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Infinite Flight updated, adds Space Shuttle

Infinite Flight is a fantastic flight simulator for your Windows Phone and it keeps getting better. The last update brought the Airbus A380 to the flight line. The most recent update, version 1.8, brings the Atlantis Space Shuttle to the flight line.

The update also brings a new mission system with rankings into the mix along with several performance enhancements, fixes and better runway lighting. The trial version, while limits your flying time, does include the first Space Shuttle Mission.

The full version of Infinite Flight runs $4.99 and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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The official Foursquare app just hit the Marketplace, meaning you can head there now to update (see our "force update" trick) or wait till your Marketplace shows it's ready.

New features/fixes in v2.3 include:

  • PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENTS
  • Facebook and Twitter settings fixed
  • Live Tiles fixed

Sounds good to us, especially the performance improvements. While v2.2 became faster, it's still miles slower than '4th & Mayor' (which we find more to the point), so hopefully this will bring it up to pace (indeed, caching of existing data does seem faster). We have to give Foursquare some credit here though: they sure are taking this app seriously and treating it like the marquee app that it is (especially with the rave reviews it has received).

Marketplace link is here, go get 'em.

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Free version of Phonealytics now available

Phonealytics, the highly rated Google Analytics client for Windows Phone 7, now has a free version. Normally setting one back by £1.49 ($1.99), the free version of the app boasts all the features you'd expect, minus live tile support. 

We recently interviewed the developer of Phonealytics, Luke Lowrey, to get his view on WP7 development and the platform itself. We also have a how to for the live tile support should you have trouble with setting it up. You can download Phonealytics for free (or the paid version) from the Marketplace. They're separate apps, the free version isn't a trial of the paid.

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Record full-year revenue for Microsoft

Microsoft has published their fourth-quarter and full-year revenues that break records despite Windows Phone 7 having a slower-than-hoped launch and Windows (and PCs) taking a slight hit. 

The fiscal year, which ended June 30th, were at record breaking high of $69.9 billion (up 12% from 2010). Q4 revenue was clocked at $17.4 billion, an 8% increase of the same quarter in 2010. Microsoft's net income for the quarter was $5.87 billion, a 30% increase, and for the year it was $23.2 billion, a 23% increase.

The revenue for Microsoft's Business division grew by 16% for the year while online services revenue jumped 15% (thanks to the growth of Bing). Entertainment & Devices sky-rocketed 45% for the year with Kinect, Windows Phone 7 and continued growth of Xbox Live (and Xbox 360).

Windows and Windows Live revenues fell 2% for the year (even with 400 million Windows 7 licenses sold). Mango is hoped to not only be a great ROI (return of investment), but a beacon of hope for Nokia who reported losses in the last quarter.

Source: Microsoft

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Sliding Keyboard updated to v1.8

First off, we recommend turning your light on and off continuously throughout the above YouTube video. Extra bass helps too. Anyway, the above demo is of Sliding Keyboard for Windows Phone 7, version 1.8. We recently covered the app at verson 1.7, a day before the update was submitted.

What's changed? The major improvement is speed of rendering text after you've swiped your heart out on-screen.  Smaller relevant dictionaries, better localization support (with multiple keyboard layouts) and an option to translate text has been thrown in.

You can download Sliding Keyboard from the Marketplace for 79p ($.99). For those who already use the app, keep an eye out for an available update.

 

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This week’s Xbox Live release, Tentacles – while awesome, is perhaps a little icky with all the tentacles and eyeball eating and such. Next week’s release should cleanse the palette nicely. It’s Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition from Game House.

Sally’s Salon is the tale of Sally, a woman with a dream. She’s out to make her fortune by chopping and styling as much hair as possible. It’s like Sweeny Todd, only without the arterial spray and Helena Bonham Carter. Anyway, Sally’s Salon is actually a nice evolution of the Diner Dash formula. Players don’t just rush back and forth between chairs helping everyone look their best. They can also purchase upgrades for the salon to help keep customers happy, such as coffee and magazines. The game features at least nine unique locations to play through, as well as plenty of moxie.

Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition hits the Marketplace on Wednesday, July 27 for $4.99. That’s like a third what most of us pay for a haircut! Stay tuned for our exclusive interview with publisher Game House too.

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Q2 report for Nokia is negative as expected

It seems Nokia is on a see-saw, on one side we have high levels of hype for the "Sea Ray" device and their volume shipment of devices in 2012. On the other side we have negativity surrounding their continued fall into darkness from once being the king of phones. The question still remains, will Windows Phone save Nokia?

Their recent report shows the company has an operating loss of almost half a billion Euro. Net sales of devices and services decreased year on year to €5.5 billion, with feature and smartphones dropping 20% and 32% respectively. Overall, Nokia (including Nokia-Siemens Networks and NAVTEQ) has net sales of €9.26 billion (down 7%).

What has caused the loss? Shipping volumes. Nokia shipped 20% fewer devices overall (88.5 million in total, compared to 111 million for Q2 2010). Smartphones took a massive decrease of 33%. As a small bonus, IP royalty payments went into Nokia's account, €430 million worth. On note with smartphones, Symbian is being passed onto Accenture for development and support through 2016.

While the report might be negative, Nokia still hold a decent amount of the market in China and are set to spend £80 million on UK marketing. So, once again, what do you guys think of Nokia's chances of survival with WP7? Are you prepared for a further downfall with Q3?

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55% off AdDuplex with Twitter coupon

AdDuplex is now processing coupons and they've decided to start this off with a bang. The coupon is FFP2D and is to be used when advertising on Windows Phone using this service. WP7 has enjoyed bathing in the news that the platform experiences higher CTR (click-through rate) accumulation when compared to competitors.

You must hurry however, since this coupon is only valid for two days.

Source: @AdDuplex

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More device updates being pushed out

On the heels of Tuesday's Samsung Focus 1.4 update comes some more device-specific updates for the HTC Mozart, LG Optimus 7 and Samsung Omnia 7.  The updates are meant to address some significant features, such as battery life, touchscreen response and call clarity.  Because they have been tailor-made for certain models, we do not expect that every phone will receive one.  However, this is not an exhaustive list, so there may be some more lined up.

Have any of you updated, and if so, noticed any improvements?  Are there any devices not listed that you have been prompted to update?

Source: @TonHor (Thanks for the tip!), WinRumors

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No in-app purchasing for Mango?

We recently covered Beards and Beaks entering the Marketplace and featuring DLC/IAP (downloadable content/in-app purchasing), so signs were strong that this could be possible for developers when the update hits. Unfortunately, as one can see in the above snippet, we see Todd Brix explaining on the AppHub post that this wont be the case and IAP will be absent in Mango for developers.

Beards and Beaks is developed and published by Microsoft, so this could well be a test run for a future implementation of the feature. Developers have long asked for the implementation of IAP for their own projects. What do you guys make of this?

Source: Windows Phone Blog, via: MobilityDigest

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Web IQ Quiz: celebrate 20 years of www

So the World Wide Web is turning 20, it'll soon be allowed to consume alcoholic beverages in America. That said, IQ Agency, the geniuses behind the Pikchur app are holding a celebratory quiz and are giving away Windows Phone 7 handsets every week.

You simply answer the questions in a time limit, tweet your score and you're done! The Web IQ Quiz covers the following topics:

  • Core Web
  • www Firsts
  • Internet Fame
  • Memery
  • Social
  • Games
  • Viral
  • Mobile
  • Politics
  • Internet Facts

To find out more about the quiz and to enter, head on over to the Web IQ Quiz website. Be sure to follow @IQ_WebCred to find out what kind of people are most web savvy including gender, work, location etc.

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New unlocked devices are shipping with it. Non-U.S. customers are getting it. But T-Mo users...not so fast. Yes, while the famed 2.12 firmware for the trouble prone Dell Venue Pro finally starts to be pushed out, T-Mobile users who were supposed to receive it today will have to wait till "next week".

Delays and more delays should be a familiar situation for frustrated DVP users. The good news is that v2.12 really does fix a lot of the remaining issues with the DVP, but the bad news of course is more waiting. Plus there's the AT&T users...

Source: Twitter

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Bing.com rolling out new Live Tile design

We haven't seen this yet on our end, which means it may be "rolling" out to everyone at some point, but Rafael Rivera has posted on his blog what looks like the first shot of an updated Bing.com with "live tiles" near the bottom.

Anyone who's familiar with the amazing and extremely high rated Bing app for the iPad will recognize this is nearly the same design. Looks good to us and it's nice to see Microsoft nailing it in the looks department these days. Anyone else seeing this yet on their desktop?

Source: WithinWindows

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Rad Now! gets updated

Rad Now! is a carry over from the Windows Mobile days and the Windows Phone version just got a nice update. For those not familiar with Rad Now!, it is a weather radar app. Nothing more, nothing less.

The update brings a cleaner looking version of Bing Maps into the mix as well as what seems to be better integration with your Windows Phone location services. When you launch Rad Now!, it centers the map closer to your current location.  While I used to see all of the Southeastern States, the update's view is more centered on Alabama.

A little red beacon is now in place that  will flash on the map to indicate where you are in the big scheme of things.  While Rad Now! has always used your phone's location services, the update gives you the ability to turn that feature off.

You still have options to animate the radar, set the opacity level, switch between hybrid and street maps and choose between 5 and 15 frame rates.  Radar animations also seem to load a little quicker with the update.  Oh, the update also brings a cleaner looking tile to the mix.  If you need a simple, clean looking weather radar app, Rad Now! is a must have app for your Windows Phone.

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Pandas vs. Ninjas updated, new chapter added

XIMAD has updated the Windows Phone game Pandas vs. Ninjas. The update adds a new chapter to the mix, a tropical paradise. The new level brings the total up to six, nicely increasing the game time.

The Angry Birds like game pits you (the Panda) against pesky ninjas. You defeat the ninjas by hurling tiny red pandas at their strongholds.  Each chapter has 25 levels, each progressively unlocked as you defeat the ninjas.

Pandas vs. Ninjas comes in two versions, a free ad-supported version that you can find here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace. There is also a premium version that will run you $.99 that can be found here at the Marketplace.

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Windows Phone Weather App Roundup

If you search the keyword "weather" over at the Windows Phone Marketplace it will yield you about one hundred results.  Everything from Accuweather to Nude Beach Weather, the choices cover a lot of territory.  But which one is the best?

You've got Windows Phone weather apps that will deliver the basics such as your current conditions and an extended forecast. You also have weather apps that will throw radar imagery, videos, and more weather stats into the mix.  Then there are non-weather apps that have weather features.

After taking a look at a handful of the weather apps on the Marketplace, we've rounded up the ones that stood out. After the break, found out which weather apps we think should find their way to your Windows Phone.

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Microsoft has been busy updating their Windows Phone App Hub. This is where Windows Phone developers go to manage their accounts, change settings, submit applications to the Marketplace and generally stay up to date with everything Windows Phone.  We mentioned some of the details of the update earlier but here's how it breaks down.

The update focuses on three areas.

More geographic markets for developers: Essentially Microsoft is broadening Windows Phone's horizons by adding 19 new consumer markets that include Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan.

There will also be 7 new developer markets that include Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, South Africa and South Korea.

In addition to market expansion the App Hub is now localized for Korean and Simplified Chinese and price tiers have been successfully modified on a country-by-country basis to adjust for fluctuations in the global currency exchange rates.

Lastly, on the geographic front, Microsoft's Advertising PubCenter support will be extended to 18 additional countries by the end of 2011. They include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. This will enable developers in these countries to receive mobile in-app advertising revenue in their local currency.

Continued after the break

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Dell rolling out Venue Pro Firmware Update?

The tweet from Dell says it all. The Venue Pro's firmware update is due to start rolling out to the Windows Phone today for T-Mobile Customers in the U.S. as well as other Venue Pro customers outside the U.S.  There is no mention on the AT&T updates.

We had earlier reported that T-Mobile would get the update "around the middle" of July and if the update is rolling out today, Dell's not too terribly late. So, has anyone actually seen the update in action?

Thanks goes out to the countless tipsters who sent this in!

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Mango Contact history and live notifications

In a new promotional video, Microsoft's People Hub Program Manager, simply referred to as Greg, discusses some of the new features that users will find in Mango and the motivation behind them.  Greg explains that it is not only important for a phone to deliver communications by phone, text, email and social media, but to tie them all together.  With that in mind, Mango will tote a new Contact History in the People Hub.  As shown in the video, all you have to do is click on a contact to see a list of all recent communications by that contact, regardless of what medium they came from.  Simply tap on that entry, and you will be transported to that app and conversation.

Another cool feature described is live contact notifications on the Start screen.  If you have a contact pinned to Start, and they send you an email or chat, you will now see an update on their tile letting you know you have a new message from them.  Tap the tile, and find their new message in the history. 

We all know that Mango is bringing some big changes to WP7.  However, another thing that excites us is all of these thoughtful little tweaks and attention to detail that have been added.

Source: Microsoft; Via: 1800PocketPC

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Choose the logo design of AppTastic

We recently covered the unveiling of upcoming Marketplace search app, AppTastic. While we have a few solutions already available in the Marketplace, AppTastic appears to bring some new features and functionality to the table. A feat we always welcome.

They have received a large number of concepts (35 in total) for their "Hot Windows Phone 7 App needs a logo!" project. You can choose the logo you like best from the above three shortlisted designs over at DesignCrowd.

Keep an eye out next week for news of AppTastic's arrival onto the Marketplace. We'll of course bring it to your attention and publish our thoughts.

 

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How quick can you get a WP7 app to the Marketplace?

 

How quickly do you think someone could take an idea, build a Windows Phone 7 app, submit it to the Marketplace and the download & install it? One, two weeks? How about 5 days? Jarno Peschier (peSHIr), a .NET and general programming enthusiast, did just that. He developed an app for 3D Masters, a 3D Model Helicopter Competition, in just 5 days from conceiving the idea.

On July 15th, Jarno received an email from 3D Masters detailing the availability of an iPhone app for the event. While engaging in discussion between himself and the director of the event, Jarno eventually decided to develop an app for WP7.

Five days later (today) and the 3D Masters app is readily available on the Marketplace. It really is a neat little app for attendees and for the approval process plus development time to accumulate to under a week is pretty impressive. You can check out more about the challenge Jarno faced this week by visiting his site below and download the 3D Masters app from the Marketplace for a minimal fee.

Source: peSHIr, via: @gcaughey

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Microsoft shows off Twitter integration in Mango

Here's an interesting new video from Microsoft detailing the changes in Mango, specifically related to Twitter integration (as well as Facebook and LinkedIn). We know that there is a final or near final build of the Mango OS going around, namely 7710, which is probably the same version we reported on last week in regards to Twitter usage.

In the video, Stuart Bottom, Program Manager at the Communications Group on Windows Phone, goes over how Twitter will work, notifications, the "Me Tile" and more will all come together in the update. Finally we get to see how Twitter will look (very similar to the Facebook feed) as well as those ever important notifications.

What's really convenient is being able to see when someone has replied to a Tweet or posted on your Facebook wall, right on your Me tile, which should result in more efficient use of your time. In addition, filtering of those feeds to quickly find and see what you want is also a pretty brilliant idea.

By the looks of things lately, only a few more weeks till Mango starts rolling out. We couldn't be more excited. Check out the rest of Microsoft's tour videos of other features on their YouTube channel.

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No Hulu for Microsoft?

A few weeks ago we reported that Microsoft was in serious talks with Hulu to purchase the company, which was put up for sale by it's parent media company owners.

Of course we were supportive of such a proposed purchase since it would guarantee more exclusive integration with PC, Xbox and Windows Phone, the latter of which has yet to see a native client. With the purchase of Skype under their belt, bringing Hulu into the fold would have been a great leg up on the competition.

However, according to Bloomberg, Microsoft has now dropped out of contention for the streaming TV site. No reason was given, though usually it has to do with perceived cost vs value. Yahoo!, ironically is reportedly ready to fork over $2 billion for the company, though it is expected that negotiations will continue for the next few weeks. Reportedly Microsoft has also not ruled out stepping back into talks later if terms become more favorable.

Microsoft has yet to publicly confirm the story, so it remains to be seen how this progresses, but as of right now it's not looking to good for our side.

Source: Bloomberg

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When Max and the Magic Marker went on sale last week, bargain-minded gamers got their shot at Press Play’s creative platformer. But that was then, and this is now. It’s time for something new from the Danish developer. I speak, of course, of the Windows Phone-exclusive Xbox Live title: Tentacles. It’s out now on the Marketplace.

Tentacles is a top-down platformer starring Lemmy, a microscopic tentacled creature. Lemmy journeys through the body of the scientist who created him, battling the dangerous creatures he encounters and eating their eyeballs (seriously). Don’t worry, they’re jerks and deserve whatever they get. Tapping the screen moves the little hero one tentacle at a time, and he also has a clawed tentacle for attacks. The 3D graphics look great and the game has a ton of personality.

Tentacles costs $4.99 and there is a free trial. Use your own tentacles to grab it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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We’ve got good news and bad news for you, faithful readers.  The good news: this week’s Xbox Live Deal of the Week title definitely needed a discount. The bad news: it’s not much of a discount. I refer, of course, to The Sims 3 from EA. It’s on sale for $4.99, down from $6.99.

The Sims 3 is a mobile version of the hit life-simulation game. Players create and customize a Sim and then try to complete various goals with him or her, such as getting a promotion at work and kissing another Sim. It makes for a great game, on PC and consoles at least. But the Windows Phone version doesn’t quite match up. As our review points out, the character customization is extremely limited. Load times are lengthy and frequent and menu navigation is clumsy. Worst, the game has a habit of losing save files; it happened to me once. The Windows Phone port badly needs updating but EA hasn’t touched it since launch.

Maybe you don’t mind a few bugs and loading screens. If so, you can find The Sims 3 here (Zune link) on the Marketplace. The $4.99 sale price lasts for one week.

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