Software

We've mentioned ShopSavvy before, the extremely popular barcode scanner app that is available on Android, the iPhone and Nokia and which is coming to Windows Phone 7 shortly.

The folks at 'Big in Japan', the developers of said app, have posted some screen shots of what the upcoming software looks like.

We have to admit, it looks pretty compelling being able to scan an item, search for the lowest price, read reviews and add to lists. Sound interesting? Head over to their site and sign up for the beta

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Even though this is a pretty basic application, it's one that I know I'll use a lot. It's from Pelnor Software and it scours the internet for images, providing them in a thumbnail form, then allowing you to browse in a larger size. Of course it then allows 1-click saving to the Photo-hub or you can go to the site where the image originated.

Simple but useful.

I now have a sudden craving for nachos.

Watch the video demonstration after the break.

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Say it ain't so!

Trinket software, developers of the extremely popular Twitter client 'Twikini' notes that their app will stop working in a few days. Worse still, there are no plans to "fix" the problem.

Evidently, Twitter is changing authentication protocol required for third party programs on August 16th, 2010 which will result in slowdowns till D-day, August 31st when the plug is finally pulled. Read more on that here.

Now most Twiiter apps will be or already have updated their authentication method to use the new protocol. But Trinket software has basically "moved on" from WM6.5+ to Windows Phone 7 (see here) and in turn, won't be delivering any updates to fix the problem.

Sorry guys, with the shape WM 6.x is in, we've moved on to other projects. Twikini will be back on WP7.

Grrrr.

In a twist, Trinket is considering making their Twikini code open-source, meaning the community can then fix the problem as well as...well keep adding things we suppose. To that idea, we say 'Yes please!' as it'd be the right thing to do (and the least) for all the loyal users who have bought the application.

Update: We just go word that MoTweets (see review) is already updated and should be fine August 16th; unfortunately TouchTwit has not been updated for the new protocol (yet); PockeTwit is currently working on an update.

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For those of you who have bidding fever, you've got good luck.

According to Forbes, Microsoft asked the online flea-market eBay to make a mobile application for Windows Phone 7. Being the good company they are, eBay of course accepted the request and should have the app ready to go when the OS finally launches this Fall.

In addition, eBay is playing around with adding a Half.com application (no word if a WP7 version will appear), barcode scanning, video and other tweaks to make the software even better. Basically they envision that one day you can use your mobile's camera to scan a vehicle VIN, someone's clothes, etc. and find car parts or that guy's shirt you dig so much.

Cool.

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The Microsoft KIN has now received its second software update since being axed back in June. As with the first update, the second round deals primarily with tweaking the KIN's Twitter interface.

Basically, the update allows for Twitter replies to show up on a tweet and The KIN Loop now shows pictures from picture links directly in the shell without having to open the browser.

If you are one of the few owning a KIN, the updates can be accessed through the KIN's over-the-air update system. Speculation on why Microsoft continues to update a dead device range from testing out Twitter functionality that may land on Windows Phone 7 to testing OTA updates.

Then again, these updates may have simply been close to being finished when the plug was pulled and Microsoft didn't want to leave any loose ends.  Regardless of the reasoning it's nice to see Microsoft lending support to those who continue to use the KIN.

via: wmpoweruser.com

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Well, the tweet says it all.

Of course what it means exactly is unclear, but with the recent ruling on DRM and 'jailbreaking', there's no reason to think that XDA members won't be able to unlock our devices at some point and support 'sideloading'. Just like we suggested.

w00t

footnote: While XDA Market is the product of XDA-developers member davidgiga, it isn't an official XDA-developers product. 

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On Microsoft's own Channel 9 yesterday, they showed off some of the free apps in the new Marketplace for Windows Phone 7.

Now these are hardly "killer" apps, in fact they are more demo apps with the source-code available for developers to build off of and incorporate into their own programs.

The programs demoed were pretty basic, much like the ones you find on Samsung phones:

  • Bubble/Spirit Level
  • Unit Converter
  • Shopping list
  • Weather
  • Stocks
  • 2D game based on SilverLight: 'Unite'
  • Translator

The 2D game 'Unite' was kind of neat--it's just meant as brief time killer and is similar to 'Teeter' from HTC except instead of getting the ball in the hole, you need to combine two or more balls.  Looks kind of fun actually.

But the real big thing was the demonstration of Bing Translator, which seems to be an expansion of this new service shown off back in May. Basically, you type in what you want to say and it will translate it for you in text; hit the speaker button and it will speak the phrase for you, even with an authentic accent.

The service is a hybrid one: it uses your data connection for new phrases, but stores old ones on the device. This will enable quick playback of phrases without having to constantly reach into the cloud (Android is 100% cloud based with translation, making Microsoft's solution more preferable). The app also already comes with an impressive list of canned phrases which you can quickly access and supports five-languages on launch:

  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • English

What's neat is like the other apps, Microsoft is making the source-code of this program available to developers, meaning anyone can incorporate and expand upon what they've already offered. This combined with their emphasis on voice could potentially give Android a run for their money (and leave Apple far behind).

Check out the video after the break. It's only 18 minutes of your time.

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One thing that keeps surprising us is how good Microsoft's Bing service is and how much better it is becoming (Anyone notice how Google now has similar themes and even re-vamped their image search to look just like Bing?).

Evidently this week, Microsoft did some more upgrades, changing some of the fonts, making the colors "warmer", improving the layouts and even traffic color.

The other cool addition is the ability to calculate your cab fare based on the trip you enter. While not exactly useful for non-city folk on a daily basis, it sure could be useful for when you travel and need to know how to plan your trip. You can try it out by going right here (you need Silverlight installed, shocker).

Of course the not so great news is that none of these features are yet available on the mobile version, something which is not too unexpected unfortunately these days. Still, we can't help but think that things like the cab fare calculator would be awesome on Windows Phone 7--so lets just hope they figure out a way to do that before October.

[via FastCompany]

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A leaked ROM update for the AT&T Tilt2 surfaced the other day and we've had a few days to tinker with it. The ROM is based on the 21887 build of Windows Mobile 6.5 and runs HTC Sense 2.5. It also has an updated radio (4.49.25.95).

Compared to the original shipped ROM for the Tilt2, the updated ROM is noticeably more responsive. Sense 2.5 flows smoothly and apps are pulled up with little or no delay. ROM Chefs, such as NRGZ28, have already begun to incorporate parts of this build into their cooking. The ROM has potential but as is, still has a ways to go before it can be stamped "official" ROM.

As is, it's a nice building foundation but you will need to install or update a few items. Net CF is an older version (v2.1) and to run more current apps and modifiers, you'll need to install a more current version (v3.5). Neither BING nor Google Maps is preloaded. Office Mobile is an older release but the 2010 release is free over at the Marketplace. Nothing critical but you'll need to spend some time loading some additional apps or updated versions.

To address the bloatware, you can use Crud Scraper (requires .NET CF 3.5) to free up to 39mb of memory. I choose BSB Tweaks to help optimize the Tilt2 but other tweaks are available to help boost performance. I also installed Brian's Taskbar (requires SdkCerts installed) to help add some color to my notification icons.

Remember, a ROM update will wipe your device clean so a data back-up is highly encouraged.   Also, read up on any modifiers you install.  Check and make sure there aren't any required .cab files (e.g. .NET CF , SdkCerts, etc.) because without them you can crash your Windows Phone.  

All in all, I like the direction AT&T has taken with this update.  Just remember all is not lost if you update and don't like what you see. The original Tilt2 ROM is still available over at HTC's Support Site.

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Namco Games has released the popular game Flight Control for Windows Phone.

Flight Control has players guide planes, jets and helicopters safely to their landing zones. Flight Control is easy to play—just select an aircraft and direct it to its landing zone. Flight Control has five different airfields and ten types of aircraft.  As time passes, more aircraft start to fill the friendly skies, making Flight Control a game of strategy. 

Flight Control is available over at Namco's website for $5.99. Currently it's only available for T-Mobile and AT&T customers (game billed through your wireless account) and slowly but surely Namco is populating the list of compatible devices.  If you have trouble accessing the download link that is sent to your phone from Namco, check for the app in your wireless provider's app store/mall.

We hope to get a review up on Flight Control shortly but in the meantime, check out what our friends over at TiPb thinks of this gaming app.

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22

AT&T Tilt2 update surfaces

AT&T Tilt2 owners are in for a surprise.  A new ROM has surfaced over at Shipped-ROMs that appears to be a Windows Mobile 6.5 update for the Tilt2. On top of the ROM surfacing, over at XDA Developers, a new radio has also surfaced from AT&T (included in the ROM update).

After downloading the 230mb file, I took the plunge and flashed my Tilt2. The ROM is definitely branded AT&T and is likely a pre-release test ROM. AT&T has done this before (with the Fuze) and if the time table stays consistent, we should be seeing an "official" release in a few weeks.

Just skimming the surface of the "leaked" version, it is built on WM 6.5 (build 21887) and is running Sense 2.5. It does have the customary AT&T bloatware and it will be nice when the chef's at XDA can cook something up without all the AT&T junk. Just scratching the surface of the "leaked" ROM it appears to be more responsive and looks very clean. The new radio also has a little more pep to it.

If your comfortable flashing ROMs you can download it here and if you prefer to simply update your radio, you can find it here

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After all of those tech-previews of Windows Phone 7, if you're like us you already feel you "know" the new OS in and out. Likewise for Bing on board, which while currently lacking turn-by-turn directions (boo) promises to build off of what looks to be a solid search platform.

Heck, even the Bing folks think so as they posted a few screen shots to gaze at. Credit is due: it sure looks real nice and we're excited to make daily use of it and finally ditch Google-everything.

Other than that, nothing new, just preetty. See more shots here at the Bing blog.

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Back a few months ago, when Windows Phone 7 was first announced, there was talk about how there won't be a separate, native Twitter application when launched. Instead, Microsoft talked-up their Live services which could access and pull down your Twitter feed for you.

Sure, it wasn't a direct route but if you use Live, you had a one-punch solution to social integration on WP7.

Now we're getting word that's just not the case as Twitter as changed their Terms of Service back in June (which explains why it was missing as of late) and have blocked companies like Microsoft from accessing via that method. To be clear, Microsoft is working with Twitter to come to a solution, but it seems Twitter has Redmond by the Rocky Mountain Oysters on this one and since the end of June, it hasn't be restored.

Of course there are a few of third-party solutions, including Twikini, Seesmic and even some up and coming developers who will have clients out the gate at launch--and lets be honest, when it comes to Twitter clients, the free market has made bigger, better and more fully-featured Twitter programs. The Android and iPhone software community are testimony to this approach.

On the other hand, full, native integration is pretty sweet. Can Microsoft, perhaps, pull off a last minute coding trick to get back Twitter or should the Market just have it instead? (Hint: we think Twikini and Seesmic are much better options anyways, so long as they fully integrate in the OS, including contacts).

[via Pocketnow; thanks Stephen]

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Astraware is one of the few companies who put out some solid games for Windows Mobile, including Classic Collection, Casino, Bubble Shuffle, Bejeweled/Bejeweled 2, Sudoku, etc. So it's nice to see them still put out a few games in the twilight months of our beloved OS.

The first game is Police Range ($4.99) and is a police shooting range-type game. Seems kind of fun and the graphics aren't too shabby.

The other is OddBlob ($4.99), a strategy/puzzle game that should be good for those who like the Bejeweled series and goofy graphics.

Both are for touchscreen devices, preferably the 800x480 type.

We'll try to get a review up on both of these sooner than later.

[via Experience Mobility]

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It looks like Microsoft has updated Bing for Windows Phones, though what the update provides isn’t immediately clear. Microsoft’s download site shows the "Date Published" as 7/1/2010. My Bing version went from 5.1.2010.5040 to 5.1.2010.6280.

The last update we saw to Bing was the big one back in May that gave us turn-by-turn navigation with voice prompts. Grab the download from Microsoft, and let us know if you see anything new and improved.

Thanks to Muirwoody in the WMExperts forums for getting us looking.

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Microsoft has been busy updating their Bing service, adding Zune store support, access to social sites like Twitter and overall just making it a real solid competitor to Google's platform.

Recently at that Cannes Lions advertising conference, Bing on Windows Phone 7 was demoed and it brings the same search plus all that new stuff as well. Some of these advanced features are the following, as detailed by 1800PocketPC:

  • Twitter and Facebook Search about the keyword with one click – It looks like you can also drill down to results by your friends only.
  • Share with your Friends
  • Barcode and CoverArt Scan and Bing gives you info on that product

Interestingly, a lot of these same features are already available on another mobile OS--yeah, that one. On June 22nd, Microsoft rolled up a nice update for the iPhone/iPad which included all of the above, including that bar-code scanner feature which rivals Google's Shopper/Bar Code apps on Android.

While we're pretty excited to see Bing and Zune get front and center on Windows Phone 7, we're still hoping that Microsoft hasn't forgotten WM6.x and will update their Bing software soon, you know for the rest of us. If and when it comes, you can bet the above feature set should be included.

Check out the video here, specifically at 9:10 and 14:03.

[Thanks, Saijo]

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We haven't been covering too much the ongoing attempts to get Google's Android OS to run on Windows Mobile hardware--it's a moving target with varying results depending on your device--but mtllc555 has gone ahead and shown what a fully-functional Android looks like on a Diamond 2.

Results? Impressive.  

The OS is relatively fast for basic functions (a little sluggish on graphics) and overall seems to be working for every function (call, web, market, etc.).

Unfortunately, to get Android to run on your phone will depend on your hardware and radios (GSM vs CDMA) as each phone requires its own 'team'--some are more ahead than others. For instance on the CDMA Touch Pro 2, sound doesn't work and battery life is not that spectacular.

A good place to get started if you're interested (and have some time) is XDAndroid, which has info on the raphael/fuze, diamond, blackstone, topaz and rhodium. The process is not too difficult, can do no permanent damage and is a great way to kill a few hours.

Full video of Android 2.1 ('Eclair') on the Diamond 2 after the break.

[via Windows Mobile Based Phones]

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BirdieSync 2.0 has been released which supports synchronization of Pocket Outlook with Thunderbird cards and mails, and Lightning or Sunbird events and tasks.

Birdiesync has it's own synchronization engine and does not rely on ActiveSync. The synchronization engine maintains a history, manages unresolved items, and allows for multiple computer synchronization. The independent sync engine may create an unexpected benefit for those wanting to sync their Windows Phone with a home computer and an Exchange Server.

Reading from the FAQ of BirdieSync's website, "It is possible to synchronize your mobile device with Outlook if it is installed on a different computer (without Thunderbird/Sunbird being synchronized on this machine). So you can synchronize your mobile device with Outlook and Thunderbird if they are installed on 2 different machines. Simply be aware that all the modifications performed on either computer will be replicated on the other one." This may not be possible if you're running Windows XP the drivers for Windows Mobile Device Center (needed to connect your Windows Phone to your computer) are bundled with Activesync.  But if you're running Vista or Windows 7, it might be worth a try.

BirdieSync is compatible with Thunderbird 3.1, Lightning 1.0b2 and Sunbird 1.0b1. It is available for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 (32 and 64 bits). You can download a 21 day trial version of BirdieSync here and it will set you back 19.95 Euros (about $25 USD if my conversion rate is correct).

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Awhile back we reported on Seesmic being one of the first Twitter apps being available for Windows Phone 7 and it turns out also back in March it was demoed on video for us to see.

While nothing spectacular--it is after all just a Twitter app, it does have some nice features like embedded photos and 'Nearby' which shows all Tweets based on your geographic location. Overall it looks pretty smooth.

The speakers in the video are French, so any secret info they are probably not discussing will remain hidden to us, but the demonstration of the app more than speaks for itself.

Watch the video after the break.

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LG has announced an all-new LG Application Store with more than 3,000 applications consisting of a mixture between feature phone apps and Windows Phone apps. The good news is that the LG App Store is available in 23 countries and will expand to 33 countries by the end of the year.  The bad news is that the U.S. market isn't among them.

In the Press Release, Dr. Skott Ahn, President and CEO of LG's Mobile Communications Division said, "Today, more and more people want mobile devices that make their lives easier and more exciting through the right combination of applications. To meet this growing demand, we've put a great deal of effort into strengthening our application offerings for all types of phone owners"

While research noted in LG's press release indicates that 90% of feature phone owners in the U.S. and United Kingdom are interested in downloading application, neither of these countries are included in the initial 23 Country launch. The U.K. is included in the next group of ten countries but, again, not the U.S. 

You can find a full list of Countries having access to the LG App Store at www.lgapplication.com.

[read: engadget.com]

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