3 years ago
Microsoft getting ready to rock Danbury, Connecticut tomorrow for new Store opening
The new Microsoft Store in Danbury Fair mall, Danbury, CT
Microsoft is really on a roll with these official Store openings, no doubt they are in a rush to get them open in time for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 this fall.
The latest is the Danbury Fair mall in Danbury, Connecticut. The store has been under construction since May and now not only are they throwing their doors open at 9:30am tomorrow but at 6pm, they're hosting a concert in the parking lot with an expected 2,000 people in attendance.
Who's playing? Young the Giant with "reggae-flavored rock group" O.A.R. headlining. Not bad, not bad at all.
Microsoft is also donating $1 million in software to the local chapter of Junior Achievement which adds a nice touch. The store is on the 2nd floor of the Danbury Fair mall, located between Lady Footlocker and, we're not kidding, MetroPark. Booya.
If you feel like going, may we suggest you get there early in the morning to get your wristbands. The first 200 in line on the grand opening morning will receive two premiere viewing tickets/wristbands for the concert later that night.
We've been promised some photos and report from reader Nicholas R. (who also sent the above shot back in May), so hopefully we can show that this weekend sometime. Either way, this is hands down one of the biggest store openings for Microsoft yet. Feels good, man. Feels good.
Click here to see the unofficial/official list of upcoming Microsoft Stores. Edit: Looks like they're also opening in Toronto, Canada, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Core Madera, CA too. (Thanks, Travis)
Source: NewsTimes, Nicholas R.
3 years ago
Official Facebook app for Windows Phone bumped to version 2.6
Say what you will about the official Facebook app for Windows Phone but they are trying hard to fix things and improve it. Rapidly too.
Version 2.6 just landed in the Marketplace and you can go get it now. Don't expect a slathering of new features like the last few updates but instead it addresses a couple of bug fixes that many of you have been sending into them. These include:
An image posted to a group was appearing on your own wall rather than the group
Users with custom privacy settings set as their default were having their updates created with "Only Me" permissions
Nothing thrilling but hey, at least they're listening and tweaking things with rather a quick turn around. You can grab the latest version of Facebook here in the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Source: Facebook; Thanks, jbarinas & Todd, for the tips
3 years ago
Nokia Maps updated, fixes issues with favorites and places
3 years ago
Surface Tablets rumors on pricing and being WiFi-only make their rounds
Microsoft's Surface tablet event definitely caused a buzz that was dampened a little with the Windows Phone Summit which was held two days later. In a way, Windows Phone 8 took a little wind out of Surface's sails. While the spotlight has been on Windows Phone 8, there have been a few rumors growing with regards to the Surface tablets which we'll catch up on.
The release date is still up in the air and Microsoft is sticking with the Surface RT being released with the general availability of Windows 8. The Windows 8 Pro Surface would hit store shelves about 90 days after that. Initial availability will be through Microsoft's stores and select third party retailers. Likely Amazon.com, Best Buy, etc.
Price speculation has ranged from $500 on up with the Windows 8 Pro being the higher priced of the two. At this point, pricing is anyone's guess and Liveside.net is seeing the ballpark pricing as $399/$499 (32gb/64gb versions) for the RT Surface and $799/$999 (64gb/128gb versions). We would hope the ballpark is a little smaller but $399 for a 32gb Surface isn't too bad. Is it? In fact, over at Techie-Buzz, Manan Kakkar notes that even at $599 it's a steal compared to an iPad:
Oh...there's one more rumor circulating about the Surface's release. Initially, the Surface will only support Wifi connectivity. Bloomberg is reporting that initially the tables will go on sale without a connection to mobile-phone networks. This isn't necessarily a bad thing in that a) it will allow Microsoft to keep the cost down and b) you won't have wireless carriers potentially delaying the initial release. Models with cellular connections would hit the market at some point after the initial release.
You can also read TechRadar's early "review" of the Surface. Overall, they seem to like it.
So...we leave you with two questions. What would be a competitive price for the Surface and is "Wifi only" a serious limitation or not a big deal?
Thanks, everyone, for the tips!
3 years ago
Poll results - Majority of Windows Phone users happy with proposed 7.8 update
Certainly the most controversial issue for Microsoft and Windows Phone users right now is the 7.8 update which will bring the new Start screen to current devices. This update is in lieu of getting Windows Phone 8 proper which is reliant on advanced hardware for most of its new features.
Some in the tech media are portraying this as a fiasco though the majority see the light at the end of the tunnel, recognizing that Microsoft had to switch the kernel from CE to NT if it wanted the platform to move forward. Combined with the difficulty in providing direct-upgrades to Windows Phone 8 (it's not a simple "update" but rather requires wiping the device, backing update data and re-writing aspects for current hardware) we can sympathize with Microsoft in not spending invaluable time and resources on making WP8 backwards compatible.
We put the question to you though to get your feedback. On the original article, you folks left an astounding 500+ comments. On the poll, a massive 6,500+ of you left a response. While the data may not be perfect we do get a rough idea of how you are feeling.
Certainly we can say the results are mixed but a majority of you (54%) are okay with Microsoft choosing this path for current Windows Phone users. The clear "no" category had 19.61% thinking Microsoft could and should do more while another 20% were on the fence, perhaps waiting to see how it actually looks and feel. A tiny percentage (6%) claimed they are finished with Microsoft and are leaving the platform.
For those 20% who are unsure they may want to see exactly what the update entails. Microsoft has strongly hinted that as of now, it is just the new Start screen. The reason for that is many of the additional new features, like Wallet or voice, requires access to the core of the OS since they use new APIs not available in Windows Phone 7. In other words, if you code an app that uses the WP8 SDK with new WP8 APIs for WinRT/NT it is not clear how that can be back-ported to a CE device.
Of course we have to remember that what Microsoft showed this week technically was not for consumers. The Windows Phone team team will be having more events this summer where they show off new, not-previously mentioned features including some UI changes. In other words, there may yet still be more to Windows Phone 7.8 but Microsoft is waiting to reveal those in tandem with the consumer preview of Apollo.
In fact, Nokia US on Twitter yesterday noted that besides the new Start screen "Other elements aren't being disclosed at this time" which leads us to believe there may be yet more to come for Windows Phone 7.8.
Looks like we'll just have to wait and see but so far, Microsoft may have done enough to ameliorate the issue with users.
3 years ago
Microsoft and Italy team up for Xbox Avatar gadget giveaway
Nokia's Lumia Windows Phone now in mini-size
We all love those free Xbox Avatar Gadgets, especially when they're Windows Phone focused. And for those in Italy, your day just a got a little brighter.
If you follow this link code (LINK) you can download and add a Nokia Lumia gadget to your avatar all for free. It's wee little Windows Phone with Nokia emblazoned on the top and ties win with the Lumia 610 launching over in that region.
Unfortunately when we tried here in the US, we were told it's not available in our region. Heck, even changing our region settings on our 360 didn't help but if any of you clever blokes figure out how to bypass this limitation, hit us up in comments.
3 years ago
Some users complaining of Nokia Lumia 900 "Akron, Ohio GPS bug" [Updated]
Dear phone, we're not in Akron!
Update: Nokia just pinged us to let us know they are "...aware of the issue and it has been addressed, but users may need to restart their phones to see the fix take effect." Moreover, this does not seem to be a Lumia 900 issue per se but rather related to AT&T's LTE towers. Evidently some Android users have had this problem too.
It looks like the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T is experiencing yet another odd and seemingly random bug these days. For some users, when they fire up a GPS application such as Maps, Local Scout, Foursquare (for checkins) or Yelp, they show up as being in Akron, Ohio despite not actually being there.
The issue first popped up in Nokia's support forums with two threads and a handful of users noting the problem. Another thread appeared here in the Windows Phone Central Forums as well. But to be honest, we had only received one email complaint on the matter from reader Alex T. and we had not seen this bug ourselves to verify--so off it went into the "quirks" pile for further investigation.
This week though as we're paling around with Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott in sunny San Francisco, both of their devices suddenly had this happen. First up was Thurrott who's phone just would not budge from the great state of Ohio. Despite soft-resets, some toggling and a boatload of swearing, there it stayed.
Later that night, Rivera's phone did the exact same thing when we were at Denny's. What was curious though was how both phones, even when placed next to each other, did not have the bug at the same time. Both Lumia 900s, both on AT&T, yet one worked and the other did not. (Our 900 was in tow but we were using the Focus 2 as our primary device this week).
We're not sure if this is related to AT&Ts network for aGPS, an issue with full GPS or maybe something in between. We have noticed that more folks seem to experience it on the West coast but that could just be sampling error.
So we figured we would crowdsource this a bit and ask you if you've experienced this on your Lumia 900. And if so, what state are you in? Hit the poll below. (And for our international users, have you had something similar?).
Has your Lumia 900 erroneously positioned you in Akron, OH?
3 years ago
Nokia's Camera Extras & Play To available for Lumia Windows Phones
Looks like Nokia was sitting on the release of Camera Extras & Play Now for its Lumia phones as you can now go ahead and download both apps from the Nokia Collection.
Camera Extras is what it sounds like, yet another camera app from the Finnish company that adds a lot of unique features to hopefully improve some of those pics. Features include:
Smart Group Shot - automatically selects faces, lets you create the perfect picture
Panorama - takes numerous photos and stitches them together
Action Shot - rapidly takes photos
Self timer - 10 second countdown
The app downloads as a separate program but it does integrate into the camera module meaning you can just quickly load the whole thing by hitting your dedicated camera button. Overall, the features are pretty good and we think many of you will enjoy the new additions. Nokia may be late to the game but they often get it right in the end.
Next up is Play To, Nokia's DLNA app which has finally made it to their Collection. Allowing you to "stream" your Music, Photos and Videos to any DLNA capable device e.g. your TV, the app is a great way to show off your photos to friends and family.
The system auto searches for any DLNA devices over WiFi such as BluRay Players, PCs and more. We don't have one in house so can't test it, we'll leave that to you for now.
Note: For both apps it says you may need the latest update for your phone in order to work--that would be Windows Phone "Tango" (8773) for some of you or Nokia's latest firmware for others. Things like DLNA require some "ground work" done by Nokia in their firmware to be installed so if you can't install these apps or you don't get all of their features, you may have to wait till you get a phone update first.
If not available in your Market (It appears to be US, China and Inida right now) stay tuned as Nokia is rolling these throughout July.
Pick up Camera Extras here and Play To here in the Nokia Collection. Thanks, CaliforniaDrew, for the heads up
3 years ago
Windows Phone App Roundup: Sports Apps
Windows Phone Central's Roundup of Sports Apps for your Windows Phone
In this week's Windows Phone App Roundup, we're focusing in on sports apps. Apps (not games) that will keep you up to date on all the scores and news from the sports world. We have a few all encompassing apps and then a few that are sports specific.
And now for the customary disclaimer. If an app doesn't make the roundup it should not reflect poorly on things. These are just a collection of apps or games that have stood out to us. If we've missed an app that you think should have been included, sound off in the comments.
3 years ago
Looking at Windows Phone 8 from a developer's perspective
Microsoft has finally started to talk about the highly anticipated major update to Windows Phone, codenamed Apollo. With it we get a glimpse into the brand new Windows Phone 8.0, we've had a chance to assess some of the features that are inbound with this update and for the developers out there, it's time to start getting excited about a few of the features we're going to highlight.
Native C++ development
App-to-app communication APIs
NFC & Bluetooth stacks
In-app purchasing and the Wallet
Some of the biggest news of course is the shift in the base of the system to the new 'WinPRT' (Windows Phone RunTime), a subset of Windows Phone 8 (WinRT) with a few COM and Win32 APIs available for good measure. That means that a fair amount of code written for WinRT will be directly portable to this new WinPRT based framework.
Read on past the break for our take on exactly how Microsoft has opened up a new world of development possibilities...
3 years ago
Tango Windows Phone update rolling out for Nokia Lumia 710 on Rogers
Back in early June, we noted how a factory-shipped Lumia 710 on Rogers was sporting Windows Phone "Tango" aka build 8773. At the time, we speculated that Nokia and the Canadian carrier were getting ready to push out the update to all and sure enough that day is upon us.
Reader Gurpreet just notified us that plugging in his Lumia 710 to his Zune Desktop prompted him to update his device. That means the rest of you up North should be able to do the same.
In addition to having Windows Phone Tango and it's new messaging features, user should also have some bundled fixes with the new firmware. We don't have that changelog, though it may have a lot of similarities with T-Mobiles latest update for the same phone.
If you're getting the update, hit us up in comments and let us know your thoughts.
Thanks, Gurpreet, for the info
3 years ago
Super Monkey Ball 2 rolling to Xbox Live on Windows Phone next week
The new Monkey Target minigame
Back when we discovered Final Fantasy would be coming to Windows Phone, we also learned about another upcoming Live title: Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition from SEGA. Well, Final Fantasy just launched two weeks ago to much acclaim, and now we’re due for some monkey business. Super Monkey Ball 2 arrives on June 27.
As you can see from our exclusive screenshots, Super Monkey Ball 2’s graphics are now fully 3D (the original used 2D sprites for the monkeys). It’s also said to have better controls and stage design. Let’s hope so, because the first game was far too frustrating. 125 stages, six themed worlds, and some tough Achievements will ensure a lengthy experience. One of those Achievements is tied to the game’s new 4-player mode. Hopefully said mode uses the internet rather than local Wi-Fi, but Microsoft wasn’t able to say either way at press time.
Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition rolls out on Wednesday, June 27 and will cost $2.99… We’re cautiously excited for it.
Update: Multiplayer will be pass-and-play only. Bummer. Good for Achievement hunters though!
3 years ago
St. Louis Windows Phone Development Workshop. Nokia will be there, how about you?
We've got time for one more reminder on the June 22, 2012 St. Louis Windows Phone Development Workshop. Nokia Developer Ambassador Rich Dunbar will be leading the workshop. If you're in the St. Louis area or happened to be visiting the area, this sounds like a great opportunity to network with other developers and get some help building your app.
The workshop will run from 5:30 p.m. until around 9:00 p.m. and will be held at the Microsoft Offices in St. Louis.
The goal of the workshop is to help developers get started on their first Windows Phone app. Nokia will be sponsoring the event and will provide pizza and beverages. We will be providing a few WPCentral Store gift certificates to give away and we're still crossing our fingers that Nokia will have a few door prizes to give away as well.
Attendees will need to bring their own laptop and have the necessary development tools installed. You can find a full list of the tools that you'll need here in the Windows Phone Central Forums discussion. Registration is required (so enough pizza is ordered) for the workshop and you can find that easy process here at GroupSpaces.
3 years ago
Xbox Live - Shuffle Party update pulled after texture bug discovered
Title updates are usually intended to solve problems and squash bugs, but sometimes they introduce new issues of their own. Case in point, the recent Shuffle Party update somehow ended up slightly bugged when published to the Marketplace.
Before we delve into what happened, here are the Shuffle Party version 1.1 release notes:
Game stability issues fixed. We had noticed more crash reports when connected to a Network than we could stand for.
Avatars no longer appear standing backwards.
Unfortunately, after installing the update, dark and garbled textures appear on the tables, frame, puck, and bowling pins. As a temporary workaround, just head to the Pro Shop and select new skins to make everything look right again.
Developer Babaroga was surprised to encounter the texture bug, because both they tested the build beforehand. Likewise, Microsoft tested and certified it as well with no problems. Thus the texture bug most likely popped up during the process of publishing the build on the Marketplace. Both parties are investigating right now and hope to release a new, bug-free update soon. In the meantime, the versions 1.1 update has been pulled, so just sit tight if you hadn’t already downloaded it.
That little update hitch aside, Shuffle Party is one of the better free Xbox Live games, second only to Wordament. With multiple modes: traditional table shuffleboard gameplay, bowling, and puzzle-like challenges, it’ll keep players busy for a good while. See our review for more details, or grab the game here from the Marketplace.
3 years ago
More Windows Phone 8 features come to light
Yesterday's Windows Phone Summit gave us a nice serving of what Windows Phone 8 brings to the table. Joe Belfiore discussed platform changes that will expand the capabilities of our Windows Phones. We also caught a glimpse of Microsoft's Wallet app, a handful of new Nokia apps, and learned of Zynga's new interest in the platform. And then there's the new Start Screen.
Winsupersite posted a nice collection of some of the features we didn't see. Here's a few items that stood out.
Windows Phones will support varying screen resolutions which in turn will give consumers more choices to find which Windows Phone fits their needs and budget the best. We're already seeing this with the leaked HTC Windows Phone 8 specs.
Data Smart is a feature that is based on the metered broadband connection capabilities in Windows Phone 8. Data Smart will help users get the most out of their data plans by handing off data loads to Wifi whenever possible and by using a cloud based proxy service that limits the amount of data used by IE10 and other apps. The cloud based proxy service compresses web traffic and is reported to save about 30% in bandwith usage.
The Games Hub will become the Xbox Live Games app and will be modeled after the same app in Windows 8.
We'll also see SkyDrive support music and video storage that can be accessed directly from the Xbox Music and Video apps.
The camera app is in store for some under the hood improvements through a Lens app. The Lens app will let third party apps plug into the camera experience by mapping the camera button to an app other than the native camera app.
Skype will be more integrated with a Skype option that will be included in your contacts phone numbers and messaging links for those that use Skype. Skype will remain a stand-alone app that can be removed not only by the user but also the carrier or manufacturer. This one sounds like it is still a work deeply in progress.
Windows Phone 8 will not only appeal to to the general public but also the business market. Windows Phone 8 will provide always on device encryption, secure boot, Office 2013 based Office apps, device manageability capabilities and side loading of line of business apps.
We are sure that in the months leading up to the launch of Windows Phone 8 will come to light. As it stands now, the improvements and platform changes the Microsoft has shared with us it's hard to see Windows Phone 8 as anything but impressive.
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