windows live

Games for Windows Live Marketplace is officially dead

If you have yet to receive the memo, Games for Windows Live Marketplace has been shut down for good as of yesterday. Microsoft states that userswill no longer be able to purchase new content through the marketplace, but previously purchased software will still be available to re-download. As Microsoft’s Xbox platform switched from Microsoft Points to local currency, the Games for Windows Live Marketplace was left behind in the dust.

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)

Microsoft retiring Zune and Windows Live branding in Windows 8

Though they had a good run, it appears Microsoft's Zune and Windows Live brands are going the way of the Dodo.  The Windows 8 Consumer Preview shows that the Windows Live group of applications have been replaced by a pre-installed "Windows Communications" group. "Windows Live ID," the current all-in-one login for Microsoft services, will be replaced with the generic "Microsoft Account." [Edit: It's actually called "Microsoft Your Account", see below] The "Zune" name is also glaringly absent in the Windows Store and in relation to music and movie apps.  Zune Pass, however, still works.

The new multimedia branding in Windows 8 will be called "Xbox Live for Windows" and will include apps for music, movies and games.  Rumor is that Zune will officially be gone by the summer, and may even be replaced by a music service that resembles Spotify via Xbox Live.  Throw in the demise of the Zune desktop client for Windows Phone, and voila!, bye-bye Zune.

The overall simplification of Microsoft's branding goes like this:

  • Windows Live ID --> Microsoft Account
  • Windows Live Mail --> Mail
  • Windows Live Calendar --> Calendar
  • Windows Live Contacts --> People
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery --> Photos
  • Zune Music Player --> Music
  • Zune Video Player --> Videos

Source: TheVerge, Head to WithinWindows for more images of 'Your Account' as seen above

Twitter images now rendering in People and Picture hubs

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!

New Windows Phone website surfaces in Japan

Microsoft is constantly tweaking their Windows Live pages and may have also tweaked the Windows Phone page to include some interaction with your Windows Live Account. There is a screenshot on Japan's Windows Phone site that looks like a cross between the current Windows Live device page (shown below) and the Windows Phone page. 

The web page screenshot reveals a My Windows Phone interface that includes your Find My Phone commands, access to your pictures and videos, plus access to your Windows Phone apps and view your Marketplace Account. You still have access to your XBox Live account and Office docs but gone is the Contacts and Calendar Portal as well as the Zune launch.

We followed the instructions found on the Japanese Windows Phone site's FAQ Page but the new design isn't live yet and you still get the "old" design of the Windows Phone site.

It is unclear if this is a redesigned page for Windows Live or a redesigned Windows Phone site that adds the ability to sign in to your Windows Live Account.  The header on the Japanese site does resemble the current header on the Windows Phone site here in the States. 

There's definitely more questions than answers but could this be how Microsoft plans on implementing the Windows Phone Marketplace online?

Source: Thanks goes out to tezawaly for the tip!

Microsoft testing out new build of Mango with Twitter enabled?

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

Live ID WP7 app integration [Developers]

An in-depth article has been published over at BuildMobile, which covers how Windows Live ID can be integrated into a Windows Phone application. The app will then be able to gain access to the user's contacts, profile detail, information from Messenger and SkyDrive, and everything else that's available via the Messenger Connect API.

What should be noted (as mentioned in the article) is that a Live ID is required, much like Facebook Connect and Twitter requiring accounts. You wont be able to transfer an app from one Live ID to another, so if you are creating an app with a Live ID account, you may wish to use an ID specifically made for the app, especially if you plan to sell the app, have multiple developers working, etc.

As well as following the steps and reading up on the detail, more information can be found over at the Windows Live Developer Portal and in the Messenger Connect documentation

Source: BuildMobile

New version of Skydrive released

Skydrive, Microsoft's cloud storage system, has recently been updated to add HTML5 support. It gives Skydrive a more user friendly interface that reminds me a lot of the Windows File Explorer. It lays everything out in a simple, straight forward fashion that anyone can pick up with ease.

Performance has also increased with focus on the following areas:

  • Improvement for many core tasks and scenarios. For example, clicking folders and navigating photo albums will go from 6-9 seconds down to 100-300 milliseconds, and we took advantage of hardware accelerated graphics to make it fast to click through photo slideshows. Additional core tasks will be enhanced with future updates.
  • Focus on building a site powered by HTML5 to allow the inclusion of advancements like HTML5 Video, CSS3, and client rendered experiences, as well as making sure our slide show experience was great in all browsers without any special software.
  • Evaluation and removal of anything that slowed the experience down or got in the way of a fast, clean site.
  • With Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7, you can pin SkyDrive to your taskbar for faster access to your files. You can create Word, Excel, or PowerPoint docs stored in the cloud in just one click.

Additionally, Microsoft made sure that the improvements were universal in that it doesn't matter which browser you're using. With this update, it appears that Microsoft focused on performance, navigation, and photo/video experiences.

While this update version of Skydrive won't really impact Windows Phones, we know that Skydrive integration will improve with the Mango update. To borrow a line from Microsoft blog, "this release represents the beginning of a lot of things we're (Microsoft) excited to bring you."  Things that we're excited to see.

You can find out more by visiting

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

Xbox Live services now out for WP7 [Update]

We all thought the worst was over after the Marketplace outage yesterday with scheduled maintenance, but now it seems Xbox Live is having an issue on multiple WP7 devices with backend Windows Live services. If you head on into the Xbox Live hub and await for the automatic update process to start, you should be left with a forever hanging "Updating..." at the top.

Both myself (Omnia 7) and our Daniel Rubino (Focus) have reproduced the error so it looks like it's not directly affecting a single location and multiple Live profiles are confirmed to be affected. Hopefully Microsoft will get the system back up to speed. For the time being they have stated on Twitter that "It’s a new issue that users are unable to access Xbox LIVE features at this time." Are you experiencing this issue?

via: WinRumors

Update: We've just had news (and have confirmed) that the Xbox service on WP7 is now back online. Thanks ash755 for the heads up!

Marketplace displaying in wrong languages

One of our readers, Kibosh, has posted on our forum that he seems to be experiencing some issues with language in the Marketplace. Being fluent in Dutch (with good English), he has trouble browsing and - in rare cases - using apps on his device due to the Marketplace being displayed in French.

I'm a Dutch speaking Belgium guy owning a nice HTC Mozart and I'm happy with it. Only there is one major thing wrong with it and that is that the marketplace displays French. There are some more smaller things, but this language issue is for me very annoying.

Because not many people know Belgium (I guess), there are three official languages. Dutch (Me), French and a small part German. For some reason, Microsoft decided to offer the marketplace only in French for Belgium. I can assure you that they made a big mistake. We, the Flemish, speak better English then French. Also there are 6,200,000 Flemish and 3,500,000 French. You can do the math. Consider also the fact that Belgium is going through a political crisis about French vs Flemish and you can see the size of the error.

As one could imagine, this is frustrating for Kibosh and he posted a reply to a Microsoft Answers thread covering language issues on Windows Mobile. Doing some searching, we managed to come across a similar scenario where someone from Switzerland had to browse the Marketplace in German. A few replies later and a solution was posted for a new Live ID and Zune account to be created (with correct settings to force English or a desired language), coupled with resetting the device to attach the new accounts.

Seems a bit much work to change the language, hopefully Microsoft will work on a feature that allows one to alter their language across their Live ID, Zune account and device with one selection. Have you had any trouble with the wrong language being displayed in the Marketplace?

Microsoft's Mobile Studio, Kin Studio Part Two?

Could the Kin Studio be rising from the ashes and headed to the Windows Phone as the Mobile Studio? For those not familiar with Microsoft's Kin, in many ways it was a scaled down Windows Phone for teenagers. A social networking phone of sorts.

It failed and had a life span measured in months but one glowing success of the Kin experiment was the Kin Studio. The Kin Studio was an online portal to your phone where photos, videos, status updates and messages were synced to. Similar to Windows Live but with more pizzazz.

There have been hints that Microsoft hasn't completely scrapped the Kin Studio concept and a recent job posting might be another such hint. Microsoft is advertising for positions to the Mobile Studio Team. As described in the announcement,

"The Mobile Studio will redefine the mobile phone for millions of everyday users around the world. We are looking for an intuitive and driven User Interface Designer with the ability to conceptualize and lead the design of features built for mobile phones...The candidate will be part of a team that is responsible for extending and evolving the functionality of Windows Phone."

Could the Mobile Studio be a new version of the Kin Studio? Maybe a new addition to the Windows Live services?  Or are we just reading too much into the job posting?

Source: ZDNet

LinkedIn updates for PeopleHub [How To]

Do you use LinkedIn for networking with colleagues and co-workers? Would you love to receive updates from this social platform on your phone in PeopleHub, alongside Facebook? Good news – this is easily achievable in just a few steps.

Ensure your Live account is synced to your Windows Phone 7 device before we proceed. To get linked in (get it? heh) on your phone, follow these steps:

  1. From your computer, log-in to your Windows Live account and scroll down to “Messenger Social” on the dashboard/main page, click Add.
  2. Select LinkedIn from the list and fill in your credentials in the newly opened window.
  3. Configure the settings to your preference as to what is to be synchronized between your Live and LinkedIn accounts.
  4. Hit Save, and we’re done!

Simply open PeopleHub on your phone and any status updates from your friends on LinkedIn will now populate the list as well as Facebook. Before you begin experiencing horrid thoughts about your contacts list being imported from the social platform to your phone, fear not, this only synchronizes status updates. 

OneNote over the cloud synchronization [How To]

Do you find yourself using tabbed OneNote Notebook with Microsoft Office on your computer? Do you use a Windows Phone 7 device? Why not have your Notebook synchronized to your device and note on the go? Follow the below step-by-step instructions to get yourself set up.

  1. Go to on your PC, and make sure that you have a OneNote file created. If you've used OneNote from your PC, there should be a Personal (Web) file. If not, create it..
  2. If you have OneNote on your PC, you can open it from; just hover over the file, and click Open in OneNote. OneNote will save a book tab on the left side (in rotated print).
  3. On your phone, set OneNote sync on (from Settings / Applications / Office / OneNote). Make sure to set Internet Explorer to default to mobile version (important!) and navigate to in the Browser.
  4. Go to the folder you have the OneNote Notebook, and tap it to open it. This automatically adds the Notebook to your OneNote on the phone, and opens it in OneNote. The tabs will all sync.

That's it complete! If you're like me who always forgets everything from passwords to your own name, this guide will come in handy indeed.

Source: Talys at XDA Forums

Microsoft video chat coming to Windows Phone?

I don’t believe Microsoft could have fit anything else into CES this year without the entire building expanding, providing the audience with insights into what’s coming and what’s to be expected. There were many key products announced while all things Windows Phone 7 left many slightly disappointed.

A Microsoft employee threw some comments about where the mobile platform may head from here on out. A feature that was discussed is an application sharing the same concept as FaceTime. However, the obvious observation being that no WP7 device currently has a front-facing camera. Could be a new feature for future WP7 devices, or a WP8 requirement? A front-facing camera for WP8 has been hinted at.

One feature of the iPhone that owners are extremely pleased with (and is the reason as to why some wont switch) is FaceTime – a family member came round my house with her new iPhone 4 the other day needing assistance with setting it up. It is pretty impressive, wandering around talking and watching someone who is doing the exact same thing, only thousands of miles away.

Microsoft may be slightly behind in the smart phone marathon, but they are pulling out all guns and a FaceTime feature for Windows Live wouldn’t be surprising, which would make a partnership with Skype less likely. The service they offer through Live is growing along with its user-base (I, myself have barely used it prior to WP7) and integrating services such as this would be a huge plus, especially for the platform itself.

Source: NeoWin

Finding my phone with Windows Phone 7

We knew Microsoft adding phone locating services to Windows Live in the form of "Find My Phone" and now we've seen it in action. The Find My Phone services are found on your Windows Live home page under "Devices". You'll see a list of all your Windows Live supported devices and under your Windows Phone, you'll see the Find My Phone options.

When you click on "find this phone" you are given four options; 

  • Map it: Marks your phone's approximate location on Bing Maps
  • Ring it: Will ring your phone for one minute using a distinctive ring tone (even if the phone's set to vibrate or silent)
  • Lock it: Locks your phone
  • Erase it: Performs a hard reset

In testing each option on the HTC Surround, you don't have to wait long for results. The Windows Phone was mapped, rang and locked in seconds after I clicked each command. The map location can be zoomed in and my location was narrowed down to a 20 yard area.

Getting Started with Windows Phone 7: Windows Live ID

We've made mention that one way to prepare for Windows Phone 7 is to establish a Windows Live ID. If you times slipped by and you haven't created a Windows Live ID, don't worry. During the initial set-up of your Windows Phone 7 device, you're given the option to sign in with an existing Live ID, skip the step all together or create a Windows Live ID from your phone.

While some may opt to choose "not now" and skip the Windows Live ID all together, to make the most of Windows Phone 7 you really need the ID. As the screen shot mentions,

"To get apps, play games, use a Zune Pass, automatically sync Windows Live information to the web, and more, you need a Windows Live ID."

In establishing a Windows Live ID doesn't mean you can't use Google, Yahoo, or another Exchange Server for your email, contacts and calendar.  It simply opens more doors for your Windows Phone to access.

Understanding Windows Live terminology


Windows Live will be a major component for Windows Phone 7 and if you're not familiar with Live, some of the terminology can be a little confusing. You have Windows Live, Windows Live Mail, Hotmail, Live mail, Hotmail calendar and contacts as well as Live calendar and contacts.  Here's a simple glossary that may help shed some light on Windows Live.

Windows Live: The online portal to Hotmail, Office Documents, Messenger, Photos, Skydrive, and other "cloud" services from Microsoft.

Hotmail: Microsoft's email, calendar and contacts component to Windows Live. You'll access with your hotmail address and password.

Windows Live mail: The same as Hotmail and includes email, calendar and contacts. On a side note, a hotmail address can end in or

Windows Live Mail: This is a component of Windows Live Essentials that runs from your computer. Just as Microsoft Outlook is a component of Microsoft Office.  Windows Live Mail, again just as Outlook, has a email, calendar and contacts component. Windows Live Mail can access your hotmail and other email services (Google, Yahoo, etc.) plus you can sign into Windows Live through Live Mail and access your online contacts and calendar.

It would have been nice if Microsoft could have come up with more distinctive terminology but as we all get used to the Windows Phone 7 and Windows Live environments, it will all become second nature.