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Viper SmartStart beta demonstrated at BUILD

In a press release today, Directed Electronics announced that it has been working with Microsoft to bring its Viper SmartStart automotive app, which allows users to lock/unlock, and of course, start their vehicle via smartphone, to the Windows Phone platform "later in the year."  In conjunction with the announcement, Microsoft representatives demonstrated a beta version for those in attendance at the BUILD conference in Anaheim, CA. 

"We're very excited about partnering with Microsoft to extend Viper SmartStart products to the Windows Phone 7 platform," said Mike Simmons, Executive VP of Directed Electronics. "Our developers were able to quickly bring the app to Windows Phone 7 because they are so familiar with the Microsoft environment."

SmartStart, created by the same Viper brand of car alarms and other accessories, has a wide range of other smartphone-based apps for the car and home, though it's not clear from the press release if all of them are equally as close to arriving for WP7.  You can see a demo of the various functions on their website.

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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.

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Nokia Sea Ray silicone cases spotted in N9 video

Well this is odd to say the least. What looks to be three Nokia Sea Ray silicone cases have been spotted in an N9 video hanging up on the wall. In the picture above we can see the presence of a camera button hole on the side as well as a similar looking location for the LED flash.

Are we simply seeing things as we eagerly await the handset to be released or is this a strange coincidence? Let us know what you think in the comments! Check the N9 video below.

Source: MyNokiaBlog, thanks JustVisiting for the heads up! 

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Microsoft’s BUILD Conference is currently underway in Anaheim, California. The event primarily centers on Windows 8, which we’ve already reported features the beloved Metro UI. Windows 8 also shows an increased gaming focus over previous versions of Windows, with strong Xbox Live (formerly known as Games for Windows Live on PCs) integration. Clearly Microsoft wants the Xbox Live experience to be seamless across Xbox 360, Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8.

Here’s where things get interesting for mobile gamers. During the second day of BUILD, Microsoft announced that there will be cross-platform gaming between Windows 8 and Windows Phone. They demonstrated this with Tanks (unclear if that’s the final name), a Broiled Earth-style competitive game. According to Techin5, there was no visible lag as players took turns blasting away at each other (note that it is a turn-based game). Tanks has a clean, cartoonish art style that should appeal to casual gamers on PC and Windows Phone alike, assuming it comes to market.

We’ll let you know if any more Windows Phone-related announcements escape from the conference.

source: Techin5 Thanks Jubbing for the information!

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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

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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!

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With IUGO’s Zombie Attack! 2 on sale this week, it’s only fitting that another of the publisher’s games is coming to Xbox Live next week. Implode!, which was announced in August last year and whose Achievements were revealed this January, will finally hit the Marketplace on September 21.

Implode! is a physics puzzle game in which players are tasked with demolishing various structures. The more efficiently things are destroyed, the smaller the pile of rubble. It’s sort of a mix of iBlast Moki and Angry Birds. Sure, Xbox Live has plenty of physics puzzlers already – why, we just reviewed Enigmo most recently. But the destructive approach and chalkboard theme make this one a bit different.

Implode! will cost $2.99 when it hits next Wednesday. 

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Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, has spoken out about when Nokia is expected to be releasing the first Windows Phone handset - Q4 this year. We've previously covered this prediction even though many speculated that it will be delayed until 2012. What's interesting about the above video interview, is how he explains the process that Nokia will launch the device internationally.

Nokia is planning to release the first handset on a country by country basis with adding more over time (this ties in with the Australia 2012 launch mention). The company is currently working with operators in multiple countries including China. He goes onto preach about how awesome Nokia Windows Phone handsets will be, which will hold true with their navigation and map capabilities as well as a history of interesting hardware to ensure the user experience is something new.

Something for Symbian users, Elop mentioned that the company will provide the help and support for Symbian users who may wish to migrate to newer hardware running other operating systems, whether it be WP or MeeGo.

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As you may have noticed, the Windows Phone Marketplace didn’t update last night. Most weeks, the new Xbox Live release and  Deal of the Week go live around 2 AM Pacific Standard Time. This week it has not, which means Collapse! still isn’t available, nor can Zombie Attack! 2 be purchased at a discounted price yet.

The last time the Marketplace failed to update on time, things finally straightened out that Wednesday evening. Hopefully things get fixed a little sooner this time, but the waiting probably won’t kill us. Except for our reader Dark Mirage – he was so excited for Collapse!, I hesitate to imagine how this news will affect him. At any rate, we’ve contacted Microsoft to ask about the delay and will update when they respond or the Marketplace refreshes.

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Palringo for Windows Phone 7 -- first screenshots

Here you go folks. Just yesterday we were reporting on Palringo, the super IM client, coming over to Windows Phone 7 and today you get your first look.

Above are three shots from the upcoming release and it is what it is. The app is still in beta meaning things can change. As the app comes along, we'll pass on features list and some more screenies to wet your appetite. We're quite excited about this release as it'll help complete the Windows Phone ecosystem.

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Gravity Guy lead

Gravity Guy is famous for having one of the hardest Xbox Live Achievements on Windows Phone - “Perfect Run” – which requires players to beat the entire 30-level game in one go and without dying. But it also has two Secret Achievements, whose names and descriptions can’t be viewed within the game itself. Players have been trying everything from earning high scores to playing for extended hours in order to uncover those Achievements.

We’ve got good news and bad news for Gravity Guy owners. Head past the jump for the full story.

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Vote Windows Phone in EA Battlefield Poll

EA is running a small poll on the Battlefield Blog asking what mobile OS we use when browsing the web. The choices available are iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Surprisingly for skeptics, Windows Phone is at 28.9%, while Android and iOS are at 34.9% and 36.3% respectively - not much in it. The total number of votes at the time of writing this article is 44,375.

Show the platform some love by heading over to the blog and voting Windows Phone (the poll is in the sidebar on the left-hand side). It's nothing major, but as Tesco keeps reminding us here in the UK: every little helps.

Source: Battlefield Blog, thanks VoodooKing for the tip!

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When Alex Madrigal, writer for The Atlantic, saw a report that said people play 200 million minutes of Angry Birds on smartphones every day, he decided to try to figure out what affect that had on business productivity.  Using the same methodology that consulting firms like Challenger, Gray, and Christmas use to find the affect such things as fantasy football and March Madness have on business costs, he put the admittedly unscientific numbers to work.  The results are staggering.

According to his humorous calculations, people playing Angry Birds at work costs American businesses over $1.5 billion in lost wages.  He estimates that 5% of the total minutes played are Americans at work and multiplied it by the annual salary of the average smartphone user.  Even though there are quite a few liberties taken with devising the numbers, as someone who is guilty of this infraction at work myself, I totally believe that Madrigal's not too far off.  But ask yourself this, if these people weren't busy playing Angry Birds, would they actually be spending that time working?  I don't think so.

Source: The Atlantic; Via: Business Insider

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Windows 8 Developer Preview now available

We mentioned it yesterday and apparently in the wee hours of the night Microsoft released the Developer Preview of Windows 8. It is a pre-beta version of the new OS for developers to tinker with and Microsoft makes it clear that you bear the risk of using it, noting that it may not be stable or work correctly.

Microsoft provides several download options (64-bit, 32-bit, with tools, without tools, etc). There are a few system requirements for running the Preview that include:

  • 1gb RAM on 32-bit systems or 2gb RAM on 64-bit
  • 16gb of hard disk space on 32-bit systems or 20gb of hard drive space on 64-bit
  • DirectX 9 graphics with WDDM 1.0 or higher drivers
  • 1GHz or faster processor on either 32-bit or 64-bit systems

To take advantage of the touch input, you will need a screen that supports multi-touch.  One last note on using the Windows 8 Preview is that you can't uninstall the Preview. To get rid of it, you'll have to reinstall your previous OS via restore or installation media.

If your feeling up to the adventure, you can find the Developer's Preview of Windows 8 here.

Thanks goes out to H3ALY for the tip!

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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!

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Fans of NextGen Reader will be excited to know that the developer has completed v2.0 of the app, which will see it become Mango-fied, adding all sorts of neat new features sure to make this app even better. For those unfamiliar, NextGen is billed as one of "the fastest Google Reader clients" for Windows Phone. Indeed, due to its minimalist Metro design it's not only fast but is packed full of features.

We were able to play around with an early release of the app and have come away quite impressed. In addition to the Mango v2.0 update, there will be one more for NoDo users (v1.17) and he's already started on v2.1 for Mango. Check out the video above for our quick hands on and look for the final release to hit the Marketplace soon (we'll announce it). As to all the new Mango features in v2.x, here you go:

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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:

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Logic puzzles, physics puzzles… It’s been a while since we’ve seen a straight up match-3 puzzle game released to Xbox Live. That changes today, now that Collapse! - the game that sent some of our more hardcore readers into fits of rage - is now available on the Marketplace.

In GameHouse’s Collapse!, lines of colored blocks slowly rise from the bottom of the screen. Players simply tap groups of three or more same-colored blocks to clear them, which in turn causes other blocks to fall or… COLLAPSE!!!1! I’m not being sarcastic; I just wanted to type it that way. Exclamation marks in titles get my adrenaline pumping, ya know? Anyway, the game’s tap-tap rhythm makes it easy to pick up and play on the go. Gamers who need goals and variety aren’t out of luck, as the extensive Adventure mode contains all kinds of twists on the standard gameplay.

Collapse! costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. You can get it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace. After you actually try the game, let us know what you think. (Thanks, @tamon_y, for the heads up!)

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Picasso inspired WP7 wallpapers

Pablo Picasso inspired many, and still remains to do so with both his work and approach to art. ILoveWP at Pixnet have published some Windows Phone wallpapers using the site mascot called Tiler. The designs are on parr with what Picasso is famous for and with the optional transparency they look awesome on WP handsets.

All hail the Cubist movement! We have the following:

Transparent collection

Mozart-the titanium (Music Hub)

Van Gogh-the titanium (XBOX LIVE)

Fanny-a TI (Picture Hub)

Nicole sunshine-a titanium and Goodall-a TI (People Hub)

Source: ILoveWP (Bing Translate); Thanks, Nicholas, for the tip!

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If you ask little old me, last week’s Xbox Live sale game was a bit of a dud. This week’s deal game isn’t much better. Zombie Attack! 2 is on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Zombie Attack! 2 is a tower defense game in which players actually control a human survivor who runs around and builds the towers. A fine idea in theory, but the execution leaves much to be desired. A few criticisms from our review: Clunky controls, a complete lack of music, a bug that can make sound effects refuse to play, help screens that clearly refer to the iPhone version’s tilt controls (absent here)… It’s a zombie-filled mess.

Worse, the crux of the game involves completing 10 Challenge levels, which take 45 minutes to an hour each and are just super boring. Seriously, there are much better tower defense games on Xbox Live, including Plants vs. Zombies and geoDefense. One of the two even has zombies

Zombie Attack! 2 is on sale for one week only. If you insist on picking up this rotting corpse of a game, you’ll find it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Rumor: Fujitsu IS12T coming to Taiwan next month

Looks like Taiwan is getting all sorts of rumors tonight, which must make those folks happy (or disappointed if proven false). The latest comes from Sogi.com.tw, which evidently is a reputable source for phone rumors and news. But instead of a Mango update, this is about a new Mango phone.

They're reporting that the Fujitsu IS12T, that super cool and waterproofed Mango phone, will be hitting Taiwan "next month". No word about where this info has come from, but others seem to put some faith in it and lets be honest, it's hardly a stretch of the imagination, what with Japanese and Chinese support being available in Mango.

Source: Sogi.com.tw; via I Love Windows Phones; Thanks, @Tortue, for the Twitter tip!

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Looks like HTC is pretty darn close to getting that Titan out the doors. We saw it earlier for Vodafone and T-Mobile and now it's showing up in the Netherlands for € 508 come October 7th. The device will be available on multiple carriers, including Telefort, Tele2 and Hi.  Users can also pre-order the phone now to make sure they get that monster in the mail by that date. Sounds good to us.

Source: Studentmobiel.nl; Thanks, Johan, for the tip!

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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

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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!

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Metro UI invades Windows 8

Microsoft turned its attention from the little screen of the Windows Phone to the big screen of the PC today and demoed Windows 8 at the 2011 BUILD developers conference.  And it looks awfully familiar.

Microsoft took center stage at the Anaheim, California event highlighting Windows 8 and the new Samsung Windows 8 tablet. Windows 8 is another major overhaul for a Microsoft OS and will offer focus on a touch-based UI that is optimized for tablets and looks really nice.

Steven Sinofsky, President of Microsoft's Windows Division stated in his keynote,

"We reimagined Windows. From the chipset to the user experience, Windows 8 brings a new range of capabilities without compromise."

Windows 8 follows the Metro user interface we all have become familiar with through our Windows Phone and the Xbox 360 console. It lines up the PC with the rest of the Microsoft ecosystem rather nicely and will connect the three through Windows Live and Skydrive.  Even the lock screen shares the same features of your Windows Phone by displaying the date/time, any upcoming appointments, and unread message summaries.

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