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3 years ago

New Galaxy S II like device to run WP7?

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Could a version of the ever popular Samsung handset be making a move to Microsoft's platform? Possibly. The Galaxy S II  (see Android Central) model number is SGH-i927, add on 10 to that number and you get SGH-i937 (if you don't then you should reach out to a calculator for some advice), which has appeared on Occasional Gamer's list of devices recently (see the Google cached page below).

Not only that but the model number has reportedly cropped onto Bluetooth SIG and features identical Bluetooth characteristics as Mango handsets. Could we possibly see the same specification on WP7 as is present on Android? This news could also bring the possibility of a new Omnia for us Europeans (while Americans get a new Focus), which would be exciting stuff.

The Galaxy S II sports a 1.2 GHz CPU with a 4.3" 800x480 Super AMOLED Plus screen along with a front-facing 2MP camera and 8MP in the back. In addition, it comes with 16 or 32GB of memory on board and a 1650mah battery to power it all. No word if any of those specs would carry over directly to the SGH-i937.

Source: Occasional Gamer, Bluetooth SIG, via: Engadget, WMPU

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3 years ago

LG E906 sports IE9 and runs Mango

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LG E906 sports IE9 and runs Mango

We have learned that LG is planning to bring a new device to the table, running Windows Phone 7.5 (codenamed Mango). The device, LG E906, was WiFi Interoperbilitly certified earlier this year in May (see above image) and the browser stated in an XML document containing the handset specification is IE9. Not much more than this is readily available, we'll keep a look out for anything that should arise.

You can check out the XML document from LG for more specification detail on the LG E906.

Via: Nanapho.jp

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3 years ago

Arcane's Tower Defense incoming to Marketplace

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Arcane's Tower Defense is one of those games Windows Phone 7 users should look out for. Sporting fantastic graphics and extended playability with custom map creation. While we have a number of tower defence games already available on the Marketplace, this is a new twist which will hopefully raise the standards. Some features to take note of:

  • 5 ages to unlock towers, talents, spells and improve their powers.
  • 6 different and unique upgradable towers.
  • 8 Spells to improve your defense.
  • 19 Upgradable tower talents to boost your strategy.
  • And many different goblins with their own stats and abilities.
  • Plus an extra free application : a standalone map editor.

Arcane's Tower Defense will be available on the Marketplace in the next few days, for $1.99. We'll have a review up to follow. To recap on the release candidate gameplay, check out the video after the break. 

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3 years ago

Microsoft looking to open TellMe for WP7 development

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TellMe used to be a separate company specializing in voice recognition technology, until Microsoft swooped in, bought and merged them with their own exiting voice research team in early 2009. Flash forward a few months and we finally saw the first iterations of TellMe on the Samsung Intrepid in October 2009, giving us an idea of what to expect from the future partnership.

Mango will be improving the user experience with the option to use speech for text input with SMS conversation. More control will be at hand with replying, having messages read out loud and more (see our video demo with Bing services here).

But the big question is: Will Windows Phone developers ever have access to these tools? As of now, the answer is 'no' but Microsoft is starting to budge on the issue and they look like they will be opening up their TellMe voice services for WP7 developers. No timeline is given, but they are now registering developer interest via a list. So to all devs: go voice your opinion on the matter and hopefully Microsoft will movea a bit faster.

Head here, near the bottom, to register your interest: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Tellme/developers/

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3 years ago

Dropbox updates Terms of Use [UPDATE]

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We're using cloud services more and more with our Windows Phones, as well as with other devices.  One such service, Dropbox, can't seem to catch a break these days.

First, we have the Dropbox Reader that can drill into your accounts. Then Dropbox left the back door open to their services that essentially removed password protection. Now we see the cloud storage company has updated its Terms of Services claiming "worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty free, sublicenseable rights" to your stuff (yes, they use the word stuff in a legal document).

The TOS agreement may not be alarming to some but we thought you should know how Dropbox considers the content you place in their hands.

To quote from Dropbox's TOS:

"By submitting your stuff to the Services, you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of, perform, or publicly display that stuff to the extent reasonably necessary for the Service. This license is solely to enable us to technically administer, display, and operate the Services. You must ensure you have the rights you need to grant us that permission."

Dropbox does recognize that you retain ownership of your stuff and they clarify how they might use your stuff in their Privacy Policy. Basically they can collect your personal information to be used to contact or identify you in order to improve services and to better understand your needs and interests. They also have provisions to use your geo-location information and logging/cookie data.

Google has similar language (they use "content" instead of "stuff" and ) with their TOS but SkyDrive takes on a different approach. Microsoft doesn't ask for ownership but rather rights to access your content. Here's how Microsoft words things:

"You understand that Microsoft may need, and you hereby grant Microsoft the right, to use, modify, adapt, reproduce, distribute, and display content posted on the service solely to the extent necessary to provide the service."

It may sound as if all three are saying the same thing but a "right to access" and "sublicenseable rights" can be worlds apart. Granted I don't think Dropbox will start exercising their "ownership rights" but the wording of these TOS Agreements should give us pause as to what we put in the cloud as well as what service we choose.

source: Liveside

Update: In an effort to make it clear that Dropbox isn't claiming ownership rights to your "stuff", Dropbox has decided to make some revisions to their updated TOS. On their blog site, Dropbox states that "The language in this clause was more technical than it needed to be." Believing terms like "derivative works" and "sublicensable" could come across overly broad or out of place the revisions states,

"You retain full ownership to your stuff. We don’t claim any ownership to any of it. These Terms do not grant us any rights to your stuff or intellectual property except for the limited rights that are needed to run the Services, as explained below."

The only instances Dropbox will share your stuff is outlined in the Privacy Policy (which hasn't changed). While the TOS could have been worded simpler, it's nice to see Dropbox responding to customer concerns.

Thanks Rene for the tip!

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3 years ago

Microsoft developing 'Switchboard' for WP7 multiplayer gaming

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Real-time multiplayer gameplay on mobile devices has long been a feature many gamers would like to have on the move (we have some form of multiplayer gameplay though - Haypi Kingdom being an example), but with constant connection dips (while on the move) and data limitations in place, plus many more factors, it's never been fully implemented.

Victor Bahl, director of the Mobile Computing Research Center at Microsoft Research, explains the problem:

"Multiplayer gaming on smartphones is a very challenging technical problem, Gamers move around, the wireless channel is hostile, the bandwidth you need is not always there, disconnections can happen, and smartphones are energy-constrained. If you just take a game and put it on a smartphone, it is not going to work."

Fear not, all is not lost. The talented team at Microsoft Research has been hard at work on 'Switchboard' - a potential answer to most (if not all) problems with multiplayer smartphone gaming in its current form.

 "There are techniques for multiplayer games to handle ‘jitter’—occasional spikes in network delay. When those techniques react to jitter, you may see a player or object jump from one spot to another. Such ‘glitches in the matrix’ become problematic if they happen frequently. A major challenge in this work is to predict what a player’s latency will look like for the foreseeable duration of a game and minimize such glitches."

"Switchboard finds suitable game candidates by “pinging” their phones to estimate latency: the time needed to move a packet of data. Latency is important to gaming because a long lag time—in the hundreds of milliseconds—to move data can affect game play”, notes Gantenbein."

While it may not provide seamless play for WP7 users, this is a step in the right direction and shows Microsoft are attempting to address obvious limitations/problems. Let's see how this plays out, but for now hopes should remain relatively high for some degree of multiplayer action potentially being possible in the future with Xbox Live.

Source: Microsoft Research, via: Windows7news

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3 years ago

Nokia N9 not heading to some European countries?

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We already understand that Nokia is fully backing Windows Phone 7 with devices coming later this year and through 2012, but their support for MeeGo was questionable with only a single device being launched. Now it seems as though the N9 might not be available in some parts of Europe if their website product availability checker is to be held for reliability.

You'll also notice that France, Italy, Germany and Spain are also absent from the list. Could we be seeing Nokia planning to bring only Windows Phone handsets to these countries? Shame if this becomes a reality. While I'm very much looking forward to purchasing a Nokia WP7 device (especially if it's anything like the previewed Sea Ray), the N9 does look like a smashing phone.

So fellow Brits (and European neighbours), would we be that bothered if the N9 is not available in the countries above (I believe I'm asking a silly question on a WP7 website but still interest could be present)?

Source: Nokia, via: Telegraph, T3

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3 years ago

Plants vs. Zombies: Xbox Windows Phone Review

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As a critic, it’s rare that I can unequivocally say that a game is the very best game in its genre. So many titles do different things well, and they usually have their minuses too. It’s even more uncommon for a game to transcend its own genre and become something that appeals to pretty much everybody. That’s why Plants vs. Zombies is such an amazing game. Not only is it hands-down the best tower defense game on Windows Phone, it also tweaks tower defense conventions and brings so much content that even tower defense naysayers will find a lot to enjoy.

What exactly is tower defense? It’s a type of real-time strategy game. Players build stationary towers which shoot at enemies as they try to reach the player’s base. To put that in Plants vs. Zombies terms, zombies attack the gamer’s yard, striving to get inside the house and eat the tasty brains inside. Weaponized plants with faces and personalities take the place of mechanical towers. In case it wasn’t immediately obvious, this game is loaded with charm and humor.

Watch out for potato mines as you head past the break for our full review.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: June 27-July 03, 2011

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This has been a pretty eventful week, with some great resources for developers popping up here and there. Firstly, the Mango beta is now available for registered developers, then again if you're not aware of this news, where have you been for the past week? Not only that, but one day after release two ways to get Mango on your non-developer-unlocked device surfaced.

The WPCentral forums have expanded to accommodate discussions surrounding Microsoft services including SkyDrive, Xbox Live and more. Staying on WPcentral for a moment longer, we've published podcast episode 115! Oh yeah, we're back into the swing of things! Also, we have interviewed the good folks at IQ this week who develop the official Pikchur app.

IM+ has been in the discussion box for being delayed and over-priced but at least the latter has been addressed as it's had a price drop to $4.99, but has now angered users who've already purchased the app for the full price. Facebook gets updated to version 2.0 and now features push notifications! With the recent addition of official apps, the Windows Phone Marketplace has passed 25,000 apps!

Gaming on Microsoft products (namely Windows and Xbox) is merging together over at Xbox.com, soon you'll be able to purchase Games for Windows and Xbox titles all under one roof. Twin Blades is set to return on July 6th but everything seems slightly greener, though the fun remains high! Angry Birds is also here, no need to sulk to Android and iOS users over this title any more.

The Dell Venue Pro on T-Mobile is set to finally receive a firmware update next month. Did we say finally? We run through the easy process in importing contacts from Outlook to your WP7 handset via your Live ID, while Orange UK kicks off the Orange Selects Marketplace launch with giving away apps for free to customers (one for each day of July - 31 in total).

Nokia has stated that any apps developed by them for their devices will not be confined to their handsets only and will be released to other brands. SiriusXM stream comes back online and the Sat Rad Player app returns to the Marketplace. Have you ever noticed the different shapes used on smartphone platforms?

On the hardware front, Compal is said to make Acer and Nokia handsets. Front facing camera is still a possibility in Mango, so we can hopefully expect some video conferencing support in WP7 from OEMs this fall. HTC Eternity is revealed as well its specifications which feature a front facing camera, just to confirm the above news.

Let's take a small break and have a slice of WP7 cake.

Developers! Did you think the WP7 sweepstakes were finished? Think again, although free advertising isn't on the prize list any longer, free devices are up for grabs. Still deciding whether or not to go with requiring users to purchase your app or release it for free and rely on advertising revenue? Check out this documentation on setting up advertising in your app for some pointers.

Microsoft addressed some issues people have been experiencing while attempting to update to the Mango beta. In short, Focus 1.4s are still not able to be updated - fix coming mid-July hopefully. They have also released a developer Marketplace survey, good signs that they're still listening to constant streams of feedback.

Head on past the break for the run through.

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3 years ago

Alchemic Phone 7 - Review

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Alchemic Phone 7 - Review

Feeling up for an elemental challenge? Alchemic Phone 7 is a Windows Phone game that puts you in charge of building a universe by combining elements to create oceans, seas, volcanoes, islands, machines and a lot more.

There are 1400 elements to unlock ranging from machines, electricity, thunder, lightning, Atlantis, and the Great Wall.  To find out more on this unique Windows Phone game, slide on past the break.

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3 years ago

Accuweather for WP7 - A closer look

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3 years ago

Angry Birds - Review

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Angry Birds - Review

Angry Birds may have been one of the most anticipated Windows Phone games. Most are familiar with the game as it's been available for some time on other platforms.  While I've played my fair share of Angry Birds on other platforms, it was nice (almost refreshing) to see the popular game come to the Windows Phone platform.

For those not familiar with the game, evil pigs have stolen the birds eggs and have angered the feathered population. Negotiations fail and to arms (or wings) the birds go.  The pigs fortify their positions with sticks, rocks, and anything else they can get their hoofs on.  Your mission is to destroy the pigs by hurling an assortment of birds at them from a slingshot.  You work your way through the various levels to eventually take on the pig king.

Sounds easy, right? Shoot on past the break to see how the Windows Phone version of Angry Birds measures up.

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3 years ago

TripIt Travel Organizer official app now in the Marketplace

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Guess we're going to have to keep adding to that list. Yes, the official app for TripIt by Concur Technologies is now available. Up till now, we only had the excellent MyTrips 3rd party app which we still recommend you take a look at, as an alternative. But you can't beat free and so it's nice to see the super popular travel planner service now on Windows Phone.

We actually all use TripIt around these parts when our various Smartphone writers are globe trotting to conferences and events. If you haven't tried the TripIt service, it scans your email for travel information (flights, hotels, etc.) and automatically adds them to your upcoming trips. It's eerily awesome how well it works, allowing you to add things to your calendar, share them with others and just keep all your travel itinerary in one, accessible place.

You can grab TripIt here in the Marketplace and if that doesn't suit you, give MyTrips ($1.99) a whirl. (Thanks, sixseven, for the heads up)

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3 years ago

Licensed National Rail apps comparison

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Britain's railway network is a love and hate relationship with us Brits, right? When it's working as it should and trains are on time it's arguably one of the most reliable railways in the world, but when there's a fault somewhere it turns into the worst within seconds. To help keep on top of timetable changes, delays and cancellations we've been using smartphones to aid us in our travels.

Windows Phone 7 has now two officially licensed apps in the Marketplace, which both share the same base functionality and high price (£4.99 – to be expected with licensing). The big question is what separates Rail Planner and Train Travel? Let's run through the nooks and crannies of both apps and see what functionality is missing in one that the other features and which is best worth the high price tag (please be aware that this article is intended for folk living in the UK, should you download these apps you may be disappointed if you abroad).

Head on past the break for the full two app comparison review (you can skip to the video at the end for a quick walk-through).

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