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3 years ago

Xbox 360 Metro Dashboard coming December 6

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We’ve been looking forward to the fall Xbox 360 dashboard update for quite some time now. Good news: it’s coming Tuesday, December 6, a few weeks before Winter kicks in.

In addition to switching over to the Metro UI, the upcoming dash includes a host of new features: full Kinect motion and voice control (sweet!), improved avatar animations (pretty cool), a quick launch list of your ten most recently played games and apps (so nice), Cloud storage for profiles and save data (whoo hoo!), the ability to set beacons, which advertize that you’ll be playing a game at a specific time, and better Facebook integration. It also opens up a new App section which will include stuff like YouTube and UFC apps, and enables the forthcoming Windows Phone Xbox 360 Companion App's connectivity with the console.

On the downside, the 360's Metro dash is even more overflowing with ads than the current version. The clutter of advertisements sometimes make it difficult to find the actual content you’re looking for. Premium themes, at least in the current beta version, lose some of their luster as Friends list backgrounds have vanished. Worst of all, the beta dashboard update completely the ability of one of my consoles to stay connected to Xbox Live through my router. The other system is fine though, and it’s apparently not a common problem. I hope hope hope they get that straightened out by December 6, because I hate not being able to connect and play online games and watch Netflix with my main system.

The new dashboard look is all part of Microsoft’s plan to have a unified interface between all of its platforms. Next year’s Windows 8 will also go Metro.

Source: Kotaku

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3 years ago

Handyscan gets upgraded to Mango with new scanner-feature

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Handyscan (see our old review) is easily one of out top apps for Windows Phone. If you ever need to keep receipts for expenses, photograph that insurance information after a crash, wanted to keep a copy of you passport, then you need this app. Not only does it work real well for document-image taking, but it allows you to save as a JPG or PDF, then upload it to Skydrive or Dropbox for safe keeping. It's smartly designed, elegant and makes scanning docs a pleasure.

We've been using it for so long that we thought it already was on Mango, but alas that's not the case. Now with version 3.3, you can get Mango fast-app switching but also a few other additions:

  • Independent scanning resolution and flash settings
  • Automatic trigger eliminates need to press any button, helps keeping your pulse firm for an optimal scan.
  • Mango enabled / Fast switching / New Metro look
  • Skydrive support
  • Backup/restore all your info
  • Fewer steps to scan
  • Press back to re-scan
  • Large/readable thumbnails option
  • Realistic scanning visuals
  • Fixed: scanning allowed when connected to Zune on PC
  • Fixed: corrupted zip files when too big
  • Added Czech translation

The new scanning feature is pretty wild: you hit start-scan and the app counts down, letting you concentrate on holding the phone right for the photo. The camera then scans the app, using your flash, creating the image. From there, you can adjust the crop and then apply a filter that make the text look clear. It's a very cool effect and with Mango, the app has seemingly become twice as fast to launch and execute a function.  If we sound like we're gushing, then yeah, guilty. But don't take our word, pick up the app here for $2.49 in the Marketplace with a free trial, or grab the free version here.

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3 years ago

Four new major apps for Windows Phone shown off at Mobile Acceleration Week

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Microsoft looks to be hosting a Mobile Acceleration Week this week in New York City and TechCrunch managed to track down some of the devs there building apps. The program itself is a way for developers to come together with Microsoft to get their apps fast-tracked to the Marketplace by working with Redmond directly--it's like staying after school with the teacher for a power tutoring session. These sessions happen often and at various places all the time, so in that sense, nothing new. However here we get to see some new apps that are headed our way. All of these are available on iOS and/or Android, so they look to be bigger-name apps ported over to the Windows Phone--always a good sign.

  • Flud - Another RSS reader popular on the iPhone but with a twist--social networking. Evidently you can see what your friends are reading and vice-versa. So it's like Facebook but potentially less annoying. The app looks to headed our way by January.
  • Get-a-game - Here's an app for you ballers out there who want to pick up a game at your local park. Basically it's more social networking but folks who want to play a quick game...of anything.  Certainly unique and we suppose puts Bing and networking to go use on your phone.
  • GateGuru - This should be huge. GateGuru provides "...airport directories, ratings and reviews for shops within the airports, social media sharing, itinerary management, wait times for security lines, and reviews/tips for airports". Phew! If you travel a lot, how could you not want this app?
  • Taap.it - Taap.it is evidently like Foursquare but for things instead of places. Basically you checkin with an item (shoes, services, your coffee) and then purchase and rate the item. You get more points for more interaction. Sounds kind of like Foodspotting but for stuff. We're not too crazy about that but we see some merit in it.

Not a bad lineup if you ask us and those are just a few of the apps coming down the pike. While they may not be the killer, unique apps that the platform could benefit from, it's a good sign that so many devs from other platforms are now embracing Windows Phone. In fact, that's great news as it helps level the playing field.

Source: TechCrunch

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3 years ago

Unlocked international version of HTC Titan available in Canada

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If you're up north and you just need the HTC Titan, unbranded and unlocked, then you can head to NCIX.com where you can order it for $739.99  CAD. This is the same one we took a look at a few weeks ago (see video) and features the following bands: GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz ; HSPA/WCDMA: 850/900/2100 MHz .

We should also note it's not shipping for a few days and all sales are final, which never sits well with us. We're sure the deal is legit and who knows when a carrier in Canada will be getting 2nd gen phones, so this may be your best bet until we hear more from Bell and the like.

Source: NCIX; Thanks, Nataku4ca, for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Barclays Bank releases Secure Pass app

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Barclays, a UK bank, has released a passcode generator for Windows Phone. While at least it's something from the bank to customers who use Windows Phone, the app itself is pretty poor and limited. It replaces the passcode generator for security verification and looks like an iPhone rip. The app description is a beauty:

"Secure Pass is a one-time passcode generation application"

Sure, it may just be a passcode generation app and nothing more, but it should be a full scale experience that acts as a gateway to online banking. Are you using the app for banking, what are your thoughts on it? You can download Secure Pass from the Marketplace for free.

Thanks Tahiti for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Dreadnoughts Defense heading to the Marketplace

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Ghost Engine Games is working on a tower defense game for your Windows Phone. Dreadnoughts Defense takes your tower defense to the skies with Steampunk inspired airship combat. You control the Zeph Fleet to defend the remaining Skyholds and preserve the future for your people. Game features include:

  • Storyline unveils the history of the Dreadnoughts Universe through a fifteen stage campaign.
  • Master the strategy of four standard airships and two advanced airships.
  • Battle five unique enemay ships. Deploy oil derricks to harvest oil for advanced ships.
  • Unlock twelve unique and challenging achievements. Survivor mode.

Dreadnoughts Defense is currently in the Marketplace certification and is expected to hit the open Marketplace in the coming weeks. There will be a trial version available for Dreadnoughts Defense that will let you play the first three stages, with the full version running $1.99.

The initial release will be a Nodo Version only requiring Windows Phone 7. Ghost Engine Games is already working on a Mango Version of Dreadnoughts Defense that will add online achievements, fast resume, Live Tile support and ringtones into the mix.

We'll take a closer look at Dreadnoughts Defense once it's released but based on the teaser video the graphics look great and it will be interesting to use airships in a tower defense game.  What do you guys think?

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3 years ago

Samsung Focus Flash advert in the Washington Post

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The Samsung Focus Flash has found itself being advertised in the Washington Post newspaper among a handful of other AT&T handsets. Looking good! If you're not completely aware of the second generation Focus Flash, check out our insightful review

Be sure to check out the discounts at Amazon Wireless should you be looking to purchase this Windows Phone.

Thanks David for the images!

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3 years ago

Phone House inviting customers to try the Lumia 800

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The Phone House (French version of the Carphone Warehouse) and Nokia have been inviting customers, by post, to pop in-store and check out the new Lumia 800. The actual mail is an envelope with the handset pasted all over with a mass invitation located within. It's more exposure at hand of the Finnish manufacturer and proves their Marketing department sees no bounds.

Source: Professeur Thibault

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3 years ago

1st WPCentral App Request - Ffffound by RogueCode

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It's well known Windows Phone is missing some apps that we'd like to see. A few weeks ago we were missing a solid app for the site Ffffound and decided on a whim to ask developers to make one. RogueCode answered our app-request and bam...here we are.

If you have never been to the site Ffffound (www.ffffound.com) you should take a moment and do just that, don't worry, we'll wait. Okay, as you can see, Ffffound is a site dedicated to pop art, photography and image design. Some really interesting pics are curated there and they more often than not they tend to make exciting wallpapers for your Windows Phone Lock-screen, hence our interest in wanting an app. Within a few days of RogueCode taking us up on our offer and tossing some ideas back and forth between us and him, he had a finalized app that was ready.  And darn it all, it's a gorgeous little thing--fast, smooth and intuitive to use.

The app features the ability to save, favorite and even share any images, not to mention it is easy to navigate and surprisingly fast, even over 3G. The app features a Live Tile too that flips over revealing the latest image on the site. So if you're into pop art, interesting images or photography, or you're just looking for a sweet resource for wallpapers, this is your app. You can grab it here for $0.99 with a free trial in the Marketplace. Also check out his other apps, like Tweet This Song.

Oh and we're thinking of making this a regular feature: we ask a developers to make an app, work with them on design and features and then we highlight it on the site. Anyone else think that's a good idea?

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3 years ago

Stephen Elop steps up to the U.S. challenge

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On CNET, Roger Chen has written an article pointing at Nokia and Stephen Elop regarding the U.S. market and how the manufacturer should step up their game. He went into talk about customisation, carriers, handsets and more with how Nokia has failed in the past with global products being stocked by all carriers.

"One of the biggest mistakes Nokia made in the past was to stick with its strategy of building one global device and forcing it onto every carrier in the world, with only minor adjustments to the radio and frequency. From a business perspective it made a lot of sense, allowing it to generate massive economies of scale and, accordingly, higher profit margins. Among smaller carriers around the world, that works just fine."

Chen finished the post with the question, "Are you game?" Elop has since published a tweet stating, "Roger, we're game." It would seem as though the handset maker is set to not only create a successful marketing campaign in Europe, but in the U.S. at some point too.

Via: AllAboutWindowsPhone; Thanks, aubreyq, for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Jil Sander gets full-page ad in Germany's Die Zeit

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One of our faithful readers has spotted a couple of ads for the Jil Sander edition LG E906 in Germany's Die ZeitDie Zeit is a highly-respected weekly newspaper in Germany, which also includes a lifestyle magazine called ZEITmagazin.  Typically, purveyors of chic, like Armani and Prada, grace the pages of ZEITmagazin, but this time its the Jil Sander E906 that is being flaunted in a full-page ad.  The ad looks like a still from the video that appeared on the Jil Sander website back in October, and informs readers that they can pick one up at Media Markt (described to us as Germany's version of Best Buy).  

The Jil Sander E906 is essentially a modified LG Optimus 7, sporting a 3.8-inch WVGA display and a 5-megapixel camera capable of shooting 720p. It comes bundled with a Jil Sander app, which allows users to browse clothing collections and more.  The specs are nothing outstanding, but the handset itself, complete with hardware buttons, is as suave as the ads.

Source: Die Zeit; Via: Livven (Thanks for the tip!)

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3 years ago

Windows Phones for $0.01 with $100 Amazon gift card

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Remember the previous Amazon Wireless penny sale last year? Well, we're having another, and a number of Windows Phones are included from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. Amazon is also throwing in a $100 gift card* with each purchase. The handsets that are included are:

Be sure to check out this deal soon should you be interested as the closing date is November 28th.

* Note, you must activate the hot-spot feature/Wifi tethering at time of purchase to get the $100 gift card

Source: Amazon Wireless, thanks atander for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Nokia Lumia - The Little Amazing Show ad-campaign

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Nokia is at it again, creating a new people-centric ad that focuses more on life, people and enjoying the "everyday" than the phone itself. It's an odd campaign yet surprisingly effective as it certainly piques interest and causes you to focus on the brand as more identity/philosophy than just a phone.

In that sense, dare we say with their whimsical approach and music, it's almost Apple-like? And that's not a bad thing, in fact we like just everything about Nokia's Lumia ad-campaign so far. (See the recent and fantastic French commercial from this weekend).

So without further ado, here's the Little Amazing Show - Part 1.

Source: Nokia YouTube; via: MonWindows Phone

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3 years ago

Amazon Mobile app gets update for Mango and a barcode scanner

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We do like the Amazon.com app--it's well designed, sharp, fast and has that irresistible 1-click buying option. But the one thing it was missing was some Mango-love and that has now been resolved. Version 1.5 of the app was pushed out today bringing of course fast-app switching but in addition, Amazon threw in a few other fixes and new features as well:

  • Scan It: use your device camera to scan a barcode to check prices and availability.
  • Pin barcode scan to Live tile: From Start screen, click to instantly open barcode scan tool and search for products.
  • Fast application switching: switch from Amazon Mobile to other apps then return to where you left off.
  • We hate bugs as much as you do (so we fixed a bunch)

We've also noticed the name change: Amazon Mobile instead of just Amazon.com. We think the new title fits much better with the demographic. The "pin barcode" feature is real awesome but some users can't seem to find it. Well, here's your tip: Your Account --> "Pin barcode scan to start screen". Yeah, even we admit that's not the most ideal spot for that feature, but hopefully you can find it now. The barcode scanner will allow you to quickly launch the mini-app with 1-tap, scan the item and search for it on Amazon.com for the best price. Pretty awesome. Too bad you can't pin individual items though to your Start screen--seems like an obvious opportunity to us.

Pick up the Amazon Mobile app here in the Marketplace. Thanks, ShipWreck and pdawg17, for the tip!

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3 years ago

AT&T HTC Titan - Did you get yours? [Part Two]

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We're still guessing the answer is probably not.

The HTC Titan launched yesterday over at AT&T and it appears supply and shipping headaches are still present.  We tried to order an HTC Titan online and was informed that the Windows Phone was on backorder, not expected to ship for another 5-8 days.

There are about half a dozen AT&T retail stores in my area and all are still waiting to see if the new phones are on the UPS Truck.  One rep noted that the phones were due in stores last Friday but due to a shipping error, were not picked up at the warehouse.

And I don't think it's too far a stretch to expect the Titan to be in stock, even if the release date was on a Sunday, when the Samsung Focus S and Focus Flash were launched on a Sunday and there were no reports of supply issues.  Hopefully shipping will catch up with demand over the next few days and we all can sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with a shiny new Windows Phone in our hands.

In the meantime, again, feel free to vent in our comments section and let us know if the Titan has arrived in your neck of the woods.

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