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3 years ago

Fan concept: What if Windows Phone had smaller tiles?

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There are two things we know about the Windows Phone system so far:

  1. It's constantly evolving and the WP Team are likely to make significant changes and additions in future updates, responding to user demands and usage
  2. With the new 30 Live Tile limit and 25+K apps, we may run out of Start screen space as we pile on tile upon tile (see the BBC News Mobile as an example)

Over at XDA, forum member tiny17 has come up with an interesting idea for a future Windows Phone UI design: long press on a start tile where upon you "halve the size" of it and then, optionally, once more, till it's 1/4 of the original size.

The idea would certainly create more space and allow you to see more without infinite scrolling. In addition, it keeps to the Metro/Tile UI without any drastic changes to the paradigm. Only issue we see may be with the 1/4 size may be too small on some 3.6" screens. Other than that, it's seems like a pretty ingenious idea and makes you wonder if Microsoft is already thinking of solutions like these for the future. Our opinion? We really like this approach and it looks good too.

Edit: To clear up some confusion, this model doesn't mandate 1/4 size tiles. It allows full size, 1/2 size and 1/4 according to the user's choice. Look closely at the above images and see how all three are represented.

Think you have an idea that doesn't dramatically alter the UI? Anyone starting to have too many tiles? Hit us up on comments.

Source: XDA; Thanks, @CarsonKuehne, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: July 11-17, 2011

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Today marks the end of what has been a monster of a week (possibly the most populated summary we've had yet?) but we shall remain vigilant, grab a strong drink and battle through this summary together. We can rejoice that Mr Rubino shares his wonderful voice with the public in another WPCentral Podcast. Yep, they're still going and this isn't a joke!

Head on past the break for our weekly breakdown. 

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3 years ago

Blackjack Caribbean - Review

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Blackjack Caribbean - Review

Looking for a simple game of blackjack? One with a pirate feel to it? Blackjack Caribbean from XIMAD is being offered over at the Windows Phone Marketplace that might fit the bill.

Blackjack Caribbean is a simply, yet entertaining, version of blackjack. The game's graphics are nice and the game ran smoothly with no bumps, glitches or crashes experienced. Blackjack Caribbean is a free, ad-supported game and to read more on the game, hit the break.

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3 years ago

Dotastic - Microsoft brings social pressure to your to-do list

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Here's an odd little number: Dotastic hit the Marketplace sometime today and it's yet another official app from Microsoft, specifically their FUSE Labs, which specialize in social networking technology (see the WP7 'Project Emporia'). If you're not familiar with them here's their mission statement:

"FUSE Labs works in partnership with product and research teams to ideate, develop, and deliver new social, real-time, and media-rich experiences for home and work."

Dotastic is an app that mixes a to-do list with the fun and pressure of social networking--its motto is "Achieve Together". Think of it as broadcasting things to get done to your friends, where you then compete against each other by collecting points upon task completion. It's a method of using social pressure but in a positive way, which we think is pretty ingenious (so long as your task isn't too private, ahem). From the app description:

"Dotastic is a fun way to challenge your friends and help each other get things done. Earn points for completing tasks and compete with your friends to be at the top of the leaderboard. Incentives and social pressure helps you stay motivated as you complete your tasks and share your achievements with everyone."

It's like Twitter, but with a point. The app seems to coincide with the website www.dotastic.com, which is not yet live. We imagine that website will allow you to access your account (which is done via Facebook) and use it as primary interface, whereas the mobile app is for...well, when you're on the go.

You can downland the app by clicking this link, but understand at this time it's currently not working. The app needs to communicate with the Dotastic server, which is that aforementioned website. Until that goes live, you won't be able to complete the setup. One thing is for certain, Microsoft is having fun playing around with social networks, apps and technologies akin to Google (but nicer looking).

via: WindowsPhoneMetro

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3 years ago

13CABS Taxi lands down under

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13CABS Taxi lands down under

13CABS Taxi is a free mobile cab booking app for Windows Phone users in Melbourne. 13CABS allows users to by-pass call queues and book taxis direct to their location using the Windows Phones' location services. Other features include:

  • Create multiple booking for future dates and times.
  • Use previous locations and maintain a library of favorites for quicker bookings.
  • Where's my Cab? feature allows users to check the real-time location of their cab.
  • Fare estimator to give you a good indication of how much a particular fare will cost.
  • Ability to sync with their my13Cabs account.

There is also a "shake to whistle" feature you can use to hail a cab to your location. All in all, 13CABS Taxi looks like a great app for your Windows Phone if you rely on taxis.

Again, this app is restricted to the Melbourne, Australia Marketplace. You should be able to download your free copy of 13CABS Taxi here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Source: WPDownUnder

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3 years ago

Pirate's Mind picks up online leaderboards at port

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Indie developer M80 Games may be hard at work on their upcoming puzzler Buzzwords, but they haven’t forgotten about their first Windows Phone title, Pirate’s Mind either. The game recently saw two new updates in the span of a week. Let’s check ‘em out.

Pirate’s Mind version 1.6 release notes:

  • This was a hotfix for unsupported characters in the font set preventing the leaderboards from showing.

Pirate’s Mind version 1.5 release notes:

  • Leaderboards added!!
  • Players will need to choose a username the first time the game is launched.
  • Each game mode has its own leaderboard.

In our review of Pirate’s Mind, I wished for online leaderboards, and they’ve finally become a reality. We initially expected the leaderboards to utilize the third-party Scoreloop system, but M80 switched to the open-source Mogade system during development. The results do not disappoint. The game’s leaderboard now lists the top fifty daily, weekly, and all-time scores as well as the player’s position in each category. This adds a welcome competitive element to an already enjoyable game.

Not only is Pirate’s Mind free, it doesn’t even have  a single in-game ad to offend the eye. Puzzle game fans should give it a spin. You’ll find it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace. 

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3 years ago

BBC News Mobile: Mango Beta [Hands on]

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A few days ago we reported that the developer of the BBC News Mobile app was starting to play with the Mango dev tools and we saw what he had in plan for the app.

Now, he's gone ahead and released the beta XAP file for those of you with dev unlocked devices and Mango to side load. Of course he'd greatly appreciate if you could provide bug reports, insight, opinions, etc. so as to make the app even better. The current beta will work till September 1st at which point he'll update with a newer version, but you should also follow his blog for any new updates in the mean time.

We took it for a spin and even though it's just "beta" it feels pretty polished to us. Check out the video above where you can see the multiple Live Tiles in action, dual flip live tiles, feeds and get the over-all feel of the app. We're already really impressed with the new version and it's fun to see the power of Mango in action.

Grab the XAP and get more info here. Grab the free non-Mango version in the Marketplace here.

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3 years ago

What to do after submission? [Developers]

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What to do after submission? [Developers]

So you've created your Windows Phone app and you now have some presence building in the Marketplace, what happens now? Are there ways for developers to market and promote their app to users? You bet'cha! There are a ton of channels developers can take (some offered by Microsoft) to help bring in more potential users.

Sheeds has published two editorial pieces on his website, which are worth looking into by new and small developers. The first covers what I've mentioned already in this article, what should you do once you've submitted to the Marketplace? The second moves outside the WP7 sphere itself and explains how developers can promote outside the Marketplace.

Some points Sheeds covers include creating a website for your apps as a central hub for information, contact and to use for social media deployment. Twitter, Facebook and other networks will prove to be invaluable for developing your brand awareness and increasing reach. Remember to look around our site for more guides too that cover advertising networks and more. Just because the app (or game) is in the Marketplace, doesn't mean you can sit back and have a cup of tea. There's always work to be done!

Source: WPDownUnder

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3 years ago

London Windows Phone app helps keep the streets clean

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Here's a pretty ingenious way for citizens to use the power of mobile phones, specifically the camera, GPS and internet, to take back their streets.

Giving a quick way for citizens to report vandalism, garbage and other such nuisances, people simply take a photo and upload it to a public message board where the appropriate authorities can then act on it. It's a smart way to get government to be more efficient and for citizens to take part in maintaining the community. As a result, the town has reduced graffiti by 73% and response time has gone from 2 1/2 days to just a 1/2 day--pretty impressive.

Goes to show how technology can really make an impact in people's quality of life. Too bad we can't envision U.S. politicians being so progressive about technology and implementing such a program. Head to the BBC site to see the video of it in action, pretty cool stuff.

Source: BBC; Thanks, Neil

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3 years ago

New images of ZTE's Mango device destined for China

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During WPC11, we saw the first glimpse of ZTE's entry into the Windows Phone field. Now a few more images have come forth, posted by ZTE's Dr. Luo Zhongsheng, who evidently is their head of smartphone development.

The phone can be seen sporting some art on the start screen as well as localized Chinese language support. In addition, it looks to have Weibo built in instead of Twitter, which is blocked in China. Weibo is described as "a Chinese microblogging site akin to a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook...". The device itself looks like a prototype as opposed to the more polished version demonstrated at WPC, though as NanaPho suggests perhaps different color schemes will be offered. No other device spces are currently known.

This coincides nicely with the leak about the Toshiba-Fujitsu phone release in August, suggesting that indeed these phones are coming earlier than expected an the Asian market is gearing up for release.

Update: Evidently it's not Weibos that's built, but rather a standalone app running the service.

Source: digi.it.sohu; via NanaPho

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3 years ago

Sorry, Agents. Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst has vanished from the Marketplace

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Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst is an Xbox Live title that can’t seem to catch any breaks. Sure, when it debuted we gave it a positive review. After all, its ability to use both a phones’ GPS locations and satellite photographs to create in-game maps is quite innovative. But even at launch, the game’s online servers (required to use many of its features) performed sporadically at best. A series of patches that should have fine-tuned its performance instead introduced new issues. It got so bad that one of Project Sunburst’s Achievements became unobtainable for new players, necessitating its inclusion in our Broken Achievements exposé.

This week, Project Treadstone, I mean Sunburst was pulled from the Windows Phone Marketplace without explanation. We haven’t received a comment from Microsoft yet, but it’s safe to assume that the game’s ongoing problems and customer complaints resulted in the pull. Given that the game started out semi-broken and never became 100% properly functional after several updates, it’s possible that the development team just can’t get it fixed, but that’s a worst-case scenario. Hopefully Microsoft Game Studios cures what ails Project Sunburst and gets it back on the Marketplace soon. In the meantime, people who own the game should not delete it from their devices as they won’t be able to redownload it until it officially returns to the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Custom ringtones in Windows Phone Mango [How to]

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Custom ringtones in Windows Phone Mango [How to]

The Microsoft team updated us awhile ago on how custom ringtones, a long sought feature, will work in Mango. And while quite a few of us (mostly devs, a few who are not) are running Mango with a beta Zune client, even we don't have the automatic ringtone maker on board.

Over at Mobility Digest, James Schneider has figured away for those running Mango now to make custom ringtones. All in all, while not as easy as the official version (when it arrives), it's not too hard either. In essence you'll need Audacity, a great freeware audio mixer (we use it for the podcast), some music and a few seconds to cut and export the file following those guidelines

  • 39 seconds or shorter
  • smaller than 1 megabyte (MB)
  • saved in MP3 or WMA format
  • not copy-protected (i.e. DRM free)

By simply adjust the HZ rate, mono/stereo, etc. you can alter the size to keep it under 1MB. Then you just drag-n-drop the file through Zune, creating a new category in your Collection called 'Ringtones' and walla, you're done. Check out the entire guide with screenshots at Mobility Digest.

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3 years ago

Arcane's Tower Defense now wowing people in the Marketplace

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We've been waiting on Arcane's Tower Defense for what seems like forever. Actually, it was way back in October when we saw the first rumbling of the epic tower defense game, then a more detailed look in February

Well, the game is finally a go in the Marketplace, selling for a fair $1.99. Unfortunately, there is no trial (sad panda) but if you like tower defense, just watch the video after the break--the game kind of sells itself and we have to say with our brief hands on: wow, epic, [insert superlative here]

Amazing music, great sound effects, excellent tutorial, custom maps. Folks, we may be jumping the gun here, but this could be one of those games, you know, a must have? Sure, you can wait till our review goes up, but we're gonna go ahead and suggest that if you like these types of games then just go ahead. Now excuse us, we're off to kill some goblins...

Update: One of the developers of ATD let us know in comments that there should be a trial version and that there's probably an error in the Marketplace. They're trying to fix it as soon as possible.

Update 2: Trial is now available! No excuses now.

Grab Arcane's Tower Defense here in the Marketplace for $1.99. Video after the break. Thanks, Eric I., for the tip!

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3 years ago

Penny Arcade's Gabe reviews Windows Phone 7

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The other day we ran Penny Arcade's comic on Windows Phone 7. Some found it funny, others did not. Regardless, Gabe is a pretty popular internet celebrity and he decided to finally post his thoughts on the phone and OS.

See, Gabe's actually a long time iPhone user but he was looking for something, well, different. Using his magical powers he was able to grab a Samsung Focus from Microsoft running NoDo (we presume, it's not Mango). We encourage you to read his whole review but the take away message could be summarized as follows:

"...the user experience is really the distinguishing factor in my opinion. I know how ridiculous it sounds to say that I switched to a Microsoft device because I prefer the UI design and the way it “feels” to use the device but it’s true. I’m not sure when MS became the scrappy underdog hungry to shake things up with a radical new idea but here it is. I really love the design elements and how consistent they are throughout the entire experience. I realize that probably isn’t enough for most people to change phones but as someone who loves design and "new art" it was enough for me."

He still needs to put though a road-test, which he's looking to do next week when he heads to Comic Con. Hey, publicity is publicity and if we can convert folks one at a time, so be it.

Source: Penny Arcade; Thanks, Matt B., for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Angry Birds is missing a few levels. Like a 105 of 'em.

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Although Angry Birds (see review) is still the top game in the Marketplace right now and it is a lot of fun, lots of folks are still shaking their head at the $2.99 price tag versus our competition where it is either free or $0.99. Putting aside for the moment the eternal debate about Xbox LIVE titles and their value (we're actually okay with $2.99 games, sorry), lets look at another related issue: Angry Bird levels and updates.

For those familiar with the Angry Birds universe, you'll know it's not a static game. Both on the iPhone and Android it receives frequent updates in the form of new levels. Currently, the Windows Phone version comes with a seemingly ample 135 levels on it and to be honest, it is keeping us busy. But our version is based on v1.4.2 whereas the iPhone/Android version is at 1.6.1. 

Windows Phone Daily compared and contrasted the two versions and found that ours is missing about 105 levels on it, which...well, is a lot. Of course to cut Rovio some slack, they did have to get the game out by a certain time and matching updates is like shooting a moving target. Interestingly, when you max out all the levels in Angry Birds on Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone, you get the above "Coming Soon" screen. So that's a least promising as it looks like Rovio (or more likely their outsourced partner who made our version, Innogiant Ltd.) are planning on adding those levels in the future. 

Unfortunately, neither company was willing to go on record about when to expect those new-old levels and knowing the update record of Xbox LIVE titles, we're hoping it won't be too long. In the meantime, we'll be busy trying to complete the current 135 challenges.

Update: Saad Hashmi of Windows Phone Daily just commented that they heard from Rovio, although it was not very informative. You can read his comment below.

Source: Windows Phone Daily

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