Software

For those who like to do some pretty basic editing of photos before you ship them off to your Facebook, Twitter or email, you'll want to take a look at this great little app by XDA member 'menos'.

Think of it as analogous to MS Paint. 

You simply run the program, open an image (.png, .jpg, .bmp) and from there you can crop, draw shapes e.g. circle, speech bubbles (very cool), eye dropper for color sample, resize and it even has an undo button.

The buttons are sort of tiny, so while it worked on my 3.2" eXpo, it was a little difficult. However, devices with 3.6" or larger screens should have no issues.

Overall, considering the price (free, but donation encouraged), this app can go up against the much more pricey "professional" competitors on the market. We give it a big thumbs up as it made my Chinese rice-monster very happy.

Head to XDA forums to download.

 

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In a move that may console some of your concerns about the future of Windows Mobile 6.x, Microsoft has updated its Bing application. While the version numbers don’t seem like a big jump (5.1.2010.3290 to 5.1.2010.5040 is what we’re seeing on our phones), there is some new functionality that a lot of people have been pining for.

Bing (and its predecessor, Live Search) have offered minimal navigation options in previous iterations, but as of today Bing offers voice guided turn-by-turn directions. (Huzzah!) Settings include the choice between the fastest or shortest route, avoiding toll booths, avoiding traffic, and voice guidance. Get the latest and greatest version from http://m.bing.com/download/. More information is available at Microsoft's Bing Community Blog.

More screen shots after the break. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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As we delve deeper into what current Silverlight programmers are up to in exploring Windows Phone 7, a few things are becoming evident:

  • Generally speaking, they love it
  • It's easy
  • There's lots of development and excitement amongst the community

Case in point is this "sample" app (e.g. something someone whipped up in very little time to explore the framework): geoGallery.

geoGallery is a photo app that pulls pictures from Picasa to your device based on your current location. Pretty cool.  It's even more cool knowing that developers are turning out programs left and right so easily and enthusiastically.

Another is this Twitter app from Governor Technology. They seem to be keen on actually building this, so may be worth to keep an eye on at this very early stage. (And lets not forget Twikini's WP7 app).

We're confident in stating that WP7's development framework is going to give a huge kick in the pants to software offerings in the Marketplace. In other words, we haven't seen this much interest from developers since the iPhone and Android SDK days.

Check out the video of geoGallery in action and how it all works from Silverlight developer Levente Mihály. And Levente? Go ahead and submit that to the Marketplace, kthxbai!

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In what is sure to be a shock and disappointment to many, Dan Neary, Skype's Asia Pacific VP and general manager for Skype, has suggested that they have no immediate plans to support Windows Phone 7. This comes on the heels of Skype pulling all Windows Mobile support, unless of course they are paid first.

Specifically, Neary noted that the decision to not support WP7 has something to do with "lack of user optimization" (?) and "partner support".  PC Authority suggest that Skype competes with Microsoft's own MSN chat and video software, but honestly we don't believe Microsoft would give the cold shoulder to Skype before even attempting to get the program in the Marketplace. So what does the lack of partner support mean? We're not too sure at this time, though it seems like Skype is not getting what it wants from Microsoft.

We should also mention that although this comes from a VP, it's not necessarily an official position, nor permanent. If Windows Phone 7 catches on, Skype will come back and make a dedicated application as they go where the money lies. Until then, dollars to doughnuts we'll see companies like Fring (who in many ways make a superior client) will fill in the huge gap, negating Skype's argument.

[via PC Authority]

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One of the big sells withs Windows Phone 7 is the inter-language programming allowed between things like XNA, Silverlight and .NET.

A clear example of this is a demo of a game called 'DroppyPop' developed by Andy Beaulieu in Silverlight..

The beauty of such an approach is two-fold according to Andy:

  • It's faster to compile and run outside of the WP7 emulator
  • You end up with both a Windows and Web version

Think of it this way: instead of downloading a "trial version" of a game, he can just link you to a web version to try it out on first. Then if you want it "on the go" you can buy it for $0.99 in the Marketplace.

Case in point, just aim your browser here and play 'DroppyPop' right now.

Now don't get us wrong, this isn't so much a revolutionary game or even an amazingly compelling one, but the underlying concept of easy code portability and having a web-based version of the same game is quite impressive, if we say so ourselves. 

[via Andybeaulieu.com]

 

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It’s been a good week for those had concerns about how much effort Microsoft was going to put into their "legacy" Windows Mobile OS. First we get an update to Bing, which includes a fairly significant feature upgrade in voice assisted navigation. Today, Microsoft announced Office Mobile 2010 in conjunction with the release of the desktop and web versions of their flagship product.

According to the press release, users of Windows Mobile 6.5 that have a previous version of Office Mobile will be able to upgrade for free through the Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Office Mobile 2010 adds support for Microsoft SharePoint 2010 as well as updated versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

If you haven’t already, head over to the Marketplace for your free copy. Let us know what you think!

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Back a few months ago, a small startup company called Traveling Wave demoed a new method for text entry: Voicepredict (see video here)

The technology combined voice recognition with typing to allow very fast and accurate typing on Windows Mobile devices. Some wonder why would you use both speech and text and the reason is sort of obvious: while speech recognition/data entry sounds very convenient, the truth is with background nose and current algorithms, the accuracy of such technology is not as high as users demand. When you "help" the speech recognition part with minimal text entry (usually the first letter), you improve the accuracy up to nearly 100%. In fact, it seems faster than HTC's soft keyboard/text prediction.

We've actually been beta testing this program for a few months already and have high hopes for it. Like all new data entry methods (think Swype), it's awkward at first as you have to think about your next move. But as you use it more and more, you'll see the increase in speed for writing emails, text messages, Facebook or Twitter entries makes up for it. The program has an easy tutorial to teach you the basics and you'll be up and running within minutes.

Overall we're quite impressed with this technology and really hope Traveling Wave has plans to bring this to Windows Phone 7. You can download it via Windows Marketplace (first 100 downloads are free, not sure about the price afterwards) right here.

Sound off in comments on your experience with it: future of typing or gimmick?

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MaxRA's Analog Clocks

Are you running Cookies Home Tab modifier on your Windows Phone? Do you use the analog clock feature? If so, you might be interested in MaxRA's Analog Clock collection.

MaxRA's collection includes nineteen different analog styles ranging from the sporty style to those with a little bling.

Simply download and extract the .zip file, install the clock .cab file of your choice, reset the phone and you're in business.

[via: xdadevelopers.com]

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We’ve been keeping an eye on Google Visual Voicemail (GVV) for the last week or so. Now that XDA user Sl4sher has gotten some of the kinks worked out, we’re comfortable putting it out there for our readers.

The concept behind GVV is to give you quick and easy access to your Google Voice Voicemail. Messages can be downloaded and cached to allow playback on your device. After you are done with your message it can be deleted or marked as read. The transcript of your message is also available, allowing you to quickly and easily triage your messages. GVV also uses your phone’s Contact List to display who placed the call.

Version 0.4 adds the ability to schedule updates, make calls via Google Voice, and separates your voice and SMS messages. Microsoft’s .Net Compact Framework 3.5 is required.

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If you happen to be using a HTC S740/743 (a.k.a. the Rose) and often wished you could run custom ROMs, today may be yourr lucky day.

XDA Member jockyw2001 has posted a HardSPL kit for the S740/743. The HardSPL basically opens up the phone to allow for the flashing of ROMs.

Presently, there's only one cooked ROM being circulated over at XDA for the HTC Rose and it may take time before the chef's start adding this Windows Phone to the menu.

[read: pocketnow.com]

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4

GPS Tab for Sense 2.5

Tabs seem to be popping up out of nowhere these days. You have a tabs for Facebook, Call History, Twitter, Documents, eReader, and now there's one for GPS.

XDA Developers Forum member xaoc747 has developed posted a GPS tab designed for Sense 2.5 and the HTC HD2. The tab defines your current position and object motion parameters for calculation between the current and previous points. It will record tracks in a Yandex map format along with an analysis of the tracks (distance, speeds, time, etc.).

In skimming over the discussion on this Sense 2.5 tab, there is no mention of it being compatible with any Windows Phone running Sense 2.5 other than the HD2. The Russian Developer has released a similar tab for the HTC Touch Diamond but there is no mention as to whether or not this tab will function on a Touch Pro 2 running Sense 2.5. There is some discussion that some of the settings menus are not translating from Russian to English as well.

If you're in an adventurous mood, you can find the full discussion on the custom tab as well as the download here. Keep in mind this is a home-grown modification that may or may not have bugs and is essentially in the Beta stages.

Correction: This mod was posted over at XDA by xaoc747.  The mod was actually developed by member, MoonNah.  

[read: wmpoweruser.com]

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If you're lucky enough to have access to Verizon's pure fiber-optic FiOS cable/internet, then you'll want to go to Windows Marketplace and check out their DVR manager.

In an effort to basically kill off TiVO, the cable companies have been rolling out their own digital video recorder (DVR) services. This freeware app basically lets you access and program your DVR remotely via your WinMo phone. A friend tells you about a show you have to watch? Fire up this bad boy, log in and set your DVR to record it.

Having used Verizon's FiOS for a few years (even played with the DVR two years ago), we like their offerings a lot and its nice to see them give some Windows Mobile love.

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Aliph has released an update to its popular Bluetooth headset, the Icon, that gives it the ability to stream music and other audio files. The A2DP update is available through the companies MyTalk website. If you don't own an Icon and the addition to A2DP pushes you over the fence, the headset can be picked up over at the WMExperts Store for the reduced price of $96.95.

[read: electronista.com]

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Marketplace Spotlight: Langlearner Full

We've already shined the spotlight on several Langlearner Marketplace apps and now we turn our focus on the companies most recent Marketplace app, Langlearner Full.

Langlearner Full follows that same lesson plan of Langlearner Lite (the free version) in that it focuses on short, everyday phrases (e.g. where's the restroom, what time is it, etc.).  Langlearner Full has more content which includes ten languages and 100mbs of downloadable content covering thirty-two lessons.

Navigation is simple and the lesson plans are straightforward. You choose your lesson pack (casual conversation, dining, first aid, etc) to download and then choose your individual lesson. Each lesson covers the full language range and you choose the direction of the translation.  The Windows Phone App presents the phrase in the written and audible form as well as a picture illustrating the phrase.

Langlearner Full is available at the Windows Mobile Marketplace for 99 cents. It may not be on the same level as Rosetta Stone but if you're looking for a convenient, simple to use language app, LangLearner Full isn't a bad way to spend less than a buck. Not sure? You can still download Langlearner Lite to get a feel for things.

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5

Voice Search comes to Google Maps

There is a little joy in Mudville tonight. Especially if you were hoping that one day Google Maps would have voice search capability.  Because today is that day.

Google has updated Google Maps to version 4.1 for Windows Mobile and has added voice search the the app. It will detect different variations of English as well as Mandarin. The voice search is activated by the call button on your phone.

It also appears the search is location based (a good thing). When I searched "Yankee Pizza" the results were limited to the one local pizzeria. In searching "wal-mart" it brought up the closest store to my location.

In the short time I've tinkered with Google Maps voice search, it is a little buggy (locked up once) and isn't as fast as Bing's voice search. But it is a step in the right direction.

You can download the .cab file for Google Maps with Voice Search here or point your mobile browser to m.google.com. [Google Mobile via FuzeMobility.com]

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Not to sound too repetitive, an update is available for Microsoft's Bing app for those using a Windows Phone on the Sprint, AT&T or T-Mobile network.  The new version is  5.1.2010 and you can get it by choosing the "Update Available" menu option in the old version or by pointing your mobile browser to m.bing.com/download (yeah... I know it's different than the twitter post but it's what worked for me).

No specifics on what the update covers but just off hand, it looks like a maintenance update.  If we discover anything different we'll pass it on. [via: Twitter.com]

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Verizon has released a software update for the Samsung Omnia (SCH-I910) that addresses some performance issues the Windows Phone has been experiencing. They include a Qualcomm patch to improve call quality; updates/fixes to the Opera browser; updating the XT9 keyboard; a correction in the algorithm codec used in attaching full resolution images to MMS messages; and a few other assorted tweaks and fixes.

You can download the software update at Samsung's support website.

[read: pocketnow.com]

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Ah, Foursquare. Either you love it or you think it is even more dumb than Twitter. Either way, the fledgling social service which is now available in the Microsoft Marketplace and soon for Windows Phone 7, has updated some of their code to prevent people from cheating on 'check ins'.

See, the more often you 'check in' with Foursquare at a specific location, the better chance you have at being the number one visitor. Upon that amazing (or sad) achievement, you are awarded badges or the most coveted 'mayorship'. Yes, yes, it's also silly and a bit odd for adults, especially if it's a place of ill repute to indulge in your lascivious ways.

As bad as all that is, evidently people were cheating to get those awards by spoofing their location. For shame people. Well, Foursquare wants you to know they frown upon such behavior and have attempted to put an end to your evil-doing ways.

So there, neener-neener.

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Okay you TV watching fanatics, while Hulu may have lost The Daily Show/Colbert Report recnetly, it looks like somehow they are now allowing the Skyfire browser to stream videos.

Or perhaps it is vice-versa, we'll probably never know. (See Skyfire's earlier explanation to the community).

Either way, if you load up the latest version of Skyfire and head to hulu.com, you can now stream your heart away. We just tried it ourselves and we can confirm 100% (see above screens shot).

So there, you folks happy yet?

Update: And thou taketh away. Looks like it was just an error on Hulu's part as mobile streaming, once again, is dead in the water. Such teases. Thanks to everyone for sending this in.

[Thanks Scott, via everythingWM]

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Channel 9 (a.k.a. five guys at Microsoft) has released a Developer's Training Kit for Windows Phone 7 Series. The Training Kit is designed to give you a jumpstart into the new operating system.

The training kit includes three units covering the WP7S platform, Silverlight for Windows Phones and XNA Framework 4.0 for Windows Phones.

According to Channel 9 the training kit is geared for the beginners who want to get started with developing applications for the Windows Phone 7 Series.  Experienced application developers should find the training kit useful in that the Silverlight unit focuses in part the differences between Silverlight and Silverlight for the Windows Phone.

You can find the Windows Phone 7 Series Training kit here with each course unit being a separate download. 

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