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3 years ago

From the WPCentral Forums...custom themes!

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We mentioned yesterday that we're opening a theme area on the site for those using the WP Hacker program to make custom Start screens/tiles. In turn, we're hoping to see some creations come out that would wow-us a bit and luckily someone took us up on it.

Forum member Saljen has posted up five themes so far, including the one you see above aka 'Glass'. The others are just as fancy, specifically Wood, Steel, Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2. Not bad, not bad at all! In fact, we're gonna try and load up Glass here in a few minutes.

Oh and Saljen gets bonus points for creating a custom WPCentral App tile. Anyways, feel free to add your creations for others right here.

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3 years ago

InfoWorld: Windows Phone is worth buying

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Robert Cringely at InfoWorld, a technology magazine, has published a superb article that shines Windows Phone in positive light - much like what we saw over at USA Today. Using the HTC Radar (our review) for a couple of weeks, Cringely has gained an insight into what Microsoft has up its sleeve to tackle Apple and Google. 

"Yes, it's true. For the last two weeks, I've been been playing around with an HTC Radar 4G running "Mango" (aka Windows Phone 7.5), and I have to say that -- despite every molecule of my being screaming in protest -- I am favorably impressed."

Of course, when talking about the Metro UI, live tiles are brought up and are the main focus on some platform praise with information being displayed at glance without loading apps.

"As for the software, the Metro interface is exceedingly nimble and easily customized; I love how it shows me how many new emails, calls, and messages I've gotten at a glance. I like how my calendar is on the home page and it shows me my next appointment automatically. I like how I can flip through the status updates and tweets from my peeps without having to load a separate, often buggy, application."

It's a really insightful read, especially should you be interested in purchasing a Windows Phone. Head on over to InfoWorld to read the article.

Source: InfoWorld

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3 years ago

Windows Phone SMS bug disabling Messaging Hub

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Reports are scattered about the internet concerning a Windows Phone bug that is sent via text message that will reboot your Windows Phone and disable your Messaging Hub. The SMS bug is not device specific and the only solution that is available so far is a hard reset.

To make matters worse, if you've pinned a friend to your Start Screen and they get the message via Facebook, when the live tile updates to display the message, the reboot is initiated.

Nothing official from Microsoft on this kink in the system. We don't know the message sequence (and don't really want to know) but according to @ryanlowdermilk, host of Windows Phone Dev Podcast, it requires "A LOT of characters" and not something easily figured out.  Still the risk is there and we wanted to let you know and if you find your Messaging Hub crashing, this may be your problem.  As best we can tell, this bug doesn't expose what is on your Windows Phone but instead just makes life a little inconvenient with the hard reset.

Hopefully Microsoft can develop and distribute a software patch to fix this bug soon.

source: winrumors

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3 years ago

Ben Rudolph offering 5 unhappy Android users a free Windows Phone

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Microsoft is doing a good job when it comes to light promotion with Brandon Watson offering well known names a free Windows Phone to try out. Now Ben Rudolph is giving away 5 free Windows Phones to unhappy Android owners who can provide the best (or worst) experience story. Android has suffered from Malware and other issues, which Microsoft will not be allowing the platform to get off lightly without attempting to attract unhappy consumers.

Source: Twitter (@BenThePCGuy), via: MobilityDigest, thanks thenet for the tip!

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3 years ago

AT&T's Season of Gifting

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AT&T's Season of Gifting

'Tis the season for gift giving and AT&T is not about to be left out. Each day, from December 1st through December 20th, two lucky winner will win a featured gift. Today's featured gift, the Samsung Focus S with Accessory Kit.

Entering is easy. Go to the Season of Gifting website and enter your name and email for a chance at a random drawing. You can also enter by nominating someone and explain why they should get the gift. Get your friends to vote for the story and the story with the most votes wins as well.

Now not every day a Windows Phone will be given away but the other prizes aren't too shabby. AT&T has already given away an Acer Tablet, Samsung Focus Flash, and AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G. So if you're feeling head on over to AT&T and toss your name into the hat.

Oh... and speaking of giving a Windows Phone away, with the help of AT&T, WPCentral will be giving away a Samsung Focus S.  Look for the details sometime tomorrow.

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3 years ago

PCWorld includes Windows Phone in '20 Most Anticipated Tech Products of 2012'

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PCWorld hasn't failed us by publishing their top '10 Tech Wins of 2011' and including Windows Phone. While these lists should not be taken too seriously, it's good to see the brand getting some recognition and being considered a "win" of 2011. We haven't halted with one list from the magazine though, as Microsoft's mobile platform has found itself in the "20 Most Anticipated Tech Products of 2012".

This could be viewed as relatively strange since Windows Phone was out in 2010, so it's not really anything new for 2012. But for argument sake we will be seeing software updates (with Mango still settling in) and new hardware, which is all good. While Windows Phone is located on slide 13 (behind Android 4.0), it should be noted that there doesn't appear to be any order for the listed entries.

Source: PCWorld; Thanks, D-Burrs, for the tip!

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3 years ago

President of Windows Phone division Andy Lees is being replaced

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Interesting news coming out of All Things D--Andy Lees, who's the Windows Phone division President is being replaced by Terry Myerson, Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone Engineering, but alas he won't be retaining the President title. From an internal memo from Steve Ballmer on the matter:

“I have asked Andy Lees to move to a new role working for me on a time-critical opportunity focused on driving maximum impact in 2012 with Windows Phone and Windows 8. We have tremendous potential with Windows Phone and Windows 8, and this move sets us up to really deliver against that potential.”

The move is suspected to be in response to the slow adoption rate of Windows Phone in the consumer market, despite recent critical approval of the OS. As expected when things aren't going the way they should, corporate shake-ups are necessary. Lets just hope Myerson can take the Windows Phone division to new heights, whcih it certainly deserves.

Source: All Things D

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3 years ago

Xbox Live Deal of the week pricing to ease the sting of Tentacles' challenge

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While our recent review of Press Play’s Xbox Live title Tentacles may have sparked some debate (despite being written by an all-around terrific guy), many gamers don’t have strong feelings one way or the other because they haven’t played it yet. A certain subset of those gamers will likely leave their dangerous neutrality behind when Tentacles becomes the Xbox Live Deal of the Week this Wednesday. It will cost $2.99, down from $4.99.

Tentacles is the tale of Lemmy, a small tentacled creature who ends up inside the body of his mad scientist creator. Unique touch controls allow Lemmy to move one tentacle at a time, navigating dangerous levels and eating eyeballs for health. With 40 levels, beautiful 3D graphics and 2D story sequences, and an atmospheric soundtrack, Tentacles could be a game you’ll fall in love with. Just keep in mind that its difficulty is so high in later levels that it can be quite frustrating. Depending on your patience and constitution, your experience may be different.

Starting Wednesday, Tentacles will be on sale for one week only. You’ll find it here on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Audible.com app coming in March for Windows Phone?

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Windows Phone and Audible.com have not had the best track record together.  Over a year ago, we thought an Audible.com app may be close to hitting the Marketplace, only to find out it was for WinMo 6.X.  Then we found out this summer that one was en route, but no ETA was given.  Well, hopefully, that is all water under the bridge, as one of our readers reports that the long lost ETA may be March 2012. 

An email received by said reader (who chooses to remain anonymous) says:

Dear ,

An Audible app has been in the work for quite sometime. It was not until recently that we were given a tentative release date. If everything goes as scheduled, the app should be making its debut on Windows phones near the end of March 2012.

Sincerely,

Audible Customer Support

While we always take such matters with a grain of salt, we remain hopeful that this is indeed true.  Audible remains one of the few marquee apps to remain absent for Windows Phone.

(Thanks for the tip, Unamed Reader!)

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3 years ago

Samsung updates 'Extra Settings' to v1.6 for Focus S and Flash

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Though we were a bit critical of the Samsung Focus S's screen, specifically its auto-brightness setting, we'll admit that since version 1.5 of 'Extra Settings' (see our closer look), things have improved dramatically.

Now the app has hit version 1.6 and of course, there is no changelog to report on. But we can assume that things like screen brightness, how white backgrounds are handled and perhaps even haptic feedback have all been improved and tweaked a tad.

We don't have a direct link here since it is hidden, so just watch your Marketplace app for the update.

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3 years ago

Surprisingly, Breeze makes for three Xbox Live games this week

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Xbox 360 version trailer

Last week we said that two Xbox Live games would hit the Marketplace this Wednesday the 14th. It turns out that wasn’t quite accurate… But don’t worry, it’s good news! Joining Battlewagon and Doodle God will be Breeze, for a total of three Xbox Live releases in one week!

What’s Breeze, you ask? We’ve got exclusive early details. The goal of Breeze is to navigate a flower through 60 maze-like outdoor levels. Each level has a goal that must be unlocked by collecting Sunshine orbs, plus dangerous obstacles like tree branches that can snag the fragile flower.

Instead of directly moving the flower around those hazards, you’ll control the wind that blows the flower – hence the name.  The game offers two control types: Touch and Tilt. Touch mode uses multi-touch controls; whatever points you touch acting as the source of the breeze. Tilt controls work as you’d expect, allowing players to control the breeze by moving their phones to and fro.

Breeze is a relaxing game, with lovely backdrops and a soothing soundtrack consisting of four songs (one for each in-game season). For those keeping score, that makes Breeze the first free, ad-supported mobile Xbox Live title with music. Getting back to the gameplay, the game also offers a Hardcore difficulty for players who like a challenge. Hardcore makes the flower larger, takes away the Air-Brake ability, and reduces the time limit of each level.

Origins

Breeze is the brainchild of Rob Hutchinson of Null City Software and will be published by Microsoft. Rob created the concept while university, and went on to publish the game as an Xbox Live Indie Game on Xbox 360 in August. While other Xbox Live Indie Games have graduated to Xbox Live games on Windows Phone, Breeze is the first to be distributed as a free, ad-supported game.

Almost here

The Windows Phone version of Breeze comes to English-speaking territories this Wednesday, December 14. It will require the Mango update. The Xbox 360 version is available right now for 240 Microsoft Points ($3). You can purchase it here.

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3 years ago

Carrier IQ being used by the FBI?

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Carrier IQ being used by the FBI?

If you were glad that Windows Phone doesn't have Carrier IQ on board before, you may be even happier now.The software, found on Android phones, has come under scrutiny for allegedly collecting data on users, including keystrokes, URLs and messages. Microsoft has recently denied using CIQ on any of its Windows Phones. 

Now, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request was put onto the FBI regarding what information it has on Carrier IQ and the response is a bit troubling but not exactly defining either.  In essence, the FOI request was denied on grounds that it would interfere with ongoing investigations and that it is currently being used for law enforcement purposes--the question arises though, who's being investigated Carrier IQ or citizens?

The site MuckRock, who put in the FOI (kudos), seems to think it's the latter--after all, US intelligence agencies do have a history of using outside commercial companies for data collection. In addition, MuckRock notes "...the request was specifically for documents related directly to accessing and analyzing Carrier IQ data.", which hints at something more than the company itself. Of course with the recent outcries against Carrier IQs practices, they could also themselves be under investigation too, which would be ironic.

MuckRock plans to appeal the FOI denial and hopes to get further clarification on the matter.

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3 years ago

New to the WPCentral Forums -- custom themes and beta testing

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In case you needed another reason to join our forums here at WPCentral, we'll give you two:

  • Custom Themes Forum - Here you can post your custom theme creations based on the Windows Phone Hacker customizer tool--share them, post screenshots, get feedback or make requests. We have a feeling this will become the new rage for the Homebrew scene, so if you've created a theme and want to share it, here's where you go
  • Beta Testing Forum - Developers, developers developers! Do you have an app that you need beta testers for? Looking for a place to interact with some of the best and brightest Windows Phone users? Then post your beta announcements here and get some feedback from our users on what features they want and how things can be improved before you submit to the Marketplace

All in all, we're thinking both of these new areas should start attracting a lot of new submissions and heck, we'll even feature a few of those custom themes on the front page, if they're good enough.

So get creating, you devs and artists, we want to see your work! And don't forget to spread the word--the more of you, the richer the offerings.

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3 years ago

Core77 announces "Fast Track to the Mobile App" contest winners

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Core77, an industrial design and development magazine out of New York City, announced their "Fast Track to the Mobile App" contest back in October. Pairing up with the Windows Phone 7 team, the contest was aimed at young developers who could benefit from not only the prizes, but the exposure and portfolio content. After a number of finalists, the judging panel (including Brandon Watson) have selected the following winners:

Bridge - "an integrated mobile tool for small team collaboration across time zones."

Blackbelt - "a level-up based business app aimed at improving company productivity and employee self awareness through objectives, incentives and competition."

Social Mints - "easily track and measure what people are saying about a company, brand or new product across the social media landscape."

Rhythmatic - "an easy to use and powerful business cash-flow management mobile app."

car-pal+ - "helps road warriors track fuel efficiency, find the nearest gas station, and monitor road alerts and maintenance history."

The prizes that go out to the above winners are:

  • Free Windows Phones
  • XBox 360 (with Kinect)
  • 1-year App-Hub subscriptions
  • App Development Deal (with revenue sharing options) to bring your design to life

The finalists have not been forgotten however. The first 25 to submit their apps to the Marketplace will receive a free Windows Phone. Core77 will also host a gallery featuring all the apps that have been published by mid-February, pretty cool. Be sure to check out all the apps that have made their way to being published.

Source: Core77, thanks James for the tip!

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3 years ago

Omnia W available for pre-order in India

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The Samsung Omnia W is one step closer to becoming the first second generation Windows Phone in India. The 3.7" Super AMOLED Windows Phone is available for pre-order through Flipkart.com.

The Omnia W is priced at Rs 20,900 (about $395 US) and sports a 5mp rear camera, front facing VGA camera, 1.4ghz processor and 8gb of storage.  The estimated release/ship date is the 4th week of December.

source: Flipkart Thanks goes out to Kumar for the tip!

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