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3 years ago

Get cheap kitties on your Windows Phone with Kinectimals, the Xbox Live Deal of the Week

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You know what calms me down after a game charges me for one of its basic Achievements? Seeing a game get discounted that has never been on sale before. The new Xbox Live Deal of the Week certainly fits the bill. Kinectimals is now on sale for $1.99 for the first time, down from $2.99.

Kinectimals is the portable version of Frontier Software and Microsoft’s feline-themed Kinect game. Players can choose one of five kitties or import an existing cat from the 360 version using the phone’s camera. Then it’s time to teach your kitty tricks by performing swiping motions, play catch, complete challenges, and buy lots of accessories. There’s not much depth here, but the kitties are cute and the Achievements are super easy. Check out our review for more details.

Kinectimals is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

From the Forums: Anyone keeping their Lumia 900 past 30 days?

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The Lumia 900 has been out for a little over a week now and as people start to get over the "new phone wow factor" they start to notice the little things. Some of those little things become more of a big thing if that is the feature you need or use most. That leads us to today's hottest thread in which we are discussing the Lumia 900's camera.

Nokia made the Lumia 900 without a BSI (backside-illuminated) sensor and this sensor (which is included in most high end smartphones) increases the amount of photons captured in low light situations. Without this sensor, the Lumia 900 camera struggles for greatness. But in well-lit situations the camera is on par with other comparably priced phones. You can get more information about the Lumia 900 camera in our review here.

"Anyone Keeping Lumia 900 past 30 days?" Is the title of today's hottest thread in the WPCentral Forums. Forum member nokia4life wants to know a few things including will you be keeping your Lumia 900 and what about the Lumia's camera:

Okay so i left iOS and Android to comeback to WP and I do love WP. Can i ask an honest question, will any of you be returning the Lumia 900 before the 30 days is up? I ask this because since our phone has been released (rushed to market) its been plagued by some issues.

I thank them for getting a software fix out asap to address the data issue however no one from Nokia or Microsoft has even addressed the camera which is a big selling point. You just don't throw Carl Zeiss around and make statements at CES and Mobile World Congress about how powerful this camera would be for it not to be true. I am going to try and tough it out until the next Nokia release but this is starting to upset me that they are not even addressing how bad this is. And for those folks that say this is a cell phone not a camera i agree however if they advertise it one way it should perform that way. what are your thoughts folks?

You can imagine that this thread has received a lot of replies some good and some bad.

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3 years ago

Monster Island now on the Windows Phone Marketplace along with a PDLC Xbox Live Achievement

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It’s time to take a break from Sid Meier strategy games for a while and settle into some nice throwing things at other things. I am, of course, speaking of Monster Island, the latest Xbox Live release from Miniclip.

Monster Island is basically a monster-themed version of Fragger. Instead of a grenadier, you’re now a monster who must defeat invading monsters. Aim and throw five different kinds of monster grenades to destroy your stationary enemies. With a whopping 262 levels (and more promised in a future update), it offers plenty of bomb-throwing fun.  

Monster Island features a robust in-game shop in which players can purchase new characters, level unlocks, level skips, and level solutions using in-game currency. Being a Miniclip title, it also allows users to purchase coins with Microsoft Points. That’s not so bad in and of itself, but the Big Spender Achievement actually requires players to purchase not one, but three coin packs!

The cheapest coin pack costs 80 MSP ($1), so users would need to spend a minimum of $5.99 ($2.99 for the base game plus $3 for three coin packs) in order to earn Monster Island’s full 200 GamerScore. Of course, larger packs actually offer more coins per dollar than smaller packs, so why couldn’t the Achievement just be for buying a single pack? More importantly, this is the first Windows Phone title to actually require players to spend additional money in order to get all of the base game’s Xbox Live Achievements. Even among Xbox 360 games that practice is extremely rare (if not prohibited outright), so it’s startling that Microsoft allowed it here.

Perhaps it’s natural for publishers to test the limits of what they can sell to users as PDLC, but many would agree Miniclip has gone too far on this one. It’s a shame too, as without the annoying PDLC component (and multiple in-game pop-ups encouraging players to spend their coins), Monster Island is probably the most robust Angry Birds-type game on Windows Phone. The massive quantity of levels and variety of playable characters and bombs, not to mention some clever level design, certainly makes it worth a look. Could 'Big Spender' have simply slipped through the certification process by mistake? We've contacted Microsoft and will report back if they reply.

Monster Island costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace. Alternately, you can check out the Flash version at Miniclip.com.

Update: Currently the game is only available in the US. We'll let you know when this changes.

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3 years ago

Apollo update coming to all Windows Phones? According to one Microsoft Evangelist, yes

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While everyone is anxiously awaiting the Winodws Phone 8 aka Apollo update for Windows Phone, the twenty dollar question everyone is waiting for Microsoft to answer is "Will all Windows Phones be eligible?" A recent interview with a Microsoft Evangelist may shed some light on the subject.

The Portuguese mobile forum Zwame interviewed Evangelist Nuno Silva and in the above excerpt, Silva was asked if all current Windows Phone devices will receive the Apollo or Windows Phone 8 upgrade. His response, as translated by WMPU, was:

"What Microsoft said/stated and what I’m allowed to tell you is that all actual devices will get upgrade to the next major version of Windows Phone (we´re talking about Apollo)"

Silva would clarify "all actual devices" to mean:

"Are all that came out. Since the first generation that were bought. The LGs and SAMSUNGs.. OMNIA 7 which were the first devices with Windows Phone reaching the market."

So take it for what it's worth and while we have no reason to doubt Silva, it sure would be nice if the likes of Joe Belfiore would come out and confirm what Silva has offered.  What do you guys and gals think?  Will all Windows Phones from the Samsung Focus to the Nokia Lumia 900 get a taste of Apollo?

Update: We reached out Microsoft for a comment regarding this interview and while we weren't expecting a confirmation, we still wanted their statement. A Microsoft spokesperson did get back to us with this:

“We have stated publicly that all apps in our Marketplace today will run on the next version of Windows Phone. Beyond that, we have nothing to share about future releases.”

Source: Zwame via: WMPU; Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

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3 years ago

European carriers reportedly not convinced by Nokia's push to challenge competitors

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It would appear that mobile operators in Europe aren't impressed with what Nokia (and Windows Phone as a whole) has to offer to battle Google and Apple in the market. According to Reuters, four operators have stated that Nokia handsets have not been 'good enough' to compete with the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy devices.

One operator executive (who wished to remain anonymous) had the following to say:

"No one comes into the store and asks for a Windows phone. Nokia have given themselves a double challenge: to restore their credibility in terms of making hardware smartphones and succeed with the Microsoft Windows operating system, which lags in the market."

Now, we'll be the first to agree with the fact that not many customers will walk into a store and ask for a Windows Phone as the platform hasn't had the promotion or momentum that it so desperately requires. Microsoft has started their Smoked by Windows Phone campaign in a number of countries to build this momentum to a respectable pace, and Nokia has been hard at work with "The Amazing Everyday" and hosting live events. Cue "Rolling Thunder"? The trouble is there's just too much to do.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: glƏƏk!

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Windows Phone App Review: glƏƏk!

glƏƏk! for Windows Phone

glƏƏk! is a Twitter client for your Windows Phone that has plenty of features and a bit of flair. The app brings all the Twitter goodness to your Windows Phones plus glƏƏk!s and pƏƏks.

When you first launch the app, you'll need to set up an account (sign in and authorize glƏƏk! to access your Twitter Account) and from there you can update your status, view the timeline, search for people, and enjoy live tile notifications for mentions and new tweets.

And that's only scratching the surface with glƏƏk!. If you're looking for a Twitter app for your Windows Phone, glƏƏk! should be on everyone's short list.

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3 years ago

Code Warriors being unleashed onto the Marketplace to build missing apps

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Are you a fearless tribesman, ready to lead the pack? We bet you are you animal, you. Microsoft and Nokia are looking to unleash a number of "code warriors" in 14 cities to pack a punch on the Marketplace by building, crafting and basically reaching their inner-zen. Cash, devices and prizes will be on-hand for those who attend so it'll  be more than worthwhile.

What's this "code warrior" hackathon all about? In each city the two companies will be hosting a number of events that will see a number of developers building apps specifically targeting gaps in the Marketplace. Apps that should be in those gaps, and are present on other platforms, will be developed by participants.

The Code Warriors is expected to be one of the pushes Microsoft will make in their plans to bring big brand developers / apps to the platform. Should you be interested in attending one of the events, be sure to check out what cities are being visited and when over at the Eventbrite listing.

Source: The Code Warrior, via: GoWindowsGo

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3 years ago

SkyDrive updated; includes shortened URLs for Twitter posts via Windows Phone

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Microsoft has made some pretty significant upgrades to SkyDrive, among them, one that adds capability to Windows Phone. The big announcement that Redmond is touting is that SkyDrive will now support Open Document format. While this is cool and all, what piques our interest more is the newly-added ability to post to Twitter using your Windows Phone and have the URL automatically shortened using the SDRV.MS suffix. This nifty little feature makes it easy to snap a quick pic and share with friends. It illustrates Microsoft's drive to deeply integrate Windows Phone with social media.

In addition to Open Document and Twitter support, the SkyDrive update also allows users to upload files up to 300MB using their web browser. The SkyDrive Team also reports that they "have some really big things coming soon." Hopefully that means some more stuff for Windows Phone!

Source: Microsoft

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3 years ago

Cyan Nokia Lumia 900 still out of stock at AT&T, Black models back in stock

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The Nokia Lumia 900 is showing back in stock over at AT&T.com. Good news if you're looking for the black model. Not so good news if you're looking for the cyan model.  It still showing as "temporarily out of stock".

Not sure if the newly in-stock black models have been updated to address the connectivity issues. Our guess is yes. And remember if you have purchased a Nokia Lumia 900 before April 21, 2012 you will be getting a $100 credit to your AT&T wireless bill. Additionally, if you don't want to bother with the update that launched last week, you have the option to exchange your current Lumia 900 for an updated Lumia 900.

What about the stock situation with alternatives you ask? AmazonWireless is still showing both the black and the black model in stock and the cyan model on backorder, usually shipping in 8 to 9 days.  Both at the contractually discounted price of $49.99. Walmart.com showing both the black and cyan in stock with the asking price of $49.99 after contract discounts.

The local retail stores in Birmingham have what is described as limited inventory of the black Lumia 900 and there isn't a cyan model in town.  If you've been able to find a hidden stash of Lumia 900's in your area, chime in below in the comments.

Thanks, Gopalan and Wil, for the tips!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review: Turbo Camera

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Here's a neat camera app for your Windows Phone. Turbo Camera brings a burst mode of sorts to your Windows Phone camera by taking pictures in the neighborhood of 14-16 frames per second.  The app also has a timer feature and a delay for those times you don't need the high speed shutter.  Turbo Camera has room for improvement but as is, it's a decent camera app for your Windows Phone.

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3 years ago

Introducing FALCON: Fast App Launching with Context from Microsoft Research

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Apps on Windows Phone boot up fairly quickly and the user only has but a few seconds to wait for the software to fully load, but what if the operating system itself could predict what app(s) you're likely to run that exact second? Cue FALCON, a project undertaken by Microsoft Research. The "Fast App Launching with Context" allows the faster execution of apps by preloading the software in memory (multitasking stack).

One of the researchers, Tingxin Yan, describes FALCON as:

A context-aware mobile app preloading component for mobile OS. Based on intensive data analysis of app usage across multiple mobile users, FALCON presents a decision engine which exploits temporal and spacial characters of user behavior to pre-load apps ahead of time, thereby improves the responsiveness of smartphones.

How FALCON would achieve this is by anticipating what apps the user is likely to launch using algorithms, and is part of a larger project called "Context Data OS (ConDOS)". Microsoft Research aims to improve the mobile experience with ConDOS by integrating context into the platform OS.

The team is set to present their research at the MobiSys 2012 conference this year. It'll be interesting to see such functionality built into Windows Phone to further improve responsiveness beyond competitor platforms.

Via: iStartedSomething

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3 years ago

Trapster heading to the Windows Phone Marketplace (Updated)

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Trapster is finally making the move to Windows Phone. For those not familiar, Trapster first came onto the scene back in the Windows Mobile days (here's our review from way back when) and is a rather interesting app.  The driving app has left the Beta Stage and is headed to the open Marketplace.

Trapster is a social network app for your Windows Phone designed to alert you of speed traps and other road hazards. Trapster relies on a network of over 15 million users who have reported a total of 5 million Traps to date. Keep in mind though, Trapster isn't intended to help you skirt the long arm of the law but rather drive more safely.

Along with reporting the Traps you see via the convenient Report button, Trapster will also have these features:

  • Speedometer that tracks your speed and changes colors from orange to red to indicate the amount you are driving over the set speed limit.
  • Sound Themes that includes Knight Rider, Yogi the Bear, and Austin Powers.
  • Support for six languages including English, French, German, Portuguese, Arabic and Spanish.
  • Support for Terrain or Satellite map views.
  • NAVTEQ Traffic integration to provide real time traffic and incident alerts.
  • Map indicators or Patrol Lines to show where other Trapster users have traveled.
  • Map support for user selected Points of Interest.

Trapster information and services can also be accessed through their website at Trapster.com. We have been told Trapster will be available on the Windows Phone Marketplace within the next day or so.

Trapster is expected be a free app and we'll update the post with the link once it goes live.

Update: Well that didn't take long.  Trapster just went live over at the Marketplace.  It is a free app for your Windows Phone and you can find it here.

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3 years ago

An NES emulator comes to Windows Phone and we put it through its paces

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Game emulators are a lil' pastime around WPCentral. What can we say other than we like our old games as much as our new Xbox LIVE ones? We've covered Purple Cherry (Gameboy) and Blue Tomato (for you Sega fans) and now we're very happy to see Nudua's vNESLight come to the Windows Phone Marketplace for emulating games from the Nintendo Entertainment System (abbreviated as NES).

Version 1.0 of the emulator actually arrived two weeks ago after a two-month hold up by Microsoft and v1.1 is about to go live in a few days with some minor bug fixes. Version 1.0 now features Skydrive support,  including recognition of ZIP and RAR files making ROM imports very easy. You can also save your games to Skydrive too in case you want to switch devices and the UI has been re-worked to be more "Metro".

Emulation of Nintendo games also now supports sounds from varying bitrate quality (8000, 22050 and 44100 Hz) as well as Auto-frame skip for older Gen 1 devices. But if you're like us with a Titan, Titan II, Focus S or Lumia device, you can easily run at no skips and max bitrate. Audio emulation is pretty good but there are distortions here and there, but since we know sound emulation is hard stuff, we're just glad it's here.

Other features include the ability to pin any game to your Start screen for 1-touch launching, a recently-played section, redesigned virtual controls and overall just a fluid UI. We still find Purple Cherry/Blue Tomato to have a little more pizzazz in terms of design but ultimately this is about the emulator and the developer, Nudua, has done a bang-up job there making this a must have for any serious NES fans out there.

The app comes in two versions: free (with minimally intrusive ads) or $0.99 with no ads. Both versions have the same feature set so it's up to you with what you prefer (we always opt for the paid version, but that's us).

Update: Nudua let us know that the crackling sound will be fixed in an upcoming update, just a temporary hitch.

   

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3 years ago

More Tango ROMs headed for the Lumia 710 including Europe

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Just yesterday we reported that China was destined for some Tango ROM goodness for the Nokia Lumia 710. This was verified by peeking in on Nokia's own servers where they like to toss up the ROMs before they're pushed out (yet another reason to like the company, we suppose).

Tonight, with a quick cache refresh of our NaviFirm software we were able to seen yet another Tango ROM show up, this time destined for Belgium operator Proximus. This ROM has a slightly different firmware as it's labeled 8773.12120 versus the 12111 we saw for China.

We haven't loaded this one up but we feeling a little safer about English being on board. The big question everyone is wondering is Will the bring tethering to the Lumia 710? Our hunch says yes, at least for those carriers who want it.

It was speculated that Nokia did not tie the battery-saver update in the Lumia 800 (and 710) to the tethering feature for fear it could limit adoption by carriers. By separating them, Nokia could get the important battery fix out to the most users while it separately delivers the tethering update.

We imagine we'll find out soon enough. At least it's a good sign that Nokia is pushing out these updates on a wide-scale and we imagine the Lumia 800 will follow soon too.

via: Mi Movil Windows; Firmware image via Francesco S.

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3 years ago

Wordament brings word tournaments to Xbox Live on Windows Phone on April 25

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Lately we’ve been fortunate enough to receive release dates for new Xbox Live games a week or two in advance – including this week’s release, Monster Island. Naturally Windows Phone gamers are already anxious to know about next week’s new game, and we can now put those anxieties to rest. Microsoft Studios has officially announced that the Xbox Live version of Wordament launches on April 25. The game prematurely appeared on the Marketplace’s list of Xbox Live games last week, but was not Live-enabled.

Wordament is already available as an indie game. The gameplay involves trying to find as many words as possible from a field of 16 letters, all within a time limit. The hook? You’re competing against hundreds of others in real-time over the internet. Visually it’s quite plain, but the multiplayer/leaderboard aspect is compelling.

Head past the break for the full story and an update from the game's developer.

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