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3 years ago

Windows Phone logo for Facebook gets a remake

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We've mentioned before that with "Mango", Microsoft is updating their logo for Windows Phone to the square version, enhanced by the various accent colors of the OS. The new logo received mixed reactions from you the last time with most agreeing it makes sense but that you still liked the old one better.

Well, now you can see it even more as Microsoft has changed the lil' icon for when you post to Facebook--you know, that tiny guy that tells you what service you posted from. While seemingly a minor detail, Facebook is a great place to spread the word about new technology and the new icon certainly has some pop to it. Clicking the link of course brings you to the Windows Phone Facebook page to learn more. Not bad.

Thanks, Loopyeyes and Nick L, for the tip

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3 years ago

Number Guru - App Spotlight

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Number Guru - App Spotlight

Number Guru is a reverse phone number search engine for your Windows Phone. Described as the "biggest, baddest, and most handsome callerID and reverse phone service you've ever seen", the app claims to cover about 100% of the landlines and 50% of cell phones (excluding Verizon numbers).  Not sure about the "biggest, baddest, and handsome" claim but Number Guru does cover a lot of territory by tapping into 334 area codes in the U.S. and U.S. territories (including the 1-888 and 1-800 numbers).

So now you have a means to reverse look-up those mysterious numbers that appear on your Windows Phone. The app searches are free and unlimited. You also have the ability to add comments to the phone numbers to help other users identify the type of caller (e.g. telemarketer).

Number Guru also maintains a history of numbers searched for quick reference. The interface is independent of your Windows Phone in that you have to enter the number manually (the ID won't pull up when the phone rings).

Number Guru is a free app that can be downloaded here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Tetris is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week, comrades

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Anybody remember when Tetris was a killer app that made people want to go out and get a black and white GameBoy to play it on the go? Those days have long since passed; hence even $4.99 seems like a lot for Tetris. Thankfully EA’s Tetris is finally on sale this week for $2.99, which goes down a lot easier.

The Windows Phone version of Tetris is actually quite slick. It’s got great visuals and a fine remix of the classic Tetris theme “Korobeiniki.” There are numerous gameplay variants such as Gravity and Radical that add a bit of variety to the game we’ve all played a million times before. Some people complain about the touch screen controls (swipe left and right to steer, tap to rotate, and swipe down to drop pieces), but I find them to be natural and effective. Our review also praises the game’s stat tracking.

Tetris is on sale for $2.99 for one week only. Puzzle fans can pick it up here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

Fun fact! I almost wrote a book about Tetris before deciding I didn't quite love the game enough to write about it for more than a hundred pages.

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3 years ago

Microsoft gearing up for Windows Phone 8 via job posting

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We barely have "Mango" out, there is sighting of "Tango" and mentions of Windows Phone 8 aka "Apollo" already. Now, in a job description posted by Microsoft, the Windows Phone is looking to add to their Consumer eXperience (ConX) team. From the job description:

"Want to be part of making Windows Phone 8 a reality? Want to work on a strategic and exciting product targeted at the next version of Windows? Then the Consumer eXperience (ConX) team is the place for you! The Windows Phone team is taking on a huge challenge stirring up the out of box experience for Windows Phone 8 and is committed to building/improving a compelling and dynamic high quality look and feel to our end user experience.This promises to be a volatile world churning within the OS, Phone 8 as well as our AUT (Application Under Test) that we’ll ship in the Windows Marketplace! Our test team needs a few more key folks to compliment the talent already onboard. We are looking for experienced and intelligent engineers to join our team! Join us in our mission to bring the most compelling Windows Phone experience to customers to date!"

We like the mention of "stirring up the out of box experience" but really have no idea what that actually means. Sounds ambitious though and so far the WP team hasn't let us down with these updates and roadmap for the platform. Once again, the end-user experience is the focus here and Microsoft seems to have a good thing going with the Metro UI.

Though we probably won't see "Apollo" aka WP8 till mid-2012, it's pretty exciting to see the gears in motion already. Microsoft really seems to have taken the gloves off for this fight in the mobile arena.

Source: Microsoft Careers; via WMPU; Image credit: Jozef Kocúr

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3 years ago

IonBallEX now available in the Marketplace [Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone]

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We've teased about IonballEX for a little while and now you can try it yourself. Yup, IonBallEX, the first indie game gone Xbox LIVE is now available for $2.99 (and a free trial). From the app description:

"IonBallEX is a modern twist on a classic Breakout style game, featuring an XP-based progression system and end-of-level bosses that are going to push you to the extreme, all delivered in a unique SteamPunk style. With 35 challenging levels, mind-bending features and awesome bosses; IonBallEX is the breakout game to "break" all the others. See where you can get on the leaderboards, or unlock achievements like "Record Breaker" or "Wipeout"; the IonBallEX challenge is here"

The game is a modest 35MB download (still need WiFi though) and so far we have to admit, it ain't too shabby. Head on here to the Marketplace for the link and let us know what you think in comments.

See the video preview after the break...

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3 years ago

New device names hint at upcoming Windows Phones

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Elbert Perez, game creator for Windows Phone (who's finishing up his latest, Air Dagger), has once again posted a screen shot of some new devices ID'd running his games.

The big two are the Acer M310 and the Nokia 800, which is for all intents and purposes probably the Sea Ray. As to what the Acer M310 is, we don't have any idea.

Of course we've seen this before, namely devices like the Samsung GT-I8703, the Dell Advist and the HTC-MWP6885 which seemingly never came to fruition. Hopefully that's not the case here, but either way it's nice to get teased a bit.

Source: Elbert Perez (Twitter)

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3 years ago

Video of new Xbox dashboard update shows new features, "discoverable mode"

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While we're still banging away on this gaming news filled day, lets take a brief look at the upcoming Xbox 360 dashboard update. Taking the Metro UI design cue, the new Xbox dashboard is reportedly coming this September or October and will feature YouTube, Bing and even supposedly Skype integration, making this quite a massive addition.

In a "video" shown on YouTube by iTzLuPo (since pulled by Microsoft), a series of images showing the new dashboard design and features were demonstrated. Evidently the Skype integration will work with Xbox LIVE friends and Xbox parties, which should be a lot of fun. In addition, a new "discoverable mode" was shown though its exact function is still a bit of a mystery. Certainly Bluetooth comes to mind (see the new headset) though WinRumors mentions Windows 8 support as a companion device and we can't help but wonder if Windows Phone won't be added to that feature set as well--makes sense, after all how else are you suppose to use your phone as a controller?

As noted above, the original video has been pulled due a copyright request by Microsoft, meaning it's authentic of course. Combined with the new Kinect features (you can control all of the Xbox now via voice and gesture), YouTube, Bing, Skype and the promise of Windows Phone gaming (see our Kinectimals post), we're pretty friggin' excited for this.

Source: VanquishCity (YouTue); via WinRumors

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3 years ago

Polar Mobile signs deal with Nokia for Windows Phone apps

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We covered Polar Mobile awhile back. They were set to bring 500 apps to Windows Phone after they were hired by Microsoft last October. At last count, they still seem to be under 100 and we're gonna call a spade a spade here, they're not the most awesome apps we've seen. In fact, Polar Mobile basically makes "template apps" which are just RSS feeds. Meh.

So why are we revisiting this? Evidently, Nokia sees something in them as they've been hired to make some Symbian apps, apps for the N9 and some apps for Nokia's Windows Phones. This time around, they're contracted for another 300 apps over 12 months for these various platforms, which we expect to include Nokia's Windows Phone store--whatever form that ultimately takes.

Hey, we guess this is good news for Canada's luckiest software house, but we can't help but think that Nokia and Microsoft hire these guys to bump up the Marketplace count with some mediocre offerings. Maybe that's just the cynic in us though.

Source: Polar Mobile; via Mobile Syrup; Image via WP7Applist; Thanks, Colin, for the heads up

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3 years ago

Kinectimals to feature kinect-kitty, I mean connectivity

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When gamers learned that Xbox 360 Kinect game Kinectimals is coming to Windows Phone, undoubtedly many of us wondered whether there would be connectivity between the two versions. Wouldn’t it be cool to take your existing Kinect kitty on the go?

A Microsoft representative shared these details with us:

“The answer is yes, Kinectimals for Windows Phone does share connectivity with the Kinectimals for Xbox 360 version. You can import your favorite pet to your Windows Phone from your Xbox 360 by simply holding the phone up to the TV screen and capturing the QR code from the pet. The phone will recognize the code and add the pet to the mobile experience. Players can export their favorite mobile pets into their Kinect for Xbox 360 Kinectimals game by holding their Windows Phone up to their Kinect sensor which will read the QR code assigned to their pet and add it to their console experience. If players are logged onto their WP and Xbox 360 consoles with the same Xbox LIVE credentials, this process will happen automatically.”

That’s great news for Kinect owners. Kinectimals’ connectivity isn’t exactly using your Windows Phone and a Kinect simultaneously to control an Xbox 360 game, but it is the first interaction between the two devices. The last time we saw Xbox 360 connectivity of any sort was in Microsoft Game Studios’ Full House Poker.

Kinectimals on Xbox 360 is a combination adventure title/mini-game collection/pet simulator in which players adopt an exotic kitten on a mysterious island. It’s targeted towards kids, but I enjoy most of the mini-games and the overall sense of progression as new areas of the island, items, and animals are unlocked. I do wish harm on the narrator though, as his voice should be illegal in civilized countries. Thankfully his blithering can be turned off! Anyway, the Windows Phone version retains just about everything the console version is known for and adds a few new elements into the mix too. We’ll have more details soon.

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3 years ago

IAGWH2 - Review

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IAGWH2 - Review

Every now and again we run across rather unique games for your Windows Phone. IAGWH2 is not only a unique game but it also has an equally unique title. It stands for "I am great with headlines 2" and is part puzzle game and part trivia game based on the news headlines of the day.

It reminded me of a game show you'd fine on NPR such as "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" IAGWH2 is a simple, yet entertaining game and to find out more, you've gotta make the jump past the break.

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3 years ago

Fastball 2 - Review

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Fastball 2 - Review

Fastball 2 is not a baseball game for your Windows Phone. Instead it's a bouncy ball type of game where you have to guide your ball down a path, bouncing over obstacles.

Fastball 2 has 105 levels of play spread across three stages. The game also offers two themes, cartoon and futuristic (cartoon looks the best).

From the main menu you can access the game, options, and a help section. Options include sound and music on/off controls, your theme of choice and the difficulty level (easy, normal and hard). You may want to start off easy because the game can be rather challenging.

Continued after the break.

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3 years ago

Fantasy Ferret - App Spotlight

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Fantasy Ferret - App Spotlight

Into Yahoo Fantasy Sports? Bushwood Studios has released Fantasy Ferret that will let you view and manage all of your Yahoo Fantasy Sports teams. The initial release includes full features for your baseball and football teams. Additional support for hockey and basketball teams will hit with future updates.

Key features of Fantasy Ferret include:

  • View league details including Standings, Teams, Transactions and Messages
  • View a team’s roster
  • Edit your current lineup
  • Add and Drop players
  • Support for Head to Head and Rotisserie leagues
  • View Scoreboards and current standings
  • View match-up scoreboard

You also have the ability to view detailed match-ups for baseball teams with this feature being extended to the other teams in the near future. Fantasy Ferret is a free app for your Windows Phone and you can download it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Indie console developers discuss why they aren't porting their games to Windows Phone

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Our friends at WP7Connect have released the second article in their series about Xbox 360 indie games coming to Windows Phone 7. This time, the focus is on why individual developers do not plan to port their XBLIG titles to WP7.

I’ll summarize each developer’s response:

Novaleaf Game Studios, makers of The Sprit of Khon:

Spirit of Khon is unlikely to come to be ported due to its reliance on custom rendering shaders that WP7 can’t replicate. However, if interest is high enough, Novaleaf would consider porting it anyway.

Milkstone Studios, makers of Raventhorne:

The game uses too many buttons to be ported easily. Besides, Milkstone is located outside of the US and still hasn’t even been paid for their first WP7 game, Epic 7 Free.

Dannobot, makers of Pajamarama:

Dannobot really isn’t sure how to go about developing for WP7. But even then, they would want to wait for official multiplayer support (which is coming in Mango) before entering the fray.

DoubleDutch Games, makers of Speed Runner:

The game’s controls would be difficult to adapt to touch screens. Still, maybe someday.

Left: Breath of Death VII. Right: Cthulhu Saves the World

It’s no fun just paraphrasing somebody else’s article though. WPCentral spoke with Zeboyd Games, makers of awesome indie RPGs Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World about bringing their games to the small screen. Their response:

“[We’re] leaning against porting to WP7 at the moment - it just doesn't look like the market is big enough to make it worth the effort.”

Ouch! I don’t think the first four developers’ games are any huge loss. But Zeboyd’s titles would be perfect for touch screens and fill an important gap in the Windows Phone software library. Perhaps RPG fans should send Zeboyd an email.

Don’t think for a minute that all XBLIG makers are giving Windows Phone the shaft. Plenty of XBLIG games have graduated to mobile Xbox Live status, including Twin Blades, Z0mb1es (on teh Phone), and Shoot1UP, to name only a few.

Sources: WP7Connect, Zeboyd Games; Thanks, Dale F., for the tip!

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3 years ago

Video highlights 9 upcoming Xbox Live games for Windows Phone

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Today at Gamescom, Microsoft announced a ton of upcoming Xbox Live games. They have since provided a video that shows many of these games in action.

In the video:

  • Chickens Can’t Fly from Amused Sloth
  • Mush from Angry Mango
  • Fight Game Rivals from Khaeon Studios
  • Kinectimals from Frontier Studios
  • Toy Soldiers Boot Camp from Signal Studios
  • Orbital from BitForge
  • Shoot1UP from Mommy’s Best Games
  • Cro-Mag Rally from Pangea Software
  • Burn the Rope from Big Blue Bubble
  • Farm Frenzy 2 from Alawar Entertainment

You’ll notice that Shoot1UP wasn’t actually included in today’s announcement. But we do know it’s a 2D shooter and a port of an Xbox 360 indie game. We’ll have more details about the game soon.

Thanks Colin for the tip!

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3 years ago

Fujitsu IS12T pricing revealed--it ain't cheap

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Even though Microsoft is reportedly shooting for that low-end price range, eventually, with Windows Phone, the Fujitsu IS12T won't be the phone to do it. In fact quite the opposite.

Pricing for the phone in various contexts i.e. out of contract, in contract, etc. have been revealed on the website for KDDI-AU, the carrier launching the device. From NanaPho who was kind enough to do the math for us:

  • IS12T New retail price $958
  • IS12T MNP retail price $753
  • IS12T New price with 2-year contract $458
  • IS12T MNP price with 2-year contract $252

(USD/JPY = 76.715)

(MNP price is for NTT docomo and Softbank users who want to switch to KDDI)

Yowsers that's a lot, even for a waterproofed, brightly colored, 32GB, 13MP camera phone running Mango. So far, this is the only announced device for Japan, so a lot is riding on it for success. While it's nice to have a flagship high-end phone, we're hoping that some other companies can bring some more mid-range offerings to Nipppon for competitions sake.

Source: Official AU Blog; via NanaPho

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