, Grace, Lights Off, SameGame, Speed, Nuker, Chalk and Doom. He even helped crack Airplay for third party apps a few months ago. In other words, he's rather prominent.

Via a recent Tweet, he's evidently toying with Windows Phone development and had this to say on the matter:

The more I make things with the WP7 SDK, the more I like it. I feel safe writing all the XAML from scratch

...I'd certainly prefer it to Android's SDK

We're sure that's the exact response Brandon Watson and his team would want from an iOS developer, so it's good to hear. It's also good to hear that such a developer is tinkering with WP7--judging by his past releases, we'd love to see what this man can do on our platform.

Source: Twitter 1, 2; Thanks, Rene Ritchie of our sister-site TiPb, for the heads up

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3 years ago

Create a full Portal 2 theme on your Windows Phone [For Science]

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A few weeks ago, we covered those sweet Portal 2 wallpapers which combined the awesome transparency effect with an awesome game. Now, thanks to the site Conflicting Gamers, you can go further with that whole Portal 2 look.

There are two parts to this theme:

  1. Pin a favorite image (from a website) to the Start Menu
  2. Set background image for your Photos hub

The first part we covered in our tutorial here--basically you zoom on an appropriately sized image, pin to Start screen and you now have a pretty pic on your phone. The second just involves setting the default pic as your background image for the Photo hub, also covered here in the past (neat trick that many don't know about).

The downside of this? Well, at least for part 1, you're basically creating "dummy" tiles that don't do anything except look cool. For some of our more OCD-inclined readers, that's a no-go. But hey, if you can look past it this one time, your phone will look as snazzy as the pic above. The second part has no side effects outside of making you look like a gaming dork, but we're okay with that.

After the break, check our Conflicting Gamers video on how to do the Start tiles. You'll want to have their article on the topic opened on your phone to play along (linked here and below).

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3 years ago

Press shots of Verizon HTC Trophy get leaked

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Although we've seen actual pics of the Verizon Trophy in use, including screen shots of the OS, these leaked but "official" press shots of the upcoming Verizon HTC Trophy just back up the idea that this baby is close to launch. What with the Best Buy mention, reorganizing of their forums, employee training and then it finally popping up online, you know it's just around the corner.

In fact we're still hearing May 12th as the date for either the launch or shipping, something PocketNow has evidently corroborated. Of course, like all things, it can slip a bit, but we've never seen this phone come so close before.  Few more days. folks, just a few more days.

Source: Pocketnow. Thanks, Maxwell, for the heads up

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3 years ago

'Walshed' Phones potential cause and fix posted by user

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A registered member over at the XDA Devloper forums has posted a potential fix to the problem caused by the Chevronwp7.Updater, which leaves devices in an un-updatable state.  This has been posted by a user who has no other posts on the forum, it hasn't been recommended by Chris Walsh and isn't an official response from Microsoft.  We must urge you guys who are still awaiting the fix to hold off from attempting the below explanation.  But for conversations sake, we saw the need to share.

To see what ahodes posted in the thread, head on past the break.

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3 years ago

Phonealytics Live Tile [How to]

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Phonealytics Live Tile [How to]

Whether you're a web developer with multiple websites or an avid blogger who enjoys stalking your readers, Analytics by Google is a fantastic offering for statistical analysis. Phonealytics for Windows Phone 7 is a great tool to use while mobile and no computer is at hand (since WP7 doesn't support flash to render graphs etc.)

I've been using this app since late last year and I really enjoy the features and UI - it's really intuitive with the Metro usage. Not only this, but it features live tile support (yay!), which I use very heavily for quick glancing at any set website profile I wish to keep a close eye on. Sometimes the tile doesn't work or update properly and I had a hard time understanding why until I pinned the problem to my Google account not signing in. Should the live tile cease to work, have a look at the in-app settings to see if you're logged in to Google.

An easy 3 step guide to configuring the live tile:

  1. Open Phonealytics, press the cog icon (settings) in the menu bar. 
  2. Check "Login Status" to make sure your account is logged in.
  3. Swipe to the left to configure the live tile and turn it on.

Should you need to check your login status if the tile isn't updating or working, simply go to settings and press "Login" if your login status is reporting "not logged in".

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3 years ago

Train Travel app now sports a live tile

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The National Rail app (Train Travel), which is perfect for any commuter in UK, has been updated to 1.5. The changelog lists live tile support and Twitter integration as the two alterations in this version, coupled with improved help and tutorials.

The live tile can display any journey you've planned by saving any given timetable. The depart time (and date) is then displayed as well as the station codes. I did a test run with Shoeburyness (SRY) to London Fenchurch Street (FST) and the tile updated within moments as well as displaying the time we expect to arrive at the destination.

The app can be downloaded for a hefty £4.99, but is surely worth it if (like me) you use the trains a lot. Head on over to the Marketplace to purchase Train Travel (opens Zune).

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