Developers

The Microsoft Media Platform team has released version 1.1 of the Player Framework for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. The release includes a number of improvements, and is targeting developers who are building media apps (much like the Vimeo app - pictured above). The framework supports Silverlight, HTML5, Xbox, as well as Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps.

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There are numerous resources available for Windows Phone developers to read through and engage with for tips and helpful tutorials on functionality for the platform. Creating the perfect app is a must for anyone looking to create content for a mobile platform, especially Windows Phone where consumers also critically review the overall presentation of content.

Daniel Vaughan, Microsoft MVP for Client Application Development has crafted a book in the depths of code and lookups, which is currently available for pre-order and will be released this coming May. Titled Windows Phone 8 Unleashed, it's resource for developers to better make use of functionality in Windows Phone 8.

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Seeing as how we don’t have a new Xbox Windows Phone release to talk about this week, it’s a perfect time for some Xbox 360 discussion. Zombie Driver HD - one of my personal favorite XBLA games of 2012 is on sale to Xbox Live Gold members for only 400 MS Points/$5 this week. It regularly sells for 800 Points, which is already a fair deal given the trend towards pricing XBLA titles at 1200.

To celebrate the sale, we’ve got Zombie Driver HD gameplay impressions and an interview with the game’s developer. Oh, and did I mention we’re giving away Zombie Driver avatar clothing and props as well? Find out how to win one after the break!

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So you're thinking about developing an app for Windows Phone, but how does one create an awesome app for consumers to download and enjoy? Much like our own Windows Phone app - which is highly rated by our readers - there are a number of apps available on the store that are effectively designed for the platform. Microsoft has detailed some pointers on how to make a quality app.

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According to Business Insider, Microsoft is interested in buying Appcelerator (www.appcelerator.com). Appcelerator is a mobile app cloud company that powers some 50,208 applications installed on over 111 million devices, which is roughly 10 percent of the world’s smartphone apps.

Appcelerator’s development product, Titanium, provides an impressive amount of tools for developers to create and manage mobile apps operating systems including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and HTML5. Compaies like eBay, PayPal and Wall Street Journal are just a few examples of who’s already on board with the program.

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On Sunday we anticipated that Microsoft would start talking more about Windows Phone 7.8 as all signs point to January 31st as the beginning of a global rollout for current Windows Phone users.

Today, Microsoft has announced the Windows Phone 7.8 SDK update, which will allow developers to better target the 7.8 changes—specifically new Tile options—and to make sure that the apps behave as intended.

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When Windows Phone 7 rolled out in 2010, it had one feature that was met with some mixed feelings: over-the-air download limits for apps and games tied to your cellular connection. In short, Microsoft imposed a 20MB cap when you were on cellular to help limit data usage for people on the go.

What some don’t realize is this limit was lifted recently by Microsoft (we don’t have an exact date). Now users of Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 can download files up to 50MB, matching the iPhone.

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The Windows Phone team have published some helpful tips and pointers for developers who are thinking of submitting apps to the Windows Phone Store. They go into some detail, covering the multiple XAPs per GUID, as well as deciding on how to approach the submission. Walkthroughs for three scenarios have been provided for the benefit of those who may find themselves needing a quick helping hand.

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Geert van der Cruijsen has developed a Windows Phone 8 emulator skin switcher, enabling developers who are using tools available to create apps and games to manipulate the look of the emulator itself. A number of smartphones are supported, as well as the different screen resolutions.

We previously looked at the emulator skin switcher for Windows Phone 7, which Cruijsen was also behind. Receiving a number of downloads and requests for a Windows Phone 8 version, we're now here reporting on a new release to cover the latest version of the mobile platform.

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Microsoft has just announced a new developer contest that should make things very interesting both for developers and regular consumers who use their apps every day. The contest, entitled “Windows Phone Next App Star Competition”, will offer up over $1M in prizes to 64 winners but it’s the top spot that should gain the most attention. 

Should you win the #1 app, Microsoft will feature your creation on a TV commercial featured in primetime.

The way the contest is structured is very simple. Developers just need to have their apps published by March 5th and users will merely vote for their favorite app based on the ratings (“stars”) they give it in the Store. That means apps with 4 or 5 star ratings starting on March 5th will get ranked higher than ones with 2 or 3 stars...

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GLQuake ported to Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone sports Xbox Live integration where consumers can download and interact with their avatar and account, which pulls down gamerscore, friends and more. It's a strong selling point for the platform since the Xbox Live service boasts over 40 million subscribers. If Microsoft can successfully tap into that pool of consumers, Windows Phone's marketshare would pose more of a threat to Apple and Google.

An MSDN member has published a quick look at a GLQuake port for Windows Phone 8. Jmarshall23 (Justin Marshall) has not only thrown together the above video showing off some gameplay on a Lumia Windows Phone, but has added D3D11 support. The project is currently available to download and run to test out what's being developed. It's a strong foundation, especially since work only too place over the festive period.

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Microsoft and Nokia are currently holding developer events alongside the Windows Phone User Group at Modern Jago in East London. Microsoft has rented it out to provide a central location for all platform exhibitions and events to take place - it's a superb building.

Back in December, at a recent WPUG meetup and AlphaLabs event, those who attended witnessed a row of white Lumia 920 Windows Phones on one side of the main conference hall. These handsets were each running an interesting app, more on this in a minute. Modern Jago has become the place-to-go for developers and designers to collaborate and share ideas.

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Fire up Photoshop or Illustrator because design magazine Core77 is running another design competition for Windows Phone. The contest is similar to one a year ago that Core77 did in partnership with the Windows Phone Team, this one is also a joint effort. Back then the contest was called "Fast Track to the Mobile App" and this year is going under the name "App to the Future". Winning submissions will have some nice prizes to look forward too! What's also unique about this contest is that it isn't restricted to North American residents, it's open to every abled designer on the planet.

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In the quest to the get Windows Phone into more hands around the globe, you do have to give Microsoft credit being able to expand as far as they can.

Yesterday, the Windows Phone team announced that they are expanding into 42 new markets starting next week, which is quite the feat.  

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We mentioned Tweetro recently when we interviewed developer house LazyWorm Apps who are also behind the Windows Phone app MetroTube. The Twitter client is meant for Windows 8 and runs quite well on RT devices like the Surface. Unfortunately, it has also stopped working.

That’s not the fault of the developers though but rather due to in part to two reasons (1) it’s very popular (as is the OS) and (2) Twitter has a 100K token cap.  Long story short, Twitter implemented new changes to how their API is used for third-party apps and it's causing problems--if an app goes over that "token limit", they get shut down and stop working.

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If there is one thing we can say about Windows Phone 8 is that it is reportedly very secure, specifically  during the boot process. But that doesn't mean that the OS cannot be "dumped" and looked at for exploits or--the holy grail--to be back ported to older Windows Phone 7.x handsets.

That process has now officially begun over at XDA Forums where a user named 'neilgoco' has managed to get his hands on an HTC 8X engineering device. That means it is more 'open" and has access to developer tools not found on the commercial release.

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