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3 years ago

Samsung and HTC commit more money to marketing Windows Phone

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It looks like Microsoft is going to get some well-needed assistance in promoting Windows Phone.  According to Andy Lees, president of Microsoft’s mobile unit, Samsung and HTC have both argeed to upping their marketing budgets, which may include everything from advertising to retail staff to pique consumer interest.  It's a great move for Microsoft, who seems to have struggled with promoting Windows Phone themselves.  Gartner, Inc. analyst, Michael Gartenberg agrees that while WP7 is a solid product, it lacks the PR:

“From a technical perspective, it really does put them on par with the other competitors, but a lot of times Microsoft gets it right with the technology and then fumbles the marketing message.“

He also added that Windows Phone has seen its fair share of retailer bias, which has been reported on previously:

"If you went to store they showed you anything other than a Windows Phone. If you asked for a Windows Phone, they tried to talk you out of it.”

It's good to see some of Microsoft's partners get involved, as they certainly have skin in the game.  HTC has said that almost one third of their sales come from Windows Phone and Samsung has made a commitment to continue working with it as part of their recent Android patent deal with MS.  It would seem silly for them not to have made this move.  Nokia, who has obviously put all of their eggs in the WP basket, have recently seen some of their upcoming ads emerge. Between the three, it may not be long before Windows Phone sees a bump in its disappointing market performance.

Source: Bloomberg

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3 years ago

New Nokia 800 Windows Phone ads emerge

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We mentioned on the podcast that we'll be seeing a lot of Nokia Windows Phone news in the run up to Nokia World. Sure enough, we're not getting a glance at reportedly new ads for the Nokia 800/SeaRay/Lumia.

With an interesting almost retro-tile background (seriously, looks kind of late 70's), featuring only distance or partial shots of the phone, clearly the ad is more about style and the print than focusing on the phone itself. That's not a bad thing because this is certainly eye catching and we all know, Windows Phone needs a little pizazz in their marketing.

So, what do you folks think? Yay or nay?

Source: Pocketnow

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3 years ago

Andy Lees talks dual-core CPUs and 4G LTE

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Andy Lees recently spoke about the current state of Windows Phone and the direction that the hardware that carries it is heading.  He confirmed that both dual-core processors and 4G LTE are on the way.  It has been known for a while now that Qualcomm and ST-Ericsson would be bringing dual-core computing to WP7 devices.  When he was asked why they weren't already, Lees defended the decision saying,

“They’re all single core, but I suspect that they will be faster in usage than any dual-core phone that you put against it, and that’s the point." 

He went on to explain that it was a  practical decision to stick to single-core CPUs until the operating system was set to take advantage of anything greater.  With Microsoft trying to break into the mobile phone marketplace, it makes sense to keep costs down on handsets if it doesn't affect performance. 

The motivation behind not including 4G support appeared to be equally as pragmatic. 

“The first LTE phones were big and big (users) of the battery, and I think it’s possible to do it in a way that is far more efficient, and that’s what we will be doing,” Lees explained. 

Although this has merit, it can certainly be argued that Microsoft missed a chance to capitalize on the 4G marketing bandwagon early on.  Various carriers have all seen success with their 4G Android offerings and WP7 could have been part of that.  But Lees sticks to the "slow and steady" approach:

"I think that what our strategy is is to put things in place that allow us to leapfrog, and I think that’s how we’ve gone from worse browser to the best browser, and I think the same is true with hardware."

The first crop of 4G WP7 phones are coming very soon, so we'll see how it goes.

Source: AllThingsD

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3 years ago

Pandora Radio proof-of-concept app for Windows Phone 7 [Video]

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Justin Angel, Silverlight and Windows Phone developer, has done some digging around the Pandora AIR app as well as their service in general and has come to a single conclusion: this is all very compatible with Windows Phone 7. Which raises the obvious question: Where's the app?

In a series of Tweets, Justin breaks down what he finds:

"Playing a @pandora_radio "internal-tuner.pandora.com" MP4 on my WP7 right now. From a technical perspective a WP7 Pandora app is quite easy."

"Finished decompiling @pandora_radio AIR app. this can DEFINITELY be ported to WP7. It's all JSON auth and MP4s. WTF Pandora? Just port this."

"@pandora_radio you've got some 'splainin to do! Your format matches WP7 specs to the letter. Where's your WP7 app?"

Indeed. And to prove his assertions, he very quickly whipped up a XAP file which successfully pulls down the Pandora information and allows flawless streaming to our phones. Sure, the frippery of up/down voting is not present, nor are the on-screen controls, but those are easy to add. What's important is the data and interaction with Pandora's servers that count and for all intents and purposes, they work flawlessly and beautifully with Windows Phone. So where's the app? Hopefully something official is in the pipes as there is no technical reason for it not to exist. (There is this tweet from Leon Zandman which may suggest something).

If you have a developer unlocked device, you can grab the XAP file from Justin here.

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3 years ago

WeatherMaster - App Spotlight

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WeatherMaster - App Spotlight

No argument here. There are a lot of weather apps available for your Windows Phone. You have the full gambit from Accuweather to WeatherLive. You can now add WeatherMaster to the pot and it ain't too shabby of an addition.

WeatherMaster's main page displays the current conditions for your current GPS location and a seven day forecast (includes the current day). At the bottom of the screen are button controls to:

  • View a detailed page on the forecast (breaks things down hourly)
  • Pull up a weather map with satellite and radar layers.  You can even add cities to your forecast list from the map.
  • Add cities
  • Delete the current location

Additionally, from the "three-dot" menu you can access the apps settings, refresh the information and read about the application.

From the settings you can disable your location services, choose which forecast city shows up on your live tile, and choose your units of measurements. The App runs on Windows Phone 7 or higher so for now, only one live tile is possible.

All in all, WeatherMaster is a nice weather app for your Windows Phone. I liked the Weather Map but would have liked to have seen an option to animate the layers. There is a Mango version in the works which should bring multiple live tile support into the mix and maybe we'll see some animation to the map as well.

There is a free trial version available for WeatherMaster and the full version runs $1.99. You can find WeatherMaster here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Weather Channel App gets mangofied

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We've received numerous tips this morning on the Windows Phone weather app Weather. Weather is the official Weather Channel app for your Windows Phone and it has been updated to version 1.7. The update Mangofies the app.

There are a few cosmetic changes to the app but the most noticeable change is the Mango fast resume and multiple live tile support. You can now pin any forecast city to your Start Menu and un-pin the tile from with the Weather.

From your location list, go into the edit screen and you'll see three options. One to give the location a nickname, one to set the location as your default location, and another to show as a live tile. Check the box to show the location as a live tile, save and the tile is created on your Start Screen. Un-check the box and the tile is removed.

The live tile has two sides. The front shows your current conditions and the back shows a radar thumbnail for that particular location. I'm a little surprised that the back side shows a radar image. If you've got clear skies, it seems a waste of resources. If there's a way to customize or change what's displayed on the back side of the live tile, I haven't found it yet. 

All in all, the update improves things.  Overall, Weather seems to have a little more zip to it and while the cosmetic changes are minor, they give the app somewhat of a cleaner appearance.

Weather is a free, ad-supported application for your Windows Phone and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. Keep in mind you'll need to update your phone to Windows Phone 7.5 before you can use Weather v1.7.

Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

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3 years ago

Zune HD dead again?

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Zune HD dead again?

Okay. Remember the Zune HD? Well, it appears to be dead again.

We first saw it removed from the sales channel, then we were told that was a publishing mishap. We then saw it being removed from production on the support page.  This was again reported as a publishing error when @WP_DownUnder looked into things further.

Now the support page is back and again, we are being told by Microsoft that the Zune HD is no longer in production. The support page that re-appeared over the weekend is the same page we saw last week (that was reported to be a publishing error). 

Microsoft is still going to honor existing device warranties and support.  Which is a good thing.  It would have been nice if Microsoft would have added "Seriously. We're not fooling this time." on the support page but that might be asking too much.

So far no officials odds have been posted in Vegas on whether or not Microsoft will come out and say this was another publishing mishap. If so, they may want to re-evaluate who's hitting the "publish" button on their websites.

Source: Zune.net via: LiveSide

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3 years ago

Infinite Flight onboard with Mango

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Infinite Flight is a very comprehensive flight simulator for your Windows Phone. Previous updates have added new features and aircraft into the mix (including the Space Shuttle) and the latest update takes the app to Mango.

Along with fast app switching version 2.0 adds,

  • Two new airplanes (C-17 Globemaster III and Supermarine Spitfire)
  • Airport taxiways
  • HUD Decluttering levels
  • Automatic throttle settings for the Autopilot and zoom for fly by and tower cameras
  • The option to disable touch vibration
  • Anti-Aliasing can be turned off
  • Assorted bug fixes

If you haven't tried Infinite Flight and flight simulators are your cup of tea, you really need to check this app out. There is a trial version available for Infinite Flight and the full version will run you $4.99. You can find both here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks goes out to Brian for tipping us on this!

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3 years ago

O2 believes HTC Mozart runs Android

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O2 believes HTC Mozart runs Android

We're not sure who at O2 created the image for the HTC Mozart listing on product pages, but they must be an Android fan. According to the image above (and if you check out the link at the bottom of this article) O2 has the Mozart running Android, or so it seems. Clicking on the product to view more information reveals that in fact the device is running Windows Phone, but it may still cause confusion for those who aren't familiar with the device and what OS it sports.

On the other hand this could be positive in a misleading way. Should someone purchase the handset believing they'll be receiving an Android smartphone, they could be impressed with the refreshing change of to the Metro UI. Still, it should be fixed.

Source: O2, via: WMPU

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3 years ago

Torchbear goes live in the Marketplace

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We first mentioned the Windows Phone app Torchbear a couple of months ago when the developer needed beta testers. Well, the kinks have been ironed out and Torchbear has left the Beta stages and is now available over at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

What is Torchbear you ask? Torchbear is described as a mobile geolocation based social network game. You create a torch that can be a thought, idea or image. You then create a mission for your torch and share it with other Torchbear users around the world.

For example, you can create a torch calling for the posting of photos that make you think of the fall season (that's the mission) and add your own photo to the torch. You then monitor how many exchanges, comments, and followers keep the torch burning. You can also monitor how far the torch has traveled. You can even map out where your torch has been and monitor your torches progress from Torchbear's website.  The goal is to generate the most activity from your torch.

You do have to register with Torchbear (free) and it's interesting to see how far your torches can travel around the globe. Torchbear is a free app and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Spotify/Sharpotify 7 for Windows Phone [Video]

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Now we have background streaming at hand, let us return to the whole "Where is Spotify?" question still on many minds who pay for the subscription. We know it's well under way as the service was announced by Microsoft to be coming in Mango earlier this year. For those who simply can't wait for the official app, in the video above, we can see a demo of what appears to be a third-party Spotify app (Sharpotify 7) for Windows Phone with expected features.

The code is stated to be Alpha so it's still early days but we like what we see thus far - playlist support and support, being two vital features of the service.

Via: PhoneTitan

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3 years ago

Microsoft workshops starting up on Australia's east coast [Developers]

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In Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, Microsoft are kick-starting workshops simultaneously today (October 8th) to aid potential and current Windows Phone developers with improving knowledge, skill and experience. The two day training course will sport presentations by the likes of Chris Walsh (ChevronWP7) and Shane Morris (Automatic Studio), feature lunch and a competition provided by Nokia, and will cover the following areas of Windows Phone development:

  • Introduction to the developer environment
  • Navigation and App Life Cycle
  • Launchers and choosers
  • Alarms, Reminders and other Extensions
  • Device Features and Hardware
  • Tiles and Push Notifications
  • Multitask and Background Agents
  • Local Database Access
  • Marketplace tip and tricks
  • Game development with XNA and Silverlight

You may have noticed above that we stated Nokia is running a competition at the workshops, but what's the prize? Whoever can create the most popular app over the next two weeks from the workshop will win Nokia's yet-to-be-released handset - exciting stuff! 

Source: WPDownUnder

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3 years ago

Official WordPress app for Windows Phone hits v1.3 for Mango but disappears from Marketplace?

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The official WordPress app for our phones has also got a Mango makeover with v1.3. Considering how huge WordPress is to the blogosphere, it's always great to see a well done official app out there for our users. The app hit v1.2 only in August, where it finally received landscape support. Now v1.3 looks to extend that by adding some Mango features. Besides the automatic fast-app switching, users can look forward to these new additions:

"Now with Mango support! You can now share pictures directly from your photo album to a new post in the app, as well as pin your blog to the start screen for quick access."

Sounds good to us. Now we have received a complaint from reader ron_from_RIFAS that it looks like the app has been pulled from the Marketplace. And indeed, if you search for the app, you'll be hard pressed to find it. Even the WP7Applist site has its red-banner warning that this app is not available. But we assure you it is there and you can download and install it just fine. Reason? It's listed as "Private" in the Web Marketplace. Why? We have no idea...

Update: Evidently the developer, in comments, lets us know that there's a bug in v1.3 so to hold off until a fix is released: "It's marked private because we found a large bug in the app and wanted to submit a fix for it before publishing. ...The new one should be out in a few days pending certification from Microsoft."

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3 years ago

Microsoft's Push Notification Servers acting up for Live Tiles?

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We're getting a few isolated reports, ourselves included, that some Live Tiles are not updating their images properly or just general strangeness with notifications. While this was common on NoDo with Mango it's been very rare, if ever, that we've had failures occurring.

The most popular culprit seems to be the official Foursquare app, which for many now features a blank tile instead of your local rankings. In addition, we've see our GoVoice app stuck on "1" and even our own WPCentral app not have the back-tile update. Dave Amenta (interview), developer of Send to WP7, confirmed with us that he too is experiencing these problems.

For now, all we can think of is some hiccups with Microsoft's push notification servers, which handle a lot of this back end stuff. We'll keep an eye out and give a shout out in comments if you're Tiles are not refreshing or other craziness.

Image credit: puredrive07, from our forums

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