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3 years ago

Is a SkyDrive App in Windows Phone's future?

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The Windows Phone Mango update should give us greater SkyDrive support within the Office Hub. But what about a stand alone SkyDrive app?

SkyDrive has an estimated 100 million users and an application that will give you access to all your stored information would be very popular. It appears Microsoft agree or at least Brian Hall, Microsoft's General Manager of IE and Windows Live. At a recent technology conference Hall stated that,

"We need to turn SkyDrive into a destination application."

In his presentation Hall used as an example a SkyDrive app for the phone that would allow users to see all the information stored in their 25GB of cloud storage. There is also some speculation that you will eventually be able to store music on SkyDrive and stream it to your Windows Phone.

Windows Phone's future has a lot of potential and being able to access your SkyDrive account directly from the phone only enhances that potential.

Source: ZDNet

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3 years ago

comScore report: Microsoft market share down again in April

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Another month, another comScore report.

Like the previous reports that have come out, this one seems to back up the notion that Microsoft has yet to stop their losses in U.S. marketshare for their mobile OSs (comScore seems to lump Windows Mobile and Windows Phone). Gathered from more than 30,000 mobile subscribers via an online survey, the data seems to be at least consistent.

Looking at April, Microsoft's U.S. marketshare is down to 6.7%. To put that in perspective, we've accumulated the last few months of data from comScore and we can see that just over a year ago, MS had 13.2% of the market and it had steadily declined to 10.2% in August and 8.4% in December. In short, Microsoft's marketshare has dropped 25% since Windows Phone 7's launch in October.

Of course with the aging Windows Mobile, we expect many to abandon the platform for alternatives like Android or...well Android (and looking closely, RIM gained as well over 2010-2011). But the problem Microsoft seems to have is converting old Windows Mobile users to Windows Phone. Then again, some of those high-end users may be attracted to Android's more "open" standards and OS manipulation, which resembles Windows Mobile in many ways. The decline though seems to be slowing a bit, but until that number becomes positive growth, Microsoft still has much area to recover.

Luckily that Nokia, Skype and Mango strategy should pay off by late 2011.

Source: comScore; via WinRumors

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3 years ago

Microsoft responds to 'App spamming' complaints, adds caps

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It was just yesterday that our own Richard Edmonds wrote an editorial here lamenting the sudden influx of many apps in the Marketplace from a single publisher. You may have seen this yourself, where the Marketplace under "New" is suddenly flooded with 50 apps that are all the same but "vary" by region.

We weren't the only blog to complain about it and your comments were unified: this was bad practice on Microsoft's part and it should be addressed sooner than later, otherwise we'll have another Android marketplace on our hands--and no one wants that.

Just 24 hours later, Microsoft has responded to the complaints via their Windows Phone Developer Blog. Todd Brix wrote up the piece and we have to commend Microsoft for both being quick and forthcoming on the process and their reasoning. They then present an fairly even-handed solution in two parts:

1. "To avoid the scenario where bulk publishing crowds out other apps in Marketplace in the future, effective immediately, we are limiting the number of apps any one developer can have certified in a single day to 20. Developers creating a large number of apps can still submit all of them for certification, but they will be certified at a maximum rate of 20 per day rather than all at once."

While 20 may still seem a lot, a cap is better than no cap and we hope that we rarely see as many apps from a single publisher. We imagine if it's still a problem, Microsoft could just as easily reduce that number. In fact, in order to prevent a developer from needlessly publishing apps, Microsoft has a part two as a solution to the problem:

2. "In addition, we are reaching out to the companies who most recently published a large number of apps with similar functionality in a short period of time. We’re offering to work with these developers to explore how they can better take advantage of the Windows Phone platform to improve the functionality of their apps and reduce the need for large numbers of similar apps."

By themselves, neither of these measures would be that effective, but combined we see this one-two punch to be a fair way to better control this ongoing issue and ensure a pleasant Marketplace experience. But now that Microsoft has said something, what do you folks think? We think MS deserves a lot credit for their response. You?

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog; Thanks, Aleksandr K./Arktronic, for the tip!

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3 years ago

F1 World - App Spotlight

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F1 World - App Spotlight

Fan of Formula One racing? F1 World is a Windows Phone app that brings you a news and information on all the Formula One racing events. The app pulls from several RSS News feeds including ESPNF1.com, Crash.net, BBC f1, Formula1.com with more feeds coming soon.

Key features include:

  • Dedicated app for Windows Phone 7
  • View all the Latest News of F1 world from famous websites
  • News related to your favorite F1 teams [Driver based team coming soon]
  • Preview window for each News along with the picture
  • Easy Navigation for news
  • Facility to read each News in F1 World with integrated browser support
  • Scroll again to directly jump to next News story, without pressing the back key
  • UI changed like WP7
  • Team & driver details added
  • Race results

F1 World presents everything in a clean, sharp looking hub. Upcoming features should include the ability to sort news items by drivers, photo feeds, and multiple language support.

F1 World is a free application and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Pop It! - App Spotlight

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Pop It! - App Spotlight

Like popping bubble wrap? Did you know there's a Windows Phone app for that?

Pop It! takes popping bubble wrap to the next level, turning it into a competitive event. The goal of the game is simple, see how fast you can pop each bubble that appears on the screen.

The downside to Pop It! is that a) you can't roll up your Windows Phone and pop numerous bubbles at once and b) you can't slide your finger down the row of bubbles to pop them. You have to pop each bubble by tapping on them individually.

Sound effects are decent and trying to find the fastest pattern for popping the bubbles can be challenging. Pop It! is a free app and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

'Where's My Update?' now displaying version numbers

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Everyone's favourite webpage, Where's My Update, is now displaying version numbers instead of months that the updates were connected to. This is a welcomed change from the somewhat confusing update titles that would become obsolete through future releases. You will now see respective versions (for example 7390 and 7392) for each build. 

AT&T users: you're still in "Testing" for 7392. So stay tuned.

Source: Where's My Update

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3 years ago

Tip: Enable 2-step verification in Gmail for WP7

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Security is always a cause for concern, whether it be with online banking or simply ordering a Domino's pizza. Passwords used online for applications or services are no different, especially with the amount of cyber crime occuring since the boom of the world wide web. Google have published an article on their blog outlining recent attacks being made on Gmail accounts and how users can protect themselves further.

One way to further protect your email account is to use OTP (One Time Password) via the web interface when logging on across multiple machines, networks and/or locations. For your Windows Phone (and other devices) you can use application specific passwords, which are password that are randomly generated and are used per device. You don't need to remember it and it doesn't affect your main login credentials. Think of it as an access key your device requires to be able to gain access to your account.

Check out the video after the break for the step-by-step walkthrough on using two-step verification and creating an application specific password for your Gmail account on your device. 

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3 years ago

NBA Game Time 2011 available for the Finals

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As the NBA Finals head into Game Two tonight, you can follow all the action from your Windows Phone. NBA Game Time 2011 is a free app over at the Marketplace that will give you access to scores, highlights and news surrounding the Playoffs.

Key features include:

  • Live Scores from every Playoff game
  • Highlight videos from every playoff game
  • Full Playoff Schedule
  • Playoff Bracket Box Score and Team Stats for every Playoff game
  • Series Views from Every Playoff Series
  • Deeper Player Stats

Okay... so it's a little late to the party but it's a clean looking, informative app. If your a fan of the Heat or the Mavs (or the NBA in general), NBA Game Time 2011 should help keep you informed during the Championship Series.

Again, NBA Game Time 2011 is a free application and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Thanks goes out to Amir for the tip!

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3 years ago

Bubble Twist - Review

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Bubble Twist - Review

Looking for a simply, yet entertaining game for your Windows Phone? Like the Bubble Burst styled games but wish they did more? Check out Bubble Twist over at the Marketplace.

Bubble Twist puts a twist on your traditional lined, bubble bursting games. The object remains the same; grouping three or more of the same colored bubbles. But the playing field rotates.

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when Bubble Twist was downloaded. To see if I was pleasantly surprised, follow the break.

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3 years ago

WP7 Explore - Review

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3 years ago

ToMetric - App Spotlight

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ToMetric - App Spotlight

Can't stand to converting U.S. measurements to Metric? ToMetric, as the name implies, is a Windows Phone app that is designed to make it easier to covert U.S. units to its metric equivalents.

The interface is simple in that you type or paste the US units and the app will return the metric results. If a measurement could be either liquid or solid (as in ounces) the app will return both conversions. Should you stump the app and enter a U.S. measurement unit not recognized, it will help you look things up on the internet.

The only thing missing is relief for the other half of the equation, converting metrics to U.S. units.

ToMetric is a free application and can be found here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

A fond farewell...

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A fond farewell...

A good friend once said of Dieter Bohn, our Editor in Chief, "He's got mad talent!". Mad talent that he's shared with Smartphone Experts over the years to help build seven smartphone communities. Mad talent that has been a joy to be around.

Today is Dieter's last day with Smartphone Experts as he has chosen to pursue new endeavors. I've work with Dieter for just over four years now and it has been a pleasure.  As others will agree, we've learned a lot from Dieter and will miss his presence.

The staff at WPCentral would like to extend our thanks to Dieter for all the work he's done to support not only Windows Phones but all the other mobile platforms that are a part of the Smartphone Experts community.  We know that where ever he should land, whatever venture he pursues, he and his mad talent will find success.

Best wishes my friend.

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3 years ago

SurfCube v3.0 now features YouTube streaming, wins an award

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It's been awhile since we covered SurfCube, the third part browser which we think we can safely say "won" the browser-wars. The browser is known for it's virtual 3D cube design, giving new life via an innovate UI to web browsing and interaction. It's unique and not just for Windows Phone 7, but for any platform.

The big addition in v3.0, besides some bug fixes and performance enhancements, is the addition of YouTube support within the browser. What this means is, if you come across a YouTube vid while surfing you should be able to play back the video without leaving the browser--certainly a nice feature. It's still limited by Mobile IE's YouTube limitations, so don't expect it to be Flash compatible, but it handles mobile sites with video quite well. We gave it a quick spin and while buffering was a little choppy (over 3g) it handled WiFi really well. The video quality was pretty darn high even over 3G and it was certainly much more convenient. (Skip to 1:34 in the video to see it in action.)

Finally, we should also mention that the browser has won a Microsoft Innovation Award in Smartphone Application category, An award we feel is much deserved.

Surfcube is available in two versions: paid, ad-free for $1.99 or free (ad supported). You can grab the paid version here (trial) and the free on here.

Source: DotNeteers

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3 years ago

Harbor Master version 1.1 update comes to port

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Harbor Master, the nautical line-drawing game, received an updated recently. We’ve braved dangerous waters to smuggle in some release notes for the update.

Harbor Master version 1.1 changelog:

  • We fixed a glitch that would cause the frame rate to be choppy on certain devices when playing the trial version of Harbor Master
  • We fixed a few incorrect translations for buttons on the pause screen (I believe French and Spanish were switched)
  • We fixed the options for the Fast Forward Speed multiplier.  It was possible to set the speed on fast forward to be the same as normal speed.  This shouldn't have been allowed.  So we fixed that.

The performance fix really makes the game run much smoother. WPCentral has also learned that Imangi plans to release a future update to address some Leaderboard issues.

In Harbor Master, players direct ships to port by drawing lines on the touch screen. After a ship has unloaded its cargo, it must also be steered safely away. Seven levels with hazards like cyclones and sea monsters, plus some fairly tough Achievements, will keep players busy for a long time. For more details, check our preview here. Look forward to a full review soon.

Harbor Master costs $2.99 and has a free trial. Pick it up here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Nokia still eyeing Q4 launch for Windows Phones but where?

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Yesterday, Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop sat down with Walt Mossberg at the D9 Conference to discuss everything from the fate of Symbian to the company's future with Windows Phone. While a good bit of the interview was a re-hash of what we already know and Elop voicing his support for Windows Phone, a few interesting tidbits did come out of the interview. Including a vague exchange on where Nokia's initial Windows Phone launch will take place

Elop commented on the key role developers are playing with the success of Windows Phones, reiterated the partnership goals with Microsoft, and again, refuted the rumors Microsoft was negotiating to buy Nokia. Elop also attributed Nokia's lack of presence in the U.S., in part, was due to the popularity of the flip phone. A form factor Nokia didn't see as important. But what might be the most interesting portion of the interview came when Elop was questioned on Nokia's Windows Phone launch.

Elop commented that Nokia is still scheduled to hit the market during the 4th Quarter, in time for the holidays. The interesting thing about this segment of the interview is that Elop wouldn't commit as to which markets will be involved.

When asked if this would be a Global launch, a U.S. launch or both, Elop replied, "A number of variables will control that."

When asked if the U.S. would be a part of the launch, Elop replied, "We are still working on what countries, in what order and variance will be involved."

When pressed further on this issue, Elop simply stated he wouldn't comment on any details before he was ready to comment on them.  While very positively animated during the interview, this was the only time Elop seemed to get a little nervous.

Could Nokia give the U.S. Market the cold shoulder and continue to focus on the global markets with their Windows Phones? Or is it a case where the details on a U.S. launch aren't ironed out enough where Elop was comfortable enough to comment on things?

After the break, catch the video highlights of the interview.

Source: AllThingsDigital

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