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3 years ago

AT&T's T-Mobile acquisition not a slam dunk at FCC

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FCC merger reviews are often seen as a formality, if not a complete joke.  But in an interesting turn in AT&T's purchease of T-Mobile, the Federal Communications Commission said yesterday that it will be combining its review of the proposed acquisition with AT&T's recent purchase of Qualcomm's 700 MHz spectrum.  This shows that the FCC is serious about making sure that the playing field is at least somewhat level, and that AT&T actually stands a chance of being denied.

Critics, which include other carriers, politicians and current customers, have argued that it will lead to high prices and degraded services for consumers, and will hinder industry innovation.  AT&T, as you might imagine, disagrees.  They recently hired consulting firm M+R to conduct its own study of the issue, which to no surprise came back favoring the deal.  M+R researcher Allen Rosenfeld says that the FCC has it all wrong; that they should not be looking at the outcome of a deal, but the outcome if no deal is reached:

At the core of the flawed apples-and-oranges comparison is an implicit assumption that, in the absence of the proposed merger, T-Mobile USA’s current pricing structure would continue to be available to consumers. In the most-general sense, that assumption implies a continuation of the status quo for T-Mobile USA for the foreseeable future. More specifically, it assumes that T-Mobile USA’s overall customer strategy, driven by plans priced lower than AT&T’s and Verizon’s, could be sustained for years to come. A close look at the industry and the competitive outlook for T-Mobile USA, however, casts serious doubt upon the validity of the assumption that T-Mobile USA, going it alone in the absence of the merger, would be able to sustain its pricing strategy and that consumers would be better off if the merger were not approved.

In other words, T-Mobile's strategy out out-pricing the bigger carriers cannot continue on its own.  If AT&T doesn't swoop in to the rescue, poor T-Mobile will no longer be sustainable as-is, and customer rates will have to increase.  How noble, AT&T, how noble.

Source: GigaOm

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3 years ago

Nokia Sea Ray out for testing, shows up on mobile speed test

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It's been a few weeks since we heard anything about the Nokia 'Sea Ray' aka Nokia's first foray into Windows Phone. Evidently, the phone has showed up on DSL Reports, the mobile speed testing site for broadband devices, coming in at 1211kbps which isn't too shabby.

What gives the device away of course is the user agent, here reported as Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 9.0; Windows Phone OS 7.5; Trident/5.0; IEMobile/9.0; Nokia; SeaRay). That's a pretty good give away, though not impossible to spoof either.

Still, we've heard from our own sources that engineering prototypes have been sent out to their respective testing facilities, which possibly explains it popping up here. We've also heard some things about a 3.7" screen, a Micro SIM card and a code name of "Sabre", for what it's worth. Perhaps that latter name, if true, is a carrier name for the Sea Ray.

At least we're getting closer!

Source: DSL Reports; via Blog of Mobile, Pocketnow

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3 years ago

WPCentral Podcast 121

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WPCentral Podcast 121


We're back for another podcast, recorded live earlier Monday. Catch Daniel and Jay as they re-cap the world of Windows Phones, discuss the Google debacle, some Microsoft happenings and the latest on the WPCentral app.

Full show notes after the break...

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3 years ago

Wanted: Beta testers for new game 'Wheel of Wealth'

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Like Wheel of Fortune? If so then you'll want to head to Shantek Online Solutions, developers of an upcoming game called 'Wheel of Wealth'. They're looking for about 100 beta testers for their upcoming release to put their game through the wringer, finding bugs, giving recommendations, etc. You don't need to be a developer either as they're going through the new "private beta Marketplace" made available via the AppHub. You simply supply your LiveID, you get a special download link from the Marketplace and bam, you have a new game to test for a few weeks. 

Sounds good to us. So why not lend a hand, help make a game better and have some fun while you're at it. Win win. Head right here for more info.

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3 years ago

Add Japanese (and other) language packs to Mango Beta

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Mango not only promises to bring 500 new features for regular users but also numerous other languages for the rest of the planet. For those who want some Japanese on their Windows Phone now, or perhaps those looking to explore how to add other language, a neat little hack has appeared over at NanaPho.

The trick requires a registry edit before you upgrade to Mango (you can't yet edit the registry on Mango devices, as far as we know) and may be good for those playing with DFT's custom ROMs. While in NoDo or earlier, simply launch the registry editor and make these changes:

1. add this entry on your NoDo (7390 or 7392) phone.

key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\MUI\Available

name: 0411

value: Japanese

2. update to Mango Beta 2 Refresh

3. you will get Japanese language

Of course the potential is there to add other languages, though it has to be verified. Other language packs which are made available with the Mango release include 0413 (Netherlands), 0419 (Russian), 0804 (Simplified Chinese), 0404 (Traditional Chinese) and in theory, those should work too. Looks to be a cool trick for those not wanting to wait the extra month or two for the RTM Mango to hit.

Source: NanaPho

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3 years ago

Samsung gives away Rubik's Cube game

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Good news for you Samsung owners out there, you get a free official Rubik's Cube game! Yup, as part of their Samsung Zone, they're giving away the game for free to all who own an Omnia7 or Focus.

"The classic cube is available in various dimensions with 2x2, 3x3, 4x4 and 5x5 solid colour stickers on each face. Challenge yourself every time with the randomize feature. There are not time limits, take your own time to solve the game and track your records through the 'Best score' logs. Revisit your incomplete games in the saves games list to complete them. pause and resume your current game at any point. Learn to solve the cube through hints and the included help documentation."

The game's tile is also Metro allowing to blend in nicely. What else can we say? It's smooth, looks cool and is totally free. A+ on that, Samsung. If you're on a Sammy device, just click here to the Marketplace as it's not yet available in the Samsung Zone. (Thanks, Tahiti Bob, for the heads up!)

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3 years ago

Great Firewall of China blocking Marketplace?

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Reports are surfacing out of China that the Marketplace has not been fully functional for the past few days.  According to users, WP7 devices are able to able to browse the Marketplace, receive update notifications, and make purchases, but as soon as they attempt to download, they fail with an "connection" error.  It is not certain, but likely culprit is what has come to be known as the Great Firewall of China, a netwok blockade that the Chinese government uses to control the flow of information and prevent its citizens from accessing websites/services that are thought to be unsuitable for one reason or another.  Past censorship has included Google, Twitter, Facebook, news sites and the Android marketplace.

Another possible explanation for the cutoff could be Microsoft themselves, who have not officially released their OS in China and may be denying access to countries that fall outside the Marketplace's current group of 16 supported nations.  WP7 devices have made their way into the country and have gained a loyal following who have found ways of using the Marketplace and downloading content.  It seems, however, that if MS were the source of the outage, they would block all Marketplace activity and not just downloads.  We would also expect to be hearing reports out of other countries where users have manged to get their hands on WP7 devices.

There's no telling whether or not access to the Marketplace will be restored, or who is responsible, but for the time being, it is being reported that download access is still available for those who use a VPN service to mask there source IP address.

We'll keep you posted if we get more info on this.

Source: Penn-Olson, WPSauce

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3 years ago

Learn how to build your own Augmented Reality apps in Mango

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Augmented reality apps have always been something of an amazing concept for mobile device owners. Well executed apps that take advantage of the Windows Phone 7 Mango APIs to create cool experiences always get a lot of good attention for the platform and developers, and the novelty of it all does not easily wear off.

Shank, an NTU Intern at Microsoft Singapore, has realized that many app developers are interested in building their own agumented reality apps but don't have all of the know-how necessary to make that interest a reality. He's created a set of videos and articles on Innovate Singapore to help get developers started; from learning how to setup the camera to using the motion sensors and finally packaging it all together. With a little elbow grease and understanding of how the development tools work, you too can watch through the extensive tutorials and start work on your on augmented reality apps sooner rather than later.

Developers, it's time to stop thinking about that app concept you've been daydreaming on for so long and take the first steps needed to get the job done. While the tutorials may not be for the lighthearted or those brand new to app development, we've looked through the work that Shank has done ourselves and found it to be very complete and fairly simple to follow along.

Do you have an idea for an augmented reality app that you'd like to see made? Leave some thoughts in the comments below and maybe a developer can put the two together, your idea and Shank's tutorials, to get your app in the store. 

Source: Innovate Singapore; Thanks, Shank

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3 years ago

Microsoft's Charlie Kindel is leaving to start a new adventure

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Charlie Kindel, General Manager of the Windows Phone Developer Ecosystem, has announced his departure this morning from Microsoft after an astonishing 21 years with the company to start his own business. Playing a major role in Microsoft's conversion from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone and getting that system to its current state, Kindel is wanting to try his hand at a new challenge and is grabbing the opportunity.

For those of you who don't know, Charlie Kindel has had quite the career at Microsoft. A few of his accomplishments are listed below and they're nothing but amazing: 

  • Founded Premier support
  • Built ActiveX and DCOM
  • Shipped Internet Explorer 3.0
  • Drove the development of the home networking features in Windows XP
  • Founded eHome and shipped the first version of Windows Media Center
  • Drove the invention of Windows Smart Displays and Windows Media Center Extenders
  • Served Bob Muglia as executive technical assistant as he ran the Enterprise Storage business through to him running the Server and Tools Division.
  • Was the driving force behind Windows Home Server.
  • Led the design and development of the Windows Phone 7 Application Platform.
  • Drove the Windows Phone 7 application platform ecosystem development and evangelism effort.

Needless to say, his enthusiasm and contributions from Microsoft and Windows Phone will be greatly missed. Kindel is one of those people though who's always looking for a new adventure and his new company, focusing on "advertising, mobile, cloud computing, and youth athletics" will surely keep him busy and in the forefront of new media.  He'll remain in the Seattle area with his family as he pushes forward with his new endevour.

By the way, if you don't follow Kindel on Twitter, you can find him here. We highly recommend following him too as he is quite the personality: guns, technology, photography, cars, you name, he does it.

From everyone here at WPCentral, good luck Charlie and thanks for all that you've done! Check out a great video interview with the man after the break...

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3 years ago

Fruit Ninja Kinect chops its way to Xbox 360 this week

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Seeing as how Fruit Ninja is so popular with the Windows Phone crowd, we thought our readers might be excited to know that Fruit Ninja Kinect is coming out this Wednesday on Xbox 360.

Fruit Ninja Kinect is the same game that fans know and love, only with much nicer HD visuals and of course Kinect motion control. Players swipe with their hands to chop the fruit now instead of just their fingers. It’s actually a much more exciting (and tiring) take on the original concept. In addition to the standard Classic, Zen, and Arcade modes, the Kinect version introduces something missing from the Windows Phone game: multiplayer. It supports both co-operative and competitive gameplay for two players. This makes Fruit Ninja Kinect the perfect party game – it’s an active new spin on a game everybody knows and loves, plus others can join in the fun.

Fruit Ninja Kinect will cost 800 Microsoft Points ($10) when it debuts this Wednesday. Of course Xbox 360 owners will also need a Kinect peripheral in order to play it. Kinect players who aren’t in a huge hurry may prefer to wait for the retail release of The Gunstringer (from developer Twisted Pixel) on September 13. It costs $30 and includes both The Gunstringer on disc and a download code for Fruit Ninja Kinect.

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3 years ago

Indie game IonBall gets Xbox Live sequel with all the trimmings

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Xbox Live isn’t exactly crawling with brick-breaking games at the moment. The only such game, 3D Brick Breaker Revolution (review), is ten kinds of terrible. Gamers looking for a Breakout-style fix have had to make do with indie games, such as IronSun StudiosIonBall, which we reviewed in December.

Great news for fans of that game and brick-breaking games in general – IonBall is getting a sequel, and it will be an Xbox Live title to boot.

Head past the break for more exclusive IonBall EX details and screens!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: August 1-7, 2011

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We're at the beginning of yet another week in the Windows Phone world, pressing on forwards through the holidays and heading ever closer to the looming "Mango" update. We've had our Mobile Nations breif (and podcast), ensuring we're all up-to-date with news and happenings while we have published another WPCentral podcast (this time it was live).

Jay has been hard at work brining version 1.3 of the official WPCentral app to the Marketplace, boasting more Metro UI aesthetics. Before we crack on with the summary, Google has thrown its toys out the pram while Microsoft tells them to grow up. Always good fun, right (it carries on)? Head on past the break for the summary and links. 

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3 years ago

Developer Interview: Alexey Strakh of gMaps

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3 years ago

Kik gets SSL encryption, bug fixes

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Kik gets SSL encryption, bug fixes

Kik Messenger for WP7 has received its first update, bringing it to version 1.1.  While the patch does not bring any major new user-facing features to the table, it does resolve a couple of significant bugs that were present in the initial release.  The most noteworthy addition to v1.1 is SSL encryption.  If you'll recall, IT specialist, Mike Cardwell, reported that though passwords were encrypted within Kik, messages themselves were sent in plain text.  The developers later added SSL encryption in Android, Blackberry and iOS, but upon launching Kik for WP7, SSL remained absent.

The other fix worth mentioning is a resolution to the ".co.uk bug."  Users trying to register on Kik for WP7 using an email address ending with ".co.uk" were unable to do so.  A workaround was quickly found, but it's nice to know that it is no longer needed.

Kik is a great messaging app that's gotten that much better, so check it out here.

Source: Kik

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