Software

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 released

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 Launches New App Store

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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Skyfire has announced that they will be scaling back operations and development beginning July 1, 2010.

The decision appears to be the result of demand out pacing resources. Skyfire users have grown 400% in the past year and Skyfire has been approached by several vendors and wireless providers to become default browsers for their handsets.

The scale down will call for a stop for all future development on Skyfire 1.0 (only used on Windows Phones and Symbian phones) architecture and focus on Skyfire 2.0 as the flagship product. Additionally, Skyfire 1.x will no longer be supported outside of North America and Western Europe.  Skyfire 1.0 and 1.5 will remain available as a free service in the following countries after July 1st: United States, U.K., Canada, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Korea and Taiwan.

Jeff Glueck, CEO of Skyfire, stated, "We know this decision is an inconvenience to many Skyfire 1.5 users in emerging markets, and while it’s a free service, we appreciate how important and valuable Skyfire has become to people. We have read the many impassioned messages from users in affected countries, and the choice to focus on our flagship product does involve trade-offs which are never easy."  Skyfire will move forward with continued development for Android phones, submit a version to the iPhone App Store and hopefully have a product available for the Windows Phone 7.

You can find the full announcement here.

[via: phonescoop.com]

 

 

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McObject, developer of data management technology, has announced it will be offering support for its Perst object-oriented, open source embedded database on the Windows Phone 7 platform.

The open source software was successfully ported to WP7 by APPA Mundi, a England-based consulting firm. Andy Wigley, from APPA Mundi, stated, "Using Perst for .NET, developers using Silverlight can now include true database management system features in their Silverlight applications, including adding persistence to this data by storing it in a container file in isolated storage."

According to McObject, there was some doubt from developers that WP7's tight memory, CPU size and storage constraints might limit the use of embedded databases. Perst will see it's greatest impact with business applications that require complex databases and hopefully, this announcement will open the door further for WP7 development.

You can read the full release over at mcobject.com.

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Swype has had one heck of a year. First debuting on Windows Mobile, the popular soft-keyboard alternative has quickly grown to be a popular option on various HTC devices including the T-Mobile HD2. More recently, Swype has exploded on the Android scene quickly making an impression on that OS. In fact, 90% of Swype's business is currently on Android.

Now the developers of Swype are boasting to boost their current 'official' availability from 10 devices to a whopping 50 by the end of the year. Some of those will be tablet-type computers, but no plans for the iPhone.

Certainly not an impossible task but the one question we have is this: What about Windows Phone 7?

The question is really two-fold:

  1. Does WP7 even allow third-party keybaords?
  2. If so, does Swype have plans to roll out for our new OS?

Really this all hinges on question #1 and we have no indication if such an add-on will even be possible with Release 1 of WP7 as no one has yet asked--though we have and are hoping to find out soon...

[Reuters via AndroidCentral]

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Two parts to this story:

The first is about how social network buttons can be implemented in third-party applications in Windows Phone 7. This is something that Android and the iPhone do quite well--they allow you to share your media, scores, basically anything, with social-networking sites. The app can call up the API and it then allows you to send it via that app to a service like Twitter.

Silverlight developer Ian Walker shows how this can look when implemented in WP7. While the details of how this is done is of interest only to the developer, seeing what it'd be like is what most of us may be curious about. We just hope other developers to do the same.

The second part involves two Silverlight games (by the same Ian), both being ported to WP7. The first is 'Nuke Your Office' which combines Bing maps with, well, simulated mass annihilation. Sweet. The other is a puzzle game  Back to the one with nukes though, you can play it right now at work and vent your frustrations. Not sure how much-repeat value this will get, but if you're bored now, here ya go...

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In case you've been living under a rock, there's been a new phenomenon taking place at the World Cup, a tradition unknown to us, which is the vuvuzela horn. Need more? See this Discovery story on it and you'l be caught up.

The other annoying fad is replicating that aforementioned 'experience' on smartphones. The iPhone has 'em, Android has 'em and yes, now Windows Mobile.

JDB software has made a freeware app (like anyone would pay for this function) and it's actually pretty top notch. It works on all WM6.x touchscreen devices, all resolutions.

The UI design is very-much Windows Phone 7, which we like. You also get choices in the size of the horn and sound-type (traditional or euphoric) as well as skinning the horn with you're country's colors, 'cause nationalism is still very en vogue these days.

Probably the most, dare we say, fun part is the ability to play it by traditional screen-tapping or by blowing in the microphone. Okay, that's kinda cool.

Grab it here and apologize to your friends/family for us in advance.

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Google Voice has been out for about a year now and up until today, you had to request an invitation to use this service. Today, Google has announced that Google Voice is open to the public.

It’s still only available to residents of the United States but offers you free call, SMS messages, voice mail transcripts, and having one number for all your phones. To get your Google Voice number simply log into voice.google.com with your Google account and follow the set-up wizard.

There is a slight charge for International Calls (here's the rate schedule) and while there's still not a Windows Phone mobile app for Google Voice (hopefully that will change), you can still access things through your mobile browser at google.com/voice/m .

[Read: Google Voice Blog]

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Looks like some major software development for Windows phone is still going on, as those Swedish developers of 'Spotify' plan to have a full fledged Windows Mobile by next month.

Spotify is quite popular in Europe already and for those who are unfamiliar, its a bit similar to the GrooveShark service: users are allowed to stream music to their device, but instead of Spotify hosting the music files themselves, it relies on a peer-to-peer model. So perhaps it's more like Limewire but without the permanent status.

Reportedly it looks great on a 480x800 device and has the following features:

  • Offline mode
  • Save offline audio files to phone, or storage card
  • Multi resolution support
  • Multitasking support – Yes you can run Spotify in the background and play Bubble breaker at the same time

Sounds good to us. We'll keep you posted on the release and have a review to boot. Oh and one downside? So far Spotify has yet to launch here in the States, so the availability of this program and service...well it may be limited unless you use some proxy-trickery.

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Windows Live Calendar goes mobile

There seems to be a lot of work going on over at Windows Live. We've seen ActiveSync support show up and now LiveSide.net is reporting that the Calendar is now accessible from any web-enabled mobile phone. Supported phones and browsers include: iPhone/iPod Touch with Safari 3.0+, Opera on Windows Mobile 6.1.4+, S 60/5th Gen+, Blackberry 5+, Opera, Palm, Android.

Just type in calendar.live.com into your mobile browser and you will be prompted to enter in your Windows Live ID/password.  From there you will either go directly to your calendar or you will receive an interesting message that reads, "Windows Live is designed for you, but maybe not for your browser". The message continues to say "the website works best when viewed using Internet Explorer 6 or later, Safari 4.0 or later, Firefox 3.0 or later, or Google Chrome 4.0 or later".  All of which is a little confusing seeing that these are desktop browsers.

You do have the option to disregard this message and continue with the cautionary statement that, "some webpages may not work correctly." In using Opera 9.7 on an AT&T Tilt2, Windows Live Calendar "mobile" crashed the browser about every other time. In using Internet Explorer, while I still received the warning message but continuing worked better.

When Windows Live Calendar "mobile" worked, it worked just as it would by accessing it through a desktop computer. I could not replicate the nicer, cleaner graphics and interface of the "mobile" version on the Tilt2. Oddly though, I was able to access the mobile version using an iPhone.

In a jam, being able to access your Windows Live Calendar via your mobile browser will but the inconsistency of appearances and performance is really disappointing.  One would think a Windows Phone would reflect the "improvements" to the Windows Live calendar before another device would.

I just can't help but think Microsoft could come up with a more effective, efficient and easier way of making Windows Live truly mobile.

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As more and more details trickle out in relation to Windows Phone 7 and the different features and such that will be supported, some little features that we take for granted in Windows Mobile 6.x remain noticeably absent. We can now scratch Landscape support on the start screen off of that list.

CNet’s Ina Fried takes fabulous look behind the scenes at some of the people and processes behind Windows Phone 7. In the associated photo gallery, one of the images shows a glimpse of a Windows Phone 7 (displaying a landscape start screen) running on a development board.

Other tidbits in the article include a discussion on how Microsoft came to the decision on leaving out such things as copy and paste, as well as multitasking.

For the full read, head on over to the CNet post.

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Jealous of the new KIN UI? No? Well, too bad because now you have the option to run a UI overlay on  your favorite Windows Mobile phone, but without all the limitations.

Turns out someone at Windows Phone Hacker (yeah, new to us too) has come up with a sophisticated looking KIN UI. Seriously, considering what this is it actually looks pretty darn good.

Called 'KinLauncher', it makes available eight tabs on your homescreen, each linking to a core aspect of your phone: messages, email, phone, music, settings, browser, camera and alarm clock.

It might not permanently replace your Sense UI, but hey, it's free and seems like worth a shot if you're bored.  You can grab it right here and after the break, watch a video demonstration of it in action.

[Thanks Saijo, 1800PocketPC]

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Panoramic Software has released version 1.8.3 of their popular Twitter client, moTweets. This release specifically fixes a security issue identified by twitter user @mus_hi, namely that previous moTweets versions store your twitter password in an unencrypted state in the accounts.xml file. This update is highly recommended as having passwords in plain text makes them vulnerable to any number of attacks. Additionally, changing your password would also be recommended.

The update is available directly from Panoramic Software, and includes a couple of additional features. For more details, visit the moTweets product page and version history.

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Those brave souls at xda-developers are at it again. XDA forum member OndraSter has released an Alpha version of an application that reportedly enables pinch to zoom functionality on devices with resistive touch screens, such as the HTC Touch Pro2.

At this point I haven’t been able to make it work on my AT&T Tilt 2, but we are talking about Alpha software; so try at your own risk. The application is tested and should work with Opera 9.5 and 9.7, and Google Maps.  Hit up the XDA post for the download. Don’t forget to donate to the project if it strikes your fancy.

 

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SPB Software updates Mobile Shell

SPB Software has updated their Windows Mobile user interface, Mobile Shell, and inches ever so slightly towards the anticipated release of Mobile Shell 5.0 (which seems to have gone missing).

The update, version 3.5.5 adds support for 320x480 resolution, fixes bugs related to the Task Widget and other routine performance fixes. If you've recently purchased Mobile Shell and are worried about the cost to upgrade, SPB offers free upgrades for all registered Mobile Shell 3.x users. Simply download the trial version and install it over your existing version.

Mobile Shell 3.5.5 is running $29.95 and is available over at the WMExperts.com App Store.

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World Cup Application for Windows Mobile

Are you a fan of the largest sporting event in the world? If so, the folks over at Mobile PractiCEs have created some software to give you quick and easy access to all of the latest updates.

The guys at Mobile PractiCEs built their World Cup 2010 application as a proof of concept application for a panoramic UX (User Experience) that is very similar to the “Hubs” found in Windows Phone 7. While it is technically a beta, it is free and provides access to news, scores, schedules, and more. This application requires a touch screen device and the Microsoft .Net Compact Framework v3.5.

You can download your copy of World Cup 2010 directly from Mobile PractiCEs.

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