3 years ago
Microsoft's E3 2011 keynote summary
Today Microsoft delivered their keynote presentation at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles. The presentation details their Xbox 360 console plans for the next year. Windows Phone was disappointingly absent from the presentation, though some WP7 games are being announced separately today. For now, let’s look at the major announcements from the presentation.
As expected, Kinect was a major focus this year. The huge sales success of Kinect as well as the uniqueness of the device caught many developers by surprise last year. This year, we’ll be seeing several much more substantial games either require Kinect or support it optionally. Kinect Fun Labs is a new feature that’s now available on the dashboard. The approximately 720 MB download features several free Kinect tools and activities and even Xbox Live Achievements. Inside the Fun Labs, gamers can create an Xbox avatar by scanning their bodies, scan objects and have them appear on-screen, and move their hands to draw in the air. Kinect is certainly becoming a much more useful peripheral to own, though many would like to see a price drop too.
Microsoft continues to expand the Xbox 360’s functionality as a home entertainment device. A new, redesigned dashboard update will come this fall. Video-related features include YouTube support (finally!) and live television too.
Windows Phone users who have grown accustomed to the Bing search button will welcome the Bing search function’s arrival on Xbox 360 too. It can search the Xbox 360 Marketplace, content stored on the console, and Netflix. Bing Search will be even more convenient thanks to Kinect voice recognition.
Head past the jump for a full list of games mentioned during the conference.
3 years ago
Orange France releases voice turn-by-turn GPS
While in the U.S., we're actually use to turn-by-turn being provided by our carriers, in Europe it's not so expected. In that sense, it's great news to hear that Orange France has release a full-fledged, custom, turn-by-turn GPS solution for their customers.
The app looks pretty snazzy from the screenshots and it has abundant, if not the usual, features on board:
- The real-time traffic info;
- Alerts fixed and mobile radars (database Wikango);
- Service stations with fuel prices;
- Parking in the Ile de France
- Voice guided
The bad news is that it's not locally stored maps, so just like the U.S. counterparts, you have to have a data plan that can both be fast enough to download the data and allows you to have enough data so as to not get over-charged. (Europe tends to have higher data costs and less access to 3G than in the U.S.). Still, it's a nice start and something we're sure many will use. For more info, head to Professeur Thibault who has all the details.
Download Orange GPS here in the Marketplace.
via Professeur Thibault
3 years ago
Xbox Live Extras hits v1.6--Avatar Marketplace now Live!
So the big E3 gaming convention is going on today, with Microsoft set to reveal tons of Xbox goodness. It may not be a coincidence then to see Xbox Live Extras get updated today to v1.6 with a significant addition, namely the ability to buy and change your avatar's appearance within the app itself.
As you can see from the image above, you can now change your avatar and purchase new items from the Marketplace (using MS Points)--this is quite the update and nearly completes the Xbox LIVE experience on the phone. The ability to use MS Points is interesting only because we're expecting the usage of actual money and MS Points to overlap, eventually, in the Marketplace as an option for purchases--perhaps this is the first sign?
Finally, we can't help but notice the usual speed-tweaks, making the app a bit zippier than before (though perhaps that's placebo). We've reached out to Microsoft for an exact change-log, so expect an update to the post later on.
You can grab Xbox LIVE Extras for free in the Marketplace here.
3 years ago
Stephen Elop on WP7 at Uplinq 2011
We've recently been following (from a distance of course) Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, to find out as much as possible with the Microkia partnership, and how this could affect both users of Windows Phone 7 and Symbian. We've already covered how Nokia are looking to take a customised approach to WP7, add some features for both carriers and users, while bringing specialised hardware to the table in Q4. Stephen was at Uplinq 2011 and was talking about how Nokia have a focus on WP7 as opposed to other OEMs.
We must first get the news out in the open that Nokia will be working closely with Qualcomm and ST-Ericsson on their upcoming handsets (no plans have been scrapped yet), which we covered a while ago when the CEO of ST-Ericsson, Carlo Bozotti, spilled some beans that they would be one of two chipset suppliers for Nokia. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and how Nokia plans to out-do other OEMs with their "focus".
3 years ago
50% off gifts with ParcelGenie app
You know those times that occur frequently when you need to send someone a gift and only know a string of contactable information, like a phone number for example and no address? ParcelGenie is the Windows Phone 7 app which only requires a mobile number from your locally stored contacts list. The lucky recipient would then receive a text (when you've chosen and paid for the gift) where they would input their address for dispatch. Neat, eh?
What's more is that you can even post the gift alerts to the Facebook wall of the recipient if you're into the whole social networking business. ParcelGenie are currently offering 50% off gifts when customers use the coupon code: AZKE2K. Be sure to head on over to the Marketplace and download this free app (Zune link) to spread your kindness. Perfect timing with Father's Day just around the corner.
Oh yeah it's good to see an app that's available for WP7, but iOS and Android are "coming soon". We like that, we like that a lot.
3 years ago
Developer Interview: Press Play reveals upcoming Xbox Live game Tentacles
Windows Phone gamers know developer Press Play from their beautiful and creative puzzle platformer, Max and the Magic Marker. The studio hasn't been resting on its laurels since that game's release. Today WPCentral brings you an interview with Thomas Gravgaard, senior software developer and project lead for Press Play’s Windows Phone titles. We’re especially proud to bring you the first screens and details of their upcoming Window Phone-exclusive Xbox Live game, Tentacles.
Slide past the break for the full interview and lots of Tentacley goodness.
3 years ago
Developers to get new devices for Mango, no ROM update
Back at MIX11, Joe Belfiore tweeted that the Windows Phone team was working on a way to get 'Mango' into developer hands well before fall (when released generally). The makes sense as it gives devs a new chance to try all the new features and get their software checked out on an actual device.
Speculation was that Microsoft would provide ROM updates to devs at some point during the summer, but alas that seems to not be the case. On the AppHub page (where devs discuss the platform), a section has been updated stating that Microsoft will be once again using new hardware to distribute the new OS:
We're working on a plan. Just like last year, when we made developer phones available with the Windows Phone 7 OS, we plan to have developer phones this summer supporting new Mango features like the gyroscope. We don't have any dates to share just yet, so stay tuned.
Considering there are many current devs with Windows Phones, it seems odd at first that it won't be a simple ROM flash. But considering the likely hood of people "ripping" the ROM and distributing it early (and we know that would happen), on top of the logistics of sending out single ROM updates for 10 devices and we can see why Microsoft would do the hardware route.
Still, the question arises of who qualifies, how many devices will there be, for how long do you have them, etc. For that, we'll just have to do what Microsoft says and stay tuned.
Source: AppHub; via WMPU
3 years ago
Best of Smartphone Experts, 5 June 2011
3 years ago
U.N.I. MEGA Pack now available
We mentioned .Net Architects' U.N.I Game Pack some time ago and found it to be an entertaining collection of free games for your Windows Phone. The developer has recently released a follow-up to the Game Pack, the Mega Pack.
The U.N.I. Mega Pack includes seven games including:
- Jump - jumper game where Santa jumps up your screen
- Air Hockey - table top air hockey game
- Shoot - dueling canons
- Jewel Match - Bejeweled styled game
- Mini BBall - Similar to paper toss but instead, you shoot mini-bballs at the trash can
- Tower Defense - As the title implies, a tower defense game
- Slice Fruit - A Fruit Ninja styled game.
The games are along the lines of a penny arcade games. Simple yet challenging and a nice way to pass the time with. The games are ad supported and easy to pick up.
In tinkering with Mega Pack for a just a short period, the games, for the most part, ran smoothly. There were some stability issues noticed with Mini-BBall and Air Hockey that had the gaming app crash. In talking with the developer, they are aware of these issues and are working on an update to correct any stability issues present.
U.N.I. Mega Pack is a free game collection for your Windows Phone and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.
3 years ago
Windows Phone Summary of the Week: May 30-June 06, 2011
This week has been fairly quiet, but we must kick off this weekly summary with wishing our Dieter Bohn a fond farewell. Onto serious business, Windows 8 was shown in a demo video featuring the Windows Phone 7 live tiles, which shows positive signs on combining the look of Windows on multiple platforms - hopefully building WP7 sales too.
A backup tool is being developed within the homebrew community allowing users to take and apply backups of their devices via Zune. Kik Messenger is to be with us within the month of June after being first heard of at MIX '11. We recently ran an editorial on the amount of spam being added to the Marketplace, Microsoft has responded to all the complaints and states they will add caps. Speaking of the Marketplace, we had the pleasure in interviewing Luke Lowrey, the developer behind Phonealytics.
Many of our readers have been complaining and mentioning about how negative the sales team are at network/retail stores around the world with regards to WP7. You can share your experiences and opinions to unite all detail for it to be channeled to Microsoft so they can look into it with partners and carriers.
Gaming wise, we've had an interview for an insight into Pixelbite Studios and Hydro Thunder GO with CEO Mattias Olsson. U.N.I MEGA Pack is now available for download which includes seven penny arcade style games - perfect for killing time. Both Harbor Master and Haypi Kingdom have been updated, however Haypi Kingdom is experiencing some performance issues on WP7 since updating. Good news is a fix is presently available.
Onto Mango for a small rumor, according to the leaked shots of a HTC device equipped with a 12MP camera, there is a "save settings" button in the camera settings slide. We touched on security this week in light of recent attacks on Gmail accounts. Google have provided resources to help users enable 2-step verification and OTP (One Time Password) and is coupled with a neat little video. For the cloud, SkyDrive is beginning to receive some attention with proposed support coming in Mango, but wouldn't a SkyDrive stand-alone app with music streaming be great? Speaking of music Microsoft have also detailed music & video hub changes.
Acer have been in the spotlight with their W4 making a few stories with specification reports and hands-on videos. The Verizon Trophy (now it's actually out) has been slashed to $49 at AmazonWireless, an unbelievable price. The AT&T HTC HD7S is now availoable at Amazon, among other locations.
Quiet week for developers, but Telerik have their WP7 webinars on the go, not to mention some devices to give away and licenses for one of their products.
Surf on past the break for highlights.
3 years ago
AT&T CEO comments on WP7
Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, has spoken about their support for Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 and how it hasn't been selling as well as both companies had hoped. This is a slightly more accurate picture being painted by the network operator than the previous statement from Jeff Bradley (AT&T senior vice president of mobile devices) of "just fine".
"We actually like that software very, very much. It hasn’t sold as well as Microsoft or us would want it to. I think for the first thing out of the chute it is pretty good. I think they just need to make it better… Giving customers more application choices, having a bigger app store with more functionality on the phone–I think that is all that it needs."
Positive thoughts from the CEO and a good acknowledgement that it's still early days yet. It's good to know they actually like the product, although we don't know who "we" covers in the company, and whether it's more than two personnel or not. AllThingsD carried out an interview with Ralph, asking a few questions, including one about WP7 and Nokia and another about the platform being simply hard to sell. Check out the questions and answers after the break.
3 years ago
AT&T HTC HD7S now available at Amazon (and elsewhere)
Well, AT&T made good with their June 5th launch date for the HTC HD7S (see our full review here). Not only is it available at retail stores and AT&T's online store, it is also available over at AmazonWireless.
Through Amazon, the HD7S out of contract, will run you $489.99, as an upgrade $149.99 and as a new phone with contractual discounts $99.99 ($149.99 if it's a part of a Family Account).
Depending on the purchase you may also be eligible for free two-day shippin and additional instant discounts from Amazon.com. Unfortunately, it hasn't appeared on AmazonWireless's $25 gift card promotion. We're hoping that will change later today.
3 years ago
Bad WP7 sales experience? Express your concern
We have received some comments from you guys about the Windows Phone 7 platform being run down by the staff at network/retail stores etc. While I would assume I'm one of the lucky few with the member of staff at the London Three store being super optimistic about WP7 and sold it well, there are those who view the platform as a disaster from a personal point of view, not a professional perspective.
As one would agree with me saying this - that's wrong. No platform should be down pitched at all, a customer should always receive what product they wish to purchase based on personality, requirements and personal preference, not what the member of staff making the sale wants the customer to buy.
If you have noticed this occurring while in a store or have experienced this yourself, Robert McLaws (a Windows enthusiast) has begun a campaign of sorts to highlight the problem to Microsoft, which is currently an accessible OneNote folder.
Simply fill out the information in the default template example as a new note and post it. Robert also mentions that he may look into creating a web site that publishes this information. It's the few baby steps in the right direction at least.
3 years ago
Another version of Sony Ericsson WP7 Prototype "Julie"
We previously covered leaked photos of the Sony Ericsson device being spread like wildfire, but were later confirmed (as we believed) to be of a cancelled prototype from last year prior to the Windows Phone 7 launch. Sony Ericsson wasn't at the launch party for cookies, neither have they been announced as a future OEM for the platform since it looks like the company have continued doubts.
We have now seen photos of a white version of the prototype "Julie" on a Polish forum, but this device lacks the functionality of the previously leaked handset with bootable ROM. Nice to see 16GB mentioned though and it doesn't look like a half bad phone with the keyboard reminding me much of my TV remote control. More photos after the break.
3 years ago
Developer Interview: Luke Lowrey of Phonealytics
Today's interviewee is Luke Lowrey. We get his take on Windows Phone 7, the development process and how he sees the platform advancing in the near future with Mango. Luke is the developer behind Phonealytics (my personal favourite WP7 app) which is a Google Analytics client with live tile support. His other project is DropNotes, a DropBox note synchronising editor. Both apps show off the Metro UI well.
Drop on past the break for the interview.
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