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3 years ago

Windows Phone Marketplace slowdowns today?

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Is the Windows Phone Marketplace acting up for you? Having trouble loading, just general slowness? You're not alone.

In an informal polling of our users and from comments, it seems like the Microsoft servers are having some lag issues. Some are reporting that it has been going on all day for them, others cannot connect at all (it's just slow for us, but we can still download). Maybe all of those official app downloads are taking their toll...

We haven't found a reason yet, nor of any ETA when it could be fixed. But we'll keep you posted.

Update: Seems to be worldwide and Zune (streaming, downloading) too: Germany, Italy Switerland, the US are all having issues. Developer/Senior Consultant at AgileThought, Bill Reiss thinks it may be a DDOS.

Zune.net, which is also having Marketplace issues, reports this ((Thanks, @rpmadelo):

"You won't be able to browse, stream, download, or buy things at the Zune marketplace or on Zune.net. We're working on the problem. Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for your patience."

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3 years ago

Qype coming to WP7 (Update: It's already here)

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Update: App is already out, look at that! You can grab it here in the Marketplace. (Thanks, @hellboy552000 & Oli, for the correction)

Wait, we didn't say the stream of official apps was over did we? Good, because it seems Qype is in line to come to Windows Phone 7 too, scoring a deal with Microsoft. A huge brand in Europe, being the largest consumer review website, and is an extremely popular app on iOS, Android and RIM with over 1 million downloads accumulated.

With Mango coming up, Qype will be able to take advantage of some great features being introduced to developers. The app will make use of Bing's geo-location feature to locate the best places across almost 1,000 categories and provide you with instant-use vouchers. Neat, eh?

Combine this with Local Scout (should it be appearing outside the US) and we'll have a winner in your pocket for travelling. The app wont be limited to only basic Qype features too as check-ins can be published via Twitter and Facebook, reviews can be written and photos uploaded. We'll also have some exclusive-to-WP7 features as Ian Brotherstone, CEO of Qype, explains;

"Exclusive to Windows 7, users will be able to track their friend’s check-ins on a location map, filter searches even further and view important information and tips on the Windows Panaroma Screen. The apps’ big advantage is personalised recommendations; “Someone who has a passion for certain types of bars in London for example, can receive recommendations for similar places in Paris, Hamburg or Buenos Aires."

Frank Fischer, Director Mobile Communications at Microsoft Germany, said:

"More and more smartphone users are accessing the web for local recommendations and Qype is leading the charge in this area. With the innovative local services of the Windows Phone our customers will now be able to access this information whenever and wherever they want to."

Some may see what Microsoft doing is "buying" brands, but I see this as an excellent strategy to build solid interest on the platform and bring big brand apps (which are used by most smartphone users) to customers.

Source: Rooster PR

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3 years ago

Official Engadget app is here (or back)

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Funny thing: months ago Engadget actually had an app in the Marketplace, published by AOL. Then it was pulled after a day or so, no reason given. Flash forward to July 1st and what a shock, they too are pushing their new app. Sure, they've been accused of an anti-WP7 stance, but doesn't mean you can't have them on the go!

Featuring all their major section like HD, Mobile and Alt., the app has a nice and vibrant layout, with videos, podcast and galleries available. Commenting is handled by hopping to the browser instead of native and there's no way to share articles (though you can save them) but at least it looks good for a v1.0 and scrolling is pretty solid.

You can get downloading from the Marketplace here.

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3 years ago

Orientile - Review

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3 years ago

Official New York Times app released

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Carrying on from the batch of official apps we've had this week, New York Times is now readily available on the Marketplace. You can view and browse through the latest headlines for free, or you can subscribe for a small fee to unlock all the sections in the app, plus blogs, videos and slide shows.

This app supports synchronization to pull down content for offline reading and stories can be shared via Twitter and Facebook. You can download the New York Times app from the Marketplace (Zune link) for no cost at all.

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3 years ago

Nokia WP7 Apps: Not confined to Nokia

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Samsung, HTC, and LG all have apps that are dedicated to their particular Windows Phones. Manufacturers offer these apps as a selling point, hoping that such apps will attract consumers to thier Windows Phone.  There are some really nice apps from each of these manufacturers but they are confined to that particular device.  I can't load Samsung's Photogram on to my HTC HD7s or HTC apps to a Samsung.

In a recent interview, Nokia's Senior Vice President of Developer and Marketplace, Marco Argenti, said this won't be the case with Nokia Windows Phones. Quoting,

"Every Nokia App will be available on every phone."

He would later clarify his comments by saying that while the Nokia apps will work on any phone, there will be exclusive to Nokia Windows Phones for a set time. Argenti didn't get into specifics about what Nokia apps will be available but did comment that they are working hard to enhance areas such as mapping, commerce and discovery.

We'll have to wait and see what apps Nokia has up their sleeve but maybe having access to Nokia apps from other Windows Phones will be a catalyst.  Maybe other manufacturers will follow suit and we'll see HTC, Samsung and LG apps popping up on the Marketplace.

Source: Pocket-Lint Thanks goes out to stuart for the tip!

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3 years ago

WP7 Marketplace hits 25,000 apps

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WP7 Marketplace hits 25,000 apps

Awh yeah! The Windows Phone Marketplace is now reportedly featuring 25,000 apps according to Windows Phone app list. While we still seem to be experiencing some uncontrolled app injection (all providing the same features/functions such as RSS feeds), it's been just over a month (since the 20k milestone) to bring 5,000 apps to end users.

Another app featuring website is WP7Applist, which is currently tracking 24,784 apps with around 4,000 of the counted apps being inactive. Moving on up, according to the weekly growth chart over at Windows Phone app list, we had a spike yesterday with a fairly large number of apps being pushed through.

If you missed our coverage, we now have the likes of DC Comics, Vevo, American Airlines, E! and more that were recently published.

Head on past the break for the charts. 

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3 years ago

Harbor Master - Review

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Harbor Master - Review

Touch-screen gaming has its advantages and disadvantages. We’ve all played games like Earthworm Jim that try to replicate traditional console controls on the touch screen with limited success. But building a game around the advantages of a touch screen can produce wonderful results and even new genres. Such was the case with Firemint’s Flight Control – the first line drawing game. It played like nothing else and sold like crazy on numerous platforms, including Windows Phone. Every good idea can be improved upon, as developer Imangi shows with Harbor Master. Its nautical theme and new mechanics will keep Flight Control fans and new players alike enthralled for quite some time.

Chart a course past the break for our full review.

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3 years ago

Pikchur snaps its way into the Marketplace

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Pikchur has found its way to Windows Phone 7, designed by IQ, and it's a stunning example of Metro UI implementation. Pikchur for Windows Phone is their first mobile application (minus integration with other apps on competitor platforms) and this bold move will pay off with the app proving to be very popular already.

The visual look and feel of the app is superb, responsiveness is instant and supported networks (which you can actively enable/disable per photo upload) is impressive. A quick run down of some intriguing features supported in Pikchur:

  • Live Tile shows your most recent photo as a Pikchur branded tile on the start screen
  • Picture Hub integration allows you to quickly send a photo to the Pikchur application
  • Bing Map Integration allows you to visualize photo geo-tag information
  • Pivot controls organize photo detail information and comments for easy viewing
  • Picture and location privacy options provide you with control over your photos and information
  • Facebook and Twitter integration allows you to start connecting with services
  • Toggle controls allow you to turn on and off social network/micro-blogging accounts to share a photo with particular services only
  • Available in 5 different languages

We will be bringing a full review sometime soon. For now, check out the video after the break and download the app from the Martketplace (Zune link). 

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3 years ago

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I - Review

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The Sonic the Hedgehog series has endured a tumultuous existence. Sonic debuted as a mascot character for the Sega Genesis and starred in several classic platformers for that console and the Sega CD. After basically shelving Sonic during the 32-bit Sega Saturn era, Sega finally decided to bring him back in a launch title for the Sega Dreamcast. Sonic Adventure received a warm reception, and yet it was the beginning of a dark time for Sonic.

You see, Adventure was the first fully 3D Sonic platformer and it introduced a host of problems that would only grow worse in follow-up titles: poor collision detection, largely on-rails game play (during the actual Sonic levels anyway), pointless town sections and side quests, terrible music, general glitchiness, numerous annoying furry pals for Sonic, and equally annoying voice work and storytelling. Each 3D Sonic sequel became progressively more heinous, culminating in 2006’s Sonic the Hedgehog, which remains the worst game I’ve ever played in my life.

Despite numerous missteps, Sonic’s popularity never fully disappeared. His fan base split into two camps though: one consists of furries and children who basically just don't know any better. The other camp remembers Sonic’s glory days and pleads for a return to the character’s roots. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I was made just for them.

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3 years ago

Twin Blades - Review

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Twin Blades - Review

For several months, Twin Blades from Press Start Studio reluctantly enjoyed the distinction of being the only Xbox Live game to be pulled from the Windows Phone Marketplace. During its absence, it earned something of a cult status as mobile gamers suddenly realized they were missing out on a hardcore action experience. Now the game is back with green zombie blood instead of the original red. Is Twin Blades’ return cause for celebration? Yes, unless you’re a zombie, in which case, stay out of Sister Angelika’s way.

Slice past the break for our full review.

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3 years ago

geoDefense - Review

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geoDefense - Review

As the plethora of tower defense games on the Windows Phone marketplace proves, tower defense games aren’t hard to make. But they are hard to do well. Just look at the first two tower defense games on Xbox Live: Zombie Attack! 2 is an undercooked snooze-fest and Battle for Hoth is too difficult to be much fun. Both games stray unsuccessfully from tower defense conventions, whereas geoDefense from Critical Thought Games is the exact opposite. It’s as traditional as they come, but also tremendously fun.

geoDefense’s claim to fame is its Geometry Wars-inspired look. Every tower and enemy is composed of neon outlines, harkening back to the days of vector graphics. It’s an extremely simple but charming look, even if one enemy type resembles Pac-Man a bit too closely. The background, no matter the level, is always made up of black space with a pattern of graph paper-like lines, further enhancing the geometric feel. Explosions create a cool warping effect on the background, adding a clever modern contrast to the retro visuals.

Follow the path past the jump for our full review.

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3 years ago

Murphid - Review

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Murphid - Review

We’ve heard from developers that the XNA framework makes it easy to port games between Xbox 360 and Windows Phone.  That’s a good thing as gamers who enjoy a game on the big screen may also want to play it on the go and vice-versa. One indie game that recently made the transition from 360 to Windows Phone is Murphid from Decapod Studios. While Murphid’s name might lead one to expect a connection to Robocop, it’s actually an unrelated but unique puzzle game.

Drop past the break for our full review.

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3 years ago

Official Foursquare app is back, hits v2.0

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First is was Facebook hitting v2.0 and now the official Foursquare is back (after being pulled). Now with a new look and complete overhaul, the app has a vibrant, more Metro feel to it including nicer graphics. New features included check in history (by date), tips, to-dos, shout button, most explored, recommend places and probably more (we're still figuring it out).

Over all the app is a solid effort by Foursquare, but we're still giving 4th & Mayor (which is hitting 2.1 today) the edge here for speed. Sound off in comments with your thoughts and observations.

Update: And yes, indeed there is a Live Tile. It shows the current rankings of you and your friends, giving a nice extra bonus to the app.

Grab it here in the Marketplace. (Thanks, Tahiti Bob, for the tip!)

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3 years ago

Developers using Mango under NDA? Yes, kind of. [Updated]

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Non-disclosure agreements are always an interesting an fickle requirement and sometimes seem, well unnecessary. Such is the case with the Windows Phone Mango developer preview, which notes that devs are forbidden from publishing or talking to the press about things they find in the OS--an odd requirement since it's the same version that the press received a week ago. Nonetheless, it's there:

ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley has contacted Microsoft to get their side on the matter, specifically why is it there. As it turns out, it's pretty standard stuff and not as draconian as it sounds:

“This is a standard practice when pre-release code is distributed to a mass audience. Permission to publish content, screenshots or comments based on this pre-release code can be obtained from Microsoft on a case-by-case basis.”

Of course, permission is still required and should be sought but all in all, this is normal protocol for a software company when distributing pre-release software. In essence, Microsoft would like to control the story, like any company would, so having thousands of devs under NDA is one one way to accomplish this. So odd in this case, yes, unusual in the industry, not really.

Update: Cliff Simpkins, Product Manager for WP7 at Microsoft, has revised the language and apologized for the confusion. The intent was meant for developers to not share the actual code with others. However, developers can post information, screen shots and more without repercussion.  [via WP7Dev Podcast]

Source: All Things Microsoft

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