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3 years ago

Hands on with 'Mush' for Xbox LIVE on Windows Phone - E3 2012

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Hey look at that! Mush is finally here, at least here in Los Angeles at E3. We've talked about Mush before as the game looks to fill the gap for "super cute, slow paced, causal game" on Windows Phone, one that appeals to mom, your kid and heck, even ourselves.  From our earlier description of the game:

"A puzzle platformer that gives you control over how your character feels. Change their emotions by drawing smiles and sad faces, and by rotating or shaking the Windows Phone. Mush will be a Windows Phone exclusive."

Mush was announced last August as one of 14 new Xbox LIVE titles coming to Windows Phone. While we don't have a release date, seeing as we have a solid working demo being displayed, our bet is "within weeks". 

We really like this game from what we've seen. It has well done graphics and unique character controls which should appeal to a lot of people. Seeing as it's a Windows Phone exclusive, we're excited for this release.

Check the demo video of the game after the break for another look...

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3 years ago

First look: Battleship for Xbox LIVE on Windows Phone (Video)

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We showed you some of the early screenshots from the EA/Hasbro game Battleship and now the game is set for releases in the next day for all. 

Here at E3 which just started within the last hour, we managed to track down a working version already loaded on a phone. Our impression? We like it. It's actually quite fun and we can see how this game will be quite addictive to play--it's simple, has neat little cut screens and the game is familiar to all.

But you're wondering about multiplayer, right? From what we saw, it has two modes: pass-n-play and Xbox LIVE. Unfortunately with the latter we were unable to try it due to the phone having no connectivity (and not being signed in). But it at least looks like you can challenge and play your Xbox LIVE friends giving a real turn-by-turn gaming experience. 

Look for Battleship for Xbox LIVE to hit the Windows Phone Marketplace in the next 24 hours. We think you're going to like it.

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3 years ago

OverDrive Media Console gets updated

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OverDrive Media Console is an eBook reader for your Windows Phone which has been recently updated. It's a cross platform app that is also available on the iOS and Android platforms that taps into over 18,000 public libraries worldwide.

Digital titles from the library are borrowed and have expiration dates. Very similar to the due dates on printed books that you check out from your local library. If a title is already checked out, you can be placed on a waiting list and alerted once the title becomes available.

The version 2.42 update adds background downloads, new zoom options for images within the eBooks, improvements to the Wikipedia and dictionary look-ups, continuous playbook for audio books and the customary under-the-hood tweaks to improver performance.

OverDrive Media Console is a free app for your Windows Phone and you can grab it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Via: Appnewser; Thanks, Gopalan, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Microsoft Store coming soon to Florida Mall in Orlando

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We just got word from a reader that a Microsoft Store is officially "coming soon" to the Florida Mall in Orlando, FL. This news makes the unofficial list of opening Microsoft Stores, which we previously published, look more likely to become reality. We expect the store that's currently behind the colourful set of tiles to open some time later this year to join the one that's also going up in Boston.

According to the Mall map, and if we're reading it correctly in relation to the image that was sent in to us, the Microsoft Store is set to open slap bang next to an existing Apple Store.

Thanks, Michael, for sending in the photo!

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3 years ago

The Xbox Live Arcade games of Microsoft's E3 2012 Press Conference

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3 years ago

Windows Phone featured in Ubisoft's Watch Dogs E3 Introduction Trailer

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Well, well, well. Would you look at that? An extremely attractive upcoming title from Ubisoft was unveiled yesterday with a handful of trailers being released on the web. The above introduction trailer gives us a tease at the foundations of Watch Dogs without revealing much at all (be sure to look at the gameplay video for more details).

But this is Windows Phone Central, so we have to tie in Windows Phone somewhere regarding this console and PC title, right? Correct, check out the above trailer and be sure to pay close attention at 2:14 onwards. You'll witness the camera pan out revealing what appears to be a Windows Phone. Take a look at our still image below for a clearer view of the time in the system tray and "more apps" arrow.

While not major news, and the smartphone used in the game video demonstration sports a grid layout of app icons, it's a little something to wrap up an eventful Microsoft appearance at E3.

Thanks to Mark, Xavier and Ronny for the tips!

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3 years ago

Xbox Entertainment E3 demonstration [Video]

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If the information and videos in our E3 2012 Summary weren't enough to quench your thirst for content surrounding Xbox Entertainment, fear not as we've got the above video for you giving a run through of what will be possible with Xbox, Windows and Windows Phone.

Our own Mateo wrote up a great editorial on how Microsoft is bringing all the platforms together with "3 screens, 1 voice", which is well worth checking out if you're interested in making the most of your Microsoft ecosystem.

We'll certainly be looking forward to the fall when all these great announcements come together. Xbox Music, Video, TV, Sports, Internet Explorer, SmartGlass, and more. The best part is Windows Phone will be right there in the mist of the integration.

Source: YouTube

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3 years ago

Microsoft releases on{X} for Android and makes us a bit jealous

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One thing about Microsoft that we actually like but some of you bemoan: they cater to everyone and every platform, sometimes even Android. Today Microsoft is unveiling  on{X} (pronounced on-ex) for Android devices and presumably no one else just yet.

The app is essence runs prefab scripts on the phone, using things like the gyroscope/accelerometer, GPS location or just plain old time-alarms. In other words, you can have the phone remind you to call someone when you're leaving the office (alarm + GPS) or start your music when you when running,  which we suppose can add a dramatic tune if you're beeing chased by some bad guys.

Windows Phone actually has a something similar already which is called TouchDevelop. It's not nearly as powerful but it is certainly fun to play with.

The on{X} system is both an app and web-based client which you use to configure ready-made templates which are then synced to the phone. It seems easy enough to use and once again it goes to show you how powerful smart devices can actually be when all of those sensors are utilized. 

Okay, so why Android first? It's actually a funny and well known reason: Android has a "less strict security model" (translation: you can hack it and violate user privacy very easily), in turn Microsoft sees Android as a decent, mass test bed for experimental apps since they can cut corners on security.

But fear not as the Microsoft team, which is based in Israel, works on Bing, geo-fencing and UX technologies and you can bet that once this "system" is honed and worked out, Windows Phone users will get a new, polished and locked down version. For now, Android users get all the fun and risks.

For Windows Phone users, give Microsoft's TouchDevelop a spin here in the Marketplace.

Source: Microsoft +  on{X}; via TechCrunch; Thanks, Ronald-Jan, for the tip

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3 years ago

Orange CH confirmation means a 32GB Lumia 900 exists? Probably not.

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This is a massive spell of Déjà vu, folks. With what happened last time, we'll recommend taking this story with a whole mine of salt.

It seems Orange in Switzerland is potentially going through the same issue as O2 Germany last month by confirming that a Lumia 900 32GB version is actually on the way.

O2 Germany previously stated on Twitter that they would be stocking the 32GB version and it was also listed on the website. They then subsequently smashed all hope and dreams by following-up with a "Sorry guys, typo error" announcement. With that in mind, let's not get too excited about what's happening over at Orange, for now anyway.

A reader of the French community MonWindowsPhone got in touch with Orange Switzerland to query if they know of said Lumia 900 version, the response was a confirmation. Now, we're not ones to continuously approach every rumour with skepticism, but this is all down on a reader contacting a carrier representative.

Plus, we've got a response from Nokia UK stating they have no knowledge of a Lumia 900 sporting 32GBs of storage. We'll continue to sit on the fence for now, but that's not to say we can't see Nokia launching a 32GB version in the future, especially with Windows Phone "Apollo" on the way.

via: MonWindowsPhone; thanks, Max, for the heads up!

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3 years ago

E3 2012 - The dazzling cars of Forza Horizon

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One of the Xbox 360 games revealed during Microsoft’s press conference yesterday is Forza Horizon, the latest entry in the popular Forza Motorsport racing game series. After releasing four simulation-oriented installments from Turn 10 Studios, Playground Games is in charge of this more accessible spin-off. We don’t know much about the gameplay other than it will be open-road based instead of focusing on closed tracks like previous games. The change in direction could be just what the Forza series needs – until the fifth numbered game comes along for the next Xbox console (as some of us predict).

To celebrate Forza Horizon’s announcement, Microsoft is showing off two very beautiful sports cars here at E3. Head past the break for more lovely photographs.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Marketplace hits 100,000 apps!

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According to data published by AllAboutWindowsPhone, using their in-house Marketplace tracking system, the Windows Phone Marketplace now boasts a healthy catalogue of apps / games. 100,000 to be almost precise. It has taken just 20 months to accumulate the total, which is four months quicker than Android, but slightly behind iOS at 16 months. Data shows that approximately 300 apps are being added to the Marketplace on a daily basis.

The chart below takes us through the submission numbers per-month since Windows Phone officially launched back in October 2010. What's clear to see is the substantial increase in 2012 compared to numbers from 2011. Of course, out of the 100,000 available apps, there are a number (estimated at around 10,000) that aren't available to consumers, due to Microsoft and / or the developer pulling content. But it's not always about quantity, right?

AAWP have noted in their report that UK and US data show a stable 12% of apps being of some quality - taking into account apps and games that are frequently downloaded and rated numerous (more than five) times. It's relatively difficult to judge how many available apps are useful to consumers and are not spam, but the report does suggest that Windows Phone is no different to competitor platforms. In the end, there'll always be crap in the Marketplace. 

The above (and last) chart shows us the category breakdown of the Marketplace. Surprisingly, it's not games that takes up the largest chunk. Entertainment is up top at 19%, Tools + Productivity is next with 15%, and Books + Reference is third at 13%. All-in-all, taking into account the growth figures above, Windows Phone is on the steady increase. With Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and the announced updates to Xbox Live this coming fall, not to mention Xbox SmartGlass, we could see the momentum build for the platform. Here's hoping anyway.

We'll not repeat all details that are contained in AAWP's report, so be sure to head on over there for more juicy graphs and info.

Source: AllAboutWindowsPhone

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3 years ago

Zune and Xbox websites announce arrival of Xbox Music

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Coming off a big presentation yesterday at E3 2012, Microsoft has updated both the Zune and XBox websites to introduce Xbox Music. Xbox Music will replace Zune as the Microsoft-branded music service. The Zune page comes in the form of a simple FAQ and offers very little information other than the fact that XBox Music will bring new ways to and share across Xbox, Windows and Windows Phone. The FAQ also ensures current Zune Pass subscribers that they will continue to have access to their subscriptions through the new service.

Over on Xbox's site, you will find a snazzy video that offers a quick glimpse of what's to come, a ubiquitous music service that works across platforms. In the video, a woman listening on a tablet, only to plunk down on the couch and bring her playlist up on her Xbox, clearly depicting the newly-touted Xbox Smartglass, announced yesterday at E3. There are also shots of social media features, like seeing what  friends are listening to, and discovering new music through Smart DJ.

All in all, if you have been using Zune, there isn't too much that is new here, with the exception of Xbox Smartglass, but it's a fun little pep rally of sorts.

Source: Microsoft

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3 years ago

Wordament update on the way, bringing improved connectivity and other features

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While the developers of the popular Windows Phone word game Wordament have been busy adding new language support and building a Windows 8 Xbox Live-enabled version, the team have managed to get an update packaged for Windows Phone that should be hitting the Marketplace very soon. So what's new in Wordament version 1.1?

By popular request from players, the system tray (the status bar at the top of your Windows Phone screen) will now be displayed after it was previously removed when the game was Live enabled. In the official blog post detailing these improvements, there's a humorous explanation that the developers received numerous reports from users who missed classes, trains, etc. because they couldn't see the time while hooked on the addictive gameplay. The time, battery and signal indicators, and more will now be accessible.

As well as the system tray reintroduction, the team will also be adding an option in-game to change the orange brand-driven background to a more neutral colour for those who detest the mashup of red and yellow. The choice will be colourful rainbows or monochrome madness, both looking pretty sweet in the Metro UI influenced title.

If you so happen to encounter connectivity issues, instead of relying on the not-so-easy-to-find FAQ detailing what could be causing problems, the developers have added better error reporting within Wordament. A good example of this in action is the pesky "Can’t connect to Wordament.net" error which would normally throw the player out to the main menu. The app will now attempt to use the newly applied network retry logic to be more resilient to temporary network outages.

Coupled with more user-friendly reporting, the app will now perform less calls on startup with reduced data on transit between the app and backend servers. This will aid those in areas with weak signal coverage or on tight data plans, which is surely going to please many. The last improvement added in version 1.1 is targeting those with larger screens (eg. Lumia 900). The developers used code that tunes Wordament to work well on smaller devices but later found out this actually had negative implications for those with beefy Windows Phones. This has now been corrected in the update.

As always, the developers are eager for feedback to be sent their way for improvements to be continuously applied. Read more about the upcoming changes over on the Wordament blog. You can download Wordament from the Marketplace. 

Thanks, Brandon, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Photosynth

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Simply put, Photosynth for Windows Phone is a game changer. Photosynth is a panorama app that mocks at large group shots, laughs when there isn't enough room to back up, and smiles when a picturesque landscape is in front of the camera. The camera app opens up a new world of photography for your Windows Phone and does so rather nicely.

Unlike other panorama apps for your Windows Phone that sticks to either a vertical or horizontal plane, Photosynth can do both and handle 360 degrees of capture. No longer are you concerned if you can't back up enough to capture tall buildings in a landscape shot. No longer are you worried that you won't have enough room for a group shot.  

Throw in an online interface, the ability to share images through Facebook and Twitter, share your images through BING, embed images and upload/store/share images at Photosynth.net this little photography app is very impressive.

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3 years ago

Nokia Maps updated to version 2.0

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Nokia has released an update for the Maps app found on Lumia Windows Phones. The app, which was previously updated to version 1.3 back in March, is now much more socially integrated with the backend of Nokia Maps, using Nokia accounts. Users can add photos, reviews and descriptions of locations, which will subsequently be available to other users on devices or at maps.nokia.com

Everyone has a favourite place in mind so Nokia has added synchronisation for user favourites across the service. Any locations listed as a favourite on Windows Phone will be present on the web, as well as the mobile version available on competitor handsets. Locations, categories and destinations can also be pinned to the home screen on a Lumia Windows Phone for more convenient access.

You can download Nokia Maps from the Nokia Collection on a Lumia Windows Phone or if you're reading this article from your Lumia Windows Phone, just tap on this link to go to the Marketplace listing.

Source: Nokia; Thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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