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3 years ago

The Weather Channel hits v1.5, gets iWitness Weather feature

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Good news for you Weather Channel fans as that app gets a bump to version 1.5 today. Not too much has changed but there is a whole new section called iWitness Weather (cute). Basically it's localized pics people took of, well, the weather in your area. Sub-sections include nearby, featured and categories. Oddly enough, there doesn't seem to be a way to upload photos to the feature, which makes it a one way street for now.

The photos are kind of interesting, though we see some shots of dogs and people too meaning "verification" seems lax. Not exactly a killer feature, but nice anyways. And is it us or is the animated-weather new? You can grab the update in the Marketplace here.

(Thanks, David M., for the heads up!)

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3 years ago

Voice Guidance missing from some international 7712 Mango builds

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We have two reports coming in from Italy and France that the voice guidance in Bing has been removed from the 7712 beta, even though it was present in the earlier one.

Voice guidance, for turn-by-turn directions, was one of the key features for Bing in the Mango update. While not as effective nor impressive as carrier-offered services (not to mention data usage), it was quite decent and you know, free.

Word of caution though: 7712 is obviously not 7720 aka the RTM build, so it is unclear at this point if this has been removed due to (a) time or (b) other, more permanent reasons. We'd like to think that this was just an omission from this build and not the final. We've reached out to Microsoft for clarification.

The good news for U.S. residents is it is still present in our release. Any of our international readers from other countries want to report in? Hit the comments...

Update: Gone from Australia too, according to Andrew in comments, meaning this isn't a language issue but rather something else. Appears to be missing from all markets except U.S & UK.

Source: Plfaffo and Professeur Thibault

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3 years ago

Bing vs Google turn-by-turn navigation [From the Forums]

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A superb thread has been created over at our forums by Tiny, where he goes into detail about his 32 hour drive across the U.S. As you can see in the map above, the blue line is Google and the red representing Bing. While both services providing the same directions, Bing took two diversions, thus making him choose Google with more trust for the first part of the journey.

At the start Bing calculated a route via Utah, which seems longer than the more direct route of Google. Turns out, even though the number of miles with Google was a smaller amount, the time saved (if any) was minimal due to sped restrictions and construction delays.

Bing didn't stop there with calculated issue prevention. Iowa, instead of Missouri, was chosen by Bing approximately half-way through the journey while Google remained on track with the direct approach. Although a warning was present that some roads may be closed, no alternative route was provided by Google. Following Bing would prove to be less trouble and more smooth.

For the rest of the journey and some final thoughts, head on past the break. 

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3 years ago

Samsung Network Profile app updated, supports more UK networks

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The Samsung Network Profile app, available in the Samsung Zone on the Marketplace, allows users to change between networks with settings automatically configured for data, MMS etc. as long as they're not currently in contract with a carrier.

We reported back in December that the app was updated and fixed unlocked issues users were experiencing. We've just got word the app has been updated again, but this time bringing a number of UK networks to the list:

  • O2 UK Postpay
  • O2 UK Prepay
  • Orange UK
  • T-Mobile
  • Virgin
  • Vodafone Contract
  • Tesco
  • Vodafone PAYG
  • BT Mobile
  • Asda
  • Vodafone IE
  • 02 IRL
  • Meteor
  • H3G IE
  • Tesco Mobile Ireland
  • Talk Mobile Contract
  • Talk Mobile PAYG

Do you use the Network Profile app, have you used any of the new networks added in?

Thanks for the tip David! 

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3 years ago

SkyDrive supports music playback in Mango (7712) [Video]

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This is pretty cool, the above video shows Manan demoing a newly enabled feature in IE9 using SkyDrive - music streaming. The playback is thanks to IE9 in the latest build of Mango (7712), but it's a start and hopefully we will see further development into cloud streaming with SkyDrive to include media player features. Integrating this feature into Music + Video hub would make sense.

Our George Ponder, last month, covered a response by Mike Torres, a Microsoft's Group Program Manager for SkyDrive, to a reader on the Windows Team Blog:

"With MP3s, the Office hub won't stream your MP3s, no."

What's interesting to note is that he's still right. While OfficeHub seems as though it sports music playback, it's actually opening up your SkyDrive in IE9 for the streaming to begin. What do you guys make of this, and where do you see the development going?

Source: Being Manan, via: LiveSide

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3 years ago

Quantum users getting a foreign LG App Store?

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File this under: Weird

Looks like some LG Quantum users, found mostly on AT&T, are getting a bit of surprise when they load up the Marketplace, specifically the LG App store is appearing in a foreign language (possibly Czech?). There's no real harm being done and users can still use apps from LG but it is a bit odd.

Makes you wonder if the LG App Store is hosted somewhere and there's a switch for languages/distribution that someone leaned on accidentally. Hopefully the foreign language intrusion won't last long. Anyone else having similar issues? (We're gonna test ours in a bit, she's in mid-Mango flash right now)

Update: Evidently not just Quantum users but Optimus as well :-/

Thanks, Mark W. and Travis O., for the tips and pics!

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3 years ago

Brain App - Review

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Brain App - Review

Brain games are a great way to pass the time with on your Windows Phone. They can be entertaining, educational and good exercise for your noggin'. Brain App is a four challenge brain game from Chris Meyer that is challenging enough to keep you interested but not too difficult to get you frustrated.

The Windows Phone game includes math, sequencing, and identification challenges that have both easy and advanced levels. If you like brain stimulating games, slide on past the break to see how Brain App measures up.

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3 years ago

MustEatBrains haunting the Marketplace

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MustEatBrains haunting the Marketplace

More Zombies are heading to your Windows Phone. This time around, it's with the game MustEatBrains from PNB Industries. You can choose to either fight on the side of the living or on the side of the zombies.

Fighting on the side of the undead, you chase after the "meddlesome warm blooded fools" scoring points for each heart you collect and receive a boost of endurance by dining on the remains. Brains are the delicacy that will give you brief periods of invulnerability.

Fight on the side of the living, you stand alone against the undead horde. Points are scored for each zombie you take out and you loose points should you take out innocent bystanders.

The graphics have a nostalgic feel with over three hundred hand-drawn animations. You almost expect the flickering of the lens as the frames roll by. There is a free trail available for MustEatBrains with the full version running $1.49. You can download both here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace. We'll take a closer look at MustEatBrains and get a review up shortly.

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3 years ago

More Mango for Developers: 7712 update & SDK Beta 2 refresh

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More juicy peach for Windows Phone developers who are enjoying Mango - we know our Daniel Rubino is with updating his entire device inventory to the developer build. First off, build 7712 is now being pushed to developers (kudos to Jay Bennett with providing us with the above screenshot), be on the lookout for update notifications on Zune to move on from 7661.

Here are some instructions posted by Cliff Simpkins, in the official announcement over at the Windows Phone Dev blog:

  1. Make a copy of the backup you took when you updated to the Mango Beta 2 pre-release (which I’m sure you did) and put it in a safe place, if it isn’t in one already
  2. Return to Connect.Microsoft.com (we’re using the same program you were invited to join last month) and download the freshly posted files, which includes a new Zune client and a new UpdateWP executable
  3. Head to the Control Panel and uninstall the Beta 2 software (Zune client and UpdateWP) and tools (WPSDK) that you installed last month
  4. Install the new software and tools that you just downloaded from Connect
  5. Fire up the new Zune client beta (4.8.2134.0) to check for the new update
  6. Zune will then update your phone from 7661 to 7712

We recently covered the rumors surrounding the 7712 build that developers will be receiving prior to the public release of "Mango", one must note however that this build isn't final, which is 7720. For those wondering as to why this is the case:

"First, the phone OS and the tools are two equal parts of the developer toolkit that correspond to one another. When we took this snapshot for the refresh, we took the latest RC drops of the tools and the corresponding OS version. Second, what we are providing is a genuine release candidate build, with enough code checked in and APIs locked down that this OS is close enough to RTM that, as a developer, it’s more than capable to see you through the upcoming RC drop of the tools and app submission. It’s important to remember that until the phone and mobile operator portion of Mango is complete, you’re still using a pre-release on your retail phone – no matter the MS build."

As well as an update to "Mango" that developers are running to get their apps ready for consumers, Microsoft have also refreshed the second beta of the Windows Phone SDK. Why the refresh? check out the following goodies:

  • Application platform APIs are now locked; you can feel confident to start getting ready for submitting your apps next month.
  • Emulator now has a nifty screenshot capability built in, allowing you quickly snap quality images of your app without the need of separate tools or cropping time. The images are great for use in app submission process or to share on your blog or with folks such as my team (hint hint).
  • The profiler has been greatly improved and provides memory profiling.
  • As of this drop, you can install NuGet into the free version of the WPSDK tools. I find NuGet to be one of my favorite productivity boosters and I’m happy to see the extension supported in the free tools.
  • The drop includes an initial peek at the Marketplace Test Kit; with the RC release, you’ll be able to use the included version of this toolkit to test your XAP file against the same certification testing tools that we use when ingesting apps for the Marketplace. For this refresh, it’s there but not fully functional; but more on this in a future blog post.

The SDK RC (release candidate) is expected to surface in the next month. So there we go folks, Mango goodness all around. Let's hope this speed of development continues.

    Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog, thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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    3 years ago

    Scott Adams takes up Brandon Watson's offer

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    We recently covered Brandon Watson offering Scott Adams with a free Windows Phone handset to try out and to get his opinion. Scott has been having issues with both iOS and Android, so Brandon offered $1,000 to charity of Scott's choice if he doesn't enjoy the WP7 experience. All he's looking for in the OS is to perform like a dumbphone (calls not dropping etc.), easy email management and good battery.

    Scott Adams has taken up this offer and will provide his critique opinion in a few weeks time. This is perfect for both Microsoft and the platform with more exposure and some strong feedback, whether it be positive or negative. Using the recent satisfaction survey as base that put WP7 above Android, here's hoping Scott enjoys the Metro UI experience. He joins Molly Wood, who also accepted Brandon's offer.

    Source: Scott Adams' Blog

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    3 years ago

    Will Mango get more colors? Probably not.

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    The other big news today is the two new accent colors found on the Toshiba IS12T--namely a grey and citrus. Some people have taken this to mean that Mango itself will have these additional colors, to which we reply "probably not".

    For one, Joe Belifiore has stated before that there are no new colors in "Mango" and we see no reason why that would change in the remaining builds of the OS. Second, OEMs and carriers have always had the ability to add custom accents to their devices. Case in point, my HTC Mozart from Orange UK--it literally has an accent called "Orange UK" and yes, it's different and in addition to the regular Orange (the former is darker).

    That's obviously what is going on here as Toshiba wanted accent colors to match their unorthodox bright scheme--so they did. But we're going to bet you won't have any citrus in the final Mango build.

    via: WPSauce, Mon Windows Phone, WinRumors

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    3 years ago

    Samsung SGH-i677 is another Mango phone. With a front KB?

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    Samsung already has the Galaxy SII variant coming this fall with Windows Phone "Mango" on board, then there's the GT-i8350 also with Mango and now another device, the SGH-i677 looks to coming a well.

    Details have emerged via some coding in Samsung's own site, where the model number and web browser (IE9) are listed. In addition, there's Bluetooth and WiFi certification info that comports with the other info, lending some solid credence to the existence of this phone and it's Mango destiny.

    What's real interesting is the model number: SGH-i677. As NanaPho point out, traditionally this "series" have been front keyboard devices (as demonstrated in the fake mock up above). Does this mean that this device too will sport a front qwerty? If so, we think it would be more like a Dell Venue Pro (see review) than a standard "Treo" design. The latter configuration was suggested for Chassis 2 of Windows Phone, but Microsoft put that off due to wanting to concentrate on just one resolution for developers.

    Still, a front-slider device from Samsung? Oh hell yeah...lets do this.

    via NanaPho

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    3 years ago

    Developers to get new 7712 build of Windows Phone "Mango"? [Rumor]

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    Lets catch up on a couple things here:

    1. Developers currently have build 7661 of Mango
    2. Build 7720 is the RTM version
    3. Microsoft has strongly suggested devs are getting an updated build

    That last part comes from Microsoft's own Cliff Simpkins who tweeted last evening in response to this very question. His answer? "Give me a day to get an official answer for folks :)" He also noted in comments on the Windows Phone Blog "We're working to get devs an updated build soon. Stay tuned to the dev blog."

    At this point, we're highly confident that developers will be getting an updated Mango build and we think it will be very soon. In fact, the Windows Phone Dev Podcast just tweeted a little while ago "we've got 7,712 reasons for you to look forward to tomorrow". While a build 7712 is not 7720, it's "close enough" as we know that build 7710 went to Nokia for the Sea Ray.

    Hey, as someone with three phones running Mango, we think this sounds just peachy. (Free pun!)

    via: Professeur Thibault

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    3 years ago

    TheChive comes to Windows Phone

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    TheChive comes to Windows Phone

    We're not sure if this an officially endorsed TheChive app or not, but it's nice enough to pass along. TheChive is a pretty popular photo-entertainment/humor site (link) that has also pulled off some funny pranks/memes in the past.

    Basically, it's a great time waster and the app by Full Revolution, Inc. is pretty minimalist but slick. As a result, the app is too the point and zippy for what it does: deliver the latest, greatest photos to your phone. It has all the major categories and even allows you to save the pics. There's no direct sharing option though nor search but ads are barely there (they show up only if you click a photo).

    So if you like TheChive and/or like looking at interesting pics, here you go. Pick it up for free in the Marketplace here.

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    3 years ago

    MSN Postbox for Windows Phone -- a new photo sharing venture from Microsoft

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    Looks like Microsoft is continuing to explore various new social outlets via the internet, this time it's a new service called "MSN Postbox" (side note: it was earlier speculated by TechCrunch that "Postbox" was a Yelp competitor). What makes this service unique is two fold: it allow you to share photos along with comments to the "community" and two, there's a Windows Phone app now available to help make it easier.

    Photos need to be "approved" before they are posted, so don't expect to go hog wild with it. It is a bit confusing as to the purpose, so we'll let Microsoft explain:

    "Share your photos with millions of MSN readers directly from your phone with the MSN Postbox app. Also browse other readers’ submissions to see the best of what’s happening all around the United States.

    MSN Postbox is a new curated photo-sharing site (part of the MSN.com web portal) that goes beyond your friends to connect with a bigger community about what going in on in your town, your life.

    Offer city and people shots, with your captions, as well as photos and tips about restaurants and events. And you can photos immediately after taking them, or share photos you’ve already taken. (After downloading the app, reboot your phone – turn it off and back on – to activate the “share” function for Postbox to your phone’s camera.)"

    It's kind of neat but not "OMG that's awesome!" neat. The design is like a combo of Metro and KIN, which makes us wonder if this was an extension of the KIN ecosystem that we never saw flourish, perhaps a left over project? Anways, it's free and the app runs "ok". It is a bit sluggish for our likes, but it looks nice and keeps with the other "MSN" apps e.g. Movies.

    You can grab the app here in the Marketplace or go to the website to get a flavor of what it's all about here: http://postbox.msn.com/.

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