Software

With Twikini seemingly out of the picture and Windows Live not resolving their Twitter API issue, Windows Phone 7 is a little behind on the Twitter front (though lets not forget about Seesmic).

TheUnwired.net has an interesting theory, albeit lacking hard evidence, that Microsoft may be providing some type of native Twitter support after all.

This is one of those we could seriously believe Microsoft doing before the 1.0 official launch and think it is certainly a possibility.

The story goes like this: Michael Klucher, Microsoft's Lead Program Manger of the XNA Development Platform, showed off a few pictures of some Windows Phone 7 games and tweeted them to his account. The photos's EXIF data confirm a Samsung camera had taken presumably from those Samsung developer units.

The interesting part comes from the Twitter client information, which every Tweet marks to ID the originating software e.g. "Seesmic" or "Twikini". In this case, it says "To be named later" which is...well certainly odd and interesting. Even more so, it links back to www.microsoft.com (dun dun dun!)

The theory goes that Kuchner is using a beta version of a native Twitter app for Windows Phone 7. Ta-da!

Like we said, totally plausible and we hope, very true, but at this point...just lots of circumstantial evidence. Read more at The Unwired.net.

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Looks like the folks at Microsoft are still continuing to roll out applications and mini-games for the Zune HD, some of which are being ported over to Windows Phone 7 e.g. 'Goosplat'.

Two news ones that are now available are 'Music Quiz' which  uses the Zune's music library to...well quiz you on music. Functioning like those common bar-quizzes, the game allows you to pick an artist, genre or playlist to test your skills on two-levels: 'normal' and 'hardcore'.  

The other game, 'Animalgrams',  falls into the puzzle category as it uses 'the Jungle of the Savanna' as a background theme for figuring out anagrams.  Hmmm...witty one there, Microsoft.

Both look like great time-killers and are quite fun. These two new games brings the ZuneHD game count up to 14--not bad for free, as all are actually really enjoyable.We also really hope 'Music Quiz' makes it over to the WP7 Marketplace some time. Fire up your Zune connect software and head to the Marketplace to download.

As always, both are free.

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Namco brings Tekken Resolute to Windows Mobile

Namco Bandai announced today that the Tekken game franchise was going mobile with the game Tekken Resolute.  The mobile version of the popular arcade game is available for Java, Windows Mobile, BREW and RIM platforms.

Tekken Resolute promises to bring intense graphics and fluid animations to the mobile platform. Players can choose between the Iron Fist Tournament with the Arcade Mode or fight through various stages of a Story Mode. Tekken Resolute also has a Tekken Force Mode where you battle multiple enemies.

Tekken Resolute can be purchased for $6.99 through various wireless provider's app stores such as AT&T's Media Mall or through Namco (still billed through your wireless provider).  Namco is slowly updating their website so if Tekken Resolute isn't listed under your carrier and device, check your wireless provider's app store.

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Halo Waypoint app shown off

Though many of us were hoping for some type of 'Halo' mobile offshoot game for the Windows Phone 7 launch, 'Halo' fans will have to settle for Waypoint, which is basically a media/news aggregator for the 'Halo' universe.

The app was written in only 3 months on Silverlight and will be a free download from the Marketplace. Hard for us to get excited over, but we suppose if you're a 'Halo' fan you might enjoy.

See the rest of our WP7 gaming titles coverage here.

[via WMPU]

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We're huge fans of 'Portal', that mind-bending game featured on Xbox from uber-geeks Valve.

So when we heard that someone went all super-nerd and made a ringer, text message notification and voice mail announcement in .mp3format , well, our little geek hearts exploded.

Not only can you grab them free, you can read the tutorial on how to make your own simulated GLaDOS voice using some software trickery.

We have to say, the ringer here is especially sweet--nothing like hearing the mechanical GLaDOS mocking you as your phone rings. Read about 'em here, the downloads are on the right of that page.

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Want a DIY app maker for Windows Phone 7? Better yet, what is a DIY app maker?

To answer the latter, it's basically a program to write programs that assumes you know nothing about programming. Case in point: Google's Android App Inventor.

On the one hand, it's hella cool, especially if you're like us and know nothing about C#, XNA or Silverlight.

On the other hand, it results in things deemed 'crapps' by our esteemed colleague Phil (see above article).

One twist? We have an approval process in our app store, so more than likely the majority of 'crapps' won't be approved, but once we figure how to 'sideload' you can use your crapp...err app as you see fit and probably even share it.

All of this will soon be made possibly by Jay Desai who is in the middle of writing an app to do just what Google has done--though perhaps not as smooth. As of right now, the app is just a technical preview, yet it still has RSS Feeds, Facebook, Twitter feeds and may add YouTube and Flickr support in the future. This will allow you to write apps that interact with those feeds, making it pretty neat.

Sounds interesting? Try it right here though you'll need a password, since it's still in development: You can request a temp password via Twitter @desaij

Watch the video tutorial after the break.

[via 1800PocketPC]

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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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eBay on Windows Phone 7? Done.

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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Follow-up: AT&T Tilt2 leaked ROM update

 

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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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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