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3 years ago

Beards & Beaks version 1.2 adds Mango support, Gnomes and Crows still not getting along though

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Beards & Beaks, Microsoft Game Studios’ lighthearted real-time strategy game, just got updated to version 1.1 a few weeks ago. That update was for Nodo devices, but it didn’t add Mango features. Now that Mango is available to the masses, MGS has wasted no time in pushing another update with proper Mango support.

Beards & Beaks version 1.2 release notes

  • Fully Mango Supported!
  • Fast App Switching
  • Live Tile: Switches back and forth from Gnomes to Crows when pinned to the Start Menu.
  • All the updates from version 1.1

Fast app switching is the most important feature, but enhanced Live Tiles are always welcome. To learn more about Beards & Beaks, check out our developer interview, review, and downloadable content impressions. That’s a lot of info! Many more Xbox Live titles will receive Mango updates in the weeks to come. Stay tuned to WPCentral for all the details.

Beards & Beaks costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Pick it up here (Zune link) from the Marketplace and help the Gnomes stop the Crows!

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3 years ago

Microsoft Canada reveals NOKIA Sabre and other device code names

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We first broke the new about the Nokia 'Sabre' last month--namely that it was in engineering for tests, that it has a 3.7" screen and Micro SIM card. Besides that we also had the name 'Sabre' which till now, has not been verified anywhere else. Going back even further, one Micheal-Dallas in our forums mentions the 'Sabre' back in July, noting it's for AT&T in Summer 2012 (we think that's too far out).

Now, Microsoft Canada has accidentally leaked the name in the rules for a Mango-app contest. From the page itself, it notes:

"The estimated retail value of the phone is $600.00. The type of Windows Phone 7.5 will vary and will be selected at Microsoft’s choosing (examples include Samsung Yukon, Samsung Wembley, NOKIA Searay and NOKIA Sabre)"

Interestingly, only the Searay is the familiar one out of the bunch. The Yukon and Wembley are also unknown devices, presumably variants of the Omnia W and Focus S. The Sabre however, is new and evidently different than the Searay--perhaps a mid-range offering. All we know is what we already mentioned above: Micro SIM, 3.7" screen. Interestingly, Vodafone is adopting Micro SIM cards soon, something we and Pocket-lint think will be for new Nokia Windows Phones.

Good thing we'll learn more in late October at Nokia World.

Update: That was fast. Microsoft Canada has now modified the page and removed the device names. See our screen grab for the old version.

Source: Microsoft Canada; Thanks, 'tipster', for the news!

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3 years ago

TWiT TVs Leo Laporte to take the Windows Phone Challenge

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Today on Windows Weekly (ep 227), Brandon Watson joined Paul Thurrott, ZDnet's Mary Jo Foley and co-host Leo Laporte for an interesting and frank discussion on Windows Phone and the Mango update.

Laporte, who is an admitted Android devotee, was offered by Brandon to step up and take the Windows Phone challenge--essentially using nothing but a Windows Phone running 7.5 Mango for two-weeks to see if it changes his opinion. Laporte agreed to the challenge, leaving a little wiggle room for the iPhone 5, as obviously he has his reviewer duties first.

Although it would be great to see Laporte completely change over to Windows Phone, even Watson knows that can be difficult--so just having positive feedback would be a win for him and his team (see Molly Wood's response to the Challenge, a result Watson was happy with due to her admitted Android allegiance).

Will Laporte be convinced? He's a pretty level-headed guy and even if he's not 100% sold on Windows Phone, we think his opinion would certainly be informative and interesting. On the other hand, maybe he'll pull a Scott Adams and be more than impressed. Stay tuned...

Source: Windows Weekly (TWiT.tv)

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3 years ago

Mango bug preventing Twitter contacts from showing up? [Updated]

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In the above image, see how the Left device is synced with Twitter, the Right is not despite the same settings

Here's another issue we're hearing a lot of today and which we verified our-self. Seems as if Twitter contacts are not showing up in people's People Hub, regardless of the settings/filter chosen in the setup.

Indeed, we took a look at our Dell Venue Pro and this is the case. However, on our Samsung Focus (loner review device from Microsoft) our Twitter contacts are just fine. We're not too sure what to make of that one.

To test it yourself, simply go to your contacts in the People Hub and see if you can find any Twitter-only friends. Or if you have linked accounts, try to see if they have their Twitter "What's New" option visible (like above). We've even tried delete and re-sync our Twitter account with no success.

Hopefully this is something that Microsoft LIVE and Twitter can fix on their end. We'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, feel free to commiserate in our forums to discuss the matter.

Update: From @winphonesupport "If you're not seeing your Twitter contacts in your People Hub, hang in there, we've got a team looking into it. Thanks everyone!"

Thanks, Martin and Jonathan, for the info

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3 years ago

HTC Sound Enhancer pulled from Marketplace, causing Music Player crash in Mango?

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Looks like HTC may have a little problem on their hands. We've heard numerous complaints that the Music player in Mango is crashing for people. Its an odd claim seeing as we've had no issues with ours whatsoever (Focus, Dell Venue Pro) though in fairness, we've neglected our HTC phones.

Turns out, at least HD7 users are complaining of such crashes and the culprit many believe is the optional Sound Enhancer app (which went Mango recently). Now, HTC has pulled the app from the Marketplace (verified) which somewhat confirms people's suspicions on the matter.

So our recommendation: If your HTC Windows Phone is crashing while playing music, disable the HTC Sound Enhancer app and wait for a new, updated version. We'll keep you posted.

Thanks, Christian L., for the tip!

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3 years ago

Changes to the Zune Pass for U.S. subscribers coming October 3rd

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Good news and bad news for Zune Pass subscribers or potential new customers. On October 3rd, Microsoft will be making some changes to our beloved system and some of it makes sense, while other aspects are a little disappointing.

First off, the Zune Pass will effectively drop from $14.99 a month to $9.99 a month for new customers (or those wishing to 'downgrade'). As a trade off though, you're going to loose the ability keep those 10 MP3s every month, meaning they are going strictly streaming. Finally, you'll be able to only sync up to four devices (down from six) with 1 PC + any combination of PC, Zune device and Windows Phone. Xbox 360 and PC streaming of course do not count towards that four-device limit.

If you're already on the $14.99 a month plan, the good news is you can stay there and keep getting your MP3s. But new customers will be effectively cut-off from such a deal starting October 3rd, meaning if you want those features (and we're think they're pretty good), then you best sign up now--maybe even get a year pass and save $50.

One last change, which is a good one, is you'll soon be able to stream "tens of thousands" music videos to your Zune PC and Xbox 360 (this fall). Up till now, you had to actually pay for music videos, which always seemed just wrong. No word if Windows Phone will get the same feature.

Source: Zune Insider

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3 years ago

Zune Marketplace coming to Canada Oct 3rd

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Good news to our friends up north. On October 3rd, the Zune Marketplace is headed your way, hopefully completely unfiltered.

"We are excited to announce that Zune Music Marketplace and Zune Music Pass will roll out in Canada on October 3rd, providing access to a growing music catalog of more than 14 million tracks from all the major labels, as well as tens of thousands of indie labels. Zune Music Pass will also be available for C$9.99 per month or C$99.90 annually and can be used on Xbox 360, Windows Phone, Windows PC, Zune devices and Zune.net."

The deal sounds good to us, especially since up to this point people with Windows Phones up in Canada have not had the full experience. This looks to finally fix this and the pricing seems right about in line with other countries.

In addition, you'll be able to stream "tens of thousands" music videos to your Zune PC and later, the Xbox 360.

Source: Zune Insider

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3 years ago

MS working on deals with content providers for XBox TV [Updated]

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Microsoft may be close to announcing an expansion to its XBox Live streaming, paid television content.  Bloomberg reports that they are planning to provide Comcast and Verizon TV, and have also been in talks with close to two dozen other content providers to add sports, music, TV and movies to their current XBox Live services in the US and Europe.  Anonymous sources say that the announcement could come as soon as next week.

Under the plan, current subscribers to Comcast and Verizon television would be able to receive their content through Xbox.  Other media from companies like HBO, Bravo and Syfy would be available to XBox Live members through streaming.  In addition, MS is in talks with manufacturers like Samsung to get a Windows Live gaming hub added as apps on some of their televisions.  Add to that the impending Bing integration with Kinect controls and you have one serious home entertainment hub.

Source: Bloomberg; Via: WinRumors

UPDATE: Microsoft made it official today in a press release detailing the television partnerships that they will have in place starting this holiday season.  The move includes deals with content providers around the world, including Bravo, Comcast, HBO GO, Verizon FiOS and Syfy in the U.S.; BBC in the U.K., Telefónica in Spain; Rogers On Demand in Canada; Televisa in Mexico; ZDF in Germany; and MediaSet in Italy.

You can get the details and a complete list of content in the full press release.

But first, check out this rockin' video of what's in store:

Source: Microsoft

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3 years ago

Analyst: Microsoft collects $444 million in patent fees for Android

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Word from Goldman Sachs, a company with an interesting reputation to say the least, is that Microsoft will generate $444 million in cross-licensing patent fees this year from Android OEMs who make smartphones and tablets. As of yesterday, Microsoft has signed seven deals with Android OEMS, including HTC, Samsung, General Dynamics Itronix, Onkyo, Velocity Micro, Acer, ViewSonic and Wistron. Those seven deals are expected to generate between $3-$6 per device, using Goldman Sachs' numbers.

While that $444 million sounds like a lot, Business Insider points out that Microsoft generated $75 billion in revenue last year--so this is a drop in the bucket. However, that is still money that goes to Microsoft for their patents and re-affirms their position that Android is not free. While these deals won't enrich Microsoft at all, strategically, it may make OEMs second guess the advantages of using Android--either way, they have to pay Microsoft, so why not just use Windows Phones and get a more streamlined ecosystem and legal protection to boot?

Finally, at the very least, there is a certain bitter-sweet victory here for Microsoft, knowing they can fund Windows Phone development via Android sales. In the long term, this could be an important strategic decision. Plus, once you throw in the estimated $600 million in Windows Phone sales in addition to the $444 million in Android patents and Microsoft has potentially crossed the $1 billion mark for smartphone revenue. Not bad.

Source: Business Insider

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Beta website launches [Developers]

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'Sup developers (and users)? Fancy a service that provides you with the means to get some beta testers on board for your app(s)? Of course you do. Introducing Windows Phone Beta, a brand new service that has recently launched. What's it all about? It's a catalogue of apps that are currently in beta and are in need of testers. Consumers can register an account for free, browse the active and pending beta tests and register interest in particular apps.

Registering your interest is as easy as clicking a single button. Developers are then able to communicate with all interested testers for feedback and comments. If you're interested in finding more testers for your app(s) with a dedicated service, or you'd like to participate in testing apps, head on over to the Windows Phone Beta website for more details.

Thanks Hardrock1a for the tip!

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3 years ago

Mango Internet Sharing/Tethering hack for Focus and Omnia 7 is not for the faint of heart

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So the good is this: folks at XDA are working, with some success, on hacking onto our Mango phones internet sharing/tethering (first seen on the Focus). The bad news is, most of you can't do this (developer unlocked) and even if you could (like us) you wouldn't want to because good lord are there a lot of seemingly complicated steps.

We won't post the directions here, because honestly it wouldn't make sense, but you can head over to XDA, take a look and promptly return here.

Now, even though this is seemingly complicated and only for Samsung phones at the moment (sorry, HTC and don't even think about it Dell), it's a good sign that the community is moving forward on this as perhaps and easier method will come forth (see "all-in-one provxml file" as an example). So maybe, just maybe this is the start of something that the rest of us will be able to use in the future.

See our earlier coverage of why this feature is missing from current phones here.

Source: XDA; Thanks, Steve S., for the heads up

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3 years ago

Samsung Omnia W available for pre-order

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Samsung Omnia W available for pre-order

Should you be excited about the Samsung Omnia W then perhaps pre-ordering the handset would be a wise investment? Especially since it's reasonably priced on Expansys at £329.99 (€384,99 on the Italy site), which is in the neighborhood of $515 U.S. dollars.  The mid-range device is slightly cheaper than the competitive HTC Radar, which was spotted on Clove for £285 (excl. VAT) or $447 U.S.

The Omnia W specification sheet has the device sporting a 3.7" Super AMOLED screen, 1.4Ghz processor and a 5MP rear camera (with FF VGA camera), running Mango of course. Check out some HD shots of the Samsung Omnia W and HTC Radar for more eye-popping content.

So, question being, which are you? Radar or Omnia W?

Source: Expansys IT, Expansys UK, via: Plaffo, thanks Antonino and @J45PER for the tips!

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3 years ago

Beta test the new adCenter app

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Beta test the new adCenter app

Microsoft is developing an application for adCenter to be used while on the go. In an article on the adCenter blog published by Amit Goel, Senior Product Manager, he has asked for help in testing the beta and ironing out features, bugs and whatnot. The app will provide basic functionality to control the connected account while mobile. Requirements for applying are pretty obvious:

  • Have access to a Windows Phone 7
  • Agree to provide feedback in 4-5weeks in the form of a survey
  • Have an active adCenter account

Note that this is limited to 50 testers - first come, first served. Also, it's US only (yay). To sign up, check out the application form.

Source: adCenter

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3 years ago

Nokia continues with cuts slashing 3,500 more jobs

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Nokia has announced that it's cutting the workforce by 3,500 personnel. The manufacturer will also be closing its Romanian production facility by the end of the year as well as the Location & Commerce sites in Bonn, Germany and Malvern, US. The reduction and closure is expected to be completed by the end of 2012 and CEO Stephen Elop has said that this is a "painful, yet necessary, steps to align our workforce and operations with our path forward".

Salo, Finland, Komarom, Hungary, and Reynosa, Mexico plants will be under review with the expectation that they will shift their focus to customer and market-specific software and sales package customisation, which could result in more cuts being made to the workforce. The Location & Commerce business, which pulls together Nokia’s NAVTEQ and other location services, appears to be in the process of being automated.

It's a shame that Nokia, much regarded as a European manufacturer, is looking to close doors on the continent in favour of Asian facilities. We hope the job losses will be met with new openings for staff and wish them all the best in the tough economic future. Let us hope that the upcoming handset will be a killer device.

Source: Nokia, via: SlashGear

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3 years ago

Microsoft discovers privacy bugs, fix on the way

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Microsoft is reporting that they have discovered unintended behavior with its Windows Phone location services. Following a Federal Lawsuit that claims Microsoft was doing such, Microsoft said they'd look into the claims and sure enough, they found a bug.

In a statement released earlier on Wednesday, Microsoft revealed,

"We have identified an unintended behavior in the Windows Phone 7 software that results in information about nearby Wi-Fi access points and cell towers being periodically sent to Microsoft when using the Camera application, and, for phones that are configured for US-English, when using the phone’s voice command features (such as “Find Pizza”). For the Camera, the software bug results in the behavior even where you have disabled geo-tagging photos in the Camera application."

Oops.

Microsoft did state that the recent Mango Update eliminates the unintended behavior (lawyer talk for "we didn't know it was there") by the camera application and voice command feature. However, the bugs are still present when using the "Me" feature in the Peoples Hub. Wifi access points and cell tower information is sent to the Windows Phone location service each time a user accesses "Me".

Microsoft is already working on an update to fix the "Me" bug after which, information about nearby Wifi access points and cell towers will be sent only if you agree to allow the "check in" feature of "Me". There was no time frame on this update but I suspect it will be sooner than later.

In the meantime, Microsoft is reminding Windows Phone customers that you can prevent access to location information by applications and the collection of location information by going to Settings>Location and turning this feature off.

While it's never good for any operating system to have such bugs, you've gotta give kudos to Microsoft for moving quickly to identify the problem and working to fix things without delay. You can read more about this disclosure and Microsoft's Privacy Policy here at Microsoft.com.

For more intelligent discussion on the matter, take a look at Rafael Rivera's take on it here: "Dissecting Case 01438 Exhibit B, Part 4"

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