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3 years ago

Skype responds to questions raised about security, denies ulterior motives

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A few days ago, questions were raised over Skype's security in that Microsoft is reconfiguring the Skype network to allow Law Enforcement Agencies can have access to intercept calls. Mark Gillett, Skype's Chief Development and Operations Officer, responded to these concerns today.

With regards to the claims Skype has made changes in its architecture to provide Law Enforcement Agencies have greater access to Skype communications, Gillett says that this is false:

"The move was made in order to improve the Skype experience, primarily to improve the reliability of the platform and to increase the speed with which we can react to problems. The move also provides us with the ability to quickly introduce cool new features that allow for a fuller, richer communications experience in the future."

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3 years ago

More Windows Phone 8 dev features revealed - background location, video codecs and more

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Although the day is winding down, we’re still going through the leaked Windows Phone 8 SDK from early this morning. We’re finding some smaller nuggets which aren’t ‘wow’ worthy in of themselves but they are certainly worth a mention, especially since they do add some significant new features to the Windows Phone experience.

We must stress—these are still not the new ‘consumer’ features for Windows Phone 8 which Microsoft has yet to reveal. These are simply more tools for developers to give them more options and features for their apps. These APIs take a long time to write and document which is why SDKs take time to build before going public.

So what are some of these new options for devs?

  • Background location-tracking for apps
  • More refined search for apps in the Marketplace
  • Custom contact store with cloud sync
  • Media library access for devs
  • Networking enhancements
  • Right to Left (RTL) language support
  • Media codec support and stats

Head past the break for some more details including snippets from the SDK itself…

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3 years ago

Nokia’s stock rebounds with 10% jump - sign of a small rebound?

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In what has to be a slight sigh of relief for investors, Nokia stock (NOK) has passed the $2 mark today closing at $2.02 a share or a 9.78% jump since opening.

That’s up from its low just a week ago of $1.63 and could indicate renewed faith in the struggling smartphone company. From the look of it, most analysts and perhaps now investors think the worst is now behind Nokia. Having hit bottom, the company can only go up (or die trying).

That’s not to say all is healthy. Investors, analysts and even Nokia themselves are still predicting next quarters earnings to continue to be weak. A return to profitability is still at least a few months away, assuming the company has a hit with Windows Phone 8 and carrier deals for their devices.

In related news, the cuts at the company continue and friend of the site and class act Keith Nowak, who handled Nokia’s PR in the US, has unfortunately been let go today. Our best wishes to him in the future. You can read about Keith’s experience with Nokia on his personal blog—it’s a great read.

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3 years ago

Xbox Live - The makers of Farm Frenzy have plans for Windows Phone 8

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Among the many developers we’ve spoken with here at Casual Connect is Russia-based Alawar Entertainment. You might remember a little game they published to Xbox Live called Farm Frenzy 2. Well, sadly the Farm Frenzy 4 they’re currently promoting isn’t coming to Windows Phone just yet. But we do have a morsel of good news…

Officially, Alawar doesn’t have any new Windows Phone titles to announce. However, we believe they have a title brewing for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Will it be a time management, hidden object, or puzzle game? Maybe they’re working on the country line dancing game the market has craved – nay, demanded for years now.

Windows Phone Central will reveal more details of Alawar’s next game in the months to come. Stay tuned, gamers!

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3 years ago

Nokia Camera Extras starting global roll-out. Now available in the U.K., Australia, Italy and more...

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Nokia's Camera Extras for the Lumia Windows Phones has been available in the US for a while now. While the initial release was in the U.S., Indian and Chines markets, we knew it was only a matter of time before other markets would get the camera app.  Such is the case now with Australia, the United Kingdom and Italy (and probably other markets) where Windows Phone shutterbugs in these Countries can enjoy the extra camera settings.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Central visits Microsoft headquarters

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We're in Washington this week for Casual Connect Seattle, one of the country's largest game developer-centric conferences. As you might know, Redmond is only a stone's throw away from Seattle. As such, we threw our own stones over to Microsoft headquarters (also known as the Microsoft campus) for a little visit. The campus consists of over 40 buildings spread across 300 acres - a lot to take in! In the interest of time, we focused on Studio C (home of the Windows Phone game marketing team) and the Visitor Center. Lots of pictures follow the break!

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3 years ago

Nokia's Network Setup returns for the US and is back on the Marketplace

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Nokia's Network Setup, the app that helps Lumia Windows Phone owners to configure networks when using an unlocked device, has been missing from the US Marketplace for a number of months now. With little word from Nokia, we could only assume that there were issues that were required to be ironed out.

We were all originally waiting for just one week until the manufacturer re-submitted the app, but alas it was a no show. 

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3 years ago

Microsoft Surface Tablets priced over $1000? Not so fast...

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We updated yesterday's story on the Microsoft Surface Tablet price possibly costing more than $1,000 but wanted to make sure the update got out. For those who didn't catch the original story, Swedish website Webhallen.com listed the Microsoft Surface tablet at a price of 6990 krone (about $1,160 US) with Fourth Quarter 2012 availability.

This took us (and everyone else) by surprise because earlier speculation had pricing in the $399-599 range.

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3 years ago

New Map Features in Windows Phone 8

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New Map Features in Windows Phone 8

The Windows 8 SDK is pointing to some tantalising improvements to the maps functionality. Specifically maps will now support overlaying Landmarks, in this example, a 3d transparent building and pedestrian features. The pedestrian feature show in the example seems to be that of stairs.

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3 years ago

Auto Launching Apps now possible using file associations for Windows Phone 8

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Applications in Windows Phone 8 will, according to the SDK, have the ability to launch if associated with that file type, it also suggests you’ll be able to make a custom file type icon so it looks nice and neat. That’s good news, there are plenty of file types on WP7 devices that are simply not recognised so having the ability to extend the platform by creating the app to launch it will be a welcome addition. 

Of course, that’s as long as WP8 hasn’t already reserved the file types to open with the build in apps. Although a quick scan over the reserved file types suggests there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to file type compatibility.

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3 years ago

Xbox 360 LIVE Beta enrollment now open for 2012 Fall update

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Microsoft has announced open enrollment for their 2012 (fall) Xbox LIVE update for the Xbox 360 console.

The new features for this update we revealed at E3 back in June are the ones coming for this update so getting a sneak peek is always a blast. Some of those new features for this preview include:

  • Internet Explorer for Xbox
  • Personalized dashboard recommendations
  • Enhanced category search and discovery features
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3 years ago

Windows Phone 8 to feature developer access to Voice Command features

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In what should be a very exciting addition for developers, Windows Phone 8 will finally give access to Voice Command (aka TellMe).

According to the leaked Windows Phone 8 SDK, developers can add functions to their app that uses the Voice Command feature, enabling customers to launch the app with a sub-query which will take them to a specific area of the app:

"Users can use voice commands to both launch your app and execute an action. For example, a user using the Contoso Widgets app could press the Start button and say "Contoso Widgets, show best sellers" to both launch the Contoso Widgets app and navigate to a 'best sellers' page, or some other action that the developer specifies."

(An example of this would be Jay Bennett adding a feature to our WPCentral app whereby you hold the Start button to access Voice Command (TellMe) and say “WPCentral, go to reviews”).

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3 years ago

Windows Phone 8 to feature expanded Bluetooth functionality, access to stack and transfer

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One area that Windows Phone has been lacking so far is the ability to do anything with Bluetooth besides connect to hands-free headsets or speakers. Windows Phone 8 looks to finally expand Bluetooth functionality with the leaked SDK detailing some new features available to developers.

For instance, peer-to-peer file sharing is now allowed for apps that want to “talk” to each other. As an example, we could add an ability for the WPCentral app to share links or photos to another phone. Presumably this feature could be used for all sorts of features like in games by unlocking a feature when you pair up with another phone i.e. a social aspect...

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3 years ago

Windows Phone 8 SDK Preview: Application platform overview and Windows 8 APIs

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The Windows Phone 8 SDK Preview has been leaked on the Internet today before being released in the coming weeks. What's included in the upcoming version? 

App Development

Windows Phone 8 Developer Preview supports native C++ development and is able to support a significant subset of the Windows 8 SDK, allowing developers to share a significant amount of code between apps on Windows Phone and Window 8. The lack of native development support in Windows Phone 7.x has proven to be an issue with developers in the past, which has now been recognised by Microsoft.

The SDK Preview reduces the need to port and maintain components such as compute engines, graphic libraries, and API sets. Direct3D is also making its way to Windows Phone, which will enable developers to create and release games built using DirectX and share code base between PC titles (D2D, DWrite and WIC aren't supported). The supported vertex shader model version is 2.0, as is the pixel shader.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone 8 - Photo Apps now able to auto upload in background

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Windows Phone 8 will now include the ability to create apps that can auto upload  in the background using a background agent, according to the leaked SDK. The background unloading looks to be targeted at apps for uploading photos. The task like unlike other will not expire. The potential for camera apps on WP8 looks to have gotten rosy indeed. I'm thinking flickr and photobucket could do with this..

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