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3 years ago

Buddy cloud platform for Windows Phone officially launches [Developers]

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If you're a Windows Phone 7 developer, you would probably have heard us talk about this Kirkland, Wash. startup. To recap, it was founded by David McLauchlan (CEO), and Jeff MacDuff (CTO). Both are former Microsoft employees with Dave doing work on the Zune hardware business amongst others, and Jeff working on a range of products including that Windows Phone 7 you're clutching.

Although the platform has been out since last year, up until now it has been in beta. But today they have finally hit v1, along with a bunch of exciting announcements.

So what's new? Well, in addition to the info in the quote below, Buddy has now got support for the Aviary image filters - which has recently been included in Rowi. Along with that, there is now a native .NET SDK which makes it absolutely painless to use the platform in your own app, plus is the first SDK that supports Windows 8! I have personally used the SDK in a Windows 8 app, and it was simpler than the time I stole candy from a baby (I didn't really, promise). The SDK also successfully passes the Windows App Certification Kit (WACK), which is required to publish apps into the Store, and is failed by pretty much every other 3'rd party library due to broken dependencies.

We know what you're thinking though...what good is a press release without an infographic? So we have two, just for you (and the thousands of others like you)...

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: MissileDefender

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MissileDefender is a new game for your Windows Phone that comes from the developers of Grow. MissileDefender is a Missile Command styled game where you defend your city from incoming missile and alien attacks.

However, unlike the classic arcade game MissileDefender allows for upgrades to your defenses and conduct repairs to damaged buildings in between attack waves. The game screen is simply laid out with buildings and trees lining the bottom of the screen. Up top there is a pause button, your missile count and your upgrade/repair point total. As you destroy enemy missiles and ships you earn the upgrade/repair points.

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3 years ago

Nokia announces availability of Lumia 610 in the UK

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Nokia has today announced availability of the low-end, most affordable Lumia Windows Phone in the UK - the Lumia 610. The device is available in white, cyan, magenta and the usual black variants. As well as being a Tango targeted handset (only sports the minimum specifications), the Lumia 610 comes with tethering out of the box, as well as a flip-to-silence feature.

Should you be interested in purchasing one, the Lumia 610 is priced from just £15/mo on contract reportedly with O2, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, and is stocked by both Carphone Warehouse, Clove and Phones 4u. Expect to see some stock being promoted at each supporting source. Sporting a 3.7" display, 256MB RAM, 5MP camera, 8GB storage and is powered by a 800Mhz chip. 

Originally, June 11th was on the cards for the release date, so it's good to see Nokia coming forward with the Lumia 610 a week or two in advance.

Head past the break to check our unboxing and hands on video of the Nokia Lumia 610 from a few days ago...

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3 years ago

Xbox Live - MonstaFish escapes onto the Windows Phone Marketplace

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MonstaFish is the latest Xbox Live release from IronSun Studios, makers of IonBallEX. Windows Phone Central first revealed the game to the world two weeks ago, and now it’s available on the Marketplace.

In MonstaFish, too much toxic waste has been dumped into the water, resulting in gnarly mutations known as MonstaFish. Naturally these toxic fish aren’t too tasty and must be removed for the good of the ocean!

This mode will kill you. A lot.

MonstaFish features five distinct game modes:

  • The main game, MonstaFish, involves waiting around as a super-Octopus spits bubbles out. These combine when they bump into each other and can then be popped to defeat enemy fish.
  • Fish Hook allows requires players to rescue friendly goldfish, hooking and pulling them through schools of MonstaFish using tilt controls. This is probably the most fun and intuitive gametype
  • In Fish Hunt, a couple of cursors float up and down the screen. Tap them when a fish comes through to wipe it out. The mechanics seem a bit confusing so far.
  • Time Attack gives players three minutes to tap and eliminate as many MonstaFish as possible. If the fish escape or you hit too many toxic waste barrels or Boomer fish, the game ends. This mode is actually quite hard and frustrating, though super gamer Zebrasqual has already knocked out both of its more evil Achievements.
  • Fish Tank lets players feed their fish by tapping on the screen to drop flakes. You also need to scare off snails by swiping the screen, which unfortunately doesn’t work very well for me. Anyone else having trouble with that?

As you can see, MonstaFish packs a lot of variety for a single game. It costs only 99 cents and there is a free trial. Swim over here to get it from the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Chickens Can't Fly but they can be the Xbox Live Deal of the Week

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Chickens Can’t Fly from Amused Sloth is regarded by many as one of the best games on Xbox Live. How do you make a good game even sweeter? Put it on sale! That’s right; Chickens Can’t Fly is now the Xbox Live Deal of the Week at $1.99, down from $2.99.

In this tale of science versus nature, players control a hapless chicken as he’s harangued by cruel scientists. In each level, the chicken falls (not flies) through more than 60 massive obstacle courses while trying not to get sliced, fried, or electrocuted along the way. Great tilt controls, sharp artwork, and a subversive sense of humor make Chickens Can’t Fly a joy to play. Check out our review for more details.

Chickens Can’t Fly is due for a major title update anytime now, adding new features like Avatar Awards and asynchronous multiplayer.  Check back tomorrow when Windows Phone Central will provide an exclusive peek at how the update tweaks the difficulty for the better as well.

Chickens Can’t Fly is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Don’t stand their crowing – get it here on the marketplace right away.

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3 years ago

Magenta Nokia Lumia 900 dummy phone shows up in Italy

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A non-working, magenta Lumia 900 for Italian Nokia stores

Although the rumored Magenta Lumia 900 never materialized on AT&T for Mother's day there is still plenty of evidence that the pink legend exists and someone will be getting it soon. Whether it's from Nokia's own Facebook page, a Finnish online retailer or Australia, the magenta 900 is certainly on the horizon.

Now, magenta "dummy" phones have begun appearing at Italian Nokia stores suggesting that Italy may be one of the first areas to get the device. No word on availability of anything else for that matter, just the above picture of one.

Our guess is Nokia still working to fulfill orders on the cyan, matte-black and glossy-white versions and ramping up production for magenta is taking some time. Hopefully though we'll see it soon enough here in the US and elsewhere.

Source: Nokia HD Blog; Thanks, simone, for the tip

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3 years ago

Microsoft releases Photosynth for Windows Phone to the Marketplace

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We were just mentioning how Microsoft was teasing Photosynth for Windows Phone and sure enough, the popular and creative photo stitching app is now available!

"Photosynth for Windows Phone is the panorama app that makes it easy and fun to capture and share interactive panoramas of the places, people, and events that are important to you. Using the latest in computer vision techniques, Photosynth is the acknowledged leader in mobile panorama creation. It is the only app available on any mobile platform that allows you to capture 360 degrees horizontally and vertically, making a perfect “sphere."

Once you’ve created a Photosynth, you can share it as an interactive panorama experience on Facebook and Twitter (using the free Photosynth.net service) or as a simple image. You can also publish your panoramas to Bing where millions of people will see your panoramas, on Bing Maps and in Bing search results for the places you've captured. And check out our featured list, where we show off the best of what you and your fellow users create and share."

The app seems very fluid on our Focus 2 and we'll be sure to share some test shots as soon. But for now, go forth and enjoy the latest creation from Microsoft, we're sure you'll be impressed. Leave comments on your thoughts below.

Update: We should note that Windows Phones without a compass or gyroscope (e.g. the HTC Radar) can still use the app but it won't work as fluidly. You'll receive a message informing you as much but you can still download and use the app.

Update 2: Photosynth won't run on Tango hardware like the Lumia 610 as it needs at least 512MB of RAM for processing.

Pick up Photosynth for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Microsoft teases announcement for Photosynth app on Windows Phone [Updated: now live]

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Update: Photosynth for Windows Phone is now on the Marketplace. Read here for more info and download link.

It was about two weeks ago we demonstrated that Microsoft had bumped Photosynth (photosynth.net) to version 1.0 seemingly making the release imminent for Windows Phone. The popular photo stitching app has been in the works for well over a year as we had to watch iOS users take advantage of Microsoft's panoramic software.

At the time, we speculated that the app was coming out of beta hence the 1.0 designation and now we believe that to be accurate. The Twitter account for Windows Phone just tweeeted this little bit of info in the last hour:

"If only there were a great new way to stitch your photos to create a panoramic image. If only we had something to announce soon. IF ONLY :)"

Indeed. We can't think of many apps that would be worthy of such an announcement except for Photosynth and when combined with the v1.0 status from two weeks ago, dare we say we really think it's about to happen.

Hopefully we'll hear more from Microsoft within the next few days on the release. From our experience, companies announce releases only under one condition: when the app has cleared certification in the Marketplace. That could mean less than 24 hours before we get our hands on the app.

Stay tuned.

Source: Microsoft (Windows Phone); Thanks, parthp90, for the tip

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3 years ago

Mobile marketing expert says Facebook could purchase Nokia to build "FacePhone"

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We wrote up quite a lengthy article the other day detailing the possibility of a Facebook smartphone, or "FacePhone" for giggles, so we wont go into too much detail here to save your eyes some repetition. According to a report over at Computerworld, a mobile marketing expert based in Paris has predicted such hardware will emerge in 18 months. Yep, we know what you're thinking. Take this with a truck-load of salt.

Paul Amsellem, managing director of Mobile Network Group and the soul who believes such a device will become reality, also states that Facebook could buy Nokia with the state the manufacturer is in, which would give the social network an easy opportunity to get into the mobile market. This in itself is a wild prediction.

"Facebook will launch the FacePhone. And whether it has a blue color and a logo with a big F on it, it will definitely be disruptive. Even at this moment, Facebook doesn't know what it will look like, but they need to do it. Facebook needs somebody with an understanding of networking, technology, carrier relationships and logistics. They can acquire one of these two players [Nokia / RIM] for not a lot of money." 

Amsellem goes onto say that the company needs to do something, which everyone will agree with. Facebook has found itself in a hole with stocks, revenue streams and innovations for the service itself. For the time being, the social network hangs on as an integrated service or app for current mobile operating systems. This will have a negative impact on advertisement revenues with more and more computer users moving to / adopting portable devices.

Rob Enderle, an analyst at Enderle Group, hits the Facebook situation nail on the head though.

"Facebook appears to be trying to emulate Google, much like Google tried to emulate Apple. A copy of a copy likely won't end up well, given how powerful both of the primary iOS and Android platforms are."

It boils down to the fact that Facebook really is just a place to communicate with friends, and occasionally water the crops. Is there space for Facebook as an ecosystem with a mobile platform to compete with Microsoft, Apple, RIM and Google? Probably not, but then again this is just an analyst's prediction, and we all know first-hand how inaccurate these can be.

What do you guys think? Would Facebook be punching above its weight?

Source: Computerworld

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: WordHog

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Windows Phone Game Review: WordHog

WordHog took home second place in Microsoft's U.S. 2012 Imagine Cup and now it's a free Windows Phone game available on the Marketplace. WordHog is an interesting word game that is a little on the simple side but it has an addictive quality to help it from getting stale.

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3 years ago

Amazon Instant Video comes to Xbox 360

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Amazon and Microsoft have joined forces to bring Amazon's Instant Video to the XBox 360 console. Not only will users have access to Amazon's 17,000 film and television titles, but they will be able to control it all using Kinect voice and gesture commands. Speaking of the new joint venture, Ross Honey, general manager of Xbox LIVE Entertainment and Advertising at Microsoft had this to say:

“Working with Amazon.com marks a significant milestone in our mission to make the entertainment you love more amazing on Xbox. By bringing the Amazon Instant Video app to Xbox LIVE and adding voice search and voice control through the magic of Kinect, we’re transforming the way people discover and experience entertainment.”

Amazon' put out a comment of their own via their vice president for video, Anthony Bay:

“Amazon Instant Video on the Xbox 360 console is among one of the most requested video features from our customers, so we are excited to offer yet another way for customers to enjoy Amazon Instant Video.”

This is a significant move for Amazon, as XBox 360 continues to be the top-selling gaming console in the country. Microsoft, too, will benefit greatly from Amazon's huge media catalog as they strive to make XBox a one-stop place for gaming, music, video and social media.

Source: Amazon

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3 years ago

From the Forums -- Battery life and the Lumia 900 (Hot thread)

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Sometimes in the Windows Phone Central Forums we discuss serious issues which brings us to today’s hot thread. Today we are talking about the Lumia 900 and more specifically we are debating about the Lumia 900 "BP-6EW 1830mAh" standard Li-ion battery. Forum member ninjaap wants to know “Did your battery life get better?” as he has a Lumia 900 and he thinks his battery has become better over time.

“The first 2 weeks my battery life was terrible. It only lasted about 8hrs with normal use before wanting a charge. Then it consistently got better after every week, averaging about 12hrs. Now fast forward a few more weeks, about a month after purchase, I'm getting about a day and half on a single charge! I take it off at 8am every morning, and usually put it back on the charger at around midnight for overnight charging.”

The Lumia 900 runs on a BP-6EW 1830mAh standard Li-ion battery which is non-removable. Nokia states that this battery should provide you with 7 hours of  talk time and 300 hours of GSM standby (you can get more information at Nokia). What we want to know is how your battery is and more important has your battery become any better with time? Forum member Mayoo agrees with ninjaap:

“I noticed this as well... Battery is getting better and better”

Forum member jimski has a different opinion. He thinks that heavy use of our new phone alters our perception e.g. when we first get our new phone we use it more thereby wasting more battery. We guess it could be true but how do we really know if we're using our phones less?

“Just a guess, but it is probably related to honeymoon syndrome. The first week you had your L900, like me you couldn't put it down. A few weeks later and now you are into a more normal routine. Think that plays a big part in perceived battery performance.”

Continue reading...

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3 years ago

Skype working to add notifications to the Windows Phone app?

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The trusty New York Times just ran a nice behind-the-acquisiton piece on Microsoft on Skype discussing how the deal is panning out between the two companies. The article is mostly positive but it does of course address a few shortcomings of the MS-Skype deal that haven't materialized so far.

Windows Phone users are no stranger to the current limitations on the Skype app for Windows Phone, specifically the inability to receive calls or messages in the background. We outlined why such a system can be problematic for the mobile OS in a separate piece though it still doesn't alleviate disappointment for those wanting a richer VOIP experience.

Addressing that criticism, a Skype spokesman told the New York Times that such a shortcoming would be addressed in a future version of the software. While certainly positive sounding it still leaves many questions for us. For instance are we still talking about on Windows Phone 7.x or Windows Phone 8? Is there a distinction between the two development branches? What about devices like the Nokia Lumia 610 who can't run Skype? And of course, when will said update come?

At least from the tone it seems Skype and Microsoft are well aware of the criticism and plan to remedy them sometime in the future.  Some other noteworthy tidbits

  • Skype client for Xbox 360 is not expected this year (though we bet we'll hear more on that next week at E3 in Los Angeles. We'll be there to cover it.)
  • Microsoft will integrate Skype into Lync
  • Nokia is in talks with carriers about ways to bundle Nokia Windows Phones with Skype and "lucrative high-speed data plans"
  • Ballmer is quoted as saying that Skype has not hurt Windows Phone (with the carriers) and that those carriers know "...the future of communications doesn’t look like the present of communications"

From our own conversations with Microsoft and Skype employees, we gather that the big hold up are the technical challenges presented with Skype's infrastructure. In essence, it's a bit of a mess from an engineering perspective and Microsoft-Skype need to walk cautiously when updating and reconfiguring the network.

We'll see more of this partnership pay off in late 2012 and early 2013 as Microsoft rolls out Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 but until then, we're expecting baby-steps. And so should you.

Source: The New York Times

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3 years ago

O2 confirms availability of 32GB Nokia Lumia 900, not a typo on the website [Updated]

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Well colour us all surprised. O2 Germany has confirmed, via Twitter, that the 32GB Lumia 900 is actually what's on offer and is not a typo on the website as we first presumed. The Windows Phone in question isn't just any old Lumia 900 either, it's the glossy white version, which has been listed on the carriers website as "coming soon"

There's still no word on pricing or availability just yet, and it'll be interesting to see if this 32GB variant makes its way elsewhere, especially with some owners demanding more storage.

Check out O2's tweet below (ignore the rough translation):

As well as the above official confirmation, Twitter user XB-Mod tweeted a photo of an O2 product listing documentation detailing the same specification. Looks as though Germany will either get to play around with a Lumia 900 with larger storage capacity exclusive to O2, or wake up tomorrow to an apology from the carrier for an error that has escalated to both the website and pressers.

Amazon.de also lists the Lumia 900 with an availability date of May 31st, at a price of EUR 575,00, but with only 16GB storage.

Update: Sorry folks, it seems O2 has changed the Lumia 900 specifications on their website to reflect 16GB. Looks like it was a typo and O2 was incorrect when confirming that it actually was 32GB. Thanks Pavel for letting us know of the change!

Source: O2 Germany (Twitter), @XB_Mod; thanks Ruben for the tip!

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3 years ago

TalkBox getting early update, first images of Windows 8 desktop client appear

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The mobile messaging service TalkBox had a nice little launch last week and has since racked up some solid reviews grabbing 4.5 stars out of 5. Not bad for a version 1.0 though clearly the app can use some fixes and features e.g. landscape for typing, Toast notifications that take you directly to the message, perhaps pinnable contacts, etc.

The good news is an updated version should be coming this week. We're not entirely sure on the changes but we'll get you that list as soon as possible. One thing we're certain of, the TalkBox team seems set on delivering a rock-solid experience on Windows Phone, which leads us to Windows 8...

As you can see below, the TalkBox team is evidently working on a a desktop application for their push-to-talk messaging service, which will allow you chat via texting or voice clips to all of your contacts on Windows Phone, iOS, Android and eventually even BlackBerry.

No word on specific features but as you can see from the images, it looks to support everything the mobile clients handle. The design also looks bright and minimal which should keep the Metro-peeps happy out there.

It's great to see developers taking the ability to co-develop for Windows Phone and Windows 8 seriously as we can only imagine such a strategy will be very helpful to their brand. We'll keep you posted on any more info that we get, so stay tuned.

Pick up TalkBox for Windows Phone for free here in the Marketplace.

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