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3 years ago

No new Xbox Live game on August 24

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No new Xbox Live game on August 24

While Microsoft recently announced 12-ish new games coming to Xbox Live, it looks like those titles may not be ready for release just yet. Prepare yourselves, Windows Phone gamers: there will be no new Xbox Live release next week.

I can’t remember the last time there wasn’t an Xbox Live release in the US. Sadly, our European readers already know what it’s like to not see a new game on their Marketplace. When Sudoku and Minesweeper came out for free last week, everybody was surprised that they were only released in the US.

I’m just shocked at this hole in the release schedule, as the last two Game Room retro games, Time Pilot and Shao-Lin’s Road, have almost certainly been complete for a long while. Hopefully the negative reaction to previous Game Room games (stemming largely from the ancientness of some of those games and releasing them all in a very short time span) hasn’t resulted in their cancellation. Some of us want those Achievements!

There will, of course, be an Xbox Live Deal of the Week, so many gamers will still have a reason to pick up a game they didn’t own before. Check back here on Wednesday and we’ll let you know what game is on sale.

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3 years ago

More details about Xbox Live's upcoming Fast Async multiplayer feature

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Yesterday we reported on some new features that are coming to Xbox Live when Mango rolls around. One of those was ‘Fast Async,’ Microsoft’s proprietary form of asynchronous multi-player. Geekwire reached out to Microsoft and published this interview with an unnamed representative:

“How will Fast Async work and how does it compare to the current approach for turn-by-turn gaming in WP7? 

Similar to turn-by-turn async gaming, Fast Async, coming this fall with the Mango update will expand on this experience by enabling Xbox LIVE games to manage game data and sessions in a faster and more flexible way. It will also provide a way for games to find players across screens, without having to wait and watch the matching happen, and will prompt players with clear messaging, when it’s their turn to move.

Will Fast Async be implemented by default in all turn-by-turn games, via the OS, or will it only come in some turn-by-turn games, when developers implement it? 

Fast Async will only be included in Xbox LIVE titles if implemented by the game developer.”

The good news we can take away from this is that Xbox Live games will soon have turn-by-turn multi-player, just like indie games have had for a while now. And Fast Async is apparently a little better than regular old async, particularly in the area of matchmaking. One game we know of that will definitely support Fast Aync is Babaroga’s Zombies!!! board game. Oh, and Fast Async isn’t limited to just Windows Phone, which some people are taking to mean that Xbox 360-Windows Phone cross-platform gaming could be happening too.

The potentially bad news though is that real-time multiplayer has not been announced and may not arrive with Mango. If that’s the case, let’s hope it’s not too far off. I doubt Gameloft will port N.O.V.A 2, the popular iPhone Halo clone, until Windows Phone supports real-time multi-player. Insert comment about how Gameloft only seems to be more interested in porting older, much less popular games here.

Sources: Geekwire via WMPUThree Panel Soul

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3 years ago

Judge rules that Microsoft's Android Expert can testify

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As we know, just about everyone in the smartphone industry is suing everyone else. Microsoft is suing Motorola (which has been bought by Google) over patent issues involving Motorola's Android phones. Google stepped in last week and filed a motion to block Microsoft's Android Expert, Mr. Robert Stevenson, from testifying. Google asserted the claim that Microsoft violated confidentiality agreements and disclosed source codes to Mr. Stevenson.  Source codes on an operating system everyone thought was open sourced.

The U.S. International Trade Commission Judge handed down his ruling on Google's motion and Google got the short end of the stick.  However, the ruling may have opened the door for more litigation.

Judge Theodore Essex denied the motion stating that only parties in a complaint are allowed to move for sanctions. The Judge wrote,

"Google has not set forth any legal support for the proposition that a non-party may move for sanctions."

So the expert witness can testify and the wheels of justice can continue to grind.  Still there are two things to watch with this case.

First, will Google file a seperate claim against Microsoft so they can become a "party" and seek sanctions against Microsoft?

Second, if it is ruled that Motorola has infringed on Microsoft patents and Google's Android hardware partners have to pay royalties to Microsoft, would the $12.5 billion deal have been a bust?

source: Computerworld

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3 years ago

WPCentral is giving away a Windows Phone (Reminder)

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The clock is ticking on the WPCentral Windows Phone giveaway.  You've got a week to get your video responses in to have a chance at an AT&T HTC HD7S.  The rules are simple.  Just post a video response to this YouTube Video telling us why we should consider you the biggest Windows Phone fan? What sets the Windows Phone apart from other systems? How does it make your life easier? Even if you don't have a Windows Phone yet, tell us how owning one would make your life easier.

Make it compelling, make it creative, and make it under three minutes. Only one entry per person and we'll give you until Wednesday, August 24th at 5:00pm EST to submit your entry. We will then take a few days to judge everything and pick three winners. The top video gets the HD7S, the first runner up gets a Qmadix Boost Pack and the third runner up get a $25 gift certificate to the WPCentral.com store.

Good luck everyone!

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3 years ago

Android gets some Metro flava with updated Bing client

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Thankfully, Windows Phone "Mango" greatly enhances Bing on our devices (see video review), meaning we can be less jealous of the search service on competitors brands like the iPhone and even Android (with the latter always being more "meh"). Having said that, it's still nice to see Bing getting its due and in this case, Android just received a nicely new minted update to their Bing client.

It's an interesting design--not as polished as the iPhone/iPad version but it still has a certain flare to it. Less Metro, more style. Surprisingly, despite some of the anti-Microsoft pot shots that you would expect, users seem pretty impressed with it which goes to show you that on some level, Android and Windows Phone fans can agree on something.

Check our Phil's AndroidCentral video review of the client to see it in action after the break.

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3 years ago

Microsoft giving out Windows Phones to celebs: Blake Griffin edition

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Brandon Watson is persistent, we all know that. In his continued attempt to woo all potential-converts, especially those of a high celebrity profile, Watson is trying to get Windows Phones in the hands of those who can spread the word.

We've seen this before with CNet's Molly Wood and cartoonist Scott Adams and now basketball's Blake Griffin (of the LA Clippers) is the latest to be swayed. Complaining in a Tweet about his iPhone crashing, Brandon reached out to Griffin and his brother (the two are evidently close) in an attempt to get them to switch. Griffin has accepted the offer so we'll have to wait and see on what he thinks about it in a few weeks.

Our bet? We'll hear about how it doesn't have Words with Friends yet.

Source: Twitter; via Mobility Digest

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3 years ago

Windows Phone logo for Facebook gets a remake

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We've mentioned before that with "Mango", Microsoft is updating their logo for Windows Phone to the square version, enhanced by the various accent colors of the OS. The new logo received mixed reactions from you the last time with most agreeing it makes sense but that you still liked the old one better.

Well, now you can see it even more as Microsoft has changed the lil' icon for when you post to Facebook--you know, that tiny guy that tells you what service you posted from. While seemingly a minor detail, Facebook is a great place to spread the word about new technology and the new icon certainly has some pop to it. Clicking the link of course brings you to the Windows Phone Facebook page to learn more. Not bad.

Thanks, Loopyeyes and Nick L, for the tip

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3 years ago

Number Guru - App Spotlight

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Number Guru - App Spotlight

Number Guru is a reverse phone number search engine for your Windows Phone. Described as the "biggest, baddest, and most handsome callerID and reverse phone service you've ever seen", the app claims to cover about 100% of the landlines and 50% of cell phones (excluding Verizon numbers).  Not sure about the "biggest, baddest, and handsome" claim but Number Guru does cover a lot of territory by tapping into 334 area codes in the U.S. and U.S. territories (including the 1-888 and 1-800 numbers).

So now you have a means to reverse look-up those mysterious numbers that appear on your Windows Phone. The app searches are free and unlimited. You also have the ability to add comments to the phone numbers to help other users identify the type of caller (e.g. telemarketer).

Number Guru also maintains a history of numbers searched for quick reference. The interface is independent of your Windows Phone in that you have to enter the number manually (the ID won't pull up when the phone rings).

Number Guru is a free app that can be downloaded here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Tetris is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week, comrades

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Anybody remember when Tetris was a killer app that made people want to go out and get a black and white GameBoy to play it on the go? Those days have long since passed; hence even $4.99 seems like a lot for Tetris. Thankfully EA’s Tetris is finally on sale this week for $2.99, which goes down a lot easier.

The Windows Phone version of Tetris is actually quite slick. It’s got great visuals and a fine remix of the classic Tetris theme “Korobeiniki.” There are numerous gameplay variants such as Gravity and Radical that add a bit of variety to the game we’ve all played a million times before. Some people complain about the touch screen controls (swipe left and right to steer, tap to rotate, and swipe down to drop pieces), but I find them to be natural and effective. Our review also praises the game’s stat tracking.

Tetris is on sale for $2.99 for one week only. Puzzle fans can pick it up here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

Fun fact! I almost wrote a book about Tetris before deciding I didn't quite love the game enough to write about it for more than a hundred pages.

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3 years ago

Microsoft gearing up for Windows Phone 8 via job posting

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We barely have "Mango" out, there is sighting of "Tango" and mentions of Windows Phone 8 aka "Apollo" already. Now, in a job description posted by Microsoft, the Windows Phone is looking to add to their Consumer eXperience (ConX) team. From the job description:

"Want to be part of making Windows Phone 8 a reality? Want to work on a strategic and exciting product targeted at the next version of Windows? Then the Consumer eXperience (ConX) team is the place for you! The Windows Phone team is taking on a huge challenge stirring up the out of box experience for Windows Phone 8 and is committed to building/improving a compelling and dynamic high quality look and feel to our end user experience.This promises to be a volatile world churning within the OS, Phone 8 as well as our AUT (Application Under Test) that we’ll ship in the Windows Marketplace! Our test team needs a few more key folks to compliment the talent already onboard. We are looking for experienced and intelligent engineers to join our team! Join us in our mission to bring the most compelling Windows Phone experience to customers to date!"

We like the mention of "stirring up the out of box experience" but really have no idea what that actually means. Sounds ambitious though and so far the WP team hasn't let us down with these updates and roadmap for the platform. Once again, the end-user experience is the focus here and Microsoft seems to have a good thing going with the Metro UI.

Though we probably won't see "Apollo" aka WP8 till mid-2012, it's pretty exciting to see the gears in motion already. Microsoft really seems to have taken the gloves off for this fight in the mobile arena.

Source: Microsoft Careers; via WMPU; Image credit: Jozef Kocúr

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3 years ago

IonBallEX now available in the Marketplace [Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone]

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We've teased about IonballEX for a little while and now you can try it yourself. Yup, IonBallEX, the first indie game gone Xbox LIVE is now available for $2.99 (and a free trial). From the app description:

"IonBallEX is a modern twist on a classic Breakout style game, featuring an XP-based progression system and end-of-level bosses that are going to push you to the extreme, all delivered in a unique SteamPunk style. With 35 challenging levels, mind-bending features and awesome bosses; IonBallEX is the breakout game to "break" all the others. See where you can get on the leaderboards, or unlock achievements like "Record Breaker" or "Wipeout"; the IonBallEX challenge is here"

The game is a modest 35MB download (still need WiFi though) and so far we have to admit, it ain't too shabby. Head on here to the Marketplace for the link and let us know what you think in comments.

See the video preview after the break...

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3 years ago

New device names hint at upcoming Windows Phones

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Elbert Perez, game creator for Windows Phone (who's finishing up his latest, Air Dagger), has once again posted a screen shot of some new devices ID'd running his games.

The big two are the Acer M310 and the Nokia 800, which is for all intents and purposes probably the Sea Ray. As to what the Acer M310 is, we don't have any idea.

Of course we've seen this before, namely devices like the Samsung GT-I8703, the Dell Advist and the HTC-MWP6885 which seemingly never came to fruition. Hopefully that's not the case here, but either way it's nice to get teased a bit.

Source: Elbert Perez (Twitter)

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3 years ago

Video of new Xbox dashboard update shows new features, "discoverable mode"

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While we're still banging away on this gaming news filled day, lets take a brief look at the upcoming Xbox 360 dashboard update. Taking the Metro UI design cue, the new Xbox dashboard is reportedly coming this September or October and will feature YouTube, Bing and even supposedly Skype integration, making this quite a massive addition.

In a "video" shown on YouTube by iTzLuPo (since pulled by Microsoft), a series of images showing the new dashboard design and features were demonstrated. Evidently the Skype integration will work with Xbox LIVE friends and Xbox parties, which should be a lot of fun. In addition, a new "discoverable mode" was shown though its exact function is still a bit of a mystery. Certainly Bluetooth comes to mind (see the new headset) though WinRumors mentions Windows 8 support as a companion device and we can't help but wonder if Windows Phone won't be added to that feature set as well--makes sense, after all how else are you suppose to use your phone as a controller?

As noted above, the original video has been pulled due a copyright request by Microsoft, meaning it's authentic of course. Combined with the new Kinect features (you can control all of the Xbox now via voice and gesture), YouTube, Bing, Skype and the promise of Windows Phone gaming (see our Kinectimals post), we're pretty friggin' excited for this.

Source: VanquishCity (YouTue); via WinRumors

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3 years ago

Polar Mobile signs deal with Nokia for Windows Phone apps

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We covered Polar Mobile awhile back. They were set to bring 500 apps to Windows Phone after they were hired by Microsoft last October. At last count, they still seem to be under 100 and we're gonna call a spade a spade here, they're not the most awesome apps we've seen. In fact, Polar Mobile basically makes "template apps" which are just RSS feeds. Meh.

So why are we revisiting this? Evidently, Nokia sees something in them as they've been hired to make some Symbian apps, apps for the N9 and some apps for Nokia's Windows Phones. This time around, they're contracted for another 300 apps over 12 months for these various platforms, which we expect to include Nokia's Windows Phone store--whatever form that ultimately takes.

Hey, we guess this is good news for Canada's luckiest software house, but we can't help but think that Nokia and Microsoft hire these guys to bump up the Marketplace count with some mediocre offerings. Maybe that's just the cynic in us though.

Source: Polar Mobile; via Mobile Syrup; Image via WP7Applist; Thanks, Colin, for the heads up

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3 years ago

Kinectimals to feature kinect-kitty, I mean connectivity

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When gamers learned that Xbox 360 Kinect game Kinectimals is coming to Windows Phone, undoubtedly many of us wondered whether there would be connectivity between the two versions. Wouldn’t it be cool to take your existing Kinect kitty on the go?

A Microsoft representative shared these details with us:

“The answer is yes, Kinectimals for Windows Phone does share connectivity with the Kinectimals for Xbox 360 version. You can import your favorite pet to your Windows Phone from your Xbox 360 by simply holding the phone up to the TV screen and capturing the QR code from the pet. The phone will recognize the code and add the pet to the mobile experience. Players can export their favorite mobile pets into their Kinect for Xbox 360 Kinectimals game by holding their Windows Phone up to their Kinect sensor which will read the QR code assigned to their pet and add it to their console experience. If players are logged onto their WP and Xbox 360 consoles with the same Xbox LIVE credentials, this process will happen automatically.”

That’s great news for Kinect owners. Kinectimals’ connectivity isn’t exactly using your Windows Phone and a Kinect simultaneously to control an Xbox 360 game, but it is the first interaction between the two devices. The last time we saw Xbox 360 connectivity of any sort was in Microsoft Game Studios’ Full House Poker.

Kinectimals on Xbox 360 is a combination adventure title/mini-game collection/pet simulator in which players adopt an exotic kitten on a mysterious island. It’s targeted towards kids, but I enjoy most of the mini-games and the overall sense of progression as new areas of the island, items, and animals are unlocked. I do wish harm on the narrator though, as his voice should be illegal in civilized countries. Thankfully his blithering can be turned off! Anyway, the Windows Phone version retains just about everything the console version is known for and adds a few new elements into the mix too. We’ll have more details soon.

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