Software

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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11

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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7

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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For those of you who like free things, especially when they used to cost money then SPB will make your day. They upgraded their SPB TV software to 2.0 and in turn, made it freeware (previously it was $14.99). See a review of the older version here.

Well, it does play a mini-ad before your program starts, so more like a Hulu-method sans the cool content. A lot of it is local stations and some web-based things, no major networks, so this isn't a Hulu/Slingbox replacement by any means.

Other additions to 2.0 include

  • Video-on-Demand channels added
  • High quality h264/AVC streams supported
  • Hardware video acceleration support improved
  • Advertising added into opening screen
  • Backlight supported for new devices
  • Other bugfixes

We can't say it doesn't work well and it that is serves as a great "I'm bored, need something to do while I wait for the dentist" program, so we say go for it, after all it won't cost you anything.

It's available in touchscreen and non-touchscreen versions and you can grab it right here; unfortunately it's not available yet in the Marketplace.

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Ever have a great idea for a program that no one else has thought of, yet are hampered by the fact you have ZERO programming skills and no graphic talent? Then boy does Microsoft has a contest for you.

In an attempt to further lure interest in Windows Phone 7, Microsoft is holding a contest whereby you submit your verbal design for a dream application that doesn't yet exist. The community then votes on it and the winner's creations will be turned into a free app by professionals and dumped in the WP7 Marketplace for all to use.

You'll be a legend!

Oh and the winner gets $5,000 and a free Windows Phone 7 device.

So take those old bar napkins with your hopes and dreams scribbled in boozy ink and submit right over here. As an example, you can check out Todd Portz's creation right here (yeah, he gets a free plug since he tipped us off to this contest).

Anyways, this a great idea from Microsoft. Lets see what you folks have lurking in your geeky heads...

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Microsoft's Windows Phone Marketplace polices have been updated. These policies govern the application submission and certification process.  According to Microsoft, the changes are to "attract a much wider range of developers, from large software companies down to students and hobbyists."

These changes seem to follow Microsoft's efforts to court the development community. From offering the Development Tools for free to waiving any fees for unlocking codes, Microsoft is creating a very developer friendly environment for Windows Phone 7.

The new policies include:

  • Annual registration fee of $99
  • No limit to the number of paid apps submitted 5 free apps per registration, $19.99 each after that
  • Free registration to DreamSpark students (same unlimited paid and 5 free apps applies)
  • A new optional push notification service to help developers stay engaged with customers
  • A new optional Trial API - trials mean more customers try your app, and less likelihood that they return it. The length or type of trial is fully controlled by the developer
  • The ability to publish to all available Marketplace markets through a new “worldwide distribution” option, allowing developers to pay once and distribute broadly
  • Wider range of business models; free, paid, freemium and ad-funded

What isn't changing includes:

  • A revenue share of 70/30
  • Developers manage their business with Marketplace via the self service portal http://developer.windowsphone.com
  • Payout takes place monthly for developers that have earned more than USD$200 worldwide
  • Developers can make ad funded applications
  • All applications go through a process of technical and content certification
  • Marketplace offers support for credit card commerce, and where available mobile operator billing.

A full list of the Windows Marketplace policies can be found over at the Windows Phone Developer site.

[read: windowsteamblog.com]

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Weatherbug has been a popular application for Windows Mobile and now it looks like it is on board for Windows Phone 7. In a recent interview over at Channel 9, Weatherbug developers talked about using Silverlight and Bing Maps with their mobile weather application.

Weatherbug uses both Microsoft products in their website development and is having success moving Weatherbug over to WP7. Developers see using Bing Maps and Silberlight offers them more detailed maps, easier code to transfer to WP7, and takes a lot of the worry out of developing these applications.

This is encouraging news to see a popular Windows Mobile developer transitioning to Windows Phone 7 with such ease.  The only downside to the interview comes when Weatherbug demos their WP7 app and the video abruptly ends without showing anything.

[via: Mobility Digest]

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3

Flip2Mute Released for Windows Mobile

Flip2Mute for Windows Mobile has been released which will allow you to silence your Windows Phone when it is face down.

The application, designed by x86shadow, is similar to the native features on various HTC Windows Phones such as the HD2. Your Windows Phone needs to be running Windows Mobile 6.5.xx, have .NET CF 3.5 installed, an accelerometer, and be a WVGA device.

Along with silencing your phone, you can set Flip2Mute to turn off the screen or set the phone to vibrate. This works out great for those who are constantly in and out of meetings and need a simple way to mute their Windows Phone. Simply turn on Flip2Mute and set your Windows Phone face down on the conference table.  The only bug I experienced in testing Flip2Mute was that occasionally the phone stayed on silent even after being turned face up. 

Flip2Mute is a free application and if your interested in giving it a try, you can download it here.

[read: wmpoweruser.com]

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We'll admit that we're not hip to all those popular Flash games on the internet these days, but evidently one is being ported over to Windows Mobile this month due to its popularity.

"Learn to Fly" is about a hapless penguin who is determined to overcome his flight-challenged biology. Its has bold graphics, silly achievements and it's indeed addicting. In fact we would have written this up sooner but we're playing the online Flash game for the last hour.

We'll keep you posted on the actual release and hopefully it's as smooth as the online one. If you want to waste the rest of your day at work, go here to play the free Flash version. Apologize to your boss in advance for us, thanks!

[Pocket Gamer; thanks, segadc, for the tip!]

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Not much news here, but it's always fun to see a software developer get a chance to see their work on actual hardware.

As we've been reporting, new Windows Phone 7 developers are stuck using their computers for demonstrations or even paper cut-outs. This will be changing in a few weeks as Microsoft reveals plans for developers to get their hands on actual devices to better gauge performance (currently, the emulator uses your PCs graphics to simulate a phone--not exactly a great metric).

Developer Julien Dollon, who has made a great time-management program "Ahead", recently got a chance to get his app on a phone (Samsung Omnia HD). Although it may have looked a bit boring before, it's always cool to see it on an working phone. Makes it a bit more, you know, real.

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