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3 years ago

Key new Windows Phone tools hinted for Mix11; VOIP?

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This afternoon we attended the "Windows Phone developers day" at Mobile World Congress, during which an extensive Q&A was held that involved various heads of the Windows Phone development team, including Larry Liberman, Bryan Agnetta, Joe Marini, Rob Cameron and Brandon Watson.

A question that Microsoft is commonly asked involves the TCP-socket layer support and whether or not Windows Phone will make it accessible for developers. Socket-layers are critically needed for such services as VOIP aka Skype, Viber, etc. We now know that multitasking is coming to Windows Phone 7 with 'Mango' but now we have a very strong hint that socket-support, in some way, may be coming as well. Those two features are necessary for VOIP. [For a complete background, see J2i.net for relevant points]

Watson does the talking here but dare we say, if you read between the lines you get the feeling that (1) MIX11 will be huge for developers in terms of new features (that are coming with 'Mango') and that (2) Socket-support is a strong contender for a new feature, allowing developers to finally expand beyond simple web-based software. One thing is clear is that Microsoft does not want to disappoint consumers or developers and they are working hard to roll out new features for both, as quickly as possible.

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3 years ago

MSN Video app for WP7 comes to Marketplace

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Microsoft has released an official MSN Video app to the Marketplace, which allows you to browse and search clips from the Bing Videos website. (Think of it as the MS equivalent of the YouTube app).  Fitting nicely into the Metro UI, MSN video offers the option to watch in both regular or high quality.  The HQ vids are obviously much nicer to look at, but as you may imagine, take significantly more time to load up and stream.  One snazzy feature is that videos played from MSN Video will later appear in your history in the Music + Videos Hub.

With YouTube dominating the online video market, we're not sure how much MSN Video will catch on.  That being said, it is great to see MS supporting WP7 by creating their own apps to make it fresh and increasingly useful.

You can download it here for free.

Source: Zune Marketplace; Via: SimpleMobileReview (Thanks, Chris for the tip!)

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3 years ago

Twin Blades pulled from Marketplace over concerns about mature content

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Twin Blades, an Xbox Live game from Press Start Studio, recently disappeared from the Marketplace. We contacted the developer to find out what happened, and the news is not great.

A PSP Minis port of Twin Blades was recently rated 'M' (Mature) by the ESRB. The Windows Phone 7 version of the game never received an ESRB rating. Microsoft has a 'no mature content' policy for Xbox Live games on Windows Phone 7. Because the ESRB decided the PSP version of Twin Blades is too gory for teens (it is fairly bloody, with the zombie decapitations and such), Microsoft pulled the game from the WP7 Marketplace. Twin Blades was never available on the Marketplace in Germany, where more violent games are almost universally banned.

Will Twin Blades return to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace? Press Start Studios is working on a solution with Microsoft to bring the game back, but no decision has been made yet so they can't say when it will come back.

We're disappointed at Twin Blades' loss as it was one of the meatier Xbox Live launch titles on Windows Phone 7. It featured lots of levels, weapons, a lovely gothic visual theme, and a surprisingly mature story. Oh, and plenty of violence against cartoonish zombies.

Will the tale of a gun and scythe-toting nun waging war against the undead return in watered down form? One has to question why mature Xbox Live titles are prohibited on Windows Phone 7 when a child would be incapable of even purchasing a Windows Phone 7 device. It seems Microsoft is trying to protect children from a platform that is almost exclusively available to adults. The iPhone version of Twin Blades, meanwhile, is still available for purchase.

We'll update when Twin Blades' final fate has been decided. In the meantime, people who already bought the game should absolutely not delete it from their mobile devices as it can't be redownloaded.

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3 years ago

Sprint Windows Phone 7 right around the corner?

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Rafael Rivera of CheveronWP7 fame has tweeted that Sprint customers will be enjoying Windows Phone 7 in the first two weeks of March. And the phone of choice for Sprint shall be the HTC 7 Pro. This makes sense as we just saw the leaked, finalized ROM for the Sprint 7 Pro, which hints as near release.

To date, the official time frame for a CDMA Windows Phone 7 is sometime during the first half of 2011 (March would qualify). This time frame also mirrors the release date (early March) for the first WP7 update, "NoDo", that will contain CDMA support as well as copy/paste and performance enhancements.

There was speculation that the "NoDo" update was delayed due to carriers. Could the carrier delay have been to allow Sprint time to get ready for a Windows Phone launch? Nothing official from Sprint or Microsoft confirming this but March will be here before you know it. 

Source: Twitter; Thanks goes out to TimN for the tip!

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3 years ago

Samsung holds strong support for Microsoft & WP7

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Samsunholds strong support for Microsoft & WP7 With Nokia deciding to partner up with Microsoft and jump onto the Windows Phone 7 runaway train with other leading manufacturers, one would consider the possibility that the partnership between Nokia and the software giant could enable them to receive favourable treatment over other manufacturers. At worse, this could cause issues including handset makers pulling support for WP7 or doubting their investment because of favouritism (extremely unlikely but worth the minute consideration). Samsung have reiterated that their support for Microsoft and the platform will continue regardless of what may occur (probably because they are selling well). Chief Strategy Officer at Samsung, Omar Khan, explained in an interview at the Mobile World Congress trade show "You can continue to expect expansion in our Windows Phone portfolio." Moving onto say "Anything that strengthens the Windows Phone ecosystem is good for us," which is ultimately true. As well adding more competition within the WP7 device market, an additional handset manufacturer could well increase developer and carrier interests in the platform itself. For now, Samsung will more than likely sit back and enjoy the sales increase for their devices - particularly the Focus and Omnia 7.

With Nokia deciding to partner up with Microsoft and jump onto the Windows Phone 7 runaway train with other leading manufacturers, one would consider the possibility that the partnership between Nokia and the software giant could enable them to receive favorable treatment over other manufacturers. At worse, this could cause issues including handset makers pulling support for WP7 or doubting their investment because of favoritism (extremely unlikely but worth the minute consideration).

Samsung have reiterated that their support for Microsoft and the platform will continue regardless of what may occur (probably because they are selling well). Chief Strategy Officer at Samsung, Omar Khan, explained in an interview at the Mobile World Congress trade show "You can continue to expect expansion in our Windows Phone portfolio." Moving onto say "Anything that strengthens the Windows Phone ecosystem is good for us," which is ultimately true.

As well adding more competition within the WP7 device market, an additional handset manufacturer could well increase developer and carrier interests in the platform itself. For now, Samsung will more than likely sit back and enjoy the sales increase for their devices - particularly the Focus and Omnia 7.

Source: Forbes

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3 years ago

Motorola: No Moto Windows Phones

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Motorola: No Moto Windows Phones

Motorola left little room for chance that the company would be launching a Windows Phone 7 device. During a press event at the 2011 Mobile World Congress, Christy Wyatt, Motorola's VP of Software and Services Product Management, stated,

"I don't envision us using Microsoft. I would never say never but it's not something we're entertaining now."

Not exactly nailing the door completely shut on the possibility but the statement is strong enough that we won't be holding our breaths in anticipation.

Wyatt cited timing issues and concerns about Windows Phone 7 not being open source as the reasons behind the decision.  Motorola felt that a closed platform did not afford them the opportunity to create unique value. Wyatt added that going with Microsoft would create a situation where the only value Motorola could offer was "commoditized hardware".

All of which raises the question; doesn't it make sense to have the software company (Microsoft) focus on the OS and the hardware company (Motorola) focus on...say...the hardware?

While the prospect of a Motorola Windows Phone does have a certain appeal to it, the company seems well rooted with Android. Wyatt notes that Motorola is the only vendor who is 100 percent Android. It is entirely possible that diversification isn't for everyone but it doesn't appear to be hurting HTC, LG, Samsung and other multi-platform companies.

Source: PCWorld  Via: Engadget

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3 years ago

Yelp! is looking for help

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Yelp! is looking for help

Yelp!, the travel app that connects you with everything from hotels to gas stations to food joints, is looking for a little help. When asked if their popular Windows Phone 7 app would be updated any time soon, their reply:

Unfortunately, not in the near time frame. Believe it or not, we're still a very small team and as such, our priorities lie with the platforms that see the most engagement (iPhone and Android) BUT, we are actively hiring for more mobile developers, so if you know anyone, please send them our way and I'll also tell our team we have some eager folks out there who'd appreciate an update.

Understandably Yelp! is focusing with areas of the most activity but nice to see that they are wanting to effectively handle additional platforms by increasing their staff. No details on the specifics of the developer's position were available, but you can contact Yelp! through their website here for all the details.

And if you haven't tried Yelp!, you can find your free copy here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Source: Facebook Thanks to George (the other one) for tipping us on this!

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3 years ago

Acer still not committed to Windows Phone 7

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Acer has been one of those on again/off again OEMs in regards to Windows Phone 7. They have a very strong  history with Microsoft, having released numerous Windows Mobile devices in the past and are one of their biggest OEMs for laptops and tablets.

We spoke with Acer's Dac Nguyen, Product Marketing Manger, Smart Handheld Business Group about Windows Phone and the prospects of Acer releasing some devices in the future. A few months ago, they spoke positively of the OS and there were even rumors that Acer had already been working on a phone.

From what we're told, Acer is still developing Windows Phone internally (they certainly didn't deny it), but as of yet have nothing to announce and seem still keen on Android (they released 11 Android phones in the last year). So like Asus, they're another OEM who is playing with the hardware and OS on an engineering level, but not officially developing any consumer product just yet.  We suppose once Windows Phone gain more momentum, they'll be ready to commit and bring devices to market quickly, but until then they're sitting on the side lines.

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3 years ago

Tonight's Xbox LIVE game for Windows Phone is Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night

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We've been so busy with this Mobile World Congress thing that we forgot to mention what tonight's Xbox LIVE game is: Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night by Konomi.

Yes, so once again just a single game and it's a puzzler type. We're sure it's not too bad (it's on the iPhone, of course) but we're still hoping for something a little more dramatic/enthralling from Microsoft and their partners.

Source: @KarlStricker

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3 years ago

Rocket Riot - Review

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Rocket Riot - Review

Among Windows Phone 7’s most unique features is the Xbox Live service. The mobile versions of many Xbox 360 console games can find their way exclusively to Windows Phone 7. One such game, ilomilo (review), actually debuted first on Windows Phone 7 before hitting the Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Arcade service a few months later. Rocket Riot, from developer Code Glue, took the other way around: it’s come to Microsoft’s mobile phone platform over a year after releasing as a downloadable console title.

Rocket Riot is a twin-stick, side view shooter (without the physical sticks). This means players control their character’s movement and firing direction independently. Does this control method work well on the touch-screen, without the presence of sticks? Fly past the break to find out.

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3 years ago

Peter Chou on Nokia Partnership, HTC will benefit

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One of the big concerns expressed when Microsoft and Nokia announced their partnership was if the move would alienate Microsoft’s current stable of OEMs (see LG's reaction); in particular HTC. The biggest reason for concern was the rumor that Nokia would be allowed to alter the Windows Phone 7 UI, something that HTC has traditionally done across all of their devices on Windows Mobile and Android with the Sense UI.

HTC’s CEO Peter Chou answered the question during a keynote appearance at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

"They're doing what they have to do. It won't be easy, but they're doing what they have to do. We are very committed to Windows Mobile, and we are one of their lead partners for Windows Phone 7. So we are positive, because this combination will surely make that ecosystem stronger. As a strong player [in this ecosystem], HTC will be a beneficiary from [their decision]."

What this means is that whatever makes the Windows Phone ecosystem stronger is good for HTC in the long term. It’s been said that HTC was a primary reason why Windows Mobile endured as long as it did. Keeping an ally such as HTC on your friends list has got to be one of Microsoft’s bigger priorities.

Do you think this is a true statement from HTC? Or is this simply the only answer they feel comfortable giving?

Source: Engadget

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3 years ago

MonsterUp - Review

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MonsterUp - Review

MonsterUp from Karios Games is one of several Doodle Jump clones available for Windows Phone 7. These games are all about climbing as high as possible amid a sea of never-ending platforms.

Doodle Jump and its brethren (or is that illegitimate children?) have proven themselves to be addictive thanks to easy controls and gameplay that’s fun in short spurts on the go. With so many jumping games to choose from, however, MonsterUp needs to be pretty special to stand out from the crowd. Does it succeed?

Jump past the break to find out. 

 

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3 years ago

LogMeIn receptive to Windows Phone 7 development

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As we mingle around Mobile World Congress, we're trying to get a feel from the software vendors on Windows Phone 7 and their future plans in offering their services. One company everyone knows is LogMeIn, who make extremely popular (and useful) remote access apps for your PC, Mac and more recently smartphones.

LogMeIn Ignition is on the iOS and just launched on Android, but we were told that Windows Phone 7 is certainly fair game for their next iteration (like most companies, they need to focus their resources). Ignition runs on the device and allows you to remotely access and manipulate your PC/Mac from the phone, over 3G or WiFi--in fact it's one of the most popular apps on the iPad. Likewise LogMeIn Rescue is an app for the reverse: to backup, manage and manipulate your phone from your PC. The app worked flawlessly and quickly over Android and we're excited about something similar coming to Windows Phone.

While it would have been better to hear "in development" or "here's a demo", we'll take positive encouragement over a flat out "nope, no plans".

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3 years ago

Hands on with SPB TV for Windows Phone 7 [Video]

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SPB is set to release their latest app, SPB TV soon for the Windows Phone Marketplace and we got a chance to get a sneak peak.

SPB TV has been around for ages on Windows Mobile and is the second port by the popular software company to Windows Phone, the other being Brain Evolution 2. Offering free streaming TV from around the globe, SPB TV is quite popular outside the U.S. (US channel selection is limited, but it's still a great app to have on hand) and offers a excellent streaming experience.

The new version works over 3G or WiFi and features their picture-in-picture technology, allowing you to preview other shows while the one you are currently streaming pauses the image--pretty nifty. The software will also give you alerts (when the program is open, not push notifications) when a preferred program is coming up and overall it looks quite nice with streaming quality looking excellent. The program will of course be free and we hear that a v3.0 is coming soon, offering more premium content (SPB is trying to work on deals to secure bigger network names like CNN, MTV, etc, but it's a difficult area to navigate, specifically revenue).

As far as other apps, from our chat, SPB certainly seems committed to Windows Phone 7 and there are plans to bring over their other apps from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone, but we'll have to wait a bit as that process goes forward.

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3 years ago

Skype: still nothing for Windows Phone 7 at MWC

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We had a chance to talk with Skype last night here at Mobile World Congress and as of now, no news and nothing revealed regarding Windows Phone 7 and an official client for WP7.

Of course, we were chatting with PR people who only know what they are told, so for all we know deep in Skype's labs they could be finally cooking something up (never underestimate corporate secrecy). But on their front lines, they're still taking the position of "it's something we have to look into" with nothing significant to report and there was no hope or hint of anything in the works.

Sigh.

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