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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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Dell Venue Pro - First Impressions

With Dell offering the Venue Pro for $299.99 out of contract, it was a Windows Phone deal too hard to pass on. So, we ordered one (actually two). Over the next few days we'll put it through the ringer and give you our thoughts on Dell's Windows Phone but as far as first impressions goes, the Venue Pro isn't too shabby.

The Venue Pro has two standout features; the 4.1" AMOLED screen and bottom slide-out keyboard. The screen looks really good. It's bright, full of contrast and has a bit of a pop to it. Compared to the Super AMOLED screen of the Samsung Focus and SVGA screen of the HTC HD7S, the Venue Pro holds its own.

The fit and feel of the phone is comfortable in the hand. The jury is still out on the power button though. It's tiny and sits back on the top of the phone. Not the easiest to access and might have been better off on the side of the phone. The Venue Pro has a solid feel about it but does feel a little awkward when you extend the keyboard. Maybe a little top heavy. Speaking of which, the keyboard reminds me of the front facing keyboards we saw on Windows Mobile phones such as the Samsung Jack. It'll do but after handling the Venue Pro for a short time, I'm beginning to wonder if Dell would have been better off by scrapping the keyboard and opting for a thinner phone.

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Samsung Focus v1.4 update now live

Title says it all. The Windows Phone Blog has just posted that the Focus (v1.4 only) is getting NoDo + Security fix as an update (7390 + 7392). So go and plug your phone into your computer now and head to Settings and "check for update" to get it sent on over to your phone.

No word on when the v1.3 Focus will get he 7392 "Security update".

As a side note, they go on to explain why occasionally you may a specific update for your phone, unrelated to the OS (the Focus for Mango has one recently)--these are basically fixes and improvements for your phone's hardware. They're nothing new, per se, as Roger's rolled one out, the Mozart has received one, etc.

"A few months back I explained that you may occasionally receive a notification of a hardware-specific update for your particular Windows Phone. These updates improve things like battery life, call clarity and touch responsiveness - to name a few examples. These updates are designed to make specific improvements. Not every phone around the world needs the same package of improvements. In some cases no update at all is needed. I wanted to remind you of this because some of you will start to see these types of updates soon, and I wanted you to have a little insight into what is included. It’s all part of keeping your Windows Phone in tip-top shape."

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Busy day here at WPCentral, what with the news and all plus two of us here have received our unlocked (AT&T) Dell Venue Pros, which as we reported are now available for $299.

We received lots of inquiries about the status of the firmware of this device--specifically is it the latest, greatest firmware to rule them all (v2.12)? Well, Dell did claim all unlocked phones would ship with 2.12 starting at the end of June and true to their word, they do.

As you can see in the picture, the 2.12 firmware and OS version 7392 are on board, making these device as up to date as you can get (without flashing Mango). So far, we've had no lockups or WiFi issue and we have a reported 15+GB of storage available and 512MB of RAM (480 available).

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Windows Phone 7 for Silverlight Developers ebook

András Velvárt (Vbandi), the developing power behind the SurfCube app (award-winning 3D web browser), has just announced that his ebook "Windows Phone 7 for Silverlight Developers" is now available to purchase. There are nearly 50 topics covered in the ebook, including Silverlight, design (Metro UI), Panorama (pivot), input on the phone, accelerometer, performance and publishing to the Marketplace.

You can download a copy for just $4.99 from Silverlight show. The ebook is available as PDF download and contains 46 pages. You can view two excerpts before purchasing - input on the phone and portrait, landscape & themes. Dave Cambell, MVP of the year, had this to say about the developer resource:

"Wow... get some great in-your-hands training on WP7 development from András Velvárt... I bought my copy, and it's more than worth the $4.99 price... great job András and SilverlightShow!"

Source: Dotneteers

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Do you like slicing fruit as much as we do? Then you’ll want to check out the Fruit Ninja-themed lock screen wallpapers that Microsoft released today. The pack contains both transparent and non-transparent versions of three different designs, for a total of six images. With these, even when you don’t have time to play Fruit Ninja, you’ll still look like you do.

What’s the occasion? As some of our readers who play console games may know, Fruit Ninja Kinect is coming to Xbox 360 on August 10 for 800 MS Points ($10). It adds motion support and multi-player to everyone’s favorite fruit fighting game. The wallpapers are a way of thanking Windows Phone gamers for making Fruit Ninja such a success while perhaps reminding them to check it out on 360 too.

You can grab the Fruit Ninja wallpaper pack here. (This is a Filesonic link. Scroll down and click on Slow Download to download it for free.)

Microsoft is also running a Fruit Ninja contest at Comic Con later this month. Non-attendees can enter too. Check out the details below:

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ChevronWP7 Labs to cost $9?

With the announcement of ChevronWP7 Labs bringing a new unlocking tool/service to the Windows Phone developer table, we all began rejoicing at the prospect of a continued homebrew community with Microsoft's indirect support.

Our Daniel Rubino put forward the question to readers as to how much they thought would be reasonable for the service. He mentioned $5-15 could be considered suffice for a small pint fund that the team could use at weekends. We weren't far off with this estimate as Chris Walsh has mentioned over Twitter that ChevronWP7 Labs will set interested users back by only $9. A Small fee compared to the $99 with AppHub (which was recently re-launched).

 

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IM+ now sports a free version

If you're among the IM+ users who purchased the app back when it was released with a price tag of $9.99, you were kicking yourself at the price drop to $4.99 that came soon after. Now prepare to kick yourself on another part of your body as SHAPE Services has just brought in a free (ad-supported) version of IM+.

The main app, which continues to set new buyers back $4.99, has been given a new title of IM+ Pro with the only noticeable difference between the two versions is being the placement of adverts - functionality appears to be fully implemented in the free offering. To get the free version, grab the link here in the Marketplace.

Source: Windows Phone Metro  Thanks to the many who tipped us on this!

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Nokia "Sea Ray" endorses Qualcomm processor

We're not going to recapitulate the whole torrid history of Nokia and Qualcomm, we'll just say that the two have buried the hatchet and moved on.

As a sign of perhaps good faith, we noticed (and wondered) what the "Q" logo was during the Sea Ray's boot sequence (0:46). MonSmartphone was sharp enough to make the connection that it's Qualcomm's "Q" meaning that indeed, Nokia and specifically the "Sea Ray" will be sporting some of Q's silicon under the hood. While not ground breaking, we'll file this under: interesting.

[Side note: Had you told us five years ago about a Nokia device running a Microsoft OS and using a Qualcomm processor...well, we would have said some funny things about you. Times are a changin'!]

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