Articles

33

AT&T Microcell draining batteries?

AT&T Microcell draining your battery?

Is the AT&T Microcell sucking the life out of your Windows Phone batteries? Apparently there are a few Windows Phone owners who believe so.

For those not familiar, AT&T's Microcell is a gadget that picks up your cellular signal and carries it over your local internet service. It is designed for households and businesses that are in poor reception areas.

A short discussion has developed over at AT&T with one commenter stating with the microcell plugged in his battery drain on his Samsung Focus S is in the neighborhood of 15-20% per hour. Unplug the microcell and the battery drain pulls back to about 1% over two hours.

Now we are not certain if those complaining are using their microcell for data or connecting to their wifi internet network. If they are relying on the microcell for data, that could contribute to the increase drain.  But not knowing for certain, this is only a guess.  Personally, I've had an AT&T Microcell since day one (without it I only have half a bar of coverage at the house) and have yet to notice any increase in battery drain on any of the phones in the house.

AT&T hasn't commented on this issue and if there is a bug with some of the microcells, hopefully it can be addressed quickly. Curious, has anyone experience faster battery drain rates when your Windows Phone is connected to the microcell?

1
loading...
0
loading...
17
loading...
0
loading...
Pretty colors!

So you got a Windows Phone for Christmas? Sweet. If you're a developer, you're probably itching to start writing code for the device. If an advanced hobbyist, homebrew software may be more of your interest. While the emulator -- a part of the Windows Phone SDK -- rocks for testing locally, you'll eventually want to try the real deal by loading up XAPs on your phone. We'll cover the pros and cons of each approach to do so.
 

3
loading...
0
loading...
46
loading...
0
loading...
10

Blame Canada, for an awesome competition [Developers]

Manifesto

Did you get a shiny lump of coal for Christmas? Not planning on keeping it until the world's reserves run low? Don't worry, Microsoft has your back! The good people over at Microsoft Canada have just started a promotion entitled "The Developer Movement" where they are handing out cool toys to dev's just for publishing high-quality apps to the Windows Phone Marketplace up until May 20'th 2012.

So what do you get? It's based on how many apps you publish within that time, and here are the rewards:

PUBLISH 1 QUALITY APP  
       Select a reward below:

  • A Kinect™ Sensor for Xbox 360®
  • 10,000 Microsoft Points
  • Monster® Beats™ Headphones
  • A 1TB External HD

PUBLISH 2 QUALITY APPS
      Select a reward below:

  •     A Windows® Phone 7
  •     A $500 Gift Voucher
  •     35,000 Microsoft Points
  •     An Xbox 360® with Kinect Bundle

PUBLISH 3 QUALITY APPS
      Your apps will be considered by our judges for publicity across:

0
loading...
0
loading...
37
loading...
0
loading...

We're trying to wrap our heads around this one but aren't getting very far--so maybe our German friends can assist. Microsoft Germany put up a trailer video that you see above for "Windows Phone 7.5 Hotel" which was an event that took place in Berlin on December 15th.

The trailer is mostly CGI and has haunted-house like implications, what with that eerie lightning and all. There also seems to be a map and trying to find something, we're guessing. Next up is another video, evidently form the actual event from folks who traveled to the haunted hotel.

The good part in the video starts at around 2:25 where we start to get an idea of what this looks to be: a type of mass entertainment event where they have actors role-play specific parts and you, the bystander, become a participant in the charade--much like a murder-mystery cruise. This time there's something about the undead, people dressed in hazmat suits, reporters, etc. You can never go wrong with zombies, right?

Yeah, we're pretty baffled too but also intrigued as once again, we're seeing some real creative advertising here. Too bad we're just hearing of it now but hopefully we'll learn a bit more soon enough. Oh and that video is one of three, so maybe the other two parts will shed some light on the matter.

Update: Yup, WP7App.de confirmed with us what we suspected: "That windows phone hotel was a PR event where you had to chase ghosts (ghostbusters-style) with an app on a Lumia." Pretty cool idea.

Big thanks to Heiko R., for the tip!

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
8

Deal Alert: Sale continues on NAVIGON

NAVIGON

A few weeks ago NAVIGON for Windows Phone was updated to version 4.1 which added the MyMaps feature to the navigation app. MyMaps allows you to download only the maps you need.  As opposed to downloading the full 1.6gb of maps.

After the update, NAVIGON dropped the price of their U.S. map version down from $49.99 to $29.99. The European version fell from 84.99€ to 59.99€. The sale ends on January 5, 2012 and if you've got some Christmas cash lying around (or a Microsoft Marketplace Gift Card) this is a great deal on a very good Windows Phone navigation app.

You can find the U.S. version of NAVIGON here and the European version of NAVIGON here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

NAVIGON US     NAVIGON Europe

Thanks, Tim, for the tip!

0
loading...
0
loading...
16
loading...
0
loading...

Space Weather

We joked around about the Windows Phone app Space Weather a few months ago. We pointed out how it's a gorgeous, well written app that we (personally) had no use for--but we really wish we did, because it's so cool. For those who don't know what Space Weather is:

"Space weather is the concept of changing environmental conditions in near-Earth space or the space from the Sun's atmosphere to the Earth's atmosphere. Space weather affects our planet, our technology, and all living things in many different ways. Solar flares, geomagnetic storms, and solar radiation are a few ways space weather can wreak havoc on the earth. It can also create beautiful auroras can that be seen near the poles and sometimes much further."

Neat stuff and the app has had a few updates since we wrote about it back in August. Evidently, the app went on a temporary sale from $1.99 to free for Christmas and we just go word that sale is ending soon--like today/in a few hours. So we recommend you go get it now and add it to your Marketplace for safe keeping--once you lock in the free price, it's yours forever, so what's to lose?

In exchange for the developers giving it to you for free, they ask the simple: help spread the word! Leave them feedback/ratings in the Marketplace, Tweet and share it on Facebook, etc. Seems like a fair deal if you like the app, no?

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
1

From the WPCentral Forums...

WP Central

It's been a busy week in the WPCentral forums even with the holiday break. Our Members have had a lot of things to talk about including questions from all the new Windows Phone adopters that were lucky enough to get a new device for the holidays. We have 'Newbie questions' from oly666--he needs your help and advice so jump in that thread and lets help him see the light.

Forums member KingCrimson says 'Nokia Lumia sales are disastrous'. He also posted "Guys it time to admit, it's over for Windows Phone and Microsoft better just shut the division down" Our Forums Members  have brought up a lot of good points in this thread--do you have an opinion on this? Come join us in the discussion.

I think we can all agree that there are some things that Windows Phone could do to make the OS better. So lets toss around some ideas, shall we?  Forums member mkr10001 has started this thread: 'Things windows phone needs to improve on'. Also did you know we have an app for that? Get more information from Forums Moderator duvi in this thread: 'Microsoft's Suggestion Box for Windows Phone'.

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
19

Microsoft to disarm Xbox Live Avatars

No more Avatar gun props

One of the cool features of XBox Live on your Windows Phone is the ability to pull your avatar into the mix. We see it in the gaming hub and featured on Xbox Live games such as Shuffle Party and now games like PES 2012 will even award 'em for gameplay--obviously they're becoming more and more important on WP7.

One customization component of your avatar is the ability to purchase and add props. We've seen everything from a light saber to a limited-edition Windows Phone prop available for your avatar to tinker. According to various reports online, one prop class will be gone with the wind starting January 1, 2012.

According to a post over at the Epic Games Forums (Gears of War):

Heads up! Starting on Jan. 1, 2012, the Lancer and Hammerburst avatar items will no longer be available on Xbox LIVE Marketplace. If you’ve purchased the items prior to Jan. 1, you will be able to keep them. A new policy goes into effect for all gun-like avatar items on the Marketplace, so get them while they’re hot.

0
loading...
0
loading...
17
loading...
0
loading...
7

Microsoft's Suggestion Box Windows Phone app

Microsoft Suggestion App

Microsoft has released an app for Windows Phone to complement the suggestion website that's up and running where visitors can submit and/or rate suggestions for the platform. Users are able to login with the website credentials (sign up should you not already have an account - can be achieved within the app), and are then able to contribute to the feedback queue while on the go.

Some highlighted features of the app include:

  • This app connects your Windows Phone to the Windows Phone Suggestion Box forum (http://windowsphone.uservoice.com)
  • Suggest new capabilities and features
  • Browse current suggestions (sortable by top ideas, hot ideas and new ideas)
  • Comment on submitted suggestions
  • Add up to three votes to suggestions

The Suggestion Box app can be downloaded from the Marketplace for free. 

Suggestions App QR Code

0
loading...
0
loading...
25
loading...
0
loading...

PES 2012 Avatar Awards

Avatar awards have been a popular feature in Xbox 360 titles for some time now. Basically, some console titles include unlockable items for player’s Xbox Live avatars. It’s a nice way to deck out your avatar without specifically buying avatar goods.

Of course, one of the hopes of Xbox fans who buy into Windows Phone is that mobile Xbox Live titles will eventually match their console big brother’s games feature for feature. Toward that end,  Microsoft teased the addition of avatar awards to Windows Phone games back in August (if not sooner). Yet no specific games or time frame has been mentioned… until now.

Avatar Awards, a little site run by our own reader DarkSynopsis, has happened across the first tangible evidence of a Windows Phone title with avatar awards. Pro Evolution Soccer 2012, sequel to this year’s PES 2011, looks to have both a shirt (in both male and female varieties) and a soccer ball prop for players to adorn their avatars. The ball will be easy to unlock (win a single match), while the shirt’s requirement of 50 wins sounds a bit more grueling.

We don’t know when PES 2012 is coming or whether other mobile games will include avatar awards before Konami’s soccer sequel debuts. At any rate, gamers who dig avatars (like me!) now at least know the feature is really happening in the near future.

0
loading...
0
loading...
23
loading...
0
loading...
17

Happy Holidays from WPCentral and Mobile Nations

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the staff at WPCentral and Mobile Nations! Here's wishing everyone a joyous holiday and that all your wishes come true.

We're taking a break today and spending time with friends and family. Stay safe, stay warm and enjoy the day. We'll be back tomorrow to keep you posted on Windows Phone news, views and reviews.

Merry Christmas

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
61

Want really good graphics? Check out ARMED!

Just caught wind of a new Windows Phone game that simply looks fantastic. ARMED! is a sci-fi turn-based, multiplayer strategy game. You are in command of a fleet of sci-fi tanks, turrets and robots with one goal in mind...crush your enemy.

Key features includes:

  • Five maps with unique artwork and tactical terrain features
  • Twelve offensive and defensive units to command into battle
  • Over fifty unit upgrades and special attacks to help turn the tide
  • Simultaneous turn online multiplayer with ratings and matchmaking
  • Live Tile updates with turn notifications
  • Track your rankings on the real time leaderboards
  • Scoreloop integration with photo profiles

While the main attraction of ARMED! is the mult-player mode, you also have a single player option to do battle with the CPU. The game is fantastically animated with the ability to zoom out and have a two-dimensional view or zoom in for the 3D table top view.

ARMED! for the Windows Phone

There's a lot to ARMED! and luckily there is a really good tutorial to walk you through the mechanics of the game. In just tinkering with ARMED! for a few minutes, the graphics are impressive and the game play not too shabby either.

2
loading...
0
loading...
22
loading...
0
loading...

A red WP7?! Yeah...I can dream :-/

In case you didn't get the memo, the world now runs on achievements. I would say that it's rather superficial, but honestly that magic little sound my XBOX makes when it thinks I'm awesome is just plain addictive. Yip, most of us have this weird compulsion - whether it's beating that final boss in some ridiculously hard kill-em-all, or serving 20 customers in one level in Sally's Salon.

So why is it just for games? Well, a little while ago the great minds at Channel 9 decided that us developers deserved a piece of the pie too, and launched Visual Studio Achievements.

What more could we need?

Personally I think there needs to be a lot more achievements added, but besides that Den Delimarsky seems to have hit the nail on the head. He has just released the beta of Visual Studio Achievements for Windows Phone which you can use to track achievements plus compare yourself to others (for modern-day bragging rights of course). There is also Live Tile integration plus a load of other features he has planned. And quite frankly, it's beautiful:

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
0

Developer Interview: Damian Karzon

 

Developer Interview

We've been joined by Damian Karzon, the developer (DK Development) behind BoxShot (Windows Phone client for Dropbox), for this week's interview. Head on past the break for the insightful answers provided on platform development.

1
loading...
0
loading...
12
loading...
0
loading...

Register or Login to add comments

15

Clear Windows Phone discovered in Microsoft Lab

The Verge was granted access to Microsoft's model shop where super-top secret prototypes are created. While the 3D printer used to create these prototypes is really cool, towards the end of the video (around the 3.36 mark).  It may not be an actual working Windows Phone but the clear case is definitely an attention getter.

The clear Windows Phone was created to highlight the screen and likely never got any further on the drawing board.  Still, how well do you think a clear cased working Windows Phone would go over?

via: 1800pocketpc source: The Verge (YouTube)

1
loading...
0
loading...
45
loading...
0
loading...

Home Control

We previously covered Julien Schapmen, of Touch Xperience, who produced a homebrew solution for Windows Phone owners who desire to use their mobile phone to achieve home automation. From changing the channel on your television, to altering the colour of your LED room lights, the hack was pretty cool, but hadn't reached the Marketplace for the average user to download. 

We can now turn our heads to an unofficial Switch King client for Windows Phone - Home Control. To be able to use the app, you'll need a Switch King server and Telldus Live service set up. There's a free trial available that allows full functionality for up to five (5) devices. To attach more home devices, you'll need to fork out $2.49 (£1.99).

Check out the video after the break for an app demonstration (as well as some funky music), and download Home Control from the Marketplace.

1
loading...
0
loading...
19
loading...
0
loading...

Bug Village Title

As the Windows Phone game library continues to grow, a few types of games remain conspicuously absent: role-playing games, first-person shooters, and freemium games. The first two are well-established genres (on other platforms), but the term freemium is a bit different. It’s not really a genre, but a business model. Freemium games are free to play but also have optional (or semi-optional) premium content for users to purchase. There hasn’t been a proper freemium Xbox 360 game yet, but they’re quite common on PC and iOS: Farmville, Smurf Village, and even many MMO games utilize the freemium business model.

Windows Phone kinda-sorta has a freemium game already: Haypi Kingdom. However, Microsoft shot down its in-game transaction model, forcing players to email the developer outside of the game in order to purchase coins. The neutering of Haypi Kingdom raised the question: when, if ever would the big MS officially allow games with microtransactions on Windows Phone? That’s surely the number one thing keeping Zynga away from the platform, after all.

0
loading...
0
loading...
22
loading...
0
loading...
2

Add a twist to your messages with MyTextTwister

MyTextTwister for your Windows Phone

Need to spice up your text messages? Want to drive your friends crazy with upside down text messages? Want to do the same with Facebook, Twitter and Windows Live posts?

If you do, check out MyTextTwister over at the Windows Phone Marketplace. MyTextTwister adds a creative touch to your messages and posts with text effects such as inverted, rounded, leet speak, and lots of ASCII art effects.  A recent update to the app added a holiday theme to the available art effects.

MyTextTwister

MyTextTwister's interface is simple. You have one field to enter your text in a normal fashion and a preview field to show the effected text. Just below these two field is where you choose your Twisting Logic. Down below are buttons to add ASCII decorations, send the text to your SMS client, email the text or send it to a Facebook, Twitter or Windows Live.

It is noted in MyTextTwister's Marketplace description that sending ASCII arts and text effects relies on your service provider's support for sending 16-bit unicode text SMS and the receiving phone's support to receive such messages.

2
loading...
5
loading...
18
loading...
0
loading...
10

AT&T Samsung Focus S Giveaway Winners!

Samsung Focus S Giveaway Contest

It wasn't easy but we've look through all the entries in the Samsung Focus S giveaway and have identified the winning entry. The contest called for readers to submit thier WPCentral lockscreen wallpaper in this Forums discussion. We were simply amazed at the quality and number of entries submitted. Over 270 entries were submitted and picking the best was tough.

First, we would like to thank AT&T for providing the Samsung Focus S (they were impressed with the quality and volume of entries as well) and the WPCentral Accessory Store for providing the prizes for the runner-ups.  To find out who won, you're gonna have to head past the break.

1
loading...
0
loading...
16
loading...
0
loading...
0

From the WPCentral Forums...we have ringtones

WP Central

That's right people, we have ringtones and lots of them in the WPCentral forums! As you may know, since the release of Mango we have had the ability to add Ringtones to our devices. The only issue has been where to get them. It's hard enough to find the perfect ringtone, it's even harder to get it formatted properly and added to your device. No worries though, the great members of our forums have you covered.

Come join us in our 'Post your Mango phones Ringtones here' thread where you will find lots of great ringers ready for download. You will also find instructions on how to get them loaded up (you will need a PC with Zune Desktop. It's really a simple process).

Here are a few of the great ringtones that you can get right now:

-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...
-
loading...

Register or Login to add comments

What is it?

We're not sure what to make of this but over at BooredatWork, they have two photos of some odd gizmo. The little screened gadget is evidently being held by Chris Weber, President of Nokia US, at the T-Mobile-Nokia event for the 710 last week. Now at this point, we could just say it's maybe just a fancy LCD business-card, an electronic badge or some type of mini-media player and be done with it, but BooredatWork says this about it:

"...we got a  brief sneak peek at a little 3-inch Nokia Windows phone pocket tablet like device. It got 3-inch display, with no apparent physical button. No idea on specs or what the device truly is as we only saw it briefly, but it is a Windows phone based device " [Emphasis ours]

3
loading...
0
loading...
25
loading...
0
loading...

Unlocked Phone

Over on XDA, Jaxbot has just detailed a project that he has been working on.

Basically he has managed to unlock his out-the-box Focus with nothing more than a pair of pliers (yes, I'm paraphrasing).

Now, let's take a step back. What I did was interop unlock my Samsung Focus, without using Chevron Labs, AppHub, etc. Not that I'm cheap, but it's the principle here that counts. Unfortunately, there's a catch: the exploit, while working for every device, requires further provisioning. Samsung devices can do this using the diagnostics application. Other devices have some opposition to that.

Hit the break to see how this all works.

1
loading...
0
loading...
30
loading...
0
loading...

Executive Club

Enjoy golf? Own a Windows Phone? Fancy saving $30 on a top golf app available on the platform? Executive Caddie, winner of the Windows Phone App Challenge, has had its price slashed to $0 and is within reach for anyone on a tight budget after the present purchasing spree. The 20 year old golf analysis software is a golfer's best friend when aiming for the hole-in-one. 

The Windows Phone app sports a highly accurate golf course database, on-course GPS and scorecard functionality (for up to four golfers). The GPS assistance boasts some impressive features:

  • Easily see distance to front, back, and center of the green.
  • Easily see layup distance to the 100, 150, and 200.
  • Aerial Map View showing the entire course layout.
  • Map View fairway markers and rings for the 100, 150, and 200.
  • Waypoints/markers for front, back, center, layups, bunkers, hazards, etc.
  • Zoom to your current position, the green, or the fairway.

You can download Executive Caddie from the Marketplace for absolutely nothing over the festive holiday (normally $30).

Executive Caddie QR

 

1
loading...
0
loading...
16
loading...
0
loading...

We have a little discussion going on amongst the WPCentral writers concerning the Windows Phone used in Microsoft's Hotmail advertisement.  At first we thought it could be the HTC Titan until we noticed the Nokia apps (Drive, Maps, and Music).

We now have two schools of thought. One side of the coin has this being the Nokia Lumia 800 and the actress has small hands (hobbit hands was the description actually used). The mystery device appears to share the 800's buttons and silver strip on the back.

The other side of the coin calls for this to be a new Nokia, maybe the Lumia 900? Should the actress have average hands, the screen appears to be much larger than the Lumia 800 and the backing seems more gray than black.

So, what do you guys and gals think? Lumia 800, 900 or something else?

source: Windows Live UK Thanks goes out to Dan (the other one) for the tip!

2
loading...
0
loading...
30
loading...
0
loading...

Pages