4 years ago
BBC News Mobile Mango beta [Video]
We recently interviewed the developer behind the BBC News Mobile app, Lawrence Gripper, and he went into detail about how he came about crafting the app along with what he thought of the development process on the Windows Phone platform. He's been a busy bee with getting the app up to scratch with the upcoming Mango update.
In the video above, you can see Lawrence giving us a run through of some new features that have been added into the app. These include:
- Double Sided Live Tiles
- Pin individual feeds to home screen
- Background service meaning improved live tile and breaking news notifications
- Background caching if wifi is available to speed up the app
You can check up on the progress of BBC News Mobile and more on Lawrence's blog.
4 years ago
Microsoft looking to sell 100 million devices a year
With Nokia on board, Microsoft are making some pretty big bets, and so they should if they're to remain to be seen as serious and in it for the long run. Microsoft’s COO Kevin Turner announced at WPC'11 that the company hopes to sell up to 100 million Windows Phone devices a year. Targeting and catering for a larger user base is the first baby step in achieving this goal.
What's also interesting is how Microsoft showed Apple's current ecosystem and how they plan to build a completely connected Windows/Xbox map to combat the fruit. Both companies are known for bashing one another at any given chance but the slides below are actually spot on. Being both a Windows and OS X user myself, I can whole-heartedly agree that there's a gap between my MacBook and iOS devices (iPad 2 and Apple TV).
It's one of the reasons why I prefer PC and WP7 over OS X and iOS. With the iPhone its a different OS altogether, a different store and a different UI. With the proposed plan by Microsoft, Metro UI will unite all their products and I can't think of a word to describe this development other than ingenious. The future of Microsoft is set to be 3 screens.
4 years ago
Yammer coming to Windows Phone
Yammer, the Facebook for enterprises, has announced that they're looking to launch an official app for Windows Phone 7. Built from the ground up, this soon-to-be freely available app will bring social interaction to the enterprise level for employees who use WP7. It is also stated that the app will be Mango compatible.
Some highlighted features:
- Threaded Conversations - Post, reply and like messages. Easily follow conversations with replies displayed underneath the original message.
- Multi-Feed Access - Quickly navigate between My Feed, Group Feeds and Company Feed to find relevant conversations.
- Multi-Network Access - Switch between various internal and external networks.
- Member Directory and Profiles - Find updates, links and files posted by a specific colleague in addition to contact information.
- Private Messages - Communicate privately with one or more colleagues.
- Live Tile Integration - Receive real-time notifications from Yammer about new conversations and messages on your Windows Phone Start screen, all without opening the application.
Paul Bryan, senior director of product management in Microsoft's Windows Phone Division, mentions Yammer as a cutting-edge business app:
"Windows Phone offers software developers a best in class operating system and developer tools, and Yammer is a great example of the new wave of business apps partners are creating with these new capabilities. We're excited to see new cutting-edge business apps, like Yammer, join our growing app ecosystem and pleased to offer a way to help grow their business with Windows Phone Marketplace."
David Sacks, founder and CEO, Yammer had this to say about WP7:
"Millions of Windows Phone users will be able to access Yammer to connect with their colleagues and collaborate on the go. Many of our large enterprise customers rely on Microsoft technology to run their businesses. As we rapidly advance Yammer's enterprise social networking capabilities, we will continue to partner closely with Microsoft to integrate core Yammer functionality into its offerings."
As well as the WP7 news, Yammer has also announced a new version of its integration with Microsoft SharePoint. Yammer SharePoint 3.0 Web Part provides a real-time social layer to the SharePoint platform, making it more social, mobile and engaging for enterprise employees.
Source: Marketwire, via: WPSauce
4 years ago
'3D Paperball' is pretty impressive
Normally we're not to big a fan of these paper ball games even though we know they're pretty huge in the Marketplace. Having said that, '3D Paperball' by A Trillion Games (see 'Race and Battle') is something worth trying. For one, it's free, so no risk there. Two, the "3D" in it is pretty awesome, especially with the physics and control. Just check out the video above--that's the actual game and it plays like that.
"The goal is still flicking a paperball into the bin, but this time the evil fan is gone, and you can use bounces against objects to redirect the ball into the goal, or shake the phone to slam the ball into the basket, gaining bonus shots and producing amusing visual effects.
The game features credible 3d physics, a very realistic 3d environment, multiple shooting styles, endless gameplay and the ability to compete instantly in a global leaderboard."
Granted, we're not too good at it, but that's where practice comes in and we suppose it'll keep us busy for awhile. You can pick it up here in the Marketplace.
4 years ago
Long Zheng releases Speedo Plus speedometer app
For those who don't keep track of these things, Long Zheng curates the popular iStartedSomething blog, works on the popular MetroTwit desktop app and makes up 1/3 of the ChevronWP7 team. Having been unable to find a speedometer app that he was pleased with in the Marketplace, he took it upon himself to design and code up to meet his standards. That's how Speedo Plus was born and features the following:
- Supports both metric (km/h) and imperial (mph) measurements.
- Windscreen mode optimized for glass projection
- Charts speed over time
- Calculates moving average and maximum speed during trip
- Map underlay feature
- Tap and hold screen for additional options
The app is pretty slick and free with no ads or you can purchase it for $0.99 (think of it as donation-ware). Definitely worth a spin. Grab it here in the Marketplace.
4 years ago
Bringing Kinect and gesture control to Windows Phone
Going back to the Windows Mobile 7 rumor days in 2009, we can find lots of talk about gesture and non-touch control of the OS. Of course that was Windows Mobile 'Photon' which was scrapped and replaced with Windows Phone 7.
Flash forward to today and we still don't have much in the way of "non-touch control", though we do have accelerometers, compass, aGPS and other sensors (not to mention augmented reality). But Microsoft does not appear to be moving away from gesture control, which should be obvious to anyone familiar with their Kinect sensor for the Xbox (and eventually PC). Having received a Kinect recently as a gift, we can say that the technology in the Kinect is as "alien" as anything we've seen. However, it's still a foot long device which is much bigger than even an HTC HD7.
In 2010, Microsoft bought a company called Canesta who specialize in gesture control technology, specifically chip making. The idea is that eventually this company will be able to shrink down the Kinect chip to a centimeter., From EE Times:
"Canesta’s engine is said to outperform the PrimeSensor which Microsoft is currently licensing from PrimeSense Ltd. (Tel-Aviv, Israel) for its Kinect. When Microsoft commercializes the Canesta-invented chip-level work-alike of the PrimeSensor, it will be able to downsize the foot-long Kinect to about a square centimeter, enabling tiny robots and other mobile devices, such as the Windows Phone, to perform sophisticated gesture recognition for natural user interfaces, autonomous navigation and many other tasks."
Hearing that of course brings us back full-circle to those 2009 rumors of non-touch control and a mobile phone. Perhaps Microsoft was ahead of itself at the time, but it's becoming obvious that in the near future, such technology shrunken down to our phone will be a reality. And considering how Microsoft is quite a bit ahead of Google and Apple in terms of gesture recognition/control, they're positioned for great things in the mobile world. In fact, according to the NY Times, Microsoft may have a lock on this technology:
Last year, Microsoft acquired 3DV systems, a company with similar gesture recognition technology. That deal coupled with the Canesta purchase may prevent competitors from acquiring these 3-D abilities and cut off potential intellectual property squabbles. Canesta has secured 44 patents in this area and has more pending.
Anyone else think Microsoft is a sleeping beast?
Source: EE Times; via GigaOm
4 years ago
Microsoft testing out new build of Mango with Twitter enabled?
It's no surprise that Windows Phone "Mango" is getting Twitter in the fall. The feature is currently disabled in the beta builds given out to developers though, so it's fun to track its development along the Microsfot pipeline. What we can figure is this: a few Microsoft devs have been using it on their phones since May in a limited capacity, but recently new users have been given later builds of Mango with the feature enabled (see above image). Even Joe Belfiore is now using it.
In the last few days a few more folks on Twitter have started tweeting with "via Windows Phone (via Windows Live)" as the tweet source. Clicking the link redirects you to Microsoft's Windows Phone site. This was similar to another build from April where it said "via Windows Phone(via Windows Live)INT". (The difference there is of course "INT" which probably stood for "internal", as in development purposes).
One of the tweets comes from Ken Dacey of Microsoft, who was also the one responsible for the earlier "INT" Twitter posts a few months ago. He's been using Twitter on his phone since May, but another from @MSWindowsPhone only appeared in the last day (they won't confirm if it's a newer build, however).
Either way, Microsoft is making progress as expected. Hopefully registered AppHub devs will get a new beta build too.
Source: Twitter 1, 2, 3; Thanks, @Fisi_zubi for helping us out on this
4 years ago
Captain America wallpaper pack for Windows Phone
We hear some super hero film called "Captain America" is opening soon and that this cap'n has some fans. What better way to demonstrate your patriotism (and comic book geekiness) than throwing him on your Windows Phone?
Techie writer Manan Kakkar has assembled some pretty sweet shots of the first avenger and made them 800x480 at a nice tight resolution. Result? They look pretty great, especially with those bold colors on a Super AMOLED screen.
Hop to Manan's blog to grab the pack which contains seven pics, including a NSFW (language) one that makes a...strong statement.
Bonus: he also has them for your OS desktop for a power punching patriotic combo.
4 years ago
Spotify coming to the U.S. tomorrow, sign up now. Windows Phone app soon?
To all the U.S. peeps out there who've been waiting on Spotify, the Swedish music streaming site, you'll be happy to know it's launching tomorrow. More importantly, if you sign up now you can get an invite as soon as it goes live (guess they're doing the Google model of things with invites, blarg).
Sure, we don't yet have an official Spotify app for Windows Phone, but there are third party apps in the Marketplace. More importantly, there is an official app coming, as demonstrated at MIX11 a few months back. The "Mango" version will of course allow your music to stream in the background, much like Zune player does currently.
Our big question though: Could we see a non-Mango version launch in the next few days? Seems like something Microsoft would do, what with that marquee app blitz they did a few weeks ago. Plus we've seen some non-Mango versions of apps like Best Buy and British Airways released, even though they were first demoed with Mango features. Hmm...
Head here for the signup!
4 years ago
Mango coming in September? Imagine Cup winners announced.
This could well be looking into something that's not there and we're all reading far too much into the above tweet. But, it does seem like the best time for the release of the update and upcoming devices (remember the handsets we covered that were shown at WPC'11?). With iOS5 coming up as well as the rumored iPhone 5, this is the perfect time for Microsoft to provide even the most avid Apple fans with a second choice.
So, this could well be nothing, or it could be a solid hint at a possible date for Mango. What do you think? Sound off in the comments with when you believe Microsoft will bring us Mango, and if you reckon September (or prior, since they mentioned 'by September') is a solid time frame for the release.
Also of interest is once again the reference to "Mango" as 7.5, seemingly confirming what we've suspected for some time now.
And last but not least, the winners for Imagine Cup were announced. We'll just focus on mobile:
- First Place: Geekologic (France) with 'Brainergy', physics puzzler that requires you to use various equipment to convert renewal energy sources to do work
- Second Place: Close World Mobile (France) for 'Hilomi' focusing on environmental sustainability
- Third Place: Team Dragon (United States) for their asthma game 'Azmo the Dragon'
Videos of the winners after the break
4 years ago
Live ID WP7 app integration [Developers]
An in-depth article has been published over at BuildMobile, which covers how Windows Live ID can be integrated into a Windows Phone application. The app will then be able to gain access to the user's contacts, profile detail, information from Messenger and SkyDrive, and everything else that's available via the Messenger Connect API.
What should be noted (as mentioned in the article) is that a Live ID is required, much like Facebook Connect and Twitter requiring accounts. You wont be able to transfer an app from one Live ID to another, so if you are creating an app with a Live ID account, you may wish to use an ID specifically made for the app, especially if you plan to sell the app, have multiple developers working, etc.
As well as following the steps and reading up on the detail, more information can be found over at the Windows Live Developer Portal and in the Messenger Connect documentation
4 years ago
Microsoft sued over Windows Phone "Really" ads, really
Where we normally expect patents and copyright litigation these days to involve hardware or technology issues, Microsoft finds itself being sued for infringing upon copyrighted content in their Windows Phone ads.
Cellrderm, a company that manufactures novelty cellular abuse aids, is claiming that Microsoft's Windows Phone "Really" ads features similar content that is copyrighted by Cellrderm and it's ad agency. The suit centers around the "Bathroom Really" and "Bedroom Really" ads. No response from Microsoft on the law suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
While there are similarities in the commercials, it's hard to say they are carbon copies. If you make the jump past the break you can see all four ads and decide for yourself. The ads might also shed some light on what exactly a cellular abuse aid is.
4 years ago
GroupMe now available for WP7
GroupMe, the popular group-texting service, has hit the Marketplace. The WP7 version, which was the second-most requested platform by users, was actually spear-headed by an intern HackNY's Summer Fellows Program.
Using a data connection and/or texting, GroupMe allows users to create different user groups. Any time a member of the group sends a message, the other members will be notified. In addition, GroupMe assigns each group a common phone number, so any single member can start conference calls on the fly. And while you can use this snazzy app to communicate with your friends through GroupMe, it is not necessary. Any phone that can text can create groups and get started. Best of all, the service, just like the app, is free.
The current iteration only supports the group messaging, chat and conference calling, but more features, such as location tracking and photo sharing are expected to follow in the near future. The startup has gained a fast following, and has even gotten the attention of celebs, like Paris Hilton, who recently tapped them as her go-to forum for viewers of her upcoming show on cable network Oxygen.
Get GroupMe here.
4 years ago
Watch out - Tentacles is crawling to Xbox Live on July 20
Now that Windows Phone-exclusive Beards and Beaks is available on the Marketplace, would you expect Microsoft to follow up next week with something less exciting? An iPhone puzzle game port, maybe? I mean, we can all agree that there simply aren’t enough puzzle games on Windows Phone... Well too bad, suckas! Next week marks two big Xbox Live releases in a row as Tentacles from Press Play comes to the Marketplace.
Tentacles is a top-down platformer starring Lemmy, a microscopic tentacled creature. Lemmy journeys through the body of the scientist who created him, eating eyeballs (?) and battling dangerous creatures along the way. Tapping the screen moves the little hero one tentacle at a time, and he also has a clawed tentacle for attacks. Press Play’s latest game has impressive 3D graphics and a subversive sense of humor – no surprise as they are the team who brought us the highly creative Max and the Magic Marker, which happens to be the Deal of the Week right now.
Tentacles crawls to the Marketplace on Wednesday, July 20 for the price of $4.99. That’s like $1.25 per tentacle! Read WPCentral’s interview with developer Press Play for more screens and details.
4 years ago
Weight Watchers app redesigned and "must-have"
Maintaining one's diet, er...lifestyle change, can be pretty tricky when you're on the go. However, the newly-designed Weight Watchers official app, PointsPlus Calculator, makes it easier. Whether you're out to dinner or picking up groceries for the week, all you need to do is enter the nutritional information into the calculator to find out how many points-per-serving an item will be. The app will also let you log activity to see how many points you have burned by exercising. The interface is simple and sleek. PointsPlus is free to download, but is only available for Weight Watchers Online and eTools subscribers. Due to the nature of the subscriptions, users are required to log into the app on a monthly basis.
Weight Watchers is just one of a plethora of companies to release "official" apps for for WP7 in recent weeks. Microsoft likes this one so much that they listed it as one of their "must-have" apps in their Best of Marketplace. Click on the Via link below to see the others that made the list.
Download the PointsPlus Calculator here (opens Zune).
Source: Weight Watchers; Via: Microsoft
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