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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: May 23-29, 2011

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Well, this week was eventful to say the least. The Mango VIP Preview turned out to contain all the right answers for many consumers and developers, while some felt slightly disapointed with Steve Ballmer stating that there'll be 500 features included into Mango yet only a handful have been in the media. 

Let us kick-start this weeks round-up with our developer interview. This week we had the peasure in having Waheed Bhatti (Software Architect at Irtiqa) answer some questions about his view on Windows Phone and what projects both himself and Irtiqa are working on. Also, remember how last week we got excited about our app being released? Well, as you're more than aware of, the submission was rejected. Both myself and Jay went about fixing the issues and the official wpcentral app is now available (Zune link)! It has been receiving great feedback and positive reviews, so we thank you.

Back to Steve Ballmer announcing the 500 new features, you can check out our Mango VIP Preview event wrap up for the juicy gossip, videos and more.

Our George Ponder gave a quick run through of the top apps on the Marketplace just as the stat counter reached 20,000 on number of available apps and games. To further improve the experience of consumers and provide developers with more reach for their apps, a web version of the Marketplace was detailed to be in the works allowing purchases to be made through the browser on any OS.

Gaming was in the spotlight at the VIP event on Tuesday with the announcement that the Xbox hub will receive some aesthetic work. The tedious Xbox Live Extras will be replaced by including all Live enabled features within the hub itself, so you'll be able to see your avatar and communicate with your friends in no time at all. Hydro Thunder GO made an appearance kicking off the six weeks of must-have games and the RPG category of games for WP7 has finally seen a title; Dungeon Stalker.

Moving onto a somewhat serious note, Lincolnshire Police are using Windows Phone in a new fingerprint technology trial, while Rudy Huyn spent a few hours having fun with the new improved live tiles in Mango by turning them into his own Tetris playground. Shazam is back on the Marketplace and is still priced at a laughable $5.99 for the paid Encore version.

ZTE, a Chinese handset manufacturer, is planning to bring their first WP7 device (running Mango) to the table in Q3 this year. The Verizon Trophy is available everywhere, while being sold out in places. Newegg currently have it priced at $99. Speaking of new devices, we got our hands on AT&T's HTC HD7S.

A few entertaining stories to round off your weekend includes the demo of Mango improving heavily on speech recognition and control (voice-to-text etc) and the showing off of a new "I Love Windows Phone" design. The orange colour based theme in Mango will be renamed as the fruit in the next update and emotions will actually be displayed as emotions instead of text. Who would have thought the wall of tiles exists?

For developers we have some goodies. Mango development tools have been released and developers are expected to receive Mango prior to release. Should you just need that slight kick in the right direction with regards to your motivation, Elbert Perez shows that hard work pays off with WP7 by reporting his earnings of almost $30,000. If you need a slight helping hand then we have found a cheating sheet for you should you not be on top of things design wise. If you're after more information about advertising within your app, did you know you can use multiple AdUnits with pubCenter?

Oh, don't forget to check out our TVShow app giveaway contest!

Carry on through the break for the highlights.

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3 years ago

WPCentral app v1.2 - Video Preview

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WPCentral app v1.2 - Video Preview

Although the official WPCentral app has only been out for about 36 hours, we're hard at work bringing you v1.2 soon which will add a few new features and settings that many of you have requested. (Submitting comments and forum integration is coming, but those will be coming in later releases, as they're big projects)

Our developer Jay Bennett has already a working beta v1.2 and he made a video to show off what he has done so far. We gotta say, the "all black" option looks pretty slick too.

For those of you who added suggestions for the settings screen coming in v1.2, here’s a sneak peak at those options in action:

As I mention in the video, I’m looking into adding an option to increase the font size for the article viewing for this release as well.

As always, submit comments on Jay's blog, via the app or in comments below. And thanks everyone for the reviews in the Marketplace, it's much appreciated!

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3 years ago

Verizon HTC Trophy theme & gamer picture pack back on Xbox

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If you remember, back when the Trophy was still in "where the heck is it, already!" mode, it briefly appeared on Marketplace.Xbox.com as a two-part promotional offer: theme and gamer picture pack. Then, just as soon as we reported it, it was pulled and another Trophy launch was put on hold.

Well, if themes and gamer picture packs are your thing, then you'll be glad to know...ittt's baaaack:

Verizon Trophy Theme and Verizon Trophy Gamer Picture Pack

Thank, Jake D., for the heads up

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3 years ago

Another video tour of Mango: Bing Audio, Xbox Multiplayer confirmed? [Updated 2]

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Another day, another video of Mango in action!

This one shows all sorts of things including how Bing Audio works, YouTube video support (looks to work better within IE9), multi-tasking, messaging/history and some Xbox LIVE info (we like the part where the avatar punches and cracks the screen).

September/October can't come soon enough, that's for sure.

Update: Just got a nice tip from Antonio on this one.  Check out the video around the 4:38 mark.  In the XBox Live hub you see the option to "Pick a multi-player game and invite someone to play".  Could this be the multi-player (phone vs. phone) feature?  Any other new features hidden within the video?

Update 2: Oh look at that, we've always had that "notifications" page in our Xbox folder, but this does say "multiplayer" for the first time.

Source: Nokia with Windows Phone (blog); Thanks, Morten N., for the tip!

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3 years ago

Dungeon Stalker brings dungeon crawling to Windows Phone

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Windows Phone isn’t exactly crawling with RPGs. They take a lot of time to make and the platform is still young. Enter Pansoft’s Dungeon Stalker, filling the niche of old-school dungeon crawler. Rather than focusing on a story, this game’s all about exploring a multi-leveled dungeon. A compass and an automap greatly assist with navigation. Players will find equipment, learn spells, and battle plenty of enemies along the way.

Dungeon Stalker features a unique magic system in which players select sequences of three runes in order to cast spells. You have to memorize the sequences though, which seems like way more trouble than it’s worth. Luckily melee combat is always an option.

Having played Dungeon Stalker for a short while, I think the game has lots of promise. It’s a little rough looking and crashes kind of frequently, but hopefully the developer will continue to refine it. We need all the RPGs we can get!

Dungeon Stalker costs only 99 cents and there is a free trial. Adventurers will find it here (Zune link) in the Marketplace.

Follow the jump for a trailer and Pansoft’s full press release.

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3 years ago

Using multiple AdUnits per WP7 app

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Using multiple AdUnits per WP7 app

How many AdUnits can I use in my Windows Phone 7 applications? I've seen this question pop up a few times across the Interwebs, and a post on the pubCenter blog has just clarified a few FAQs about using multiple adverts across your applications.

It's really simply to understand too, you can have multiple adverts in multiple positions within your app all using the same ApplicationId, since it's only required on Microsoft's side to calculate how much revenue is due for payment on your account. You don't even have to use multiple AdUnits either, you can simply use the same AdUnit, but duplicate it for the different ad locations you wish it to appear at.

Pretty awesome for developers who wish to continue down the path of offering their app for free (or have a free version). Thinking of using adverts in your WP7 app(s)? Check out our recent coverage of Elbert Perez publishing his earnings (set at $30,000) from games on the Marketplace. If done correctly you can earn a nice sum from your hard development work.

Of course, you have multiple advertising options to choose from, so shop around beforehand.

Source: pubCenter Blog

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3 years ago

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX - Review

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A long time ago, Pac-Man was king of the arcades. If you were a gamer, you were either playing Pac-Man or wishing you were playing it, and you never failed to ask asked your mom to make Pac-Man pancakes in the morning. Over the years, the yellow guy’s popularity has waned despite the occasional (and generally mediocre) sequel.

Fortune turned back in Pac-Man’s favor with 2007’s downloadable console title, Pac-Man Championship Edition. Critics and gamers alike praised CE’s return to classic-style game play and looks. Three years later, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX improved on CE’s foundations, creating the perfect Pac-Man game for the modern era. Now DX comes to Windows Phone with a few less features than the console version but just as much retro modern charm.

Turn a corner, watch out for ghosts, and head past the break for our full review.

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3 years ago

LG Quantum leads the pack in radiation safety

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The LG Quantum has achieved a rather unique distinction. The Windows Phone tops the list of safest cell phones with respect to radiation emissions.

Agree or not, studies have identified some health issues related to prolonged use (i.e. ten years or so) of cell phones. Heck, the FCC even requires SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) for wireless phones and devices to be under 1.6 watts per kilogram. 

The good news for Quantum owners is that the LG Windows Phone comes in at .35 w/kg.  In comparison, the Samsung Focus is rated at .97 w/kg, the HTC HD7 was rated at 1.15 w/kg and the HTC Surround came in at 1.03 w/kg. The Motorola Bravo (Android) topped the list of reporting phones at 1.59 w/kg.

Considering a portable x-ray machine cranks out about 175 watts per kilogram it may take some time for health issues to develop (if at all).  By no means are we suggesting you stop using your Windows Phone but a) it's nice to see a Windows Phone be rated amongst the safest and b) it never hurts to be informed.

Source: Environmental Working Group Thanks goes out to Mark for the tip!

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3 years ago

Developer Interview: Waheed Bhatti

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Developer Interview: Waheed Bhatti

Next up on our developer interview schedule is Waheed Bhatti, Software Architect at Irtiqa. They are the team behind the London Travel (previously London Tube) app on the Windows Phone Marketplace, which is a must have for all who go about their business on the TFL (Transport for London) network.

Ride on past the break for the interview.

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3 years ago

Verizon Trophy's micro-SD card revealed

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Curious about the Verizon Trophy's expansion card? Look no further. Disassembling the Trophy reveals a SanDisk Class 4, 16gb micro-SD card nestled beneath the phone's casing and foil protective wrapper.

This likely falls under the "nice thing to know" category and for those daring enough to disassemble their Trophy, you should be able to swap out the 16gb card for a larger capacity card of the same class. Just be cautioned that breaking down your Verizon Trophy is sure to void your warranty.

Source: wmpoweruser

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3 years ago

Windows Phone designer cheat sheet [Developers]

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Should you be new to Windows Phone Metro UI development, coming from either Android or iOS for example, then this well worth checking out. Teppo Kotirinta, Principal Designer at Nordkapp, has just published an article on their blog announcing their designer cheat sheet.

This image which can be printed off or downloaded and opened on a 50" TV and will guide you through each illustration detailing what each screen contains and how the structure and design should be developed for effective deployment. Included are dimensions for live tiles, hex codes for all the WP7 themes and more. It really is a 101 for designing perfect Metro apps without the 1,000 pages worth of reading required.

They state that the cheat sheet will be updated as of when Microsoft release more features/information, so keep an eye out for updates should you find this useful.

Source: Nordkapp

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Marketplace hits 20,000 apps

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That's correct folks, we've reached the 20,000 app marker, which is fantastic for the platform in seven months. Our 10,000 milestone marker coverage mentioned how we were expanding at a faster rate than both the iPhone and Android. It's worth to note that the 10,000 app marker was surpassed in four and a half months (since launch) - we've since halved the time taken to get another 10K. Not to mention it's only been a month since 15,000 apps were announced!

RIM currently has little over 20,000 apps available for their platform since 2009, which we will be over-taking shortly. Will this growth continue for WP7? It certainly seems that way. Check the graph below to see the increasing number of apps being submitted, the line is becoming more steep as we advance in time.

Of course, there's always a downside to high numbers; fragmentation and spam - iOS began experiencing this when they reached the 20k marker for the App Store with a ton of LITE apps. Some of which we've witnessed lately with regards to some real estate apps (one being submitted per state), which could possibly be integrated into one offering? Let's hope the certification process starts becoming strict on these sorts of submissions to keep the Marketplace clean.

None of the above would be possible without our contribution - the wpcentral app. See, even we're helping out in the counters where we can!

Source: Windows Phone Applist

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3 years ago

Now available: the official WPCentral app for Windows Phone 7

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Yes! After we announced it last week and a brief delay, the official WPCentral app is now ready for your usage. We won't get into too much detail (see our earlier video hands on), but you can grab the app in the Marketplace right here: LINK to APP

The app is either free (unlimited trial, with ads, missing some features) or $0.99 (no ads, Live Tile for breaking stories, etc.), so choose whichever you feel is worthy.

Thanks to our developer Jay Bennett (website, Twitter) for his hard work. Please sound off in comments on your thoughts, rate it in the Marketplace and hit the feedback button in the app to alert us to any issues.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone screen comparisons: Surround, Focus and HD7S

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One of the more frequent questions I've seen with regards to the new HTC HD7S is "how does the screen compare?" The HD7S sports a 4.3" sLCD WVGA screen that is supposed to be a notch better than your average 4.3" LCD WVGA screen. I'm in the process of comparing the HD7S with the HD7 to see how much of a difference the "S" makes.

In the meantime, while it may be an apples to oranges to watermelon type comparisons, we thought we would see how the HD7S compares to the Super AMOLED screen of the Samsung Focus and to the smaller WVGA LCD screen of the HTC Surround.

For the comparison, I set the theme to Blue and set the screen brightness to high. In comparing the Start Screen, a game (HydroThunder Go) and a music video the Focus seems to have more contrast, giving the screen a little more pop to it. Comparing the sLCD to the LCD, the differences are surprisingly slight. Maybe a little more contrast to the sLCD but is it enough to really make a difference?

The video may not do the comparison justice as opposed to having the phones in hand. Each are respectable in their own right and deciding which is better, may simply boil down to personal preference.

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3 years ago

OccasionalGamer's Elbert Perez brings in nearly $30K in game dev for WP7

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We're not here to judge whether this number is good or bad, but Elbert Perez, who has no less than 12 games on Windows Phone (e.g. Quadra, Impossible Shoota, Nom Nom Worm, Steam Castle, etc.), just posted how much he's brought in so far. See his site here.

Now, a few things to remember abou Perez: he's basically one guy (indie) doing all the developing, which is quite impressive and his games are all free with ad support. It was five months ago he switched from paid games at about $0.99 to making them all free with ads. So is $30k in ad money pretty good? We think it's not bad but it obviously shows that the Windows Phone platform needs to grow in order for him to continue to make and increase revenue.

In many ways for developer's, Perez's model of game development and distribution should be a source of inspiration. We recommend checking out his "Going Full Time Indie" piece on what it's like to not work for a big studio.

Source: Twitter

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