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3 years ago

The Microsoft Stores are put on hold

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The Microsoft Stores are put on hold

Recent reports have suggested that the almighty powerful Steve Ballmer has shelved plans to build a staggering 300 Microsoft stores to compete with Apple. While this is probably a good move as they’re still building on WP7’s early days, the question should be put forward to them, do they need the stores? More importantly, do we need them?

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3 years ago

iBlast Moki - Review

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iBlast Moki - Review

The runaway success of Angry Birds is proof that physics-based puzzlers are a great match for mobile devices. Lots of short levels and cute characters are the key. iBlast Moki, an Xbox Live title from Godzilab Games is another high-quality game that uses physics for its puzzles. Its bright, endearing graphics and simple controls belie the game’s surprising depth and challenge.

The first thing gamers will notice about iBlast Moki is the Mokis themselves. Seemingly inspired by the PSP game Loco Roco’s character designs, Mokis are little balls with smiling faces. They display a lot of personality for body-less characters, peering around everywhere, taking naps, and looking rather surprised as they get tossed around each level.

Roll past the jump for our full review.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone 7 app reveals new OS test builds

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We just posted about the app 'Dude, Where is my Update?' which focuses on the NoDo OS upgrade (and presumably future ones). In version 1.1 a statistics collecting feature was added which anonymously garnered your OS version and device model numbers--something we thought would be useful.

Looks like some folks at Microsoft or partnering OEMs saw the app too and were curious. One of our readers, larryb, noticed a few hitherto unknown builds of Windows Phone 7, presumably early builds of 'Mango' or at least branches leading to that goal:

  • 7.0.7003 (old)
  • 7.0.7008 (old)
  • 7.0.7355 (old)
  • 7.10.7608 (1 user)
  • 7.10.7613 (2 users)
  • 7.10.7614 (2 users)

The builds which are in bold may signify a new milestone with the 7.1.xxxx denotation versus the earlier 7.0.xxxx. Currently, the latest confirmed build is 7.0.7390 and the most frequent for NoDo is 7.0.7389. Interestingly, we don't see any '7.0.7753' builds, leading one to believe that the Windows Phone Italy post may be hoax/faked.

The app, 'Dude, Where is my Update' has a "local" setting which seems to be pick up all US based users of the app who have run it, giving us a unique insight into the ongoing development of the OS. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft employees will continue to experiment with the program (the app generates an anonymized, non-reversible ID, making it impossible to trace back). You can grab the app here in the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Reminder: Win a Tablet of your choice from TouchType!

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Just a reminder, folks that to celebrate 1 million downloads of their SwiftKey keyboard app, TouchType is giving away a tablet each to THREE lucky winners! Which tablets? Whichever the winner chooses so long as they're available for purchase for up to $800 where he or she lives. iPad 2, PlayBook, Xoom, Galaxy Tab are all on the table.

How do you enter? TouchType has put together a small survey which shouldn't take more than five or ten minutes to complete. That's it - well, that and a quick perusal of the official entry rules just to make sure you're eligible (sorry minors and SPE employees). The contest is open to readers of Android Central, CrackBerry.com, TiPb, and WPCentral and ends at midnight Pacific on April 14.

Not familiar with TouchType? You may have also seen that TouchType made a splash at this year's CTIA with their tablet keyboard for Honeycomb - that's coming soon, but SwiftKey is available now for Android devices. 

So get cracking on the survey, folks - these tablets aren't going to give themselves away.

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3 years ago

Microsoft releases TouchStudio [Developers]

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Ever wanted to list all songs on your phone that are less than 3 minutes in duration? Now you can with Microsoft's TouchStudio. Available for free on the Marketplace, TouchStudio allows one to write variables, statements and actions that manipulate the phone with use of APIs.

There's a large array of code that's available for insertion and manipulation while the app remains user-friendly throughout use to invite non-code savvy owners to turn their ideas into executable scripts. The app provides users with access to sensors, radio, media controls, emails, contacts and more.

If anything other than useful, it's a helluva lot of fun to mess around with. As mentioned already, this app is completely free and now available on the Marketplace. Comment below on what scripts you create, including their uses of course!

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3 years ago

Dude, WIMU goes to v1.1, gets statistics

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For those of you still waiting on your NoDo, or even if you're just curious about those around you, you'll want to grab the new version of 'Dude, Where's my update?'. See our original coverage here.

How it works is you choose from a menu your regional location and phone type and the app does the rest. Showing your current OS version, if you have OS updates ready and now the stats. The stats, both local and global, are actually really neat. As you can see from the above pic, here in New York City there are already 40 users at 6am with the majority running 7004 and eight running 7390. Not bad, NYC, not bad. Scrolling down and you can even see what phones are popular in your area. (Hint: Samsung Focus owns in Manhattan)

We imagine if enough people use this, it can actually be a useful guide for garnering real numbers in your area. The app is of course free and we really dig the whole concept behind it, so endorsement or whatever. You can download it here in the Marketplace.

Thanks, Alan, for the heads up

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3 years ago

Students develop WP7 app to combat malaria

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A strong team of graduates have been working on an app for Windows Phone 7 that will aid in the fight against malaria, greatly benefiting healthcare workers in remote locations who may not have an Internet connection. Before it gets much-deserved recognition, the team are looking to win the Imagine Cup 2011 national finals in Seattle. The contest, sponsored by Microsoft, invites entrants to "imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems."

Tristan Gibeau, the project's software designer, said "It's going to make a difference in trying to contain the outbreak of malaria. In the big picture, it'll hopefully help in the fight against most diseases out there and make everybody's life a little easier."

The app Tristan and his team have developed uses a a modified smartphone that features a microscopic camera lens. The application takes a photo of a blood sample and identifies malaria parasites, calculates how many are present and draws a red box around the clusters. Not only that, but the stored data can be uploaded for analysis to detect trends. Tristan is also said to be working on an app that detects sickle cells among other diseases.

Post-development and gold releases are planned to be easily adaptable for lab-based microscopes. Next steps for his team include patenting and marketing the application/technology.

What do you think of this entry into medicine for WP7, and how do you think this application (and technology) will impact healthcare workers in more remote, ill-equipped locations?

Source: Hufflngtonpost

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3 years ago

Verizon Trophy pushed back...again?

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We can't be too hard on Verizon here, since they never officially announced the HTC Trophy. But c'mon, we're not dumb either and we know the device exists, have seen pics (more pics), knew it was in final testing stages and that that they were offering Microsoft employees discounts to get it.

That latter part is what this is about as evidently they keep pushing back that "offer" from December, then till April 1st, then April 7th and now...May 5th. That goal line keeps getting pushed back for a reason and we bet Verizon fans are not too happy at all.

We'll keep following till we hear more. Sorry folks.

Source: Verizon Store; Thanks, Jesse and Brian, for the tips!

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3 years ago

MIX11 Outsider brings the social to MIX [Developers]

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Yesterday we covered Microsoft's official MIX11 app for next week's big ol' dev conference in Las Vegas (yes, we'll be there) as well as two other third party apps, which are just as good.

Today, we have a new, but very different one from Matthias Shapiro called 'MIX11 Outsider' and it's like a Foursquare plus MIX11:

MIX11 Outsider is the MIX11 app that doesn’t care about your schedule. It cares about something more important: the people you want to talk to, meet, or otherwise hang out with at MIX. Using a map of the conference floor and a simple “battleship” mapping metaphor, you can tweet, email or text your position at the conference. Don’t eat alone in awkward silence… instead find that Twitter friend who doesn’t have a clear picture of themselves in their avatar. Don’t spend half your pre-keynote time waving your hands in the air. Just tap where you are on the map and send out a link like this one.

As you can see from the video, the app is quite awesome and a great way to find out where those people are that you want to chat with. Unfortunately, Matthias has been unable to get the app through the Marketplace, meaning you'll have to sideload it before the conference--not a problem for a room full of devs, just remember to grab the XAP now to have it on hand. And look for @wpcentral / @malatesta77 at MIX11 as well, as we've just loaded up this app. [Edit: no joke, this is one of the nicest apps we've tinkered with--very fast and elegant--a must have for MIX11 attendees!]

Source: Designer Silverlight

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3 years ago

CPM or upfront payment? [Developers]

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There have been recent reports that developers are noticing a gradual decrease in revenue from CPM (cost per [thousand] impression) advertising within their apps, is this a notable trend due to fluctuations in the algorithm on Microsoft’s side or the amount of active users of that app?

The chart above displays Elbert Perez’s, developer of Impossible Shoota among other WP7 titles, eCPM earnings. The most likely explanation would be that his app(s) were used less than previously - note that uses does not count downloads. Someone could download an app and never run it, thus the adverts not being displayed and contributing to the eCPM. Another explanation could be Microsoft’s advertising algorithm used for each individual app fluctuates with a number of factors, which is more than expected. Microsoft replied to the cries about lower CPM earnings with:

Variation in ad CPM is expected behaviour as the algorithm used in the Microsoft Advertising Exchange for Windows Phone 7 actively learns the performance of each ad-enabled application(s). In some cases, these are sweeping changes. The Mobile Ad Exchange takes into account many variables when determining how an ad impression is valued in real time. This can include, but is not limited to; ad unit categories, location of the device/user and active advertising campaigns.

The chart above shows Elbert Pereze's impression count for the advertisements in regards to the first graph in this article. Comparing them both there is a notable trend with number of impressions almost equalling to the revenue earned. There is a slight dip in revenue while impressions remained at a high level, but this could have been due to the advertisers at the time bidding lower, etc. So what’s the whole shebang about?

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3 years ago

Bing app for Windows Phone or is the Bing team confused?

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While individual teams across Microsoft tend to have their act together, not all the teams are aware exactly or work together on things--often getting their lines crossed. That's the angle we're taking here with Bing showing off the ability to "Get the app by visiting m.bing.com/download with your mobile phone" and showing of Windows Phone (a Focus no less and an HTC device above).

Basically, we think there are two explanations here:

  1. The Bing team really thinks there is a downloadable version for Windows Phone and/or it is coming--interesting
  2. They're talking about Windows Mobile or just plain wrong--lame

The first option could be curious as it has been reported that the Bing app can also be updated independently of the OS ala Mobile Internet Explorer. In fact, we've seen our competition on the iPhone get numerous updates, blowing away our version in terms of features. But we have to remember, the Bing team is just concerned with getting their app on any device, not being beholden to just Windows Phone--that's how Microsoft's intra-companies work/see things.

The second option, unfortunately, is also likely as Microsoft tends to make mistakes on occasion and perhaps the Bing team is just assuming this will work. Either way, it doesn't and to be honest, until we see something that we can download (you can't now), there's not much here except that it is confusing.

Source: Bing; Thanks, sebastian, for the heads up

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3 years ago

Windows Phone 7 build 7753 shows up in the wild?

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File this under rumor (one that can be easily faked) but there are now two reports of a later build of Windows Phone 7 floating around, specifically with build 7753 (as opposed to the "latest" NoDo at 7389). The only prominent difference noted is the appearance of a "search icon" near the Apps arrow which presumably lets you search your apps for a specific program.

The first instance of this build made its appearance with DFT--the same group who brought you WP7 on the HD2. They somehow either made a really good fake or got their hands on a later build of the OS, meaning HD2 owners may see this sooner than later. Now, a secondary user by the name of huggye over at Windows Phone Italy has posted a screen shot of LG Optimus 7 supposedly running 7753 as well. Reportedly this version was "pushed" to his device, perhaps in error.

While we have no doubt that like Windows Mobile, the Windows Phone dev team has multiple branches of the OS in progress (see WM6.5.x series), we're not 100% sure of these stories either as they can be easily faked. But like we said, it wouldn't necessarily surprise us either. Is this an early build of 'Mango'? Seems to be semantics to us as 'Mango' has a lot of things involved, so we think this is just one branch of the future 'Mango' update.

We have an idea: we'll just ask some people at Microsoft at MIX11 next week, fair?

Source: Windows Phone Italy (1), (2); Picture via 'huggye'; via Pocketnow

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3 years ago

Walsh speaks on ChevronWP7.Updater and "breaking phones"

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Chris Walsh, part of the ChevronWP7 team and responsible for the current ChevronWP7.Updater app, which used Microsoft's own tools to push NoDo to thousands of Windows Phones prematurely, has blogged about why he pulled the app.

On Monday, I released a homebrew utility that attempted to install unreleased updates to Windows Phone devices. The tool successfully passed my own tests involving multiple update scenarios.

I was later informed by Microsoft that there were several problems with my tool and the manner in which it changes phones.

Despite the fact that all outward signs indicate the phone has been updated to build 7390, Microsoft tells me otherwise. Part of the problem, the company says, is that I incorrectly used an undocumented API to deliver updates.

Most problematic, Microsoft tells me that updating in this manner will place devices in a "non-serviceable state". In its blog post describing the situation, Microsoft instead says devices updated in this manner "may" no longer receive updates

Not too much more info than we had previously reported, if anything this just confirms what we already know: users phones may or may not have problems in the future with later updates. We have had reports from users that after using this method, they still received notifications for OEM firmware updates which were then successfully installed--which bodes well for this "Microsoft is just being safe" idea.

Still, while using non-supported hacks to force system updates may not be the best idea, Walsh will be following up his post with details on what users should do next, since "official support" is not an option. It will be interesting to see in six months when thousands of users try to update to 'Mango', to say the least!

Source: My Coding Adventures

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3 years ago

Get free AppHub subscription through BizSpark

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Kenikh, over at the XDA Developers forum, has posted an offer that is very interesting indeed. The first 500 BizSpark members to request a free AppHub subscription shall receive just that. To get in with a chance on gaining a free subscription, follow the simple steps below.

  1. Signup to BizSpark (if not done so already)
  2. Follow the steps on this page (must have a BizSpark account)
  3. Await further instruction/confirmation

There has been some posts in that same thread from other members who have experienced issues with their code not working and the fact that there is a country limitation (although no official word has been provided on the exact whitelist). Let us know how you get on in the comments should you be interested in the offer.

Source: XDA Developers

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3 years ago

TVShows7 streams TV for Windows Phone [Homebrew]

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If you're lucky enough to have a developer unlocked device, you may be interested in this sweet little project happening over at XDA. Martin_S has create a very lite app that enables searching and streaming of most major TV shows. In short, the app pulls down user-uploaded videos, presumably from various video-hosting sites.

Of course such grey-area usage of streaming and copyright concerns means we'll never see this app in the Marketplace, but hey, till then you can continue to flaunt those laws and stream some mediocre quality TV to your phone on the go. The app is still kind of rough and barren--but it does work as you can see in the video above. 

Follow the thread here and use the version in the above video here.

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