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3 years ago

The Sims 3 is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week again, plus exclusive update details

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Good news for bargain hunting gamers: in addition to the Countdown to 2012 sale, we still get the regularly-scheduled Xbox Live Deal of the Week. Now the (kinda) bad news: the DOTW is The Sims 3, on sale for $4.99.

Why is this bad news, other than the fact that the iOS version regularly goes on sale for a dollar? Well, The Sims 3 on Windows Phone doesn’t quite match up in quality to the PC and console versions. As our review points out, the character customization is extremely limited. Load times are lengthy and frequent and menu navigation is clumsy. Worse, the game has a habit of losing save files; it happened to me once.

All of those problems mean The Sims 3 is badly overdue for an update. WPCentral has learned from the game’s developer that an update is indeed coming. But again, it’s not the best of news. The impending update adds Fast App Switching support and nothing else. EA did not commission a single bug fix from the team behind the Windows Phone port.

Heck, maybe you don’t mind a few bugs and loading screens. If so, you can find The Sims 3 here on the Marketplace. The $4.99 sale price lasts for one week.

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3 years ago

Nokia, Microsoft have been in talks with RIM

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Hot on the heels of that analyst calling for RIM to adopt Windows Phone OS comes this report from the Wall Street Journal which claims that Nokia and Microsoft considered making a joint bid for RIM in recent months. Nothing of course is actually in the works nor are there any impending announcements, but reportedly Microsoft and Nokia regularly meet with RIM to discuss industry and partnerships--which shouldn't be to much of a surprise. But now that reports are swirling that both companies are at least considering such a bid is certainly enticing.

The WSJ suggests that Co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie is not seriously considering a bid until the company sees how their new OS, not expected till late 2012, performs on the market. Presumably if the OS does well, no sale. But if the company continues to sink in market share, running into the arms of a Microsoft/Nokia partnership could be an emergency 'Plan B'.

So for now, it looks like RIM will try their hand at Blackberry 10 but they appear to be lining up the life-boats in case it all goes south. Certainly having Microsoft-Nokia on the sidelines could only mean good things for Windows Phone. But for now, we wait. As an interesting side note, Amazon reportedly attempted to get talks started on a take-over of RIM but was rejected. Even more interesting of a side note? We found a story here on WPCentral from January 2009 which said if RIM's stock drops low enough, Microsoft will "snap them up". In other words, this may not be that new.

Source Wall Street Journal

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3 years ago

Mobile Nations 12: 2011 Year in Review

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Mobile Nations 12: 2011 Year in Review

Kevin, Phil, Derek, Daniel, Georgia, and Rene take at look at the year in mobile, from BlackBerry to Android, webOS to Windows Phone, iPad to iPhone. Highs, lows, great new devices, frustrating delays, devastating losses, and a look ahead to 2012. This is Mobile Nations!

 

Hosts

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3 years ago

Handelsbanken financial app lands in the Marketplace

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Sweden's largest bank, Handelsbanken, has released its official app over on the Windows Phone Marketplace. The Handelsbanken app gives customers access to a wide range of banking services including:

  • Balance and transactions
  • Transfers between own and others' accounts
  • Open and close bank cards for internet purchases
  • Open and close bank cards for purchases and withdrawals abroad

You also have the ability to find branch office locations, view current mortgage rates, and access tv feeds from Handelsbanken TV. The ability to close bank cards to prevent them from being used is lost or stolen is a very nice feature.

Handelsbanken is a free app over at the Windows Phone Marketplace and you can grab it here.

source: wingadget thanks goes out to Peter for the tip!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone snubbed by Live Messenger

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Here's an awkward oversight by Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger. You have an ad for the Live Messenger app for the iPhone and it lists all the platforms Messenger will reach out to.

You have the iPhone, Android devices, Blackberry devices and the PC. Wait... what's missing?

We all make editing blunders but to forget your own mobile platform? Microsoft is gaining momentum with Windows Phone and really should be missing any opportunities for exposure. Especially when they are advertising their own services.

source: @CJSCO via: wp7connect

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3 years ago

Doodle Grub wiggles into the Marketplace

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3 years ago

o2 no longer stocking the Lumia 800? Not quite

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Feel free to file this under "What the fudge?", because the reasons provided by the carrier are even weirder. o2, the UK network that had issues with Nokia a while back before the Lumia 800 was unveiled at Nokia World, has been stocking the handset and has actually been selling numbers. We took a trip to Lakeside, in Essex, and were told the store there sold out delivered stock in just 24 hours. Stores elsewhere have displays set up or have the 800 in-line with competitor handsets, but the online store tells a completely different story.

Should you search for "Nokia Lumia 800" on the o2 store, one can select the phone's product page from the results. But wait, there is no page. 

So one can only come to the conclusion that o2 is no longer stocking the Lumia 800, correct? Wrong...

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Lock Screen version 2

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Windows Phone Lock Screen version 2

We previously covered the Windows Phone Lock Screen wallpapers by AJ Troxell, which provided owners with an extra layer of protection should they misplace their phone. The wallpapers are customizable with editable files included in the pack so personal information can be added including name, email, number, etc.

As AJ is being non-secret Santa this year with 12 days of freebies, and because the lock screen wallpapers proved to be popular, he's released version 2 today. What's new? 4 styles, 43 backgrounds, 4 variations of complete icon sets, and comes in Photoshop and Illustrator formats. Head on over to AJ's site (link below) to download version 2 of this truly useful pack.

Source: AJ Troxell, thanks AJ!

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3 years ago

Xbox Live Countdown to 2012 Sale is live and fairly festive

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The annual Xbox Live sale (aka The Countdown to 2012 Campaign) is now live. On Xbox 360, a variety of Xbox Live Arcade games and avatar items are on sale. But Windows Phone gamers haven’t been entirely left out of the festivities, as three mobile Xbox Live games just went on sale as well.

The sale games:

Naturally I already own them all (jeez my phone is drowning in games). Still need to go back and finish off Fable Coin Golf, but the others are in the bag. Will you guys be picking any of these titles up, and how do you like them?

The Countdown to 2012 Campaign runs from December 20, 2011 to January 2, 2012. May these cheap games help keep you warm during the holidays.

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3 years ago

Microsoft Research releases Face Swap

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Microsoft Research releases Face Swap

Microsoft Research has released Face Swap over at the Windows Phone Marketplace that allows you to swap people's faces around in photographs. Face Swap uses multiple face detection to identify everyone's faces and with a shake of your Windows Phone, the app swaps the faces around.

Once you've created your newly arranged photo, you can save it to your Photos Hub or share it directly to Facebook or Twitter. Face Swap is a free app that you can grab here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. It is a mango app so you'll need to be running Windows Phone 7.5.  Face Swap is sure to make for interesting Holiday group pictures.

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3 years ago

MSN Autos app is ready for a test drive

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Into cars? Neither are we. But that shouldn't stop those of you who are from taking a look at MSN Autos which just went live in the Marketplace. The app is basically a shopping guide for new or used cars and features the worlds longest app description, even though we just told you what it does. Here's a snippet, from page 128 of said app description:

MSN Autos for Windows Phone is your resource for new & used car news and research, whenever and wherever you need it. Check out photos, car specs, reviews and videos; tag cars as Favorites and catch up on the latest news and tips. The MSN Autos app is your resource for onsite research and comparison, so you’ll be more confident when stepping onto car lots.

Whether you are seriously shopping or simply browsing for a new or used vehicle, the MSN Autos app lets you easily find cars by:

  • Make & model.
  • Criteria, including price, new/used, fuel economy, body style, convenience, and safety (even down to rain-sensing wipers).
  • Category, such as economical commuter cars, affordable performance, fuel-efficient SUVs, etc.

The app is just like every other MSN app out there--black, minimalist and for some seriously stupid reason, populated with ads. We say that out of love (MSN Movies is a nice app) but the ads really ruin what should be a free experience on Windows Phone. But putting our late morning gripes aside, MSN Autos is quite a useful app if you're in the mood for car shopping. If that's you, you'll want to head here to the Marketplace. Thanks, Ryan S., for the tip!

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Game Review: Astro Flare

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Astro Flare is a space shooter game for your Windows Phone. It's a fast paced game with plenty of bad guys to blast into smithereens.

Astro Flare has six game modes, unlockable ships, and plenty of power ups to help you battle against pesky enemy ships. Astro Flare is also an OpenXLive game that gives you access to the OpenXLive leaderboards and social network. If you like action packed, space shooters you might want to take a look at Astro Flare.

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3 years ago

Xbox Live: Enigmo update finally available, despite the certification process

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Since its release in May, Chaotic Moon’s Xbox Live title Enigmo has suffered from an unattainable Achievement. I noted in our Broken Achievements article that the developers had submitted a patch to fix the problem immediately after the game’s release. As the months went by, it seemed like Microsoft would never approve the update.

Today things finally change, as the Enigmo version 1.1 patch is now live! The patch regrettably does not add Fast App Switching support – after all, it has languished in certification hell since May, long before Mango became a reality. But it does fix the broken Achievement, ‘Mad Scientist,’ meaning the game’s full 200 GamerScore can now be earned by all. Just beat level 50 or start a new game and complete a level after having beaten level 50 to unlock it.

The length of time it took Microsoft to approve a very simple fix (7 months) is extremely worrying. Whenever a major problem arises in a game, be it a broken Achievement or a game-killing glitch, the big MS’s first priority should be getting the fix out to consumers. Having a sandwich, taking a nap, having about 200 more sandwiches, and then publishing the update is not good for anyone involved. The developers loses sales from negative word of mouth and awareness of the game’s issues, Microsoft themselves lose the cut they would get from those sales, and gamers become dissatisfied with developer and publisher alike. A rethinking of the update certification policy may be in order.

But enough complaining! Let’s just be happy that Enigmo is working right at long last. As our review states, it’s a fine physics-based puzzler with 3D graphics and a catchy soundtrack. Enigmo costs $2.99 and you can find it here on the Marketplace.

Thanks to Selas Dray for the tip!

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3 years ago

Fuse & TVShow dev releases MyEncyclopedia app to the Marketplace

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If you don't recognize the name Rudy Huyn, he's the developer behind TVShow and Fuse, two of the most popular apps on our platform. The reason why those apps are so popular (and revered) is due to his excellent design and coding skills. Even our own developer, Jay Bennett, called him one of the top devs on Windows Phone these days.

So with that intro, how do you not want to take a look at his new app MyEncyclopedia, which according to him is his "...little Christmas gift for all Windows Phone users"? The app is a Wikipedia front-end for Windows Phone, which in of itself is not unique, but the design, features and speed of it make it top notch. For one, it's extremely fast on loading articles which are formatting perfectly for our screens. Second, he's enabled the ability to pull down your location, show it on Bing maps and then show you Wikipedia entries around you--pretty slick. He also used his excellent sharing-screen from Fuse, which allows you to post the article to email, SMS, Facebook, Twitter and our favorite, generate a QR code for others to scan with their phone. Other features on board are:

  • Search in 100 languages
  • Offline mode to view article without internet connection
  • Display the summary of the article
  • Find your favorite articles
  • View previous versions of article

The crazy thing? He developed it 18 hours (3 nights). The app is not only free, but ad-free as well. So if you need any kind of Wikipedia app, we have to give our highest recommendation for this one. Pick it up here in the Marketplace or click the QR code below to enlarge and scan.

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3 years ago

Matt Bencke shuffled within Microsoft to Xbox Live

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Matt Bencke, General Manager for Developer and Marketplace, has been moved (within Microsoft) to the Xbox Live department. The move was announced internally at the end of last month, ZDNet learned from contacts within the company. Bencke had been in the role at Windows Phone since November 2010 (according to his LinkedIn profile - which has not been updated with his new Xbox position) and was part of the team that worked on Microsoft's partnership with Nokia.

Prior to his previous position, Bencke had been a General Manager on the Premium Mobile Experiences (the team responsible for the Kin). The reasons behind the shuffling are speculated to be either technology advancement or simply marketing. For technology, Microsoft is strongly believed to be making alterations to the engineering side of Windows, substituting components of the platform for Embedded Compact guts currently powering the Windows Phone OS. ZDNet notes that the software giant could make the change as early as mid-to-late fall 2012 with its "Apollo" Windows Phone release. On the other hand, it's hypothesised that Microsoft could be preparing to move the Windows Phone team under the Windows umbrella.

The move fits in with Andy Lees being replaced, which we reported on earlier this month. Whatever the outcome is, we're definitely going to see more fusion between Microsoft products. 

Source: ZDNet

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