3 years ago
Minesweeper + Sudoku Xbox Live games coming on August 10!
Next week, two new Xbox Live games are coming to the Marketplace! That hasn’t happened in ages. Even more unusual, both games will be free. The ‘official’ Minesweeper and Sudoku apps come to Windows Phone courtesy of developer Babaroga, who we interviewed back in June, and Microsoft Game Studios.
Head past the break for our exclusive first screenshots of the two games and lots of details!
3 years ago
Microsoft calls out Google out on patent allegations
Earlier this evening we wrote in an acerbic tone how Google was complaining about being bullied by other companies over patents. Specifically, they pointed to the 6,000 Nortel patents that were up for bid and ended up going to a consortium of buyers, including Apple and Microsoft for $4.5 billion. Google was the only one left out of the consortium, they cried foul and now are excited about the Department of Justice getting involved.
In comments, we noted that Google should expect some people to hit back. After all, that post by Google's Chief Law Officer did not advocate patent reform, propose any new legislation or offer any solutions--it just complained that they were being targeted and that these software patents were "bogus" (this from the company that is entirely built on software patents).
Now Microsoft's General Counsel, Brad Smith, chimed in with an interesting comment on Twitter:
"Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no."
That sounds a bit different than how Google portrayed themselves in their blog post. One could suggest that Smith is not being entirely truthful here, but it seems odd that he would put himself out there with something that could easily be proved false in court.
So what's the deal Google? Are you serious about patent reform or are you seeking opportunism?
Update: Here's a copy of the email to Brad Smith of MSFT from Kent Walker, Google's General Counsel. In short, it supposedly shows Google denying an offer to participate in the consortium.
Source: Twitter; via Electronista; Thanks, Rene Ritchie
3 years ago
HD7 gets first custom ROM
We reported a few days ago that the Dark Forces Team completed work on their HSPL tools, effectively allowing the creation of custom ROMs for 1st generation HTC Windows Phones.
The first ROM comes from ansar.ath.gr over at XDA, who's a pretty popular contributor over there. Now, like we speculated, there's not too much at this point that can be done with custom Windows Phone ROMs and this one affirms that. Still, it has some nice features:
- ChevronWP7 unlock
- MangoB2 update to 7403 and 7712
- Stock ROM HTC_Europe_1.69.401.01_Radio_5.54.09.21_22.33b.50. 10U
Some sites are reporting that this carrier unlocks the phone as well, but we're not seeing that mentioned anywhere (they might be confusing carrier unlocked with the Chevron registry unlocker for side loading). You can grab it now over at XDA, but we'd stay on the sidelines for a bit and watch what happens--after all, it's not like this is bringing any new radical abilities to the device. But hey, it's a start.
Source: XDA; via Windows Phone Daily, PocketNow
3 years ago
Google throws a tantrum -- accuses Microsoft, others, of "hostile, organized campaign"
A few weeks ago, Google was involved in bidding for 6,000 patents being offered by Nortel, which many thought if Google should win, would beef up their defense against patent litigation. Instead, they lost to a consortium of Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Sony, EMC and Ericsson for $4.5 billion. Basically everyone won except Google. At the time this story was spun two ways:
- Nortel's patent were old, outdated and not worth the money for Google
- Google wasn't taking it seriously, with Reuters calling their behavior "mystifying" because their bids reflected famous mathematical constants (Brun's, Meissel-Mertens and Pi). Yes, Google actually bid Pi ($3.14159 billion). So in an attempt to be cute and witty, they lost.
After all the gnashing of teeth by tech analysts, who kept pounding Google on their lack of patent strategy, Google has come out with some name calling and accusations of their own:
"But Android’s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.
They’re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the “Rockstar” group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Mobile; and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it."
That's David Drummond, Senior VP and CLO of Google, who can't even get that's its called Windows Phone, not Mobile. Further, he notes the reported Justice Department's probe into whether or not that Nortel consortium was fair. Of course, such a probe is a far way off from meaning those companies are guilty of anything. In fact, nothing has been settled in regards to whether or not Android violates patents, uses lifted code, etc.
In the case of Microsoft, who's leaned on HTC and now Samsung for patent fees, both companies are willing to play ball either because they feel those patent claims are indefensible or, more likely, that's it's cheaper to license to Microsoft than defend in court. But hey, it's not like Google/YouTube don't screw with Microsoft either.
In the end, we don't have anything new here except that Google is really starting to feel the pain from other companies, hence the 'boo hoo, tech is hard!' post from Drummond. Is Microsoft's, Apple's and others behavior legal, moral and right? That's for the courts to decide, not missives from company blogs.
Edit: Recommended reading: FossPatent's "Google's new anti-patent stance has four credibility issues -- but not the one many people think"
Source: The Official Google Blog
3 years ago
USA Today's Live Tile plans for Mango revealed
We've already talked about Mango's overhauled Live Tile/push system back during MIX11. The tile's ability to "flip" showing a second side really gives developers an extra option for displaying more information, not to mention it looks pretty darn cool (see the BBC Mango New Mobile; Weather Channel Mango).
Reader Justin contacted the USA Today Mobile devs with a feature request and he received a great response:
"Flipping livetile to show current weather on back once the mango update arrives. This would be a worthwhile feature.
Thank you for all your excellent work!"
"Hello, thanks for your feedback. You’ve read our minds with regard to Live Tile for Mango – what you described is exactly what we’re planning on J. Let us know if you think of anything else or if you run into any issues with the USA TODAY app.
Tim Carlson, USA TODAY Mobile"
That does sound pretty nifty to us. The USA Today app just received an update for a Live Tile and not only is it one of the best looking Windows Phone apps out there, their weather, provided by Accuweather, is very nicely implemented. It should be very exiting to see what other devs come up with one Mango hits.
Thanks, Justin F., for the heads up!
3 years ago
WordPress for Windows Phone v1.2 now available
The official WordPress for Windows Phone app has been updated to version 1.2, which brings landscape editing/posting and some UI improvements. The panorama view has been updated to present more information on screen to tie in better with Metro UI standards. Also included in the update are the following language translations: French, German, Italian and Spanish.
Some under-the-hood changes:
- Better support for post ping backs in the comment view.
- Fixed comment submission date from being changed when moderating.
- Preview now works for drafts, scheduled and private posts/pages.
- Prompt added if the back button is accidentally tapped while creating a post.
Read up more over at the WordPress development blog.
3 years ago
MustEatBrains - Review
3 years ago
Kinect integration with Windows Phone Mango
So this is pretty neat, Kinect working with Windows Phone. We've seen previously how the Kinect and WP7 can communicate but in the above video you can see the input from the Kinect device being sent to the WP7 emulator and actually manipulating an on-screen figure reflecting the user's movements/position. This could prove to be a massive advancement for both WP7 and Xbox as a gaming console. Windows Phone would receive more attention from console owners with extra integration and the Xbox would boast a 3rd controller (sporting a screen).
What's great about this is if we take an example of a title for the Xbox 360 - Fifa. Playing using the Kinect sensor would be enough enjoyment, but there's room for the WP7 handset with player control via tilt. Shooting, passing and crossing the ball could be achieved by the direction and force of a leg swing. No need for a bulky 360 controller. The WP7 device could show information on-screen such as the radar, player information and more giving the big screen less UI clutter. It would also improve menu navigation and quick management of the team instead of waving at your TV.
More genre examples could be thrown in including driving games, where tilting your body would act as the steering, while the player's left and right thumbs act as acceleration and braking respectively on the WP7 device. In this scenario, we could save big screen space with putting the radar on the handset as well as a mirror and possibly more.
For the time being, however, it's required that a PC and the phone be on the same network with the PC running software for integration to be achieved. Should this new introduction of video game interaction take off, we could possibly see the PC removed from the equation leaving the Xbox console to handle everything.
What do you guys think? Too much or a real possibility?
3 years ago
Skype definitely bringing video calling to Windows Phone, sooner than later
Looks like Skype, now owned by Microsoft, is serious about bringing video calling over to Windows Phone. In a job advertisement put out by the company, they are looking to hire someone
"...for building and optimizing the Skype Video Engine solution for Microsoft Windows and Windows Phone platforms."
Video engine? That little bit should confirm our suspicions. Going further, it looks like they are planning on plenty of updates to keep that baby humming a long:
"You will be working with a small team of highly skilled development and testing professionals to deliver a new release of the Video Engine every 2 months."
Of course it should come as no real surprise that Microsoft and Skype would do this--we know "Mango" evidenlty allows front-facing cameras and since Microsoft now owns Skype, deep integration into the desktop, Xbox, embedded devices and of course Windows Phone should be expected. But, we're at least glad that Skype looks to have already started down this route and are looking for more help, hopefully to speed things up now that the aquisition has gone through.
Here's hoping to full video calling over Skype in late 2011 on our 4G Windows Phone, amirite?
Source: Skype Careers; Thanks, Juan A., for the tip!
3 years ago
Signup for the file:recon beta
We previously covered Pixel Valley developing a Windows Phone app that serves as an interface for Service Transfer Manager by Christof Rakowski, an addon for Windows Home Server 2011. Now they're in need of beta testers to use the app in a test environment to provide feedback, report bugs and ensure everything is 'tickety-boo'.
There are -- of course -- some requirements to be eligble for beta testing:
- You're an owner or user of a Windows Home Server 2011 or Small Business Server 2011.
- You have the Server Transfer-Manager addon installed on your WHS/SBS 2011.
- Have a Windows Phone 7 handset in your possession that has access to the internet.
- Willing (and able) to provide detailed feedback.
If you're up for it, send the team at Pixel Valley an email and set the wheels in motion.
Source: Pixel Valley
3 years ago
Xbox Live: Cro-Mag Rally is now available.
Cro-Mag Rally from hush-lipped Citizen 12 Studios has finally passed the finish line and is now available on the Marketplace.
Cro-Mag Rally enjoys the distinction of being the first Xbox Live kart racer on Microsoft’s mobile platform. Just because the game’s prehistoric doesn’t mean it’s light on content, as it’s got two playable drivers, multiple vehicles, and nine tracks to race through. These include such varied locations as The Great Wall of China and the lost city of Atlantis. Not only that, but there are lots of powerups with which to assault your fellow racers. Hey, they probably had it coming.
Cro-Mag Rally costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Stop over here (Zune link) at the Marketplace to get it.
3 years ago
Designing a better Windows Phone search button
We've heard our fair share of complaints about the capacitive buttons found on many Windows Phones, specifically that it's easy to accidentally touch one, throwing the user into a Bing search screen and usually killing whatever task was on hand. Samsung has tried to address this on the Focus with a firmware update--basically if you're actively touching the screen and you drag your finger, touching one of the capacitive buttons won't engage them.
Long Zheng of ChevronWP7 and Speedo Plus fame, has posted an ingenious method on his blog iStartedSomething that resembles "...the tap-and-hold gesture found on the desktop version of Windows" and for us, reminds us greatly of the Xbox Kinect's selection/confirmation method.
Zheng's method involves holding down the Search button, whereby a search icon overlays on the screen. While holding the button, you wait 1.5 seconds for the circle to complete its animation thereby launches Bing. If the user takes their finger off before the animation is complete, nothing happens. Zheng correctly notes that this will add a nice buffer between the user and the device, insuring less accidental hits. One could also imagine this as an option under Settings, much like Search button via Lock Screen in Mango.
We think it's a pretty brilliant idea that can be easily implemented on current devices. You folks?
3 years ago
Rise of Glory version 1.2 update no longer MIA, repairs broken Achievements
Since its release in December 2010, Revo Solutions’ Rise of Glory has been plagued by no less than three broken Xbox Live Achievements. The developer tells us that they submitted an update to correct the broken Achievements months ago, but for some reason it just wasn’t getting published…
Until now! That’s right, the Rise of Glory version 1.2 update has gone live at last. The update’s only changes are fixing the 500, 1,000, and 10,000 kill Achievements. But hey, that’s what needed fixin’, so this is great news.
We’ve also learned that Rise of Glory will receive a more significant update sometime after Mango rolls around. Sounds like the lengthy update delays haven’t caused Revo Solutions to give up on their WWI-era flight sim just yet.
Rise of Glory costs $2.99 and there is free trial. Fly over here (Zune link) on the Marketplace to pick it up. Don’t forget to read our full review too!
3 years ago
Toshiba is breaking up with Fujitsu
While not earth shattering news, it's worth mentioning that the honeymoon between Toshiba and Fujitsu appears to be over, with Toshiba packing up and going home. This as both companies are on the cusp of launching the imaginative and unique IS12T running Windows Phone "Mango". While that launch will of course go forward, what this means is that for 2012, Fujitsu is preparing to buy out Toshiba's nearly 20% stake in the joint venture, going solo afterwards.
Here in the West, this won't really mean too much as Fujitsu will still carry on and they are even reportedly doing pretty well. At least for bloggers and tech journalists, we can save a few keystrokes in the future instead of having to write Toshiba-Fujitsu every time. Yay.
Source: 47News; via Engadget
3 years ago
Tentacles too tough - fix on the way
Like many of you, we here at WPCentral were excited about Windows Phone-exclusive Xbox Live game Tentacles prior to its release. Press Play’s follow-up to Max and the Magic Marker shows all the creativity we would expect from them, with a control method that’s unlike any other game, ever.
But if you actually play the game and get farther into it, you may notice something seems a bit off… Namely, this game is hard! I mean Ninja Gaiden, put your groin into a vice grip and spin the handle hard. The latter half of the game is just tortuous rather than fun. Every little mistake results in the death of Lemmy, the tentacled hero. Levels win which currents push Lemmy into spikes are particularly frustrating. A small percentage of gamers (masochists, I call them) prefer games to be uber-challenging, but most don’t – especially on mobile phones. Why should Tentacles be this tough?
As it turns out, the developers hold no animosity toward gamers. According to Ole Teglbjærg, the game's director:
...We probably underestimated the difficulty a bit.... When we saw how few [players] actually made it through the game, we decided that it would be silly not to have more people enjoy the later levels and bosses, that we have put so much effort into creating.
Press Play has informed us that a future update will address Tentacles’ challenge in a couple of ways:
Easy mode: We have made an easy mode, which basically lets Lemmy take more damage without dying. At the same time we really back the idea that achievements should be earned and not be too easy to get. So when you play in easy mode, you will not get the “No Death” star at the end of the level. So if you want all the achievements, you still need to be hardcore.
Furthermore we polished a few problematic areas and tweaked here and there – see if you can find them!!!
It's great to see them taking steps to extend the game's appeal to a wider audience, because the game has a lot to love – when it’s not trying to break players’ spirits. Locking a couple of the Achievements out of Easy mode is not so great, but maybe those extra refinements they mention will reduce the frustration for Achievement hunters too. We’re willing to give Press Play the benefit of a doubt, so we’ll hold off on our review until the update lands.
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