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Last weekend was the release of DFT's HSPL/RSPL tools, tools which would enable one to begin the process of making a custom ROM for their HTC Windows Phone (first generation, except for the Sprint Arrive and Verizon Trophy). A few days later, we had a custom ROM for the HD7.  Flash forward to today and DFT have released their "Freedom ROM" featuring Mango build 7713 (that's one more than 7712 which developers got, but still not the RTM'd 7720).

The ROMs are ChevronWP7 unlocked, lack carrier customizations but do include your standard HTC apps. Other than that, we're talking a pretty straight port with no other discernible difference. Still, this is more about a proof-of-concept and a first step than anything else and for that, impressive.

The ROMs support 22 languages and the following phones: Gold (HTC Pro 7,T7575), Mozart (HD3,T8697,T8698,T8699), Mondrian (Surround,T8788), Spark (Trophy,T8686), Schubert (HD7, T9292,T9295,T9296) and as of now, this ROM cannot be updated via Zune though that may change later. We'll still sit on the sidelines here for a bit, but a big round of applause to DFT for this accomplishment.

Source: XDA; via: Pocketnow

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Minesweeper and Sudoku Mini-Interview

At WPCentral, we’re big fans of Babaroga, makers of the unique Xbox Live game Zombies!!! Last week we revealed that Babaroga’s Minesweeper and Sudoku are both coming to Xbox Live as free, ad-supported games. Naturally the Windows Phone gaming community has a ton of interest in these two titles. So today we bring you this mini-interview with Andreja Djokovic, Babaroga CEO and Founder that delves deeper into their twists on two classic games.

Head past the break for the full interview.

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WPCentral continues our Xbox Live Developer Interview series by speaking with Game House's Ken Murphy. GameHouse, a division of RealNetworks, is truly a casual gaming juggernaut, with too many PC games to count and three Windows Phone titles so far. In this interview, Ken graciously discusses the casual game genre, the Doodle Jump Achievement that nobody has unlocked, and lots more.

Head past the jump for the full, fantastic interview.

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We're not going to lie, the 'I Love Windows Phone' site and fans have a bit more enthusiasm for the launch of Windows Phone than we had here.  What you are watching above is a fan made video made for a "Mango" preview meet-up held in Taipei a few weeks ago. Okay, so it's not like a ton of people showed, but damn these kids have spirit! Anyways, it's a fun video for the weekend and great to see our friends in the Asian markets jumping on the Windows Phone train.  You can see more pics here.

Maybe we should organize a meet-up someday. Hmmm...

Source: ILoveWP; Thanks, Nicholas, for the heads up!

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The return of USB storage to Windows Phone

We covered using your phone as a USB storage device awhile ago. It's one of those features that lots of folks want but the demand waxes and wanes, usually based on remembering that our phones can't do it natively. For the record, Microsoft always frowned upon this practice as you could theoretically screw something up. We're not even sure if the original hack works anymore (we're betting 'no') but that hasn't stopped developer Den Delimarsky from coming up with his own solution.

His method is detailed in full in this post and we'll leave the nitty-gritty to the developers out there. As he says, you can do this yourself though for us non-techies he's looking to release this publicly when it's all good and ready (at least we really hope he does).

"You probably always wanted to use your Windows Phone device as a USB storage device but never could. Well, this is solvable. There were a couple of hacks floating around, but I was curious to see if I can do it by myself. Well, I found a way to do it without third-party OS hacks and only with the help of a simple application built around the Microsoft.Smartdevice.Connectivity assembly.

I am not releasing the application itself at this point because there is more work to be done, but you can take a peek at what it looks like."

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We know that the Toshiba TG01 is used by Microsoft and probably some testers elsewhere for running Windows Phone 7. Were they just for internal testing or was Toshiba experimenting with WP7? We'll probably never know why the Windows Mobile device was "upgraded" to WP7, but a few were. Though they are not as popular as the Asus dev phones, there's no reason to imagine that one would never turn up in private hands. And put up for sale..

That seems to the case at XDA, where an unknown forum member 'wp7tg01' is reportedly selling his. No specific price is set, but offers are being taken for the elusive device. But buyer beware, for one, no one knows this fella meaning there's no rep to judge his authenticity on. Number two, this is hardly the slam-dunk Windows Phone device that you can get for your hard earned money (remember, this hardware is 2+ years old!). From the description:

"The device is working properly, however the camera doesn't work with this ROM. It is carrier unlock, and I am only selling the device and battery without any accessories...You can make calls, surf the web, use Wifi, Marketplace, Xbox Live, the works."

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Good news for devs out there, it's just been announced that the Silverlight Toolkit for Windows Phone will be getting a refresh sometime in August.

This will be the Mango SDK 7.1 refresh, giving developers just a few extra weeks to tweak their Silverlight extensions before the Marketplace starts accepting Mango apps. No word on the exact changes the new toolkit will contain, but we bet it will have some goodies in there that devs will want to get their hands on ASAP.

We'll keep you posted if any more info comes our way...

Source: Silverlight Codeplex; via @jeffwilcox

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In an interesting story over at the Inquirer, Raj Talluri, VP of product management at Qualcomm revealed that they were never exclusive to Microsoft or Windows Phone, that in fact there was and still is not a written agreement between them and Redmond.

At least with regards to the first generation of Windows Phone, Qualcomm was thought to be an exclusive partner with Microsoft. As it turns out, they are certainly a valued partner but there was no reason for companies to use other, competing platforms like Broadcom, nVidia or Texas Instruments. Even the Focus and Omnia 7 eschew Samsung's own processor for Qualcomm's. That for us raises the question as to why? One reason is we know Qualcomm had ported and worked on WP7 for a long time and perhaps their processing solutions were just a better value for OEMs. From back in March:

“We stepped out some time ago with a major investment in high level operating system and porting to Microsoft was one of those. So we’re the first to port the Win Mobile 7 and I think we’re the only chip set provider yet today. That was a good year effort of hard work for us to get to that point.”

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Mobile Nations 4: From boardroom to bedroom

Mobile Nations 3: Full house

Phil, Kevin, Tim, Dan, and Rene talk Google vs. Microsoft patent slap-fight, new BlackBerrys (new BlackBerrys!!), waiting on Pre 3 and the TouchPad 3.0.2 update, and Apple eating all the mobile profits. This is Mobile Nations!

Agenda

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In an arithmetic-filled tweet yesterday, Asymco analyst Horace Dediu claimed that Microsoft made more money from sales of HTC Android phones in Q2 than it did from total WP7 sales.  While the numbers he used were not exactly "official," His rough estimate goes like this: MS would have received $15 for each of the 1.4 million WP7 devices sold, for a toal of $21 million.  HTC sold an estimated 12 million phones, the bulk of them running Android.  And according to Citi, HTC would be required to pay Microsoft $5 for each of those 12 million, totalling $60 million.

Of course, there are plenty of ways to dispute the exact numbers, but this raises some interesting ideas.  Firstly, despite recent reports of WP7's "abysmal" revenue, we know that Microsoft is committed to it.  So by collecting money from companies like HTC and, possibly, other OEMs who use Android, they can funnel money back into floating WP7 until it presumably takes off in the near future.  That allows them to cut losses until it makes a profit, much like what happened for the first five years of Xbox. 

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One thing is clear: Adobe Flash has fallen out of favor with many on the web, especially in the mobile arena where Apple took a hardline stance and surprisingly, so did Microsoft (yeah, don't expect Flash anytime soon).

Adobe though is evidently moving on and have proposed 'Edge', an HTML5 based web based tool that will supposedly deliver "Flash like" animation on the web. So far, the focus for these tools have been for the iPhone but not too surprisingly, Windows Phone is on their radar too--after all, IE9 is a fully functional HTML5 browser, so why not?

"Adobe® Edge is a new web motion and interaction design tool that allows designers to bring animated content to websites, using web standards like HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3.

Edge will be updated regularly to add new functionality, stay ahead of evolving web standards, and incorporate user feedback to provide the best functionality and experience possible. This is an early look at Edge with more capabilities to come."

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Free MS ebooks now offered in reader formats

Back in October, we told you about Microsoft's emphasis on getting developers to check out WP7 and their posting of free ebooks including Programming Windows Phone 7 by author/developer Charles Petzold.  Until recently, you could only get them in the PDF or XPS format, which was inconvenient for those with ebook readers.  However, Microsoft is now offering Petzold's book, along with a few others, in MOBI and EPUB format.

While Programming Windows Phone 7 is currently the only WP7-related title out there, multi-faceted techies may find interest in the other ebooks on Visual Studio 2010, Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, etc.

You can click the links to get Petzold's book in EPUB and MOBI.

Source: Microsoft; Via: Softpedia

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This could be read a few different ways but it looks like that WhatsApp may be looking to make a Windows Phone client after all. The super popular messaging client, found on the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Nokia devices is only missing Windows Phone from its dominant lineup.

Through a recent job posting, we can see one of the job requirements for a mobile client is programming in C#. The only mobile platform that uses C# is of course, Windows Phone. So that's the good news as WhatsApp is easily the most requested program for Windows Phone that we get around here and with Mango's access to the contacts database, the company has little excuse to not do an app.

The downside is this may mean that an official app is still months out from happening, as we would think it would take a minimum of 3-4 months to get a program up an running. But we're speaking from not knowing all the details and perhaps they're looking for additional help and are not starting from scratch.

Source: WhatsApp; via Plaffo

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Samsung responds to Omnia 7 users with fix

Back in May, editors of French website MonWindowsPhone compiled a list of complaints and bug reports from Samsung Omnia 7 users on their forums.  The issues ranged from error messages, to battery life, to minor annoyances.  MonWindowsPhone then drafted a letter including over 100 things that they would like to see fixed and sent it to Samsung France.

Samsung responded in July, saying that they were taking action based on the reports of the user community.  Now MonWindowsPhone is reporting that a software update is due out in a few weeks that will address many of those issues.  The update will also help prepare the device to be upgraded to Mango.

Here's to community action and companies that listen!

Source: MonWindowsPhone

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HD/HQ issue fixed with YouTube Apps

The other day we reported that YouTube client apps such as Supertube and LazyTube lost the ability to stream or download HD/HQ videos from Youtube. The problem stemmed from YouTube changing resource addresses of videos.

Fortunately, the developers of these fine Windows Phone applications were already working on a solution. Both Supertube and LazyTube have updated versions available to once again allow you to enjoy HD/HQ videos from your Windows Phone.

"YouTube", Lazyworm's free version still has an update pending certification with Microsoft that will fix this issue. We are told that update should be pushed out very soon.

You can find the updated version of Supertube here and LazyTube here (both links open Zune) over at the Marketplace.

Thanks goes out to Atta and Kevin for the tips!

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Elop on MeeGo and WP7

Some bitterness has remained with Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, announcing the N9 on MeeGo and then somewhat shifting all focus onto "SeaRay". Many MeeGo fans are slightly confounded as to whether Nokia will be supporting their platform or will Windows Phone receive more attention in favour with Microsoft.

Michael Faro-Tusino, of MyNokiaBlog, decided to get in touch with Elop and get some answers. He was greeted with the following reply:

"Thanks for your note.  The second button on the side is indeed the power/screen lock button. We are not confirming the sequencing of markets, as they each have unique requirements that must be considered and it is hard to predict the precise order as we go through various national certification programs. The N9 will be supported by Nokia in the years to come to ensure customers are well served.  And finally, elements of the N9 will live on in the future, although we are deliberately not sharing all details, although we have noted that elements of industrial design, user interface and the development environment are of particular interest. In our strategic assessment, we determined that the MeeGo effort could not quickly enough deliver us a range of solutions across price points, radio technologies, etc. for us to effectively compete, so we had to make an alternative decision."

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Engage Digital has announced the App Developer Hackathon and Bootcamp for Windows Phone developers and those working on other mobile platforms. The Hackathon will take place on October 27, 2011 at the Santa Clara Convention Center. During the day long event developers will learn new skills, build mobile apps, compete for prizes and network within the mobile app development community.

The App Development Hackathon is being described as being for both coding gurus and beginners. There will be beginner classes plus the opportunity to tap into the expertise of the more seasoned developers in attendance. The Hackathon is a part of the App Developer Conference that runs from October 26-27, 2011. Sponsors and participants of the Conference include Pandora, Wal-Mart, Samsung, AT&T, Netflix, Qualcomm and many other industry leaders.

If you're going to be in the Santa Clara area in late October, you can find all the details on the Hackathon at AppDevHackathon.com and information on the App Developer Conference here at AppDevConf.com.

Thanks Chris for the tip!

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Google responds to Microsoft and vice-versa

We're almost over this whole Google/Microsoft catfight that's been happening. Almost. While good theater, it's not really solving any problems nor addressing them and it makes both companies look bad. Of course we'll start the blame with Google, who's original missive was more PR than anything and most agree, poorly planned.

Last night, Microsoft seemingly pulled the rug from underneath Google by noting they offered the search company a role in the Novell patent purchase. Google turned them down and didn't bother revealing any of this info in the original post, which was deceptive at best.

We'll save the rest for the break...

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If you use SuperTube, LazyTube or any other 3rd party YouTube app, you may have noticed you've lost the ability to stream or even download videos in HQ/HD resolution. Instead, you're left only with "low quality" which is not exactly ideal.

Here's the situation, as explained to us by the developers of SuperTube:

"Today Youtube changed the resources address of videos. All Youtube client app can't stream the video in HQ or HD. The downloading video function doesn't work as well."

So that's the bad news and the reason why. The good news is that the developers of SuperTube have finished a v1.9 update, which we have on hand and we can say this fixes the issues. Version 1.9 for SuperTube has been submitted to the Marketplace and pending approval, should be available in 2-3 days.

We'll also bet that LazyTube will have a similar fix on the way, meaning this is just a temporary issue that we can all blame on Google :-P

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We heard about build 8200 of Windows Phone 7 floating around recently. The build was speculated to be the next iteration of the OS after Mango. Code-named "Tango" (keeping up with the "last letter is O" naming) build 8200 and beyond are thought to be another interim release bringing new features, bug fixes and act as a hold over till "Apollo" aka Windows Phone 8 hits.

Indeed, it looks to be the case and what you see to the right is reportedly a shot from the OS. Specifically you're looking at "Content Search" or rather the OS's ability to first search within the device before going to the Web i.e. it's basically a global search tool:

"Content Search (Build 8200 Tango), it more or less works, first it´s finding content directly on the phone, and then on the web, the good thing is that Facebook pages work now (finally), i don´t know about twitter/LinkedIn, i haven´t them synced up, voice activated searching is also possible, similar function what iPhone has."

Pretty impressive as a new feature and it shows that Microsoft is barreling down on the OS, pumping out builds as fast as they can complie them. Good news for us.

Source: Pretaktovanie.sk; Big thanks to Wictory, for the tip!

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Here's an app that slipped below the radar: RunPee. Yes, perhaps an oddly titled app, it's actually quite accurate to its purpose, which is to let you know the best time to take a bathroom break during the latest blockbuster movie at the cinemas.

The app is simple and to the point: it lists the latest films out in theaters, each film tells you the run time and three times to go during the movie. The first two "breaks" are positioned about 1/3 and 2/3 through the movie and provide cues to let you know that the scene is coming up.  While running back to the cinema, why not gander back at your phone and read what you're missing? Yup, someone has summarized the 4-5 minute interval you are given for you, so it'd be rude to not read it!

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Pretty sweet deal if you have a Brother printer on hand. The company has just put out an official app that will make your phone way more useful to use. Their app, clumsily called 'iPrint&Scan' does what it says: it allows you to print from your phone to your Brother printer as well as scan documents/photos back to your phone--that's pretty darn sweet, if you ask us. It's all done via your WiFi network and you better have a compatible printer to go with it.

  • Easy to use menu.
  • Simple steps to print your favorite photos.
  • Print photos directly from your Windows Phone 7 camera.
  • Scan directly to your Windows Phone 7 device.
  • Save scanned images to your Windows Phone 7 device.
  • No computer and no driver required.

We're kind of jealous we don't have this set up just to give it a go, because we can imagine a few scenarios where this would be helpful. The app is of course free and can be found here in the Marketplace. Thanks, jhelvie, for the tip

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WorldCard Mobile is a pretty popular app allowing you to take a picture of a business card, convert the info using OCR and adding the relevant info to a directory within the app. It basically saves you a lot of time by not having to copy the information line by line on to your phone.

The downside on Windows Phone? Third party devs don't have access to the contacts database/People Hub, meaning the information from Worldcard Mobile is siloed. This is something which "Mango" is suppose to address by allowing access to various databases on the phone, including contacts.

The good news for now is WorldCard Mobile has bumped the app to v1.2 and by first converting the scanned info into a v-card you can now export-to-create a new contact in the People Hub. Sure, it's an extra step but it sure goes a long way in making this app a lot more useful, especially for the $9.99 price tag (there is a trial). In addition, you can now export card images to the Photo Hub. Our bet of course is Penpower Inc. will update it for Mango, allowing direct access to contacts, but since that could be two months away, this is a good workaround.

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Folks who use Evernote should be getting the notice for the v1.2 update that just pushed through. Luckily the developers of the app were kind enough to make a video detailing all of the changes.

For one, the app should load and resume faster now, especially if you have lot of notes on your device. Number two, you can now edit text in rich text documents which should make some lives easier. In addition you can save photos not directly to the Picture Hub, attach an existing picture (as opposed to just using the camera), clear previous searches and use encrypted notes. Overall, a solid update if you ask us.

Check out the video walk through above to see it all in action and grab a copy in the Marketplace here.

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Next week, two new Xbox Live games are coming to the Marketplace! That hasn’t happened in ages. Even more unusual, both games will be free. The ‘official’ Minesweeper and Sudoku apps come to Windows Phone courtesy of developer Babaroga, who we interviewed back in June, and Microsoft Game Studios.

Head past the break for our exclusive first screenshots of the two games and lots of details!

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