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2 years ago

Windows Phone AVG antivirus app may be more dangerous than we thought

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We broke the news the other night about AVG releasing an antivirus suite for Windows Phone. The app seemed harmless enough (and borderline useless to boot), only being able to manually scan photos and music files, while also offering "safe URL" web surfing.

Having a useless app is one thing, having an app that can potentially do some mischievous shenanigans is another. Its the latter that AVG is being accused of. Yes folks, AVG's app for Windows Phone may be spyware--that's irony.

Justin Angel broke down the app, did some analysis on it and found it is improperly using the Geo Location (GeoCoordinateWatcher) to track the phone and send all possible identifying information (phone make, model, your email address, location) onto AVG. For what purpose? Over at Centurion's Blog, he breaks it down to four possible uses:

  • Quality assurance
  • Info is sent to their Android app
  • Geo info is used for location based search
  • Collected data is used for marketing purposes

Whichever the reason, nonee of them benefit you, meaning that this app has gone from questionable value to not-recommended at all. Furthermore, Microsoft's Brandon Watson is taking a look at the app too to see if it violates any of the Marketplace guidelines. Stay tuned...

Source: Justin Angel; via Mobility Digest, Centurion's Blog; image credit @ailon

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2 years ago

Microsoft squeezes Acer, ViewSonic for Android patent deals

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Microsoft today secured a deal from Acer and ViewSonic for licensing patents related to Android IP on both companies' phone offerings as well as ViewSonic's Chrome tablets. Continuing the trend of using their industry-wide licensing deal, Microsoft was able to settle peacefully with both companies, avoiding any sort of litigation, unlike with Motorola who are being sued by Microsoft (and vice versa). From Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft

“We are pleased that Acer is taking advantage of our industry wide licensing program established to help companies address Android’s IP issues. This agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercially reasonable arrangements that address intellectual property.”

What's this mean for Windows Phone? In short, we'll have more licensing money coming in from Android, in addition to Windows Phone, which is a bit funny. And Microsoft continues to put the squeeze on Android OEMs, reminding them that Android is far from free, as Google promises.

Source: Microsoft 1, 2; via: Android Central

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2 years ago

Samsung's Omnia 7 refresh (SGH-i708) sails through FCC with FF camera

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Why mess with a good thing? The Samsung Omnia 7 is a pretty popular phone, only rivaled by Sammy's other offering, the Focus. So it makes sense that Samsung would give a modest update to the design by adding a front-facing camera to the device and we're gonna bet some new silicon on the inside e.g. Adreno 205 GPU, maybe a faster CPU.

Other than that not much else can be gleaned from the filing. Since it is the FCC, we have to leave the door open that perhaps some US carrier will actually pick up this bad bad--Sprint maybe?

Source: FCC; via Phone Arena, Pocketnow

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2 years ago

Connectivity Shortcuts brings radio toggles to your Start screen [Mango]

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Oh this is some cool stuff here folks, stuff that we had no idea you could do in Mango. Developer Oliver Ulm has created a nice little free app called 'Connectivity Shortcuts' and its simplicity is its beauty. The app allows you to create four Tiles for your start screen which are shortcuts to Wifi toggle, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode and Cell radio.

Simply launch the app, hold down on the icon you want and you'll have a new start Tile that gives you a direct shortcut to that feature. For many of us, we previously could only do this on NoDo via sideloading a homebrew app. Now, this is a 100% legit in the Marketplace option for all of us, once you're on Mango of course (sorry NoDo users!).

We toggle our WiFi constantly, so for us, this is a must have app. It's free, it works and it's extremely useful. What more can you want? Pick it up here in the Marketplace.

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2 years ago

Mango Jump Start series [Developers]

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Mango Jump Start series [Developers]

Microsoft MVPs Rob Miles and Andy Wigley have kicked off a Mango developer focused course that features some handy and helpful pointers for those who are starting out on the platform. The above video is the introduction to the course and first topic. 

Find a list of the topics covered (each with a dedicated video, links can be found via the source link) below:

  • Building Windows Phone Apps with Visual Studio 2010
  • Silverlight on Windows Phone—Introduction
  • Silverlight on Windows Phone—Advanced
  • Using Expression to Build Windows Phone Interfaces
  • Windows Phone Fast Application Switching
  • Windows Phone Multi-tasking & Background Tasks
  • Using Windows Phone Resources (Bing Maps, Camera, etc.)
  • Application Data Storage on Windows Phone
  • Using Networks with Windows Phone
  • Tiles & Notifications on Windows Phone
  • XNA for Windows Phone
  • Selling a Windows Phone Application

Source: Channel9

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2 years ago

Samsung Now app goes to v2.2 looks to fix Live Tile issue? [Mango]

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It was just last week where Samsung gave us a nice little overhaul to their "Now" app--their app which provides news, weather, Twitter trends, stocks and more.

The v2.x update brought Live Tiles, multiple tiles and Mango fast-app resuming but there was one nagging issue we kept hearing about--those Live Tiles never updated behind the scenes. It was only when you opened the app and refreshed, which obviously makes it sort of, pointless?

Version 2.2 just went live a little while ago. We've been running it for the last few hours and we could swear it's actually updating the weather and news tiles--but hey, we'll leave the mass testing to you folks. So download here in the Marketplace and let us know your experience in comments.

PS Yes, sorry folks, this is a Mango-only update. We know, it's cruel to tease.

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2 years ago

New Samsung High Fidelity Position enhances GPS, modifies Settings [Mango]

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Samsung is doing all sorts of cool stuff lately--yesterday we saw their new free printer app and today we have "High Fidelity Position", which "enhances" GPS on Sammy phones.

"Help with pedestrian positioning, especially in areas where GPS is less accurate using other sensors such as accelerometer and compass"

The app has two settings: "Use Sensor Aiding"  where it uses those extra sensors and "GLONASS" or GLObal Navigation Satellite System, developed by the Russians and which you can enable and use at the same time to enhance location availability. (Looks like Sammy is making some new international deals).

What's really interesting though is after you install the "app" it won't show up under Programs but instead it will be listed last under Settings--or rather, this is the first app we've seen that directly modifies or adds on to Settings in Windows Phone. We've seen HTC do this with the Radar/Titan and now Samsung is doing the same, obviously taking advantage of Microsoft's new lenient policy.

Real life experience with it? In Bing Maps, the "circle" around your position which gives the range of variability completely disappears--meaning this is giving us accuracy within a couple of feet. Pretty impressive.

Update: We can confirm that this will only work on Mango devices. Evidently the ability to modify settings is tied to the OS, with only Mango and not NoDo allowing this change.

You can grab "High Fidelity Position" here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Paul, for the tip!

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2 years ago

Exclusive: Gravity Guy chapter 30 map

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Exclusive: Gravity Guy chapter 30 map

If you picked up Gravity Guy, you’ve probably realized that it’s a very challenging game by now. Story Mode consists of 30 checkpoints or levels, each one harder than the last. The final level is particularly challenging. It’s long and tough to memorize. That’s why we created a map!

View the Gravity Guy Chapter 30 map

Just follow the link, view the map and save the file. Then open it with an application like Windows Live PhotoGallery that can easily zoom and pan around the image. While playing the stage, pause as you get to a new section and familiarize yourself with the next few obstacles. Repeat each time you pass a section and you’ll complete the level in no time!

Beating Story Mode unlocks the “Amazing Run” Achievement for 20 GamerScore. We can’t help you much with “Perfect Run,” which appears to involve beating the game without dying. That would require a nigh-impossible combination of memorizing every single level and lightning fast, perfect reflexes to boot. Clearly Gravity Guy is not the game to buy if you want to earn all 200 GamerScore, though I do otherwise enjoy it.

Gravity Guy costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace. We’ll have a full review soon.

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2 years ago

StickyTiles - Mango App Spotlight

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StickyTiles - Mango App Spotlight

Here's a cool app that's popped up on our Mango radar. StickyTiles is a cool little app for your Windows Phone that allows you to create sticky notes for your Start Screen. Okay.... so where's the coolness in that?

The coolness is that you can create double sided sticky notes. StickyTiles' interface is simple and straightforward. You have blank tiles/sticky notes where you can set the color (default is to your Windows Phone theme) and enter multiple lines of text. If you need to create a back side to the note, check the box and type away.

When your done, tap the push pin button and the note is sent to your Start Screen. If you have created a double sided note, the sticky note will rotate every couple of seconds. Tapping the note from the Start Screen will send you into the app and to delete the note, just unpin it.

StickyTiles is a free application but you'll need Mango on your Windows Phone to use it. You can find StickyTiles here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace and you can find more information about StickyTiles at the developer's  website.

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2 years ago

Collapse! coming to Xbox Live next week

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Collapse! coming to Xbox Live next week

It seems like only yesterday that WPCentral broke the news of five new GameHouse titles heading to Xbox Live. But it was actually a month ago! And what do you know, one of those games, Collapse!, will debut next week.

The PC version of Collapse! was GameHouse’s very first game, starting them on the road to becoming a casual gaming giant. It’s a match-three puzzler in which a stack of blocks rises from the bottom of the screen. Players frantically tap groups of three of more colored blocks in order to eliminate them. Customizable characters, multiple gameplay modes, and bosses make for a full-featured package. The Windows Phone version even supports both portrait and landscape modes, which we don’t see much in games.

Collapse! tumbles to Xbox Live on Wednesday, September 14. It will cost $2.99.

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2 years ago

Xbox Live: Minesweeper updated, sheds excess mines

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Xbox Live: Minesweeper updated, sheds excess mines

When Microsoft published their free Xbox Live version of Minesweeper in August, we were all happy to get a free game. However, we noticed something was up with it. Namely, there were so many mines that you couldn’t solve the puzzles properly! Minesweeper’s supposed to be challenging, but not like that. I resolved to stop playing it until an update came out.

Thankfully, Microsoft and developer Babaroga took notice of these problems as well. Today they issued an update corrects the difficulty issues, but it’s not a traditional update. Minesweeper’s control data is stored as an XML file on a Microsoft server. This allows the developers to make adjustments to the game without the need for a patch. When gamers launch the game while connected to the internet, it checks for the updated XML file and updates accordingly.

Today’s Minesweeper changes include:

Classic mode

  • Intermediate:
    Mines reduced from 36 to 24
    Experience reward increased from 150 to 200
  • Advanced:
    Mines reduced from 76 to 60
    Experience increased from 250 to 300

Speed mode

  • Beginner:
    Mines reduced from 15 to 12
    Experience increased from 150 to 200
  • Intermediate:
    Mines reduced from 40 to 24
    Experience increased from 200 to 300
  • Advanced:
    Experience increased from 300 to 400

To update your game, launch the game while connected to the internet. You may need to load up the Leaderboards and/or restart the game for the changes to take effect. You’ll know it worked when the mines listed on the difficulty selection pages match the new values.

It’s amazing what a difference a few less mines can make. Previously, it took me over 100 tries to complete an Intermediate puzzle. Post-update, I finished one on my first try. This dramatically improves the game and makes the Achievements much easier too. Look forward to our full review soon.

Minesweeper is free on Xbox Live. Get it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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2 years ago

From the WPCentral forums...

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From the WPCentral forums...

Wow! What a busy week it has been in the forums. Lots to talk about so grab a beer and get in here you’re missing all the fun. With the introduction of the Titan and the Radar this week at Thread: HTC Event we are getting a look at what our next generation Mango Windows Phone 7.5 devices will look like. I must say, very nice. in fact, I started this thread: "My next device, who's with me?" Of course, there are those who are thinking "OEMs aren't doing any favors to Microsoft". What? Is the next generation hardware up to par? Can Microsoft beat the competition with devices like the Titan and Radar?

"Are Apps over-rated?" How many apps do you use and how much of what you use should Microsoft bake in to Windows Phone OS? We need everyone’s opinion on this one.  

"So AT&T is apparently giving free Samsung Focus with cheap data plans." Is it true? Have you gotten your Focus this week? Does this mean there new Mango devices headed to AT&T? We need to get this figured out!

We have added an "Introductions" sub-forum this week so stop in and introduce yourself. If you’re new to our community or if you've been around for a while, stop in and say hello.

We have some interesting additions to the Application and Gaming Spotlight forums again this week check out these applications.

Applications Spotlight

Games Spotlight

Just remember to get registered. I want you to join the fun.

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2 years ago

Nokia to learn from HP and webOS

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Nokia to learn from HP and webOS

Seems Nokia is taking what happened with webOS and HP into account with their devotion to Windows Phone. The handset manufacturer plans to avoid the sort of trouble that now plagues webOS and will ensure that teams are taking extreme measures to reach perfection.

Gary Chan, head of ecosystem and developer experience at Nokia Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei, spoke to ZDNet Asia about why he felt webOS failed with HP. He explained that the market which webOS was targeting wasn't large enough and the platform didn't provide the means for developers to monetize their apps.

Vlasta Berka, general manager for Nokia Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei moved onto say that the breakdown between webOS and HP won't help Nokia and Microsoft since it doesn't matter how many platforms are competing in the market. For the consumer, the more ecosystems available, the better. The amount of effort required to be poured into the partnership remains the same.

"The party who suffers from a number of ecosystems being readily available are developers", Vlasta continued. "They may face a more challenging time deciding which platform to focus their projects [and resources] on".

Nokia will understand this more clearly once their Windows Phone handsets are in the field as they'll then be supporting three platforms - Symbian, MeeGo and Windows Phone.  As for MeeGo, Vlasta said the company has no plans to launch a second device this year and will more than likely leave it up to how popular the N9 becomes and what demand there is.

Source: ZDNet

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2 years ago

HTC Mazaa doesn't like HTC apps

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HTC Mazaa doesn't like HTC apps

Here's a funny little anecdote that will affect about 0.2% of you: the HTC Mazaa, basically a limited edition developer device, doesn't seem to recognize that it's an HTC phone. Poor thing.

Reader of the site Achia S. won an HTC Mazaa from Microsoft's WPAppItUp contest. Wanting to install the HTC Flashlight app, they get a notice stating that this app only runs on HTC phones and therefore, you can't have it. Obviously the problem here is that HTC along with this build of the OS aren't recognized by HTC's validating process--something they could probably fix, but are in no rush to address. In fairness, HTC was kind enough to respond to Achia's inquiry on the matter:

"I understand the importance of having an HTC 7 Trophy that functions as it was intended. Unfortunately, with developer devices, we cannot ensure that the ROM on it will function as the released model. I recommend contacting Microsoft to see if they can push the Release build to your device and have it running the appropriate software. I do apologize for any inconvenience."

It's interesting that HTC tech support conflates the 7 Trophy with the Mazaa--they are similar devices but different internals and it's not clear that a finalized ROM will fix the matter either. It sounds more or less like HTC needs to add the Mazaa to their recognized database, but whaddya we know? Thanks, Achia S., for the heads up!

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2 years ago

AVG releases first antivirus scanner for Windows Phone 7

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AVG has been around for quite awhile and have recently entered the growing mobile space (we hear Android is gangbusters for a/v scanners). They've now released a free "suite" for Windows Phones, combining an earlier product (Safe Search) with an actual virus scanner:

"Free Security Suite from AVG Mobilation – security software for Windows Phone™. Keep your device safe with just one click"

  • Safe Web Surfing - Stay safe from phishing and malware while surfing the web
  • Safe Search - Allowing you search the web avoiding malicious web sites

In addition, the virus scanner portion will scan over your music and images. Surprisingly, the scan is pretty fast though we do have to wonder about other vulnerabilities such as PDFs, docx and of course programs. We imagine though when it comes to the latter, AVG can only do so much within the siloed limitations of the Windows Phone OS. So how much of a threat could there be from music or images? We're not too really to sure but we're more concerned about side-loading XAP files from untrusted sources--something which this app doesn't cover.

Still, for being free, it's not bad. It can update/download new AV definitions and the Safe Search/Web Surfing is not bad if you're worried about going to a malicious site. Worth the download? Perhaps--at 5MB, it sure won't kill your device and giving it once-over (under 30 secs for most of you) may not be a bad idea. Read more at http://www.avgmobilation.com/ and pick the app up here in the Marketplace.

Update: Rafael Rivera has broken down the app to see what exactly it does. As of now, since there are no known threats to WP7, it scans for EICAR (test file) and the word עברית (Hebrew) but has no generics capability, meaning there's very little that this will actually scan for.

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