3 years ago
No Hulu for Microsoft?
A few weeks ago we reported that Microsoft was in serious talks with Hulu to purchase the company, which was put up for sale by it's parent media company owners.
Of course we were supportive of such a proposed purchase since it would guarantee more exclusive integration with PC, Xbox and Windows Phone, the latter of which has yet to see a native client. With the purchase of Skype under their belt, bringing Hulu into the fold would have been a great leg up on the competition.
However, according to Bloomberg, Microsoft has now dropped out of contention for the streaming TV site. No reason was given, though usually it has to do with perceived cost vs value. Yahoo!, ironically is reportedly ready to fork over $2 billion for the company, though it is expected that negotiations will continue for the next few weeks. Reportedly Microsoft has also not ruled out stepping back into talks later if terms become more favorable.
Microsoft has yet to publicly confirm the story, so it remains to be seen how this progresses, but as of right now it's not looking to good for our side.
3 years ago
Tentacles emerges onto the Marketplace, looking for eyeballs
When Max and the Magic Marker went on sale last week, bargain-minded gamers got their shot at Press Play’s creative platformer. But that was then, and this is now. It’s time for something new from the Danish developer. I speak, of course, of the Windows Phone-exclusive Xbox Live title: Tentacles. It’s out now on the Marketplace.
Tentacles is a top-down platformer starring Lemmy, a microscopic tentacled creature. Lemmy journeys through the body of the scientist who created him, battling the dangerous creatures he encounters and eating their eyeballs (seriously). Don’t worry, they’re jerks and deserve whatever they get. Tapping the screen moves the little hero one tentacle at a time, and he also has a clawed tentacle for attacks. The 3D graphics look great and the game has a ton of personality.
Tentacles costs $4.99 and there is a free trial. Use your own tentacles to grab it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.
3 years ago
Whoo hoo, The Sims 3 is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week
We’ve got good news and bad news for you, faithful readers. The good news: this week’s Xbox Live Deal of the Week title definitely needed a discount. The bad news: it’s not much of a discount. I refer, of course, to The Sims 3 from EA. It’s on sale for $4.99, down from $6.99.
The Sims 3 is a mobile version of the hit life-simulation game. Players create and customize a Sim and then try to complete various goals with him or her, such as getting a promotion at work and kissing another Sim. It makes for a great game, on PC and consoles at least. But the Windows Phone version doesn’t quite match up. As our review points out, the character customization is extremely limited. Load times are lengthy and frequent and menu navigation is clumsy. Worst, the game has a habit of losing save files; it happened to me once. The Windows Phone port badly needs updating but EA hasn’t touched it since launch.
Maybe you don’t mind a few bugs and loading screens. If so, you can find The Sims 3 here (Zune link) on the Marketplace. The $4.99 sale price lasts for one week.
3 years ago
Dell Venue Pro - First Impressions
With Dell offering the Venue Pro for $299.99 out of contract, it was a Windows Phone deal too hard to pass on. So, we ordered one (actually two). Over the next few days we'll put it through the ringer and give you our thoughts on Dell's Windows Phone but as far as first impressions goes, the Venue Pro isn't too shabby.
The Venue Pro has two standout features; the 4.1" AMOLED screen and bottom slide-out keyboard. The screen looks really good. It's bright, full of contrast and has a bit of a pop to it. Compared to the Super AMOLED screen of the Samsung Focus and SVGA screen of the HTC HD7S, the Venue Pro holds its own.
The fit and feel of the phone is comfortable in the hand. The jury is still out on the power button though. It's tiny and sits back on the top of the phone. Not the easiest to access and might have been better off on the side of the phone. The Venue Pro has a solid feel about it but does feel a little awkward when you extend the keyboard. Maybe a little top heavy. Speaking of which, the keyboard reminds me of the front facing keyboards we saw on Windows Mobile phones such as the Samsung Jack. It'll do but after handling the Venue Pro for a short time, I'm beginning to wonder if Dell would have been better off by scrapping the keyboard and opting for a thinner phone.
As far as software is concerned, the Venue Pro is running the current version of Windows Phone 7 with copy/paste and Firmware version 2.12. For the record, the OS version is 7.0.7392.0 and the firmware version is 2250.1800.7392.212.
I've been spoiled by the thinner Windows Phones so the thicker Venue Pro will take some getting used to but all in all, the Venue Pro makes a nice first impression. We'll charge the Venue Pro up, slap in the SIM card, take it out for a test drive to see how well that impression lasts.
We will get a full review and a few additional posts up on the site in the coming days. If there's anything in particular you would like us to look at, feel free to ask in the comments or use the contact page.
3 years ago
Samsung Focus v1.4 update now live
Title says it all. The Windows Phone Blog has just posted that the Focus (v1.4 only) is getting NoDo + Security fix as an update (7390 + 7392). So go and plug your phone into your computer now and head to Settings and "check for update" to get it sent on over to your phone.
No word on when the v1.3 Focus will get he 7392 "Security update".
As a side note, they go on to explain why occasionally you may a specific update for your phone, unrelated to the OS (the Focus for Mango has one recently)--these are basically fixes and improvements for your phone's hardware. They're nothing new, per se, as Roger's rolled one out, the Mozart has received one, etc.
"A few months back I explained that you may occasionally receive a notification of a hardware-specific update for your particular Windows Phone. These updates improve things like battery life, call clarity and touch responsiveness - to name a few examples. These updates are designed to make specific improvements. Not every phone around the world needs the same package of improvements. In some cases no update at all is needed. I wanted to remind you of this because some of you will start to see these types of updates soon, and I wanted you to have a little insight into what is included. It’s all part of keeping your Windows Phone in tip-top shape."
Sounds good to us and it sounds like some "updates" are on their way soon. (Thanks, Bryce and our forums admin Dave Blake, for the heads up)
3 years ago
Unlocked Dell Venue Pros ship with 2.12 firmware, TMo still waiting
Busy day here at WPCentral, what with the news and all plus two of us here have received our unlocked (AT&T) Dell Venue Pros, which as we reported are now available for $299.
We received lots of inquiries about the status of the firmware of this device--specifically is it the latest, greatest firmware to rule them all (v2.12)? Well, Dell did claim all unlocked phones would ship with 2.12 starting at the end of June and true to their word, they do.
As you can see in the picture, the 2.12 firmware and OS version 7392 are on board, making these device as up to date as you can get (without flashing Mango). So far, we've had no lockups or WiFi issue and we have a reported 15+GB of storage available and 512MB of RAM (480 available).
But what about T-Mobile and AT&T branded phones? The former was suppose to get the 2.12 firmware update "around the middle" of July and we're just a bit past that with no update yet. Still, Dell has some wiggle room here so perhaps in the next few days? That's at least better than AT&T branded phones which have no release schedule publicly posted, though we heard some rumblings about August. Neither situation is doing anything to win over current Venue Pro owners though, so here's to a quick fix.
We'll have a hands on with the DVP soon. Until then, we're going to try to figure out to get AT&T data to work on ours--we get "H" for HSDPA, which sounds awesome and promising, but nothin's coming in...
3 years ago
Windows Phone 7 for Silverlight Developers ebook
András Velvárt (Vbandi), the developing power behind the SurfCube app (award-winning 3D web browser), has just announced that his ebook "Windows Phone 7 for Silverlight Developers" is now available to purchase. There are nearly 50 topics covered in the ebook, including Silverlight, design (Metro UI), Panorama (pivot), input on the phone, accelerometer, performance and publishing to the Marketplace.
You can download a copy for just $4.99 from Silverlight show. The ebook is available as PDF download and contains 46 pages. You can view two excerpts before purchasing - input on the phone and portrait, landscape & themes. Dave Cambell, MVP of the year, had this to say about the developer resource:
"Wow... get some great in-your-hands training on WP7 development from András Velvárt... I bought my copy, and it's more than worth the $4.99 price... great job András and SilverlightShow!"
3 years ago
Fruit Ninja wallpapers chop their way to Windows Phone
Do you like slicing fruit as much as we do? Then you’ll want to check out the Fruit Ninja-themed lock screen wallpapers that Microsoft released today. The pack contains both transparent and non-transparent versions of three different designs, for a total of six images. With these, even when you don’t have time to play Fruit Ninja, you’ll still look like you do.
What’s the occasion? As some of our readers who play console games may know, Fruit Ninja Kinect is coming to Xbox 360 on August 10 for 800 MS Points ($10). It adds motion support and multi-player to everyone’s favorite fruit fighting game. The wallpapers are a way of thanking Windows Phone gamers for making Fruit Ninja such a success while perhaps reminding them to check it out on 360 too.
You can grab the Fruit Ninja wallpaper pack here. (This is a Filesonic link. Scroll down and click on Slow Download to download it for free.)
Microsoft is also running a Fruit Ninja contest at Comic Con later this month. Non-attendees can enter too. Check out the details below:
We're so excited that the already popular Fruit Ninja on Windows Phone is coming to Kinect on the Xbox 360 that we are running a contest at Comic Con! Visit the Xbox 360 Lounge at the Hard Rock Hotel and compete in the Attack of the Fruit Ninja Challenge for a chance to win a custom Fruit Ninja Xbox 360 with Kinect, custom Fruit Ninja Windows Phone and fruit for a year! Harness your inner ninja skills and get the highest score of that day for a chance to win. The contest will run on July 23rd and 24th.
Won't be at Comic Con but still want to win? We're also running the Fantastic Fun and Fruit Sweepstakes in addition to our onsite contest. Text Splattermelon to 76060 between July 21st and July 24th. One random winner will be chosen to win a custom Fruit Ninja Xbox with Kinect, custom Fruit Ninja Windows Phone and fruit for a year.
3 years ago
ChevronWP7 Labs to cost $9?
With the announcement of ChevronWP7 Labs bringing a new unlocking tool/service to the Windows Phone developer table, we all began rejoicing at the prospect of a continued homebrew community with Microsoft's indirect support.
Our Daniel Rubino put forward the question to readers as to how much they thought would be reasonable for the service. He mentioned $5-15 could be considered suffice for a small pint fund that the team could use at weekends. We weren't far off with this estimate as Chris Walsh has mentioned over Twitter that ChevronWP7 Labs will set interested users back by only $9. A Small fee compared to the $99 with AppHub (which was recently re-launched).
Of course we wont be able to submit apps to the Marketplace, have registry access or native access to the OS, but the ability to create apps and side-load them to be a happy-as-Larry user is huge plus for a mere $9. Perfect for developers who are just starting out or who reside outside the supported countries for Marketplace submission - although we have covered a few services (App Exchange and Yalla Apps) that overcome this issue.
Finally though, a word of caution: Chris has since deleted his Tweets, so this may not be final yet...
We'll keep you up to date with more news, be sure to follow ChevronWP7 Labs on Twitter.
3 years ago
IM+ now sports a free version
If you're among the IM+ users who purchased the app back when it was released with a price tag of $9.99, you were kicking yourself at the price drop to $4.99 that came soon after. Now prepare to kick yourself on another part of your body as SHAPE Services has just brought in a free (ad-supported) version of IM+.
The main app, which continues to set new buyers back $4.99, has been given a new title of IM+ Pro with the only noticeable difference between the two versions is being the placement of adverts - functionality appears to be fully implemented in the free offering. To get the free version, grab the link here in the Marketplace.
Source: Windows Phone Metro Thanks to the many who tipped us on this!
3 years ago
Microsoft Japan launches Windows Phone Mango site
3 years ago
Nokia "Sea Ray" endorses Qualcomm processor
We're not going to recapitulate the whole torrid history of Nokia and Qualcomm, we'll just say that the two have buried the hatchet and moved on.
As a sign of perhaps good faith, we noticed (and wondered) what the "Q" logo was during the Sea Ray's boot sequence (0:46). MonSmartphone was sharp enough to make the connection that it's Qualcomm's "Q" meaning that indeed, Nokia and specifically the "Sea Ray" will be sporting some of Q's silicon under the hood. While not ground breaking, we'll file this under: interesting.
[Side note: Had you told us five years ago about a Nokia device running a Microsoft OS and using a Qualcomm processor...well, we would have said some funny things about you. Times are a changin'!]
3 years ago
KDDI, Fujitsu-Toshiba and Microsoft Japan set July 27th for Mango event?
Just the other day it was revealed, surprisingly, that KDDI of Japan (via their mobile operator brand 'AU'), will be launching the Fujitsu-Toshiba IS12T (still love that name!) in July. What makes this big news of course is that this will be the first "Mango" device in the world to go on sale.
Now we're getting word that KDDI, Fujitsu-Toshiba and Microsoft Japan are set to make it official by having a press event on July 27th. Evidently media invites have gone out and yes, they plan on showing off and announcing the pink-n-waterproof handset for the Japanese market--the first Windows Phone for Japan and the first worldwide with Mango.
Combined with that Nokia Sea Ray leak and confirmation that it is running Windows Phone 7 build 7710, which is RTM and guess what folks? We're pretty sure Mango is way, way closer than we thought.
Source: Gigazine; via Nanapho
3 years ago
WP7 Sliding Keyboard heading to Marketplace
While we previously wrote about how Swype could look to move onto the Windows Phone platrform with Nokia heading up the show, this is some pretty interesting development by Invoke IT. The above demo of the app Sliding Keyboard is performed by YouTube user hermitd31.
This app is standalone and allows the user to swipe instead of type. The keyboard is a slight shade of blue to differentiate between the stock keyboard and should the user tap in the text area while Sliding Keyboard is active WP7 will take over with the default popping up. One is able to swipe and save to the clipboard for import in other apps.
You can download Sliding Keyboard from the Marketplace for a mere 79p and while the majority of reviews are somewhat negative, it's good to see a Swype alternative that's readily available.
3 years ago
Apple's patent battle against HTC causing OEMs to reconsider Windows Phone
An initial ruling against HTC by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) is evidently starting to have ripple effects. The case was brought by Apple, who is accusing HTC of infringing upon 10 patents of which the ITC found HTC to be violating two. Two caveats: the ITC's ruling is preliminary and not final but, Apple just needs to win on one patent infringement claim to potentially halt imports by HTC into the U.S. [Read Nilay Patel's excellent piece at ThisIsMyNext]
The patents in question seem specifically tied to the Android OS and other firms seem to be taking notice. According to 21st Century Business Herald, based in China:
"Some of these vendors worry about the risk of becoming embroiled in patent infringement due to adoption of Android, and have drawn up three strategies to cope with potential impact. The three strategies are enhancement of support to Microsoft Mango operating system, promotion of smartphone customization by mobile telecom carriers for protection through binding common interest (especially carriers partnering with Apple and Microsoft), self-development of own operating systems, the source pointed out. China-based smartphone vendors Huawei Device and ZTE have planned to adopt Mango, the source indicated."
That's a very interesting paragraph. For one, Huawei is not yet a key partner of Microsoft for Windows Phone--so that's potentially new (even though it will matter more for Eastern markets). Second, we're evidently starting to see OEMs start to make contingency plans if these lawsuits continue to go forward. The reason why is because Google does not offer any protection against claims of patent infringement, contra Microsoft who will defend the OS in court to the chagrin of the OEMs. Combined with those continued licensing fees for Android and the speculation of further legal threats, Windows Phone is starting to look ike a good choice right about now.
Source: Digitimes/21st Century Business Herald; via Electronista
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