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3 years ago

Obama signs, and MS supports, patent overhaul bill

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Today President Barack Obama signed a bill into law that is being touted as the biggest reform to patent law since 1952.  The America Invents Act changes the way the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hands out patents from a convoluted, drawn-out process of researching who the inventor of a technology was to a first-to-file approach.  This will shift the burden from the PTO to the inventors, greatly reducing the time it takes to get an idea patented.  The America Invents Act also augments the process of challenging patents that have already been granted, and allows the PTO to patent-related fees.   Speaking of the importance of the bill to both innovation and the floundering economy, Obama had this to say:

“Somewhere in that stack of applications could be the next technological breakthrough, the next miracle drug.  We should be making it easier and faster to turn new ideas into jobs.”

Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of intellectual property and licensing, said in a blog post that the AIA:“will ensure that innovators in our troubled economy can benefit from a predictable and rational patent system, with new tools to eliminate patents that should not have issued and to speed the processing of patents that should be issued."  He went on to say that "a fair, balanced and effective patent system is indispensable to promoting R&D investment, job creation, and economic growth.”

Gutierrez's comments are not surprising given the obscene amount of patent-related squabbles and acquisitions in the past year, which have included Microsoft, Apple, Google, HTC and others.  The potential of companies using patents as weapons has also been credited for recent billion-dollar business moves, such as Google's recent purchase of Motorola Mobility

Hopefully, with a more streamlined system and better review process, the patent world can gain a little sanity, while perhaps simultaneously giving the economy a lift in its step.

Source: SeattlePI; Photo: AP(Jacquelyn Martin)

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3 years ago

8tracks - A Mango app review

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8tracks - A Mango app review

As described over at the Windows Phone Marketplace, 8tracks is a handcrafted internet radio for your Windows Phone. The Mango app offers a simple way to discover and share music through an online mix that contains at least eight tracks of music. The eight is actually the infinity symbol ( ∞ ), representing infinite music but "eight" is easier to type.

The 8tracks concept is rather interesting. You sign up for a free membership (here's their website), upload your favorite tunes in mixes (playlist for us old timers), and add them to 8tracks collection for all to enjoy. The Windows Phone app, taps into this collection and brings the mix to your phone.

The 8tracks app lays things out rather nicely with the ability to listen to established music mixes, create your own mix, as well as search the online library by artist or genre.

To see how well 8tracks performs, hit the jump past the break.

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3 years ago

Weather Live v3.0 with new Mango features [Video]

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Our favorite weather app Weather Live (previous coverage), is about to hit the big v3.0 today. This new version is for the Mango peeps out there, bringing some excellent new functionality to the Metro themed weather program. New features include:

  • Multiple locations with secondary tiles (in paid version).
  • Display location, next forecast (today or tomorrow) and alerts in the back tiles.
  • Background Agent to automatically update locations when you are on the go (in paid version).

As you can see in the video hands on above, the new tiles add some excellent options to the mix and with fast-app resuming and improved Mango scrolling, the app is better than ever. Expect version 3.0 to appear today or tomorrow. You can pick up Weather Live here in the Marketplace (both paid and unlimited trial).

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3 years ago

Sat Rad Player gets Mango-ized

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Sat Rad Player gets Mango-ized

Sat Rad Player is one of the latest apps to become Mango-ready in its new version 3.0.  Besides a patch that fixes a bug where the app pauses when the phone first locks, the update features some exciting new functionality.  Firstly, you can now use Bluetooth devices to to listen to your favorite satellite radio stations on your phone.  The other big addition to Sat Rad Player is the ability to run it in the background on Mango devices.  That way, you can rock out with your Cocktail Flow out.

Special instructions given for running the app in the background are provided by the developers:

Press the volume control on the phone to bring up the mini-player (aka UVC) that allows you to stop/start playing, and change channels. The mini-player can be accessed from anywhere on the phone through the volume controls (even if the phone is locked). TO ENABLE THIS FEATURE make sure the 'plays under lock screen' option is checked off in the settings menu.

There is a fully functional, ad-supported trial version, as well as a paid version.

The Sat Rad Team also reminds you that your current US-based Sirius/XM subscription must include the internet play option for the app to work. Grab it here. (Thanks for the tip, Frank!)

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3 years ago

Qualcomm proud to be the first for Windows Phone 8

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In Istanbul, Turkey at Qualcomm Inovation 2011, Qualcomm released information about upcoming Snapdragon architecture Krait , which will feature full support for Windows 8. Leading the way in the smartphone market (and dominating Windows Phone 7), Cristiano Amon, vice president of product development at QCT (Qualcomm CMDA TECHNOLGIES), said the following about Windows Phone 8:

"When we go to the Windows Phone 8, we can with the fact that we again work with them [Microsoft] and our work position speed look forward to probably be the first to market with a Windows Phone 8 platform."

While we're aware that Microsoft wishes to bring their ecosystem closer together, this is promising news that hardware manufacturers and chip brains are working harder at bringing the next-gen tech to Windows Phone.

Source: NordicHardware

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3 years ago

Deal Alert: Verizon Trophy for a penny plus $50 Amazon Gift Card

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For those looking for a sweet deal, you may want to to take a look at Amazon Wireless. They're running their special sale again where upon purchase of certain phones, you can get a $50 Gift Card, good towards accessories or anything else.

Seeing as the Verizon HTC Trophy (review) is going for $0.01 (2 year new contract), if you throw in this gift card, you're actually making $50 which ain't half bad. Don't forget, you can also unofficially throw on the final version of Mango on this phone right now, making this a killer combo. Head here to Amazon Wireless for more info.

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3 years ago

Rise of Glory gets a Mango war medal [Xbox Live]

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Although Microsoft has said the 15th was not "Mango day" (whatever that was suppose to mean), they continue to publish updates to their Xbox LIVE catalog. Yesterday was Rocket Riot and today we have Rise of Glory (review), the World War I era bi-plane fighter game. Ironically, this was the very game Microsoft used to demonstrate Mango muti-tasking back in February at Mobile World Congress, so it's only fitting we see it come out ahead of the pack.

The new version of course supports fast resume, meaning if you accidentally or purposefully hit the Windows key mid game, going back in you'll be greeted with a pause screen, where you can Continue, Calibrate, Extit to Menu or Exit Game. On top of that, you now get the 60 FPS boost and on this game...totally rocks. Maybe it's just because we haven't played it in awhile, but the propeller movement is exceptionally detailed.

Anyways, it's nice to see Microsoft continue to update their catalog. Our own Paul Acevedo has reached out to the devs of Rise of Glory to see if there are any other fixes or new features and we will update this post if we hear back. Grab the update here.

Thanks, Ken and @BinaerJongleur, for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Joe Belfiore on the start of Fall

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September 15th has come and gone with no noticeable movement on a Mango release. Last night, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore tweeted confirmation that it was just another rumor and they've (Microsoft) been saying "Fall". Even though there were several indicators pointing towards the 15th that something was suppose to happen, if it did, it wasn't publicly witnessed.

Belfiore has since tweeted a link to a website (Apples 4 the teacher) that shows when Fall starts (September 23rd). Take it for what it's worth. It could mean a release date, it could mean the release won't happen before the 23rd, or it could be Belfiore driving us all nuts.

The only thing we know for certain is that Mango is really nice, it exists and it will get to everyone eventually. We still are seeing indicators that make us believe Mango's release (in some shape form or fashion) is close and if we have to wait until the 23rd or there after, that's not too long of a wait.

In the meantime, we'll keep an eye out for more bread crumbs from Joe, Brandon and all the other sources and tips we run across and pass it on to you guys to digest. September 23rd is seven days away and we'll know soon enough if it has any meaning beyond the calendar beginning of Fall and a reminder of all those leaves we'll have to rake up in the coming weeks.

source: @joebelfiore thanks goes out to Kenrick for tipping us on this!

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3 years ago

Belfiore crushes dreams: 9/15 isn't Mango day

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Update: See our follow up to this story with some new information.

Microsoft's Joe Belfiore just chimed in on Twitter noting that today isn't Mango day.  Still, we can't help but think of all the odd coincidences today--official Foursquare app, Flixster, Rocket Riot, Taiwan getting an update, Microsoft calling for devs to update their asap, the last day of BUILD '11 in California and more that something wasn't suppose to happen around this time.

However, Joe knows what Joe knows so we have to take him at his word. So our chances for a Mango release or announcement today are not good. But maybe...

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3 years ago

Windows Phone First Person series starts with Kali Jones

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Microsoft are kicking off a good number of marketing campaigns. One being the Me video series following Windows Phone users, which we saw fallowing Eagle Rock Yacht Club, a non-profit dodge ball league and community. We've now just seen published on the Windows Phone blog a new written series that follows individuals and how Windows Phone affects their life.

Kali Jones, hair stylist, answered some questions with in-depth explanations covering how Windows Phone has changed her life, both on a personal and professional note. One of the highlights about the platform that attracted Kali to purchase her HTC HD7 was the simplicity of the Metro UI. Here's a quick snippet of the article:

For one thing, I’m not going to miss a contact, whether they choose to email, call or text me. My clients will book their appointments through texting, and then I remind them about their appointments with a text. For the Las Vegas clients, one week before I go down there I blast out texts. I think they like that, because people can’t pick up the phone at work, or maybe they’re a cocktail waitress and they can text me back at 1 or 2 a.m. and it’s fine—I don’t sleep next to my phone. And it’s easy to track what happens to the emails and texts, whether they went through or got a reply. 

I also use my phone to take credit card payments. When I started my business after moving back here, I looked at getting onto the Visa machine at the salon, but you have to do a 3-year contract. If you’re in business for yourself, that’s hard because you don’t know how long you’ll be in any one place. Then I got my phone and found an app called Credit Card Machine that only required a 6-month contract. It stores the client’s contact info—all I have to do is enter the credit card number. It emails a receipt to me and to the client, all paperless and totally awesome. You can check online to make sure the payment went through, and it shows up in your bank account in a couple of days.

It's well worth the read should you be looking at Windows Phone Mango as your next investment or know of someone who's looking to switch. Head on over to the blog (link below) to read through the rest of the interview. Also, if you know of anyone who could be interviewed next, be sure to send their details in (email located at top of interview)

Source: Windows Phone Blog

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3 years ago

German Mango plans possibly revealed? O2 and Telekom.

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Some good news if you are in Germany and are on O2 and or Telekom. Actually, O2 seems to be getting the better deal.

In a tweet asked by Chris (@Fizi_zubi) to the carrier, O2 responded with (translated) "Mango is planned for mid September, so it won't be too long. Specific dates are not yet known.". Of course, mid-September is what we've been hearing about for awhile now, so it's a little unclear if they meant generally or specifically for O2--then again, O2 UK seems like they're just about ready to release Mango. But it's at least on their radar (and hey, they even know what it is!).

Next up is Telekom, which also knows about Mango. They're suggesting mid-October, which is not nearly as nice as O2's statement. However, it's a bit unclear if O2 and Telekom are talking about software updates to existing phones or new hardware.

To that end, no specific dates are given, but it's looking promising for the next few weeks for something to happen on the Mango front.

Via: Phona7, Windows-Smartphones.de; Thanks, Chris and Tom, for the links!

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3 years ago

Ballmer disappointed, but optimistic about WP7

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We all know that Windows Phone has hit some stumbling blocks in its first year of release, so it's no surprise that Microsoft would be disappointed with how it's gone so far.  Still, when Steve Ballmer says it, it's a little unnerving.  “We haven’t sold quite as many as I would have liked in the first year,” he stated at yesterday's financial analyst meeting.

The good news is that he followed up with some words of optimism:

“I’m not saying I love where we are but I am very optimistic on where we can be,” Ballmer said. “We’ve just got to kick this thing to the next level.”

And it wasn't just canned words trying to raise spirits, but words with reasoning behind them.  While acknowledging the lackluster sales of WP7, he also noted that Microsoft had created “a very strong third ecosystem” behind Android and Apple.  He also noted that the partnership with Nokia would be a boost to the brand because they are a "dedicated hardware partner that is all-in on Windows Phones," and thus will help make the push, unlike other manufacturers who have the hands in multiple operating systems.  Nokia is set to deliver their first Windows handsets as early as Q4 of this year, but certainly in Q1 of 2012.

Another reason Ballmer should be optimistic about the future of WP7 is Mango.  We have seen that it has already started creeping out in some places, and the prospects of future devices and upgrades look very promising.  Add to all this what is coming with Windows 8, XBox and Windows Phone coming together in unison, and you have what looks like a pretty nice road ahead.  Sure, maybe we hoped for a little more from WP7 in year one, but with what lies ahead, how could you blame Ballmer for getting excited?

Source: AllThingsD

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3 years ago

BBC Radio Player app chimes onto the Marketplace

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Good news UK users (and for anyone else who can gain access)! Igneous Software has released a BBC Radio app that features 6 Music, 5 Live, Radio 1 Extra, Asian Network, World Service, BBC Ulster, BBC Wales and BBC Scotland as well as the main stations. Highlighted features include: 

  • Choose from all BBC Radio stations
  • Now and next programme guide
  • Full integration with music + video hub
  • Playback continues under lock screen
  • Ability to block GSM-based streaming
  • Buffering confirmed with audible “pips”
  • Comprehensive programme caching
  • Dynamic server management

BBC Radio Player is a well polished app and the streaming over both WiFi and 3G is smooth and reliable. You can download the app from the Marketplace for £0.99 ($1.29) - four standalone apps are available for BBC Radio 1, 2, 3 and 4 but these stations are included in BB Radio Player itself.

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3 years ago

BandWidth gets major overhaul with v3.0 [Mango]

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We covered BandWidth back in January when it was v2.0. Written by XDA member microhaxo, the free app is a great little utility--sharp, to the point and it does its job well of nailing your upload and download speeds via 3G or WiFi. Allowing you to pick the server, file transfer size and more, the app has always been a staple in our tool belt for phone testing.

Version 3.0 is completely re-written and now Mango enabled, making it even more a must-have in our book:

  • Automatic server selection based on location (over 600 severs world wide).
  • Options to choose which file size you want for the server. (changes upload file size too!)
  • Option to pick how far out distance wise you want to load servers from (default 400 miles).
  • Ability to share your results on Twitter and Facebook! (text output at this point).
  • Option to turn off gps if not wanted (loads original static list)

Not a bad deal and since it's free, there aren't many reasons to not grab it (well, if you're not on Mango, we suppose). Small note: make sure you uninstall the previous version before you download/update to the new one--since the code is completely new, you can't just update the app. Pick it up here in the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

O2 working on final tests for Mango

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