8tracks - A Mango app review

As described over at the Windows Phone Marketplace, 8tracks is a handcrafted internet radio for your Windows Phone. The Mango app offers a simple way to discover and share music through an online mix that contains at least eight tracks of music. The eight is actually the infinity symbol ( ∞ ), representing infinite music but "eight" is easier to type.

The 8tracks concept is rather interesting. You sign up for a free membership (here's their website), upload your favorite tunes in mixes (playlist for us old timers), and add them to 8tracks collection for all to enjoy. The Windows Phone app, taps into this collection and brings the mix to your phone.

The 8tracks app lays things out rather nicely with the ability to listen to established music mixes, create your own mix, as well as search the online library by artist or genre.

To see how well 8tracks performs, hit the jump past the break.

Joe Belfiore on the start of Fall

September 15th has come and gone with no noticeable movement on a Mango release. Last night, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore tweeted confirmation that it was just another rumor and they've (Microsoft) been saying "Fall". Even though there were several indicators pointing towards the 15th that something was suppose to happen, if it did, it wasn't publicly witnessed.

Belfiore has since tweeted a link to a website (Apples 4 the teacher) that shows when Fall starts (September 23rd). Take it for what it's worth. It could mean a release date, it could mean the release won't happen before the 23rd, or it could be Belfiore driving us all nuts.

The only thing we know for certain is that Mango is really nice, it exists and it will get to everyone eventually. We still are seeing indicators that make us believe Mango's release (in some shape form or fashion) is close and if we have to wait until the 23rd or there after, that's not too long of a wait.

In the meantime, we'll keep an eye out for more bread crumbs from Joe, Brandon and all the other sources and tips we run across and pass it on to you guys to digest. September 23rd is seven days away and we'll know soon enough if it has any meaning beyond the calendar beginning of Fall and a reminder of all those leaves we'll have to rake up in the coming weeks.

source: @joebelfiore thanks goes out to Kenrick for tipping us on this!

German Mango plans possibly revealed? O2 and Telekom.

Some good news if you are in Germany and are on O2 and or Telekom. Actually, O2 seems to be getting the better deal.

In a tweet asked by Chris (@Fizi_zubi) to the carrier, O2 responded with (translated) "Mango is planned for mid September, so it won't be too long. Specific dates are not yet known.". Of course, mid-September is what we've been hearing about for awhile now, so it's a little unclear if they meant generally or specifically for O2--then again, O2 UK seems like they're just about ready to release Mango. But it's at least on their radar (and hey, they even know what it is!).

Next up is Telekom, which also knows about Mango. They're suggesting mid-October, which is not nearly as nice as O2's statement. However, it's a bit unclear if O2 and Telekom are talking about software updates to existing phones or new hardware.

To that end, no specific dates are given, but it's looking promising for the next few weeks for something to happen on the Mango front.

Via: Phona7,; Thanks, Chris and Tom, for the links!

Ballmer disappointed, but optimistic about WP7

We all know that Windows Phone has hit some stumbling blocks in its first year of release, so it's no surprise that Microsoft would be disappointed with how it's gone so far.  Still, when Steve Ballmer says it, it's a little unnerving.  “We haven’t sold quite as many as I would have liked in the first year,” he stated at yesterday's financial analyst meeting.

The good news is that he followed up with some words of optimism:

“I’m not saying I love where we are but I am very optimistic on where we can be,” Ballmer said. “We’ve just got to kick this thing to the next level.”

And it wasn't just canned words trying to raise spirits, but words with reasoning behind them.  While acknowledging the lackluster sales of WP7, he also noted that Microsoft had created “a very strong third ecosystem” behind Android and Apple.  He also noted that the partnership with Nokia would be a boost to the brand because they are a "dedicated hardware partner that is all-in on Windows Phones," and thus will help make the push, unlike other manufacturers who have the hands in multiple operating systems.  Nokia is set to deliver their first Windows handsets as early as Q4 of this year, but certainly in Q1 of 2012.

Another reason Ballmer should be optimistic about the future of WP7 is Mango.  We have seen that it has already started creeping out in some places, and the prospects of future devices and upgrades look very promising.  Add to all this what is coming with Windows 8, XBox and Windows Phone coming together in unison, and you have what looks like a pretty nice road ahead.  Sure, maybe we hoped for a little more from WP7 in year one, but with what lies ahead, how could you blame Ballmer for getting excited?

Source: AllThingsD

O2 working on final tests for Mango

On the opposite side of the world from Telstra and Vodafone AU, we have O2 in the UK. The mobile operator has recently announced that they've entered into the final testing phase and that Windows Phone Mango will be released "very soon". Two days have since past so O2 could well be waiting for the green light too.

Source: @O2, thanks F for the tip!

Microsoft shows off Tango Video Calling

We've already seen one demo of Tango, the video calling feature on certain Windows Phone Mango devices. Now Microsoft has decided to showcase the feature in a short video.

Aaron Woodman, Director of the Windows Phone group, demos Tango and assures everyone that Microsoft is working hard to get Mango to the consumers. He's using the HTC Titan that sports a 4/7"screen. While Tango looks interesting, so does the Titan.  Is it me or does the Titan almost look too small to have a such a large screen?

source: windowsteamblog  Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

Flixster gets Mango-ized in v1.6

Movie app Flixster, which offers access to showtimes, movie trailers and Rotten Tomatoes reviews, has made the leap to Mango in its newest version 1.6. 

The biggest improvement is the ability to create multiple live tiles for favorite movies and theaters.  Movies that get pinned to the start screen flip between the movie poster and the Rotten Tomatoes score, along with a tomato or "splat" icon.  Version 1.6 also includes Bing mobile search integration and fast app switching.

You must have Mango installed on your device for this update.  If you do, you can get Flixster here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Thanks to Travis S. for the tip!

Telstra Mango approved as well

We recently covered Vodafone announcing that they've completed Mango testing and are now awaiting Microsoft's green light for the roll-out to begin. We've now caught wind of Telstra being prepped and ready to release the major update to customers too. So let's throw this news into the cauldron with Taiwan's HTC store upgrade and it could almost be mistaken as a dream. The 'Spring' ETD almost had our eyeballs roll across the floor.

Source: Telstra, via: WPDownUnder

Mango RUUs available in Taiwan

Jas Chiang, Windows Phone user, has sent in a screenshot of two Taiwan Mango RUUs (ROM Upgrade Utility), which ties in with our post detailing Mango upgrades taking place at the HTC flagship store. Why can they not update via Zune? Jas mentions that should they use the media player to update their handsets, they wont receive the CHT language pack.

It's so close we can almost taste it. This is putting some real confidence back into Microsoft's update process if all things continue to run as smoothly as they are now.

Source: @alljerry04

WP Shortcut Tiles - Mango App Spotlight

Today's Mango App Spotlight deals with shortcuts. WP Shortcut Tiles gives you the ability to create shortcut tiles on your Start Screen. The Mango App is very similar to Connectivity Shortcuts but deals with seven settings and features instead of four.

You can create tiles for your cellular, wifi, airplane mode, and bluetooth settings. You can also create tiles for a new email message, sms message and view your share status. To create the tile, just tap on the tile of choice, confirm placement, and your done. The down side of things is that you can only create one tile at a time. There's a lot of back-and-forth with WP Shortcut Tiles.

When your ready to remove the tiles, you can do it the old fashion way by unpinning them from the Start Screen or use the "unpin all" button in the app. Still a shame you can pin multiple tiles at once.

If you access any of these settings with regularity, WP Shortcut Tiles is worth a look at. Again, it's a Mango app, free and you can download WP Shortcut Tiles here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Belfiore, Watson implore devs to update apps as Mango draws near

We've been talking about September 15th for awhile now as being the official date for Mango and this morning we had some solid news to confirm that indeed, the launch is close.

Now Microsoft's Joe Belfiore and Brandon Watson are asking devs to upgrade their apps ASAP using the v7.1 SDK--simply recompiling the app using these tools will enable fast-app switching (multitasking) for the huge OS update.

Of course, if Watson and Belfiore are asking devs to do this now, really stressing the timing, it can only mean the update is close. And we have an odd feeling that tomorrow will bring some official announcement on the matter. Stay tuned...

Read more at the Windows Team Blog

HTC Radar available October 1st?

Phones 4u, a U.K. website, is reporting to have an inside track or lead on getting the new HTC Radar. A lead that is expected to land the Windows Phone on their shelves on October 1, 2011.

While most of the press release from Phones 4u deals with an Android release, Scott Hooton, Trading Director at Phones 4u did share this tid bit.

"Our customers want the very best and latest in mobile technology, and so its important that we’re able to offer them only the very best smartphone range, the very latest technology and value for money. Our ongoing and successful working relationship with HTC means we’ve been able to add even more great smartphone exclusives to our widest ever range of exclusive white devices we’ll be offering across contract and prepay this quarter.."

According to the press release, as a result of their successful relationship with HTC, the Radar will be a hero product for Phones 4u in store from 1st October. Pricing is reported as "free from 26 pounds a month on a choice of networks". 

Granted this is a European release but you've got to hope that the sooner Europe gets these new Windows Phones, the sooner the U.S. market will.  You can read the full press release after the break.  The Radar information is towards the bottom.

source: eurodroid Thanks goes out to Alex for the tip!

Windows Phone Mango update imminent

We just received a tip from an anonymous reader (he wishes to remain protected - we've sent WPCentral bouncers round as we speak) who reports that he's received an email notification from both Microsoft and a manufacturer (specifically not Samsung or HTC) to downgrade Mango-powered devices and revert back to a previous test version.

"Hello today we got an email notification from both MS and our Vendor for whom we test it's unreleased (TBR) device (not Sammy or HTC) to DOWNGRADE our Mango units to previous TEST Windows Phone Version as to check MS Servers for smooth Mango deployment/update and if all the Servers are prepped..."

It will then be the case to test the Mango deployment and ensure that Microsoft and the WP team get everything prepped and ready for end-users. Looks like this is fitting in with rumours and speculation that Mango is pretty ripe and ready to burst - it's the 15th tomorrow. Have we all got our kitchen knives at the ready? This fruit is going to be so sweet sliced.

Thanks to our anonymous tipster for the heads up!

Just building an app is not enough [Developers]

Breaking into a strange, yet interesting story. We have Connectivity Shortcuts by Oliver Ulm for Windows Phone Mango. It's a free Mango-only app that grants the user easy access to Wifi toggle, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode and Cell radio. Unfortunately this functionality wasn't absent from the Mango Marketplace as Network Dashboard, by George Roberts (sirtwist), was released a day prior to Connectivity Shortcuts. Feedback from users and sites alike had Network Dashboard as a more aesthetically pleasing offering.

Network Dashboard was featured in a recent WPDev podcast (about 18 minutes in) and it was said that Connectivity Shortcuts was a direct rip-off. Oliver has spoken to us about how the situation developed and he mentioned that although both apps share similar looks and functionality, they were both developed without knowledge of one another. He went on to say that he had a discussion with George about the coincidental release of both apps and agreed that it was mere pot luck.

What's interesting about this story is how a polished app that was both developed and released first received less attention than a labelled copy that was published a day later and lacked the same good looks. As a conclusion to this story, Oliver has some invaluable advice for other developers:

"Your Apps won't get downloaded and reported on if you simply put them in the Marketplace and wait to see what is going to happen. You have to work outside the Marketplace if you want users to know about them. Every day over a hundred Apps are released so it is easy for your App to remain unknown even though it might be really great.

The last thing to note is that as we have a global marketplace you have to be quick to implement your ideas. Considering the small size of most Smartphone Apps development times are short and there is always the chance that someone else might have the same idea and beat you to the finish line."

Some solid support there. Both Connectivity Shortcuts and Network Dashboard are still both under development and will be updated in the near future. While Oliver works on minor issues and plans to tackle the UI, Network Dashboard v1.1 has been submitted that brings flippy live tiles that show Wifi and Mobile Data statuses with a new icon to illustrate current setting value. 

Thanks Oliver for getting in touch!

Windows Phone Mango launching in Taiwan on the 16th?

We're expecting lots of news on Mango in the next few days (see Australia earlier) and now it looks like Taiwan may be tasting the fruit soon as well.

According to the site Mobile01 (which sounds like a Gundam Wing, sorry, geek spaz), folks at Microsoft TechDays Taiwan 2011 revealed that September 16th would be the day for release in Taiwan. What's not clear is whether this will be done via Zune or, as some are suggesting over there, users will have to bring their phones to certain shops to be flashed in person--certainly unorthodox, but seeing as Windows Phone infrastructure is still new in Taiwan, perhaps not unrealistic.  Luckily this rumor will be proven true or false within two days--so it'll be interesting to see what happens.

Source: Mobile01; via We Love Windows Phone HK

Vodafone Australia finishes Mango testing awaiting green light

We are all waiting with anticipation to see what happens on September 15th with regards to a possible Mango release. Vodafone Australia might have just tipped Microsoft's hand in announcing on their blog site that they have completed carrier testing, approved the update and are now only waiting for deployment from Microsoft.

Microsoft has been busy today at the BUILD developer's conference showing off Windows 8. Could Microsoft's next center stage production at BUILD be the release of Mango, giving the green light to carriers to begin deployment?

If everything falls into place and we see a Mango release on the 15th, let us hope that all the carriers have worked as diligently as Vodafone Australia has.

source: vodafone via: wpdownunder Thanks Sheeds!

HTC Radar shows up on Orange UK

The HTC Radar has made its way onto UK mobile site Orange UK in the "Coming Soon" section.  While no timeline is given for availability, it is a good sign that release is imminent.  With a 3.8" screen, 1GHz processor, and 5MP camera, it is meant to be a lower-price point to its overgrown counterpart, the Titan, and was shown to be a little behind it when the two were put through their paces recently.  That being said, the Radar still proved to be a pretty nice addition to the HTC WP7 lineup when we took a look at it hands-on.

Source: OrangeUK (Thanks for the tip, Alex!)

Mango to be released next week?

We've previously covered the release date for Mango, and this is pretty much confirming with what we've already published (September 15th). On the Windows Phone Developer Podcast (episode 33), Ryan and Travis Lowdermilk explain that they've heard from a number of sources that the upcoming major update will be arriving next week.

While this is still up in the air, it's starting to piece together like a jigsaw. I'm sure most of us are more interested in how efficiently the roll out will prove to be. Listen to the podcast (if you haven't already) below and keep an eye out for the 34:20 marker where the Mango goodness is discussed.

Source: Windows Phone Dev Podcast, thanks Sander for the tip!

Average app in WP Marketplace downloaded more times than Android and iOS

This is an interesting calculation, Research2Guidance has published a report that features a chart which illustrates the comparison of average downloads per app on a number of platforms to iOS. Looking at that chart above, you can see that OVI Store (Symbian) has +160% more downloads per app on average than iOS, while Windows Phone comes second in at +80%.

Surprisingly, BlackBerry came in third at +43%. Many users on competitor platforms may complain and make remarks about the amount of apps available to WP users, but we sure have quality over quantity and it goes to show with the amount of downloads apps are accumulating. Check out our article covering Marketplace statistics and case study for more insight on WP.

Source: Research2Guidance, via: WMPU

HTC shipped Mango ROMs leak on XDA including Verizon Trophy

We covered the unbranded Mozart Mango ROM the other day and now like dominoes, the rest are here too--well most of them. Yes folks, leaked "final" builds of Mango updates for numerous HTC devices are now available for your unauthorized usage, meaning you are taking matters into your own hands.

What these ROMs (7720.68) offer over the RTM build is of course updated radios, some HTC customizations, presumably specific APIs for things like the compass and other unique tweaks to improve the Mango experience. So here's what's available:

  • 7 Pro - RUU_Gold_S_HTC_Europe_3.02.401.01_Radio_5.69.09.29 a_22.50.50.21_Signed_GOLD_RELEASE.exe
  • Mozart - RUU_Mozart_S_HTC_Europe_4.06.401.00_5.69.09_RELEAS E.exe
  • Mozart - RUU_Mozart_S_HTC_RUS_4.06.411.00_5.69.09_RELEASE.exe
  • HD7 - RUU_Schubert_S_HTC_Europe_4.05.401.02_Radio_5.69.0 9.29a_22.50.50.21_Signed_SCHUBERT_RELEASE.exe
  • Trophy - RUU_Spark_S_HTC_Europe_4.06.401.00_5.69.09_RELEASE .exe
  • Trophy - RUU_Spark_W_S_VERIZON_WWE_2.01.605.04_2K_new_parti tion_RELEASE.exe

Most of those are Europe-only ROMs, so take heed but look at that last one--yup, for once Verizon HTC Trophy (review) users get something early! Head on over to XDA for all the goodness.

Source: XDA; via Pocketnow