3 years ago
Best of Smartphone Experts, 19 June 2011
3 years ago
IM+ hits the Marketplace with a bang
We mentioned the other day that ShapeServices had submitted the popular messaging app, IM+, for Marketplace certification. Apparently the certification has gone smoothly and IM+ for Windows Phone 7 is now available.
Now before you gasp at the price, if memory serves me correctly IM+ for Windows Mobile pushed $20. Knowing that may make the $9.99 price tag for the Windows Phone 7 app easier to swallow.
Still, at $9.99 one can argue it is still one heck of a deal to get AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MySpace, Skype and Yahoo! messaging support all under one roof. While there's not a trial version available, you can get a feel for IM+ without our video tour.
You can find IM+ in the Marketplace by searching for "im plus all in one messenger" from your Marketplace App or hit this link (opens Zune) for the Marketplace.
Our thanks to siggystyle for the tip!
3 years ago
Windows Phone Summary of the Week: May 13-19, 2011
Phew, this week has been a relatively busy one has it not? We've got a massive list of articles you may have missed that are worth checking out to complete your weekend (or begin your week depending on time zone). We'll kick off by inserting a reminder of this week's interview with Lawrence Gripper.
Dropbox has been questioned by our George Ponder about just how secure is our data when hosted by them in the cloud, while the Windows Home Server WP7 connector has been released. Evernote has finally reached the Marketplace and is now readily available, although the reception has been fairly stale with the quality of the app when taking into account the horrendous wait.
Microsoft and a fan have both responded to more anti-WP7 retail bias, which appears to be a problem noticed by a majority of our readers. EIGHT, a desktop browser homepage styled with Metro in mind, has been given the "OH MY GAWD THIS IS OHSOME!" approval and transforms your boring web browser home pages into an array of customizable tiles.
Unfortunately, we've had to report on yet more spam finding its way into our clean Marketplace, we're all still praying Microsoft gets a grip. Verizon is offering an incredible prize in their Ultimate Game Sweepstakes, well worth a look by US residents. Speaking of providers (although not directly related), data use is on the rise for WP7 users.
Moving swiftly onto gaming, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I has arrived and is both incredible and expensive as ever - thank you SEGA. Our Paul Acevedo has looked into and published a detailed report covering broken Xbox Live achievements that don't seem to be possible to earn on the Windows Phone. A news Xbox Live game from E3, Hasta La Muerte, is seen to be demoed.
A yearly major release cycle for the Windows Phone platform has been indirectly confirmed by Microsoft in a recent job posting and we take a look at the comparisons between the recently announced iOS5 and Microsoft's upcoming Mango. Been waiting for IM+ since you got your WP7 device? It's here and we take a look at what's what.
On the hardware front, Samsung has been predicted to overtake Nokia as top smartphone manufacturer. We take a look at Verizon's HTC Trophy and provide our first impressions while Rogers takes $100 off their no-contract bound Focus device. Nokia have been boasting about their superior smartphone camera technology and implementation (rightly so!) and an LG Quantum survives being ran over by a vehicle. You want double the power? Well, you could with Windows Phone taking advantage of the dual-core Qualcomm chipset.
A spot of fun now and some off-topic related articles. Windows Phone was featured in Havana Brown's new music video and on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Hits Hollywood. Google seem to either be playing mind tricks on us or be using Metro tiles in their designs. If you're a Halo fan, fancy some Halo 4 wallpaper goodness?
Hectic week for developers too. We have the Essential User Interface Edition by Syncfusion being released, along with the WP7 advert rotator and Sketchflow template. Microsoft Gamefest program was announced and will be at London, Seattle and Tokyo. Windows Phone app advert impressions in May were up by a whopping 92% compared to April. Finally, Brandon Watson has said that only serious developers will have the opportunity in receiving a Mango device.
Get the low-down after the break.
3 years ago
Hipstar - Review
3 years ago
LazyTube v2.4 in the works
An update is in the works for the Windows Phone app, LazyTube. Version 2.4 has been submitted to the Marketplace for certification and should be available in the next few days.
v2.4 brings Live Tile support to the YouTube application that will alert you on updates to your YouTube subscriptions. The Tile will keep it's chameleon traits, mimicking your Windows Phone theme color.
LazyTube is a great application for your Windows Phone if you are a YouTube fanatic. Having a Live Tile to show you when new videos are added to your subscriptions will only add to an already fine app.
There is a free trial available for LazyTube with the full version running $.99. You can download it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.
3 years ago
Dropbox security, how secure is your data?
The more we come to rely on cloud services with our Windows Phones, the more we need to have assurances that our information is protected from unlawful or unauthorized access. The tie in with SkyDrive is obvious but we are also seeing more apps incorporate Dropbox support to store and share data. Password Manager for example is an app where you can manage all your bank account information, passwords, and PIN numbers. Password Manager supports Dropbox to backup and share that information with your home computer. We expect Dropbox to protect this data from unlawful and unauthorized access.
Dropbox Reader is a new tool that gives us pause. Dropbox Reader is a forensic investigative tool that basically breaks through the security encryption on Dropbox and allows anyone with the tool the ability to view your data and account information. At first we thought this might be a tool limited to law enforcement investigations but in reading the licensing information,
"You may use this software freely for forensic investigation purposes, personal study, or research and development."
I guess identity theft could be twisted to mean "research and development". Such programs should be regulated to prevent the average joe from hacking into your information.
Cloud services such as Dropbox and Skydrive have the customary clauses in the Terms of Service that allow for the lawful access to your information by a third party (e.g. search warrant) which is reasonable. What isn't reasonable is allowing a third party app to access your information without permission or authority. We'll always have hackers out there trying to by-pass cloud security but it shouldn't be this easy.
Dropbox Reader is another reason to be careful on what your put out in the cloud as well as what service you choose. We hope Dropbox will address this issue to prevent anyone from downloading programs such as Dropbox Reader and accessing our accounts without the proper authorizations.
3 years ago
Developer Interview: Lawrence Gripper
This week we've had the opportunity to catch up with Windows Phone 7 developer Lawrence Gripper. He is best known for being the developing power behind his BBC News Mobile app, as well as My LoveFilm and Traffic Updates UK. Check out the interview after the break.
3 years ago
Galaxium from Karios Games now available on the Marketplace
It’s been a while since we heard from Karios Games, makers of the indie hit MonsterUp. While that game continues to receive regular updates, Karios has recently released a new title to the Marketplace: Galaxium.
Galaxium is a vertically-scrolling 2D shooter, not unlike OMG and Impossible Shoota. Players can select from three different ships, each with its own speed and shield stats. Speed is crucial to dodging enemy fire, but shields are also important since you only have a single life per game. The ship fires automatically, so gamers can concentrate on lining up with enemies, dodging their fire, and collecting powerups.
Speaking of powerups, Galaxium’s powerup system is modeled after the Gradius series. A meter at the bottom of the screen displays a variety of potential ship upgrades, from speed to diagonal fire to firing rate. There is only one kind of powerup in the game – each time one is collected, the meter fills up a unit. When the upgrade you want to use is highlighted, tap the screen with two fingers to spend your powerups and activate it. The choice between various upgrades and spending or saving powerup units helps Galaxium stand out from other Windows Phone shooters.
Galaxium also features VortexLink, Karios Games’ online leaderboard system. If you already own MonsterUp, the game automatically detects your VortexLink profile, which is very convenient. Online leaderboards always bring welcome competition and replay value to score-based games like this.
Fans of shoot-em-ups won’t have to spend much to climb into Galaxium’s selection of ships. The game is available in either a paid version for 99 cents or a free ad-supported version. You can find the paid version here (Zune link) and the free version here on the Marketplace. We’ll have a full review soon.
3 years ago
Data use on the rise for Windows Phone users
The latest Nielsen report on cell phone indicates that data usage is up. In the U.S. smartphone data usage is up 89% compared to last year and the average Windows Phone user has doubled their data usage over the past two quarters.
From the November launch (4th Quarter 2010) to the end of the first quarter 2011 (March 2011) data usage climbed from 149mb to 317mb.
And Windows Phone users aren't alone. The report shows that all the major smartphone systems are experiencing a steady climb with respect to data usage. Except one, Windows Mobile that is steadily declining (no surprise there). On the plus side, the Nielson report indicates that the average smartphone user pays almost 50% less per megabyte of data from last year. The price per data unit has dropped from 14 cents per mb to 8 cents.
It's no secret that Windows Phones are more data dependent. From updating Facebook statuses of contacts to downloading apps to uploading scores to leader boards to checking your email, there are very few aspects of the Windows Phones that don't tap into some form of data.
But is this an increase or Windows Phone users hitting a plateau? Or is it the end result of more apps hitting the Marketplace increasing the phone's capabilities? In looking at my data usage since November 2010, asides from two spikes, my data usage has remained fairly consistent (300-400mb per month).
What's your data usage look like? Has your usage doubled since Windows Phone 7 launched?
Source: nielsonwire via: wpsauce
3 years ago
Voice Navigation Round-up: GPS Voice vs. Turn by Turn Navigation
3 years ago
Microsoft's Skype acquisition approved by FTC
The Federal Trade Commission has approved the deal which will see Skype being bought (for $8.5 billion) by and integrated into Microsoft with further development cross-platform and additional implementation of the technology into Office and other communication services already developed by Microsoft.
There has been no word surrounding antitrust, fingers crossed everything goes through. Incase you missed it, the press release covering the deal (which we covered last month) can be found after the break.
3 years ago
Updates hitting Orange, AT&T LG Quantum scheduling
Rejoice Orange customer, updates (NoDo and the security fix) are heading your way. A million miles away from us, the LG Quantum on AT&T has joined HTC handsets and is now being scheduled so owners of this device should receive the 7392 notification soon.
As for the Samsung Focus, well, we still have hope right? Be sure to keep a watchful eye on the Microsoft update page or download the "Dude, where's my update" app.
Source: Windows Team Blog
3 years ago
Nokia reportedly working on a QWERTY design for 1st Windows Phone
It should be not too shocking that Nokia will produce numerous styled devices for Windows Phones--after all, they're quite creative over there. So the rumor that one of Nokia's first devices will feature a full QWERTY keyboard should not be too much a surprise.
According to ShinyShiny, who were at a Nokia event yesterday, a rep for the company was a little loose lipped on some details about their foray into Windows Phones:
"...expect a Blackberry-rivalling QWERTY phone in that line-up of phones out this year. Nokia have a A rep said that Nokia wanted to cater to the business market, that Windows Phone was a natural choice for the business user and that business users wanted QWERTY keyboards. I'm taking that as "yes we are releasing a QWERTY phone in our 2011 line-up"."
Sounds plausible. Then again, we're expecting a bit of everything from these guys, so it's just a matter of time anyways. Regarding the release date, nothing too new their either, but like Mango, things look to be ahead of schedule:
"The official release date for the phones is quarter 4 - the last three months of the year - but given that there was a Nokia Windows phone floating around at a Nokia event last night (apparently), I suspect we'll be seeing one sometime round the beginning of that period - September."
Yup, we imagine we could "see" a device in September with a release in October/November. Remember, Nokia has said they won't show the phone till it's close to its final release date. We just know that the next six months should be very exciting.
Source: ShinyShiny; via WPCentral forums (Thanks, @BurnEthanol); Concept phone credit: EagleEye
3 years ago
Infinite Flight soaring to version 1.5
The Flying Development Studio has recently submitted an update to their Windows Phone flight simulator, Infinite Flight for certification.
Version 1.5 brings the following features to your inflight experience.
- New scenery area: Southern California (LAX, Edwards, Palm Springs, San Diego...)
- Instrument Landing System (ILS) enabled for all runways for now
- Mini-Map for the HUD view
- Adjustable controls sensitivity
- Fixed flight model issues
- Redesigned Airport Page
- Customary performance enhancements
Oh.. and if you missed it, previous updates increase the app's fleet of airplanes. You can now pilot a Boeing 737-800, Cessna 172SP, Cirrus SR22, and Super Decathlon. We liked Infinite Flight but recognize a flight simulator isn't for everyone. Luckily there's a trial version available to let you try before you buy. The full version runs $4.99.
At last check, the Marketplace was still showing v1.4 but we have been told by the developer that v1.5 should be showing up anytime now. You can download Infinite Flight here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.
3 years ago
ChevronWP7 Labs to bring new dev-unlocking tool to WP7 (for a small fee)
It's been awhile since we've heard much from the homebrew crowd, in fact once everyone went to 'NoDo' and the door was shut on home-unlocked devices, the amount of side-loading software declined dramatically. That wasn't a terrible thing either, as Mango's "500 features" goes along way in "fixing" any complaints users may have with the OS.
Still, for those developers who either cannot afford the $99 or for those just starting out, there's an odd solution coming forth from the ChevronWP7 team. Evidently they are set to release a new unlocker, but this time with the blessings of Microsoft. It's called ChevronWP7 Labs. The catch? It won't be free this time:
"The service will require a small fee — currently via PayPal — to offset costs but we assure you it will be more affordable than the App Hub. Those who wish to write and immediately publish apps are recommended to sign up to the App Hub instead.
We’re excited to be making this service available to users with the support of the Windows Phone team."
Now, before we can pass judgement on this, we'd have to know how much we're talking here. That range can be from $1 to $98, we suppose and that's a large range. If we're talking $5-15 we can kind of look past it and almost think of it as a tip to the Team for their work; more than that and it starts looking like opportunism (and we'd be surprised Microsoft would be okay in losing that money).
For now though, we can at least be happy that an unofficial/official solution is coming to the platform, which may still allow a homebrew community to grow on the sides and allow devs of all ranges to play with the platform. Stay tuned...
Source: ChevronWP7 Blog; ChevronWP7 Labs
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