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3 years ago

Windows Phone Marketplace ratings are broken

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Here's something we've noticed over the last few days and was brought to our attention by some developers: basically no new ratings/stars are being calculated. If you have 200 ratings before a few days ago, they're essentially frozen there. If you're a new app or game introduced in the last few days, you may be getting reviews from users, but the star-rating and counter are not being updated to reflect new reviews.

Many users, including ourselves, use the star ratings (and review count) to get a first impression of an app. You see a game with 4.5 stars with 50 reviews, well, you know that's a game to download. Vice versa, if a game has 2 stars and 121 reviews, you know to avoid it. In other words, these ratings and their accurate reflection are key to an app's success in many ways.

Case in point: Jet Car Stunts, released this past Wednesday, has plenty of 4 and 5 star reviews but the overall rating for it? No stars, zero reviews.

We hope Microsoft is aware of this problem and working to get it fixed. But hey, it may not hurt to bring this story to their attention.

Thanks, Daniel J., for reminding us about this

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3 years ago

Comparing cameras: HTC Titan vs. iPhone 4S

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One of the weaker aspects of HTC Windows Phones has been the camera. We keep hearing reports that the camera has dramatically improved on the second generation Windows Phones from HTC.  We've seen comparisons with the HD7 and Titan and now we are seeing a comparison between the Titan and the new iPhone 4S.

Les Numeriques did a comparison of these two smartphones and based on the photos the Titan appears to be capable of holding its own. For the most part, the Titan produced sharper images than the iPhone but the flash seemed to be harsher.  Color saturation seemed to be a draw and overall one could make the case that the Titan is the better performer.

The test photos were taken from a distance of three meters and all settings were automatic.

Granted, these test photos were taken under ideal or studio conditions. The softness in the iPhone photos can be adjusted/eliminated with post-processing software and overall, the iPhone's camera isn't too shabby.  Still, it is nice to see HTC getting the in-phone processing software better tuned and it will be interesting to see how the camera performs in every day conditions.

Windows Phone cameras have come a long way and maybe, just maybe, the HTC Titan will give us a quality camera to go along with a quality phone.

source: Les Numeriques Thanks goes out to RedSamuri for the tip!

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3 years ago

GoodMovie - Mango App Spotlight

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GoodMovie - Mango App Spotlight

Trying to find a good movie? Look no further. The Windows Phone app GoodMovie is the app you want for such occasions. GoodMovie could easily be a must have app for your Windows Phone. If you're a movie buff, it's definitely a must have app.

GoodMovie taps into the Rotten Tomatoes film website and brings all the movie data to your Windows Phone. You can search movies by keyword or by a wide range of categories that include theatrical releases, movies just opening, upcoming titles, movies out on DVD, top rentals, and your recently reviewed titles.

When you pull up individual movie titles you will get pages that cover reviews, information about the movie (actors, synopsis, rating, etc.), images from the movie, news items, and YouTube videos (typically the movie trailers).

At the bottom of the movie title page you'll find button controls to access the search page, search Bing by the movie (pulls up theatrical locations if available), share the movie info via Windows Live, Facebook and Twitter) and pull up the movie via Rotten Tomatoes website.

GoodMovie will also let you pull up similar pages on individual actors that will include any Wikipedia listings for that actor. There is Live Tile support to display the last film you've viewed and images can be saved to use as Windows Phone wallpapers.

We are very impressed with GoodMovie and highly recommend it for anyone needing to find a good movie or for those who just enjoy catching up on movies.  The app ran smoothly and has a nice, clean appearance. GoodMovie is a free application and you can download it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone UK blog touts new Xbox Live features

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Microsoft’s official Windows Phone UK blog recently posted about Xbox Live features that gamers may have missed. I can tell you why most gamers wouldn’t have noticed these features – all but one of them aren’t active yet!

Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Avatar Awardables: Xbox Live games can now award avatar clothing and props, just like Xbox 360 titles. No Windows Phone games have done this so far.
  • Game Add-Ons: Xbox Live titles can offer paid downloadable content. Case in point: Beards & Beaks’ Cave DLC, which came out in August. Yes, this feature is already active, but only one game supports it so far. Expect more to come, including the promised expansion packs for Zombies!!!
  • Parental Controls: These will allow parents to prevent the little ones from playing M-rated games. As far as I can tell, the Parental Controls don’t actually exist just yet. I sure couldn’t find them. But the blog mentions that Splinter Cell: Conviction will be rated M and work with the function.
  • Fast Async: Turn-based online multiplayer is still on the way. Zombies!!! will definitely get this, and Hydro Thunder GO is pretty likely too.

That’s the list. Since three out of the four features haven’t gone live, I’m surprised they bothered to post it so early. Still, it’s a pleasant reminder of what’s coming to Xbox Live games on Windows Phone in the near future.

Source: My Kind of Phone

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3 years ago

The Walking Dead zombie sweepstakes

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The Walking Dead zombie sweepstakes

Windows Phones are used by the walking dead as well as the living. AMC and Bing are running a sweepstake that will see the lucky winner take part in The Walking Dead season 3. For more information on how to enter and what the rules are, head on over to the sweepstake page below. Note that this is open for U.S. residents only.

Source: The Walking Dead, via: WMPU

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3 years ago

Folders coming to Windows Phone via Homebrew?

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This should be pretty exciting once it's finalized. The chaps at Windows Phone Hacker (site) have been working on a "Folders" solution to Windows Phone, analogous to the fan concept we ran back in July.

The image you see above is purportedly the real deal and not a mockup--those tiles are "dynamically generated". The only issue we're told is that it's a little "clunky" on the setup which is to be expected with this level of homebrew activity. The good news is the device only needs to be unlocked and not the deeper, more difficult interop-unlock, which is a bit tricky to instantiate.

Windows Phone Hacker is looking to release this and was gauging the desire/want for this type of hack. Basically they don't want to invest time in cleaning it up, making it more streamlined if there's no one to use it, which is understandable. We suspect demand will be quite high for this feature, so let them know in comments and via Twitter @wphonehacker.

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3 years ago

Free Ringtones - Mango App Spotlight

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Okay. We've covered a lot of ground lately with ringtone apps for your Windows Phone. We've got one more ringtone app to spotlight for you. Free Ringtones is a free ringtone downloader for your Windows Phone that gives you access to thousands of tunes and sounds.

Free Ringtones is laid out in simple fashion with a main page highlighting Hot Ringtones, a keyword search page, a page listing all the tones you've downloaded and another page to show the download progress of your new tones. From the Hot Ringtones page you can access a dozen or so categories of ringtones that range from Blues to Holiday tunes to Sayings.

To preview a tone, just tap the headphone icon and a preview of the tone is streamed to your phone. You'll also find a Play and Pause button at the bottom of the screen to manage your preview. 

When you find something you like, just tap the download icon to download the ringtone to your collection. From the MyDownload page you'll find a list of all the ringtones you've downloaded and to save the tone to your Window's Phone sounds/ringtones list just tap the save icon. Here you can rename the ringtone and set it as your ringtone.

Free Ringtones is a nice app with a wide assortment of ringtones. The only nit I could find with Free Ringtones is that the preview and download took a little bit longer than expected. I'm not sure if it's the source causing the delay or something within the app. It's not a painful download but a little patience will help you get through it.

All in all, if you're looking for a good ringtone downloader Free Ringtones is worth a look. It is a free, ad supported application and you can download Free Ringtones here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. Please remember that this is a Mango App and you'll need to update your Windows Phone to 7.5 before you can use this app.

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3 years ago

Samsung Focus Flash/Omnia W lands at the FCC

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The GT-i8350 aka Omnia W, which suspiciously looks a lot like the Focus Flash for AT&T, has taken its spot at the FCC and looks to have cleared any remaining hurdles for release here in the States.

The Flash is expected to hit shelves sometime in November but no release date or pricing has been revealed. The "mid range" device features a 3.7" Super AMOLED screen, 1.5GHz CPU and a 5MP rear camera. Although mid-range, it looks like a nice little device to us, especially for those who don't want a large phone.

Source: FCC; Thanks, bancza, for the heads up

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3 years ago

...I'm a WP7 updated to 3.3, brings mini-game and fixes

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It wasn't long ago that ...I'm a WP7! was updated to version 3.2 that brought gamer meetups, wallpapers and ring tones, and much more. Now we have version 3.3 available for download. Highlighted features in this update:

  • Gamer Achievements and profile fixes
  • New easter eggs
  • Mini game "Match-Atar"
  • More "pinnable" live tiles
  • Numerous updates and fixes to all areas

Version 3.3 is a fix-focused update with the mini-game being the main feature added.  It's a free app and you can download ...I'm a WP7! from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Tango video calling app ported to other Windows Phones

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Don't want to wait for Skype to come to Windows Phone? Have a developer unlocked device? Then you can head over to XDA to grab the XAP file for Tango, the video calling and VOIP solution that costs nothing to use. Originally offered on the HTC Titan and Radar, it has been ported to older Windows Phones for some fun.

We loaded it up on our HTC Arrives and sure enough, it works. Sure, video calling is a bit choppy, even over WiFi and the audio is only routed through the rear speaker, but the novelty of it is certainly exciting.

The app seems to work on all HTC generation phones and LG phones, but only audio for Samsung devices (Focus, Omnia 7) and of course there's no love for Dell.

Head here to XDA for the relevant thread. Thanks, David, for the link!

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3 years ago

Dictionary.com updated to Mango with offline access

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Can't think of that word and have no Internet connection at present to use the Dictionary.com app? Annoying, right? Well not any more with the app being updated to take advantage of Mango goodness with the addition of offline usage. Over two million words are available from Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com, putting the power of language and constructive writing in your hands.

Pick it up here in the Marketplace.

Via: @techjunky79

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3 years ago

Rumor: Microsoft's Windows Phone plans 2012-2014

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File this one under big rumor/subject to change.

MS Nerd has published what he says is the timeline for a lot of Microsoft's major platforms, including Windows Phone, Windows Desktop and the launch of Xbox "Loop" aka next gen Xbox hardware.  While of course tantalizing, there's nothing really to back it up. Then again, when you read it, it's quite realistic and logical as to what you expect Microsoft to do. It even follows their current scheduling of things, so why not?

We'll just hit on the Windows Phone news:

  • CES 2012 - Tango1 Launch
  • Mobile World Congress '12 - Tango2 SDK
  • MIX 12 - Tango 2 launch, Apollo announce
  • E3 2012 - Apollo SDK
  • Mobile World Congress '13 - Apollo +1 teaser
  • MIX 13 - Apollo +1 teaser
  • Mobile World Congress '14 - Windows Phone Nine teaser
  • MIX 2014 - Windows Phone Nine SDK
  • BUILD 2014 Windows 9 Mobile RTM
  • November 2014 Windows 9 Mobile Launch (with Windows 9 and Kinect H2 release)

From what we've seen of how Microsoft releases things, this seems quite logical. The interesting change is of course in 2014 when Windows 9 and Windows Phone 9 merge and we get what MS Nerd lists as "Win9M". We're  assuming that means Windows 9 Mobile, but who knows.

Edit: No surprise, but Microsoft's Brandon Watson disagrees with the leak: "I love reading "logical" "leaked timelines" and laughing. #wronginsomanyways". Of course, no one was expecting him to confirm it either.

Check out MS Nerd for some other, non-phone details. Image credit: Jozef Kocúr;  Thanks, Alex F., for the tip!

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3 years ago

HTC advertising in Norway

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HTC advertising in Norway

While HTC and Phones4U make a difference in the UK, we have Telenor, Norway's largest carrier, advertising the HTC Radar in a Norwegian newspaper. The photo above, sent in by a reader, shows the HTC Radar available on contract. Looking at the Telenor website, we can see the Radar is also available unlocked for 3,099kr (£349).

Source: Telenor. Thanks Morten for sending in the image!

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3 years ago

Phones4U Windows Phone store promotion material

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HTC is going big with promotion and advertising for their Titan and Radar handsets. We've seen their commercial being aired on prime time TV, full page newspaper adverts and Phones4U has also been publishing advertising material in newspapers. We're aware of HTC and Samsung investing more funds in promotion, but it's good to see a store take part with the above photo from a Phones4U store in Norwich, UK. Purchasing the Titan will earn you 800 MS points and 12 a month Xbox Live subscription.

Thanks Joseph for sending the photo in!

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3 years ago

€329 for Samsung Omnia W i8350 in the Netherlands

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The Samsung Omnia W (i8350) has gotten it's price for consumers in the Netherlands, €329, slightly less expensive than its Italian counterpart.  The Omnia W, which just recently launched in India as well, is a nice mid-range phone at a mid-range price.  It sports a 1.4GHz CPU, along with a 5MP camera and 3.7" Super AMOLED screen.  It won't blow your socks off, like the HTC Titan, but it won't break the bank either.

Source: Belsimpel (Thanks for the tip, Relief!)

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