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3 years ago

More confirmation of front-facing camera support in WP7 Mango

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Yesterday, we noted how the Beta 1 Mango developer tools still had a reference to a 'self-portrait camera' i.e. front facing camera. We then later received confirmation from a trusted source that indeed, the new Mango hardware specs allow for front-facing cameras, an idea not too crazy when you throw in the 4G support.

Today, we saw the release of the Beta 2 Mango dev tools and intrepid reader 'Q' has forwarded this screenshot showing a brand new icon in the camera application. That icon, is not on NoDo devices nor current preview Mango devices either. To us, it clearly looks like a button to toggle the rear and front cameras, giving even more evidence that this fall video conference chats will be popular and third party devs can release software that utilizes the new camera.

(Thanks, Q, for the screenshot)

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3 years ago

Microsoft Research releases 'Academic Search' app for Windows Phone

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Besides all of the other official apps released today and yesterday, Microsoft Research (that super cool group at Redmond), has just released a new beta app called 'Academic Search'. Title is pretty self explanatory as far as the topic. Here's the app description:

"Academic Search WP7 client is a free academic search application based on new technologies from Microsoft Research. It gives users access to more than 27 million publications on multiple academic domains."

Huzzah. Sounds pretty cool to us and seems like a great way to kill time, especially if you're into that type of work. As of right now, ours didn't populate, but imagine they still have to throw the switch. Grab it here in the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Even more official apps hit WP7: American Airlines, MLB at bat, Billboard, E! and more

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Besides FOX News, looks like another crew of official apps just hit the Marketplace. Clearly Microsoft has a strategy going on here (see yesterday). Since we don't have the energy to do full posts for each, we'll just give you the rundown:

  • American Airlines - "Introducing the travel app that understands who you are and where you’re going. From where you’re departing and from what gate. Where you’ll sit and even where you are on the standby list. Get your personalized America Airlines travel information by downloading the app that’s perfect for flying through airports." Get flying here in the Marketplace.
  • MLB at Bat - "MLB.com At Bat 11, the award-winning application, is live baseball – every pitch from every at bat – all season. Follow your favorite team everywhere you go with comprehensive, up-to-the-moment action, including live home and away audio broadcasts." Get it here in the Marketplace. [Warning: Price is $14.99 w/No trial!]
  • Live From the Red Carpet (E!) - "The fashion! The stars! The glitz! The winners! It's all here in this unparalleled, high-class and FREE app from E!, the leader in red carpet entertainment. This Live From the Red Carpet app lets you experience total VIP access to Hollywood's hottest events, right at your fingertips." Get your star news right here in the Marketplace.
  • Billboard - "The Billboard.com Charts App provides you with access to our 16 most popular charts, as well as available chart history. Sample 30 second clips and purchase from the Zune store from within the app." Get your music hits here in the Marketplace.
  • Trove (The Washington Post) - "Trove is a personalized news and information engine. It aggregates the Web's most interesting stories from a wide swath of sources, and gives you the power to customize what you see and how you see it. Pulling articles from more than 10,000 sources, Trove's combination of innovative aggregation and human editing gives you the best of both worlds: the day's important stories and news tuned to your niche interests." Get news from a trusted source here in the Marketplace.

Phew. Looks like Microsoft has unleashed the floodgates this week. We're almost scared now to see what else is coming..we still have a few more days this week. (Big thanks to Avi Franchise for the tips)

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3 years ago

Fox News App now at the Marketplace

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Fox News App now at the Marketplace

"The Most Powerful Name in News" is now available at the Windows Phone Marketplace. Fox News Networks has released the Fox News app that brings the latest news stories, video clips and news images to your Windows Phone.

Key features include:

  • Live Tile support that provides a snapshot of the top news story
  • Fox News shows airtime schedules and video clips from recent episodes
  • Videos and Photos from the top news stories of the day as well as from the world of entertainment, politics, health and more
  • Breaking news banner

The best part about the Fox News app is that it's a free app. You can download your copy here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Thanks goes out to sasa for the tip!

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3 years ago

Kik Messenger communicating without SSL

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Kik Messenger communicating without SSL

While nothing to be fearful about, I wouldn't recommend sending your bank account number and sort code via Kik Messenger for Windows Phone anytime soon, not that you would anyway. While the user's password is sent either hashed or encrypted, it's reported that Kik is sending user email addresses and messages in clear-text, viewable by any middle man, over an open connection (i.e. unsecured WiFi).

Mike Cardwell, a well established IT specialist, reported a year ago how Kik was insecure with Blackberry, Android and iOS. Kik has since resolved these issues this year and have commented on an article over at Within Windows covering the WP7 client:

 "Hi Rafael, Corry from Kik here. Thanks for your analysis.We are aware of this issue and plan to add WP7 message encryption in a future release. We want to reiterate that the password is not being sent in clear-text, and that our Android and iPhone clients feature full SSL encryption (login info + messages), as Mike Cardwell mentioned in his comment."

At least our passwords are safe, although we do recommend using multiple passwords for your online accounts, especially between social networks and e-commerce sites. Hopefully security will be added for emails and messages in Kik at some point in the near future. Use over 3G should be fine since the signal is encrypted.

Source: Within Windows and Mike Cardwell, thanks insi for the tip!

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3 years ago

Student Developers Mango competition

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Student Developers Mango competition

Attention student developers! In light of the recent announcement for the early developer access to the next Windows Phone major update (codenamed Mango), The WP7 team is also giving away 50 Mango powered handsets to really make this summer something special.

Here's what you need to do to be eligible to win one of the free Mango handsets:

  1. Make sure you’re registered for DreamSpark
  2. Download and install Expression Studio Ultimate and the new Mango Windows Phone Developer Tools (available free as a member of DreamSpark)
  3. Get the free Sketchflow Template for Windows Phone and create a Sketchflow mock-up of your app
  4. Post the Sketchflow mock-up somewhere online and tweet out the link using the hash tag #WPAppItUp
  5. We will review all prototypes and will contact the developers who submit the best ones and send them a special Mango developer device

For more information, see the official article via the link below (also grab a copy of the Windows Phone SDK beta 2 if not already installed).

Source: WindowsTeam Blog

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3 years ago

Mango available for Developers

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Mango available for Developers

 

Here we are folks! This is it, a Mango beta ROM (reportedly build 7661) is now available (or will be shortly) for developers to update on their retail devices. Fantastic news for the registered brains. Confirmation comes from both Brandon Watson and Joe Belfiore. Full distribution of Mango to developers will be carried out over the next few weeks (in batches), registered developers will receive invites to the Microsoft Connect site, which will provide you with the update.

Countries explicitly supported for the early access program (your device will be supported by big M and will be processed should it malfunction once the distribution infrastructure is in place):

 "Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States"

What should you do now? Why not head on over to download the Mango Tools beta 2, which includes a number of  goodies, update your device to Mango and then (as Brandon Watson so fantastically puts it):

"Third, go rub it in your friends’ faces that you have Mango and they don’t. "

There will be a tools update in the coming months that will feature the go-live license required to publish Mango apps to the Marketplace, but be sure to start being creative now since your apps will work in the tools and the developer phone. For more information, check out the official blog post using the link below. These are positive signs my friends, this will surely drive excitement for Mango even further.

Source: WindowsTeam Blog

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3 years ago

WP7 User Group Event sweepstakes reminder [Developers]

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This is a simple reminder to everyone who has either missed our article covering this sweepstake or have not yet had the opportunity to enter. The User Group Event sweepstakes closing deadline is June 30th. Yep, one day away. Read through our previous article for more detail and information, be sure to get in quick should you wish to be in with a chance to win a new WP7 device (worth $500), not to mention free advertising with a ton of impressions.

Please remember to keep the code VIL12 handy when entering and note that this is open to US residents only.

Source: WP7 User Group Event

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3 years ago

More Official WP7 apps released: Dictionary.com, Eventful, GoWalla, Weight Watchers, Epicurious

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It certainly has been a busy few days for "official" apps. You know, the ones from big names stores, media companies, services, etc that have come to define modern commerce. Yesterday we saw Best Buy and Amazon.com Fresh (a WP7 exclusive) and in addition there were more that we missed:

  • Dictionary.com - "The FREE Dictionary.com app delivers trusted reference content from Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com, including over 2,000,000 words. It also features audio pronunciation and updated daily content." Grab it here in the Marketplace.
  • Eventful - "Do you love music and seeing it performed live? Eventful helps you easily find shows happening around you in a clean, intuitive interface native to Windows Phone. At your fingertips you'll have access to millions of events, schedules for all of the venues near you, and tour dates for over 130,000 performers." Get it here in the Marketplace.
  • GoWalla - "Gowalla is a social travel guide that makes it easy to keep up with friends, share photos, highlight your favorite places and discover the world around you. It's like totally available EVERYWHERE, so you'll be able to record and share your adventures no matter where you go." You can grab it here in the Marketplace.
  • Weight Watchers PointsPlus Calculator - "Shopping for food or eating out? Use this calculator to easily and quickly work out the PointsPlusTM values of any food or activity when you’re on the go. It’s available exclusively to Weight Watchers Online and eTools subscribers for FREE – just enter your Online or eTools username and password to log in and start using the calculator." That's found here in the Marketplace.
  • Betty Crocker Cookbook - "What's for dinner? Ask Betty using the mobile version of the world-famous Betty Crocker cookbook!" The app is developed by Chaotic Moon Studios. Get your cookin 'on here in the Marketplace.
  • Epicurious - "Recipes from the award-winning food site. Epicurious.com are now available on your mobile device. Search more than 30,000 delicious recipes..." Grab those recipes right here in the Marketplace.

Personally, we're excited about Eventful--that app is pretty awesome (though a bit overwhelming in Manhattan!). Combined with Angry Birds, Kik Messenger, AllRecipes.com and the Colber Report's The Word and we sure have a packed house. And it's only Wednesday. (Thanks, @MajorCrash, Shane S., & Larry B., for the heads up!)

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3 years ago

Hide your womens. Women's Murder Club is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week

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Slowly but surely the entire collection of Xbox Live launch titles for Windows Phone games are going on sale. Having scratched Bejeweled Live off the list, it’s now time for Women’s Murder Club from I-Play to see the weekly discount. It’s on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Women’s Murder Club is a hidden object game with mild adventure elements. Players take on the role of various crime solving ladies as they scour crime scenes for clues and try to solve a murder mystery of some sort. As our review mentions, the plot is incredibly forgettable. But it’s still a competent hidden object game (the only one on Xbox Live right now) and its Achievements are fun and easy.  Provided you like the genre, it’s easily worth getting for the low sale price.

Women’s Murder Club is on sale for $1.99 for one week only and there is a free trial. Point your magnifying glass here (Zune link) to find it on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Angry Birds for Windows Phone is now Live!

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Yes, people. Let the taunting end tonight. Between the promise of custom ringtones and now the fulfillment of 'Angry Birds', Windows Phone 7 has had its day.

Angry Birds is easy on of the most anticipated games to hit the new OS and it should gives us a wee bit more parity with competing systems (using some odd metric for success, of course). From the app description, it's what you expect:

"Angry Birds is coming to Windows Phone! The survival of the angry birds is at stake. Dish out revenge on the green pigs who stole the birds’ eggs. Use the unique destructive powers of the angry birds to lay waste to the pigs’ fortified castles. Each of the 165 levels requires logic, skill and brute force to crush the enemy."

The game fetches for $2.99 with a free trial, as usual, though we're skipping right to 'buy' since we're kind of predictable like that. You can get it right now by following this link to the Marketplace. Hit us up in comments and let us know what you think. (Thanks, Dalton C., for the heads up!)

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3 years ago

Motorola Mobility gets downgraded. (Or How's that Android-only strategy working out for ya?)

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Motorola was at one time a big Microsoft partner, making one of the "slimmest" Windows Mobile devices back in the hey day. Then, surprisingly, they backed completely away from MS, going steady with Google. To refresh, back in February of this year, Christy Wyatt, corporate vice president of software and services product management for Motorola, was boasting about their Android-only approach and criticised Windows Phone 7:

"I don't envision us using Microsoft. I would never say never but it's not something we're entertaining now". Going further, she brags "We're the only vendor who is 100 percent Android".

Reason? "We would like an opportunity to create unique value and we don't feel we could with a closed platform", referring of course to the Windows Phone restrictions on modifying the OS. Obviously, Android was a panacea, allowing the company to flourish and dominate the market, especially with their cozy Verizon relationship under the marketing gimmick of 'Droid. 

Then about five months passed and whoops, Motorola is back in a slump having their stock drop 38%. From the Dow Jones Newswire:

“Motorola Mobility’s share of the Google Android-powered smartphone market has plunged as Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson have gotten up to speed, BMO says, and more competition is on the way from low-end players like China’s Huawei.

“MMI had an “early mover” advantage with its release of the Droid in 2009, but its Android share slid to 14% in 1Q from 33% a year earlier, analysts say. BMO sees MMI, the leader in the Android race in early 2010, coming in fifth in 2Q."

As a result, BMO is now downgrading Motorola Mobility "...to under perform, cuts EPS targets for this year and next and lowers price target to $19 from $26". Ouch.

Anyone remember the RAZR and what happened with that winning strategy? Evidently Motorola doesn't. It's clear that the Android market is completely flooded with similar devices, is cut throat and is harder and harder for companies to differentiate their products. Combined with Motorola's one-trick pony attempts at innovation, this was bound to happen. While adding Windows Phone to their portfolio might not completely turn them around, we would think it might help a smidge.

Come on Moto, do the right thing. Call up Microsoft and make a deal to make some Windows Phones--perhaps even throwing out a new, unique design (the Motorola Q and Q9 were pretty awesome). You make good keyboards and have great speakers, so lets help each other out. You're not Nokia, but you're not bad either. Friends?

Source: MarketBeat (WSJ)

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3 years ago

Keeping track of your travels around the U.S.

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Fifty States and National Park Checklist, both developed by Tom Alphin, are two travel apps for your Windows Phone designed to keep track of the places you've been and document what you've seen.

Fifty States: This is a simple app that lists all fifty States. As you visit each State, you simply add a dated note summarizing your travels. For example, for Kentucky you may note that you visiting Mammoth Cave. Once visited, a flag will appear besides the State name and the number of visits listed beneath.

There is a free trial version available for Fifty States with the full version running $.99. You can download it here at the Marketplace.

National Park Checklist: National Park Checklist goes a little further than Fifty States in that it not only lists all 58 National Parks but it also provides basic information on each Park. As you visit each Park, as with Fifty States, you can document your experiences. The app also has general information about visiting the National Parks such as general admission and lodging details.

There is a free trial version available for National Park Checklist with the full version running $1.99. You can download it here at the Marketplace.

Both apps are an easy way to record and track your visits abroad. It would have been nice to have seen a photo gallery page with these apps but if you're looking for a simple travel documentation app, they might be worth a try.

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3 years ago

'4th & Mayor' gets bumped to v2.0, new features

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For your Foursquare fiends out there, you'll be pleased to know that 4th & Mayor, pretty much the Foursquare app for Windows Phone, has been given a nice overhaul to v2.0. And lets just say there are some major changes and improvements to the app:

  • The ‘places’ are gone from the main page – there’s a new check-in experience now, just touch the “check-in” button at the bottom of the main page to open up the list of nearby places (it’s fast!)
  • This retires the dedicated ‘Shout’ button – Foursquare’s decided that going forward it makes more sense to only attach shouts to check-ins, so that’s where it is
  • Trending places near you have moved away from the check-in experience and into the ‘explore’ feature
  • Explore adds the new Outdoors category
  • Explore now holds both nearby specials as well as the trending places nearby, instead of those polluting the nearby places list
  • Faster, more responsive
  • Quicker checkins
  • Add photos to your checkins
  • More social/friend features
  • Add Venues and enjoy venueless check-ins
  • Even more...

That's a whole lot of stuff and there's more on Jeff's blog, which we strongly encourage you to read for all the details. The update just went live about 40 minutes ago, so you should be able to get the latest 2.0 version right now. We've been using it since yesterday (Jeff posted the XAP for sideloading) and have been really enjoying the experience and improvements. Grab it here in the Marketplace.

Source: Jeff Wilcox (Blog); via Twitter

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3 years ago

Microsoft details custom ringers in WP7 Mango

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The big question on everyone's lips is "What about custom ringtones in Mango?" It was teased at MIX11 but even with out preview release, not much info was available on the process or what the limits would be.

Now Microsoft, via their Windows Phone Blog, have come forth with an outline of how custom ringtones will work in our updated OS. We'll summarize:

  1. Third party devs have access for creating ringers: basically, any sound app that plays or records can have an option to "Save as Ringtone", allowing you to directly and dynamically create a ringer
  2. Create your own ringtones via the Zune software: Yup, you'll be able to sample any of your non-DRM music (i.e. you own it). There are some caveats that have to do with size and limits: "It must 39 seconds or shorter, smaller than 1 megabyte (MB) and saved in MP3 or WMA format."

From what it looks like, the Zune software will do all the heavy lifting for you. You'll just point it at the song you want and you can sample it for the ringer, so long as it doesn't go over those above limits (which seem fair enough).

Finally, Microsoft mentions that they've added nine new ringtones to "Mango", so you'll have even more built in.  We're assuming that these custom ringtones will show up with the native ones (see above pic), allowing you to assign them seamlessly to individual contacts. Overall, we're happy with the strategy and like Microsoft, we envision many 3rd party apps showing up this fall that will take advantage of these new tools allowing customers to really create some new and unique sounds for their phones.

There, everyone happy now? If not, sound off in comments.

Source: Windows Phone Blog

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