platform

You can add Zombie Village as one of the many gaming titles making the move to Windows Phone. The game has had some success over on iOS and Android platforms and in just tinkering with the game for a short time, it comes across as a nice time waster of a game.

Zombie Village throws you into a village over run with...well...zombies. Your task, as is the case with most zombie games, is to kill as many zombies as possible before they eat your brains.  If you're into the zombie genre of games or just looking for a new game for your Windows Phone, Zombie Village is worth a try.

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Heading into the last quarter in 2013, it is becoming increasingly clear that Windows Phone is now solidifying itself as the third alternative for smartphones (see the latest IDC report). While sales are still miles behind iOS and Android, Windows Phone as a platform is finally being treated more equally by retailers and consumers.

Part of that apparent victory, in typical Microsoft fashion, is due to missteps by Redmond’s competitors. Years ago, BlackBerry (then called RIM) basically owned the enterprise market. Fast forward to 2013 and with BlackBerry 10 on the market with a handful of new devices, it’s becoming clear that it’s just not enough to regain that momentum.

The site IT Wire has performed some store-checks for the new BlackBerry Q10 and Z10—two devices we actually own and occasionally use ourselves. The site tried to get a statement from Australia’s telco’s Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone but received no comment about those BlackBerry sales. Not hindered, IT Wire then spoke with Harvey Norman, Optus and Telstra franchises for their opinions on BlackBerry’s prospects.

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With the release of BlackBerry 10 this week, Microsoft has even more fresh blood for competition in the smartphone business. While one could argue that it is still Android or iOS that Microsoft is up against, the picture painted for spring 2013 is one of stiff competition and a fight for the third spot.

Windows Phone 8 has made great strides in making Redmond’s mobile OS much better than its predecessor, most importantly with the new NT kernel which will allow Microsoft to grow the OS. Having said that, there is a lot of room for improvement and we’re not just talking about touch-up features either but core aspects that need to be addressed.

Below is a list of 8 things we think Microsoft needs to fix in order for Windows Phone to really take off. We’re confident Microsoft already knows about these and in fact may have solutions in the pipeline. At least that's the hope.

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Easy to play, hard to master is definitely one way to describe the Windows Phone game Ninja Joe. It is a nicely animated, slightly addictive, challenging platform game for your Windows Phone.

You play the role of Joe, a ninja in search of mystical gems that will save his master's life. Joe must navigate over harsh terrain and battle various Velociraptor (as in the dinosaur) bosses along the way.

Ninja Joe has twenty five levels of play (first level is a tutorial) that are spread out across three different worlds. Animations are nice, game play fast paced and challenging, and all in all Ninja Joe is a nice addition to the Windows Phone gaming library.

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Windows Phone has remained on a steady climb, according to data published by Kantar WorldPanel, and sits comfortably at 5% of the EU smartphone sales (for the last 12 weeks). We've previously covered Kantar data where Windows Phone was shown to be climbing in the US earlier this year. With Windows Phone 8 just around the corner, and the announcements of Windows Phone 7.8, we assumed sales would have stumped the past few months.

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We're not sure when this was published, since it's well hidden on the website, but it would appear as though the Carphone Warehouse has a soft spot for Windows Phone. They have an entire page dedicated to attacking myths that are continuously posted by those who are fans of competitor platforms, or who simply don't like Microsoft products.

From terrible battery life, to the lack of apps, the most common groans and moans are all covered in this myth buster. The following excerpt from the article sums up the user friendliness perfectly:

"Windows® Phone has a Start screen with large Live Tiles (icons) that are easy to read and not fiddly to use. It's also simple to customise and pin the apps and live updates you want right on the Start screen. Then you swipe to the right to access the full list of apps. Options are accessible in any app by pressing the three dots in the bottom right of the screen. And there's a home button, a back button and a search button on the front of each phone. Simple."

Be sure to check out the full article at the Carphone Warehouse. All-in-all we're impressed with this positive exposure for the platform (and a strong sign of support). Also, for it to be handled by a popular UK retailer is even better. There's more that can be done, however.

Take the above screen capture. This is from the navigation drop-down on the Carphone Warehouse UK website. As you will have noticed - there's no Windows Phone accompanying Android and the iPhone menu entries. Then again, the retailer has continued to stock and promote Windows Phone handsets (including the upcoming Lumia 900) on the website with some good deals. Either way, hats off to the Carphone Warehouse.

Source: Carphone Warehouse, thanks Ian for the heads up!

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NetMarketShare has published marketshare data for the month for February and we've got some positive news for those who have missed the above image somehow. According to the data provided, Windows Phone is still on the rise - and it's a fairly steady climb from 0.29% up to 0.41%. 

While this is still fairly small when compared to the continued growth of both Android and iOS, it's good news that Nokia is having an impact on brand awareness. With the announcement (and public preview release) of Windows 8, which sports Metro UI elements, we can only expect the situation to improve for Microsoft's mobile platform.

Source: NetMarketShare, via: StreetInsider, thanks Mustafa for the tip!

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For this week's Windows Phone developer interview, we're joined by Alan Mendelevich from AdDuplex. While his time isn't focused on app development per se, Mendelevich does an incredible amount of work to help developers on the platform increase their revenue potential and promoting their apps. At the recent WPUG meet up, we viewed an AdDuplex presentation that outlined details surrounding effective use of social media among other promotion means to increase exposure.

Check out the full interview after the break.

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We've previously covered the odd slip-up from retailers when they refer the platform as Windows Mobile or state that one of the Windows Phone handsets run a version of Android, but we believe it's wise to name and shame said retailers should an error pop up. It doesn't take much effort (or concentration) to slap a Windows logo on a HTC Radar product image, so is it pure negligence or lack of knowledge when it comes to what OS smartphones actually run (we're praying it's not the latter)?

The above image comes from Irish mobile phone retailer Meteor. Head on over to the website and check out the Android logo on the HTC Radar. You'll find the handset in the "Over €200" section. It's irritating when Windows Phones receive such treatment as anyone looking for an alternate to Android could potentially overlook devices due to being incorrectly labeled.

Source: Meteor, thanks senbi for the tip!

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Unity Technologies, maker of the ubiquitous gaming engine of the same name, will be "skipping" Windows Phone 7, according to their CEO, David Helgason.  He explained that the decision was made based on the fact that WP7 is closed environment:

"[WP7] is a relatively closed system so you can't run native content, which means we can't really support it.  We could, in theory, do what we've done with Flash, which is to rewrite the engine so it works inside a non-native environment. So it could be done, in theory, but it's very much in theory because that would require a huge amount of work and uncertain results."

The good news is that Unity is taking a close look at Windows Phone 8, hoping that it will be more open and better suited for their content.  In the meantime, Microsoft will be missing out, while its competitors, iOS and Android benefit from the hundreds of apps created with Unity's engine.

This is not the first time that WP7 has been bypassed by a major gaming engine.  Epic Games put forth an effort to port their Unreal Engine over to Windows Phone, but Microsoft refused to give them native access, despite a very amicable relationship between the two companies.  While it is understandable that MS wants to avoid opening up their OS completely, it could be a bit misguided to cut off these opportunities, especially considering that they are heavily pushing Windows Phone as a mobile gaming platform. 

Source: Develop; Via: Joystiq

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If you're excited about the progress the team at Microsoft has made with Windows Phone for the past year since the release back in October last year, then you're strongly urged to read Brandon Watson's latest blog post. In this article the face of Microsoft for developers goes into great detail about what lessons have been learned. Of course, not all lessons are visible to the consumer, the two most obvious being update delivery and marketing, which we've witnessed improvements for in the past few months.

Watson continues to dive into how developers were considered every step of the way, with the software giant not needing anymore brand awareness so the focus could remain on keeping the spotlight clear for app submitters. Some interesting points the article covers:

  • Inspiring developers
  • Make developers rich and famous
  • Search and discover-ability
  • Simplicity and removing friction

Watson, as well as the other faces to the Windows Phone team, continue to go out their way to ensure that the experience for not only the consumer, but for developers, is kept at the highest standard. Unlike Google and Apple, we have public faces, not a brand, to have contact with. It's for this reason why developer interest in the platform is increasing, and why Windows Phone will take the market by storm in the coming years.

I think you'll join us in taking our hats off to Brandon and the team and saying "thank you".  Check out the full post at his blog below.

Source: Brandon Watson

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The iPhone is Not a Smartphone

Just finished up with the live Apple Keynote blogstravaganza, mostly over at Engadget, who caught the absolutely stupendous image over at the right. And I'm finding myself suddenly less worried about the iPhone decimating Windows Mobile than I was before. A lot less worried.

Here's the relevant quote from Engaget's coverage, straight from the mouth of his Steveness:

And so you can write amazing Web 2.0 and AJAX apps that look and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone, and these apps can integrate perfectly with iPhone services. They can make a call, check email, look up a location on Gmaps... don't worry about distribution, just put 'em on an internet server. They're easy to update, just update it on your server. They're secure, and they run securely sandboxed on the iPhone. And guess what, there's no SDK you need! You've got everything you need if you can write modern web apps..." Weeeeeaaaak

Weeeeeaaak indeed. Like I said just a few days ago, "a smartphone is a platform, and a platform needs 3rd party apps." Jobs' reply: "There's no SDK you need!" In other words: No Apps For You! Use webpage and online apps instead.

Orly? How about security - sure, a web developer can secure a webapp, but it's easier to just depend on a phone's built-in security on an app that's housed on the phone. Or how about when you don't actually have reliable and useful data signal? Too bad, so sad. Or what about the fact that I like to use my phone a little differently than you use yours - so I can install a custom ToDo app, or a neat little shortcut hack, or whatever. Sorry - with the iPhone you can use any interface you want as long as it's the default.

No support for a real developer community means that Apple is releasing an appliance, not a platform. Without a platform, the iPhone is not a smartphone, Q.E.D. Just so we're perfectly clear here: It's looking like Blackberry has better third party support than the iPhone will.

And that photo... at first glance it is (among other things) yet another joke on Steve Ballmer; but if Apple really intends to lock out all genuine "on the phone" 3rd party development... Well then we'll probably see Ballmer smile like that on his own.

Update: phone different's OMGNOAPPZ series weighs in with a slightly more optimistic (though still troubled) take.

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