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4 years ago

T-Mobile's HD7 lacks multi-language keyboard support, polyglots upset [Updated]

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Update: HTC has contacted Jeff directly and corrected themselves. Evidently, it was due to "lack of time" as to why the extra language packs were not included and that they will be added in an update. As interesting, they said "by February this should not be an issue". which gives more credence to that rumored update coming down the road.

It turns out that the choices for keyboard languages (ergo configuration, see Settings --> Keyboard) are an option left up to OEMs and carriers. While most Windows Phones have multiple languages supported (e.g. French, German, Italian, Spanish and English) the HD7 curiously has only English on board.

Why that is remains a mystery, but at least according to HTC, the decision was not theirs:

If your Windows Phone 7 does not contain a display language that you would like to use, there is currently no way to get a new language pack installed on the phone. Microsoft makes language packs available (as they're created) to the device manufacturers (OEMs) at the time of manufacturing and it is up to the device manufacturer and mobile operator to decide which languages to include. In this case, it was T-Mobile’s decision to only include English.

As a result, some Spanish speaking Americans (who make up more than 12% of the population) are a little bit upset. Specifically, when they type in Spanish, it auto-corrects their words since the dictionary is dependent upon language selection. What's more, the HD7 on T-Mobile seems to be alone in this single language support when compared other WP7 devices (as far as we know at the moment).

No response from T-Mobile on the issue, but hopefully they'll make a note of it to include in an update in the future. Till then, you multi-lingual folk may want to steer clear of that phone if you think this matters to you.

[See also possible reception and magenta camera issues]

Source: T-Mobile Support Forums; Thanks, Jeff G., for the link

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4 years ago

Windows Phone Marketplace officially hits 3,000 apps

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Yup, just a small but significant mention here: the Marketplace just hit over 3,000 apps this morning. Not bad 7 weeks out from the official launch and we suppose a great way to start off December. They only hit 2,000 about 3 weeks ago.

According to WP7AppList, there are around 3,050 programs now available, with an average of 68 being added everyday. That latter number seems to be increasing of late, something we expect to continue especially with the addition of the VB tools made available this week.

A big congrats to the Windows Phone Development Team.

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4 years ago

Microsoft agrees to address homebrew demand with ChevronWP7 developers, unlocker discontinued

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In a rapid fire week, Microsoft, via Brandon Watson, have contacted the developers of the unlocking tool ChevronWP7. Instead of filing a cease and desist or making other legal threats, Microsoft instead did the right thing: opened discussions with them, specifically about the strong desire for a homebrew community.

While MS has been extremely supportive of professional developers, the idea of "homebrew" apps is not to be underestimated. After all, it drove a lot of the Windows Mobile community as well as Android and HP WebOS (see PreCentral). As a sign of good faith, the developers of ChevronWP7 have agreed to discontinue support and distribution of the tool. In return, Microsoft seems to be fast-tracking discussions with them:

To pursue these goals with Microsoft’s support, Brandon Watson has agreed to engage in further discussions with us about officially facilitating homebrew development on WP7. To fast-track discussions, we are discontinuing the unlocking tool effective immediately.

We see this as a win-win for both sides as Microsoft gets the controversial unlocker pulled but the community gets their ear on this homebrew issue. See, we can all work this out. Now lets see what comes of it.

Source: ChevronWP7

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4 years ago

ChevronWP7 custom ringtone manager released!

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Well, that was fast.

Looks like you can now download the ChevronWP7 custom ringtone manager--the first homebrew app for Windows Phone 7. The program is a .XAP (pronounced "zap") file and can be deployed using the Microsoft “Application Deployment” tool with the Windows Phone 7 Developer SDK.

To use the app, you basically build a custom .XAP file with up to 5 ringers on board and then "install" it to the phone (kind of like the .cab managers of Windows Mobile days). Ther ringers have to be in WMA format at 48KHz as "required by the OS", so there will be some encoding before you just copy over.

While you can't use the app on-the-go, it sure beats being limited to the default ringers. Remember, you need to unlock the phone first before you attempt and you are taking a risk, albeit small, here.

Source/Get it here: ChevronWP7

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4 years ago

Samsung: Our phones do not support network reconfiguration

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In a sort of follow up to our earlier story, about how MMS does not work if you switch SIM cards on some unlocked Windows Phones, Samsung responded in a Tweet on their policy.

Evidently, they say their phones are configured to work on a specfic networks and only those networks. So if you buy an unlocked/unsubsidized Samsung phone from some carrier, don't expect it to work on other networks. In other words: buyer beware.

That's a real shame for consumers and we're not sure why they would support being so carrier-locked. Perhaps they can share some more information on their decision and how they expect consumers to respond.

Source: Twitter; Thanks, Chris H., for the tip

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4 years ago

Hexic Rush - Review

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Hexic Rush - Review

Hexic is one of those arcade-style pattern-matching puzzle games that could be considered a Tetris spin-off. This type of game is extremely well suited to a mobile platform like Windows Phone 7, because the game can be easily controlled by using the touch-screen. Hexic Rush is one of the inaugural Xbox Live games on Windows Phone 7 created by Microsoft Game Studios, and therefore it has something of a high standard to meet as one of the games that is intended to introduce Windows Phone as a gaming platform. The full review is after the break.

Pros: 
Addicting game-play, simple controls.
Cons: 
Minor learning curve, not as full-featured as some other options.
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4 years ago

Software Review: Tetris

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Software Review: Tetris

There are a number of video games that could be described as a classic, but perhaps none more so than Tetris. The game that instantly brings to mind images of St. Basil’s Cathedral and Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy had appeared on nearly every computing platform and has spawned countless variations and spin-offs.

Tetris for Windows Phone 7 is an Xbox Live game developed by one of the biggest names in gaming, Electronic Arts. With a classic game like Tetris, there’s no question about the entertainment value of the game itself; the real question is how well the platform lends itself to the game-play. The full review is after the break.

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4 years ago

Game Chest: Solitaire Edition - Review

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Game Chest: Solitaire Edition - Review

With Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7, Microsoft is hoping to capture a couple of different gaming markets; the heavy gamer, and the casual gamer. The heavy gamer would be someone who potentially already uses Xbox Live at home with their Xbox 360 console, and games like The Harvest, Need For Speed Undercover, and Assassin’s Creed are games that are targeted to them. The casual gamer is less likely to spend the big bucks on the higher end games, and more likely to buy puzzle or card games such as Game Chest: Solitaire Edition from Microsoft Game Studios.

Pros: 
Familiar games, easy to learn, fun for short games
Cons: 
Won't keep you busy for too long
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4 years ago

Software Review: Need For Speed Undercover

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Need For Speed is one of the most recognizable game titles ever. As the quintessential racing game, Need For Speed games offer a number of different racing styles and game types. I personally cut my teeth on Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, Porsche Unleashed, and Underground; all of which offered very different game-play styles, car options, and race types. Additionally, as one of the most recognized names in the Xbox Live category in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace; Need For Speed Undercover is one of the games that Microsoft is using to showcase Windows Phone and Xbox Live as a mobile gaming platform (see Dan’s post on how Microsoft is chipping away at Apple’s exclusivity).

You’ve already seen the first look at Need For Speed, let’s get into the details of what makes this one of the more complete games in the Xbox Live arsenal.

Pros: 
Intense graphics, high level of customizations, intuitive controls
Cons: 
Slightly expensive
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4 years ago

Ringtone loader coming tomorrow for Windows Phone 7 [Hack]

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Chris Walsh and co. are getting very close to releasing the very first side-loaded homebrew app for Windows Phone 7: ringtone loader.

That should come to many as a worthy installation, even if the rumored update from Microsoft will contain such functionality. Not much is known at this time about what it can/can't do, but we imagine creating ringtones from your Zune library will be the cornerstone.

Of course you'll need to use ChevronWP7 to unlock your device first. Yeah, Microsoft would prefer you not to (shocking) but you're adults, we'll leave the ethical issues up to you.

Source: Twitter

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4 years ago

WPCentral First Look: Birdy Bounce--addictive simplicity [Video]

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This is one of those weird games that when you see it, you think "looks silly, no interest". Trust me, I know the feeling. All I can say is Birdy Bounce ($0.99) is really addictive and a lot of fun, even though your brain won't understand why. It's just simple, has great graphics and a great drop noise. To keep from getting repetitive the studio (Mod Monkeys) states:

The levels of Birdy Bounce are generated by an intelligent level randomization algorithm which provides a new experience every time you start playing while avoiding impossible situations to keep the fun for a long time.

Version 1.5 was released today and it included better pause support, scoreboard, and some general fixes. It currently has a 4.5 out of 5 ranking and I implore you to try it as it's the perfect 60 second game killer.

(BTW, my high score is 16,469, which I'm guessing many of you could crush)

Get it here (opens Zune Desktop).

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4 years ago

Windows Phone 7, unlocked devices and MMS: quite a mess

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This one is a bit complicated but it's real important for our international users or those who travel/swap SIMs a lot. Turns out, on a lot of unlocked/unsubsidized devices with Windows Phone 7 have Automatic Data Configuration (ADC) disabled by default.

ADC is used when you boot up the device or replace the SIM to configure the phone for network provisioning, including MMS.  To make matters worse, there is no manual configuration for MMS on WP7. What all of this means is that a lot of users who use pay-as-you-go or swap SIMs often can't send MMS messages. Normally, users would have to hard-reset the phone (!), insert SIM and let ADC run--but even that is a lousy solution, after all who wants to hard-reset their phone for that? Basically people are buying unlocked phones with crippled MMS functionality.

Now some OEMs, like HTC, have a connection manager in their app store  (HTC Apps --> Connection Setup) which will get around this issue and allow HTC users to configure their phone.  Samsung has their Network Profile app too, but by most accounts it doesn't work very well. LG users can access their MFG (hidden configuration menu) and re-enable ADC themselves.  But it's the Samsung users that don't seem to have a solution right now, even though we have a MFG menu, we haven't found the ADC settings yet.

Microsoft is aware of the problem and it has been escalated.

Source + Read More: Microsoft Answers

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4 years ago

Ilomilo coming for all on WP7 in January; Xbox secret site is live

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Ilomilio is one of those great games (seriously, see our comprehensive review) that unfortunately AT&T grabbed a three-month exclusive on--well it's great if you're on AT&T but bad for the rest of the world.

Looks like in January, the game will finally roll out to all in the Marketplace, regardless of territory. That should be welcome news to many who are missing out on one of the more high profile games for Windows Phone 7. (ed. I happen to really dig it, even though I think I now have diabetes because it's so cute)

In other news, the Xbox console version is set to launch around the same time but users can get a sneak peak now by visiting the secret site. The site was only known to those who have the WP7 version but alas, we're going to ruin the party. From there, you can grab an access code to play on your Xbox. Schweet.

Source: Know Your Mobile,

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4 years ago

Dell Venue Pro available on December 14th for $150? [Update: You can order 16GB now as well]

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Update: Now the 16gb version is available for $149.99 on contract with free 2nd Day Shipping if ordered by December 2nd. (Thanks breadbooze and Jose P for the tip!)

Update: Well looky here, if you follow THIS LINK, you can order the 8GB version for $99 on contract right now. Not bad. (Thanks, Sam S., for the info!)

The Venue Pro may make it for Christmas after all. We have to leave this as a question mark because Dell took down the offending page with the goods on it, but before they did Pocketnow managed to get a screen grab. The pricing is $149.99 with contract or $499.99 without and will not work on AT&T's 3G--so T-Mobile only this shall remain.

December 14th seems like a good date, as it leaves time to order just before the holiday. Now the bigger questions are will that date remain, can they make it and can they do it without any more glitches?

Source: Dell (not working); via Pocketnow, GoWindowsGo

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4 years ago

Software Review (Windows Phone 7): Assassin's Creed [Video]

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Take on the roll of the deadly assassin Altair to reclaim a holy relic lost in the midst of the Third Crusade. Journey across the Holy Land using stealth and strength to bypass Crusaders, Saracens, and Templars to obtain information from the secret order of assassin's and a network of spies. Leap across rooftops or navigate treacherous tunnels all laden with traps and pitfalls or run the open street to pickpocket, interrogate, and kill your way to your goal - the lost Sacred Chalice.

Assassin's Creed: Altair's Chronicles HD is a port from the 2008 Nintendo DS version of the game and prequel to 2007's Assassin's Creed on consoles and PC. But does it hold its own on Windows Phone 7?

Hit the jump to see if Altair operates as well on WP7 as he has on every other device out there.

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