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3 years ago

Monkey Mini Golf - Review

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Monkey Mini Golf - Review

There simply is not enough golf games over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. But things are looking better with the release of Monkey Mini-Golf.

While it's a miniature golf game (nothing wrong with that but would it be so bad to have an 18 hole EA Sports golf game?), it has a certain appeal to it. Graphically, it reminds me a lot of the Donkey Kong games that hit later in that titles lifespan. The miniature golf holes do have a degree of challenge to them and gaming controls are simple, yet effective.

To read more on Monkey Mini Golf, ease on past the break.

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3 years ago

First look at Windows Phone Tango and Content Search?

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We heard about build 8200 of Windows Phone 7 floating around recently. The build was speculated to be the next iteration of the OS after Mango. Code-named "Tango" (keeping up with the "last letter is O" naming) build 8200 and beyond are thought to be another interim release bringing new features, bug fixes and act as a hold over till "Apollo" aka Windows Phone 8 hits.

Indeed, it looks to be the case and what you see to the right is reportedly a shot from the OS. Specifically you're looking at "Content Search" or rather the OS's ability to first search within the device before going to the Web i.e. it's basically a global search tool:

"Content Search (Build 8200 Tango), it more or less works, first it´s finding content directly on the phone, and then on the web, the good thing is that Facebook pages work now (finally), i don´t know about twitter/LinkedIn, i haven´t them synced up, voice activated searching is also possible, similar function what iPhone has."

Pretty impressive as a new feature and it shows that Microsoft is barreling down on the OS, pumping out builds as fast as they can complie them. Good news for us.

Source: Pretaktovanie.sk; Big thanks to Wictory, for the tip!

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3 years ago

Best time to go to the bathroom during a movie? RunPee has you covered.

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Here's an app that slipped below the radar: RunPee. Yes, perhaps an oddly titled app, it's actually quite accurate to its purpose, which is to let you know the best time to take a bathroom break during the latest blockbuster movie at the cinemas.

The app is simple and to the point: it lists the latest films out in theaters, each film tells you the run time and three times to go during the movie. The first two "breaks" are positioned about 1/3 and 2/3 through the movie and provide cues to let you know that the scene is coming up.  While running back to the cinema, why not gander back at your phone and read what you're missing? Yup, someone has summarized the 4-5 minute interval you are given for you, so it'd be rude to not read it!

  • Every movie has a few scenes that either aren’t crucial to the plot, or can be easily summarized for you.
  • Every movie has a few minutes you can safely miss and not be lost when you sit back down.
  • We identify these times for you by watching the movie for ourselves.
  • RunPee provides you with both a cue to know when it's safe to leave, as well a summary of what you missed (no spoilers!).

RunPee adheres definitely adheres to the Metro design we love on Windows Phone, it's also fast and smooth to use, so we're more than pleased. Plus, this is actually useful, especially if you buy one of those "value" sodas like WPCentral reader Jim, who sent us this app reminder. (Thanks, Jim!)

The app is free and ad free in the Marketplace. You can pick it up here and have your bladder thank us later.

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3 years ago

Official Brother iPrint&Scan app now available

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Pretty sweet deal if you have a Brother printer on hand. The company has just put out an official app that will make your phone way more useful to use. Their app, clumsily called 'iPrint&Scan' does what it says: it allows you to print from your phone to your Brother printer as well as scan documents/photos back to your phone--that's pretty darn sweet, if you ask us. It's all done via your WiFi network and you better have a compatible printer to go with it.

  • Easy to use menu.
  • Simple steps to print your favorite photos.
  • Print photos directly from your Windows Phone 7 camera.
  • Scan directly to your Windows Phone 7 device.
  • Save scanned images to your Windows Phone 7 device.
  • No computer and no driver required.

We're kind of jealous we don't have this set up just to give it a go, because we can imagine a few scenarios where this would be helpful. The app is of course free and can be found here in the Marketplace. Thanks, jhelvie, for the tip

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3 years ago

WorldCard Mobile now allows sharing of info to People Hub (with a catch)

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WorldCard Mobile is a pretty popular app allowing you to take a picture of a business card, convert the info using OCR and adding the relevant info to a directory within the app. It basically saves you a lot of time by not having to copy the information line by line on to your phone.

The downside on Windows Phone? Third party devs don't have access to the contacts database/People Hub, meaning the information from Worldcard Mobile is siloed. This is something which "Mango" is suppose to address by allowing access to various databases on the phone, including contacts.

The good news for now is WorldCard Mobile has bumped the app to v1.2 and by first converting the scanned info into a v-card you can now export-to-create a new contact in the People Hub. Sure, it's an extra step but it sure goes a long way in making this app a lot more useful, especially for the $9.99 price tag (there is a trial). In addition, you can now export card images to the Photo Hub. Our bet of course is Penpower Inc. will update it for Mango, allowing direct access to contacts, but since that could be two months away, this is a good workaround.

Grab WorldCard Mobile here in the Marketplace if interested. Thanks, Oli S., for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Evernote gets bumped to v1.2, gets new features, encryption

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Folks who use Evernote should be getting the notice for the v1.2 update that just pushed through. Luckily the developers of the app were kind enough to make a video detailing all of the changes.

For one, the app should load and resume faster now, especially if you have lot of notes on your device. Number two, you can now edit text in rich text documents which should make some lives easier. In addition you can save photos not directly to the Picture Hub, attach an existing picture (as opposed to just using the camera), clear previous searches and use encrypted notes. Overall, a solid update if you ask us.

Check out the video walk through above to see it all in action and grab a copy in the Marketplace here.

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3 years ago

Minesweeper + Sudoku Xbox Live games coming on August 10!

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Next week, two new Xbox Live games are coming to the Marketplace! That hasn’t happened in ages. Even more unusual, both games will be free. The ‘official’ Minesweeper and Sudoku apps come to Windows Phone courtesy of developer Babaroga, who we interviewed back in June, and Microsoft Game Studios.

Head past the break for our exclusive first screenshots of the two games and lots of details!

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3 years ago

Microsoft calls out Google out on patent allegations

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Earlier this evening we wrote in an acerbic tone how Google was complaining about being bullied by other companies over patents. Specifically, they pointed to the 6,000 Nortel patents that were up for bid and ended up going to a consortium of buyers, including Apple and Microsoft for $4.5 billion. Google was the only one left out of the consortium, they cried foul and now are excited about the Department of Justice getting involved.

In comments, we noted that Google should expect some people to hit back. After all, that post by Google's Chief Law Officer did not advocate patent reform, propose any new legislation or offer any solutions--it just complained that they were being targeted and that these software patents were "bogus" (this from the company that is entirely built on software patents).

Now Microsoft's General Counsel, Brad Smith, chimed in with an interesting comment on Twitter:

"Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google. Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no."

That sounds a bit different than how Google portrayed themselves in their blog post. One could suggest that Smith is not being entirely truthful here, but it seems odd that he would put himself out there with something that could easily be proved false in court.

So what's the deal Google? Are you serious about patent reform or are you seeking opportunism?

Update: Here's a copy of the email to Brad Smith of MSFT from Kent Walker, Google's General Counsel. In short, it supposedly shows Google denying an offer to participate in the consortium. 

Source: Twitter; via Electronista; Thanks, Rene Ritchie

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3 years ago

HD7 gets first custom ROM

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HD7 gets first custom ROM

We reported a few days ago that the Dark Forces Team completed work on their HSPL tools, effectively allowing the creation of custom ROMs for 1st generation HTC Windows Phones.

The first ROM comes from ansar.ath.gr over at XDA, who's a pretty popular contributor over there. Now, like we speculated, there's not too much at this point that can be done with custom Windows Phone ROMs and this one affirms that. Still, it has some nice features:

  • ChevronWP7 unlock
  • MangoB2 update to 7403 and 7712
  • Stock ROM HTC_Europe_1.69.401.01_Radio_5.54.09.21_22.33b.50. 10U

Some sites are reporting that this carrier unlocks the phone as well, but we're not seeing that mentioned anywhere (they might be confusing carrier unlocked with the Chevron registry unlocker for side loading). You can grab it now over at XDA, but we'd stay on the sidelines for a bit and watch what happens--after all, it's not like this is bringing any new radical abilities to the device. But hey, it's a start.

Source: XDA; via Windows Phone Daily, PocketNow

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3 years ago

Google throws a tantrum -- accuses Microsoft, others, of "hostile, organized campaign"

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A few weeks ago, Google was involved in bidding for 6,000 patents being offered by Nortel, which many thought if Google should win, would beef up their defense against patent litigation. Instead, they lost to a consortium of Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Sony, EMC and Ericsson for $4.5 billion. Basically everyone won except Google. At the time this story was spun two ways:

  1. Nortel's patent were old, outdated and not worth the money for Google
  2. Google wasn't taking it seriously, with Reuters calling their behavior "mystifying" because their bids reflected famous mathematical constants (Brun's, Meissel-Mertens and Pi). Yes, Google actually bid Pi ($3.14159 billion). So in an attempt to be cute and witty, they lost.

After all the gnashing of teeth by tech analysts, who kept pounding Google on their lack of patent strategy, Google has come out with some name calling and accusations of their own:

"But Android’s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.

They’re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the “Rockstar” group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Mobile; and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it."

That's David Drummond, Senior VP and CLO of Google, who can't even get that's its called Windows Phone, not Mobile. Further, he notes the reported Justice Department's probe into whether or not that Nortel consortium was fair. Of course, such a probe is a far way off from meaning those companies are guilty of anything. In fact, nothing has been settled in regards to whether or not Android violates patents, uses lifted code, etc.

In the case of Microsoft, who's leaned on HTC and now Samsung for patent fees, both companies are willing to play ball either because they feel those patent claims are indefensible or, more likely, that's it's cheaper to license to Microsoft than defend in court. But hey, it's not like Google/YouTube don't screw with Microsoft either.

In the end, we don't have anything new here except that Google is really starting to feel the pain from other companies, hence the 'boo hoo, tech is hard!' post from Drummond. Is Microsoft's, Apple's and others behavior legal, moral and right? That's for the courts to decide, not missives from company blogs.

Edit: Recommended reading: FossPatent's "Google's new anti-patent stance has four credibility issues -- but not the one many people think"

Source: The Official Google Blog

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3 years ago

USA Today's Live Tile plans for Mango revealed

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We've already talked about Mango's overhauled Live Tile/push system back during MIX11. The tile's ability to "flip" showing a second side really gives developers an extra option for displaying more information, not to mention it looks pretty darn cool (see the BBC Mango New Mobile; Weather Channel Mango).

Reader Justin contacted the USA Today Mobile devs with a feature request and he received a great response:

"Flipping livetile to show current weather on back once the mango update arrives. This would be a worthwhile feature.

Thank you for all your excellent work!"

"Hello, thanks for your feedback. You’ve read our minds with regard to Live Tile for Mango – what you described is exactly what we’re planning on J. Let us know if you think of anything else or if you run into any issues with the USA TODAY app.

Thanks,

Tim Carlson, USA TODAY Mobile"

That does sound pretty nifty to us. The USA Today app just received an update for a Live Tile and not only is it one of the best looking Windows Phone apps out there, their weather, provided by Accuweather, is very nicely implemented. It should be very exiting to see what other devs come up with one Mango hits.

Thanks, Justin F., for the heads up!

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3 years ago

WordPress for Windows Phone v1.2 now available

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The official WordPress for Windows Phone app has been updated to version 1.2, which brings landscape editing/posting and some UI improvements. The panorama view has been updated to present more information on screen to tie in better with Metro UI standards. Also included in the update are the following language translations: French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Some under-the-hood changes:

  • Better support for post ping backs in the comment view.
  • Fixed comment submission date from being changed when moderating.
  • Preview now works for drafts, scheduled and private posts/pages.
  • Prompt added if the back button is accidentally tapped while creating a post.

Read up more over at the WordPress development blog.

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3 years ago

MustEatBrains - Review

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MustEatBrains - Review

At some point Zombies became popular and your Windows Phone isn't exempt from their influence. It wasn't long ago we first shared with you the latest game involving the undead, MustEatBrains. Since, we've had some time to spend some hands on time with the game and found it to be a mixed bag.

Graphically, the game is well presented. I like the hand-drawn, retro feel to the game. Animations are nice, game controls decent, and the plot simple. To learn more on the latest zombie game to hit the Marketplace, hit the break.

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3 years ago

Kinect integration with Windows Phone Mango

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So this is pretty neat, Kinect working with Windows Phone. We've seen previously how the Kinect and WP7 can communicate but in the above video you can see the input from the Kinect device being sent to the WP7 emulator and actually manipulating an on-screen figure reflecting the user's movements/position. This could prove to be a massive advancement for both WP7 and Xbox as a gaming console. Windows Phone would receive more attention from console owners with extra integration and the Xbox would boast a 3rd controller (sporting a screen).

What's great about this is if we take an example of a title for the Xbox 360 - Fifa. Playing using the Kinect sensor would be enough enjoyment, but there's room for the WP7 handset with player control via tilt. Shooting, passing and crossing the ball could be achieved by the direction and force of a leg swing. No need for a bulky 360 controller. The WP7 device could show information on-screen such as the radar, player information and more giving the big screen less UI clutter. It would also improve menu navigation and quick management of the team instead of waving at your TV.

More genre examples could be thrown in including driving games, where tilting your body would act as the steering, while the player's left and right thumbs act as acceleration and braking respectively on the WP7 device. In this scenario, we could save big screen space with putting the radar on the handset as well as a mirror and possibly more.

For the time being, however, it's required that a PC and the phone be on the same network with the PC running software for integration to be achieved. Should this new introduction of video game interaction take off, we could possibly see the PC removed from the equation leaving the Xbox console to handle everything.

What do you guys think? Too much or a real possibility?

Via: WPSauce

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3 years ago

Skype definitely bringing video calling to Windows Phone, sooner than later

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Looks like Skype, now owned by Microsoft, is serious about bringing video calling over to Windows Phone. In a job advertisement put out by the company, they are looking to hire someone

"...for building and optimizing the Skype Video Engine solution for Microsoft Windows and Windows Phone platforms."

Video engine? That little bit should confirm our suspicions. Going further, it looks like they are planning on plenty of updates to keep that baby humming a long:

"You will be working with a small team of highly skilled development and testing professionals to deliver a new release of the Video Engine every 2 months."

Of course it should come as no real surprise that Microsoft and Skype would do this--we know "Mango" evidenlty allows front-facing cameras and since Microsoft now owns Skype, deep integration into the desktop, Xbox, embedded devices and of course Windows Phone should be expected. But, we're at least glad that Skype looks to have already started down this route and are looking for more help, hopefully to speed things up now that the aquisition has gone through.

Here's hoping to full video calling over Skype in late 2011 on our 4G Windows Phone, amirite?

Source: Skype Careers; Thanks, Juan A., for the tip!

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