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Cave is a Japanese developer best known for its 2D shoot-em-ups. On Xbox 360 they are responsible for Death Smiles, Nin2 Jump, and other hardcore games. Several of Cave’s shooters have even made it to iPhone. Will those games ever come to Windows Phone?

Chances are certainly improving, as the developer announced today that they are working on an original shooting game for WP7. No screens or details are available, but it’s about 20-30% completed. The unnamed game hasn’t been announced as an Xbox Live title, but it seems likely given the number of Xbox 360 titles they have published so far. Today’s announcement also makes Cave one of the precious few Japanese game developers to support Windows Phone at this stage. Let’s hope more – especially Square Enix – will follow!

Windows Phone gamers who are hungry for some Japanese-style shooter action right now may want to give Corona (from indie developer Kajak Games) a shot. It’s very much in the style of a Cave game and has fantastic art. The full version of Corona is here (Zune link) on the Marketplace, and there is also a free version.

Source: Cave Blog via Kotaku; Thanks also to @VirtuousLumox

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The Windows Phone Blog just posted that we should expect to see some more firmware updates rolling out for our phones. No specific make, model or carriers were mentioned, meaning we'll still be relying on your feedback.

Microsoft mentioned some new firmware two weeks ago and that they will improve "...things like battery life, call clarity and touch responsiveness - to name a few examples". Since then, we've seen the Mozart, Optimus 7, Omnia 7, HD7 and Venue Pro get some new core updates. Will we see new ones for the Surround, Quantum and Arrive next?

Interestingly, AT&T seems to have passed on the 7392 "security patch" for version 1.3 of the Focus aka the majority of them. Instead, it will be bundled with a future update, most likely "Mango". This is a bitt odd since the troubled v1.4 managed to get 7390 and 7392 about 10 days ago.

Source: Windows Phone Blog

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If you've ever attended a Microsoft conference/event, you'll know that they have a pretty good sense of humor, often demonstrated in video form.

This was no different from the Microsoft Global Exchange conference, held only last week. The video is meant to parody how Google's Gmail "rifles through your email", a not so subtle remark on Google's advertising business which shows targeted ads in your browser based on "keywords" in your email.

For those concerned with privacy, Google's whole ecosystem is ripe for criticism. If anything, this video should get folks talking a bit about such matters. At the very least, it's pretty freakin' funny.

Source: All About Microsoft/ZDNet

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Good news for you Weather Channel fans as that app gets a bump to version 1.5 today. Not too much has changed but there is a whole new section called iWitness Weather (cute). Basically it's localized pics people took of, well, the weather in your area. Sub-sections include nearby, featured and categories. Oddly enough, there doesn't seem to be a way to upload photos to the feature, which makes it a one way street for now.

The photos are kind of interesting, though we see some shots of dogs and people too meaning "verification" seems lax. Not exactly a killer feature, but nice anyways. And is it us or is the animated-weather new? You can grab the update in the Marketplace here.

(Thanks, David M., for the heads up!)

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We have two reports coming in from Italy and France that the voice guidance in Bing has been removed from the 7712 beta, even though it was present in the earlier one.

Voice guidance, for turn-by-turn directions, was one of the key features for Bing in the Mango update. While not as effective nor impressive as carrier-offered services (not to mention data usage), it was quite decent and you know, free.

Word of caution though: 7712 is obviously not 7720 aka the RTM build, so it is unclear at this point if this has been removed due to (a) time or (b) other, more permanent reasons. We'd like to think that this was just an omission from this build and not the final. We've reached out to Microsoft for clarification.

The good news for U.S. residents is it is still present in our release. Any of our international readers from other countries want to report in? Hit the comments...

Update: Gone from Australia too, according to Andrew in comments, meaning this isn't a language issue but rather something else. Appears to be missing from all markets except U.S & UK.

Source: Plfaffo and Professeur Thibault

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A superb thread has been created over at our forums by Tiny, where he goes into detail about his 32 hour drive across the U.S. As you can see in the map above, the blue line is Google and the red representing Bing. While both services providing the same directions, Bing took two diversions, thus making him choose Google with more trust for the first part of the journey.

At the start Bing calculated a route via Utah, which seems longer than the more direct route of Google. Turns out, even though the number of miles with Google was a smaller amount, the time saved (if any) was minimal due to sped restrictions and construction delays.

Bing didn't stop there with calculated issue prevention. Iowa, instead of Missouri, was chosen by Bing approximately half-way through the journey while Google remained on track with the direct approach. Although a warning was present that some roads may be closed, no alternative route was provided by Google. Following Bing would prove to be less trouble and more smooth.

For the rest of the journey and some final thoughts, head on past the break. 

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The Samsung Network Profile app, available in the Samsung Zone on the Marketplace, allows users to change between networks with settings automatically configured for data, MMS etc. as long as they're not currently in contract with a carrier.

We reported back in December that the app was updated and fixed unlocked issues users were experiencing. We've just got word the app has been updated again, but this time bringing a number of UK networks to the list:

  • O2 UK Postpay
  • O2 UK Prepay
  • Orange UK
  • T-Mobile
  • Virgin
  • Vodafone Contract
  • Tesco
  • Vodafone PAYG
  • BT Mobile
  • Asda
  • Vodafone IE
  • 02 IRL
  • Meteor
  • H3G IE
  • Tesco Mobile Ireland
  • Talk Mobile Contract
  • Talk Mobile PAYG

Do you use the Network Profile app, have you used any of the new networks added in?

Thanks for the tip David! 

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This is pretty cool, the above video shows Manan demoing a newly enabled feature in IE9 using SkyDrive - music streaming. The playback is thanks to IE9 in the latest build of Mango (7712), but it's a start and hopefully we will see further development into cloud streaming with SkyDrive to include media player features. Integrating this feature into Music + Video hub would make sense.

Our George Ponder, last month, covered a response by Mike Torres, a Microsoft's Group Program Manager for SkyDrive, to a reader on the Windows Team Blog:

"With MP3s, the Office hub won't stream your MP3s, no."

What's interesting to note is that he's still right. While OfficeHub seems as though it sports music playback, it's actually opening up your SkyDrive in IE9 for the streaming to begin. What do you guys make of this, and where do you see the development going?

Source: Being Manan, via: LiveSide

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Quantum users getting a foreign LG App Store?

File this under: Weird

Looks like some LG Quantum users, found mostly on AT&T, are getting a bit of surprise when they load up the Marketplace, specifically the LG App store is appearing in a foreign language (possibly Czech?). There's no real harm being done and users can still use apps from LG but it is a bit odd.

Makes you wonder if the LG App Store is hosted somewhere and there's a switch for languages/distribution that someone leaned on accidentally. Hopefully the foreign language intrusion won't last long. Anyone else having similar issues? (We're gonna test ours in a bit, she's in mid-Mango flash right now)

Update: Evidently not just Quantum users but Optimus as well :-/

Thanks, Mark W. and Travis O., for the tips and pics!

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MustEatBrains haunting the Marketplace

More Zombies are heading to your Windows Phone. This time around, it's with the game MustEatBrains from PNB Industries. You can choose to either fight on the side of the living or on the side of the zombies.

Fighting on the side of the undead, you chase after the "meddlesome warm blooded fools" scoring points for each heart you collect and receive a boost of endurance by dining on the remains. Brains are the delicacy that will give you brief periods of invulnerability.

Fight on the side of the living, you stand alone against the undead horde. Points are scored for each zombie you take out and you loose points should you take out innocent bystanders.

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More juicy peach for Windows Phone developers who are enjoying Mango - we know our Daniel Rubino is with updating his entire device inventory to the developer build. First off, build 7712 is now being pushed to developers (kudos to Jay Bennett with providing us with the above screenshot), be on the lookout for update notifications on Zune to move on from 7661.

Here are some instructions posted by Cliff Simpkins, in the official announcement over at the Windows Phone Dev blog:

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Scott Adams takes up Brandon Watson's offer

 

We recently covered Brandon Watson offering Scott Adams with a free Windows Phone handset to try out and to get his opinion. Scott has been having issues with both iOS and Android, so Brandon offered $1,000 to charity of Scott's choice if he doesn't enjoy the WP7 experience. All he's looking for in the OS is to perform like a dumbphone (calls not dropping etc.), easy email management and good battery.

Scott Adams has taken up this offer and will provide his critique opinion in a few weeks time. This is perfect for both Microsoft and the platform with more exposure and some strong feedback, whether it be positive or negative. Using the recent satisfaction survey as base that put WP7 above Android, here's hoping Scott enjoys the Metro UI experience. He joins Molly Wood, who also accepted Brandon's offer.

Source: Scott Adams' Blog

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Will Mango get more colors? Probably not.

The other big news today is the two new accent colors found on the Toshiba IS12T--namely a grey and citrus. Some people have taken this to mean that Mango itself will have these additional colors, to which we reply "probably not".

For one, Joe Belifiore has stated before that there are no new colors in "Mango" and we see no reason why that would change in the remaining builds of the OS. Second, OEMs and carriers have always had the ability to add custom accents to their devices. Case in point, my HTC Mozart from Orange UK--it literally has an accent called "Orange UK" and yes, it's different and in addition to the regular Orange (the former is darker).

That's obviously what is going on here as Toshiba wanted accent colors to match their unorthodox bright scheme--so they did. But we're going to bet you won't have any citrus in the final Mango build.

via: WPSauce, Mon Windows Phone, WinRumors

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Samsung already has the Galaxy SII variant coming this fall with Windows Phone "Mango" on board, then there's the GT-i8350 also with Mango and now another device, the SGH-i677 looks to coming a well.

Details have emerged via some coding in Samsung's own site, where the model number and web browser (IE9) are listed. In addition, there's Bluetooth and WiFi certification info that comports with the other info, lending some solid credence to the existence of this phone and it's Mango destiny.

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Lets catch up on a couple things here:

  1. Developers currently have build 7661 of Mango
  2. Build 7720 is the RTM version
  3. Microsoft has strongly suggested devs are getting an updated build

That last part comes from Microsoft's own Cliff Simpkins who tweeted last evening in response to this very question. His answer? "Give me a day to get an official answer for folks :)" He also noted in comments on the Windows Phone Blog "We're working to get devs an updated build soon. Stay tuned to the dev blog."

At this point, we're highly confident that developers will be getting an updated Mango build and we think it will be very soon. In fact, the Windows Phone Dev Podcast just tweeted a little while ago "we've got 7,712 reasons for you to look forward to tomorrow". While a build 7712 is not 7720, it's "close enough" as we know that build 7710 went to Nokia for the Sea Ray.

Hey, as someone with three phones running Mango, we think this sounds just peachy. (Free pun!)

via: Professeur Thibault

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TheChive comes to Windows Phone

We're not sure if this an officially endorsed TheChive app or not, but it's nice enough to pass along. TheChive is a pretty popular photo-entertainment/humor site (link) that has also pulled off some funny pranks/memes in the past.

Basically, it's a great time waster and the app by Full Revolution, Inc. is pretty minimalist but slick. As a result, the app is too the point and zippy for what it does: deliver the latest, greatest photos to your phone. It has all the major categories and even allows you to save the pics. There's no direct sharing option though nor search but ads are barely there (they show up only if you click a photo).

So if you like TheChive and/or like looking at interesting pics, here you go. Pick it up for free in the Marketplace here.

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Looks like Microsoft is continuing to explore various new social outlets via the internet, this time it's a new service called "MSN Postbox" (side note: it was earlier speculated by TechCrunch that "Postbox" was a Yelp competitor). What makes this service unique is two fold: it allow you to share photos along with comments to the "community" and two, there's a Windows Phone app now available to help make it easier.

Photos need to be "approved" before they are posted, so don't expect to go hog wild with it. It is a bit confusing as to the purpose, so we'll let Microsoft explain:

"Share your photos with millions of MSN readers directly from your phone with the MSN Postbox app. Also browse other readers’ submissions to see the best of what’s happening all around the United States.

MSN Postbox is a new curated photo-sharing site (part of the MSN.com web portal) that goes beyond your friends to connect with a bigger community about what going in on in your town, your life.

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Game House initially expected their Xbox Live title Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition to debut in August, but certification went faster than planned. Sally’s got her roots dyed, hair curled, and she is good to go. Thus Sally’s Salon is now available on the Marketplace.

Until now, Star Wars Cantina was the only game in town for Diner Dash fans. Thankfully Sally’s Salon is a much nicer (and frillier) game. Customers enter the salon with their hair all frizz-ay and it’s up to Sally to get them seated and trimmed to perfection. Seating each customer, meeting her styling needs, and checking her out - all while dealing with new customers requires fast tapping and dragging skills.  When the profits start rolling in, players can hire new employees, upgrade salon stations, and add new amenities such as magazines and coffee machines. Nine different locations and some tough looking Achievements should give Sally some staying power. Just try to ignore the elevator music.

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Hectic week at work? Would a simple, lighthearted Xbox Live game going on sale lift your sagging spirits? Don’t worry, Microsoft and FDG Entertainment have you covered with Parachute Panic. It’s on sale this week for $1.99, down from the original price of $2.99.

The object of Parachute Panic is to help stick figure parachuters land safely on ocean-going ships. Players tap the little guys to open their chutes and then swipe to create gusts of wind, steering them towards safety. Threats like UFOs, helicopters, and extremely annoying thunderclouds must be avoided as well. Parachute Panic gets by mostly with its artistic charm. Our review praises the game’s hand drawn graphics and snappy music.

In my opinion, the game is fun but doesn’t have the lasting value of other popular casual games like Angry Birds and Doodle Jump. It does, however, have an awesome cameo by Doodle Jump's Doodler. Cross-game cameos are common among popular iPhone titles, but Windows Phone ports tend to leave them on the cutting room floor (Pocket God’s many cameos, Harbor Master’s Pocket God cameo, and even Doodle Jump is missing its Pocket God cameo).

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Need some video for the new Toshiba-Fujitsu IS12T in action? Look no further than KDDI's product page which has some nice high res pics of the device, specs and all around glossiness. Plus they have three videos up, showing the IS12T doing it's thing...

We have to admit, this looks like a fun phone and we're kinda jelly, Japan (although the screen is kind of "meh"). Also, kudos to KDDI and Toshiba for treating this like a real pre-launch.

Update: Added an "official" hands on/announcement video above.

Check out three more vids after the break...

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As expected, the press conference with KDDI/AU, Microsoft Japan and Toshiba-Fujitsu just wrapped up. The big news of course those is the revealing of the IS12T, one of the first official "Mango" phones to be made available in the coming weeks.

Here are the device specs, given during the presentation:

  • 32GB memory
  • 3 colors: Yellow, Pink, Black
  • Waterproof
  • MSM8655
  • 3.7" TF LCD screen
  • 13.2 MP camera (!)
  • 59x118x10.6mm
  • 113g

Release date appears to be on track for September or after, a bit later than previously reported. We have to admit, with a 13MP camera, waterproof, 32GB of memory and those fun colors, this could be a big seller in Japan.

(Additional info via NanaPho; photo via Engadget)

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T-Mobile pushing out update for the HD7

It's been a busy day for T-Mobile and Windows Phone updates. First we had the Dell Venue Pro update going through and now we are getting word that the HD7 is getting an update of their own.

According to AtomicAgeZombie, who tipped us on this, the updates deal with firmware and radio software. The old firmware (2250.09.12001.531) is updated to version 2250.21.30102.531. The old radio version (5.51.09.11a_22.31.50.09U) is updated to the new radio version 5.65.09.25a_22.45.50.21U.

T-Mobile HD7 owners should get the customary "There's an Update available" message on thei Windows Phone. If you miss it, simply connect to your Zune Desktop and check for updates under the Settings.

If you've already updated, feel free to chime in on the process and what effect the changes have in our comments section.

Thanks goes out to AtomicAgeZombie for the tip and update info!

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25 ways to promote your WP7 app for free

Over at AdDuplex, Alan Mendelevich has published an insightful blog post for developers covering promotion and marketing of Windows Phone applications. Should you have a submitted app that is now available to the public, how do you go about marketing it? 

Alan has listed 22 (AdDuplex is listed four times) tips and tricks that he has seen other developers do. These are perfect for indie developers who aren't backed by brands/companies or investors. The list include the AdDuplex service, word of mouth, beta testers, social media, some cool dudes (WPCentral), website deployment and creating a demo video on media sharing portals (YouTube as an example).

Head on over to the AdDuplex blog (link below) to read the full run-down of ways to promote your app.

Source: AdDuplex Blog

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WP7 UK Research and Feedback Panel

Live in the UK and within travelling distance of London? Fancy attending a small event for the good of Windows Phone? Of course you do! Microsoft is holding a small research and feedback panel in central London on the 10th and 11th of August (6.15pm OR 8pm). Attendees (only 24 places) will receive £60 for their trouble, food (presumably accompanied by drink) as well as a few "surprises" - Microsoft funded pub crawl anyone?

What do you need to do to enter with a chance in being one of the lucky 24? Simply fill out this survey and the team will get back to you. In all honesty, we'll be attending should the pub crawl turn out to be true.

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Mango has been Released to Manufacturers (RTM)

We recently reported that Windows Phone "Mango" had been released to manufacturers (RTM) and we could be heading for a potential early release of the next major update. Unfortunately, this turned out to be just slightly off. Today, Terry Myerson, over at the Windows Phone Team blog has published an article announcing the signing of the RTM build.

Manufacturers and carriers will now begin tweaking/optimizing, testing and preparing for the roll out, which will hopefully run without problem and/or delay. At least this gives AT&T a few months in advanced to get everything in place on their end before their WP7 customers begin to revolt.

So, I put forward the question again, what do you make of this announcement and do you believe "Mango" will be sent out within a reasonable time frame?

Update: Looks like build 7720 is the final, RTM one according to Microsoft's Matthijs Hoekstra. Pretty close to our reported 7710 from one week ago.

Source: Windows Phone Team Blog and thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

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