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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: October 10 - 16, 2011

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We're kicking off this week's summary with Dave Blake listing hot discussions you could be missing out on over at our Windows Phone forum. If you're residing in the UK and are an owner of a Windows Phone, have you heard about the new review section at the official Windows Phone UK website? A small competition is being ran which we're helping to judge! Simply review your experience and be in with a chance to win. Head on past the short break for the full summary.

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3 years ago

Bing Maps gets new color scheme and more legible features

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It's always kind of cool when Microsoft updates that back-end of Bing Maps because you don't need to, you know, do anything. Sure, it's not better voice-navigation nor Ovi Maps, but the changes are not exactly subtle either. Instead, what we have in the mobile version of Bing Maps more closely matching the desktop version.

Most of the changes deal with the color scheme of roads, with purple denoting major highways, blue secondary roads and grey for back roads. Text looks a bit easier to read and perhaps its just us, but the app seems to handle downloading and caching maps a lot easier, resulting in faster scrolling. Other than that, we're not noticing too much else but we're betting this may be a regional thing too.

Shout out in comments if you noticing anything and we'll add it.

Source: MobileTechWorld; via Pocketnow

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3 years ago

Official Groupon app now Windows Phone 7.5 compatible

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Love it or hate (we're the latter, but whatever), Groupon is big and their official app just got the Mango treatment is rightly deserves. So for those of you who have it or for those who didn't know about it, you'll want to go and get this admittedly nice looking app a spin.

Hitting version 2.0, the developers went beyond the usual fast-app switching which is automatic for a Mango app. Instead, they've embraced a bunch of Mango features, making this quite a worthy update:

"You can now browse, purchase, and redeem Groupon Now! deals, as well as pin any division or Groupon Now! to the home screen as two-sided live tiles. We've also updated our push notification service so that you get notified when deals are available for you!"

What's to not like about all of that? Not much, so head here to the Marketplace and get it now. Thanks, Matthew S., for the tip using our app!

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3 years ago

Nokia 710 Windows Phone specs revealed on developer page

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We've reported on the Nokia 703 Windows Phone in the past and even a possible image, but a 710? That's certainly new but it does hint that this may be a variation of the 703/Sabre, perhaps for a carrier or maybe unlocked international edition.

The info comes way of My Nokia Blog note that it was found on Nokia's developer page. They're not 100% sure if it's a Windows Phone, but all the specs suggest that it is:

  • 1.4GHz Cortex A8
  • 3.7″, 800×480 Clear Black TFT
  • 119 x 62.4 x 12.48mm
  • 125.5g
  • 28mm wide angle but 5MP camera
  • 720p, 30FPS
  • 8GB Internal memory
  • 512mb RAM
  • Browser undisclosed
  • Bit scary - BL-5B 3.7V 820mAh (820mAh) – 400 hours standby (more than iPhone 4S), 5H 3G browsing, 7H GSM talk time. MicroSIM.

Yup. That's pretty much in line with everything else we've been hearing about Nokia's offerings for their Windows Phones. But there are some anomalies, like the Cortex A8 which we don't think goes to 1.4 GHz and the Java/Flash part certainly doesn't fit. But perhaps those are just fillers or errors.

Want more proof? The Nokia 710 has shown up on Occasional Gamer's game stats page, which collects data from Windows Phones running some of his twelve different games in the Marketplace. So this seems pretty solid.

Source: My Nokia Blog; Thanks, Remus, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Sprint makes the Arrive a poster child for their Buyback program, favors iPhone 4S

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To make the Windows Phone situation even sadder on Sprint than it already is (seriously, they pretty much tie Verizon), Sprint is now using the HTC Arrive, arguably one of the better Windows Phones, as the example for their buyback program. In short, when you go to the iPhone 4S page on Sprint, scrolling down reveals the Sprint Buyback program and the HTC Arrive, a phone that is just six months old, is wrapped in age-inducing ivy.

It's as if Sprint is digging the knife in a little deeper. Sure, we could hope that this is because they're getting ready to reveal one or even two new Windows Phone for the holiday season, but honestly, it's been pretty quiet on the rumor front so far.

Lame Sprint, just lame.

Thanks, EJ Lee, for the heads up

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3 years ago

ChevronWP7 Labs unlocker a few weeks from launch, new details released

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Now that Mango has come to a lot of Windows Phones, there's still a few big things to look forward to this year: Skype, Nokia and of course ChevronWP7 Labs. For those new to the site or community, ChevronWP7 Labs is the little project by Rafael Rivera, Chris Walsh and Long Zheng who originally unlocked Windows Phone in the pre and post NoDo era (with Microsoft's indirect and humorous approval).

The Labs project has one goal:"......to allow hobbyist developers to install, run, and debug unsigned applications on their personal Windows Phone". That is, it's a way for you, the regular user, to toy around with some advanced tools without breaking the bank and while being sanctioned by Microsoft.  And now that day is nearly upon us, meaning you can soon join the homebrew community to side-load some apps on to your Windows Phone.

Here's how the process will work when launched in a few weeks:

  1. You'll need a Windows Live ID (it can be different from your Windows Phone Live ID)
  2. Purchase an "unlock token". Cost is $9.00 via PayPal and is good for infinite unlocks per single phone.
  3. Download and install an unlocking too, which is similar to the official AppHub registration one
  4. Your phone will be placed in a queue to be unlocked and that's it!

All in all, this will provide a great opportunity for those who aren't full-time developers nor those who can't afford to pay the regular $99 to unlock their phones. It should also expand the hobbyist and homebrew community significantly, giving Windows Phone users a new avenue to explore as well as apply new ideas.

The team is wrapping up the final preparations now and we can look for an official launch in a few weeks. We'll of course keep you abreast of all and any new developments.

Read the full details from the ChevronWP7 Labs team right here.

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3 years ago

Official blog for Microsoft Studios’ Xbox LIVE Arcade and Windows Phone games launches

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Here's a cool little site you'll want to bookmark: www.playxbla.com

The new site is described as "the official voice for Microsoft Studios’ Xbox LIVE Arcade and Windows Phone games" and looks to be a neat little place to get the latest info on gaming as well as interacting with developers and Microsofties. They've been on Twitter for awhile, linking to other gaming sites, but now they have a home of their own.

The site looks nice enough and features exclusive articles on new and upcoming games. And while our own Paul Acevedo often gets the scoop first, it's always nice to see what the official team has got going. Plus, you can probably gripe to them (instead of us) about missing Xbox LIVE games for Windows Phone. We keed, we keed...

So head to their websitexbla and follow 'em on Twitter here @PlayXBLA. (Thanks, TheWeeBear, for the heads up!)

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3 years ago

Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada - Review

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It's been a busy week for Windows Phone navigation apps. First we see NAVIGON released that brings on-board maps to your Windows Phone to eliminate the need for a data connection for route calculations and maps. Now we see GPSTuner, developer of Outdoor Navigator and Turn by Turn Navigation, release a new version of Turn by Turn that also includes offline maps.

But wait, the original version of Turn by Turn had downloadable maps. True, but the process was a little cumbersome and the original version still required a data connection for routing and for the times you strayed from the map shot you downloaded.

The new version of Turn by Turn Navigation allows you to choose regional maps to eliminate the need for a data connection. This also allows you to minimize storage requirements by allowing you to choose what maps are downloaded. If you never stray from the Western US, why should you tie up storage with East Coast maps?

The app itself has changed very little (you do have a new search function) but the performance is noticeably improved with the addition of on-board, offline maps. To see how Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada managed the open road, move on past the break.

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3 years ago

Funny Faces augmented reality app for Mango

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Schulte Software Development has released Funny Faces, one of the first Mango apps to use augmented reality.  Using your phone's camera, Funny Faces will detect people's faces and overlay your choice of ridiculous head wear.  Choose from Afros, mustaches, different hats, or the famed internet hero himself, Chuck Norris. 

Once you have sufficiently sillied-up your target, Funny Faces allows you take a picture with the camera and save it to your photo album.  Better yet, you can share your snapshot with friends  directly via email, Twitter and FaceBook.  There are already quite a bit of overlay options, with more on the way. The devs are also asking for suggestions, so if you have any ideas, feel free to share them right through the app itself.

You can get Funny Faces from the Marketplace for $.99, or try it free first.  The trial version has a few overlays to try and a one-time ability to save/share your creation.

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3 years ago

Use Microsoft's Live Tile app to quickly toggle 3G data [Tip]

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About two weeks ago, on "Mango day", Microsoft quietly sneaked out a neat little app that's especially useful for those on limited 3G data plans. The app is simply called Cellular Data and all it does is create a Live Tile that directly links to your Data Settings page. This gives you a quick and easy shortcut for toggling your data on and off, instead of drilling down the Settings menu.

What makes it a Live Tile though is that it updates every 30 minutes with an on/off notification in the corner, letting you "glance and go" to see if your data is on or not, possibly racking up costly roaming data.

The app is free and certainly worth the install. Pick it up here in the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Bing search and speak recognition [How To]

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Bing search and speak recognition [How To]

We've looked at Local Scout among other improvements brought to the user in Windows Phone Mango, but nothing beats a British walk through of how to search, use Bing services and the speech recognition. Take a quick look at the above video for a brief overlook in what's new with the search functionality in Windows Phone, while the below how to takes us through running commands with voice in favour of touch.

More information can be found at the Windows Phone UK blog, link below.

Source: MykindofPhone

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3 years ago

Birdsong Twitter app hits v1.6 and goes for Mango

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One of our top Twitter apps, Birdsong, has finally gone all Mango on us which is now live in the Marketplace. Birdsong has some unique fetaures in it, making it worth considering if you're browsing for a new Twitter client. For one, it has detailed controls over the Live Tile (mentions/messages) as well as Push Notifications (mentions/messages) and it even has a "do not disturb" option so you don't get any alerts during specified hours.

Version 1.6 brings a host of Mango features as well as some other fixes and additions:

  • Fast switching - One of Mango's biggest features, allows you to return to Birdsong from another application quickly and with the application state entact.
  • t.co link wrapping
  • Browser configuration - You can now configure whether to use the internal browser or launch IE directly. The default is now IE as fast app swtiching makes this a much nicer experience.
  • Toggling Favourite had broken due to a change in the Twitter API
  • Added Japanese Language support
  • Added integrated picture viewing support for http://instagr.am/

Our impressions? Birdsong has greatly benefited from the speed and scrolling enhancements in Mango, making this quite a nice app. It would have been to have a more robust Live Tile (no flippy action is used here) but otherwise, it's pretty solid. Birdsong can be had for $0.99 with a free trial. Pick it up here.

Thanks, ShipWreck and themoose14, for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Call frequent contacts more easily with 7Dialer

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Do you find that you can't pin enough contacts to the home screen for quick access? Introducing 7Dialer, by JDBPocketware, a solution for those who wish to create a contact wall where frequently contacted people can be pinned and accessed within seconds. The app features two main panes, the first is an intelligent search, while the second is the people wall.

A few limitations are present unfortunately. These include the inability to edit, remove or add contacts from the app (official People hub will need to be used, followed by  synchronising 7Dialer) and phone numbers for contacts pulled from Facebook will not be available due to privacy policies.

Some highlighted features include:

  • Smart dialling/filtering either with number pad or characters pad
  • Option to call, SMS or email
  • "Call later" reminders
  • Pin contacts as Live Tiles to start screen, as a to-do related to a contact
  • Fullscreen People wall (aka favourites) with customisable layouts
  • Dial tone sounds
  • Breathing effect for contact tiles
  • Live tile display options

7Dialer can be downloaded from the Marketplace for £1.49 ($1.99) and a free trial is available.

Source: JDBPocketware, thanks TheWeeBear for the tip!

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3 years ago

MS commits £20m to advertising Nokia phones, Samsung gets some too

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Just in time for the holidays, Microsoft has given Nokia a gift of their own, £20 million to advertising Nokia's new line of WP7 phones in the United Kingdom.  The money will fund a barrage of advertising across all media, focusing on different aspects of the phones' capabilities, including social media, gaming and wide variety of apps.  It comes as part of Nokia's agreement to scrap its proprietary operating system, Symbian, in favor of Windows Phone.  The partnership is huge for Microsoft and make or break for Nokia.  According to one source:

"Microsoft is funding a massive campaign with Nokia across every single media you can imagine. It’s the last roll of the dice for them. They must go big, bad and boldly. Microsoft is desperate to kick the hell out of Android. If they can get across how amazing Mango is they could really crack it this time."

And shortly after making their own financial commitment to marketing WP7, Samsung is receiving some help from Microsoft as well.  The Korean handset manufacturer has partnered with MS for a £8 million holiday push for the Omnia W, touting it as a multimedia device for everyone.  Details on how much of the £8m Microsoft contributed are scarce, but in a statement Windows Phone Division president Andy Lees said:

"It’s not good enough to have a ramp that’s similar to other guys, you have to ramp faster. That’s what we are aiming to do this holiday season, and particularly into 2012."

Great attitude!  WP7 fans have been wanting to see the word get out for a long time now.

Source: MobileToday, Via: WMPowerUser

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3 years ago

Dell's ongoing Venue Pro problems: No compass driver in Mango?

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Anyone who's used the Dell Venue Pro know its a love-hate relationship. And  just as things were looking up for the device with Mango and some new firmware, a new issue has cropped up, one that has been bothering us too.

The compass doesn't work. For any app. No Stars 3D, no compass, no augmented-reality, nothing.

The compass drive and API are up to the OEM to provide which is why when you update to Mango you get two updates: the OS and the firmware. And while Dell did deliver the firmware (jumping from 212 to 219) they evidently botched it with the compass driver, as is becoming obvious for many users.

Now at XDA, some sleuthing has in fact shown this to be the case. Mitchell S., has taken a look at the log during the Mango setup and found this:

**** Starting IMGFS Update @ 16:46:58 ****

Deleting file compassDrv.dll.  &$^4?!

CustomSettings.cab.pkg->5E542BF4-046F-41AA-8BB7-FFB031E0F024.rgu @ 16:46:59

Setting invalid OS state

QC_8x50_OS_SHIP.cab.pkg->D3F0E60E-DE7C-11DF-930A-3D26E0D72085.rgu @ 16:46:59

CustomIcon.cab.pkg->05E12A31-F993-40A4-8A58-136879E5CCEC.rgu @ 16:46:59

Even if that wasn't the reason, it still doesn't explain why our compass is locked at 100 degrees. What say you, Dell? Are we going to have to wait another six-months for this to be fixed?

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