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3 years ago

Plantronics K100 Bluetooth Speakerphone - Review

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Plantronics latest addition to the Bluetooth speakerphone market is the K100. The K100 is a slim, low profile speaker that slides on to your car's sun visor to allow hands free operation of your Windows Phone.

Not everyone is comfortable with a Bluetooth headset and the K100 gives drivers a hands-free alternative. Additionally, the K100 provides an FM transmitter that allows you to stream audio files from your Windows Phone through your car stereo.

To see if the K100 is worth the investment, make the jump past the break.

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3 years ago

City Walk - Review

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City Walk - Review

It's a little strange reviewing an exercise app for your Windows Phone while its still winter but, we ran across an interesting Windows Phone 7 app that might come in handy when the weather improves. City Walk has been developed by Powerapp that will add a competitive twist to your outdoor walking routine.

The concept is simple, the Windows Phone 7 app divides your city into 50x50 meters sectors and your goal is to touch upon each of the fifty squares. Sure you could cheat and hit them all while driving around in your car but you don't burn as many calories that way.

To read more on City Walk, just make the jump past the break.

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3 years ago

Outdoor Navigation - Review

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Outdoor Navigation - Review

Outdoor Navigation is being offered over at the Marketplace that slaps a considerable amount of GPS functionality onto your Windows Phone. Developed by GPS Tuner, the Windows Phone 7 navigation application offers features you would typically find on a stand alone GPS unit.

From an on-board compass to route tracking to photographing points of interest, Outdoor Navigation can come in handy on the open trail as well as the open road. The application lays everything out nicely and includes a healthy help section to guide you through all the bells and whistles Outdoor Navigation has.

Read more after the break.

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3 years ago

Scoreloop coming to a WP7 near you

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Scoreloop coming to a WP7 near you

Scoreloop has announced that they will be supporting Windows Phone 7 and will be including the platform within their cross-platform social gaming system. Why is this big news for developers? Social games developed for WP7 will have the ability to allow players to compete against Android or iPhone owners.

The basic breakdown of what features the social "middleware" offers are cross-platform leader-boards, challengers, or virtual currency that developers can implement into their games for all mobile platforms. Opening up not only a much larger audience for players to engage with (or against), this will help bring the different operating systems together and make it more attractive for developers on other platforms to bring their projects to WP7.

Platforms that are currently covered by Scoreloop include Android, Bada, Airplay and iOS (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch). As for WP7, Marc Gumpinger, CEO of Scoreloop said, "WP7 is an important step in our goal to encourage and support connected gaming across the entire mobile landscape. As the first cross-platform social gaming ecosystem to add support for WP7 this means we can offer the largest reach, greater revenue potential and increase the impact of developers using the Scoreloop SDK," 

This is exciting news for Microsoft and Windows Phone 7 as a whole. Scoreloop is expanding rapidly, and for them to show support in the OS should hopefully hush some critics about the appeal of the software and devices to not only front-end users, but also the developer community. Currently Scoreloop are providing a limited number of developers early access to their SDK before publishing it to the public.

Source: Gamasutra

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3 years ago

Re-installing already purchased apps and games [How To]

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The question in re-installing applications and games on the Windows Phone 7 platform has be asked several times, and with good reason too. Picture the following - you buy a brand new WP7 handset due to your current one either being seriously damaged, or isn't meeting your requirements for daily use. You have attached your Live ID on the new device and you notice that you have no apps. Is there a way to download them onto your new phone? Good news in short - yes. 

It really is truly simple to get your apps back to their rightful place in your pocket (or hand for that matter), whether you are in the position explained above or you have simply removed the app for a reason and wish to re-install it. All that is required is for you to go through the purchasing process for that app buy selecting "buy" on the app overview screen and should you have purchased the app previously on your synchronised Live ID, you will be presented with the screen displayed in the photo above.

Clicking "install" will download and install the app (or game) again without charging your attached credit card. One must note, however, that you are unable to perform this within the Zune software. To re-download apps, you must carry this process out on your mobile device.

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3 years ago

XNA-UK XAP launches, gives developers a place to test apps

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One curious problem about developing on Windows Phone that has yet to be addressed (but will, eventually) is the ability for developers to have a place to beta-test their applications. The only way to do it is to give your XAP file to seemingly random people who have an unlocked device and hope they give you feedback. The issue though is it has to be unsigned and you're not really sure who you're givng your app too. Let alone the whole pay thing if you didn't make it trial-ware.

XNA-UK XAP tester service is evidently a place where you can "submit" your app to the site and they:

...will install your XAP on our test and production devices and check for the common Marketplace issues that you get knocked back on. We’ll document at some point what tests we do once we get a feel for how the service is operating.

The group's Terms and Conditions explicitly states that they won't distribute the work, alter ownership or do any other shenanigans. The service is free for now, but may change in the future, depending on how successful the program becomes. While perhaps this isn't the best solution, we like the idea of a tester community giving "bedroom coders" a chance to get feedback on their app before submission to the Marketplace. Granted, Microsoft will eventually offer a solution to this via the Marketplace, so developers can directly interact with users, but until then you can either try this method or post it in a forum in the open. We think the former idea is a little better.

Source: XNA UK User Group

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3 years ago

Scoremobile updated with additional Leagues

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Scoremobile has been updated to include additional sports leagues. The Windows Phone 7 application provides updated scores, stats, standings, betting odds, news and videos on your favorite sports leagues.  The original release only covered the NFL, NBA, NCAA Football and Basketball, NHL, and EPL Soccer.

Just in time for Spring Training and the start of race season, the update adds the following leagues/sports into the mix:

  • MLS Soccer, LIGA Soccer, SERI Soccer, Champions Soccer
  • CFL Football
  • MLB Baseball
  • NASCA and Formula One Racing
  • PGA Golf
  • WTA Tennis and ATP Tennis.

While we haven't heard anything official, the update also appears to have included some performance tweaks. Screens seem to load and refresh a little smoother from the original release. 

There is a bug with the update that is easily fixed. If you apply the update through the Marketplace, you won't see the changes. However, if you uninstall the original version and re-install the updated version, you'll then see the new leagues.  The bad thing about this option is that you'll loose all your favorite teams.

If you haven't installed ScoreMobile and need a decent sports app, you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace. It's a free application.

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3 years ago

Silverlight February 2011 Release [Developers]

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Today, the February 2011 release of the Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit was made available. A few newly added controls, including the tilt effect and performance progress bar are present in this update that saves developers picking them up while working the finishing touches to their apps.

See the video above for an overview of the additional features, which appear to be intriguing for even the non-tech savvy personnel - come on, you can't tell me you watched that video and didn't want to over-use the tilt effect?

You can read more on this release from an article by Jeff Wilcox and download it at Silverlight Codeplex. All in all, it's all fun and games for developers really.

Via: Mobility Digest

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3 years ago

Vivino brings first image-recognition app to Windows Phone 7

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Image recognition is one of those things that we think all smartphones should be able to do--combined with speech recognition, voice to text and augmented reality, it's just one of those features that's always impressive.

Vivino is a free wine application that just went live in the Marketplace and it will allow you to take a picture of a wine bottle, upload it and have it matched in Vivino's database. It then brings down a ton of info on the wine, allows you to like/dislike it and save it in a list for later. Their database has over 450,000 wines although it should be noted that in version 1.0, they only get about 40% of those to match. Still, even if it doesn't match, it can save all the info, making this still useful for you wine connoisseurs out there.

While we're not wine drinkers ourselves (whiskey, please!) we can't help but to be impressed by this app and the potential for others do make something similar. Give it a spin here in the Marketplace, let us know in comments if it works for you.

Thanks, Theis and Heini, from Vivino for the heads up


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3 years ago

Nokia pushing down costs on Windows Phone; Microsoft going beyond Qualcomm

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The Nokia-Microsoft partnership is still dominating headlines this morning as more information keeps coming out. Evidently, during negotiations with Microsoft, one of the critical issues Nokia was focused on was reaching "a very low price point", according to Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, this position was agreed upon:

"We have become convinced that we can do that very quickly"

As we mentioned earlier, Nokia produces nearly 1 million phones a day due to their huge infrastructure and production lines. With Microsoft tapping into that, it seems easier for them to lower prices on phones to the carriers--something that smaller OEMs might not be able to match. Either way, consumers look to win.

One method of doing this is going beyond Qualcomm for their chipsets. Qualcomm was named by Microsoft as their primary chip provider for Windows Phone, but now we're getting news that Microsoft is looking beyond the company for other alternatives (NVIDIA , Texas Instruments, ST-Ericsson and Ericsson come to mind). That should be especially good for Nokia who have had a rocky relationship with Qualcomm, with the latter owning the CDMA market (even though both agreed to work together last year).

Looks like there will be lots of changes to the Windows Phone landscape come late 2011 as fallout form the Nokia partnership continues.

Source: Reuters, the Inquirer.net; additional info: IntoMobile

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3 years ago

Mobile World Congress 2011 & Windows Phone -- in pictures

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Now that Mobile World Congress 2011 is officially over, we figured we would let you folks see some behind the scenes photos of the event, Microsoft's Windows Phone booth and some of the scenery (for scale). This year MWC had over 60,000 attendees, which was a huge increase from last year. Needless to say, it was quite the experience.

See more of the gallery after the break..

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3 years ago

Nokia giving branded Windows Phones to developers in the fall

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Slashgear managed to get their hands on a letter from Nokia to their developers (under Launchpad) that states Nokia is willing to give two handsets away for free, in an attempt to keep their community happy with the monumental change that is coming their way. The letter is quite to the point about the matter:

We are also excited to offer you one free admission to the next Nokia World/Nokia Developer Summit later this year. We will take care of the registration costs.

To assist you with your development activities in the near-term, we will ship one free Nokia E7 device to all program members. Additionally, we will send to you one free Nokia WP7 device, as soon as it becomes available.

To accelerate your mobile app development, we will provide free tech support on all Nokia technologies for the next three months (up to 10 tickets). Equally, if you would like to take advantage of a free User Experience evaluation of one of your apps, please let us know and we will work with you to make those arrangements.

Couple of things here to note: Although Qt/Symbian may seem "dead", Nokia is still planning on shipping 225 million handsets this year under their old system, according to Rich Greene, Nokia's CTO--who discussed the transition on Wednesday in Barcelona. Shipping nearly a quarter-billion phones is still a lot of market for developers, meaning they should not quit. Further, The Nokia World/Nokia Developer conference is held traditionally in the fall--for 2010 it was held in mid September, giving us a time-frame when we should begin to see prototype and developer handsets.

This all sounds about right to us: developer devices in the fall, big launch in early 2012, work on your dev community in the meantime.  Nokia currently ships one million phones a day (once again, according to Rich Greene), meaning in the next year, Microsoft is going to get a huge punch in the arm in terms of mass production and availability when they tap into that system.

This partnership sounds better and better to us everyday.

Source: Slashgear; via ZDNet

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3 years ago

IE9 for Windows Phone 7: Adobe Flash, demos and development [Videos]

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Wednesday at the Mobile World Congress, Microsoft held a developers day seminar that covered some old ground, but also lots of new stuff as well. One of the talks was presented by Microsoft's Joe Marini, Principal Program Manager, Windows Phone and it dealt with IE9 on Windows Phone.

IE9 was just introduced as an upcoming feature for Windows Phone, presumably in the 'Mango' update. While some of it was discussed during Ballmer's keynote, the nitty-gritty was given to Marini, who gave an excellent talk on all things IE9 and IE9 for Windows Phone.

The question about Adobe Flash was of course asked and so far, it doesn't sound like anything is close to being released:

So the questions is, are we going to support Flash in IE9 for Windows Phone

We are working with Adobe, but it has not yet been decided the last time I checked--part of that is Adobe is doing what they have to do and we're doing what we have to do. The last I checked the team is working with them but I don't think they have any announcement whether it's going to definitely work or not.

We also asked Marini about updating IE9 independently of the OS--something that was mentioned nearly a year ago, specifically does this feature exist/will Microsoft be using it? The good news is that the feature is still there:

One of the great things of Windows Phone 7 is we now have the ability to push out updates independently of the OS. We haven't announced what that schedule is going to be, but as we get closer to the release date they'll have more to say about that, but we're paying very close attention as to the best way to do that

Finally, the big stuff. After the break you can watch two excellent videos: (1) A seven-minute presentation on IE9 for Windows Phone 7 including all the standards, support and design implementation--a must for developers (2) A short demo of some HTML5 rendering on a live Windows Phone running IE9...

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3 years ago

Is Microsoft banning Open Source from Marketplace? Not quite

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There have been a few reports and articles that have been published today about the recent questioning of Microsoft condemning Open Source to death – this isn’t true in its entirety. So, what has actually happened?

Well, without touching the horrible statement that all open source applications and games are banned, forgotten and condemned, we shall lightly pass through with Microsoft seem to be only tackling the GPLv3 and its derivatives. Neowin has reported that Microsoft is completely against Open Source (but have recently altered the title of their article) and are by no means completely correct.

GPLv3 being banned from the Marketplace is simply Microsoft taking steps in covering its back and preventing what situations Apple has found regarding licensing and Open Source (VLC in particular). Ruling out any code that falls under the license so Microsoft doesn’t violate the GPL is how it’s supposed to work. A fantastic post written up by Sasha Kotlyar (developer of WM6 Task Manager) explains quite clearly why Microsoft has chosen to disallow code that is under GPLv3.

“Because version 3 of the GPL family of licenses includes what has been dubbed the "anti-Tivoization" clause. Tivoization, from the name TiVo, is what that company did to its hardware in order to prevent unauthorized firmware modifications. In essence, they released the complete source code to the firmware that runs on TiVo boxes, but compiling such source code does not yield binaries that can run on the TiVo. That is because the authorized, official binary code is modified by TiVo to include a digital signature that must be accepted by the hardware before said code is allowed to run. GPLv3 includes a clause that prohibits this behavior.”

The Marketplace for the Xbox system and WP7 will prevent code under this license due to hardware performing Tivoization, and only Microsoft signed code is accepted. This is what the Open Source license in question goes against. Developers should take note that limited and liberal licenses (including MIT/X11) are usable for use in Xbox & Windows Phone 7 code.

What do you make of all this, and do you believe Microsoft are acting above board in complying with the license? 

Via: Neowin

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3 years ago

Nokia's CTO on changing the Windows Phone UI: Why would you?

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Ever since the Nokia-Microsoft partnership was announced and Nokia CEO's Elop mentioned that this was a "special relationship" where Nokia had the right to manipulate the UI and go deeper on the phone than other OEMs, developers, users and analysts had been concerned with what that would mean to the Windows Phone ecosystem in terms of "build once, build for all".

On Wednesday in Barcelona, Nokia's Chief Technology Officer, Rich Greene, made a surprise appearance at the "Windows Phone Day" seminar for developers. After some softball questions from Matthew Bencke, General Manager Windows Phone, we in the audience had a few moments to ask Greene basically anything. Of course, the UI question came up and his answer is very telling: Nokia has little interest in wrecking the "build once, build for all" ecosystem and there are many more areas where they can innovate rather than "moving tiles around".  Below is his full response from the session:

We certainly do, in the context of this agreement, have the right to manipulate the UX, the UI, etc. but...I'm not speaking for the plan, I'm speaking as the Chief Technology Officer: Why would you?

Let me clarify. There are so many places to innovate, it is critically important to provide the greatest opportunity for you the developer, you build once and everybody gets it, when you create more and more variance it becomes a hindrance. We also want customers to move between devices, preferably towards Nokia devices, but move between devices and not to hinder that in any fashion. The hardware and additional services we can offer will bring people to us, but if there are unfamiliar with a different environment, there may be a barrier to that, so why do it?

The other issue is would I rather invest our resources in building really cool augmented reality applications or move tiles around? It just doesn't make sense. We're going to invest much more of our time, as we should have over the years, building on the platform as opposed to building in the platform. There's unlimited amounts of opportunity to differentiate and innovate in these things.

There's some more after the break...

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