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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: Chain Explosion

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Central's E3 2012 Weekend Trailer Roundup

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E3 2012 – the Electronic Entertainment Expo kicks off with Microsoft’s press conference this Monday, June 4. We’ve already outlined our predictions and plans for the event, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new to share right now. A number of developers have released trailers of the console games they’re showcasing at E3 ahead of time.

First up is Skulls of the Shogun from Haunted Temple Games and Microsoft Studios. Skulls is a beautiful and fast-paced strategy game that’s scheduled to arrive on Xbox Live Arcade, Windows 8, and Windows Phone as an Xbox Live title. We’ll be playing it at E3, so look forward to our impressions!

Head past the break for a big batch of E3 Xbox 360 game trailers!

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3 years ago

Xbox Live - Super Monkey Ball's Price falls off a cliff, now 99 cents

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The illustrious club of 99 cent Xbox Live games on Windows Phone has a new member this weekend: Super Monkey Ball from SEGA. The game rolled out at $4.99 on April 6 last year; dropped to $2.99 only a month later; and has at last settled on the rock-bottom price of less than a dollar.

Should you buy the first Super Monkey Ball right now when a much-improved sequel is due later this summer? Sure, if you can tolerate some truly terrible tilt controls. The awful, non-customizable controls and sadistic stage design are really the only things holding SMB back. The core gameplay itself always makes for a good time. The graphics feature very appealing art and color design, and the music isn’t bad either.

On top of the general difficulty issues and nearly impossible final level, there is a ‘semi-broken’ Achievement which does not match its description. ‘Crowned Champion’ actually requires players to earn a crown on every single level rather than just one world - a super tough feat. For more details, check out our review.

Super Monkey Ball now costs 99 cents and there is a free trail. Get it here from the Marketplace. Follow this tag to see more 99 cent Xbox Live games.

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3 years ago

Sweet Sync becomes first unofficial Sugar Sync client for Windows Phone

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Although many of us are now hardcore SkyDrive users, some people still rely on or need Sugar Sync (www.sugarsync.com) for their file sharing and storing needs. And while Sugar Sync is working on a Windows Phone client, we have no ETA on when that app will arrive. So it's with great pleasure for us to see Sweet Sync on the Marketplace fulfilling that role.

The client offers most of what you would expect a mobile Sugar Sync client to offer:

  • Allows the creation, modification and deletion of any file or folder in your account, including received shares
  • Upload, Download and View Images
  • Create public links for your files and share them with friends
  • Open documents with public links directly on your phone (Not all filetypes can be opened)

We just took the app for a spin and it's hella-nice. Bold graphics (which are not Metro but still look nice), ease of use, plenty of options. Heck, we're impressed with it and while it may not replace our SkyDrive, we're not against adding extra storage when and where we can either.

Sugar Sync fetches for a fair $1.29 with a limited trial (read-only access). Our recommendation: if you use Sugar Sync, give it a shot. Even if the official app comes out, we tend to go with third-party devs for better support and more functionality. But that's us.

Pick up Sweet Sync here in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Marketplace down in China for over 20 hours?

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We're getting a few reports, including one over at tech site cnBeta.com that the Windows Phone Marketplace is undergoing a lengthy blackout. Specifically when users try to download an app, the progress bar gets about half way (full downloaded) and then an "attention required" message pops up with an error 805a01f8.

What's perhaps worse is these errors have been going on for nearly 20 hours now, making this a significant down-time for many new Windows Phone users in China.

The error users are seeing in China right now when they attempt an app download

Word from cnBeta is that there is no official comment from Microsoft China on the matter and users are basically on their own until the system is fixed, leaving many users disgruntled and frustrated. 

Companies like Nokia and HTC have both recently made a large push into China signaling a successful attempt at selling Microsoft's OS to new customers, however such a setback with the Marketplace could create some negative blow-back from early adoptees. 

If you're in China and experiencing these problems or if they have resolved themselves, let us know in comments.

Source: cnBeta.com; Thanks, x. wang., for the tip

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3 years ago

Does the color of your Windows Phone say anything about you?

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Does your color preference in Windows Phones uncover a personality trait? Whether it is a white Samsung Focus 2 or a cyan Nokia Lumia 900, does your choice of colors reflect more than a fashion statement? There is some school of thought that the choice of color isn't a conscious effort but rather a sub-conscious choice. Color psychologist Angela Wright states,

“Every time you make a color choice, you’re making a statement about what’s going on in your head, even though most you the time you don’t know it. Around 80 percent of our color choices are sub-conscious.”

So how do the color choices break down? Here's what the color psychologist has to say.

Cyan - The Thinker: The cyan blue is a happy color that conveys an intellectual and considered nature. It is a balanced color that is inspiring. The blue helps to focus your thoughts and clear your mind.

White - The Sophisticate: White gives off an impression of a sophisticated smartphone aficionado with high standards.

Fuchsia - The Angry Lady: Fuchsia leans towards the sensitivities of female owners. According to Wright, “It’s a very strong statement on the aggressive side of femininity. So this phone is one for the ladies, the sympathizers and perhaps those who’re a bit scared of feminists and want to integrate themselves.”

Black - The Protector: Black comes across as confident and sophisticated but experts say it is more often used as a security blanket. Black is all colors totally absorbed so it creates protection. It's not a reflection of a dark personality but may represent a safe choice for smartphone users.

So is the expert hitting close to the mark? Do you choose the color of your Windows Phone to suit your tastes or is it a sub-conscious decision that is driven by our personalities and character? I'm partial to black because of its conservative appearance and I guess in many ways, its a safe choice.

Who knows... maybe the color psychologists are right?

Source: Conversations Nokia Via: Windows Team Blog

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3 years ago

Reuters Insider lands in the Marketplace for Financial Market Professionals

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Reuters Insider landed in the Windows Phone Marketplace the other day with exclusive programming for financial professionals. You'll need to be a financial markets professional to use the app and will need a corporate email address to register.  We have been told that University email addresses will work as well for students and faculty members.

Reuters Insider has partnered with over one hundred and fifty financial information providers such as CNBC, Citibank, Nomura and Roubini. The app is designed to deliver breaking news, exclusive interviews, and in-depth commentary on financial market issues.

Should you be a financial professional with a corporate email, Reuters Insider appears to be a useful app for your Windows Phone. Reuters Insider is a free app that you can grab here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks, bilzkh, for the tip!

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3 years ago

TELUS set to launch the Lumia 610 Windows Phone with NFC?

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MobileSyrup have received a tip detailing TELUS plans to launch and push the Lumia 610 Windows Phone. The unnamed source sent in a photo of a prototype Lumia 610, which is already launching across Europe, and states that it's scheduled to launch on the Canadian carrier sometime in the summer. TELUS is already sporting the Lumia 800, a Windows Phone that has pleased VP of Mobility Solutions at TELUS, Brent Johnston.

MobileSyrup speculate a price tag of between $200 – $250 and also add NFC into the specification list for the upcoming device, something we're aware that's exclusive to Orange who plan to launch an NFC supported Lumia 610 sometime in Q3. Note that the Lumia 610 only packs 256MB RAM, which brings with it limitations.

Source: MobileSyrup; thanks, bilzkh, for the heads up!

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3 years ago

ESPNcricinfo: For those who like a good game of cricket

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ESPNcricinfo is a Windows Phone sports app to keep you up to date on all the cricket action going on around the world. Cricket the game, not cricket as in Jiminy Cricket.

ESPNcricinfo covers international matches, ICC tournaments and major domestic leagues including English county championships, Indian Premier League and Champions League. The app is laid out nicely, as with any ESPN app, with pages covering match scores, news, magazine articles, and a tile menu that pulls up stats, videos, settings, rankings and more.

Other features for ESPNcricinfo include:

  • Live game coverage that includes commentary, scores, match graphics, player profiles, and sideline reports
  • "Lean Back" mode for full-screen viewing that allows you to lean back and enjoy the match
  • Live tile support to pin games to your Start Screen
  • Push notifications for instant alerts for wickets, batsman milestones, and score updates..

While the game of cricket isn't very prominent in my neck of the woods, I can see ESPNcricinfo being a handy app to have for those who follow the game. ESPNcricinfo is a free app for your Windows Phone and you can snatch it up here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks, bilzkh, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: Skeet Shoot

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3 years ago

Google complains about antitrust issues, pointing fingers at Microsoft and Nokia

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Just when we thought the patent wars were over, Google has announced yesterday that they've filed an antitrust complaint in Europe, pointing a finger at Nokia and Microsoft regarding patents. The search giant is arguing that both companies are using third-party agencies (which are internally branded "patent trolls") to increase the costs for mobile devices, which would in-turn provide a strong advantage to the Microsoft ecosystem. An example is provided by Google, where the company states that Nokia and Microsoft have entered into revenue-based agreements with the likes of Mosaid Technologies.

Last year the two companies in question transferred a total of 2,000 patents to Mosaid, as well as Nokia selling 450 to IP Bulldog. Google views a threat on the horizon where more fees placed on OEMs may force manufacturers to look elsewhere, Windows Phone in this case, for cheaper production costs. While details of the filing has not been published, a statement from Google has been provided:

"Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that sidestep promises both companies have made. They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices."

By colluding with both Microsoft and Mosaid, Google alleges that Nokia has betrayed its previous open-source commitments. A Microsoft representative has responded to these claims with the following comment:

"Google is complaining about patents when it won't respond to growing concerns by regulators, elected officials and judges about its abuse of standard-essential patents, and it is complaining about antitrust in the smartphone industry when it controls more than 95% of mobile search and advertising. This seems like a desperate tactic on their part."

Nokia has also publicly responded to the filing:

"Though we have not yet seen the complaint, Google's suggestion that Nokia and Microsoft are colluding on IPR is wrong. Both companies have their own IPR portfolios and strategies and operate independently.

Nokia has made regular patent divestments over the last five years. In each case, any commitments made for standards essential patents transfer to the acquirer and existing licenses for the patents continue. Had Google asked us, we would have been happy to confirm this, which could then have avoided them wasting the commission's time and resources on such a frivolous complaint.

We agree with Google that Android devices have significant IP infringement issues, and would welcome constructive efforts to stop unauthorised use of Nokia intellectual property.

Nokia has an active licensing program with more than 40 licensees. Companies who are not yet licensed under our standard essential patents should simply approach us and sign up for a license."

We'll have to see how these complaints progress through the European regulators. We'll never get tired of patent news.

Source: Wall Street Journal; via: AllAboutWindowsPhone

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3 years ago

E3 Sneak Peek: Xbox Smart Glass

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E3 Sneak Peek: Xbox Smart Glass

The Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) is just a few days away and Microsoft has given us a small glimpse at a new Xbox companion, Xbox Smart Glass. Xbox Smart Glass will be optimized for Windows tablets and phones to allow users to control their Xbox console, play videos and other media from their tablets and phones, and send videos to the Xbox to play on the television.

The app sounds similar to the Windows Phone Xbox Companion app but with a lot more gusto. Plus there's the Windows 8 tablet coming into play which is appealing in and of itself. Xbox Smart Glass will also be available for Android and iOS tablets and phones.

Microsoft will be demoing Smart Glass at E3 next week and hopefully will shed more light on the capabilities of Xbox Smart Glass. We'll be in attendance at E3 and hopefully we can shed more light on Xbox Smart Glass.

Source: Examiner Via: Engadget; Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Sneak Peek: MonsterUp Adventures for Windows Phone (Video)

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We've covered the popular "jumper" game MonsterUp previously on Windows Phone Central--published by Karios, the game features great music, bold, adorable graphics and interesting twists on an old concept. Though Doodle Jump gets the headlines, MonsterUp to us was always more creative. Now, Karios has returned with MonsterUp Adventures and we got a little sneak peek of the upcoming tile.

Instead of just a straight sequel i.e. yet-another-jumper, MonsterUp Adventures is more like a proper video game now. It features:

  • Levels you need to complete
  • Multiple "bosses"
  • Gems, jewels and coins to collect to unlock new monsters
  • A shop to purchase new monsters (who each have unique powers)

Whereas before the goal was to just jump as high as you can, now on each level you need to "jump to the end" to complete it. It takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes per level and yes, it's quite challenging at times (especially on the 2nd half of the island). The collecting of jewels to purchase new monsters is well done as it gives you motivation to try new combinations, plus it adds to the replay value.  The bosses, while not very difficult, add a nice break to the jumping and the exquisitely drawn and unique backgrounds keep the visuals fresh.

Sadly, MonsterUp Adventures as submitted to be an Xbox LIVE game but was denied by Microsoft. Like Karios, we're not sure what the criteria is for making into that coveted camp but compared to the last few stinkers on Xbox LIVE, MonsterUp Adventures more than makes the cut in our mind.

The plus side is MonsterUp Adventures will get to your phones sooner than if it were on Xbox LIVE and Karios can deliver more updates, more frequently.

So our verdict? We really like this game. Jumpers are fun but they can get old fast. Karios Games have taken that concept to a new level with 'Adventures, breathing new life into the growing franchise. With fantastic graphics, a catchy tune and high re-playablity we're impressed.

Look for MonsterUp Adventures to arrive in the Marketplace very soon. Check out the promo vid after the break...

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3 years ago

HTC Titan and Radar Windows Phones get unlocked bootloader and custom ROMs

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"Enthusiasts" can now load custom ROMs on devices like this HTC Titan

Good news for those with "2nd generation" Windows Phone like the HTC Radar and HTC Titan, the Dark Forces Team (DFT) have released their custom Hard Secondary Program Loader (HSPL) for those devices, including a "wizard" to guide you through the somewhat complicated process. Announced back in March, the team has made solid and steady progress over the last few months on the project.

HSPLs are needed to "unlock" the bootloader of certain smartphones in order to get custom ROMs to load onto them (think of it as a layer of security). Without this tool-set, modified OS's for those devices simply have nowhere to go. Now that these tools are available comes the second step: the creation of custom ROMs which will require some "chefs" to cook them up,

Second generation HTC devices have been notoriously difficult to crack for DFT so this is a fairly big win for the homebrew community. Unfortunately, devices like the Titan II still won't work with this tool so it's best to still wait for DFT to get that going.

In a well planned release, there are at least two custom ROMs now available too:

  1. HTC Titan by mwang - Tango OS (8773), Replace HTC Apps software,add Registry editor,file explorers ...etc; Few tweaks ,DFT FullUnlock support XAP IE download and install,full play XBL games; ISharing,Static MAC Address
  2. HTC Radar by mwang - Tango OS (8773), Replace HTC Apps software,add Registry editor,file explorers ...etc; Few tweaks ,DFT FullUnlock support XAP IE download and install,full play XBL games; ISharing,Static MAC Address

Once again we need to stress to proceed with caution when attempting these modifications as this can "brick" your phone if you don't follow the directions carefully.  Regardless, it's exciting to finally see some movement on these two fantastic Windows Phones. We're sure the community will be releasing some fantastic creations over the next few months.

Source: XDA Forums; via: WP7.com.pl; Thanks, Tony and dragonide, for the tips

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3 years ago

Best Independent Games for your Windows Phones

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Windows Phone Central's round-up of the best independent games

Well.... we've taken a look at the best camera apps, best must have games, best must have apps, best free games and best weather apps for your Windows Phones. Now we turn our sights the independent game developer for the Windows Phone platform.

They make code from their basement office or from a start-up company but some of these games can give the larger software companies (EA, Microsoft, etc.) a run for their money. We've rounded up a handful of games from the Marketplace's independent developers that we have found to be entertaining, fun, well presented and a worthy addition to anyone's Windows Phone gaming library.

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