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Windows Central Podcast 54: Apps in the Store

extreme testing

Microsoft didn't cut corners to ditch the fan in Surface Pro with Core i5

Get real or get out

Microsoft needs to get serious about mobile (now) or don't even bother

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Got questions about your new Surface? The Windows Central forums can help.

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A tiny bit of Windows 10 source code has leaked online

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OG Xbox!

All the backward compatible original Xbox games confirmed for Xbox One

Is this the end ... ?

What if there really are no more new Windows Mobile devices?


Windows 10 Fall Creators Update's top 5 features

i5 or i7?

Comparing performance and battery in the Surface Laptop Core i5 and Core i7

Don't be an easy target

7 tips to protect your Windows PC against malware


What do you think of Skype's new Snapchat-esque makeover? (poll)

1080P vs 4K

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Surface > Mac

Microsoft's latest device lineup truly (and finally) rivals Apple's

New pen is mightier than the old pen

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Driving back in time

Wondering why ALL Microsoft's Windows drivers are dated June 21?

A good port

Spotify shows the world how to do Centennial apps the right way

♏ vs. 🅿

Here's how the Xbox One X stacks up to Xbox One S and PS4 Pro

Cream o' the crop

Before buying a Microsoft laptop, check out our pick for the absolute best

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SHOP: Surface Laptop | Surface Pro (2017)


Update 5PM ET: Microsoft's Joe Belfiore has Tweeted that Facebook is working on a fix right now. Stand by...

Facebook is one of the top social networks available today and is an important part of millions of lives. Windows Phone sports integration with the service, pulling content from the network for contacts and more. We've received reports that synchronising accounts appear to be failing, so what's going on? 

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Microsoft is due to demonstrate integration between Skype and Lync next week at its Lync Conference held in San Diego.

Microsoft Lync is an enterprise-ready unified communications platform. A business version of Skype, if you will, that connects people everywhere, on Windows 8 and other devices, as part of their everyday productivity experience.

The integration will give Skype and Lync users that ability to contact each other, launch IM text sessions and communicate via audio calls. The integration should be delivered to customers in June with video conferencing integration coming later.

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The long-awaited Skype app, which was unveiled at this year's MWC as beta, has an issue that will affect any user that wishes to run it in the background hoping that incoming calls would alert for user input. The Verge took a dive into the beta app only to find out that should the app not be active on a Windows Phone, any incoming calls are diverted to a voicemail service.

Skype has informed The Verge that this is a limitation due to the OS itself with how notifications are too slow, stating that it takes too long to process information, open the app, and set up the call to make it practical. Unfortunately it would appear as though the team doesn't have native access and we don't expect this to be something that'll be fixed by the gold build release.

Of course we're all still awaiting integration with the OS itself, which would render the app somewhat redundant. Hopefully native access will be provided for said integration that would allow the team to have the service run in the background. Skype integrated into Windows Phone will add to the selling points for the platform thus Microsoft will need to have an efficient solution for those who use the service.

Another kink in the system is video calling, which is only in landscape mode. What's more strange is should you swipe to the text conversation mid-call the app will then switch the portrait. This is actually something Skype made the decision on and is looking to fix.

Source: The Verge

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Well look at that, we've finally got the Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone and now follows an entertaining video showing the app off. Highlighting the features available to users, the Metro UI shines as the presentation flips between the phone and the Xbox system, painting the console as an entertainment hub. Best of all, all this Xbox Live integration is unique to the platform.

Source: YouTube

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It seems Microsoft has worked some magic on backend services for Windows Phone, as users and sites alike are reporting they're now able to view images that are attached to tweets in the People and Picture hubs. Twitter integration is handled via Windows Live, which was introduced in the Mango update, but was limited to displaying text-only tweets. Now when viewing "What's new?" in the People hub (and Pictures hub) images are now displayed along with the tweet.

Have you noticed the change on your handset(s)? Let us know in the comments!

Source: LiveSide; Thanks, thenet, for the heads up!

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We covered a bug that many of our readers tipped us on that saw the Twitter contact integration in Mango experiencing some difficulty. The problem being that individual contacts and groups were not displaying Twitter connectivity regardless to what settings/filters where chosen. While the Twitter feed is working, there's no way to view contacts who are also on Twitter.

A work around was available that saw users re-adding the Twitter account. The reason why this occurred was due to the social network modifying their API, which broke connectivity with Live. Joe Belfiore has confirmed, via Twitter, that the team has looked into the problem and the fix should reflect across the board within 24 hours. More details below from Microsoft Answers:

"We experienced a hiccup in our Twitter connection for contacts, but the connection is up and running again. Your contacts will reappear in the next 24 hours. Your Twitter feed and ability to post to Twitter remain otherwise unaffected. You may need to re-pin Twitter contacts to Start, re-add Twitter contacts to groups and re-link any Twitter contact links done manually. Sorry for the inconvenience."

Source: Microsoft Answers, via: @JoeBelfiore

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Kinect integration demoed with HTC Radar

In the video above we can see some Kinect and Windows Phone integration being demoed at the HTC Radar launch in Hong Kong. The Windows Phone user looks to be emulating waves through use of the accelerometer while the player has to maintain balance on the raft. We've been seeing more videos cropping up covering the integration between platforms under Microsoft's belt. It's only a matter of time before we see true connectivity released to the mass.


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Microsoft demoed some exciting integration between the mighty Xbox 360 console and Windows Phone at their GameFest conference in Seattle. We’ve previously covered Microsoft’s three screens and Metro future of gaming, computing and entertainment and this is another step in the right direction with Kinect thrown into the mix. We previously covered Kinectimals coming to Windows Phone with its interactive ability with the console version, now we get to see it in action.

What's interesting to note is that QR codes are used, not Microsoft's Tag service, to transfer data between the console and the handset. Microsoft's competing code service was reportedly shown in a separate demo so one could assume it's up to developers with a choice available. 

This connected companion experiences approach demoed in the above video by David Treadwell, Microsoft vice president, is what the software giant is aiming to provide the gaming community. It's interesting to see in a technical preview of how Microsoft views the future of their combined platforms. What do you make of the presentation?

Source: GeekWire, via: WMPU

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So this is pretty neat, Kinect working with Windows Phone. We've seen previously how the Kinect and WP7 can communicate but in the above video you can see the input from the Kinect device being sent to the WP7 emulator and actually manipulating an on-screen figure reflecting the user's movements/position. This could prove to be a massive advancement for both WP7 and Xbox as a gaming console. Windows Phone would receive more attention from console owners with extra integration and the Xbox would boast a 3rd controller (sporting a screen).

What's great about this is if we take an example of a title for the Xbox 360 - Fifa. Playing using the Kinect sensor would be enough enjoyment, but there's room for the WP7 handset with player control via tilt. Shooting, passing and crossing the ball could be achieved by the direction and force of a leg swing. No need for a bulky 360 controller. The WP7 device could show information on-screen such as the radar, player information and more giving the big screen less UI clutter. It would also improve menu navigation and quick management of the team instead of waving at your TV.

More genre examples could be thrown in including driving games, where tilting your body would act as the steering, while the player's left and right thumbs act as acceleration and braking respectively on the WP7 device. In this scenario, we could save big screen space with putting the radar on the handset as well as a mirror and possibly more.

For the time being, however, it's required that a PC and the phone be on the same network with the PC running software for integration to be achieved. Should this new introduction of video game interaction take off, we could possibly see the PC removed from the equation leaving the Xbox console to handle everything.

What do you guys think? Too much or a real possibility?

Via: WPSauce

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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

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Xbox Kinect and WP7 integration

The video above shows how the Xbox Kinect can interact with your Windows Phone 7 handset to make your life easier with certain tasks. An example shown in the video is an advert for Toyota. Simply activating Kinect's voice control and announcing "Near Me" will bring up a map showing the nearby locations of Toyota garages. Then a simple text message or email can be sent to your WP7 with the co-ordinates.

This example aids in local advertising and minimises time for the end-user compared to opening a browser, searching Bing etc.

Source: DailyMobile

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Pitfall! - Review

Many younger gamers’ first exposure to Pitfall! came from the console title Marvel Ultimate Alliance, which featured a Pitfall! minigame. But Pitfall! started its life way back in 1982 on the Atari 2600. The product of a single Activision developer, David Crane, it sold over 4 million copies and skyrocketed Activision to stardom. Now developer Krome and publisher Microsoft Game Studios bring the ‘Fall! To Windows Phone as both an Xbox Live and Game Room title. Is it better suited to mobile play than cranky ol’ Asteroids Deluxe? Yes!

Pitfall! stars the adventurer Pitfall Harry. His sprite was comprised of four separate colors on a platform in which most sprites were made of only one or two colors. Harry’s surplus of colors produced such a realistic effect at the time that many people thought an actual human being had somehow become trapped in their game cartridge. Thanks to modern computer technology we now know that this was not the case, but Harry still retains a certain visual charm after all these years.

Grab onto a vine and swing past the jump for our full review!

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Centipede - Review

Gamers and critics alike panned the first two Xbox Live retro arcade games for Windows Phone, Pac-Man and Frogger, for several reasons. Both games have sub-par touch screen controls, shoddy presentation, and annoyingly difficult Achievements. Pac-Man even has an audacious $5 price tag. But those shoddy ports are Namco and Konami’s wrongdoing. How would big and powerful Microsoft handle bringing a classic arcade game to their mobile platform? Surprisingly well, as Centipede proves.

Centipede is not as fondly remembered or highly sequelized as its contemporaries Pac-man and Space Invaders. But when it debuted in arcades in 1980, there really was nothing like it. Instead of a joystick, players controlled the main character with a trackball. The hero, a tiny garden gnome, could move in any direction and at greatly varying speeds thanks to the analog control input.

The goal is to destroy the titular centipedes as they descend from the top of the screen. If the centipede hits one of the many randomly-placed mushrooms, it moves down a little faster. Each shot the player hits the centipede with destroys one of its segments, but also spawns a mushroom and usually splits the centipede in two. Destroying an entire centipede causes the screen’s color to change as a new, faster centipede begins its attack. As if death by centipede wasn’t enough, jumping spiders and mushroom-dropping fleas and scorpions also threaten the pitiably outnumbered gnome.

Squash a few bugs and head past the jump for our full review.

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Many Windows Phone owners also have Xbox 360s, so we’re bringing you this bit of Xbox 360 news.

The Xbox 360 receives system updates once or twice a year (no carrier blocking either, thank goodness). Before these big updates come around, Microsoft usually runs an open beta to eliminate the kinks and make sure everything’s working right. Sign-up for this year’s open beta has just started.

Some notes about Xbox 360 System Update Preview program:

  • The program is open to US residents only.
  • Thousands of applicants will be selected. Still, signing up early is recommended.
  • Xbox Live Gold members will receive priority, but 'lowly' Silver members can sign up too.

What changes will the update feature? One is a new Xbox 360 disc format is coming. This could be an anti-piracy measure. But the big feature is of course Kinect improvements including the rollout of avatarKinect, which gives your Avatar a new lease on life, hosting shows and making videos--very cool stuff. We would love to see some Windows Phone 7 integration on the dashboard too. It does currently have some ads and videos, but that’s it.

WPCentral’s Daniel Rubino has already completed registration. I tried but received an error after confirming my email address. To throw your hat in, Sign up for the Xbox LIVE Update Preview Program. Good luck!

UPDATE: Good news: participants in the preview will receive a free copy of Halo Reach. Bad news: registration is now closed. Hope you got in, everybody.

Source: Major Nelson

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There was a time when we didn’t know what games were coming out on Xbox Live until the night before they launched. Those dark ages are behind us now, thank goodness. Lately we’ve been alerted to Xbox Live release dates more and more in advance. Now, it seems we may have learned about the release date of two Xbox Live titles more than two weeks before the fact!

Has my intensive course in astrology finally paid off? Venus isn’t in the right house to say for sure. Instead, the Windows Phone 7 page has provided a possible glimpse of the future. We’ve mentioned before that the page’s Too Many Games section lists a few unreleased games along with most current Xbox Live titles. The release dates of upcoming games are usually left blank. While pouring over each game’s product pages, however, we discovered two games with April 13 release dates listed. The date could be a placeholder or an error, but it’s tantalizing to think about.

What do we know about these April 13 maybes? Head past the jump and all your questions will be answered.

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Full House Poker - Review

One of the most exciting benefits of Xbox Live games on Windows Phone 7 is the possibility of connectivity. Crackdown: Project Sunburst unlocks a few bonus features in Crackdown 2 on Xbox 360, but that’s only the tip of the ice berg. Full House Poker, developed by Krome Studios and published by Microsoft, integrates more fully with its Xbox 360 counterpart than any game yet.

Full House Poker is a Texas hold ‘em poker simulator. Poker is very well-suited to mobile game play as you can play a hand in no time at all. Full House Poker’s affordable price and the fact that practically everybody loves poker means the game was bound to sell well on Windows Phone 7 no matter what. Thankfully the developers went the full mile and made not just a mobile poker game but a top-notch one as well.

Head past the break for our full house review.

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It’s not often we learn about a Windows Phone 7 Xbox Live title’s release date more than a few days before the game comes out, so this announcement comes as a special treat. Full House Poker, developed by Krome Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios, is the March 16 Xbox Live title!

Full House Poker is a special release for a number of reasons. First, it will be the first Xbox Live title on WP7 to have full avatar support (we won’t count Avatar Gadgets). That means you can play the game as your Xbox Live avatar. Even more exciting for Xbox 360 owners is the mobile version of Full House Poker’s integration with the console version. The Xbox 360 game launches on the same day as the WP7 game. Experience and money is shared across both platforms, so progress made in one game automatically transfers to the other. It’s the most complete console-to-WP7 integration so far. Will all that be enough to get WPCentral's Daniel Rubino excited for it? Only time will tell!

Full House Poker on Windows Phone 7 will cost $2.99. The Xbox 360 version will cost 800 Microsoft Points ($10). Each game has its own set of Achievements worth 200 points. Both will launch on Wednesday, March 16.  

See our video hands on from CES after the break...

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Speaking of Xbox and Windows Mobile ...

Just yesterday we were reporting about Mobile GamerTag, a free application that pulls down your Xbox information (we suppose for  literal "in your face" bragging rites) and now, MobileTechWorld how found some hints about Xbox & the future of Windows Mobile 7 via that old standby: Microsoft help wanted ads.

Specifically, two jobs are being offered, one being a Developer Account Manager " own and drive the relationship with our top mobile entertainment development partners. You will work closely with our...Windows Mobile and Xbox LIVE platform teams..."

Basically this lucky dude or dudette gets to fly around, talking to and working with game developers, showing them just how sa-weet Windows Mobile 7 is at gaming.  (I'm pretty sure I want that job! --Mal)

Second job is for a 3PP (3rd Party) Account Manager  who "..will act as the day to day contact for publishers within Microsoft" including securing exclusive games for Windows Mobile.

Hey, sounds all good to us.  Actually any mention of Xbox and Winodws Moible in the same sentence sounds good. We just hope WM7 delivers on this end because it is sorely lacking and way, way overdue.  Read much more on the job details here.

thanks King Koopa!

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