4 years ago
Microtransactions and cross-platform multiplayer in Haypi Kingdom, two firsts on Windows Phone 7
Remember when we discussed the debut of Haypi Kingdom, the first MMO for Windows Phone 7? We were surprised to see a free to play game that is supported by microtransactions make it onto Microsoft’s mobile platform. After all, doesn’t Microsoft prohibit microtransactions in Windows Phone 7 games?
Developer Haypi Inc. kindly straightened out the matter for us. As it turns out, microtransactions are indeed forbidden on the platform. That’s why games like The Sims 3 that have lots of optional purchasable content on iPhone don’t offer the same downloadable content on WP7.
So how does Haypi Kingdom manage to sell players in-game coins for real life money? PayPal! You see, coins aren’t purchased through the client itself. When a player decides to make an optional coin purchase, the game launches an external web browser. Purchases are made through PayPal’s site, not the actual game, so Haypi Kingdom isn’t breaking any rules. UPDATE: The workaround has been removed - currently there's no in-game method for purchasing coins.
Haypi Kingdom’s payment model works the same way on Google’s Android platform, where microtransactions are also prohibited. Before coming to Windows Phone 7, Haypi Kingdom had already made a name for itself on Android and iPhone.
To read more on this ground breaking game and the Press Release from Haypi, follow the break.
4 years ago
Silencing your Windows Phone shutter [hack]
It's a problem that has plagued photography for decades; taking pictures without the camera sound disturbing everyone around you. Most digital cameras have the ability to mute the simulated shutter sound but Windows Phone 7 owners aren't so lucky.
Regardless how you have your ringer volume set, that distracting sound is always present once you press the shutter button. For those who have a developer unlocked/jail-broken Windows Phone there's a solution out there.
The solution requires you to modify the system registry (proceed at your own discretion).
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Audio\StreamClass\Output\10 and set "BypassDeviceGain" to 0.
- Apply the changes, reboot your phone.
Your Windows Phone camera application will now follow the phone's audio settings. Simply mute the ringer and you mute the shutter.
Source: XDA Via: Windowsphonehacker
4 years ago
Could this be Nokia's first Windows Phone?
There's still a bit of buzz lingering from Nokia and Microsoft's newly announced partnership with Windows Phone 7. The ink has barely dried on the press release and we are now seeing concept photos on what the first Nokia Windows Phone might look like.
The concept phone resembles the Samsung Focus but has the power button joining the micro-USB port and 3.5mm jack at the top of the phone. One can only assume that the camera and volume buttons rest on the left side of the phone that isn't shown. Right now we can only guess what might be under the hood.
While the colors add a little flair to the Windows Phone line-up, does the concept phone look a little plain for Nokia? Or does it hit the right spot?
It will be interesting to see what additional details come to light at the 2011 Mobile World Congress. We've got a crew flying the ocean blue this weekend and will be pounding the pavement trying to find out all that we can Windows Phone related.
Source: Engadget Thanks to everyone who sent this tip in!
4 years ago
Nokia has the ability to customize WP7 but will they?
As the dust begins to settle on the Nokia/Microsoft partnership announcement, we're learning that Nokia may have more latitude with Windows Phone 7 than other WP7 partners. Nokia is of the opinion that their agreement with Microsoft will allow them to make better use of Windows Phone 7 than other manufacturers. Stephen Elop, Nokia's CEO stated,
“We have the ability to do customizations and extensions to the software environment that are unique and therefore differentiate. It’s very important to understand this is not a standard OEM agreement. Microsoft is placing a big bet on us."
Elop was quick to follow up that while Nokia had the ability change things, he felt it would be the worst possible option.
Additionally, Elop added,
"We will resist the temptation to customize simply for the sake of customizing."
With devices not expected until 2012, we can hope that any modifications/customizations will be well thought out and that the momentum Microsoft has built with Windows Phone 7 isn't jeopardized by Nokia giving into such temptations.
In a seperate interview with All Things Digital, Elop describes the relationship with Microsoft as one of balance with deliberate dependence in both directions. Elop felt that both Microsoft and Nokia would work to offer an overall successful ecosystem.
The new relationship between Nokia and Microsoft has a strong potential for success and puts a little pep into Windows Phone 7 development. Still, one has wonder if Nokia's freedom to customize is a good thing? Is Microsoft headed down the same path with WP7 as we saw with Windows Mobile in that you eventually have multiple variations of the same system. Variations that often frustrated developers.
Source: Pocket-Lint and All Things Digital
4 years ago
Microsoft paying Nokia to switch? Devices not till 2012, tablets and more...
We mentioned yesterday that Microsoft was spearheading a hardware engineering team for Windows Phone--to expedite development in new mobile hardware, almost like their own R&D department for phones. That addition gives Microsoft an interesting ability to better control the future and direction of hardware for their OEMs by basically getting their foot in the door on developing mobiles.
Flash forward a whole day and we have Nokia and Microsoft merging their smartphone strategies. As has been pointed out, this is not "Nokia is now an OEM for Windows Phone" but much deeper, more substantial. Nokia's services will run into Microsoft's, Microsoft's will mix with Nokia's and more importantly, Nokia will have a say in the direction of Windows Phone. From the joint open-letter: "Nokia will help drive and define the future of Windows Phone." Yowza.
In a New York Times article, is was pointed out that both Google and Microsoft were throwing money at Nokia to commit:
To get Nokia to switch, Google and Microsoft are offering hundreds of millions of dollars worth of engineering assistance and marketing support, according to a person who has done consulting for the company and was told of the talks.
What caught our eye was the whole engineering assistance, which sounds a lot like what the new Hardware Group of Microsoft's Mobile Communication Business (MCB) department is all about. Reader Henripple pretty much caught this yesterday in comments, suggesting that this may be the groundwork to speed up that Nokia agreement and get devices to market, faster.
On a related note, Ina Fried at All things D is live-blogging the event and when asked, Nokia CEO Elop said this about device availability: "We’ll be shipping in volume in 2012" so we have some time yet before we see a device, though we imagine by "holiday 2011" we'll definitely see some devics about to launch.
And on the much controversial issue of tablets:
“We are not announcing today a specific tablet strategy,” he reiterated, saying that Microsoft creates opportunities.
Elop noted that there are rumors of Windows Phone and Windows that could power tablets.
“We could do that,” he said. “We might do that.”
Also an opportunity for Nokia to step back into the game using its own software.
Certainly intriguing and we hope both companies come up with a solid strategy here.
4 years ago
Nokia to adopt Windows Phone 7 OS -- It's official!
The rumors have been swirling for days but this morning it was official announced by both companies that Nokia will be adopting Windows Phone 7. In a joint open letter, both companies spelled out what the partnership means--let it be clear it's as big as it is deep--this is not just Nokia using Bing but a whole agreement in a virtual merger on smartphone strategy:
The core of the decision is for Nokia to use Windows Phone as its primary smartphone OS, with MeeGo going to the back-burner (but living on). The OVI store will merge with Microsoft's Marketplace, Bing will be on all Nokia services and Nokia wil provide mapping data for Bing.
The combination of Nokia, who's the largest cell phone maker (by volume) and Microsoft should create quite the juggernaut and gives Windows Phone the gravitas it needs to be taken more seriously (by consumers, carriers and the market). Indeed, this changes everything today. Will it pay off? Who knows, but we're happier with this decision than without it.
Why not Android? According to Nokia CEO Elop:
We explored the opportunity with the Google ecosystem. We would have had difficulty differentiating within that ecosystem, and so Microsoft represented the best opportunity to build and lead and fight through with a new ecosystem.
Have they started collaborating on a device yet? From Ballmer:
We’re already working together to create the first Nokia Windows phones and you’ll hear more from us in all of those areas in the next weeks and months.
When? “We’ll be shipping in volume in 2012”, varying price points -Elop (via AllThingsD)
(Quote via via ElectricPig; part 2)
After the break, see the full official strategy between the two companies as outlined in their "open letter" and video...
4 years ago
Seesmic v1.4 now out, supports landscape for composing, many new features
Hooray! Seesmic seems to be on the go again, delivering another solid update to their popular Twitter app. While still lagging in some areas, they're filling in some big gaps.
Version 1.4 just hit the Marketplace and here are the changes:
- Support of Salesforce Chatter: Add your Chatter account as a space and see your chatter feed, comment on updates, post updates, see your groups and view their feed.
- Support of Facebook Pages and Private Messages: Harness the ability to post to the Facebook pages you're an admin of, from the composer account selector and view your inbox of private messages (in read only).
- Translation of a tweet to English from the action menu.
- Support for Landscape mode in the composer (more to come soon).
- Context menus are now available for quick access to the essential features when long pressing on a tweet, a user or a direct message thread:
- Ability to see and manage attachments in the composer before you upload them, when sending your update.
- Ability to choose the size of the pictures you upload for faster upload times.
- Ability to see the public conversations from a tweet when tapping on "in reply to" inside a tweet.
- Ability to delete an entire direct message conversation.
- Multiple bug fixes.
Not bad, Seesmic, not bad at all. Grab it here in the Marketplace.
Source: Seesmic blog
4 years ago
USA Today will incorporate MS Tags
Starting today, USA Today will start using MS Tags in their print edition to help bring their paper and their digital content closer together. Readers will now be able to scan the tags using MS Tag Reader and be directed to digital content including videos, picture galleries, financial and sports info, etc. A press release stated that the paper will feature "at least one" MS Tag per issue.
We’re excited that USA TODAY is using Tag to engage with readers in a more interactive way,” said Bill McQuain, director of Tag Product Management at Microsoft Corp. “Microsoft Tag makes the world around you clickable, and now with the scan of Tag, customers will get a richer, more enhanced experience from the pages of the newspaper.
Microsoft has already released over 2 billion of the codes for a multitude of products, publications, studios and networks.
Source: USA Today; via: WinRumors
4 years ago
Haypi Kingdom, the first MMO for Windows Phone 7 now available
While Xbox Live games for Windows Phone 7 continue to remain online-only affairs, that hasn’t stopped indie developers from creating games with online play. Lately we saw Broiled Earth, a competitive artillery game, and now thanks to Haypi Kingdom, Microsoft’s mobile platform has its first MMO (Massively-Multiplayer Online game).
The game's description, according to Haypi Kingdom’s official website:
Haypi Kingdom is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). You will be a general directing an ancient kingdom in a strategic game - boosting resource production, adventuring in extensive wild land, reaping legendary treasures, equipping your troops with advanced abilities and fighting against enemies - with the ultimate goal of becoming the strongest kingdom in the ancient world. Your general can get higher title and more advanced attributes as he joins more and more battles. His attributes will be shared among his troops as well.
You won't play alone. In this massive multiplayer online game you will be able to interact with thousands of players from all over the world in a competition for fame, power, wealth and glory. What's more, there are plenty of possibilities to interact with others - Not only offense and defense, but also trade, alliance, mail system, chat system, etc.
Of special note is Haypi Kingdom’s revenue model. The game is free to play, but players can purchase in-game coins through optional microtransactions.
Coins can be used to speed up upgrades, enhance resource production, buy VIP time to add upgrading slots, buy resource or treasures, call back troops, and enhance your city loyalty immediately, etc. Coins can only [be] purchased with real money at "SHOP". Each player is awarded 30 coins when they first play the game.
Basically, coins allow impatient players to speed up various processes in the game. Smurf Village on iPhone and of course Farmville use similar payment models.
We previously heard from another developer that microtransactions were prohibited on Microsoft's mobile platform, so it’s surprising to see that may not be the case. Micro payments would certainly open up the door for more popular online games to come to WP7.
Gamers who are interested in a social role-playing experience on Windows Phone 7 can get Haypi Kingdom for free here (opens a link to your Zune software) on the Marketplace. We’ll have a full review of the game soon.
4 years ago
MWC 11 snubs Windows Phone 7: no official app
We're prepping for our 4k mile hike to the Mobile World Congress and just received an email about the official phone app for the event. Perhaps not too surprisingly, Windows Phone 7 is left off of the compatibility list, with out guess being that MWC/Whatamap.com did not feel it was popular enough. (Boo, hiss)
Two thoughts though: with Ballmer giving a keynote, dealing with Windows Phone 7, this kind of looks a bit unimpressive. Second, Microsoft should have commissioned someone to do it for them (like they did with the upcoming MIX 11)--though perhaps MWC would have been too daunting a task.
The good news is Windows Mobile 6 is covered, which means we just dusted off our LG eXpo for the event (1GHz baby! Resistive screen, eck!). But we just had a sad thinking we need to cover this event using a Windows Mobile device. That and our Twikini is dead.
4 years ago
Price Drop: Glow Artisan just $2.99
It’s been a while since we saw a price drop on an Xbox Live game for Windows Phone 7 (the last one was a temporary price drop for Rocket Riot). Now Glow Artisan has dropped from $4.99 to $2.99. The ~$3 price point is the most popular price for Xbox Live games, so Glow Artisan may see a significant jump in sales.
Glow Artisan is a unique puzzle game that centers on the use of colors. Players must recreate a pattern at the top of the screen by mixing colors on a grid of squares. Our review praises its simplicity, underlying depth, and range of gameplay options. Glow Artisan was developed by Powerhead Games and published by Microsoft Game Studios. Grab it for the new low price of $2.99 or give the free trial a spin here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.
The last Xbox Live price drop didn’t last forever, so don’t drag your heels!
4 years ago
Rogers' Venue Pro pricing leaked
As you may have heard, Rogers mobile will be offering the Dell Venue Pro in March. According to a tipster, pricing on the vertical slider will be $149.99 with a 3-year contract commitment or $599.99 with no contract. While non-contract pricing for phones usually hovers between the $400-$600 mark, $149.99 seems to be a bit steep for a three year commitment. There may be some other pricing available down the road, but as of now, this is all we know about.
Source: MobileSyrup; Thanks, Steve, for letting us know!
4 years ago
Microsoft heavily recruiting for Windows Phone Hardware Engineering team
Microsoft just posted some job new job opportunities and one theme has surfaced: they're actively recruiting for what appears to be a new Hardware team, a sub-group in the Mobile Communication Business (MCB). The MCB is tasked with improving Microsoft's
...focus and processes to rapidly commercialize the new Windows Phone (WP) OS, software and services with our OEM and Mobile Operator partners. One component of this evolution is the Hardware group which is responsible for helping drive rapid commercialization of WP by active management of relationships and technical direction with key hardware partners.
No, it's not Microsoft building a self-branded Windows Phone, but rather a stronger hand in guiding the future evolution of Windows Phone hardware, working in conjunction with OEM partners for rapid deployment. A few of the jobs for this Hardware group include:
Such high level positions sounds to us like this is a new undertaking for Microsoft (or a lot of key personal went missing recently). In addition, the director will:
... lead a team of hardware developers that design, develop, and test multi-protocol wireless implementations for mobile applications, with an eye toward cost reduction, power consumption and performance improvement, whilst maximizing re-use and minimizing time to market. You will work with business, industrial design, user experience, hardware, and software teams to understand, identify and drive requirements and identify the emerging technologies that will enable new user scenarios.
Call us crazy, but if this whole group is new (or at least being revamped), it sounds to us like Microsoft is going to become more strict and focused on hardware for Windows Phone, to the point of nearly directing key OEM partners on new devices (but we're sure they'd call it "collaborating"). If so, it's an interesting approach of using Microsoft's vast resources and research capabilities to do a lot of hardware engineering, without committing to making the hardware themselves. Thoughts? Sound off in comments.
4 years ago
Windows Phone NoDo update coming out early March? Here's the story.
While we've generally tried to stray from pinning down an exact date to the Windows Phone 'NoDo' update in addition to posting unsourced rumors on the topic (well, we try), at least this latest one has some things going for it: a name, a place and some pics.
The latest rumor suggests that the Windows Phone 'NoDo' update is coming in early March. We won't say "delayed" because as far as we know, Microsoft has never set a public date. What we do know is that they will most definitely discuss the 800lb gorilla in the room next week at the Mobile World Congress (yes, we'll be there for it).
French site WindowsPhoneFR has the origin of this early March rumor: it stems from an event at TechDays 2011 ("a sort of lounge / conference dedicated to developers, to learn about the latest technology, latest techniques and recent projects" involving Microsoft). The conference was in Paris at the Palais des Congres and one of the editors of WindowsPhoneFR, Julian Vu, was there--so that's why we're posting this.
Samsung had a stand there with a representative and the question was directly asked:
Q: When will the update for Windows 7 Phone?
Samsung A: Probably early March, we will confirm at the Mobile World Congress in mid-February.
So there you go, that's where this all started. Is it true? Maybe. Either way, if you can hold for just a few more days, we're pretty sure we'll get the skinny from Micrsoft themselves, so no use getting in a twist over the exact date, m'kay? Update: The story also jives with one similar posted on WinExtra.
Udpate 2: Mary Jo Foley is confirming ealry March as well now with even more detail
Big thanks to Fabien Patou at WindowsPhoneFR for the heads up!
4 years ago
Windows Phone Marketplace marches to 8,000 apps
Here we are again. We'll keep it short and sweet as this is getting redundant. (We hit 7,000 on January 27th)
But right before Mobile World Congress kicks off next week in Barcelona, the Windows Phone Marketplace rampaged past 8,000 this morning. We say rampaged because for two days this week, the Marketplace came to a stand still (fixin's behind the scenes?) before a torrent of apps were then published. And if you just scroll through the last few pages, you'll see we've been getting quite the offerings...
Combined with the Nokia news and Windows Phone seems to be having a great day so far...
Source: Marketplace Browser
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