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3 years ago

European Commission approves Skype acquisition

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The European Commission has approved Microsoft's acquisition of Skype (for $8.5 billion), which we reported on earlier this year with gaining the approval of the FTC. What does this mean for Windows Phone? We've now got front-facing cameras on Mango handsets so we can definitely expect to see Skype coming to the platform in the future and since Microsoft now owns the video calling service, it should be one service implementation to look forward to.

Check out the official statement from Microsoft on the decision:

"REDMOND, Wash. – Oct. 7, 2011 – The following is a statement by Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Microsoft Corporation, regarding the European Commission’s decision to approve Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype:

We’re pleased that the European Commission has approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype. This is an important milestone, as we’ve now received clearance from both the United States and the European Union. We look forward to completing soon the final steps needed to close the acquisition, bringing together the employees of Microsoft and Skype, and creating new opportunities for people to communicate and collaborate around the world."

Source: Microsoft

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3 years ago

NES titles still being sold in the Marketplace with new ones added [Updated]

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Remember last week when we covered the situation surrounding ROMs being sold on the Marketplace using an emulator that has been dead for a while? Microsoft still hasn't acted yet by removing these ROMs that shouldn't be sold or even made available for purchase. The games in question are Golf, PunchOut, Metroid and now Zelda, which was added only yesterday.

So not only are the ROMs still available on the Marketplace, but new ones seem to be being accepted without question and the developer behind the submissions is racking up the sales. Hopefully by the time Microsoft deals with this problem the revenue earned will be moot and account rights revoked. Don't hold your breath however. We were tipped soon after publishing the previous article that the team has been informed and are looking into removing the offending apps. Fast-forward a week and here we are with new ones being approved and old ones being updated to join already published ROMs. 

Update: We've received word from a reader who got in touch with Brandon Watson about the legality issues surrounding these ROMs being sold on the Marketplace. We're told that while Brandon understands the cause for concern, they can't remove the apps in question from the Marketplace without Nintendo's request. So for now the developer can continue to launch and update these poorly ported ROMs as he so pleases and earn revenue from purchases.

We will look to get in touch with Nintendo and bring this situation to their attention.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone officially launching in India October 12th

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Although phones such as the Dell Venue Pro and the HD7 have been available in India for sometime, official support for the OS, including the Marketplace, has not been available. Now, come October 12th, Microsoft looks to be kicking off the Marketplace and other services in India for the first time, opening up the gates for HTC, Samsung and LG to start seriously pushing their devices in what is an admittedly huge market.

The news comes way of an official press conference to be held in New Dehli on October 12th. Evidently Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India, will also be there, making this quite a big event.

via: I Love Windows Phone!

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3 years ago

theCHIVE and VEVO apps get a Mango overhaul

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Another morning and another round of app updates that feature some Mango goodness. Today we have two apps that feature some big internet media sites: theCHIVE (site) and VEVO (site).

  • theChive - The popular photo and video humor site has an unofficial/official app for Windows Phone and the new v1.2 features fast app switching, optional toast notifications for new posts, optional 2-sided live tile with picture and title of latest post, new search function and your regular mix of fixes and speed improvements. TheChive app is of course free (ad supported) and you can grab it here in the Marketplace. (Web Link) (Thanks, Jason J., for the heads up!)
  • VEVO - The trendy music video site has a really nice app for Windows Phone (seriously, check it out) and it just hit v2.0 bringing some awesome Mango features including creating custom playlists, pin any artist/video for quick access to your favorite music, music hub integration and fast app switching. It also has music trivia before each video, which is kind of cool. You can pick up VEVO here in the Marketplace for free. (Web Link) (Thanks, Daniel, for the tip!)

Make sure you check out all our Mango app updates and reviews right here!

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3 years ago

Camera comparison: HTC Titan vs HD7

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A reader has notified us of some photos uploaded that show a visible difference between the camera in the HTC HD7 and the monstrous HTC Titan. The HD7 features a 5 megapixel camera with auto focus and dual LED flash, while the Titan sports an 8 megapixel camera with F2.2 lens, dual LED flash, and BSI sensor for better low-light capturing.

You can view the original images on Flickr - Titan / HD7.

Thanks Peter for letting us know about the images!

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3 years ago

Deutsche Telekom's Mango update for Omnia 7 coming in early November

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A support representative from Deutsche Telekom told users via a reply on Facebook that the Mango update for the Samsung Omnia 7 will not be coming until "early November."  It's not what Omnia 7 owners wanted to hear, but it's better than not knowing at all, right?  DT first pushed out WP 7.5 updates to HTC devices on September 26, with Samsung ones said to follow, but it was reported the next day that the Omnia 7 would not be included.  Deutsche Telekom and the Omnia 7 are no strangers to update delays, so the news is not terribly surprising, though disappointing nonetheless.

Thanks for the tip, Tobi!

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3 years ago

BayFest 2011 an event app for your Windows Phone

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We all know that your Windows Phone is a great way to stay in touch with the world and tap into various sources of information. We've seen this capability to develop apps to help guide you around large theme parks such as Disney World (e.g. Disneybot) and now we are seeing smaller venues and events tap into the Windows Phones to guide you around these arenas.

BayFest 2011 is the official Windows Phone app for the BayFest Music Festival that will be held this weekend in Mobile, Alabama. The companion app puts all the information about the event on your Windows Phone. The app includes everything but the kitchen sink on the musical event including the schedule of events (over 125 live musical acts will play through out the weekend), details about the bands, a map of the venue, and information about the event's sponsors.

BayFest 2011, the app, is a good example how large events can tap into your Windows Phone to keep you informed on what's going on. A Windows Phone app takes the place of brochures that can get lost and impossible to update (outside of costly reprinting).

If your in the Mobile area, BayFest runs from October 7-9, 2011 and the current musical lineup includes Duran Duran, Ludacris, Tobie Kieth, Korn and 3 Doors Down. You can find out more about BayFest 2011, the event, here at the event's website.

You can download BayFest 2011, the Windows Phone app, here at the Windows Phone Web Marketplace. It's a free, ad supported app.

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3 years ago

WPCentral Podcast 126

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WPCentral Podcast 126


Dan and Jay finally return after a brief hiatus (due to Jay's moving to London) for an all new Windows Phone podcast! Join them for another in depth discussion of the Mango update, Nokia phones and various new apps and games as well as answer your questions.

Full show notes after the break...

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3 years ago

In ten days 20% of Windows Phones have been updated to Mango. Android pales in comparison.

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For those curious, the world-wide attempt by Microsoft at updating Windows Phone to version 7.5 aka "Mango" seems to be hitting a steady pace of about 1.5% per day. Using the app 'I'm a WP7!' which has data sampled from a massive 83,527 users, we can see that Mango (builds 7720, 7721) is now on 20% of devices the world over (17% in the U.S.).

If you throw in the developer and beta builds of Mango, we're at nearly 30% of those 83,000 users, putting us up about 12% from a week ago.

While that official number of 20% may seem low, remember that Microsoft is doing a controlled update process, meaning only a small percentage of users will actually get an update notification. That number has increased this week, but we imagine it will still be another 10 days before we hit 50% of users on Mango. What we are seeing though is a consistent and steady daily increase in those upgrading to Windows Phone 7.5, much faster than any previous build.

Want some perspective via our competition? Android's latest version of the OS titled 'Gingerbread' (2.3x) was released in December of 2010. As of yesterday, they are hovering at about 38% devices world wide on that OS build--that's 10 months out. Microsoft, meanwhile, has managed to get 20% of its users on their latest version of the OS in 10 days. Clearly, we see who the real winner is here.

Edit: We should point out that it's not so much about numbers of users here that's the difference between Windows Phone and Android, but the model for update distribution is vastly different. Microsoft has taken a much more direct approach to ensure that those 10 devices on 50 carriers world wide were all on the same page at the same time. Scale matters, but the update model here is the key differentiating factor between the two platforms. If you threw in a million HD7s to the mix, it would change very little since that same update is still approved for a million phones. We're just saying, we're not the Samsung Infuse 4G.

Grab 'I'm a WP7!' for free here in the Marketplace to add your stats.

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3 years ago

AlterEgo - App Spotlight

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AlterEgo - App Spotlight

AlterEgo is a retro styled game for your Windows Phone that reminds us of Ilomilo. AlterEgo is a multi-level, platform game where you navigate around platforms, obstacles and monsters to collect jumping pixels.

You have an alter ego or phantom twin that mirrors your moves from across the screen. When you hit a dead end, tap the switch box at the bottom of the screen to trade places on the screen with your alter ego. To move around the screen, you tap/hold the screen and a virtual joystick appears. This can be a little tempermental and stopping on a dime can be tough.

You have a limited number of switches per level and once you've collected all your jumping pixels, you advance to the next level. Levels get a more challenging and complicated as you progress through the game. For some, the retro graphics with AlterEgo may be an acquired taste but they fit the game well.

If you are looking for an entertaining, challenging game to pass the time with AlterEgo is worth checking out. There is a free trial version available to let you try before you buy. The full version of AlterEgo will run you $1.29 and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Web Marketplace.

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3 years ago

HTC Ignite and Prime coming this month? [Rumor]

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HTC Ignite and Prime coming this month? [Rumor]

We took a look at the rumoured HTC Ignite and Prime earlier in the year, which were two very slick Windows Phone handset concepts published at XDA China. The issue we had with the rumours were the low specifications that were tied to the handsets. The Ignite was to sport a 800Mhz processor, and things just didn't feel right.

The two mysterious handsets did appear on The Phone House, a Dutch retailer, in mid-2011 but have since vanished from view. Fortunately we can now see them on Typhone, another Dutch retailer. They have the expected dates set at October '11, but HTC has just recently launched the Titan and Radar so it would seem odd that two more devices would be on the way. Take it with a grain of salt, but looking at the image above, we can only dream.

Source: Typhone HTC Ignite and Prime product pages. Thanks Sebastiaan for the heads up!

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3 years ago

WP7 Featured List knows what's featured and is willing to share

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Karios Games, makers of MonsterUp and Galaxium, has released a new tool for PCs that detects whether a game or app is a Featured Item in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

As American gamers who can't buy Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and British gamers longing for the free Xbox Live Sudoku know, the contents of the Windows Phone Marketplace varies by region. That goes for Featured Items, too. WP7 Featured List can display all of the Featured Items from the Marketplace of a single region or every region. Or if you’d simply like to find out whether a particular app is featured in any region (useful for developers checking on their own apps), add it to your Favorites list and it’ll check that too.

WP7 Featured List is a developer-oriented app that some regular folks may find interesting as well. It’s a small download and free, so what have you got lose? You’ll find it at the Karios Games website.

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3 years ago

sleepPhaseAlarm helps you get the right Zzzzs

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When not spending my time writing on this site, my real job is that of a medical sleep technologist (yes, an odd but fun career), so lets just say I have an unhealthy interest in the science of slumber.

Napping, while essential for healthy cognitive performance, can be done rightly or wrongly. In short, we have about 90-minute sleep cycles (varying with age), consisting of numerous stages of sleep N1, N2, N3 and REM. Waking up between the sleep cycles leaves you feeling alert and awake, while waking someone up in REM or N3 can be jarring--hence why it's avoided during sleep studies. In real life though, it's hard to know what stage of sleep you're in since no one is monitoring your EEGs (brain waves). A quick rule of thumb though is nap for 90-minute increments, plus add on X-minutes to fall asleep. While not perfect, it'll put you in the ballpark of a healthy, refreshing nap.

sleepPhaseAlarm is a Mango/7.5 app that basically calculates this for you and sets an alarm. With a simple interface, you tell it you want to go to sleep now (and then pick what time-frame works for you) or you set the time you need to get up (and it tells you what time to go to bed). The app is well designed and since it's Mangofied, the alarm is set and runs in the background (a true "set it and forget it" app). We gave it a quick spin and have to recommend it for those frequently needing catnaps during the day or a healthy night of full sleep.

There are two version: a free, fully functional trial (no settings) and $0.99, which allows you to set amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and choose from five-different alarms. You can pick it up here in the Marketplace (Zune) or the Web Marketplace here.

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3 years ago

Android steals the Titan from Windows Phone

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Though we're remiss to post Android-specific news here for obvious reasons, we thought it was interesting that today HTC showed off the Sensation XL featuring Dr. Dre Beats Audio on board. The Sensation XL, as you can probably discern from the above photo, is 100% through and through the HTC Titan but now for Android--same screen size, resolution, CPU, camera and design, but in white.

Fiddlesticks.

So it looks like we had the exclusive Titan design for all of 3 days? So much for hardware advantage. While we understand why HTC would do this (saves money on production, plus it's a killer design), we're a bit more excited now about Nokia making exclusive handsets for Windows Phone--something that won't be assimilated by the Android Borg so quickly.

Read more at AndroidCentral for their hands on with the Sensation XL.

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3 years ago

Microsoft refreshes Where's My Phone Update list, Omnia 7 now in testing

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Although lots of folks have received the update for the Samsung Omnia 7, officially at least it's still not available--or rather the firmware that's tied into it is not as easy to get (you can still force-update to Mango, but not get the firmware).

We got word now that Microsoft has updated the "Where's My Phone Update" list and whereas before it said "Except Samsung Omnia 7 models" it has now changed to the more favorable "Except Samsung Omnia 7 models, which are Testing at this time."

Hey, baby steps. At this rate, we're thinking by the end of October sounds like a plausible date for actual release. We'll keep an eye out. Thanks, Gary M., for the heads up!

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