3 years ago
Praetor - App Spotlight
In the spirit of classic role playing board games, Random Software Games is offering the Windows Phone 7 game Praetor. Praetor is a RPG board game that relies more on strategy than flashy graphics (not that flashy graphics are a bad thing).
The storyline goes that you, a member of the Roman Army, are shipwrecked on an island far from the heart of the Roman Empire. You command what remains of your troops to explore the island and conquer what you can.
Characters and equipment in this turn based game are represented by a colored disc (with appropriate symbol). Praetor allows for character name customization (default name is Scipio) as well as character paths (warrior, sorcerer, etc). You also have a choice of what color/style game piece you'll be using. The game is well narrated and has a rather appealing, nostalgic look to it. All that is missing is a a pair of die.
When you first start playing Praetor, a tutorial will guide you through the first few moves. As you progress through the game you will earn more strength and skills that will help you conquer the land. Game play is decently paced and full of challenges. You get to battle wild boars, war hounds, and other vicious creatures.
If you like strategy, role-playing board games Praetor is worth looking into. There is a free trail version available and the full version runs $.99. Both can be found here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.
3 years ago
Photowiz 7 - App Spotlight
Cheat sheets, tip cards, reference guides have been a part of photography long since the days of Matthew Brady. Photowiz is a Windows Phone 7 application that brings the basic photography reference cards and tips to your Windows Phone.
The main pages of Photowiz 7 spreads the photography information out nicely and breaks down as such.
- Picture of: The "Picture of:" page offers tips and tricks for taking a pictures under certain conditions or of a certain style. Landscape, portrait, water, flowers, fireworks and sunrise/sunset photos are covered.
- Night ISO: Night ISO gives you recommended settings for night photography. Options are available to take the amount of moon illumination into account.
- DOF Calc: The DOF (depth of field) calculator helps determine your depth of field based on your image sensor size, f-stop, focal length and distance from the subject. The sensor size selection is scrollable and ranges from 1.3x cropped sensors to 8x10 large format sensors.
- Help: The Help page will provide you with definitions for several common photography terms. This page covers metering, exposure, lighting, and the Sunny 16 Rule.
PhotoWiz 7 can be used for both film and digital cameras. And as popular as youth sports is, I'm a little surprised there wasn't a sports category on the "Picture of:" page.
Regardless, Photowiz 7 is a handy application for the beginner shutterbug and could come in handy for the seasoned photographer. It is a free application and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.
3 years ago
Photo Search - App Spotlight
Need to hunt down a particular photo from the internet? Photo Search is being offered over at the Windows Phone Marketplace to help fill that need.
Photo Search does what the name implies, searches the internet for images based on keywords. Photo Search also has the ability to filter your image results by type (photo, faces, clip art, etc.) and size (small, medium, and large).
Once you find your image within the search results, you can save the file to your Windows Phone Picture Gallery or share them through email. In tinkering with the trial version, the search results were accurate (not indicative of the sample screen shots) but some of the thumbnail results generated a "image not available" error.
There is a free trial available for Photo Search to let you try before you buy. The full version runs $.99 and you can download either here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.
3 years ago
o2 rolling NoDo out as planned
Recently we covered o2 claiming that they're looking to push NoDo update out for customers on April 5th, which is today. Long and behold folk are begining to announce they're updating and we've had a reader tip us that he's received the update notification and is updating his device too. Seems o2 held their word and all WP7 users on o2 UK should begin to receive the notification from today onwards.
Have you received the update notification on o2 yet?
Thanks StaticPlaya for the tip!
3 years ago
Samsung Focus update imminent?
Being a member of the Chevron team, Chris Walshie isn't one to raise false awareness or hope, so Focus owners could be in with some luck shortly, which is fantastic news. According to his tweet, the update will a Bluetooth fix may be specifically targeted, and hopefully bundled with NoDo. We previously covered Dell teasing about NoDo and a post-NoDo firmware update, and it would be great to see Samsung nail it all in one.
We're not currently aware what the safe steps to update are should you have updated your device prematurely. If any information be made available from a source or Focus user who updates, we will of course publish it.
3 years ago
Microsoft may be bringing Silverlight to Xbox 360
WinRumors has reported on some interesting news that Microsoft may be planning to announce intentions to bring Silverlight to the Xbox 360 platform, and look set to display their plans at the MIX11 conference, which is in Las Vegas next week.
With both Windows Phone 7 and Xbox 360 already sporting XNA, their connection would be improved heavily with the addition of Silverlight. Being Microsoft's alternative to Adobe's Flash (and a damn good one too), Silverlight could open up a new app Marketplace for the gaming console, a source (who wishes to remain anonymous) suggests. Windows Phone 7 developers could be greeted with a gateway to over 50 million users who could potentially become active customers and use their apps.
WinRumors has claimed that Microsoft plans to include a new application model (codenamed "Jupiter") that will allow developers to create and develop applications on Silverlight, deployed as AppX packages (.appx) which will be part of an introduced application store in Windows 8. This could well be Microsoft's answer to Apple's App Store, which is available on both OS X and iOS. Angry Birds on the 360 as well as more Xbox 360 and WP7 integrated games like Fable Coin Golf. Ah, the possibilities!
3 years ago
Microsoft Tag passes 5 billion tag marker
Microsoft have announced that the month of March accumulated the highest amount of tags scanned, since the launch of the mobile tagging service in January 2009. The software giant has printed more than five 5 billion tags in the two years, with a staggering 3 billion served in the last six months alone.
- March had the greatest number of Tag scans since Tag launched in January 2009, with more than 50 percent more scans than any other month to date.
- The number of scans per month has doubled over the past three months, and the number of users per month has increased 2.5 times in that same time frame.
- Three billion Tags were printed during the past six months alone, and 5 billion Tags have been printed since Microsoft Tag’s January 2009 launch.
- Publishing continues to lead among top industries adopting Tag, with retail scenarios and entertainment holding the second and third positions, respectively.
"Brand adoption and consumer engagement continue to build, with March being our strongest month to date, due to several high-profile, well-executed campaigns," explained Aaron Getz, General Manager of Microsoft Tag. "We continue to have tremendous success within publishing and also see increasing usage by retailers, consumer packaged goods companies and movie studios" he continued.
Tags are being introduced in a variety of different ways, allowing customers and consumers access to more content, information, media, contact detail, maps, social networking and much more. Simply using your mobile device's camera to scan the tag enables you to instantly enter into a gateway of relevant content. Several movie studios, including Summit Entertainment LLC and Universal Studios, have began placing Tags on movie ads, posters and packaging that link to movie trailers, interactive mobile games and exclusive content, increasing awareness. USA Today also began including tags and IFC displays tags on their channel.
Microsoft's Tag reader is available on a number of different smartphone platforms, including Android and Windows Phone 7.
3 years ago
Triple Flip smartphone design running WP7
It's not everyday that we witness an incredible smartphone conceptional design, but the above video shows what SchultzeWORKS have come up with - the Triple Flip smartphone. One could wrap this entire post covering the video in one word - stunning. Both the 3D modelling and the functionality of the device is inspiring, and it doesn't seem too farfetched at all. Best part? It's running Windows Phone 7.
The research for the “Triple Flip” was driven by the notion that the static smart-phone-with-touch-screen may be reaching the limit of their usefulness. Lead designer Dave Schultze explains, “We looked at the areas where smart phones were falling short and then delivered seven innovations to make them truly better. We had a few more, but seven was a good place to stop.”
Will we see this sort of advancement in future smartphones? Probably not for some time. Only one thing's for sure though (from this video anyway), Windows Phone 7 is a true contender for the smartphone market and I wouldn't be surprised if ideas begin to be drawn around WP7 with how new smartphone devices could function and look like.
3 years ago
Jay Sullivan says Firefox is not coming to WP7
In an interview with OnSoftware, Jay Sullivan, VP of Products at Mozilla, insisted that Mozilla is not planning a version of Firefox for Windows Phone 7, but should we be bothered? Sure, Internet Explorer on the desktop has been continuously questioned/trashed by users, battered by EU to be uncoupled from Windows due to security concerns and more, but it's a fantastic implementation on WP7.
At the moment we are focusing on Android in terms of the browser. For those other platforms we may do things like Firefox Home, so you can fire up any browser and get to your Firefox data. We’re not looking to bringing Firefox itself to Windows Phone 7 at this point.
Microsoft are working hard to bring the ancient browser up-to-date with current standards of speed, reliability, security and computability. Our Tim Ferrill wrote an article on why we should care about IE9 on WP7. So is Firefox really needed on the platform?
We've witnessed more and more readers voice opinions that they prefer IE even over the stock Android browser, which is no slouch. How about you? Do you want to see Firefox on Windows Phone 7, or are you content with IE and how Microsoft are developing it?
Source: OnSoftware , via: Softpedia
3 years ago
Marketplace displaying in wrong languages
One of our readers, Kibosh, has posted on our forum that he seems to be experiencing some issues with language in the Marketplace. Being fluent in Dutch (with good English), he has trouble browsing and - in rare cases - using apps on his device due to the Marketplace being displayed in French.
I'm a Dutch speaking Belgium guy owning a nice HTC Mozart and I'm happy with it. Only there is one major thing wrong with it and that is that the marketplace displays French. There are some more smaller things, but this language issue is for me very annoying.
Because not many people know Belgium (I guess), there are three official languages. Dutch (Me), French and a small part German. For some reason, Microsoft decided to offer the marketplace only in French for Belgium. I can assure you that they made a big mistake. We, the Flemish, speak better English then French. Also there are 6,200,000 Flemish and 3,500,000 French. You can do the math. Consider also the fact that Belgium is going through a political crisis about French vs Flemish and you can see the size of the error.
As one could imagine, this is frustrating for Kibosh and he posted a reply to a Microsoft Answers thread covering language issues on Windows Mobile. Doing some searching, we managed to come across a similar scenario where someone from Switzerland had to browse the Marketplace in German. A few replies later and a solution was posted for a new Live ID and Zune account to be created (with correct settings to force English or a desired language), coupled with resetting the device to attach the new accounts.
Seems a bit much work to change the language, hopefully Microsoft will work on a feature that allows one to alter their language across their Live ID, Zune account and device with one selection. Have you had any trouble with the wrong language being displayed in the Marketplace?
3 years ago
Xbox Live: Must Have Games not starting on April 6
Back in February, WPCentral reported on the Xbox Live 6 weeks of Must Have Games promotion. Basically, every Wednesday for 6 weeks, a high-profile game will come to Xbox Live.
We expected the promotion to begin on April 6, but it turns out that won’t be the case. This week’s Xbox Live title is Super Monkey Ball, which will cost $4.99. Read our impressions here. Who Wants to be a Millionaire also comes out that day, but only in territories outside of North America.
April 13 will see the release of Harbor Master and Centipede. Thus the earliest the Must Have Games promotion could start is April 20, but it might be even later. Update: When contacted, Microsoft would only confirm Spring as the promotion's launch date. We'll surely hear from them again in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
For now, let’s look at the Must Have Games themselves:
- Hydro Thunder Go – The only Windows Phone-exclusive of the bunch. Go is the mobile adaptation of Hydro Thunder Hurricane, the latest entry in the popular boat-racing series. Go’s 3D graphics and water effects are probably the best Windows Phone 7 has seen. Follow this link for a video trailer and our first impressions.
- Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I – Sonic 4 marks the return to side-scrolling gameplay for everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog. The series has been marred by lackluster 3D titles in recent years. Sonic 4 doesn’t quite match the quality of the 16-bit Sonic games, but it’s still a worthwhile platformer. The mobile version of Sonic 4 was developed concurrently with the console title and features different stage layouts. Follow this link for our first impressions.
- Plants vs Zombies – From the makers of Bejeweled comes a unique tower defense game in which players place plants in strategic locations across lawns, swimming pools, and rooftops in order to fend off an army of cartoonish zombies. The PC version of Plants vs Zombies is one of my all-time favorite games.
- geoDefense – A challenging tower defense game that features neon-colored vector graphics, much like the Geometry Wars series of shooters. geoDefense is a pretty game, but is it really that popular?
- Doodle Jump – The original jumping game makes its way to Xbox Live. Tilt the phone to steer Doodle Jumper up a never-ending series of platforms, much like MonsterUp. Knock out enemies by furiously tapping on them. Windows Phone gamers may already know Doodle Jumper from his Parachute Panic cameo.
- Angry Birds – One of the most popular mobile games of all-time rounds out the Must Have Games promotion. Launch birds out of a slingshot in order to collapse structures and eliminate the pigs who’ve stolen the birds’ eggs. The Windows Phone version of Angry Birds has a whopping 195 levels.
3 years ago
WP Bench: Arrive vs Focus vs Quantum [Video]
WP Bench is a nifty free app that hit the Marketplace this weekend. It's what it sounds like, a full featured Benchmarking suite used to gauge your device's GPU, CPU, battery, display, etc. All in all, solid stuff. Couple of niggles though: you can't save results, you lose them if the screen turns off and no database to compare to other devices. But hey, for v1.0 and free, it's a great start.
- CPU singlethreaded performance
- CPU multithreaded performance
- Memory read/write speed
- Storage read/write speed
- GPU performance
- Display color reproduction
- Battery life tester
We decided, for laughs, to throw it on the LG Quantum, Samsung Focus and HTC Arrive to see what we got. (hint: results were similar) You can see the results above and watch the short video after the jump to see what the app has in store. Overall, we like it. You can grab it here in the Marketplace.
3 years ago
'Spring cleaning' gives devs chance for Marketplace spotlight
One big complaint we hear over and over from devs is how to get their app featured in the Marketplace--you know, one of the apps listed in when you launch the store, sometimes it has a nifty panorama, or the app is feature on Microsoft's site, etc. To have your app up there, especially for indie devs, is huuuge as it gives much attention to their work and in turn, well, more revenue.
Microsoft just announced the oddly titled 'Spring cleaning project' which is a contest of sorts to allow devs a shot at getting their app featured. Up till now, the process has been mostly unknown and there were no known methods of getting MS's attention to consider your app. Now, with this contest, devs can basically contact Microsoft and tell 'em why their app meets the three requirements:
- There will be three different opportunities: April, May, and June 2011
- Your App must be published to the Windows Phone Marketplace by the 15th of each month (by 11:59 PM PST)
- Your App must work as promised
- Your App must be new to the Marketplace or be a new version with substantial, new features or capabilities as mentioned earlier
- You then email the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org:
We'll post the rest after the break, but this should be a big hit with indie devs and we're hoping some of our favorites get featured.
Update: To clarify, games do count too--but since pivot/panorama don't apply, other criteria will e.g. use of a Live tile or push notification. In other words, be creative! (Thanks, Ben Lower, from Microsoft for the clarification)
Source: Windows Phone Marketplace Developer Communication
3 years ago
What do those signal icons mean on my Windows Phone?
Ever wonder what all those icons mean at the top of your Windows Phone screen? Look no further at Microsoft has gone ahead and detailed all of 'em for you. Things like roaming, DO (for EvDO, CMDA's 3G standard) and a few others may be a little obscure, so it's nice to have a key.
Sure, for many of us who've been around smartphones, the support article at Microsoft seems like a big ol' "duh" but there are more non-smartphone users in the world than ones with, so be kind.
Even more icons and descriptions can be found here on Microsof'ts support page.
3 years ago
WP7 Root Tools 0.1 alpha [Homebrew]
For those with developer unlocked devices, you may be interested in Heathcliff74's new tool found at XDA. Called 'WP7 Root Tools' the app is a very early release of what promises to be quite the full-featured registry editor, file explorer and tweaker app. More importantly, with this first release he's given us root (or at least near root) access on Samsung devices, something that has proven difficult so far in the homebrew scene.
This is the first release of a tool, that I've been working on for the past months. With this tool you get root-access to parts of your WP7 device. The first release only contains a registry-editor. The file-explorer and certificate stores will follow.
This tool is in alpha stage. That means that it is not feature complete and it is not yet properly tested. This tool also provides you with high privileges with which you can alter low level settings and data on this device. All this may result in unexpected and undesired behaviour, which may ultimately damage your device. Use this tool with care and use it at your own risk. The developer of this tool cannot be hold responsible for any kind of damages, caused directly or indirectly by using this tool.
The current version of this tool can only be used on Samsung devices. A small part of the code uses Samsung-specific functionality. The performance of the tool may sometimes be slow. This is the result of the way access to the system is elevated. The goal is to make this tool device-independent and to elevate access more directly in the future, but that requires more research.
Before forewarned though: if you're not a developer or know your way around registries, don't tinker--this can seriously screw up your phone as it accesses some pretty deep level stuff. Having said that, devs can now go deeper in writing apps for the phones, getting access to areas of the device not yet achieved.
Source: XDA; Thanks, Tobias, for the heads up
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