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3 years ago

Tiki Towers is the Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone game of the week

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Looks like for some reason we're down to just one title a week on Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone. Perhaps Microsoft wanted to burn through those 50 titles as quickly as possible and now we're on the "regular" schedule. Either way, this weeks title is a puzzler type game from GameHouse called TikiTowers.

The description is as follows:

Save the monkeys! Only you can lead them to safety in this amazing new puzzle game featuring construction, destruction and problem-solving! Travel between five tropical islands, leading your tribe of monkeys to safety by building bridges and towers out of bamboo, coconuts, and vines. If you're not careful, your structures will collapse and your monkeys will perish. Clear all the levels to acquire the ceremonial masks of an ancient tribe and discover their mythical lost treasure. Tiki Towers is action and puzzle gaming at its best!

It did win some awards including “Best Casual Game” – 5th Annual International Mobile Game Awards 2009. Meh, maybe it'll be good but it's sort of hard to excited about. The game will probably go live sometime late tonight/early tomorrow.

via: @karlstricker

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3 years ago

National Geographic World Atlas - Review

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We’ve looked at dictionaries before, but the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace offers other reference applications as well. National Geographic World Atlas is one such program aimed at geography students and enthusiasts. And who doesn’t like learning about far away lands or the shape of the world?

National Geographic is one of the largest educational institutions in the existence. Does the mobile World Atlas live up to their usual high standards? Read on past the break to find out.

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3 years ago

Zune update gets pushed out in preparation for Windows Phone 'NoDo'

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We've heard that a new version of the Zune Desktop application is required for the upcoming Windows Phone 'NoDo' update and sure enough, an update just went live.

If you go to your Zune Desktop --> Settings --> Software --> General, you can force an update-check to grab v4.7.1404.0--which seems to be the same version as before, so we're unclear of any direct changes.

The new version of Zune Desktop is suppose to allow your Windows Phone to be backed up in preparation for 'NoDo', allowing you roll back if there are any problems during the flash. Of course the bigger news is this probably signifies that the actual Windows Phone update is only days, if not weeks away or that MS is gearing up for some changes in anticipation. (And call us crazy, but Zune seems to load a lot faster now).

Update: Cursory look so far reveals no significant changes besides perfomance. Find anything? Tell us in comments.

Update 2: While the overall version number is the same, two components have changed as noted by reader mparker: ZuneWmdu.dll and ZuneWmduResources.dll are both now v4.7.1407. Microsoft's support page in fact mentions these as needed for the software backup: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2498092 So this does look like a prep for the 'NoDo' update.

Thanks, David M., for the great observation!

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2498092
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3 years ago

Sideloading of Kindle eBooks now possible on HTC Windows Phones [Homebrew]

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If you have an HTC developer unlocked ("jailbroken") phone, then this trick may be for you: evidently you can convert PDF books into .PRC files that can then be sideloaded on the device and viewed with Amazon's Kindle app. The reason? As DominikZ over at XDA notes, Charles Petzold's eBook "Programming Windows Phone 7" which is 100% free, costs $22.53 on Amazon (we actually see two versions, one XNA, one Silverlight, but both do cost ~$20 for the Kindle edition). Through this trick, you can convert the free PDF version of the book to a Kindle compatible one.

The task is not too difficult, but hardly elegant. As noted, only HTC devices can do this right now because the trick relies on TouchXplorer, which doesn't work to well on non-HTC devices.:

  • Download MobiPocket Creator or any other Program, capable of converting pdf to prc.
  • When the conversion is done, apply the registry hack, so that your phone will show up in Windows Explorer.
  • Copy the newly created *.prc file to your phone. If not already done, install TouchXplorer and go to My Documents\Zune\Content\0400\03 and cut the newly created file (It will be renamed to*.z)
  • Paste it to Applications\Data\48195FB4-EE0E-9264...\Data\IsolatedStore\kindle
  • Now rename the file so you will remember the it (e.g. programming.prc).
  • Start up Kindle and the newly added book should be available.

Like we said, not easy but once you do your first one, the rest are a breeze. Conversion usually takes less than five minutes from our experience and this seems a great way to load school PDFs, free eBooks, etc. onto your Windows Phone.

Source: XDA

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3 years ago

OTA podcast support coming to Windows Phone?

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We've seen some great third party support for podcasts on Windows Phone 7 (see BringCast & Podcasts!), filling in the inablity to download over the air, while you're out and about.

Over at Monsmartphone.net, a reader named pth has submitted some pics of what look to be latent podcast support not yet complete around the Zune player and Marketplace. We asked monsmartphone.net about what exactly was "hacked" around the system to reveal those buttons (download or view) but have no response yet (we're not sure if 'pth' shared the trick). It should be noted that nothing around this feature yet works--so we're not missing anything that can be enabled via a hack.

What it does look like though is that the Zune team as setting up this function in Windows Phone but have yet to complete it. Considering how much is left out in v1 of Windows Phone, this makes sense. But the next question is when will we see this officially?

Update: Gilles responded and notes that the change is in an (unspecified) system file. More info may be coming later.

via: monsmartphone.net; Thanks, Gilles, for the heads up

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3 years ago

Voice2Mail makes audio reminders easy [Video]

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A few years back on Windows Mobile, we had a nifty little freeware app called Notes2Self--the app was mappable to any key and allowed you to record a quick audio note which was then emailed to yourself for safe keeping (works great with Google tags).

Flash forward a few years and while we can't map any keys, we get the very worthy Voice2Mail app made by MaSta Software (WebIS, ironically, said they're not doing WP7--their loss). The app fetches for $1.99 with a nice free trial. The price is actually quite fair when considering how soild this v1.0 release is and how well it works.

We dig the graphics, the customization, the ease of use and options. Overall, a worthy app for those on the go or need to be organized themselves. So if you like having voice memos in your email, this is the app for you. Of course, you can also save locally, in case you don't like the email route. Check out the video and grab it here in the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Tetrada developer receives cease & desist from Tetris company

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Intellectual property is a tough area in software and game development--often the lines are blurred and depending on how fierce the IP owner is, enforcement has a huge ranged from nothing too stringent.

Windows Phone developer Marios Karagiannis who has published the popular 'Monster Up' game has another in the Marketplace called 'Tetrada' which yes, is very much a Tetris clone. He just received a C&D letter from "Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A. Attorneys at Law, on behalf of the Tetris Company asking us to remove Tetrada from the Marketplace because they say it looks too similar to their game and violates the copyright of Tetris (TM)."

Marios, being an indie, student developer is of course complying as he has no resources to take on such a company--who has been vehement about enforcing their IP of the Tetris brand on other platforms. The question is, of course, what does the Tetris company have a claim on? The name? The logo or the actual game play? We're not sure, but Marios is under the impression it is just the name/logo, not the game play itself, in which case his game does not violate their copyright.

The game is being pulled as we speak from the Marketplace and had fetched for $0.99. We bought it anyways, because hey, these things are now like collector items. Having said that, it's actually a darn nice game--outstanding graphics, good UI and a pleasure to play. And that's probably the rub here: this game was better than the Tetris brand on Windows Phone (see review).

Either way, consider this fair warning for other Tetris clones in the Marketplace, of which there seem to be quite a few.

While we won't take a position on the merits of the IP dispute here (you can do that in comments if you wish) you can read the developer's thoughts here on his blog. (And if you want to try and snag Tetrada while you can, it's here).

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3 years ago

Microsoft's Zune minifying Apple's share of the video market

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IHS Screen digest has come out with their yearly report on online movie sell-though and Internet video-on-demand (iVOD) service and while Apple is stil at the top (by a lot, we might add) their dominance in the market appears to be waning.

In 2010, Apple controlled 64.5 percent of the online VOD market, but that's down from 2009's 74.4 percent--that loss of 10 percent seems to be quite a large number. Though to be put into perspective, the market itself grew by over 60%, meaning Apple still took away a nice chunk of change.

Reason for the decline in market share though? According to Arash Amel, IHS digital media research director:

Apple faced serious competition from Microsoft's Zune Video and Sony's PlayStation Store, as well as from Amazon and -- most significantly -- Walmart.

More importantly to our concerns, Zune Video platform increased to 17.9 percent from 2009's 11.6 percent--in large part due to the success of the Xbox 360/Kinect combo. That's actually an impressive gain if might say and shows that Microsoft does seem to have a plan here for getting into consumer video content. Combined with Windows Phone 7 (assuming it gains significant market share), we think Zune has a very bright future--so much so we wonder what Android could offer that is remotely analogous?

Although the conclusion by IHS is that Walmat (and Amazon) may be the biggest competitors against Apple, due to their sheer market size and brand-advantage. That may be true, but we don't see any Walmart video service on our smartphones and so far nothing from Amazon either--and the mobile market is an important one, for sure.

Soruce: IHS ScreenDigest; via: Twice; Thanks, Mark, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Pac-Man - Review

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Pac-Man - Review

Pac-Man is one of the most-ported games ever, and now Namco brings it to Windows Phone 7 as an Xbox Live title. This version is faithful to the arcade original, but lacks any bells-and-whistles to get excited over and introduces a few new problems.

Everybody knows how Pac-Man works, so let’s focus on what’s changed for Windows Phone 7. The game is played from a vertical orientation. The actual play field takes up the top two-thirds of the screen, with a virtual joystick on a plain blue background at the bottom. Super bland menus that use an ugly font further contribute to a mediocre presentation.

To find out whether our circular arcade hero gets the ghosts or if they get him instead, chomp a power pellet and head past the break.

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3 years ago

Get the T-Mobile HD7 free this weekend with contract

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For those looking for a good opportunity to buy an HTC HD7, what with it's giant 4.3" screen, this Friday and Saturday may be your moment.

T-Mobile is confirmed to be having an "All Smartphones Free" sale on February 11th and 12th and that includes the HTC HD7. Sure, you have to sign a 2 year contract (conflicting info on whether upgrades count--best to go in ask directly) but if you like dealing with T-mo directly, here's your chance.

Source: TmoNews

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3 years ago

UK News: Venue Pro delayed again (surprise!)...7 Pro to the rescue

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If you took the under bet on the the number of times the Dell Venue Pro would get delayed, chances are you lost your money.  According to Clove, Dell has once again pushed back the release in the UK; this time until early March (we'll believe it when we see it). They have not offered any explanation of this latest delay.

In other very timely news, Clove now has the HTC 7 Pro in stock for £360.00.  They are also including a free HTC BH M300 Bluetooth headset.  So if you are tired of waiting for Dell to get their act together, and you don't fancy the Quantum, here's your chance to get a slide-out-keyboard-equipped WP7 device in the UK.

And if you're so inclined, check out Clove's video tour of the 7 Pro after the jump...

Source: Clove; via PocketNow; WMPU

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3 years ago

Last.FM to require a monthly subscription, except on Xbox and Windows Phone 7

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Bad news if you enjoy Last.fm on your "iPhone, Android device, Logitech Squeezebox, Sonos system, Revo AXiS, Ikon, Domino or Heritage device, Roberts Stream 63i, 205, Colourstream and 83i radios, Teufel machine, Onkyo AV receiver and Denon and Marantz AV receivers"--your Last.fm will now require a subscription service.

Good news though if you use Last.fm on Windows Phone 7 and Xbox--it's still free for our side. Oh snap.

Yes, as it turns out Last.fm is switching their ad-based revenue system in for a paid, monthly subscription one. From the Last.fm blog Matthew Hawn, Last.fm's VP of products said:

On the Last.fm website an ad-supported, free-to-listeners model is what supports our online radio services in the US, UK and Germany. In other markets and on emerging mobile and home entertainment devices, it is not practical for us to deliver an ad supported radio experience, but instead, we will migrate to what we believe is the highest quality, lowest cost ad-free music service in the world.

Subscriptions will run $3 a month and you non-MS folk can sign up here. Regarding Windows Phone 7 and Xbox, Hawn said:

Last.fm Radio will remain free on the Last.fm website in the US, UK and Germany and for the US and UK users of Xbox Live and Windows Mobile 7 phones (through 2011). We’ll also continue to offer radio for free via the Last.fm desktop app.

No word on the exact reason as to why Microsoft services are unaffected, but we imagine MS has some deal behind doors allowing the exception. Hey, it's our win.

Source: Last.fm blog; via: Know Your Mobile, Pocket-lint

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3 years ago

Multi-XAP installer brings mass installation to WP7 [Homebrew]

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Probably in the near future, Windows Phone 7 ROM developers (yes, there will be some) will be needing a method by which to mass install their homebrew apps back on to a newly flashed device--or even those of us who do a hard reset.

Mengow over at XDA has solved one little problem by making a mass-XAP installer, allowing you to just drag-n-drop your collection of apps. The app is simple enough and seem to work quite well so far, making mass installation that much easier. Up till now, we had to install an app one by one by one with lots of double clicks in between, now the process is more streamlined, making this a welcomed addition to the homebrew community.

Source: XDA; via: Aliwaqas (Thanks, Ali)

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3 years ago

Chicks n Vixens: Working its way through Beta

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A week or so ago, Jabborworx released the Windows Phone 7 game Chicks n Vixens. The game was released as a Beta and while the first version of the game was a little on the rough side, two updates have polished the Windows Phone game up nicely. Graphics have improved, load times quicker, and overall performance is better. Additional updates are in line that will add more features and clean things up even further.

The game premise is simple. You launch your supply of chickens from a canon to take out a group of foxes that are hold up in various strongholds built of wood, glass, stone and steel. You have an assortment of chickens at your disposal that go supersonic, explode, and drop egg bombs all in a unified effort to destroy the foxes. Sounds a lot like Angry Birds, right? The game has just as much potential as the game it's modeled after and with a few more updates it could be just as popular.

In playing Chicks n Vixens, we found it to be an enjoyable, mildly addictive game. For the most part, the game ran smoothly with no major bugs, glitches or crashes experienced.  The canon can be a little sensitive (at times it fired while scrolling around the playing field) and the game lacks a Help or How-to section.  All of which should be addressed in future updates.

Chicks n Vixen is a free game and you can download your copy here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.  Once you give Chicks n Vixens a try, feel free to chime in over at the Forums with any suggestions you may have for the developer.

Ease on past the break to see Chicks n Vixens in action.

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