In case you've been living under a rock, there's been a new phenomenon taking place at the World Cup, a tradition unknown to us, which is the vuvuzela horn. Need more? See this Discovery story on it and you'l be caught up.
The other annoying fad is replicating that aforementioned 'experience' on smartphones. The iPhone has 'em, Android has 'em and yes, now Windows Mobile.
JDB software has made a freeware app (like anyone would pay for this function) and it's actually pretty top notch. It works on all WM6.x touchscreen devices, all resolutions.
The UI design is very-much Windows Phone 7, which we like. You also get choices in the size of the horn and sound-type (traditional or euphoric) as well as skinning the horn with you're country's colors, 'cause nationalism is still very en vogue these days.
Probably the most, dare we say, fun part is the ability to play it by traditional screen-tapping or by blowing in the microphone. Okay, that's kinda cool.
Grab it here and apologize to your friends/family for us in advance.
Wish we could tell you that there was something new or amazing in this extensive look at Windows Phone 7 being demoed last night in New York City, but alas it's just more eye candy. InToMobile did a good job though and at least the video is top notch.
We do get to see some pink tiles (WP7--for her) and how they can be moved around as well as the general guided tour. We wonder if WP7 has a native picture editor in it, sort of like the one in Windows Mobile, you know to crop, resize and do some basic fixes--we're betting on no.
The financial analysis website has compiled a listing of companies they see as not making it to 2012. Other companies joining T-Mobile on the list include Blockbuster, Reader's Digest, KIA Motors, and Radio Shack.
While we're not holding our breath on this prediction, the opinion is based in part because T-Mobile is the number four wireless provider and will face competitive challenges that will either force the company to merge or collapse. Profits have declined over the past year which will make it difficult for T-Mobile to develop. The analysis points out that "it (T-Mobile) has to begin to offer 4G service to compete with Sprint’s new WiMax service and LTE-based products from AT&T and Verizon." and T-Mobile is likely not to get either complete before the competition offers such service.
It is yet to be determined how many new customers took advantage of their recent "Mother of all Father's Day" sale where every phone was free (two year commitment required) and the company is rumored to get the new iPhone 4. On the Windows Phone front, T-Mobile has seen some success in offering the HTC HD2 and we still don't know what impact Windows Phone 7 will have on the market. So all may not be as bad as 24/7 Wall St. makes it out to be.
So, what do you think? Is T-Mobile's goose cooked?
For those who don't know, the Zune Marketplace went offline today and users were only given a few hours notice. As of this writing, they're still offline (6pm) and it could take all night before they're done.
But done doing what? That's the cryptic part here as there was no pre-announcement, but as ZDNet did some digging, they found out that Microsoft is arranging a marriage between Bing and Zune.
In fact, you can kind of see it working now. Go to Bing.com, search for your favorite band and you'll get a bunch of info on them plus songs which can be played (see the little 'play' button?). Of course it doesn't stream right now and instead you get the image to the right, but we think by late tonight it'll be a different story.
Nice to see Microsoft taking Zune to the next level and putting these two services together, it just makes sense. To what extent though these features overlap remains to be seen. It would be nice to have a Bing search launch my Zune software and add it directly to my Zune HD or, come November, my Xbox and Windows Phone 7.
Google Voice has been out for about a year now and up until today, you had to request an invitation to use this service. Today, Google has announced that Google Voice is open to the public.
It’s still only available to residents of the United States but offers you free call, SMS messages, voice mail transcripts, and having one number for all your phones. To get your Google Voice number simply log into voice.google.com with your Google account and follow the set-up wizard.
There is a slight charge for International Calls (here's the rate schedule) and while there's still not a Windows Phone mobile app for Google Voice (hopefully that will change), you can still access things through your mobile browser at google.com/voice/m .
There's been some criticism over AT&T Microcell polices that has overshadowed what the Microcell brings to the table. Some do not agree that AT&T should charge minutes and data used through the Microcell against your package minutes or data. There are also concerns that the hardware is priced too high.
While these concerns have merit, if you are in a location that has poor reception, the Microcell is a welcomed sight. The Microcell rolled out to my area recently and having poor signal coverage at the house, I jumped at the opportunity to get five bars of coverage.
Follow the break for more details on the installation of the Microcell and how it performs.
UPDATE: There is some relief for those concerned about the price. AT&T is currently offering a $100 mail-in rebate on the Microcell. The one catch (and you knew there would be a catch) is that you have to sign up for the unlimited voice package ($20 a month) to be eligible for the rebate.
Spotify is quite popular in Europe already and for those who are unfamiliar, its a bit similar to the GrooveShark service: users are allowed to stream music to their device, but instead of Spotify hosting the music files themselves, it relies on a peer-to-peer model. So perhaps it's more like Limewire but without the permanent status.
Reportedly it looks great on a 480x800 device and has the following features:
Save offline audio files to phone, or storage card
Multi resolution support
Multitasking support – Yes you can run Spotify in the background and play Bubble breaker at the same time
Sounds good to us. We'll keep you posted on the release and have a review to boot. Oh and one downside? So far Spotify has yet to launch here in the States, so the availability of this program and service...well it may be limited unless you use some proxy-trickery.
You can never have too much power. As Windows Phones become more versatile, the need for power becomes more critical and sometimes the stock battery isn't enough.
We use our Windows Phones to surf the internet, text, email, watch videos, listen to music, play games on, and in between those activities we make a few calls. While power management has improved greatly with Windows Mobile sometimes the standard battery isn't enough.
For those needing a little more staying power with their Tilt2, the HTC Extended Battery and Cover may be just what you're looking for. You know the drill, to read more on HTC's extended battery and cover, follow the break.
There seems to be a lot of work going on over at Windows Live. We've seen ActiveSync support show up and now LiveSide.net is reporting that the Calendar is now accessible from any web-enabled mobile phone. Supported phones and browsers include: iPhone/iPod Touch with Safari 3.0+, Opera on Windows Mobile 6.1.4+, S 60/5th Gen+, Blackberry 5+, Opera, Palm, Android.
Just type in calendar.live.com into your mobile browser and you will be prompted to enter in your Windows Live ID/password. From there you will either go directly to your calendar or you will receive an interesting message that reads, "Windows Live is designed for you, but maybe not for your browser". The message continues to say "the website works best when viewed using Internet Explorer 6 or later, Safari 4.0 or later, Firefox 3.0 or later, or Google Chrome 4.0 or later". All of which is a little confusing seeing that these are desktop browsers.
You do have the option to disregard this message and continue with the cautionary statement that, "some webpages may not work correctly." In using Opera 9.7 on an AT&T Tilt2, Windows Live Calendar "mobile" crashed the browser about every other time. In using Internet Explorer, while I still received the warning message but continuing worked better.
When Windows Live Calendar "mobile" worked, it worked just as it would by accessing it through a desktop computer. I could not replicate the nicer, cleaner graphics and interface of the "mobile" version on the Tilt2. Oddly though, I was able to access the mobile version using an iPhone.
In a jam, being able to access your Windows Live Calendar via your mobile browser will but the inconsistency of appearances and performance is really disappointing. One would think a Windows Phone would reflect the "improvements" to the Windows Live calendar before another device would.
I just can't help but think Microsoft could come up with a more effective, efficient and easier way of making Windows Live truly mobile.
Microsoft is continuing their desperately needed PR push by presenting this new 'features' video on YouTube. While nothing really new is demonstrated per se, it is nice to see it in all of its glorious action and real life scenarios--gives you a real feel for how it will all work.
Despite some of those initial 1.0 limitations, you have to give Microsfot credit for that UI--it looks nothing like Android or the iPhone. Not an easy accomplishment if you think about how you would design a mobile OS.
Check out the video after the jump, it's worth the 3 1/2 minutes.
AT&T's Microcell is slowly rolling out nationwide adding more cities here and there. The microcell itself will run you about $150 and we know that customers can use package minutes with the microcell. AT&T subscribers can also purchase unlimited minutes through the microcell for an additional $20 a month.
We are now finding out that with the recent changes to AT&T's data packages, any data used through the microcell will go against a customer's monthly data package. Back in the good old days when everyone had unlimited data, this never developed into an concern. Now that AT&T has put limits on data packages, it may become one for some.
According to an AT&T spokesperson who spoke with us:
A 3G Microcell functions as a miniature cell tower, and data transmitted using the Microcell uses the core wireless network just like a call placed while driving down the highway uses the core wireless network. The only difference is how that data or call gets there – via a broadband connection versus via a cell tower. As a result data and voice consumed through that access point are billed according to the users’ plan.
While the microcell will double as a data and voice solution it was primarily intended to be a voice solution for those areas with weak coverage. The optimal data solution likely remains to be wi-fi and nowadays is just about standard on all Windows Phones. Using wi-fi for data downloads won't go against your data package. Granted, not everyone has a wireless network in their home and while the microcell can be a dual solution, just remember it's use will go against both your package allotments.
Then again lets be honest, we are now doing some of the work for AT&T by using our own data-for-data, unloading the stress on their towers--seems odd and sneaky to be penalized. On the other hand, AT&T has a leg up on competition as Sprint doesn't even offer 3G coverage via their AirRave. Thoughts?
For those of you who remember when Windows Phone 7 debuted, you may recall that the Xbox gaming hub was not 'live' at the time--the personal avatar didn't do the little jig as it was just a place-holder, as well as not updating all the gaming achievements that you may have won.
My Windows Phone 7 device has really become my phone. I keep it updated with the latest builds and use it as I would any phone I’ve ever owned. I play games(from App Week), check my email, listen to music, and surf the web. This week started out like most others, I flashed my phone, entered my Windows Live ID, and went into the Games Hub…
Whoa! That’s me! By me of course I mean my Gamertag, Avatar, and latest Achievement in the Games Hub! I couldn’t believe it, we’ve had the Games Hub working for a while, but up until now it’s been on internal networks inside Microsoft. This week was the first time I really got to see my “true” gamer identity on the phone.
... It’s an incredible experience to see something that many of us have been working on really come together and shine
We can't be the only ones who are excited about this Xbox integration and we're pretty psyched to see this all in person at some point. Combined with the re-launch of XBox & Zune in the fall, Microsoft has a great opportunity for synergy here, lets hope they deliver.