Microsoft details cloud services for the Windows ecosystem

Microsoft has released some more information detailing the Windows Live services for the next upcoming instalment of the software giant's operating system. As the company continues to move away from the Windows Live and Zune brands, Microsoft Account begins to take over with services such as Messenger and Hotmail being rebranded for easier recognition.

The UI hasn't been the only element of Windows to be redesigned, as one can see in the below table the Windows Live services will all be renamed to match the simplistic new approach Microsoft has undertaken.

Those who have actively used Windows Phone will feel right at home with Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging, Photos / Videos and other new branding that will be present in Windows 8. It's interesting to see just how far the services have come. Skype isn't mentioned, but we're sure we'll see more details as to how VoIP will be further integrated into Windows 8 and Windows Phone. We've also yet to hear more surrounding Microsoft's new music service.

"Windows Live reimagined" (check out the video on the official blog post at MSDN for more information) will see the Microsoft Account act as a key to the storage of personal information and settings. Simply connecting the account to a Windows 8 PC will automatically setup and integrate contacts, email, calendar events, photos, SkyDrive and more. The same experience will be present on the big screen (and tablet) as it is on the smartphone.

The future's bright; the future's the cloud.

Source: Building Windows 8 (MSDN Blog)

LG releases Photo Exhibition for Windows Phone

LG has released another app for their Windows Phone OEM store collection titled Photo Exhibition. As the name suggests, the app is a photo editing tool that enables the user to create humorous effects, add filters / frames, and more. Clipart and effects can be applied to any photo that is imported from the library.

Photo Exhibition also sports Facebook sharing, so friends will be able to see your handy work. Of course, should you not have an LG Windows Phone, there are a handful of decent photo manipulation apps available for all, including Pictures Lab.

Via: Plaffo (translation)

Photobucket Mango updated to 2.0

We've got word that Photobucket has been updated to Windows Phone 7.5 (or Mango as we've all come to be accustomed to), which brings some requested features as well as advertisements. For a quick run through of what we know so far:

  • Changed start-up interface with more browsing capabilities from
  • Added ability to add live tiles of various albums rotating pictures
  • Launch camera app within Photobucket and snap and upload on the fly
  • Have multiple uploads at once simultaneously
  • Added advertisements

You can download Photobucket from the Marketplace for free.

Thanks Eric for the tip and info!

Pikchur snaps its way into the Marketplace


Pikchur has found its way to Windows Phone 7, designed by IQ, and it's a stunning example of Metro UI implementation. Pikchur for Windows Phone is their first mobile application (minus integration with other apps on competitor platforms) and this bold move will pay off with the app proving to be very popular already.

The visual look and feel of the app is superb, responsiveness is instant and supported networks (which you can actively enable/disable per photo upload) is impressive. A quick run down of some intriguing features supported in Pikchur:

  • Live Tile shows your most recent photo as a Pikchur branded tile on the start screen
  • Picture Hub integration allows you to quickly send a photo to the Pikchur application
  • Bing Map Integration allows you to visualize photo geo-tag information
  • Pivot controls organize photo detail information and comments for easy viewing
  • Picture and location privacy options provide you with control over your photos and information
  • Facebook and Twitter integration allows you to start connecting with services
  • Toggle controls allow you to turn on and off social network/micro-blogging accounts to share a photo with particular services only
  • Available in 5 different languages

We will be bringing a full review sometime soon. For now, check out the video after the break and download the app from the Martketplace (Zune link). 

Photowiz 7 - App Spotlight

Cheat sheets, tip cards, reference guides have been a part of photography long since the days of Matthew Brady. Photowiz is a Windows Phone 7 application that brings the basic photography reference cards and tips to your Windows Phone.

The main pages of Photowiz 7 spreads the photography information out nicely and breaks down as such.

  • Picture of: The "Picture of:" page offers tips and tricks for taking a pictures under certain conditions or of a certain style. Landscape, portrait, water, flowers, fireworks and sunrise/sunset photos are covered.
  • Night ISO: Night ISO gives you recommended settings for night photography. Options are available to take the amount of moon illumination into account.
  • DOF Calc: The DOF (depth of field) calculator helps determine your depth of field based on your image sensor size, f-stop, focal length and distance from the subject. The sensor size selection is scrollable and ranges from 1.3x cropped sensors to 8x10 large format sensors.
  • Help: The Help page will provide you with definitions for several common photography terms. This page covers metering, exposure, lighting, and the Sunny 16 Rule.

PhotoWiz 7 can be used for both film and digital cameras. And as popular as youth sports is, I'm a little surprised there wasn't a sports category on the "Picture of:" page.

Regardless, Photowiz 7 is a handy application for the beginner shutterbug and could come in handy for the seasoned photographer. It is a free application and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Official Flickr app for Windows Phone 7 now available

Sure, it's a couple days late, but what's that between friends? Yes folks, the official Flickr app from Yahoo! has finally arrived and it is as glorious as you expected it to be.

We won't go into too much detail now, just run and grab it in the Marketplace as we think it was worth the wait.

Bonus: Turns out Flickr was holding out on us as the app has a Live Tile, which seems to update every hour with a new, random pic.

Samsung's photos don't play well with iOS 4.2 [WP7 Bug]

Here's an interesting, if somewhat odd bug found with Samsung Windows Phones: if you send a photo to any device with iOS 4.2, upon saving the photo, it renders it unreadable. So you can preview it when attached in an email (like above) but if you save it to the Photo Library, you get the gray JPG image and no pic. And indeed, we replicated the problem ourselves.

Strange, right?

A simple work around is to use a 3rd party editor like Thumba 2 or Pictures Lab--those programs will alter the JPG header data in such a way as to render this (ba-zing) a non-issue. Of course, that's no excuse for Samsung (or Apple) to not take a look at this and address the issue for those iOS devices and Samsung phones.

Further discussion can be found in the Microsoft Answers forum. Thanks, Not Shred, for the tip!

Ask WPCentral : Photo GPS data and Facebook

yellow_tweety_64 sent in the following question concerning photos tagged with GPS coordinates:

"If I posted a picture on Facebook that was taken with a GPS enabled camera, would a person be able to lift the coordinates off of it?"

While we had our suspicions as to what the answer was, we did a little field test to confirm our initial thoughts.  To see how it turned out and if the GPS coordinates from your Windows Phone transfers to Facebook, follow the break.

Windows Phone 7 photo & video features

The other day, Microsoft held and hour long video-chat on Windows Phone 7 and photography.

Not a whole 'lotta interesting info was gleaned, though it's still worth a watch for your diehards.

Video recording had a brief focus at the beginning where it was noted VGA recording is the minimum but OEMs can boost that up to HD and the device can handle it with no problem.

There seems to be some confusion over this last part at MobileTech World (who did a nice summary) where it was implied that it could record HD but not play it back. In fact, the question was convoluted: it assumed you had HD content from your DSLR camera and wanted to transfer it to your Phone--this is done through the Zune software. But if the phone has an HD camera, it can record and playback content with  no problem.

Other aspects covered were:

  • no touch focus (use hardware button); no face detection
  • no in-depth video editing e.g. red-eye correction; MS is relying on 3rd parties to fill that gap
  • Automatic syncing/resizing to Facebook, SkyDrive (25GB free space) and Live services
  • Full size for emailing
  • GPS tagging supported
  • no HDMI out in the chassis spec
  • 5MP in minimum; emphasis on quality sensors/hardware

You can watch the whole video here if you're really bored.

[Microsoft via MobileTech World]

Paint Now! Mobile: excellent image editor (freeware)

For those who like to do some pretty basic editing of photos before you ship them off to your Facebook, Twitter or email, you'll want to take a look at this great little app by XDA member 'menos'.

Think of it as analogous to MS Paint. 

You simply run the program, open an image (.png, .jpg, .bmp) and from there you can crop, draw shapes e.g. circle, speech bubbles (very cool), eye dropper for color sample, resize and it even has an undo button.

The buttons are sort of tiny, so while it worked on my 3.2" eXpo, it was a little difficult. However, devices with 3.6" or larger screens should have no issues.

Overall, considering the price (free, but donation encouraged), this app can go up against the much more pricey "professional" competitors on the market. We give it a big thumbs up as it made my Chinese rice-monster very happy.

Head to XDA forums to download.


Resco shows off Photo Viewer alpha - looks awesome

Looks like Resco is finally turning its attention to the aging Photo Viewer app, which while very popular and powerful has become quite dated in terms of UI (see our earlier review).

In their forums (via ppcgeeks) they are showing off their "alpha" version, meaning this is very early in development. Having said that, we gave it a spin on our Treo Pro and, darn it all ... the thing runs very well.

What can you expect? How about it is very fast in terms of the UI and loading photos, the UI is gorgeous and very intuitive. We especially like the easy zoom feature and the much-needed "touch" interaction.

Also, there's:

  • G-sensor support
  • Touch friendlyness
  • The folder shows the preview of the pictures inside it
  • 100% zoom in and out using double clicking (zoom the double clicked area)
  • Thumbnail and list view and multiselection operations
  • Direct access to the camera
  • Upload to Facebook, Flickr

Normally we steer you guys clear of betas, let alone alphas, but in this case we're going to have to give a thumbs up as it seems quite stable and harmless (it's about 2mb for the install.).  Take a peek after the break for a few screenshots.

Exe installation file | Cab installation file