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3 years ago

Birdsong v1.3 hits Marketplace, sports Live Tile & Notifications

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We mentioned earlier today about the Twitter app Birdsong v1.3 coming and 'hello!' here it is. This version now sports a Live Tile, push notifications for new mentions and direct messages as well as a 'reply all' feature.

But lets look at that Push Notification system. It actually does something we've never seen before: adds a "do not disturb" option, meaning you can set the hours at which it won't make a noise to alert you. We really dig that feature.

And while some of our messages were a little slow to notify us, we're just going to chalk that up to their servers warming up. Overall though, it's a nice upgrade for the app. The full version fetches for $0.99 and you can grab it here. Don't forget to see our hands on video for a quick tour of the Twitter app.

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3 years ago

Microsoft buys Skype for $7 billion

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Microsoft buys Skype for $7 billion

According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft could announce as early as tomorrow a deal to buy Skype for a near record $7 billion dollars. The deal would be the largest acquisitions by Redmond in their 36 year history.

Rumors had been circling for a few days now that Microsoft and Skype would announce either some partnership or deal, but a full on acquisition was seen as less likely:

Microsoft Corp. is close to a deal to buy Internet phone company Skype Technologies SA for more than $7 billion, and a deal could be announced as early as Tuesday, people familiar with the matter said.

Negotiations were wrapping up Monday evening, and a deal could still fall apart, the people cautioned. Representatives for Microsoft and Skype declined to comment.

So nothing definitive yet, but even the move by Microsoft is sure gutsy and would certainly give them a solid brand name to stand behind.

Of course, what we're really interested is what this means for Windows Phone 7. Although we know Skype support is coming this fall, there's little doubt that Microsoft would not seize this opportunity to deeply integrate Skype into the OS at very low level, potentially giving VOIP and social networking a huge kick in the leg. The big issue would of course be carrier resistance, but that's another battle. All we know is this is very good news for our mobile OS, if this deal happens.

Stay tuned as the story develops.

Update: According to All Things D's Kara Swisher, it's a done deal and will be announced tomorrow morning. Reportedly the press-release comes at 5am PDT/8am EST.

Update 2: GigaOM is reporting that Microsoft paid $8.5 billion in cash for the company: $7b for the company, $1.5b in debt.

Update 3: Microsoft has issued a press release stating that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire Skype for $8.5 billion in cash from the investor group led by Silver Lake.  Skype will become a new business division of Microsoft with Skype CEO Tony Bats assuming the role of president of the Microsoft Skype Division.  Skype will support Microsoft devices such as the Xbox consoles, Kinect and Windows Phones.  The purchase agreement has been approved by both Microsoft's and Skype's Boards of Directors.  Follow the break to read the full presser from Microsoft.

Source: WSJ

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3 years ago

Plan Bee updated, adds online ranking system

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It's been a while since we first looked at the Windows Phone 7 game Plan Bee. It's a cute, mildly addictive game that has you flying around a meadow pollinating flowers and dodging spiders.  Plan Bee is one of those "something different" games that grows on you.

The free game for your Windows Phone was recently updated improving the online leaderboards to the game and adding an in-game ranking system to show your current position on the global leaderboard. The update also includes a few graphics improvements.

You can download your free copy of Plan Bee here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Microsoft announces cross-platform Azure toolkit

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Microsoft has announced today tool kits for their Windows Azure cloud that are available for both the iPhone and Windows phone, with a preview for Android. 

The tool kits will allow developers to create applications across the major platforms on the Azure cloud and companies like Groupon are already taking full advantage of the "cloud-to-mobile" user experience. Not to mention the simplicity in supporting multiple devices with common requirements, such as; device notifications, authentication and storage.

For Windows Phone:

Originally released last month, new developer features available in the next two weeks include integration with the Windows Azure Access Control Service (e.g., a wizard, automatic setup, tooling and code), full support for Windows Azure Storage Queues and an updated user interface for the supporting Web application.

You can check out the toolkit for Windows Phone at Codeplex, along with info on/links to the tool kits for other platforms in the link below.

Source: Microsoft Blog

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3 years ago

Windows Phone 7.5 preview event announced

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Microsoft is sending out invites to a Windows Phone preview party in New York and we just got ours. On May 24, 2011 Microsoft will "lift the curtain on the next major release of Windows Phone".  A similar event will be held on the same date in London.

We've seen quit a bit on what's in store with Mango already and it will be interesting to see everything else Microsoft has up its sleeve on Mango or should I say Windows Phone 7.5.

As more information becomes available on this event, we'll keep you posted. We're also planning on covering the event and will pass on all the details on the next major release of Windows Phone.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone User Group Cardiff meet-up on June 1st [Developers]

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We have another note-worthy meet-up! We won't be covering every event to arise, but just a few on each side of the ocean to help get the word out for new developers and for those who wish to network.

This UK-based event will be held in cardiff and will begin at 6pm. It's a session where two speakers will take the audience, separated by application demos and followed by Q&A. The day will officially end at 8pm, but will continue in the local boozer.

Quick detail about the group:

WPUG exists to help UK based developers who are interested in Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform learn from and with each other. With this event we are hoping to continue the success of the first meeting and begin to form regular meetings in Cardiff so registration will ensure that you are informed of future events.

I love the "Pub" at the end. It's so British (or Welsh/Scottish/Irish), it's so "this-side-of-the-ocean". If you're heading over there, let us know how it goes and if the rounds were all on tab. All you have to do is simply register (for free) and turn up.

Source: Eventbrite, via: @mikehole

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3 years ago

Canadian WP7 Hackfest in Ajax on May 14th [Developers]

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Quite a few hackathons/hackfest and meetups are beginning to appear, most notably in US and UK. It's always good to see aspiring developers getting together to share ideas, advice, learn and hone skills. The top feat I love about Windows Phone is the developer community - I feel it's much closer than competitors at such an early age of the operating system.

Anyway, I digress. A Windows Phone 7 hackfest is close approaching on the 14th of May in Ajax, Canada at the McLean Community Centre. Some points located on the website that defines the event perfectly:

  • If you have an idea for an app but don’t know how to build apps for Windows Phone, this event is for you!
  • We’ll have experts and tutors on hand to show you how to write your first Windows Phone app, and it’s easier than you think.
  • If you have the skills to build apps for Windows Phone but don’t have any ideas for an app, this event is also for you!
  • If you’ve got C#, .NET, Silverlight or XNA skills but can’t think of what to write, the Hackfests are a great place to brainstorm with other people and come up with ideas for apps.
  • If you’re looking for a job or clients, this event is also for you!
  • Okay, Hackfests aren’t actually job fairs, but they’re excellent networking opportunities, and these days, 80% of the tech jobs out there are found by networking.

The only requirements are for you to register before hand, bring a laptop (desktop if you're on steroids) and be sure to have developer tools already installed - which you should have already, right? The event begins at 9am where half-an-hour will be spent socializing and munching on some fine grub, then from 9am to 4pm is the long haul of app development.

Source: Toronto .NET group

 

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3 years ago

Bing Reviews having issues? [Updated]

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Between a Marketplace outage and Xbox Live services problems, it's been a rough few days for WP7 users.  Unfortunately, here's one more to add to the mix.  Reports have been circulating that business reviews are currently not working in Bing search results.  We ran some tests of our own and found those reports to be accurate.  It is not clear whether the issue is limited to certain devices, OS versions, carriers or geographical locales, like the Marketplace outage.

We will keep you posted as we get more information on the matter.

What are you experiencing? Shout out in comments.

Update: Looks like Microsoft/Bing finally fixed the issue as Reviews are now showing up as they should. Let us know if they're still not working for you.

via: MobileTechWorld

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3 years ago

TweetCaster comes to Windows Phone [Video]

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For those who use or have used Android, you may know about TweetCaster, the popular Twitter client found on the platform (it's actually one of my favorites). Who knew they were working on a port to Windows Phone? Well, evidently they were and we took it for a spin.

First impression: quite fast and nice UI, it's feature support puts in the mid-range of offerings out there today. It's not bad at all, but not necessarily the best either. Good news is it's completely free (ad-supported), but it has no Live Tile, in case you were wondering. It's worth a shot for the more light Twitter users out there, though the Facebook integration is quite nice. (Note: I incorrectly say it doesn't have reTweet with comment in the video, but evidently it does).

Full feature set after the break and you can download here in the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Birdsong is top paid social app in 6 countries

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Birdsong, the popular Twitter client for Windows Phone, is reportedly the top paid social application in 6 countries, not to mention being 2nd in Canada and 3rd in Singapore (and 3rd in the U.S. where Seesmic & moTweets edge it out).

Great news for the developers at RedBadger, we would strongly recommend you check out Birdsong if you haven't already. It's a brilliant alternative to the official app on the Marketplace and we hear version 1.3 is coming soon.

Source: RedBadger

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3 years ago

Office 2010 Customer Stories

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Office 2010 Customer Stories

Enjoy using Office 2010 not only on your Windows Phone, but on the web/PC too? Would you like to participate in a program (UK only) where you'll receive a loaned PC accompanied by Windows 7 and Office 2010 for testing purposes? Being potentially featured in advertisement media, testimonials, case studies and more is a good incentive too.

Microsoft are looking for families (with childrean who are "tech savvy" under the age of 18), students and small businesses to participate. You would receive the loaned PC, use it on a daily basis, complete surveys, answer calls from the program team, and potentially share your experience with a fairly wide audience. A perfect opportunity for those who use Office for multiple tasks to provide pin-pointed feedback directly to Microsoft.

Source: Microsoft, via: @WindowsPhoneuk

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3 years ago

Windows Live Messenger, Bing Image Search also on Windows Phone 7.5

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As if a dam has broken, even more info has leaked out about Windows Phone 7.5 aka 'Mango' (see earlier coverage). The latest comes from a Chinese site called Cnblogs.com, evidently from a developer who manged to take some pics of the OS in action.

Although the post has since been conspicously pulled, the images above were captured by LiveSide.net and show off some hitherto unknown (but speculated to be there) features. These include:

East Asian Language Keyboard, Handwriting and Dictionary Support--[we saw this mentioned a few days ago]

Improved SkyDrive sync in Office hub - adding Word, Excel, and PowerPoint sync support. Each document type will now be indicated by the color of the tile:

Bing Image Search, Bing Vision, and Bing Audio – besides Bing Vision and Bing Audio as revealed earlier this morning, it seems like Bing will now feature Image Search as well.

Windows Live Messenger integrated in People hub – as we have predicted earlier, the Chinese developer confirms that Windows Live Messenger will be integrated in the People hub. You will be able to directly IM someone on your contact list.

The biggy of course is the addition and integration of Windows Live Messenger to the mix. We knnow direct Twitter support is on board for WP7.5, though we have to actually see it, but it's nice to see MS finally embracing their Live Messenger as well.

In fact, we've heard that Windows Live Messenger is pretty smart too: "when sending a message the phone will autopick the best method - IM or SMS", according to @WindowsPhone8 (DM).

Finally, one other feature we heard about from the above source:

  • Lync client (aka Microsoft Office Communications Server) is coming in the Mango timeframe

We knew about Lync and Windows Phone from last November, but looks like Mango is when it will happen.

Source: Cnblogs.com, @WindowsPhone8; via LiveSide.net

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3 years ago

Lunar Lander is this week's Xbox Live game

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Last week’s Xbox Live game, Enigmo, broke three straight weeks of Game Room releases. To be fair though, Harbor Master also came out alongside Centipede. Anyway, I hope you like retro games, Windows Phone gamers, because this week’s Xbox Live title is another Game Room entry: Lunar Lander.

Atari’s original Lunar Lander arcade game came out in 1979. Yes, this week’s release debuted the same year I was born. It’s 32 years young! Lunar Lander was the first Atari title to use vector graphics (just as Asteroids Deluxe did a few years later). Its graphics are composed entirely of white lines on a black background. The object is to safely land a spacecraft on the surface of the moon. The original arcade game used an actual lever to control the craft’s thrust and buttons for steering. It will be interesting to see how the game’s controls have been adapted for mobile touch screens.

See that? I didn’t say anything negative about Lunar Lander or how inexplicable it is that someone chose to release it on Windows Phone over so many other Game Room titles. That’s me, Captain Optimism!

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3 years ago

Earthworm Jim HD - Review

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Earthworm Jim HD - Review

During the 16-bit gaming era, Shiny Entertainment’s Earthworm Jim made quite a splash. It boasted very unusual character designs, an off-beat sense of humor, and excellent graphics and sound. It was also frustratingly hard, but so were a lot of games back then. Earthworm Jim was such a success that it spawned a few sequels and its own cartoon series.

Fast-forwarding several years, Gameloft - the developer/publisher known for producing mobile clones of popular console franchises – has brought the original Earthworm Jim to Windows Phone as an Xbox Live title. Is Earthworm Jim still as groovy as he ever was? Yes and no. This version is pretty rough around the edges thanks to some poor design decisions from the ‘loft.

Swing past the jump for our in-depth review.

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