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3 years ago

Xbox Live: Sonic CD Developer Diary reveals amazing behind-the-scenes artwork

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Sonic CD - the remake of the classic Sonic the Hedgehog adventure - comes to Xbox 360 this week, but not Windows Phone. The 14th, it seems, is just too packed full of Xbox Live releases. But Sega's latest will very likely land on Microsoft's mobile platform on December 21 or 28. We’ve already interviewed the remake’s brand manager, digging up some choice details about the new version. Now it’s time to learn more about how the original Sega CD/Mega CD platformer came to be, thanks to a new video from Sega.

The Developer Diary features Sonic Team Art Director Kazuyuki Hoshino, who reveals numerous pieces of never-before-seen concept art. Highlights include original drawings of Amy Rose and an explanation of Metal Sonic’s design process. You’ll also see several tantalizing unused enemy and boss concepts. Interspersed throughout the video is footage from the remake, giving a great impression of how the game looks and feels.

Sonic CD is scheduled to arrive on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation network on December 14. The Windows Phone, PC, iPhone, and Android versions should emerge by the end of the year.

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3 years ago

Windows Phone App Review - Quad Camera

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Quad Camera for your Windows Phone is another special effects tool for your Windows Phone camera.  Quad Camera gives your camera the ability to shoot in burst mode, frame all the images together and gives you the ability to create some rather interesting photos.  From action sequences to unique portraits, Quad Camera is another app that will extend your camera's capabilities.

Quad Camera takes 4-8 images (depending on the layout) in a short burst and frames them together in one of three layout variations.  Layouts include 2x2, 4x1 and 4x2 that are chosen from the apps' settings. You also have the ability to set the time period between shots (.1 to 3 seconds) and apply a grayscale effects filter to your images.  The 4x1 layout reminds me of the black and white photo booth pictures that you could get years ago.  You know... the ones that took four pictures ever couple of seconds.

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3 years ago

All flights-Skyscanner launches in the Windows Phone Marketplace

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Here's a nice treat for those who travel a lot, Skyscanner is now available for free in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Based off of the site, the app is wildly popular on the iPhone and Android and now has been brought over to our OS by Distinction, the team behind Cocktail Flow and AppFlow--so you know it has to be good. From the press release:

"In addition to allowing users to search millions of routes on over 1000 airlines to find the cheapest flights in seconds, the app also lets users track prices of selected flights with the unique ‘Live Tile’ function of Windows Phones. Users can pin selected flights to their start screen and the prices automatically update every hour. "

Awesome. We just launched it ourselves and it sure makes us want to fly somewhere--smooth and elegant is what this app has. Plus it just feels kind of smart the way the UI is laid out. So for you frequent fliers out there, you'll definitely want to try this one out. Pick it up here in the Marketplace.

Press release after the break...

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3 years ago

Nokia director claims youths are tired of the iPhone, not happy with Android

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Looks like Nokia is doing a little sabre rattling with the folks at Pocket-lint. In an interview with Niels Munksgaard, director of Portfolio, Product Marketing & Sales at Nokia Entertainment Global, the company clearly wants to take on the big guys in mobile and are not pulling any punches:

“What we see is that youth are pretty much fed up with iPhones. Everyone has the iPhone," he said. "Also, many are not happy with the complexity of Android and the lack of security. So we do increasing see that the youth that wants to be on the cutting edge and try something new are turning to the Windows phone platform.”

Munksgaard also points out how difficult competition can be with multiple "black slab" phones greeting customers when the walk in to a mobile store. Indeed, that may be why we're seeing Cyan and Magenta 800s and 710s with back-plates--a nice change from the sea of black. Heck, even we want a Cyan Lumia 800.

Other notes of interest are his comments on Nokia Mix Radio--either coming to desktops or perhaps Windows Phones by other OEMs--part of their strategy to "broaden he coverage of where you can get Nokia Mix Radio”. In addition, it doesn't look like Nokia will be making docking stations anytime soon but will instead rely on 3rd parties to grow their accessories, perhaps much like Apple.

Its good though to see Nokia coming out fighting a bit. Clearly they have the spirit to take on this challenge, lets just hope it pays off.

Read the rest of the interview at Pocket-lint.

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3 years ago

From the WPCentral Forums...custom themes!

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We mentioned yesterday that we're opening a theme area on the site for those using the WP Hacker program to make custom Start screens/tiles. In turn, we're hoping to see some creations come out that would wow-us a bit and luckily someone took us up on it.

Forum member Saljen has posted up five themes so far, including the one you see above aka 'Glass'. The others are just as fancy, specifically Wood, Steel, Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2. Not bad, not bad at all! In fact, we're gonna try and load up Glass here in a few minutes.

Oh and Saljen gets bonus points for creating a custom WPCentral App tile. Anyways, feel free to add your creations for others right here.

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3 years ago

InfoWorld: Windows Phone is worth buying

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Robert Cringely at InfoWorld, a technology magazine, has published a superb article that shines Windows Phone in positive light - much like what we saw over at USA Today. Using the HTC Radar (our review) for a couple of weeks, Cringely has gained an insight into what Microsoft has up its sleeve to tackle Apple and Google. 

"Yes, it's true. For the last two weeks, I've been been playing around with an HTC Radar 4G running "Mango" (aka Windows Phone 7.5), and I have to say that -- despite every molecule of my being screaming in protest -- I am favorably impressed."

Of course, when talking about the Metro UI, live tiles are brought up and are the main focus on some platform praise with information being displayed at glance without loading apps.

"As for the software, the Metro interface is exceedingly nimble and easily customized; I love how it shows me how many new emails, calls, and messages I've gotten at a glance. I like how my calendar is on the home page and it shows me my next appointment automatically. I like how I can flip through the status updates and tweets from my peeps without having to load a separate, often buggy, application."

It's a really insightful read, especially should you be interested in purchasing a Windows Phone. Head on over to InfoWorld to read the article.

Source: InfoWorld

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3 years ago

Windows Phone SMS bug disabling Messaging Hub

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Reports are scattered about the internet concerning a Windows Phone bug that is sent via text message that will reboot your Windows Phone and disable your Messaging Hub. The SMS bug is not device specific and the only solution that is available so far is a hard reset.

To make matters worse, if you've pinned a friend to your Start Screen and they get the message via Facebook, when the live tile updates to display the message, the reboot is initiated.

Nothing official from Microsoft on this kink in the system. We don't know the message sequence (and don't really want to know) but according to @ryanlowdermilk, host of Windows Phone Dev Podcast, it requires "A LOT of characters" and not something easily figured out.  Still the risk is there and we wanted to let you know and if you find your Messaging Hub crashing, this may be your problem.  As best we can tell, this bug doesn't expose what is on your Windows Phone but instead just makes life a little inconvenient with the hard reset.

Hopefully Microsoft can develop and distribute a software patch to fix this bug soon.

source: winrumors

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3 years ago

Ben Rudolph offering 5 unhappy Android users a free Windows Phone

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Microsoft is doing a good job when it comes to light promotion with Brandon Watson offering well known names a free Windows Phone to try out. Now Ben Rudolph is giving away 5 free Windows Phones to unhappy Android owners who can provide the best (or worst) experience story. Android has suffered from Malware and other issues, which Microsoft will not be allowing the platform to get off lightly without attempting to attract unhappy consumers.

Source: Twitter (@BenThePCGuy), via: MobilityDigest, thanks thenet for the tip!

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3 years ago

AT&T's Season of Gifting

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AT&T's Season of Gifting

'Tis the season for gift giving and AT&T is not about to be left out. Each day, from December 1st through December 20th, two lucky winner will win a featured gift. Today's featured gift, the Samsung Focus S with Accessory Kit.

Entering is easy. Go to the Season of Gifting website and enter your name and email for a chance at a random drawing. You can also enter by nominating someone and explain why they should get the gift. Get your friends to vote for the story and the story with the most votes wins as well.

Now not every day a Windows Phone will be given away but the other prizes aren't too shabby. AT&T has already given away an Acer Tablet, Samsung Focus Flash, and AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G. So if you're feeling head on over to AT&T and toss your name into the hat.

Oh... and speaking of giving a Windows Phone away, with the help of AT&T, WPCentral will be giving away a Samsung Focus S.  Look for the details sometime tomorrow.

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3 years ago

PCWorld includes Windows Phone in '20 Most Anticipated Tech Products of 2012'

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PCWorld hasn't failed us by publishing their top '10 Tech Wins of 2011' and including Windows Phone. While these lists should not be taken too seriously, it's good to see the brand getting some recognition and being considered a "win" of 2011. We haven't halted with one list from the magazine though, as Microsoft's mobile platform has found itself in the "20 Most Anticipated Tech Products of 2012".

This could be viewed as relatively strange since Windows Phone was out in 2010, so it's not really anything new for 2012. But for argument sake we will be seeing software updates (with Mango still settling in) and new hardware, which is all good. While Windows Phone is located on slide 13 (behind Android 4.0), it should be noted that there doesn't appear to be any order for the listed entries.

Source: PCWorld; Thanks, D-Burrs, for the tip!

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3 years ago

President of Windows Phone division Andy Lees is being replaced

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Interesting news coming out of All Things D--Andy Lees, who's the Windows Phone division President is being replaced by Terry Myerson, Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone Engineering, but alas he won't be retaining the President title. From an internal memo from Steve Ballmer on the matter:

“I have asked Andy Lees to move to a new role working for me on a time-critical opportunity focused on driving maximum impact in 2012 with Windows Phone and Windows 8. We have tremendous potential with Windows Phone and Windows 8, and this move sets us up to really deliver against that potential.”

The move is suspected to be in response to the slow adoption rate of Windows Phone in the consumer market, despite recent critical approval of the OS. As expected when things aren't going the way they should, corporate shake-ups are necessary. Lets just hope Myerson can take the Windows Phone division to new heights, whcih it certainly deserves.

Source: All Things D

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3 years ago

Xbox Live Deal of the week pricing to ease the sting of Tentacles' challenge

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While our recent review of Press Play’s Xbox Live title Tentacles may have sparked some debate (despite being written by an all-around terrific guy), many gamers don’t have strong feelings one way or the other because they haven’t played it yet. A certain subset of those gamers will likely leave their dangerous neutrality behind when Tentacles becomes the Xbox Live Deal of the Week this Wednesday. It will cost $2.99, down from $4.99.

Tentacles is the tale of Lemmy, a small tentacled creature who ends up inside the body of his mad scientist creator. Unique touch controls allow Lemmy to move one tentacle at a time, navigating dangerous levels and eating eyeballs for health. With 40 levels, beautiful 3D graphics and 2D story sequences, and an atmospheric soundtrack, Tentacles could be a game you’ll fall in love with. Just keep in mind that its difficulty is so high in later levels that it can be quite frustrating. Depending on your patience and constitution, your experience may be different.

Starting Wednesday, Tentacles will be on sale for one week only. You’ll find it here on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Audible.com app coming in March for Windows Phone?

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Windows Phone and Audible.com have not had the best track record together.  Over a year ago, we thought an Audible.com app may be close to hitting the Marketplace, only to find out it was for WinMo 6.X.  Then we found out this summer that one was en route, but no ETA was given.  Well, hopefully, that is all water under the bridge, as one of our readers reports that the long lost ETA may be March 2012. 

An email received by said reader (who chooses to remain anonymous) says:

Dear ,

An Audible app has been in the work for quite sometime. It was not until recently that we were given a tentative release date. If everything goes as scheduled, the app should be making its debut on Windows phones near the end of March 2012.

Sincerely,

Audible Customer Support

While we always take such matters with a grain of salt, we remain hopeful that this is indeed true.  Audible remains one of the few marquee apps to remain absent for Windows Phone.

(Thanks for the tip, Unamed Reader!)

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3 years ago

Samsung updates 'Extra Settings' to v1.6 for Focus S and Flash

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Though we were a bit critical of the Samsung Focus S's screen, specifically its auto-brightness setting, we'll admit that since version 1.5 of 'Extra Settings' (see our closer look), things have improved dramatically.

Now the app has hit version 1.6 and of course, there is no changelog to report on. But we can assume that things like screen brightness, how white backgrounds are handled and perhaps even haptic feedback have all been improved and tweaked a tad.

We don't have a direct link here since it is hidden, so just watch your Marketplace app for the update.

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3 years ago

Surprisingly, Breeze makes for three Xbox Live games this week

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Xbox 360 version trailer

Last week we said that two Xbox Live games would hit the Marketplace this Wednesday the 14th. It turns out that wasn’t quite accurate… But don’t worry, it’s good news! Joining Battlewagon and Doodle God will be Breeze, for a total of three Xbox Live releases in one week!

What’s Breeze, you ask? We’ve got exclusive early details. The goal of Breeze is to navigate a flower through 60 maze-like outdoor levels. Each level has a goal that must be unlocked by collecting Sunshine orbs, plus dangerous obstacles like tree branches that can snag the fragile flower.

Instead of directly moving the flower around those hazards, you’ll control the wind that blows the flower – hence the name.  The game offers two control types: Touch and Tilt. Touch mode uses multi-touch controls; whatever points you touch acting as the source of the breeze. Tilt controls work as you’d expect, allowing players to control the breeze by moving their phones to and fro.

Breeze is a relaxing game, with lovely backdrops and a soothing soundtrack consisting of four songs (one for each in-game season). For those keeping score, that makes Breeze the first free, ad-supported mobile Xbox Live title with music. Getting back to the gameplay, the game also offers a Hardcore difficulty for players who like a challenge. Hardcore makes the flower larger, takes away the Air-Brake ability, and reduces the time limit of each level.

Origins

Breeze is the brainchild of Rob Hutchinson of Null City Software and will be published by Microsoft. Rob created the concept while university, and went on to publish the game as an Xbox Live Indie Game on Xbox 360 in August. While other Xbox Live Indie Games have graduated to Xbox Live games on Windows Phone, Breeze is the first to be distributed as a free, ad-supported game.

Almost here

The Windows Phone version of Breeze comes to English-speaking territories this Wednesday, December 14. It will require the Mango update. The Xbox 360 version is available right now for 240 Microsoft Points ($3). You can purchase it here.

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