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3 years ago

Nokia to adopt Windows Phone 7 OS -- It's official!

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The rumors have been swirling for days but this morning it was official announced by both companies that Nokia will be adopting Windows Phone 7. In a joint open letter, both companies spelled out what the partnership means--let it be clear it's as big as it is deep--this is not just Nokia using Bing but a whole agreement in a virtual merger on smartphone strategy:

The core of the decision is for Nokia to use Windows Phone as its primary smartphone OS, with MeeGo going to the back-burner (but living on). The OVI store will merge with Microsoft's Marketplace, Bing will be on all Nokia services and Nokia wil provide mapping data for Bing.

The combination of Nokia, who's the largest cell phone maker (by volume) and Microsoft should create quite the juggernaut and gives Windows Phone the gravitas it needs to be taken more seriously (by consumers, carriers and the market). Indeed, this changes everything today. Will it pay off? Who knows, but we're happier with this decision than without it.

Why not Android? According to Nokia CEO Elop:

We explored the opportunity with the Google ecosystem. We would have had difficulty differentiating within that ecosystem, and so Microsoft represented the best opportunity to build and lead and fight through with a new ecosystem.

Have they started collaborating on a device yet? From Ballmer:

We’re already working together to create the first Nokia Windows phones and you’ll hear more from us in all of those areas in the next weeks and months.

When? “We’ll be shipping in volume in 2012”, varying price points -Elop (via AllThingsD)

(Quote via via ElectricPig; part 2)

After the break, see the full official strategy between the two companies as outlined in their "open letter" and video...

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3 years ago

Seesmic v1.4 now out, supports landscape for composing, many new features

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Hooray! Seesmic seems to be on the go again, delivering another solid update to their popular Twitter app. While still lagging in some areas, they're filling in some big gaps.

Version 1.4 just hit the Marketplace and here are the changes:

  • Support of Salesforce Chatter: Add your Chatter account as a space and see your chatter feed, comment on updates, post updates, see your groups and view their feed.
  • Support of Facebook Pages and Private Messages: Harness the ability to post to the Facebook pages you're an admin of, from the composer account selector and view your inbox of private messages (in read only).
  • Translation of a tweet to English from the action menu.
  • Support for Landscape mode in the composer (more to come soon).
  • Context menus are now available for quick access to the essential features when long pressing on a tweet, a user or a direct message thread:
  • Ability to see and manage attachments in the composer before you upload them, when sending your update.
  • Ability to choose the size of the pictures you upload for faster upload times.
  • Ability to see the public conversations from a tweet when tapping on "in reply to" inside a tweet.
  • Ability to delete an entire direct message conversation.
  • Multiple bug fixes.

Not bad, Seesmic, not bad at all. Grab it here in the Marketplace.

Source: Seesmic blog

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3 years ago

USA Today will incorporate MS Tags

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USA Today will incorporate MS Tags

Starting today, USA Today will start using MS Tags in their print edition to help bring their paper and their digital content closer together.  Readers will now be able to scan the tags using MS Tag Reader and be directed to digital content including videos, picture galleries, financial and sports info, etc.  A press release stated that the paper will feature "at least one" MS Tag per issue.

We’re excited that USA TODAY is using Tag to engage with readers in a more interactive way,” said Bill McQuain, director of Tag Product Management at Microsoft Corp. “Microsoft Tag makes the world around you clickable, and now with the scan of Tag, customers will get a richer, more enhanced experience from the pages of the newspaper.

Microsoft has already released over 2 billion of the codes for a multitude of products, publications, studios and networks

Source: USA Today; via: WinRumors

 

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3 years ago

Haypi Kingdom, the first MMO for Windows Phone 7 now available

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While Xbox Live games for Windows Phone 7 continue to remain online-only affairs, that hasn’t stopped indie developers from creating games with online play. Lately we saw Broiled Earth, a competitive artillery game, and now thanks to Haypi Kingdom, Microsoft’s mobile platform has its first MMO (Massively-Multiplayer Online game).

The game's description, according to Haypi Kingdom’s official website:

Haypi Kingdom is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). You will be a general directing an ancient kingdom in a strategic game - boosting resource production, adventuring in extensive wild land, reaping legendary treasures, equipping your troops with advanced abilities and fighting against enemies - with the ultimate goal of becoming the strongest kingdom in the ancient world. Your general can get higher title and more advanced attributes as he joins more and more battles. His attributes will be shared among his troops as well.

You won't play alone. In this massive multiplayer online game you will be able to interact with thousands of players from all over the world in a competition for fame, power, wealth and glory. What's more, there are plenty of possibilities to interact with others - Not only offense and defense, but also trade, alliance, mail system, chat system, etc.

Of special note is Haypi Kingdom’s revenue model. The game is free to play, but players can purchase in-game coins through optional microtransactions.

Coins can be used to speed up upgrades, enhance resource production, buy VIP time to add upgrading slots, buy resource or treasures, call back troops, and enhance your city loyalty immediately, etc. Coins can only [be] purchased with real money at "SHOP". Each player is awarded 30 coins when they first play the game.

Basically, coins allow impatient players to speed up various processes in the game. Smurf Village on iPhone and of course Farmville use similar payment models.

We previously heard from another developer that microtransactions were prohibited on Microsoft's mobile platform, so it’s surprising to see that may not be the case. Micro payments would certainly open up the door for more popular online games to come to WP7.

Gamers who are interested in a social role-playing experience on Windows Phone 7 can get Haypi Kingdom for free here (opens a link to your Zune software) on the Marketplace. We’ll have a full review of the game soon.

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3 years ago

MWC 11 snubs Windows Phone 7: no official app

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We're prepping for our 4k mile hike to the Mobile World Congress and just received an email about the official phone app for the event. Perhaps not too surprisingly, Windows Phone 7 is left off of the compatibility list, with out guess being that MWC/Whatamap.com did not feel it was popular enough. (Boo, hiss)

Two thoughts though: with Ballmer giving a keynote, dealing with Windows Phone 7, this kind of looks a bit unimpressive. Second, Microsoft should have commissioned someone to do it for them (like they did with the upcoming MIX 11)--though perhaps MWC would have been too daunting a task.

The good news is Windows Mobile 6 is covered, which means we just dusted off our LG eXpo for the event (1GHz baby! Resistive screen, eck!). But we just had a sad thinking we need to cover this event using a Windows Mobile device. That and our Twikini is dead.

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3 years ago

Price Drop: Glow Artisan just $2.99

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It’s been a while since we saw a price drop on an Xbox Live game for Windows Phone 7 (the last one was a temporary price drop for Rocket Riot). Now Glow Artisan has dropped from $4.99 to $2.99. The ~$3 price point is the most popular price for Xbox Live games, so Glow Artisan may see a significant jump in sales.

Glow Artisan is a unique puzzle game that centers on the use of colors. Players must recreate a pattern at the top of the screen by mixing colors on a grid of squares. Our review praises its simplicity, underlying depth, and range of gameplay options. Glow Artisan was developed by Powerhead Games and published by Microsoft Game Studios. Grab it for the new low price of $2.99 or give the free trial a spin here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

The last Xbox Live price drop didn’t last forever, so don’t drag your heels!

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3 years ago

Rogers' Venue Pro pricing leaked

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Rogers' Venue Pro pricing leaked

As you may have heard, Rogers mobile will be offering the Dell Venue Pro in March.  According to a tipster, pricing on the vertical slider will be $149.99 with a 3-year contract commitment or $599.99 with no contract.  While non-contract pricing for phones usually hovers between the $400-$600 mark, $149.99 seems to be a bit steep for a three year commitment.  There may be some other pricing available down the road, but as of now, this is all we know about.

Source: MobileSyrup; Thanks, Steve, for letting us know!

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3 years ago

Microsoft heavily recruiting for Windows Phone Hardware Engineering team

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Microsoft just posted some job new job opportunities and one theme has surfaced: they're actively recruiting for what appears to be a new Hardware team, a sub-group in the Mobile Communication Business (MCB). The MCB is tasked with improving Microsoft's

...focus and processes to rapidly commercialize the new Windows Phone (WP) OS, software and services with our OEM and Mobile Operator partners. One component of this evolution is the Hardware group which is responsible for helping drive rapid commercialization of WP by active management of relationships and technical direction with key hardware partners.

No, it's not Microsoft building a self-branded Windows Phone, but rather a stronger hand in guiding the future evolution of Windows Phone hardware, working in conjunction with OEM partners for rapid deployment.  A few of the jobs for this Hardware group include:

Such high level positions sounds to us like this is a new undertaking for Microsoft (or a lot of key personal went missing recently). In addition, the director will:

... lead a team of hardware developers that design, develop, and test multi-protocol wireless implementations for mobile applications, with an eye toward cost reduction, power consumption and performance improvement, whilst maximizing re-use and minimizing time to market. You will work with business, industrial design, user experience, hardware, and software teams to understand, identify and drive requirements and identify the emerging technologies that will enable new user scenarios.

Call us crazy, but if this whole group is new (or at least being revamped), it sounds to us like Microsoft is going to become more strict and focused on hardware for Windows Phone, to the point of nearly directing key OEM partners on new devices (but we're sure they'd call it "collaborating"). If so, it's an interesting approach of using Microsoft's vast resources and research capabilities to do a lot of hardware engineering, without committing to making the hardware themselves. Thoughts? Sound off in comments.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone NoDo update coming out early March? Here's the story.

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While we've generally tried to stray from pinning down an exact date to the Windows Phone 'NoDo' update in addition to posting unsourced rumors on the topic (well, we try), at least this latest one has some things going for it: a name, a place and some pics.

The latest rumor suggests that the Windows Phone 'NoDo' update is coming in early March. We won't say "delayed" because as far as we know, Microsoft has never set a public date. What we do know is that they will most definitely discuss the 800lb gorilla in the room next week at the Mobile World Congress (yes, we'll be there for it).

French site WindowsPhoneFR has the origin of this early March rumor: it stems from an event at TechDays 2011 ("a sort of lounge / conference dedicated to developers, to learn about the latest technology, latest techniques and recent projects" involving Microsoft). The conference was in Paris at the Palais des Congres and one of the editors of WindowsPhoneFR, Julian Vu, was there--so that's why we're posting this.

Samsung had a stand there with a representative and the question was directly asked:

Q: When will the update for Windows 7 Phone?

Samsung A: Probably early March, we will confirm at the Mobile World Congress in mid-February.

So there you go, that's where this all started. Is it true? Maybe. Either way, if you can hold for just a few more days, we're pretty sure we'll get the skinny from Micrsoft themselves, so no use getting in a twist over the exact date, m'kay? Update: The story also jives with one similar posted on WinExtra.

Udpate 2: Mary Jo Foley is confirming ealry March as well now with even more detail

Big thanks to Fabien Patou at WindowsPhoneFR for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Marketplace marches to 8,000 apps

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Here we are again. We'll keep it short and sweet as this is getting redundant. (We hit 7,000 on January 27th)

But right before Mobile World Congress kicks off next week in Barcelona, the Windows Phone Marketplace rampaged past 8,000 this morning. We say rampaged because for two days this week, the Marketplace came to a stand still (fixin's behind the scenes?) before a torrent of apps were then published. And if you just scroll through the last few pages, you'll see we've been getting quite the offerings...

Combined with the Nokia news and Windows Phone seems to be having a great day so far...

Source: Marketplace Browser

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3 years ago

Classic artillery shooter 'Broiled Earth' brings online multiplayer action to your Windows Phone

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Broiled Earth, influenced by the classic Scorched Earth, is an oldschool artillery game by Nullygon Technology Studio where you have two tanks on opposing sides--you then fire various projectile weapons, using angles, wind speed and power to hit your enemy. The game just launched in the Marketplace for $2.99 and is loads of fun for those who love these turn-based projectile games.

But what makes Broiled Earth really cool is the online, multiplayer bit--you can play up to four friends (and strangers) online over 3G or WiFi. The game uses a server system to host games, which you can either create or join. While we didn't get to try that aspect yet (the game just came out and it is 4am EST, ahem), the single player against the AI was just as sweet. (BTW, why are there no Xbox LIVE games doing this yet? Go indie developers!)

Could we be on the verge of another AlphaJax/SpellIt craze? We sure hope so as these types of games are a ton of fun. Bringing online multiplayer support to such classic turn-based gaming is something you just can't wrong with these days. Broiled Earth has a free trial (but no online support--guess that's where the $2.99 goes to) and our early impression is: don't miss out. (Are we overreacting or is this not totally awesome?)

Grab your free tial here in the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Dailymotion also gets an official app on Windows Phone

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I get an app, you get an app, they get an app...everyone gets an app! Flickr, Machinima, the Daily Show, Amazon.com, eBay...the list goes on and on and now the popular video site Dailymotion gets its official app today as well.

Offering access to seemingly all of its online video content, you can browse, search, favorite and email an endless supply of video content all form your phone--especially that messed up avocado commercial from JibJiab. W-T-...

We just gave it a spin: they done well and it's worth checking out. Videos (over WiFi) looks great and we really like their video-player interface plus ability to share content with others (really a must on mobile phones, amiright?).  Link is here for the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Official Amazon.com app launches for Windows Phone

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As previewed back at CES in early January (along with Flickr and Bank of America), the official Amazon.com app is now out for Windows Phone 7. The app will allow users to browse the popular shopping site without having to use the web, enabling ease of access to 1-click ordering, Wish Lists, package tracking, reviews and related items. Combined with the Kindle app, Amazon looks to have embraced Windows Phone, giving customers plenty to do on their devices.

Grab the app here in the Marketplace right now.

via @ckindel

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3 years ago

Surfcube 2.0 is now live in the Marketplace

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Hopefully you've seen the Surfcube 2.0 preview vid from few days ago. If so, you're probably as excited as we are that the 3D spinny browser has hit the Marketplace. (Remember to do the force-update trick to grab the new version). Featuring tabs (yusss!) and a new navigation mechasims (the joystick), the new version is quite worth the wait (and price).

So far, it's pretty darn cool. The joystick takes a bit to get used to but once you get the physics, it's quite fun to use--which is something we usually don't say about browsers. Go get yours in the Marketplace here.

via: @vibandi

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3 years ago

Balloon Gunner - Review

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Balloon Gunner - Review

Balloon Gunner is an interesting game for your Windows Phone. The Windows Phone 7 game is a 3D shooter that has you piloting an air balloon, conquering the skies over an island chain.

At your disposal, you have an assortment of weapons including a machine gun, rockets and bombs. You pilot your balloon with the Windows Phone's g-sensor and fire your weapons by tapping the screen. Sounds simple enough, right?

Follow the break to read more on Balloon Gunner and catch a video of the game in action.

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