3 years ago
Microsoft announces first ’International’ Store to open in Canada
Kevin Turner today announced that Microsoft’s first ‘international’ store would be opening in Toronto, Canada. Whilst not exactly too far from the US, this still represents the first time Microsoft have ventured from their home turf to setup shop. The first emporium will open to the public in Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto later this year. The stores should be open in time to showcase Windows Phone 8, Surface & of course Office 15.
Whilst most will see this news as the right step forward, I remain a little cautious that this will lead to a rapid surge to get international Stores around the world. Why do I have my doubts? Microsoft often plays in Canada with some of its strategies. I remember the heady days of the Zune when Microsoft announced this service would go international (to Canada). From then until now, it has taken the company years to get some of its core Zune services to the rest of the world. The Zune didn’t end up going international, Zune services only went that way with the arrival of Windows Phone.
On a less pessimistic note, Microsoft has been riding a wave of positivity around Windows 8 and its Surface tablet (and Surface will only initially be sold in Microsoft stores and online). Whilst our beloved Windows Phone is still small in market share numbers, it continues to receive praise from users and critics alike. Boyed by this surge in good feeling it should be the time Microsoft gets it chequebook out and starts buying up some prime locations around the globe and manning the decks for the coming product launches.
If there was a time to get these stores open its now. This year will see the biggest simultaneous launch of products the company has ever seen. Having wonderful stores in which to show them off properly would be the icing on the cake. I have wanted to see a Microsoft Store here in London for a long time. I'd like to buy a signature PC without the bloatware, see MS products demoed and supported by people that know what they are talking about.
What do you think? Where do you think Microsoft should put their next stores and why do you think it’s taking them so long?
3 years ago
Telefonica-owned Tuenti messaging service on its way to Windows Phone
3 years ago
Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone Challenge heads to Switzerland
Switzerland is the latest country that has laid host to the Lumia Windows Phone challenge, a Nokia marketing campaign which is taking a number of countries by storm. Much like the famous 'Smoked by Windows Phone' competition that Ben Rudolph started back at CES 2012, the Lumia Challenge puts a Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone against a competitor device.
Should the participant beat the Lumia they pocket a prize, but should they lose they have to publicly admit defeat. According to Nokia Switzerland, the Lumia 900 won 197 of 200 challenges. Locations included Zurich, Bern, Basel, Lucerne, Winterthur, St. Gallen, Neuchâtel, Geneva and Lausanne.
While everything may appear doom and gloom at Nokia HQ with all-time-low stock prices, upcoming Windows Phone 8 ("Apollo"), and difficult times ahead for platform penetration, the manufacturer can at least still gloat at the fact Lumia smartphones are more efficient than the competition.
Source: YouTube; thanks, Roman, for the tip!
3 years ago
Skype and other apps causing Wi-Fi on Windows Phone to stay connected?
Windows Phone is very careful with how much power it uses. Normal behaviour for the OS is that whilst running on battery it will drop the Wi-Fi connection after a short period in order to conserve as much juice as possible. We have seen reports that point the finger at some apps which are seemingly overriding normal power saving behaviour. Is this a feature or a bug, I decided to do some tests.
3 years ago
Windows Phone Xbox Live Review: Pac-Man Kart Rally
3 years ago
Gun Bros for Xbox LIVE blasts its way onto the Windows Phone Marketplace [Video]
Warning: This game comes with Bro-ops & could be awesome for your health
We’ve given you a sneak back in early June but now you too can get your hands on Glu Mobile’s Gun Bros game for Windows Phone. And it’s free.
The game is a classic top-down arcade shooter (reminds us a lot of SmashTV) where you and your ‘Bro’ go around and basically destroy everything you can. We like that idea. Plus you can upgrade you weapons along the way giving a unique level of customization.
We took it for just a quick spin (see the video below) on our Titan II and boy to the graphics look stellar…very arcade like and the controls aren’t too shabby (dual virtual sticks), so we’re thinking it should be good but look for our detailed review a little later.
Gun Bros is technically a ‘freemium’ game which means, well, that it’s free. The catch? There really isn’t one as you can play the whole game without paying a dime. But, if you want the cool experience with all the big guns, cheats and different options you will have to purchase those as you go along. Of course there are plenty of regular weapons and upgrades that are all free so there shouldn’t be too many complaints from you folks.
Anyway, less talk, more rock. Go pick up Gun Bros for Xbox LIVE here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Sound off in comments on your thoughts about the game. Thanks, zebrasqual, for the link
3 years ago
Bing UK starting to roll out search engine design refresh?
3 years ago
Plants vs Zombies is the killer Deal of the Week for Xbox LIVE on Windows Phone
Are you a fan of plants? Do you hate zombies? Then if you haven’t already purchased Plants vs. Zombies from PopCap Games, now is your chance because it’s the Deal of the Week!
Plants vs. Zombies is up there with one of the best Xbox LIVE titles for Windows Phone. It has cute graphics, hilarious and bizarre gameplay and it has an addictive quality that makes many users unable to put it down. For these reasons we give it a big thumbs-up and highly recommend it.
The game mostly involves planting plants that shoot at various zombies attacking your house. Variations in plants, ammo, tactics and zombies keep this alternate-tower defense game from getting stale.
All is not perfect though as PvZ hasn’t had an update since January and it is still missing proper Mango support (gah!) which is a heck of a shame since it’s so easy to fix. Hopefully PopCap can get around to fixing that and maybe adding a few bonuses for the rest of us?
You can read our full review of Plants vs Zombies to get an idea on our thoughts and our interview with the developer, PopCap. Otherwise, grab the free trial here in the Marketplace for Windows Phone. The game normally fetches for $4.99 but is on sale for one-week for $2.99. Go!
Don't forget, tonight's new Xbox LIVE is Gun Bros.
Thanks, Thomas, for the tip!
3 years ago
RCS-e interoperability confirmed for Windows Phone 7.8
During the IFA Preview today in Munich, Deutsche Telekom confirmed that Windows Phone 7.8 will have Rich Communications Suite (RCS-e) functionality. The functionality was noted earlier in the leaked details and will come in the form of a separate application and integrated with Windows Phone 8. The RCS-e services will be a cross platform, cross network functionality Previously, RCS-e was announced during the Summit a few weeks ago for Windows Phone 8 but it's a technology that most people are not familiar.
In Deutsche Telekom's presentation they discussed using Joyn services that will provide chat, file transfer and video chat features between carriers. . Joyn will be interoperable between Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone networks for now with O2 Germany coming on board after launch.
The service will provide free chat and file transfers and charge for video chat. Commercial availability is planned for October. It will be interesting to see how the RCS-e services match up with existing services such as Skype. Equally interesting will be to see if the U.S. Carriers can play nice to establish such interoperability.
We've seen things like this before--think Sprint's horrid proprietary PictureMail years ago--but RCS-e at least sets some standards. Personally we think 3rd party services like IM+, Kik, Nokia's Pulse and others are the future but we're glad to see Windows Phone 7.8 getting it too, it should make carriers a little more inclined to support Windows Phone.
Source: Unwired; via: wmpoweruser
3 years ago
Microsoft exec “[People] don't know about Windows Phone and that's a problem we intend to fix”
As the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (MPC) in Toronto continues, Windows Phone 8 made a brief appearance today for the 16,000 people who showed up for the annual conference. In fact, anecdotal evidence from attendees suggests Windows Phone has a rather large presence at the conference.
As far as we know, no new features were presented but instead Microsoft focused on the new Start screen, being “business ready” and integration with Microsoft’s services, including Xbox 360 and Windows 8.
One of the most important signals that Microsoft is shifting strategy is the recognition that “Windows Phone” just doesn’t have the same brand recognition as Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android (or perhaps its reputation preceded it). We saw this demonstrated with “Lumia” trending higher than “Windows Phone” in Google searches. Now, Microsoft seems to have recognized this problem and is looking to take it on with Windows Phone 8.
Gruhler at WPC'12 in Toronto talking about Windows Phone 8
Speaking at the event, Microsoft’s new corporate vice-president of Windows Phone marketing, Thom Gruhler, who took the position just a few months ago, is quoted as saying:
“Smartphone users today don't know about Windows Phone and that's a problem we intend to fix”
Indeed that is something that needs to be addressed as Android and iPhone are today synonymous with smartphone users (even Blackberry still has clout). We’ve heard earlier in a private meeting with Microsoft pre-Summit that Microsoft will be pushing Windows Phone 8 very hard come the fall and that they are re-focusing on the reboot of the OS with a lot of attention.
The recent launch of the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T did do a lot for familiarizing consumers with Windows Phone—it seems to carry more weight these days—and that brand familiarity may be the ground work for Windows Phone 8 (and Nokia) to be a success. The important takeaway for us is that Gruhler is looking to shift how Microsoft markets Windows Phone and he could represent an important change within the company.
We’ll just have to wait and see though if Gruhuler, who came up with Verizon’s “Can you hear me now?” campaign can pull it off.
3 years ago
Microsoft : Re-branded - Student breathes new life into old designs
Andrew Kim, currently attending the Art Centre College of Design has completed what I can only describe as one of the most compelling Microsoft rebranding exercises I have ever seen. Andrew explains clearly, not only what he thinks is wrong with the current Microsoft picture but goes on to design it. And what a job he does.
Whilst Microsoft is on the tipping point of bringing together its whole eco system there remains a problem, image. Those that remember the launch of Windows 7 should know to what I’m referring. Microsoft has an often-confusing marketing message, that video, um, where they had the party to celebrate the Windows 7 launch says all. I am certainly not looking for a repeat of that! Now that Microsoft has some amazing products and the Metro UI to shout about, it is time they had a good think about a serious ‘reimagining’ of their company-wide image.
Whilst the name Windows is strong with consumers, the branding simply does not match. Andrew shows how they might be able to re-assert themselves as ‘bringers of tomorrow, a company that seeks to push our world forward though progress through technology. I see branding & marketing message as Microsoft’s next major hurdle. I feel that whilst the new Windows Logo is nice, it is not without problems, I personally also find it a little uncomfortable visually.
Andrew has deconstructed the very notion of a Windows logo by looking at how real windows look on something like a tower block in a big city, no they don’t look like windows. His ultra-minimal, logo the “slate” is born and is fully compliant with the story of Metro. Bravo!
Interesting just how good this new logo looks, both as a window showing a glimpse of a space age future, and for how smart it looks on both Windows Phone and brand new Surface Tablet/Slate. The level of thoughtfulness and attention to detail in his exploration is inspiring. The Office rebrand is actually just two ‘slate’ logos together. I like this too, symbolic of the software and hardware working together to form a whole functional unit. Whatever, I love it.
Andrew doesn’t forget Microsoft’s most accomplished design, Windows Phone, it already has the design chops to compete on its own, Andrew simply embellishes it with some snazzy alternative colour schemes and how that could look with his ‘Slate’ logo. I think the overall effect is stunning.
I would like to hear what you think of this Microsoft rebrand. Is it just crazy or is this guy onto something?
Source: Andrew Kim
3 years ago
Imagine Cup '12 winners announced including some Windows Phone problem solvers
Winner of the Imagine Cup '12 - quadSquad with enable talk
The annual Imagine Cup organized by Microsoft to support student creativity in solving real world problems has just wrapped in Sidney, Australia. As usual, some of the top winners were related to Windows Phone development so we’re going to take a moment to give them their props.
Early glove prototype
First place (Software Design) – quadSqaud (Ukraine) - In what is probably one of the most unique and coolest uses of a Windows Phone so far, quadSquad have created a company called enable talk (enabletalk.com) around their gesture interpretation technology.
In short, the problem for many people who use sign-language is the inability to readily communicate with those who don’t speak the same language (there are many sign-languages out in the world and they all have the full capacity of spoken language).
quadSquad solve this problem by having users wear special sensory gloves that detect the signing. That data is then sent to the Windows Phone where the software takes over, converting the sign to spoken word—literally. enable talk uses Microsoft’s text-to-speech feature to “say” the whole word once it’s signed, giving signers a way to verbally communicate with those unfamiliar with the language.
Creating software is one thing but the team also made the glove system by hand (pun!) which is no small feat. Then they had to record all the gestures in a computer that can be stored for later recognition. The whole thing fits well within Microsoft’s Kinect strategy and of course helps address a real-world problem too. Awesome.
The Drexel Dragons won for Game Design (phone) with Math Dash
First place (Game Design—phone) – Drexel Dragons (US) - Ah, math. We hated it in school and we still kind of dislike it as adults but who can deny that it’s not critical? Drexel Dragons took on the challenge of making a game that can help students learn math. What better way to do that than make a game called Math Dash?
Math Dash is a Windows Phone game that allows users to complete problems by dragging the answers (in the form of sparkly ‘atoms’) into the equation field. With the correct answer, users get points for the game and yes, another new math problem. A simple progress bar keeps track of you right versus wrong answers, allowing you to jump to the next level or signaling that you lost. In addition, you can drag number atoms on to other orbs to create new numbers, should you not have the right one to choose. Finally there are also power-ups and hazards to keep it interesting and feeling like a game.
The concept behind Imagine Cup is great—it gives students a chance to shine and actually makes the world slightly better; kudos to Microsoft and all the student developers who come together every year for the competition. Each first-place winning team takes home $8, 000 for their effort.
Check the videos of both winners after the break...
3 years ago
Official London Olympics App in the works for Windows Phone
The 2012 Summer Olympics are just over two weeks away. The London games are set to begin on July 17, 2012 and the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) is eagerly working on an official Windows Phone app for the games. LOCOG's Chief Information Officer Gerry Pennell stated the release is imminent and should be available in days.
While features of the Windows Phone app weren't mentioned, the Windows Phone version should be similar to the iOS and Android Olympics app that sends game results and schedules to the app. A version of the app is also in the works for Blackberry devices.
There are currently a handful of 2012 Olympic apps already on the Marketplace and it will be nice to see an official offering join the ranks. Speaking of what's already available, look for a roundup of these Olympic apps this Friday.
We'll keep you posted when the official apps hits the Marketplace.
Source: V3; Thanks, Vijay, for the tip!
3 years ago
Former I'm a WP7! app Outsider is now available in the Marketplace
The "new" Outsider app for Windows Phone
Delays with publishing in the Marketplace should not be a surprise anymore to those familiar with Windows Phone and such was the case with Liquid Daffodil’s Outsider app which is finally live in the Marketplace.
If you recall, Outsider is the re-brand of the Windows Phone community app I’m a WP7! along with its companion app, Outsider Extras. The app was submitted 31 days ago but due to some debate and controversy over the logo, it was delayed a bit.
Outsider contains the same features as I’m a WP7! that includes tips, videos, ringtones, wallpaper, hangouts, gamer hubs, meetups, checkins, messaging and more. It’s a whole sub-community of users and is the largest of its kind for Windows Phone.
The controversy dealt with using the Windows Phone/Microsoft Flag image in the tile for the app which you can see above. A slight modification has allowed the app to sail through the approval process making it available to end-users. Microsoft has been enforcing their copyrighted “Flag” for a while now (the Windows Phone Central app was notoriously rejected the first time for using the same logo). Anyway, it’s good to see it live.
The other interesting aspect is that Liquid Daffodil has thrown down a challenge for me, Ben Rudolph (Microsoft) and Ben Lower (Microsoft) to unlock some the hidden Easter Eggs in the game.
Find and complete the Easter Egg that unlocks their Lair.
Discover and unlock at least six (6) of the first seven (7) of the remaining 12 Easter Eggs.
We have 72-hours to complete it and if all three of us do so, Liquid Daffodil will make all their apps free again for 72-hours (Outsider Extras, glƏƏk, etc.). Guess I have some work to do.
Pick up Outsider for Windows Phone for free in the Marketplace. It’s worth your time.
3 years ago
Experimental homebrew battery saver app Eco seeks to save power
Faster, Eco! Kill, Kill!
Jaxbot over at Windows Phone Hacker as an interesting experiment going on for those with rooted phones (mostly first gen Windows Phones). The app is called ‘Eco’ and is an aggressive battery saver app.
In short, it turns of all unneeded processes, sensors and clears out the memory for a kind of fresh start and then some. Jaxbot is not even clear if it will actually save battery life (he’s awaiting a battery replacement, hence his need for this) but he’s looking for feedback from users to see if he should go further with it.
Windows Phone users do have a ‘Battery Saver’ option already under Settings which disables all Push services until they recharge again but ‘Eco’ is much more than that, at least in theory.
We’re quite okay with our battery life but we know there are some of you who are either extreme users or have OCD and need to save every drop. For those peeps, you may want to give this a go.
Head to Windows Phone Hacker for more info and the XAP file. Remember, you need a rooted phone which is more than just developer unlocked. Check the demo video after the break.
For more info on battery saving tricks, see the homebrew Live Tile battery meter, custom battery icons and how ads in free apps can be huting your power consumption.
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