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Live Tile Now - Mango App Spotlight

Here's a Mango App that will let you pin your favorite photos on the Windows Phone Start Screen. As with other Mango Live Tile apps, such as Sticky Tiles and NFL Live Tile, the interface is short and simple.

You have one page to select the image from (one for either side of the tile) and one page to enter optional text. From there you pin the app to your Start Screen and the tile is generated. There's also a tile count area where you can enter a reminder such as a date or number of days until an event.

The only downside to the app is that your only limited to one tile. Still, it's a nice way to pin a photo of your pets, kids, girlfriend or wife (but not both) on your Start Screen. If you're running Mango, Live Tile Now is a free, ad-supported app and you can download it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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For some reason, everyone is planning for 2013. Guess we should start picking out our clothes now as Nvidia evidently has plans for Windows Phone, three years after knocking it and the same year that Samsung is reportedly dropping the OS.

Nividia's Tegra chipsets have been around for awhile now, heck they even powered the ZuneHD. But besides some Android handsets, they have been absent from the Windows Phone side, leaving plenty of room for mega SoC maker Qualcomm to ride high.

In a leaked roadmap from Heise.de, we can see that in 2013 Nvidia is looking to power Windows Phone handsets using their Tegra/Icera combo "Grey" chipset. Reportedly featuring a 28mm manufacturing process and 2G/3G/4G communication capabilities (something Nvidia is missing now), the chipset looks to be as powerful as Qulcomm's offering but with some Nvidia GPU oomph.

We're still trying to make sense of the layout of this slide, but it is interesting to see Windows and Windows Phone lumped next to each other--reaffirming the notion that both OSs will become closer together, especially as Windows 8 moves to ARM processors.

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This seems to be completely out of the blue, so take it lightly if you will. SamFirmware, the guys that continuously publish leaked ROMs and whatnot have tweeted that Samsung will be looking at leaving Windows Phone and will cease innovating for the platform from 2013 onwards. It seems odd due to the success of Samsung handsets on Microsoft's OS, but let us take a look at the larger picture here.

Could Samsung be focusing on Android? Not sure, they already have solid devices like the Galaxy S II so it could be that they have decided to take bada seriously, especially since with Android they are experiencing legal issues and have to pay Microsoft royalty.

Google will now play a role in hardware as well as software with Android, while Microsoft holds continuous tea parties with Nokia. But they're still two completely different relationships. Manufacturers were sceptical about the Motorola acquisition whereas Acer and others are still pretty excited about the future of WP.

Should this be true, 2013 is still two years away. If the platform really does capture the market by storm with Mango then perhaps Samsung may change their tune. Android (and Google) need Samsung, but it could be that bada will be competing for market as well as WP.

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Here's a bit of a mystery.

There is a Windows Phone 7 update available for your Windows operating system. It won't show up on your update list unless you have Zune running and your Windows Phone connected.

Listed as Microsoft-Other hardware-Windows Phone 7, the 4.2mb update apparently deals with your USB connection and recognizes the Windows Phone device by name. Gone is the generic "Windows Phone device" identity whenever you connect your Windows Phone.

As to the "why", your guess is as good as ours. Could it allow Microsoft to open up the device specific apps to the Zune Desktop? Could it be a sign that the Mango's release is close at hand?  Or could it simply be someone at Microsoft getting tired of seeing a generic description of your Windows Phone?

Thanks goes out to Jarrod and everyone else who tipped us on this!

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While this is far from official being a part of the growing Kinect Homebrew scene, what this demonstration of a Xbox 360 Kinect, Windows Phone and Grand Theft Auto proves is that come 2012, we could be set for some truly unique game play.

The sensor here is using a custom "KinDriver" app which allows you to control the character using the phone, in addition to virtual steering with just your hands.. The fact that this as been done on the homebrew level already is quite impressive, so lets just hope some of the big game houses are working on the same. The combo of Kinect and Windows Phone could be the biggest thing for Windows Phone in 2012...if done big.

Source: YouTube (theSchokoBiscuit); via WPSauce

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Looking to pick up the a new HTC Titan or Radar when released? Have questions about the Fujitsu IS12T? Or just want to discuss why these devices are totally 'leet? Then hop on into the WPCentral Forums where we've recently created dedicated sub-forums to these upcoming phones, in addition out our cadre of existing devices.

So come on by and add your two cents...  http://forums.wpcentral.com/

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Cradle delay for the HTC Titan?

This is pretty odd, it seems as though the cradle for the HTC Titan will be available after the device arrives to stores. Sure enough this isn't a biggie and will give users ample time to get used to the massive 4.7" screen, but it's strange to see an accessory that's required for one of the selling features of the handset (alarm clock, etc.) won't be available for a while.

SmartphoneShop.nl (as well as HTC Netherlands) is showing the HTC Titan release date as October 4th, while HTC Accessory Store (both for NL and UK) has the cradle accessory delivery estimation for 50+ days. So we have October for the handset and November for the cradle/dock? For us Brits it's not so bad as Amazon has the HTC devices (both Radar and Titan) as October 15th.

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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!

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AppFlow updated to 2.0 with new features

A while back we took a quick look at AppFlow, which provides a new way to browse apps on the Marketplace. It has since been updated to version 2.0, which brings with it a number of features and improvements thanks to the amount of feedback accumulated.

So what's new?

The live tile supported by the app has been revamped with a new icon and the tile shows the total number of apps in the Marketplace, the daily featured app as well as the icons of the 50 newest apps approved. Categories used in the Marketplace are now accessible in AppFlow (entertainment, tools & productivity, etc.) and support has been added to include free, trial & paid and paid filters for search.

A noticeable improvement in the update is the speed of loading app icons and other content, which makes AppFlow much quicker than the Marketplace and other browsing apps, thanks to the download of all images in a single request. Local currencies are now displayed instead of the US dollar.

Some new lists have been added that include:

  • Best Live Tile Apps – "apps you’ll want to pin on your home screen"
  • David vs Goliath – "official apps of big brands and their unofficial counterparts"
  • Apps Gone Free – "apps that were paid but now are freely available"

You can download AppFlow (Zune link) from the Marketplace for free.

Thanks Akos for sharing this with us!

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SkyDrive to get unlimited storage

Here's some interesting news surrounding SkyDrive. The growing service has seen increased usage through Windows Phone, Office and soon-to-be apps for iOS and Android. Microsoft have been continuously pushing it to rival competitive storage solutions and are now reported to be planning unlimited storage.

Before we all lose our minds with the whole "OMGWTFBBQ?!" emotion, let's take a quick gander at the proposed storage features:

  • Unlimited storage space for all Office documents
  • Unlimited storage space for all photos
  • 25 GB of free storage for everything else

What's good? Unlimited storage for Office documentation and photos taken on our Windows Phone handsets, but unfortunately we'll have capped space for music and all other files. Still, 25GB worth of storage is more than what the average user requires. With apps for OS X, iOS and Android as well as native integration with Windows and WP I can see myself converting along with many more.

This may also confirm the integration of the 5GB "SkyDrive synced storage" for Windows Live Mesh with SkyDrive for devices added to accounts. We'll have to see when the roll out happens.

Source: LiveSide

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RWC 2011 - App Spotlight

Following the Rugby World Cup? Why not check out the official RWC 2011 app for Windows Phone? Featuring an interesting Metro design, the app allows users to access live commentary and coverage of matches, statistics and video highlights. The latest news and videos are also available for viewing to keep up-to-date. 

Fan Zone is presently available that enables the user to find out what events are upcoming in New Zealand. Detailed stadium information is accessible with history, matches and the layout including seating, facilities and ticket offices. Social sharing options are present throughout the app.

You can download RWC 2011 from the Marketplace for free.

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Perfect Scan has been on the Windows Phone Marketplace since late June and the developers have been quit busy with the updates. We've seen an increase in email size (bumped to 20mb) and support for Dropbox and Google Documents.

The most recent updates have fixed bugs and glitches associated with email export and Dropbox crashes for non-US regional settings.

Sending a scanned document to either source is easy. Just swipe over to the DropBox or Google Doc page in the Export Menu, enter your email/password and done.  We liked Perfect Scan (here's our review) and adding Dropbox and Google Docs options to the export menu only improves things.

There is a trial version available for Perfect Scan to let you try before buying and the full version is running $2.99. You can find Perfect Scan here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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Love Windows Phone? Want it to go as far as a platform can go? You can now make a small difference by voting in the IDEA 2011: People's Choice Award, which Windows Phone is entered. simply tick the box and fire in your submission. This small act could prove to become invaluable positive coverage for the platform.

If you'd like to vote for Windows Phone to receive the award, head on over to the vote submission page.

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AdDuplex: a look at app capabilities

A while ago Alan Mendelevich, Founder of AdDuplex, published an interesting article about apps in the Marketplace. Much like a previous Marketplace analysis by Justin Angel we take a look at a sample of available apps, but instead of looking at a Marketplace specific breakdown, Alan walks us through app capabilities.

In the image above (click the enlarge) you can see we have nine app capabilities illustrated by percentage of the 50 top apps taken in the Marketplace (July '11). To give a quick run-through, we have owner identity, location-based services, media library, web browser, phone identity, data connection, microphone, sensors and push notifications. As is to be expected, data connectivity is the most used capability within apps, but it's interesting to see owner identity and phone identity on 24% and 26% respectively.

Source: AdDuplex

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Sky News for Windows Phone now available

BSkyB has released an app in the Marketplace that provides a new platform for news to be delivered to Windows Phone users. What makes this app so special is that you can stream the channel for free over WiFi and 3G within the app. There are a number of categories available including: UK news, world news, sport, business, politics and "Strange!".

Viewing videos within articles is also featured, which is a nice touch not having to go into the browser to hunt down videos on-topic. The app is well crafted and is quick and nimble. The live TV streaming is superb over both 3G and WiFi (ensure you check your allowance before heading out of WiFi coverage). But wait, there's more. Not only can you share articles via social media but you can send reports directly from the app to the newsroom. Pretty neat.

We've had word that our US buddies can't get their paws on this app, let us know in the comments should you not be able to download it. Head on over to the Marketplace to download Sky News for free (UK only). Thanks, Andy J., for the tip!

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We continue our Xbox Live Developer Interview series by speaking with James Silva of Ska Studios. James and his partner/fiancée Michelle Juett are currently finishing up the Windows Phone-exclusive collection Z0MB1ES (on teh phone). Join us as we hit them up for details on that game as well as their Xbox 360 brawler, Charlie Murder.

Head past the break for the full interview and exclusive Z0MB1ES (on teh phone) screenshots.

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We noticed the other day on the HTC Radar and Titan that HTC moved their Attentive Phone from an app to within Settings--something that Samsung recently did with their GPS enhancer.

Now that same Attentive Phone is available for current HTC users as well (Mango only) by simply heading to the Marketplace. Interestingly, HTC now has two versions of Attentive Phone--the app and the settings version. The settings are the exact same as the app--so in that sense all this buys you is one less thing to clutter up your programs. We like the idea, so why not? Pick it up here in the Marketplace--but only for Mango HTC devices.

Thanks, @ogracia, for the tip!

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Pinball League: The Juggler moves to v1.3

Pinball League: The Juggler has been updated to version 1.3 and with the update comes a slight price reduction. The Windows Phone pinball game (here's our review) is also adding vibration feedback in the settings to give the game a more realistic feel.

Along with vibration feedback and the typical under-the-hood tweaks to improve performance, Pinball League: The Juggler's table performance has improved and social integration with Facebook and Twitter. You can now share your thoughts after making a high score or just talk a little smack.

Pinball League: The Juggler still has a free trial version but the full version has dropped down to $1.49. You can download both here (opens Zune) over at the Marketplace. It is our understanding that a Mango version is in the works and will be released shortly.

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The UK Dell Swarm for the Venue Pro has finished within 90 minutes of launch. The device was priced at £179.50 (about $285 US), a half price steep drop from the usual £359.00 and a reported 60 units were snapped up in an expected rush.  We saw a similiar price reduction on Dell's U.S. website some months ago.

Featuring a 4.1" AMOLED screen, bottom-sliding QWERTY keyboard and SD card compatibility, it's been a crowd favourite, regardless of the software issues.  It's a Windows Phone that grows on you.  

This could be a move by Dell to clear out inventory and get out of the Windows Phone market.  Hopefully, it's a move to clear the stock shelves to make room for a 2nd generation handset from Dell with FF camera and a smarter rear camera? One can only dream.

Source: Dell Swarm, via: WMPU

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NFL Live Tile - Mango App Spotlight

NFL Live Tile is a novelty app that just hit the Windows Phone Marketplace. It is a Mango app, so you'll need your Windows Phone updated, and allows you to display a little team pride on your Start Screen.

NFL Live Tile creates a tile on your Start Screen designed around your favorite NFL team logo. The tile is "live" in the it is double sided and flips every few seconds. You do have the ability to add text to the either side of the tile (e.g. Go Team, Packers Rule, Falcons Rule, etc).

It would be nice if the tile would update with your team's scores or display the next game on the schedule automatically. Another thing to remember about NFL Live Tile is that it won't save your text within the app. If you launch the app after creating a tile, the text fields will be blank. If you enter new text, you'll need to make sure your team logo is selected or you'll get a blank tile.

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HTC continues to roll out the news apps. Today they released two of them, the first up is Locations: "Save your favorite locations with photo, voice and note. Share your favorite locations to your friends"

The app is quite basic and is basically HTC's Footprints from their Sense days on Windows Mobile. In short, you launch it, it finds your location and then you take a photo. With that pic you can add a category, give it a title, address and add a voice memo. You can then share it via email or messaging. Pretty basic, but kind of cool. You can find that app here in the Marketplace. Mango only.

The second app is a little more robust. Connected Media, which we reported on earlier,  allows you to "View photos and play music on video stored on media servers. You can also send media from your device to networked media players, such as TVs or set top boxes"

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Yesterday we reported that Microsoft Taiwan may be getting ready to release Windows Phone Mango--either an update or new devices. Instead, it turns out to be a promotion...a pretty cool promotion at that. The site you see above is a bunch of Tiles with photos from Facebook users who've uploaded their pics to the site. In turn, they're entered in a contest to win a Mango phone, which we have to admit is pretty clever. It joins the unique KDDI/Facebook People Hub generator site we saw earlier.

Even more clever is how on the site you can grab the screen and scroll around. We even like how the tiles switch with sideways animation---which raises the question, could Microsoft add sideways tile animation to display even more info?

Take a look at the site: http://www.microsoft.com/taiwan/promo/wpmango/

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As we still stand in awe at Microsoft's superb job at the design and structure of the Windows Phone YouTube page, we've noticed they've started a new series of short films that cover the lives of Windows Phone users. The clip above follows the work of the Eagle Rock Yacht Club, a non-profit dodge ball league and community-focused organisation founded by Chris Alves and Craig Fowler in Los Angeles, and how it's easier for them to keep socially active to help spread awareness via network integration on the platform.

It's an interesting take on "social good", which is never a bad thing for platform publicity and brand awareness. I think what will surprise most folk is how Microsoft is going about Windows Phone. Wonder if they'll come to WPCentral for us to explain how WP is helping our lives at the office. This'll be the picture of our Me Series video:

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AVG has taken to their blog to respond to the recent criticism of their Windows Phone 7 security suite. The app has been claimed by 3rd parties to collect and send your GPS information along with any identifying information e.g. email, device make, model, etc. Since the controversy, the app has been temporarily removed from the Marketplace by Microsoft until an investigation is complete.

AVG in their response write a lot but say very little. In short, they state their motivations for entering the WP7 ecosystem--something we don't begrudge them for, even if our security seems "tough enough". They then go on to say they worked with Microsoft on the app, including training, app feedback and suggested changes. Finally they claim that:

  • We do not share or otherwise disclose your data to anyone without your permission.
  • We do not mine your data for patterns.
  • We do not use your data to target ads.
  • We do not access your location data without your permission.

Regarding the scan engine, they have this to say:

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