Software

Microsoft has been known for distributing free software to business startups and college students through their BizSpark and DreamSpark campaigns. The programs offer a variety of software including the latest version of Windows, a fresh copy of Office 2013, and even access to development tools such as Visual Studio. Now, Microsoft wants to give even more free software away; this time, to nonprofits.

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The Lumia 920 has impressed many with the PureView camera technology Nokia has installed inside the Windows Phone. The optical image stabilisation (OIS), software enhancements and Carl Zeiss lens are just a few features that work together to create some truly astonishing magic when taking shots in low light. 

However, there's an issue with photographs taken in good amounts light. Lack of detail, sharpness and while it's not a deal breaker, it does cause alarm especially when low light shots are that good. Thankfully, Nokia is set to release a firmware update to address problems raised by consumers.

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With launch day and general availability of Surface devices set to begin in a few short days the reviews have started to appear. After months of speculation and mountains of questions about price and specs, we’re finally at the end of this saga. Microsoft have dished out Surface devices to the great and the good for some pre-release exclusives.

Surface represents a few key things for Microsoft, firstly it will be the public face of Windows 8, and secondly it is designed to showcase ARM devices and the new WinRT touch interface. From the moment it was announced this was going to be such a critical element for the entire launch of Windows 8. How well it’s received depends on not only the hardware but also the software. Check out our roundup after the break..

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Igneous Software, not content with making their excellent BBC Podcast Lounge are surely striving for greatness with their upcoming launch of the BBC Radio Player. We had previously reported on their plans but were finally able to get hands on demo of it at last night’s Windows Phone User Group (WPUG).

The new player will improve on the previous version in a number of ways. The UI has been updated to closely follow that of the official apps on other platforms. Igneous have taken great care to replicate the colours and visual cues from the iPlayer whilst taking advantage of Metro’s inherent slick delivery of typography and graphics.

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Australian carrier Telstra has approved the Windows Phone Tango update for its arsenal of smartphones. We previously covered Telstra's efforts in testing the upgrade last month, so the carrier is indeed making good progress with getting the update to consumers in a speedy fashion.

The upgrade will be available for Telstra customers with a Nokia Lumia 800, HTC Mozart and HD7 or Samsung Omnia W. The LG c900k (Quantum) is reportedly still undergoing some tests before the update is rolled out. The expected dates are still frozen at mid-July, so we should be able to see some notifications pushed out shortly.

Be sure to keep up-to-date with the status of the rollout over on the Telstra website.

via: Peter's Kitchen; thanks, Peter, for the heads up!

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Windows 8 will allow you to poke people in the eye this October

Today at Microsoft's worldwide partner conference, Tami Reller, Corporate Vice President of Windows, announced when consumers can expect to see Windows 8 be released. October 2012 was the month provided, with manufacturers getting their mucky paws on the release (as well as Windows Server 2012) in the first week of August.

Reller also notes that business customers with volume licenses will also gain early access, matching Microsoft partners. ZDNet adds that Microsoft hasn't (and wont) let on when TechNet and MSDN members will gain access to the final version. Windows 8 will be available in 109 languages across 231 markets worldwide at launch.

Should you be hoping to build a new computer or order a PC before release, be sure to note that to upgrade to Windows 8 is just $39.99. If you haven't already, check out the release preview for an insight as to what's on the horizon. So, who's excited?

via: Windows Team Blog

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Nokia continues to strengthen partnerships with software providers to bring more compelling content to the Windows Phone platform. This time they are working with Genius Brands International to bring their *Award Winning* Baby Genius products exclusively to Lumia devices. 

Baby Genius apps aim to help children transition from preschool to kindergarten. The first two apps from the series Sing ‘n Play Pals will arrive this summer as Nokia exclusive content. The apps are said to contain both free and premium content that can be unlocked by a parent at their discretion.

CEO of Genius Brands Klaus Moeller had this to say about the announcement...

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JDB Pocketware has a nice selection of Windows Phone apps over at the Marketplace including Handyscan, SkyManager and 7Dialer. To celebrate reaching 1,000 likes over on Facebook, the Windows Phone developer has decided to share the joy by offering all their titles for just $.99 this weekend.

Just head on over to JDB Pocketware's Facebook page and "like" them. You'll then be sent to a page that has the link to JDB Pocketware's software sales page where you can send the app links to your Windows Phone.  The sale covers JDB Pocketware's entire app catalog including the latest title Fat You (a photo morphing app) and their financial app, MoBudget.

For many of the Windows Phone apps, this is a $2.00 savings. So if you were thinking about moving from Handyscan Free to the paid version, now's your chance to save a few bucks.

Update: If you don't have a Facebook account, you can still take advantage of the sale prices.  Just go to the Marketplace and search for JDB Pocketware (or the software title itself).  The listings should reflect the sales prices.  Just remember the sale ends on July 2nd.

Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

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HTC seems keen on keeping their titan of a Titan in tip-top shape--whew that was a mouthful. We're getting word from reader Rajinder, located in Denmark, that their HTC Titan just got a nice firmware/radio/bootloader refresh. It's only been about three weeks since the last update, so kudos to HTC on their diligence here.

  • Firmware Version: 20104 (old: 10902)
  • Radio Software: 03.17  (old: 02.09)
  • Boot Loader-version: 2.1  (old: 1.8)

No word on exact changes just yet, so that's where you come in. Let us know in comments if you received the update, what carrier you're on and country. And if you think you've noticed some changes, you can add that too. (Unfortunately our unlocked Titan is at home, taking a rest--we can only carry so many phones around with us!).

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We've had a few reports and can confirm ourselves that the HTC Titan has also just received a software update, making this a big day for HTC and firmware. No details are available as to what is different as tracking down a changelog has proved elusive so far, but here's what we do know:

  • Firmware revision number old: 1600.2200.10806.401
  • Firmware revision number new: 1600.2200.10902.401
  • Bootloader version old: 1.8.160015.3(132000)
  • Bootloader version new: 1.9.160015.3(132193)

Some speculation hints that perhaps the WiFi reception issue that some have experienced has been improved. We'll play around for the next few hours and update this if (a) we find anything new (b) you report to us anything new. Cool?

Thanks, Nathan and Smartphone France, for the info!

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Windows Phone 7 Connector 1.1 released

Attention fellow OS X users, Windows Phone 7 Connector 1.1 is here! Not much to report on (feature wise) since their gold release, but there is one huge improvement in functionality for majority of users. The software can now be configured to start up automatically when a supported device is detected. I was always unsure as to why this wasn't available from the off.

As well as the above change, we have performance improvements and high CPU synchronisation issues solved which is a welcomed fix. The only feature we need now is actual Zune service integration so we can use our passes without firing up the web browser.

If you haven't done so already, download the connector now.

Thanks Ali for the tip!

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Windows Phone 7 Connecter on OS X goes gold on App Store Surprising all Apple focused Windows Phone 7 owners (myself included) with native support for their new platform, Microsoft have had their connector software that allows seamless synchronisation between WP7 devices and OS X in beta for a few months now since October '10. It has now gone gold. Unfortunately, there is still no Zune software available or that has been rumoured to be in active development which would be welcomed with open arms. There are no reportable features that have been added to the Connector, only fixes and enhancements. Still allowing media synchronisation with iTunes & iPhoto and allowing WP7 device firmware updates we don't truly have grounds to grumble. Head on over to the App Store to download the latest instalment for free. Should you have it already and the store is not reporting an update is available, simply drag the Windows Phone 7 Connector icon from your applications list to the trash can and then install from the App Store. Source: Engadget

Surprising all Apple focused Windows Phone 7 owners (myself included) with native support for their new platform, Microsoft has had their connector software that allows seamless synchronization between WP7 devices and OS X in beta since October '10. It has now gone gold.

Unfortunately, there is still no Zune software available or that has been rumored to be in active development, which would be welcomed with open arms. There are no reportable features that have been added to the Connector, only fixes and enhancements. Still allowing media synchronization with iTunes & iPhoto and allowing WP7 device firmware updates we don't truly have grounds to grumble.

Head on over to the App Store to download the latest installment for free. Should you have it already and the store is not reporting an update is available, simply drag the Windows Phone 7 Connector icon from your applications list to the trash can and then install from the App Store.

Source: Engadget

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Every time we post about a new app update, a lot of users chime in saying they can't see the update yet, meaning the Marketplace on their device is not showing any "updates" on the Tile.

Of course the update is there and in fact if you scroll down you can usually see the new version number listed, but there's no update button. Frustrating! Luckily, there's a little trick: just go in the Marketplace, search for the app, open the description, then back out...wait a second and go back in. This forces a software version-check on the device and now you should be able to update the app.

We're sure lots of you already know this, but hey, we know there's probably even more who don't.

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For the uninitiated, Kinoma Play (and FreePlay) is one of the very best multimedia apps available for Windows Mobile. The slick UI, support for numerous media types, social integration, and massive content selection make Kinoma one of those apps that really sets the bar for everyone else. For those of you still using Kinoma on a regular basis, an update is available for both Play and FreePlay. This update apparently addresses issues with YouTube playback.

Anybody out there still using Kinoma on a regular basis?

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Okay, we think we understand what Warnygo is and coming for Windows Phone 7 soon, and we'll try to explain it.

Basically it's a way to send out "alerts" based on certain categories and using geolcation. Some of those categories are:

  • Accidents
  • Actors
  • Weather alerts
  • etc.

So lets say you're in midtown Manhattan and you notice a building is on fire or something really important happening, you can send a "warny" out and people using the same network and in the area will get the notification/alert on their device. You can also subscribe to your favorite "zones" or areas of interest, for example if you want to follow any "warnies" in your hometown while you are away.

It's like a localized Twitter feed which you don't have to subscribe to or follow. We can totally see this taking "social networking" to another level (and even have socio-political implications). The big question though is will it catch on? (Anyone who has tried Google's lame 'Open Spot' will know how lonely this can be) Too early to tell, but it's an interesting idea and coming to WP7 soon.

See the video of the app in action after the jump.

[via Twitter]

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HTC Peep Dead, For Now

Been using HTC Peep to keep up with your Twitter feed? Been having troubles getting logged in to your account? That would be because of the whole Twitter OAuth change that has claimed the lives of other Twitter clients including a WMExperts favorite, Twikini.

The basic gist of the problem is that Twitter changed their authentication protocol to OAuth, which allows users to approve an application without sharing their password. Twitter announced these changes back in December with an original target date of June which was later pushed to August 16.

What Twitter client do you use? Is it still working? Let us know in the comments.

Shameless Plug: If you need some folks to follow on Twitter try @wmexperts, @backlon, @philnickinson, @malatesta77, @coppertop004, @tferrill.

Thanks to everyone that sent this in!

Update: HTC says via Twitter that they know about the issue and they're working it. No indication about when to expect a fix.

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Looks like the folks at Microsoft are still continuing to roll out applications and mini-games for the Zune HD, some of which are being ported over to Windows Phone 7 e.g. 'Goosplat'.

Two news ones that are now available are 'Music Quiz' which  uses the Zune's music library to...well quiz you on music. Functioning like those common bar-quizzes, the game allows you to pick an artist, genre or playlist to test your skills on two-levels: 'normal' and 'hardcore'.  

The other game, 'Animalgrams',  falls into the puzzle category as it uses 'the Jungle of the Savanna' as a background theme for figuring out anagrams.  Hmmm...witty one there, Microsoft.

Both look like great time-killers and are quite fun. These two new games brings the ZuneHD game count up to 14--not bad for free, as all are actually really enjoyable.We also really hope 'Music Quiz' makes it over to the WP7 Marketplace some time. Fire up your Zune connect software and head to the Marketplace to download.

As always, both are free.

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