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3 years ago

Collapse! coming to Xbox Live next week

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It seems like only yesterday that WPCentral broke the news of five new GameHouse titles heading to Xbox Live. But it was actually a month ago! And what do you know, one of those games, Collapse!, will debut next week.

The PC version of Collapse! was GameHouse’s very first game, starting them on the road to becoming a casual gaming giant. It’s a match-three puzzler in which a stack of blocks rises from the bottom of the screen. Players frantically tap groups of three of more colored blocks in order to eliminate them. Customizable characters, multiple gameplay modes, and bosses make for a full-featured package. The Windows Phone version even supports both portrait and landscape modes, which we don’t see much in games.

Collapse! tumbles to Xbox Live on Wednesday, September 14. It will cost $2.99.

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3 years ago

Xbox Live: Minesweeper updated, sheds excess mines

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When Microsoft published their free Xbox Live version of Minesweeper in August, we were all happy to get a free game. However, we noticed something was up with it. Namely, there were so many mines that you couldn’t solve the puzzles properly! Minesweeper’s supposed to be challenging, but not like that. I resolved to stop playing it until an update came out.

Thankfully, Microsoft and developer Babaroga took notice of these problems as well. Today they issued an update corrects the difficulty issues, but it’s not a traditional update. Minesweeper’s control data is stored as an XML file on a Microsoft server. This allows the developers to make adjustments to the game without the need for a patch. When gamers launch the game while connected to the internet, it checks for the updated XML file and updates accordingly.

Today’s Minesweeper changes include:

Classic mode

  • Intermediate:
    Mines reduced from 36 to 24
    Experience reward increased from 150 to 200
  • Advanced:
    Mines reduced from 76 to 60
    Experience increased from 250 to 300

Speed mode

  • Beginner:
    Mines reduced from 15 to 12
    Experience increased from 150 to 200
  • Intermediate:
    Mines reduced from 40 to 24
    Experience increased from 200 to 300
  • Advanced:
    Experience increased from 300 to 400

To update your game, launch the game while connected to the internet. You may need to load up the Leaderboards and/or restart the game for the changes to take effect. You’ll know it worked when the mines listed on the difficulty selection pages match the new values.

It’s amazing what a difference a few less mines can make. Previously, it took me over 100 tries to complete an Intermediate puzzle. Post-update, I finished one on my first try. This dramatically improves the game and makes the Achievements much easier too. Look forward to our full review soon.

Minesweeper is free on Xbox Live. Get it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

From the WPCentral forums...

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From the WPCentral forums...

Wow! What a busy week it has been in the forums. Lots to talk about so grab a beer and get in here you’re missing all the fun. With the introduction of the Titan and the Radar this week at Thread: HTC Event we are getting a look at what our next generation Mango Windows Phone 7.5 devices will look like. I must say, very nice. in fact, I started this thread: "My next device, who's with me?" Of course, there are those who are thinking "OEMs aren't doing any favors to Microsoft". What? Is the next generation hardware up to par? Can Microsoft beat the competition with devices like the Titan and Radar?

"Are Apps over-rated?" How many apps do you use and how much of what you use should Microsoft bake in to Windows Phone OS? We need everyone’s opinion on this one.  

"So AT&T is apparently giving free Samsung Focus with cheap data plans." Is it true? Have you gotten your Focus this week? Does this mean there new Mango devices headed to AT&T? We need to get this figured out!

We have added an "Introductions" sub-forum this week so stop in and introduce yourself. If you’re new to our community or if you've been around for a while, stop in and say hello.

We have some interesting additions to the Application and Gaming Spotlight forums again this week check out these applications.

Applications Spotlight

Games Spotlight

Just remember to get registered. I want you to join the fun.

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3 years ago

Nokia to learn from HP and webOS

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Nokia to learn from HP and webOS

Seems Nokia is taking what happened with webOS and HP into account with their devotion to Windows Phone. The handset manufacturer plans to avoid the sort of trouble that now plagues webOS and will ensure that teams are taking extreme measures to reach perfection.

Gary Chan, head of ecosystem and developer experience at Nokia Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei, spoke to ZDNet Asia about why he felt webOS failed with HP. He explained that the market which webOS was targeting wasn't large enough and the platform didn't provide the means for developers to monetize their apps.

Vlasta Berka, general manager for Nokia Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei moved onto say that the breakdown between webOS and HP won't help Nokia and Microsoft since it doesn't matter how many platforms are competing in the market. For the consumer, the more ecosystems available, the better. The amount of effort required to be poured into the partnership remains the same.

"The party who suffers from a number of ecosystems being readily available are developers", Vlasta continued. "They may face a more challenging time deciding which platform to focus their projects [and resources] on".

Nokia will understand this more clearly once their Windows Phone handsets are in the field as they'll then be supporting three platforms - Symbian, MeeGo and Windows Phone.  As for MeeGo, Vlasta said the company has no plans to launch a second device this year and will more than likely leave it up to how popular the N9 becomes and what demand there is.

Source: ZDNet

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3 years ago

HTC Mazaa doesn't like HTC apps

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HTC Mazaa doesn't like HTC apps

Here's a funny little anecdote that will affect about 0.2% of you: the HTC Mazaa, basically a limited edition developer device, doesn't seem to recognize that it's an HTC phone. Poor thing.

Reader of the site Achia S. won an HTC Mazaa from Microsoft's WPAppItUp contest. Wanting to install the HTC Flashlight app, they get a notice stating that this app only runs on HTC phones and therefore, you can't have it. Obviously the problem here is that HTC along with this build of the OS aren't recognized by HTC's validating process--something they could probably fix, but are in no rush to address. In fairness, HTC was kind enough to respond to Achia's inquiry on the matter:

"I understand the importance of having an HTC 7 Trophy that functions as it was intended. Unfortunately, with developer devices, we cannot ensure that the ROM on it will function as the released model. I recommend contacting Microsoft to see if they can push the Release build to your device and have it running the appropriate software. I do apologize for any inconvenience."

It's interesting that HTC tech support conflates the 7 Trophy with the Mazaa--they are similar devices but different internals and it's not clear that a finalized ROM will fix the matter either. It sounds more or less like HTC needs to add the Mazaa to their recognized database, but whaddya we know? Thanks, Achia S., for the heads up!

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3 years ago

AVG releases first antivirus scanner for Windows Phone 7

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AVG has been around for quite awhile and have recently entered the growing mobile space (we hear Android is gangbusters for a/v scanners). They've now released a free "suite" for Windows Phones, combining an earlier product (Safe Search) with an actual virus scanner:

"Free Security Suite from AVG Mobilation – security software for Windows Phone™. Keep your device safe with just one click"

  • Safe Web Surfing - Stay safe from phishing and malware while surfing the web
  • Safe Search - Allowing you search the web avoiding malicious web sites

In addition, the virus scanner portion will scan over your music and images. Surprisingly, the scan is pretty fast though we do have to wonder about other vulnerabilities such as PDFs, docx and of course programs. We imagine though when it comes to the latter, AVG can only do so much within the siloed limitations of the Windows Phone OS. So how much of a threat could there be from music or images? We're not too really to sure but we're more concerned about side-loading XAP files from untrusted sources--something which this app doesn't cover.

Still, for being free, it's not bad. It can update/download new AV definitions and the Safe Search/Web Surfing is not bad if you're worried about going to a malicious site. Worth the download? Perhaps--at 5MB, it sure won't kill your device and giving it once-over (under 30 secs for most of you) may not be a bad idea. Read more at http://www.avgmobilation.com/ and pick the app up here in the Marketplace.

Update: Rafael Rivera has broken down the app to see what exactly it does. As of now, since there are no known threats to WP7, it scans for EICAR (test file) and the word עברית (Hebrew) but has no generics capability, meaning there's very little that this will actually scan for.

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3 years ago

Gravity Guy lands on the Marketplace [Xbox LIVE]

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Ready for some serious platforming? Gravity Guy from Miniclip is now available in the Marketplace.

Gravity Guy is a game based entirely around playing with gravity. As the hero automatically runs from left to right, players must reverse gravity back and forth in order to help him make it past obstacles. The game quickly becomes challenging, requiring split-second reflexes and perhaps a touch of memorization in order to keep Gravity Guy from the graveyard. The urge to get just a bit farther pushes players on…

Not only is Gravity Guy a pretty game, with well-drawn characters and backgrounds containing a lot of depth, but it’s also multiplayer! Just not online. That’s right, Gravity Guy is one of the few mobile Xbox Live games to feature local multiplayer that isn’t a board game. Up to four players can participate simultaneously, tapping their respective corners of the screen in order to flip their individual heroes. Multiplayer might not be comfy, but it’s something.

Gravity Guy costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Hop over here (Zune link) to get it from the Marketplace.

Also, don't forget that Pocket God is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. It's on sale for $1.99 and you can find it here.

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3 years ago

easyTube Ad-Free completely free through September

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easyTube is a slick YouTube app for Windows Phone. It’s got some nice features like playing 720P videos, remotely loading videos on a PC from the phone, the ability to play only the audio stream from videos, and downloading videos to the phone so that they can be viewed later without an internet connection. Plus you can play your YouTube Favorites continuously without having to select the next video, which I love.

easyTube was originally available in a free ad-supported version only but a paid ad-free version came out in August. Right now they are both free, enabling everyone to get the proper adless version at no cost. This promotion lasts until the end of September - plenty of time to give it a download.

You can get the new ad-free version of easyTube here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

Thanks to Timmy Bouwmann for the tip!

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3 years ago

Best Windows Phone commerical ever? Yes. Oh yes.

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We all know how Microsoft needs a little help with promotion for Windows Phone. But they are getting better at it and with Brandon Foy having graced Microsoft with his talents (though not in marketing), we think they'll make a turn around this fall.

Still, no one sets the bar like the Japanese. For anything. Case in point, this awesome ad for the Fujitsu IS12T. Oh we have no idea what he's saying but does it matter? Nope, it does not. Don't ever change Japan, we love you.

"Skydrive Toi toi toi!"

Thanks, @Kinsoft_Apps, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Marketplace statistics

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Windows Phone Marketplace statistics

Justin Angel, former Microsoft Silverlight Program Manager, has downloaded all Windows Phone Marketplace XAPs and analysed them. He's then gone on to provide some insightful graphs for us all to see. He ended up with 108GB and analysed 24,505 apps, looking at Obfuscation, Silverlight vs. XNA, programming language, number of cloned apps and more.

We'll get stuck into cloned apps to begin with, which Justin reports as being around 925 of the 24,505 he took into account. These are the apps that share the same functionality as each other, such as the spam that we encountered, etc. He estimated that over 20% of the Marketplace is the same app published more than once. This leaves just 18,549 apps in the Marketplace that are unique. Check out the chart after the break for a visual representation.

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3 years ago

Zune terms changing Sept 13, reducing the number of sync devices for music [Updated]

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Oh this is not something we want to post as this is just bad, bad bad. Evidently, on September 13th Microsoft is reducing the number of devices upon which you can sync with the Zune music service from 6 (3 computers and 3 devices) to just 4 (at least 1 computer and any combo of 3 PCs and devices). You'll also need to download at least one new song to each device to continue using the service.

We're none to pleased with these changes but have a feeling it has something to do with licensing from the music companies, reduction in costs to those licenses and perhaps trying to reduce "sharing" of Zune passes. Regadless, that's just lame. Users are reportedly being sent emails with the following information and you don't have a choice to the change outside of cancelling your subscription.

Update: LiveSide is reporting (via EnConnected) that this is only for Europe and not the US, where as of now, we will still be able to sync to 6 devices. This should ease over tensions between our Euro and US readers /sarcasm.

Thanks, Lee T., for the images and info!; see also My Microsoft Life

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3 years ago

Orientation screen lock for Windows Phone?

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Orientation screen lock for Windows Phone?

We're not sure if these are legit or not but it's not exactly something very far fetched. The idea of adding an orientation lock to phones is a pretty standard one, adding convenience when laying down in bed or if you just don't use your device that way. The method seems simple enough: bring down the volume bar, tap the icon to lock/unlock screen orienation.

These images come reportedly from someone's Facebook page and if real, would be from a newer build of the OS we haven't see yet. On the other hand, they could also be clever concepts, so take 'em with a grain of salt because we probably won't see this anytime soon.  Cool idea though.

Thanks, anonymous, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Microsoft has high hopes for WP7 marketshare

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Microsoft has said that they are predicting Windows Phone to capture more than 20% of the smartphone market over the next few years through clever and effective marketing as well as support from manufacturers. Remember when Pyramid Research predicted the OS to reach top spot by 2013? Well the software giant is looking to smash that prediction.

Achim Berg, head of Windows Phone marketing, had this to say at IFA:

"HTC and other partners will run advertisement campaigns for the Titan and Radar phones, and the company has joined Microsoft in training hundreds of salesmen worldwide to better demonstrate the product. Microsoft plans to build on Windows Phone’s initial success with female consumers as well as with young and first-time users to win market share."

Berg also stated (and quite rightly so) that it took Apple and Google time for iOS and Android to catch on. Granted that Microsoft has arrived slightly late, but they still share the same obstacles when starting out. Apps wise, the Marketplace has shown positive signs of growth and developers are creating superb applications.

With regards to manufacturer support, if the HTC event in London was anything to go by, I'd say they're fairly confident in Mango and it shows in the beastly hardware that's going to hit shelves later this year. It's great to see in the above quote that Microsoft has been actively training salesmen with HTC to better demonstrate products, something carriers could also partner for.

Source: Bloomberg

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3 years ago

Pokemon Wallpapers for your Windows Phone

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Sitting around trying to find a cool looking Pokemon wallpaper for your Windows Phone? Look no further.

pldh.net has compiled a rather impressive collection of Pokemon wallpapers that can easily be adapted for your Windows Phone. The collection includes the first 493 Pokemon and includes Pokemon from the Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh regions.

The wallpapers can be downloaded as a complete set or by region. The images are sized at 1920x1080 so you'll need to crop them down a little to fit the 480x800 Windows Phone screen.  Then it is just an issue of transferring the image files to your Windows Phone through Zune or email them to Windows Phone.

The wallpapers look good and represent the Pokemon characters well. You can download the wallpaper sets here at pldh.net.

via: 1800pocketpc

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3 years ago

Play god for less - Pocket God is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week

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Fable Coin Golf was a pretty impressive Xbox Live Deal of the Week. It would be hard to match that level of quality two weeks in a row. But hey, this week’s sale game isn’t that bad. It’s Pocket God from Ngmoco (which is apparently a real company name). Pocket God is going on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Pocket God is that game where players get to mistreat a bunch of pygmies and participate in lots of little minigames too. It’s silly fun, as our review attests. The Windows Phone version, however, is kind of buggy, with at least one semi-glitched Achievement. This version also receives far fewer updates than the superior iPhone original, though the developer promised at least one more update a while back. But if you just want to beat up on some islanders (who can blame you? *wink*) and aren’t concerned with all the technical aspects and getting extra content every few weeks like iPhone users, you’ll still have a good time.

Pocket God’s sale price starts on Wednesday, September 7 and lasts for one week only. Grab it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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