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3 years ago

Nokia Windows Phones available by the end of 2011?

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There wasn't much new information coming out of Nokia's Mobile World Congress Press Event concerning the company's new partnership with Microsoft.  However, two interesting things did happen during the presentation given by Nokia's CEO Steve Elop.

Someone at the presentation yelled, "Are you a trojan horse?". Elop didn't dodge the question but answered it directly.

"I'll take that question. The obvious answer is no. We made sure that the entire management team was involved in the process, and of course the board of directors of Nokia are the only ones that can make this significant of a decision about Nokia. They made that final decision on Thursday night."

More after the break

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3 years ago

Mobile World Congress 2011 - We're here. Now what we expect...

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Well our plane(s) have landed and some of the vast SmartphoneExperts staff are here at Barcelona getting ready to cover Mobile World Congress 2011 aka the biggest mobile phone/technology conference and show on the planet.

Head editor Dieter Bohn (also, PreCentral), Phil Nickinson (ex-WinMo, Android Central) and myself will be here for the full show, covering every aspect.

For Windows Phone 7, we'll have plenty of things including Steve Ballmer's keynote speech tomorrow, events with HTC, Samsung, LG, SPB, Qualcomm and a Microsoft developer day on Wednesday, with Brandon Watson giving a "State of the union" address on WP7.

Things we can expect:

  • More on the NoDo update, specifically timing of release
  • CDMA support? Sprint & Verizon hopefully announcing their devices
  • Updates on the chassis requirements for WP7 (Chassis 2?)
  • Oh and probably some talk about that Nokia thing

We'll have plenty of video, photos, interviews, etc. on hand in the next few days, so stay tuned. Remember to follow us on Twitter at @wpcentral (or me personally @malatesta77 if you want behind-the-scenes shenanigans) and on Facebook for all the latest. Also the tag "mwc11" will bring you just Mobile World Congress content.

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3 years ago

Trine's Hangman gets a major update

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One of our favorite word games for Windows Phone 7, Trine's Hangman, has received a major update (our review). The original version wasn't too shabby to begin with and we found it to be an entertaining and addictive game for your Windows Phone. The update adds a handful of new features including:

  • A two player mode
  • You can select your own picture for the background
  • More player statistics
  • A "See who's playing now" feature
  • New animations
  • Faster resume/start-up time
  • Server side enhancements
  • Assorted other tweaks to improve performance.

For those who haven't tried Trine's Hangman, the Trial Version has also improved. The Trial Version has the full 2-player mode, the time limits have been removed, online features are available until you reach 500 points and the word count has increased from 20 to 100. According to the developer a Lite Version is in the works that will give you more playtime.

In playing Trine's Hangman after updating, you can tell the game has a little more pep in its step.  The new animations appear to be concentrated in the transition and information banners.  You also have three new wallpapers to choose from and the flaming Jack-o-Lantern is particularly creepy.

If you like word puzzles, Trine's Hangman is a must have game for your Windows Phone. The full version is running $2.99 and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Already own Trine's Hangman? Just check your Marketplace app on your Windows Phone for the update.

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3 years ago

AT&T handing out free minutes

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AT&T handing out free minutes

Need a boost in your AT&T Rollover Minutes account? Simply text "Yes" to 11113020 and AT&T will add 1,000 minutes to your Rollover Minute total.

It appears this began as a AT&T promotion where iPhone customers received an AT&T text offering the free minutes.  More than likely an iPhone owner shares the info with an Android user who shares it with a Windows Phone user. Then someone blogs about it and the next thing you know everybody is taking advantage of the offer.

So far we haven't seen any strings attached to this offer but the reply does state it'll take up to 4 weeks to process (the minutes will probably appear on the next billing cycle.   According to the iPhone text original distributed by AT&T, the offer ends on March 31, 2011.  However, with everyone taking advantage of the offer we don't know how long it will take AT&T to catch on and pull the rug out from under this offer.

Source: Engadget

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3 years ago

Homebrew Device Manager coming next week? [Homebrew]

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We mentioned the Homebrew Device Manager by Schapman some time ago and that its release was delayed for various reasons including a desire to wait until the first update for Windows Phone 7 hit the airways. It is our understanding now that the software will become available next week.

Seeing that Microsoft has pushed back the release of the Windows Phone 7 update to March, the Schapman updated his Facebook page with,

"As the WP7 update is delayed I will not wait until March to give you WP Device Manager, there will be a private beta on next week and it will be Publicly released soon after if it's alright. Former contributors and beta testers will get access to the private beta, developers HAVING Also node devices are welcome to join."

The Device Manager does sound promising and it will be interesting to see how it shakes out.

Source: Plaffo.com Thanks Anthony Ardizzone for the tip!

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3 years ago

Microtransactions and cross-platform multiplayer in Haypi Kingdom, two firsts on Windows Phone 7

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Remember when we discussed the debut of Haypi Kingdom, the first MMO for Windows Phone 7? We were surprised to see a free to play game that is supported by microtransactions make it onto Microsoft’s mobile platform. After all, doesn’t Microsoft prohibit microtransactions in Windows Phone 7 games?

Developer Haypi Inc. kindly straightened out the matter for us. As it turns out, microtransactions are indeed forbidden on the platform. That’s why games like The Sims 3 that have lots of optional purchasable content on iPhone don’t offer the same downloadable content on WP7.

So how does Haypi Kingdom manage to sell players in-game coins for real life money? PayPal! You see, coins aren’t purchased through the client itself. When a player decides to make an optional coin purchase, the game launches an external web browser. Purchases are made through PayPal’s site, not the actual game, so Haypi Kingdom isn’t breaking any rules. UPDATE: The workaround has been removed - currently there's no in-game method for purchasing coins.

Haypi Kingdom’s payment model works the same way on Google’s Android platform, where microtransactions are also prohibited. Before coming to Windows Phone 7, Haypi Kingdom had already made a name for itself on Android and iPhone.

To read more on this ground breaking game and the Press Release from Haypi, follow the break.

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3 years ago

Silencing your Windows Phone shutter [hack]

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It's a problem that has plagued photography for decades; taking pictures without the camera sound disturbing everyone around you. Most digital cameras have the ability to mute the simulated shutter sound but Windows Phone 7 owners aren't so lucky.

Regardless how you have your ringer volume set, that distracting sound is always present once you press the shutter button. For those who have a developer unlocked/jail-broken Windows Phone there's a solution out there.

The solution requires you to modify the system registry (proceed at your own discretion).

  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Audio\StreamClass\Output\10 and set "BypassDeviceGain" to 0.
  • Apply the changes, reboot your phone.

Your Windows Phone camera application will now follow the phone's audio settings. Simply mute the ringer and you mute the shutter. 

Source: XDA Via: Windowsphonehacker

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3 years ago

Could this be Nokia's first Windows Phone?

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There's still a bit of buzz lingering from Nokia and Microsoft's newly announced partnership with Windows Phone 7. The ink has barely dried on the press release and we are now seeing concept photos on what the first Nokia Windows Phone might look like.

The concept phone resembles the Samsung Focus but has the power button joining the micro-USB port and 3.5mm jack at the top of the phone. One can only assume that the camera and volume buttons rest on the left side of the phone that isn't shown.  Right now we can only guess what might be under the hood.

While the colors add a little flair to the Windows Phone line-up, does the concept phone look a little plain for Nokia? Or does it hit the right spot?

It will be interesting to see what additional details come to light at the 2011 Mobile World Congress. We've got a crew flying the ocean blue this weekend and will be pounding the pavement trying to find out all that we can Windows Phone related.

Source: Engadget  Thanks to everyone who sent this tip in!

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3 years ago

Nokia has the ability to customize WP7 but will they?

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As the dust begins to settle on the Nokia/Microsoft partnership announcement, we're learning that Nokia may have more latitude with Windows Phone 7 than other WP7 partners. Nokia is of the opinion that their agreement with Microsoft will allow them to make better use of Windows Phone 7 than other manufacturers. Stephen Elop, Nokia's CEO stated,

“We have the ability to do customizations and extensions to the software environment that are unique and therefore differentiate. It’s very important to understand this is not a standard OEM agreement. Microsoft is placing a big bet on us."

Elop was quick to follow up that while Nokia had the ability change things, he felt it would be the worst possible option.

“We have the ability to do all of that. But that could be the worst possible thing we do. We are trying to build commonality in terms of user experience. We have tremendous capacity to differentiate within the Windows Phone ecosystem because of our unique relationship with Microsoft. However, you have to be careful of how you use capabilities like that."

Additionally, Elop added,

"We will resist the temptation to customize simply for the sake of customizing."

With devices not expected until 2012, we can hope that any modifications/customizations will be well thought out and that the momentum Microsoft has built with Windows Phone 7 isn't jeopardized by Nokia giving into such temptations.

In a seperate interview with All Things Digital, Elop describes the relationship with Microsoft as one of balance with deliberate dependence in both directions. Elop felt that both Microsoft and Nokia would work to offer an overall successful ecosystem.

 

The new relationship between Nokia and Microsoft has a strong potential for success and puts a little pep into Windows Phone 7 development.  Still, one has wonder if Nokia's freedom to customize is a good thing?  Is Microsoft headed down the same path with WP7 as we saw with Windows Mobile in that you eventually have multiple variations of the same system. Variations that often frustrated developers.

Hopefully not.

Source: Pocket-Lint and All Things Digital

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3 years ago

Microsoft paying Nokia to switch? Devices not till 2012, tablets and more...

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We mentioned yesterday that Microsoft was spearheading a hardware engineering team for Windows Phone--to expedite development in new mobile hardware, almost like their own R&D department for phones. That addition gives Microsoft an interesting ability to better control the future and direction of hardware for their OEMs by basically getting their foot in the door on developing mobiles.

Flash forward a whole day and we have Nokia and Microsoft merging their smartphone strategies. As has been pointed out, this is not "Nokia is now an OEM for Windows Phone" but much deeper, more substantial. Nokia's services will run into Microsoft's, Microsoft's will mix with Nokia's and more importantly, Nokia will have a say in the direction of Windows Phone. From the joint open-letter: "Nokia will help drive and define the future of Windows Phone." Yowza.

In a New York Times article, is was pointed out that both Google and Microsoft were throwing money at Nokia to commit:

To get Nokia to switch, Google and Microsoft are offering hundreds of millions of dollars worth of engineering assistance and marketing support, according to a person who has done consulting for the company and was told of the talks.

What caught our eye was the whole engineering assistance, which sounds a lot like what the new Hardware Group of Microsoft's Mobile Communication Business (MCB) department is all about.  Reader Henripple pretty much caught this yesterday in comments, suggesting that this may be the groundwork to speed up that Nokia agreement and  get devices to market, faster.

On a related note, Ina Fried at All things D is live-blogging the event and when asked, Nokia CEO Elop said this about device availability: "We’ll be shipping in volume in 2012" so we have some time yet before we see a device, though we imagine by "holiday 2011" we'll definitely see some devics about to launch.

And on the much controversial issue of tablets:

“We are not announcing today a specific tablet strategy,” he reiterated, saying that Microsoft creates opportunities.

Elop noted that there are rumors of Windows Phone and Windows that could power tablets.

“We could do that,” he said. “We might do that.”

Also an opportunity for Nokia to step back into the game using its own software.

Certainly intriguing and we hope both companies come up with a solid strategy here.

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3 years ago

Nokia to adopt Windows Phone 7 OS -- It's official!

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The rumors have been swirling for days but this morning it was official announced by both companies that Nokia will be adopting Windows Phone 7. In a joint open letter, both companies spelled out what the partnership means--let it be clear it's as big as it is deep--this is not just Nokia using Bing but a whole agreement in a virtual merger on smartphone strategy:

The core of the decision is for Nokia to use Windows Phone as its primary smartphone OS, with MeeGo going to the back-burner (but living on). The OVI store will merge with Microsoft's Marketplace, Bing will be on all Nokia services and Nokia wil provide mapping data for Bing.

The combination of Nokia, who's the largest cell phone maker (by volume) and Microsoft should create quite the juggernaut and gives Windows Phone the gravitas it needs to be taken more seriously (by consumers, carriers and the market). Indeed, this changes everything today. Will it pay off? Who knows, but we're happier with this decision than without it.

Why not Android? According to Nokia CEO Elop:

We explored the opportunity with the Google ecosystem. We would have had difficulty differentiating within that ecosystem, and so Microsoft represented the best opportunity to build and lead and fight through with a new ecosystem.

Have they started collaborating on a device yet? From Ballmer:

We’re already working together to create the first Nokia Windows phones and you’ll hear more from us in all of those areas in the next weeks and months.

When? “We’ll be shipping in volume in 2012”, varying price points -Elop (via AllThingsD)

(Quote via via ElectricPig; part 2)

After the break, see the full official strategy between the two companies as outlined in their "open letter" and video...

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3 years ago

Seesmic v1.4 now out, supports landscape for composing, many new features

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Hooray! Seesmic seems to be on the go again, delivering another solid update to their popular Twitter app. While still lagging in some areas, they're filling in some big gaps.

Version 1.4 just hit the Marketplace and here are the changes:

  • Support of Salesforce Chatter: Add your Chatter account as a space and see your chatter feed, comment on updates, post updates, see your groups and view their feed.
  • Support of Facebook Pages and Private Messages: Harness the ability to post to the Facebook pages you're an admin of, from the composer account selector and view your inbox of private messages (in read only).
  • Translation of a tweet to English from the action menu.
  • Support for Landscape mode in the composer (more to come soon).
  • Context menus are now available for quick access to the essential features when long pressing on a tweet, a user or a direct message thread:
  • Ability to see and manage attachments in the composer before you upload them, when sending your update.
  • Ability to choose the size of the pictures you upload for faster upload times.
  • Ability to see the public conversations from a tweet when tapping on "in reply to" inside a tweet.
  • Ability to delete an entire direct message conversation.
  • Multiple bug fixes.

Not bad, Seesmic, not bad at all. Grab it here in the Marketplace.

Source: Seesmic blog

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3 years ago

USA Today will incorporate MS Tags

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USA Today will incorporate MS Tags

Starting today, USA Today will start using MS Tags in their print edition to help bring their paper and their digital content closer together.  Readers will now be able to scan the tags using MS Tag Reader and be directed to digital content including videos, picture galleries, financial and sports info, etc.  A press release stated that the paper will feature "at least one" MS Tag per issue.

We’re excited that USA TODAY is using Tag to engage with readers in a more interactive way,” said Bill McQuain, director of Tag Product Management at Microsoft Corp. “Microsoft Tag makes the world around you clickable, and now with the scan of Tag, customers will get a richer, more enhanced experience from the pages of the newspaper.

Microsoft has already released over 2 billion of the codes for a multitude of products, publications, studios and networks

Source: USA Today; via: WinRumors

 

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3 years ago

Haypi Kingdom, the first MMO for Windows Phone 7 now available

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While Xbox Live games for Windows Phone 7 continue to remain online-only affairs, that hasn’t stopped indie developers from creating games with online play. Lately we saw Broiled Earth, a competitive artillery game, and now thanks to Haypi Kingdom, Microsoft’s mobile platform has its first MMO (Massively-Multiplayer Online game).

The game's description, according to Haypi Kingdom’s official website:

Haypi Kingdom is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). You will be a general directing an ancient kingdom in a strategic game - boosting resource production, adventuring in extensive wild land, reaping legendary treasures, equipping your troops with advanced abilities and fighting against enemies - with the ultimate goal of becoming the strongest kingdom in the ancient world. Your general can get higher title and more advanced attributes as he joins more and more battles. His attributes will be shared among his troops as well.

You won't play alone. In this massive multiplayer online game you will be able to interact with thousands of players from all over the world in a competition for fame, power, wealth and glory. What's more, there are plenty of possibilities to interact with others - Not only offense and defense, but also trade, alliance, mail system, chat system, etc.

Of special note is Haypi Kingdom’s revenue model. The game is free to play, but players can purchase in-game coins through optional microtransactions.

Coins can be used to speed up upgrades, enhance resource production, buy VIP time to add upgrading slots, buy resource or treasures, call back troops, and enhance your city loyalty immediately, etc. Coins can only [be] purchased with real money at "SHOP". Each player is awarded 30 coins when they first play the game.

Basically, coins allow impatient players to speed up various processes in the game. Smurf Village on iPhone and of course Farmville use similar payment models.

We previously heard from another developer that microtransactions were prohibited on Microsoft's mobile platform, so it’s surprising to see that may not be the case. Micro payments would certainly open up the door for more popular online games to come to WP7.

Gamers who are interested in a social role-playing experience on Windows Phone 7 can get Haypi Kingdom for free here (opens a link to your Zune software) on the Marketplace. We’ll have a full review of the game soon.

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3 years ago

MWC 11 snubs Windows Phone 7: no official app

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We're prepping for our 4k mile hike to the Mobile World Congress and just received an email about the official phone app for the event. Perhaps not too surprisingly, Windows Phone 7 is left off of the compatibility list, with out guess being that MWC/Whatamap.com did not feel it was popular enough. (Boo, hiss)

Two thoughts though: with Ballmer giving a keynote, dealing with Windows Phone 7, this kind of looks a bit unimpressive. Second, Microsoft should have commissioned someone to do it for them (like they did with the upcoming MIX 11)--though perhaps MWC would have been too daunting a task.

The good news is Windows Mobile 6 is covered, which means we just dusted off our LG eXpo for the event (1GHz baby! Resistive screen, eck!). But we just had a sad thinking we need to cover this event using a Windows Mobile device. That and our Twikini is dead.

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