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3 years ago

Ten ways to improve Windows Phone 7 - a developer's perspective

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Since its inception, suggestions have been scouring the internet on how to improve Windows Phone 7. We ran across an interesting list of suggestions that come from a developer's perspective. While recognizing that Windows Phone 7 is a "modern, well-throughout and refreshing OS" the article concentrates on technical and strategic changes that would help with WP7's longevity.

Along with UI Virtualization and Hardware Acceleration, here are some of the suggestions offered that an end-user might agree with:

Fix Push Notifications: From capping the number of apps that can receive push notifications to the overall reliability of push notifications, this area needs improvements.

Improve the Home Screen: I've grown fond of the Home/Start Screen with Windows Phone 7 but, as suggested on the list, the design comes at the expense of application discovery and usability.  Sometimes it just takes forever to swipe down to the app you're looking for.  We've heard mention of folders but what about having multiple sets of tiles? Have a Home Screen Hub of sorts?

Update the Back and Search Button Behavior: Change the Back Button functionality to only navigate within the context of an app. Then add a long press that would take you to the previous application. It is also suggested that the Search Button should be contextual to the app running. A long-press would pull up BING and pressing the Search Button on the Home Screen would search your device. These suggestions would help eliminate the accidental presses that send you completely out of an app.

The author also touches on the need for a companion Windows Phone 7 tablet. A tablet allows you to scale up Windows Phone 7 and allows for developers and Microsoft to tap into a secondary market.

I agree with one of the closing thoughts in that Windows Phone success is a matter of execution and strategy. Microsoft has a very good foundation and next month we'll see how the first step in its growth takes shape.

Source: Orktane

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3 years ago

Do Nokia Windows Phone renders reveal new screen resolution? [Update: Nope]

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Long Zheng at iStartedSomething has gone through those device renders by Nokia with a fine toothed comb and has turned out some potentially interesting information.

In short, there are too many tiles on the screen for the Nokia devices and when he looked closer, he notoiced that the screen resolution is similar to that of other Nokia phones. From this he extrapolates that perhaps Nokia will be reusing their own hardware for their Windows Phones, to reduce production costs and speed, and that may be the reason for the change.

Our thoughts? Maybe, but we're erring on the side of no.

As more details have come out from the Nokia-Microsoft partnership, what comes across is how fast it was thrown together (in fact, as far as we know, the deal is not completely signed off on). From Elop himself during last night's Q&A, he mentioned how it was only Thursday that the Nokia board gave their permission for the Microsoft deal. That's some mighty short timing and we can't help but think that these renders, while very nice, do not actually tell us much about the design intentions of Nokia and Windows Phone.

Still, rumors are floating about a revision to the chassis requirement, including new resolutions. But we think it odd that this news would first show up in some quick phone renderings. We'll keep an ear our though for more info.

Update: Absolutely not. In speaking with some higher-ups at Microsoft, we can definitely say there is no new screen resolution, nor is Nokia changing that area. It was indeed a mockup thrown together quickly and is not meant to respresnet any final product. But, we can confirm that Microsoft and Nokia on the engineering level have been working together "for some time" which should speed up device-to market time.

Source: iStartedSomething

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3 years ago

Hands on with Samsung Omnia 7 - Mobile World Congress [Video]

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Unlike LG, who seem to have hidden their Windows Phone from the world in turn for Android, Samsung did have their Omnia 7 on display.

Samsung is in the same position as LG too: New high-end Android phone (Galaxy S II) and a new Tablet (Tab 10.1) both of which they are really pushing here in Barcelona (the airport is plastered with advertising). Still, Samsung at least managed to get six of their Euro-Windows Phones on display for others to interact with.

Here's a short video of us playing with it, only because it's (a) a really nice phone and (b) not available here in the U.S., so this may be our only chance (unless we want to drop $500 to import). Of note, we checked the OS version and it's 7.07.7004, meaning this is pre-NoDO and does not have copy-paste (We're hoping maybe someone had loaded it up, but alas, it's no where to be seen).

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3 years ago

LG comments on Microsoft's new Nokia partnership, has no WP7 phones at MWC

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Today was a big day for LG as they announced their LG Optimus 3D Android phone and 8.9" Android Tablet. Of course, you can head to AndroidCentral for that info. During the Q&A part of the press conference though, someone in the audience asked LG's President and CEO Dr. Jong-Seok Park what he thought of Microsoft's new alliance with Nokia and what it means for LG.

Jong-Seok Park's response was borderline non-answer, but he did emphasize that LG plans to continue with Microsoft and that won't change. And in more of a boast or challenge, Jong-Seok said about Nokia (paraphrasing) "Lets see what they can do".

The question was pointed but also significant. If we flash back exactly two years ago, it was here at Mobile World Congress where LG was named as a key partner for Windows Phone, with the promise of 50 phones at one point. Since then, LG seems to have scaled things back quite a bit, to say the least. In fact, Asymco has done a nice job of detailing the history of announced and celebrated "partnerships" with Microsoft that have gone to sour, dissipate or never realize their promise. The list includes Palm, Motorola, Nortel, Erricson and others. This now seems to the be the case with LG, who's Optimus 7 and Quantum, while both respectable phones, have failed to garner the attention that the Samsung Focus has.

What was even more telling was at the LG display section on the main floor--which included TVs, their Android Optimus-series, tablets and even "feature" phones, there wasn't a single LG Windows Phone on display. (Or if so, it was well hidden).

One thing that is evident from today is that LG are doing way, way more in terms of hardware with their Android line. The LG Optimus 3D has dual core, dual memory and a dual camera for shooting in 3D. With a 4.3" screen, the device is quite the achievement and believe it or not, the glasses-free 3D ain't too shabby.  Unfortunately when you see all the new "super" phones with Android, you realize how stagnant Windows Phone 7 starts to look--Microsoft is not yet in the business of pushing harware technology.

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3 years ago

Krusell Gaia Mobile Pouch - Review

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Krusell Gaia Mobile Pouch - Review

Not a fan of belt cases or shell cases for your Windows Phone but need some protection when you're carrying your phone around in a backpack, purse or briefcase? Krusell might have an solution worth considering. The Krusell Gaia Mobile Pouch is being offered over at the WPCentral Accessory Store that will offer your Windows Phone a considerable amount of protection while your phone bounces around in your backpack.

Krusell offers a wide variety of belt cases that are quality made. The Gaia follows that level of quality nicely but how well does it handle the day to day grind? It's being offered for the HTC Surround and to see how well the Krusell Gaia performed, follow the break.

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3 years ago

Mobi Hard Shell Case - Review

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Mobi Hard Shell Case - Review

Not a fan of leather cases for your Windows Phone? Prefer pocket carry but want some level of protection for your phone? Mobi Products may have just what you're looking for in the Hard Shell Case.

The case is being offered for a wide variety of Windows Phones and in an assortment of colors (black, blue, red, purple, and pink). We took the Mobi Hard Shell Case out for a spin with a Samsung Focus and it left a decent impression on us.

To see if this two piece, hard shell case is worth considering just hit the break.

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3 years ago

Currency Converter Pro - Review

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Currency Converter Pro - Review

Like to keep track of currency exchange rates? Curious what the latest price of aluminum is? BlackLight Mobile is offering Currency Converter Pro over at the Marketplace that puts a ton of currency exchange information on your Windows Phone.

From simply currency conversion (147 world currencies and 6 metals) to tracking the value of a currency or precious metal Currency Converter Pro is a handy travel application as well a nice travel app.  Currency Converter Pro will even provide you with a sample image of the bank note you are researching. Toss in recent currency news and Currency Converter Pro may be a total package.

Ease on past the break to read more on this Windows Phone travel/financial app.

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3 years ago

Daily Horoscope - Review

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Daily Horoscope - Review

Tarot.com has put together a nice looking horoscope app for your Windows Phone. Daily Horoscope for Windows Phone 7 offers not only general horoscopes for a three day window but will also keep you up to date with moon phases.

Daily Horoscope does require registration (free) to pull up your horoscopes. Not sure why the need for registering exists but it gives you a chance to receive additional information about your horoscope via email. Unless you un-check that particular box.

Follow the break to read more on Daily Horoscope to see if it's an app for your future.

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3 years ago

Tweet Translator 1.0 headed to Marketplace

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Carmelo Milian, developer of the Windows Phone 7 application SoundEscape 7, is bringing an interesting Twitter app to the Marketplace. Tweet Translator promises to translate your tweets from or to a wide range of languages.

Other features of Tweet Translator include:

  • View your personal tweet time-line
  • Search people tweets
  • View public tweets
  • Hear the tweet with text to speech for various languages
  • Real-time translation for more than thirty languages

Languages covered in Tweet Translator range from Arabic to Haitian Creole to Vietnamese, as well as the customary French, Italian, Spanish, German and English. It will be interesting to see how well the text to speech feature of Tweet Translator will shake out.

According to the developer Tweet Translator has been submitted for certification and should be available at the Marketplace soon for $.99.

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3 years ago

Nokia releases official concept photos of proposed Windows Phones

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Engadget had some leaked photos yesterday of supposed Nokia concept-phones for Windows Phone 7. Today, those images were verified along with a new shot of similar (but subtlety different) devices. A slide of the above shot was shown during today's Nokia talk at Mobile World Congress.

Some of the tiles are interesting: for instance the analog clock is new as wel as the "maps" icon, leading presumably to some of Nokia's mapping technology. Who knows if those are in fact proposed tiles or just fillers.

Of course none of these phones have been made yet, but it looks like Nokia is fast-tracking to have a device out before years-end, a goal which we think is achievable. Question is: how do you think they look? To us, they seem a lot like the Samsung Focus with the addition of bright colors. Then again, we're still early in the game for this long, strange trip with Nokia.

Source: Nokia

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3 years ago

One programmer, 30 hours and an idea: TVShow is born

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Developer Rudy Huyn was looking for an idea for a Windows Phone app to make and also looking for a challenge: to completely code it up in 30 hours (including sleep).

Well the project was finished and on time, just as promised. The app is called TVShow, submitted to the Marketplace and should be available by next week (unclear if this will be an English version of the program). The program looks to be one of the TV-scheduling apps that are quite popular (but very few "get right") so we'll be interesting in taking it for a spin.

What's all of this prove (besides great publicity for Rudy)? What we already know: writing apps for Windows Phone 7 is quite easy compared to the competition and perhaps even enjoyable. Heck, even you can even watch the whole thing above in the video and check out the screen shots from TVShow below.

via WindowsPhoneFR; Thanks, Fabien, for the headsup

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3 years ago

Nokia Windows Phones available by the end of 2011?

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There wasn't much new information coming out of Nokia's Mobile World Congress Press Event concerning the company's new partnership with Microsoft.  However, two interesting things did happen during the presentation given by Nokia's CEO Steve Elop.

Someone at the presentation yelled, "Are you a trojan horse?". Elop didn't dodge the question but answered it directly.

"I'll take that question. The obvious answer is no. We made sure that the entire management team was involved in the process, and of course the board of directors of Nokia are the only ones that can make this significant of a decision about Nokia. They made that final decision on Thursday night."

More after the break

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3 years ago

Mobile World Congress 2011 - We're here. Now what we expect...

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Well our plane(s) have landed and some of the vast SmartphoneExperts staff are here at Barcelona getting ready to cover Mobile World Congress 2011 aka the biggest mobile phone/technology conference and show on the planet.

Head editor Dieter Bohn (also, PreCentral), Phil Nickinson (ex-WinMo, Android Central) and myself will be here for the full show, covering every aspect.

For Windows Phone 7, we'll have plenty of things including Steve Ballmer's keynote speech tomorrow, events with HTC, Samsung, LG, SPB, Qualcomm and a Microsoft developer day on Wednesday, with Brandon Watson giving a "State of the union" address on WP7.

Things we can expect:

  • More on the NoDo update, specifically timing of release
  • CDMA support? Sprint & Verizon hopefully announcing their devices
  • Updates on the chassis requirements for WP7 (Chassis 2?)
  • Oh and probably some talk about that Nokia thing

We'll have plenty of video, photos, interviews, etc. on hand in the next few days, so stay tuned. Remember to follow us on Twitter at @wpcentral (or me personally @malatesta77 if you want behind-the-scenes shenanigans) and on Facebook for all the latest. Also the tag "mwc11" will bring you just Mobile World Congress content.

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3 years ago

Trine's Hangman gets a major update

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One of our favorite word games for Windows Phone 7, Trine's Hangman, has received a major update (our review). The original version wasn't too shabby to begin with and we found it to be an entertaining and addictive game for your Windows Phone. The update adds a handful of new features including:

  • A two player mode
  • You can select your own picture for the background
  • More player statistics
  • A "See who's playing now" feature
  • New animations
  • Faster resume/start-up time
  • Server side enhancements
  • Assorted other tweaks to improve performance.

For those who haven't tried Trine's Hangman, the Trial Version has also improved. The Trial Version has the full 2-player mode, the time limits have been removed, online features are available until you reach 500 points and the word count has increased from 20 to 100. According to the developer a Lite Version is in the works that will give you more playtime.

In playing Trine's Hangman after updating, you can tell the game has a little more pep in its step.  The new animations appear to be concentrated in the transition and information banners.  You also have three new wallpapers to choose from and the flaming Jack-o-Lantern is particularly creepy.

If you like word puzzles, Trine's Hangman is a must have game for your Windows Phone. The full version is running $2.99 and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Already own Trine's Hangman? Just check your Marketplace app on your Windows Phone for the update.

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