Microsoft 3D audio tech makes virtual sounds sound real

Microsoft's research into 3D audio could become a big boon to virtual and augmented reality applications like the Oculus Rift and Valve's 3D glasses. Essentially, the technology turns simple headphones into ones that can mirror where the sound is supposed to be coming from to create an even more immersive environment in applications like gaming.

Vine for Windows Phone is now available for download

Updated 11:30 AM ET: The Official Vine app is now live in the Store. Link below.

Vine has today announced on the official blog that their Windows Phone app will be released today. Fans of the service have been left with little choice but rely on third-party solutions (6sec and Viner to name a few) while Vine looked at developing an official app for Microsoft's mobile platform. We covered an unveiling of the official Vine app at Nokia World 2013, but soon you'll be able to download the app and create some awesome short clips.

Microsoft's newest series takes us behind the scenes - learn where Windows sounds come from

Microsoft has launched a new web series, “On the Whiteboard”, to take you behind the scenes of where and how technology mixes with culture.

The first episode follows our host, Pamela Woon, speaking to Oscar winner, Randy Thom, about the importance of sound in technology. Randy Thom has contributed to famous films including The Incredibles, Return of the Jedi, and Forest Gump.

Jays to launch Windows Phone dedicated earphones

Swedish accessory manufacturer Jays will be launching the a-Jays Five series of earphones this summer, with a version for each mobile platform supported - iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Sporting flat, tangle free cabling, a handy clip and MEMS microphone, every Windows Phone owner will find the new kit useful when out and about.

Nokia’s custom audio equalizer gets pictured for Windows Phone 8

Nokia's custom audio equaizer for the Lumia 820

Just this morning we reported on Nokia’s exclusive Dolby Headphone system coming to their new Lumia Windows Phone 8 lineup. The technology would be used to augmented and enhance the native Windows Phone capabilities, giving users a great music experience.

As it turns out, video of the app already exists and was demonstrated in New York. We snapped a few screencaps of the app in action and here is what we can tell you..

Nokia reveal more about Dolby sound enhancements going into the Lumia 920 and 820

Nokia are still telling the compelling story of all they have packed into their upcoming Lumia 820 and 920 devices. We have compiled charts and graphs that include these speeds and feeds but so far, we haven’t touched on their sound capabilities.

Our smartphones increasingly act as our only music source so it’s good to see that Nokia haven’t left sound out in the cold for their new devices.

Sonic's Jewels 7 SEGA emulator disappears from the Marketplace [Updated]

News just in - we've lost Sonic's Jewels (pun intended). Sonic's Jewels 7 (SJ7), a SEGA Master System & Game Gear emulator, has long be at the centre of attention and was released two weeks ago. But now it has come to our attention that the app has disappeared from the Marketplace. The emulator received high praise from us for being both well designed and featuring some numerous options, including:

  • Pinnable games to the Start screen with Live Tiles
  • Three save slots per game; instant resume
  • Skydrive support for importing games
  • Frame skips for 1st Gen devices
  • Portrait & Landscape support

As well as being able to load ROMs from URLs or SkyDrive, the developer was working on an update that was planned to introduce sound emulation to complete the gaming experience. We've reached out to the developer for clarification as to why the app has been withdrawn. For now we'll allow you to speculate in the comments.

UPDATE: According to the Sonic's Jewels 7 Facebook page SEGA weren't going to allow the use of trademarked graphics/brands and thus Microsoft pulled the app. We've reached out to the developer so stay tuned for more information, thanks Lumic for the heads up on the link.

via: SmartphoneFrance

Sonic Jewels 7 getting sound emulation in next update [Video]

We've been talking about Sonic Jewels 7 for awhile now. The SEGA Master System and Game Gear emulator fetches for $1.29 in the Marketplace and features the ability to load ROMs via URL or Skydrive. The emulator itself is exceptionally well designed but it was lacking one major feature: sound.

Now with the latest upcoming update (version 1.2) the dev has completed the sound-emulation aspect (no easy task) and we've managed to get an early look.

So far it has performed very well for us and our HTC TITAN (1.5GHz CPU). We have been able to max out the frame rate with sound and have seen no degradation in performance. Older devices may have some issues though which is why they can "skip" frames via the settings to help smooth out the graphics during gameplay.

Overall, the sound emulation really completes this experience and we look forward to the updated version hitting the Marketplace soon. For now, you can use the no-sound version here with a trial.

[And to fend off criticism on our earlier editorial, we want make it clear we're not against emulators per se on WPCentral, just against people selling other people's software which is what Rivera was talking about here]

Boost the sound on Samsung Focus - Take 2

A few weeks ago, we reported on a tweak to boost the sound on the Samsung Focus (as if it wasn't loud enough). Turns out, we were a little premature as the settings did not stick.

Flash forward 10 days later and looks like the folks at XDA figured it out, so we figured we'd do an update. We also have a new one that boosts the volume when using a headphones (the Focus turns the overall volume down for obvious reasons).

The process is similar: using the Samsung Diagnosis app, enter in some values. Done. For this, we can definitely confirm the headphones are much louder...probably too loud, but you can decide. And both stick after a reboot. Post results in comments or our Focus sub-forum!

Full instructions after the break...

Boost the sound on the Samsung Focus [Hack]

If there's one area the Focus doesn't need improvement on is sound--it's loud, clear and did we mention loud? Still, we know for some of you, there's never enough volume so for you, we bequeath this tip.

Like the detailed battery check and USB tethering before, you'll need to access the Diagnostic Menu on your Focus. It's easy enough and then you just enter a few codes and you're good to go. The only downside is this won't survive a soft-reset (but how often are you folks doing that anyways?). But the boost in volume is significant and if you want to compete with the Surround, now's your chance. Here we go:

  • Enter the dialer
  • ##634#  --> Call
  • *#0002*28346#

    Now you'll have three fields which you want to change:

    • Click "Read"
    • System Gain: 7 change to 10
    • Class Gain: 7 change to 10
    • Device Gain: 7 change to 10
    • Press Start

      That should be it. Like we said, it's just a temporary change so no harm is done to the device. Let us know in comments if you notice a difference. We haven't done any scientific tests ourselves on this but it seems louder to our ears.

      Update: Some reports suggest this does not work,, so take that as you will (thanks, electricbopeep, for the reference)

      Source: FireSokar at XDA Forums


      3D sound and Windows Phone 7: developer impressed

      One area we have not heard much about in regards to Windows Phone 7 is sound. And why would we? It's a handheld device, usually a single speaker and basically all we care about is how the speakerphone sounds. Everything so far has been about the visual but not the audio.

      Well, turns out the audio abilities of XNA for Windows Phone 7 also has some features we didn't know about. In an interview with iTWire, developer Nick Randolph, the CEO of  Built to Roam (aka the same guy that used a Wii remote in his app demo at ReMix Australia), was asked what he thought was "cool and different" about the new OS.

      His answer: the high quality of 3D sound

      ...which could simulate sound coming from behind you, on the side of you, as Windows Phone 7 devices have a concept of audio emitters and audio listeners, and based on where you position those you get different sound.

      Randolph said that "you can use that to create different effects" in only "a dozen lines of code, part of the XNA framework and usable by Silverlight."

      It's too early to know just how good it will sound in real life, but we're pretty stoked that hardware manufacturers and software developers can at least attempt to exploit this under-appreciated yet essential output for our increasingly busy "phones". Perhaps we'll even seen hardware manufacturers use high-end speakers to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Bose-mobile, anyone?

      Check out the rest of the interview for more developer feedback (page 2 and 3) at iTWire.

      How to: Fix notifications on the LG eXpo

      Although the LG eXpo is a very capable device (see full review), in fact it's one of my favorites right now, it does have some ... quirks.

      One of those, and we're not joking, is no email notifications. That is, there is no listing under Settings --> Sounds & Notifications for email or even SMS, for that matter.

      We're not sure why that is the case, or how that passed AT&T's testing, but it is what it is and needless to's annoying. (We even had a question on during the last podcast),

      To address this, I threw together the registry entries to bring back SMS and Email notifications as I know this bothers quite a few folks out there, myself included. This will enable sound, vibrate, pop-up and even LED support on the eXpo for SMS and Email.

      Simply use Microsoft Tag to scan and download the .cab to your device, run it, soft reset and you're good to go. Or you can just click and download directly hereEnjoy!

      App to Port Sound to your Earpiece


      In our last WMExperts Podcast, we fielded a question from Daniel:

      What I don't understand is when you play a video, the sound comes out the back speaker, in the opposite direction of where you are watching. If you are in a noisy room, you have to turn the phone to the back to hear, then, or course, you can't see the video. Is there a hack to get the sound via the front speaker?

      In typical WMExperts fashion, we explained how on many phones the earpiece speaker is pretty much designed to work with telephony and not the OS and that the OS often has limited access to that speaker, depending on hardware.  That's not completely the case though (as anybody who's received a text message or email while on a call can attest, the alert sound often comes through the earpiece mid-call).  Lucky for us, listener Slartibartfast has provided a solution via twitter: an app called Audio Router for both WM Pro and WM Standard by Daniel Álvarez.  Álvarez notes another great use for the app:

      This is useful for VoIP applications which are quite unusable without headphones since the audio comes from the back speaker. It just runs for 10 minutes and it’s supposed to work at least with the latest HTC models.

      Indeed!  This makes apps like Fring a heck of a lot more useful.  We also like that it runs for 10 minutes at a time -- meaning you won't get stuck having your audio permanently ported through your much-quieter front speaker because you forgot the hack was active.  We've confirmed that it works on an HTC Fuze and it should work on plenty of other HTC devices, but as we noted above the ability to do this will vary depending on your hardware, so your mileage may vary.


      Improve your WM sound: SRS WOW Plugin

      We all have been underwhelmed by our WM device speakers at one time or another. Sure, some devices are actually quite usable and pleasant (e.g. Motorola Q + Q9 series have fantastic stereo speakers) but a lot of devices are quite "".

      One trick to improve that sound (and the one via your headphones) is via an audio plugin that artificially enhances the sound--much like the "loud" button on your fancy-schmancy car stereo. Well now you can do the same for your PPC and even WM Smartphone device.

      We won't get into the details as Werner "Menneisyys" Ruotsalainen over at PPC-Mag (who makes me look like an amateur any day) has gone above and beyond in explaining how it all works and how to get it on your device. And although Werner shows that this does increase your CPU usage, it ain't too bad at all and well worth the trade-off for better sound.

      Read: Great sound enhancer SRS WOW HD released for all Windows Mobile devices!