3 years ago
Microsoft exec “[People] don't know about Windows Phone and that's a problem we intend to fix”
As the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (MPC) in Toronto continues, Windows Phone 8 made a brief appearance today for the 16,000 people who showed up for the annual conference. In fact, anecdotal evidence from attendees suggests Windows Phone has a rather large presence at the conference.
As far as we know, no new features were presented but instead Microsoft focused on the new Start screen, being “business ready” and integration with Microsoft’s services, including Xbox 360 and Windows 8.
One of the most important signals that Microsoft is shifting strategy is the recognition that “Windows Phone” just doesn’t have the same brand recognition as Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android (or perhaps its reputation preceded it). We saw this demonstrated with “Lumia” trending higher than “Windows Phone” in Google searches. Now, Microsoft seems to have recognized this problem and is looking to take it on with Windows Phone 8.
Gruhler at WPC'12 in Toronto talking about Windows Phone 8
Speaking at the event, Microsoft’s new corporate vice-president of Windows Phone marketing, Thom Gruhler, who took the position just a few months ago, is quoted as saying:
“Smartphone users today don't know about Windows Phone and that's a problem we intend to fix”
Indeed that is something that needs to be addressed as Android and iPhone are today synonymous with smartphone users (even Blackberry still has clout). We’ve heard earlier in a private meeting with Microsoft pre-Summit that Microsoft will be pushing Windows Phone 8 very hard come the fall and that they are re-focusing on the reboot of the OS with a lot of attention.
The recent launch of the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T did do a lot for familiarizing consumers with Windows Phone—it seems to carry more weight these days—and that brand familiarity may be the ground work for Windows Phone 8 (and Nokia) to be a success. The important takeaway for us is that Gruhler is looking to shift how Microsoft markets Windows Phone and he could represent an important change within the company.
We’ll just have to wait and see though if Gruhuler, who came up with Verizon’s “Can you hear me now?” campaign can pull it off.
3 years ago
Microsoft : Re-branded - Student breathes new life into old designs
Andrew Kim, currently attending the Art Centre College of Design has completed what I can only describe as one of the most compelling Microsoft rebranding exercises I have ever seen. Andrew explains clearly, not only what he thinks is wrong with the current Microsoft picture but goes on to design it. And what a job he does.
Whilst Microsoft is on the tipping point of bringing together its whole eco system there remains a problem, image. Those that remember the launch of Windows 7 should know to what I’m referring. Microsoft has an often-confusing marketing message, that video, um, where they had the party to celebrate the Windows 7 launch says all. I am certainly not looking for a repeat of that! Now that Microsoft has some amazing products and the Metro UI to shout about, it is time they had a good think about a serious ‘reimagining’ of their company-wide image.
Whilst the name Windows is strong with consumers, the branding simply does not match. Andrew shows how they might be able to re-assert themselves as ‘bringers of tomorrow, a company that seeks to push our world forward though progress through technology. I see branding & marketing message as Microsoft’s next major hurdle. I feel that whilst the new Windows Logo is nice, it is not without problems, I personally also find it a little uncomfortable visually.
Andrew has deconstructed the very notion of a Windows logo by looking at how real windows look on something like a tower block in a big city, no they don’t look like windows. His ultra-minimal, logo the “slate” is born and is fully compliant with the story of Metro. Bravo!
Interesting just how good this new logo looks, both as a window showing a glimpse of a space age future, and for how smart it looks on both Windows Phone and brand new Surface Tablet/Slate. The level of thoughtfulness and attention to detail in his exploration is inspiring. The Office rebrand is actually just two ‘slate’ logos together. I like this too, symbolic of the software and hardware working together to form a whole functional unit. Whatever, I love it.
Andrew doesn’t forget Microsoft’s most accomplished design, Windows Phone, it already has the design chops to compete on its own, Andrew simply embellishes it with some snazzy alternative colour schemes and how that could look with his ‘Slate’ logo. I think the overall effect is stunning.
I would like to hear what you think of this Microsoft rebrand. Is it just crazy or is this guy onto something?
Source: Andrew Kim
3 years ago
Imagine Cup '12 winners announced including some Windows Phone problem solvers
Winner of the Imagine Cup '12 - quadSquad with enable talk
The annual Imagine Cup organized by Microsoft to support student creativity in solving real world problems has just wrapped in Sidney, Australia. As usual, some of the top winners were related to Windows Phone development so we’re going to take a moment to give them their props.
Early glove prototype
First place (Software Design) – quadSqaud (Ukraine) - In what is probably one of the most unique and coolest uses of a Windows Phone so far, quadSquad have created a company called enable talk (enabletalk.com) around their gesture interpretation technology.
In short, the problem for many people who use sign-language is the inability to readily communicate with those who don’t speak the same language (there are many sign-languages out in the world and they all have the full capacity of spoken language).
quadSquad solve this problem by having users wear special sensory gloves that detect the signing. That data is then sent to the Windows Phone where the software takes over, converting the sign to spoken word—literally. enable talk uses Microsoft’s text-to-speech feature to “say” the whole word once it’s signed, giving signers a way to verbally communicate with those unfamiliar with the language.
Creating software is one thing but the team also made the glove system by hand (pun!) which is no small feat. Then they had to record all the gestures in a computer that can be stored for later recognition. The whole thing fits well within Microsoft’s Kinect strategy and of course helps address a real-world problem too. Awesome.
The Drexel Dragons won for Game Design (phone) with Math Dash
First place (Game Design—phone) – Drexel Dragons (US) - Ah, math. We hated it in school and we still kind of dislike it as adults but who can deny that it’s not critical? Drexel Dragons took on the challenge of making a game that can help students learn math. What better way to do that than make a game called Math Dash?
Math Dash is a Windows Phone game that allows users to complete problems by dragging the answers (in the form of sparkly ‘atoms’) into the equation field. With the correct answer, users get points for the game and yes, another new math problem. A simple progress bar keeps track of you right versus wrong answers, allowing you to jump to the next level or signaling that you lost. In addition, you can drag number atoms on to other orbs to create new numbers, should you not have the right one to choose. Finally there are also power-ups and hazards to keep it interesting and feeling like a game.
The concept behind Imagine Cup is great—it gives students a chance to shine and actually makes the world slightly better; kudos to Microsoft and all the student developers who come together every year for the competition. Each first-place winning team takes home $8, 000 for their effort.
Check the videos of both winners after the break...
3 years ago
Official London Olympics App in the works for Windows Phone
The 2012 Summer Olympics are just over two weeks away. The London games are set to begin on July 17, 2012 and the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) is eagerly working on an official Windows Phone app for the games. LOCOG's Chief Information Officer Gerry Pennell stated the release is imminent and should be available in days.
While features of the Windows Phone app weren't mentioned, the Windows Phone version should be similar to the iOS and Android Olympics app that sends game results and schedules to the app. A version of the app is also in the works for Blackberry devices.
There are currently a handful of 2012 Olympic apps already on the Marketplace and it will be nice to see an official offering join the ranks. Speaking of what's already available, look for a roundup of these Olympic apps this Friday.
We'll keep you posted when the official apps hits the Marketplace.
Source: V3; Thanks, Vijay, for the tip!
3 years ago
Former I'm a WP7! app Outsider is now available in the Marketplace
The "new" Outsider app for Windows Phone
Delays with publishing in the Marketplace should not be a surprise anymore to those familiar with Windows Phone and such was the case with Liquid Daffodil’s Outsider app which is finally live in the Marketplace.
If you recall, Outsider is the re-brand of the Windows Phone community app I’m a WP7! along with its companion app, Outsider Extras. The app was submitted 31 days ago but due to some debate and controversy over the logo, it was delayed a bit.
Outsider contains the same features as I’m a WP7! that includes tips, videos, ringtones, wallpaper, hangouts, gamer hubs, meetups, checkins, messaging and more. It’s a whole sub-community of users and is the largest of its kind for Windows Phone.
The controversy dealt with using the Windows Phone/Microsoft Flag image in the tile for the app which you can see above. A slight modification has allowed the app to sail through the approval process making it available to end-users. Microsoft has been enforcing their copyrighted “Flag” for a while now (the Windows Phone Central app was notoriously rejected the first time for using the same logo). Anyway, it’s good to see it live.
The other interesting aspect is that Liquid Daffodil has thrown down a challenge for me, Ben Rudolph (Microsoft) and Ben Lower (Microsoft) to unlock some the hidden Easter Eggs in the game.
Find and complete the Easter Egg that unlocks their Lair.
Discover and unlock at least six (6) of the first seven (7) of the remaining 12 Easter Eggs.
We have 72-hours to complete it and if all three of us do so, Liquid Daffodil will make all their apps free again for 72-hours (Outsider Extras, glƏƏk, etc.). Guess I have some work to do.
Pick up Outsider for Windows Phone for free in the Marketplace. It’s worth your time.
3 years ago
Experimental homebrew battery saver app Eco seeks to save power
Faster, Eco! Kill, Kill!
Jaxbot over at Windows Phone Hacker as an interesting experiment going on for those with rooted phones (mostly first gen Windows Phones). The app is called ‘Eco’ and is an aggressive battery saver app.
In short, it turns of all unneeded processes, sensors and clears out the memory for a kind of fresh start and then some. Jaxbot is not even clear if it will actually save battery life (he’s awaiting a battery replacement, hence his need for this) but he’s looking for feedback from users to see if he should go further with it.
Windows Phone users do have a ‘Battery Saver’ option already under Settings which disables all Push services until they recharge again but ‘Eco’ is much more than that, at least in theory.
We’re quite okay with our battery life but we know there are some of you who are either extreme users or have OCD and need to save every drop. For those peeps, you may want to give this a go.
Head to Windows Phone Hacker for more info and the XAP file. Remember, you need a rooted phone which is more than just developer unlocked. Check the demo video after the break.
For more info on battery saving tricks, see the homebrew Live Tile battery meter, custom battery icons and how ads in free apps can be huting your power consumption.
3 years ago
Gun Bros locking and loading to become this week's Xbox Live release on Windows Phone
Who’s the best at finding out Xbox Live releases ahead of time? Why, Windows Phone Central, of course! We’ve got the exclusive first word of tomorrow’s new Live title... Gun Bros, which we first announced back in April, launches this Wednesday.
Gun Bros is a top-down twin-stick shooter, not unlike Zombies on the Phone. But instead of a horror theme, this one’s pure sci-fi, with much more content to boot. Players choose from one of two titular bruddas, outfit them with a bevy of high-tech weapons and armor, and then descend onto several contested planets and start filling their alien invaders full of lasers. Don’t worry; I hear the aliens always drink the last of the milk and then leave the jug in the refrigerator instead of throwing it away. Such atrocities will not go unpunished!
Our hands on with Gun Bros back at E3 in June
To see Gun Bros in action and learn more about its optional PDLC purchases, check out our E3 2012 impressions with video. We do it all for you, loyal readers!
Gun Bros from Glu Mobile will debut on Wednesday, July 11 for the low price of free.
3 years ago
gMaps Pro updated for Windows Phone, StreetView improved
It was only a couple of weeks ago that we brought you a video overview of gMaps Pro for Windows Phone. The popular app has now received an update bringing a few welcomed feature improvements.
Improved and slick StreetView
Your places (with favorites, recent and pinned items)
Latitude as layer on your map
New localizations: Portuguese, Japanese
Offline Chinese offset detection
The big difference for me is the StreetView update. It was a bit jerky to say the least. The update and made is smooth and sweet, just like on the web. Nice job gMaps.
You can download the free (ad supported) version of gMaps here or use the QR code below for the Pro version. I can't stand adverts on my apps!
3 years ago
Windows Phone Game Review - Pendulous
3 years ago
Why Windows Phone 8 is not a phone version of Windows 8 (RT)
Over at Pocket Lint there is an interesting interview with Greg Sullivan, the Senior Product manager for Windows Phone detailing why Microsoft has decided to continue down the route of an entirely separate operating system for phones rather than using Windows RT.
Sullivan states that he believes that the phone is "unique enough to devote a specific effort... and differentiating that", going on to make comparisons to the most successful tablet on the market at this time:
"When I use an iPad I think it’s a really pleasurable experience, it’s a great consumption device, but I constantly run into guardrails. I want to connect a USB mass storage, oh I can't. I want to print to a printer other than the one Lexmark or whatever, I can't. I keep wanting to do things I can't do. I think it's primarily because of the fundamental strategy where they [Apple] took a phone OS and stretched it up to a tablet."
"We are taking a PC OS and shrinking it down. We could have done the same thing, but it doesn't make sense. When we deliver Surface or any Windows 8 device, the Pro model will run every Windows app ever written. That think will run Visicalc 1.0 from 1981. I saw a demo. It's amazing. It's part of the promise."
"They draw the line between the phone/tablet and the PC, and we are drawing the line between the PC/tablet and the phone."
Let's back up a little bit, and remember the differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT. Windows 8 is your full-fat, all inclusive, no compromise operating system which runs on the traditional x86 infrastructure. This means it can be installed on your existing or new systems built on an Intel or AMD processor (or something more exotic using the same instruction set)...
3 years ago
2012, Microsoft’s Epic Year?
Steve Ballmer took to the stage yesterday at Microsoft’s annual powwow, the Worldwide Partners Conference. Steve was as bullish as ever calling 2012 an “EPIC!” year for Microsoft. Steve is always excited but this time Microsoft does have it ‘going on’. Why is Steve so pumped, and what makes 2012 a year of “epic”?
3 years ago
Could this be Wordament's youngest champ?
Be ready to be humbled.
Meet Joseph. He may very well be the youngest Wordament champ. He's five and a half years old and is already tearing up the Windows Phone Xbox Live game.
Joseph's game stats are as follows:
Best Word: Lumberjacks for 120 points
Total Score: 1,075,940
Total Words: 83,460
Best Game Score: 1,229
Best Word Count: 68
Full Games Completed: 3,032
Top Ten wins: 4
Best Ranking: 6
He's also a bit of a ham for the camera scoring near or above 500 points and ranking in the 90+ percentile while on camera. But we all can relate to his request for "just one more game". Most say it daily as our wives, husbands, parents, children, pets or bosses try to get our attention. I just wish I could sit as comfortably in my lazy boy.
For those who haven't already downloaded Wordament yet, you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. It is a free Xbox Live title and very addictive. For those already hooked on Wordament, how does your Wordament stats compare to Joseph's?
Source: Wordament Blog
3 years ago
AT&T confirms Tango for Lumia 900; Words with Friends, Draw Something 60 day exclusive to Nokia
In addition to announcing the availability of the new Pink Lumia 900, AT&T today have also confirmed that the Tango update (either build 8773 or the slightly newer 8779) will also be coming to the Lumia 900. From the AT&T blog:
“Nokia is also bringing a lot of new enhancements to the Lumia 900. Nokia Lumia users will begin to see software updates for Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh in the coming weeks, which will add several new capabilities to their devices including flip-to-silence.”
We detail some of those new capabilities here in a previous post--in short, enhancements to MMS including multiple messages, voice notes and some minor fixes are included. In addition, AT&T reiterated that Nokia will be bringing a usage tracking counter and a new contact sharing feature in the near future as well, continuing Nokia’s trend to “fill the gaps” in Windows Phone for its customers.
Finally, it has been confirmed that those super popular Zynga games—Draw Something and Words with Friends—will be coming this fall exclusively to Nokia Lumia phones for the first 60 days. While these exclusivity agreements often annoy non-Lumia owners, the 60 day wait should not be too bad of a wait and seems fair to us (assuming Nokia was vital to the deal and assisted Zynga financially).
Overall, not bad news at all and it at least the Lumia 900 is continuing to get direct support from Nokia.
There’s no word if other AT&T Windows Phones will be getting Tango as well but seeing as the Focus S, Focus Flash and unlocked Dell Venue Pro already are we’re confident that the HTC Titan II and Titan I will as well. If you haven't received an update for your Samsung device, you can try our guide here to get it now.
Source: AT&T; Thanks, Alexander, for the tip
3 years ago
Microsoft, VideoSurf and the Windows Phone 8 connection to Bing
Is VideoSurf's technology used in Windows Phone 8?
With today’s leak of supposed Windows Phone 7.8 features (that list is reportedly not complete either) perhaps the most interesting aspect was the new Windows Phone 8 feature with TV support via Bing Audio.
We speculated that this was an IntoNow-like service whereby you can ID television shows by letting your phone sample audio from whatever you are watching. This is analogous to the Bing Audio music ID feature introduced in Windows Phone 7.5 Mango. The question is how would Microsoft do this? Did they just invent their own video-audio ID service?
The answer may be found with an acquisition by Microsoft late last year of a company called VideoSurf (www.videosurf.com; press release).
3 years ago
GateGuru lands at the Windows Phone Marketplace
GateGuru is a travel app that has recently landed at the Windows Phone Marketplace. GateGuru has been a successful travel app on the iOS and Android platforms, success the developers are hoping will carry over to the Windows Phone platform.
GateGuru covers over 180 airports across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia providing maps detailing airport amenities, gate locations, check points and tips on how to get around or what to look for. Additional features include:
View TripIt or KAYAK flight details
Add or view airport security wait times
Quickly sort amenities by rating or name to find the best option for you
Bookmark function for airports and amenities
High Flyers leaderboard
Social media sharing (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Gowalla) to keep your network posted on your airport travels
Terminals are listed by your location or you can search the GateGuru terminal database. A GateGuru membership is available (free) through the app that will let you add your own tips, reviews and photos. If you decide not to become a GateGuru member, you'll still be able to access all the terminal information.
All in all, GateGuru is a nice Windows Phone resource for those who frequently or infrequently fly. GateGuru is a free app and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.
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