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3 years ago

Ballmer answers why no RIM acquisition?

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2011 has an interesting twist separating it from years past: RIM, despite still holding on, clearly is wandering aimlessly in the consumer smartphone market. Their OS is old, not very appealing and despite numerous attempts, they've failed to really 'wow' anyone recently. They sort of reflect Microsoft with Windows Mobile 6.x.

Still, they have killer reach in enterprise and a solid, nearly world standard for email distribution. Considering Microsoft is sitting on $40B in reserves, why not make a bid for RIM to either take them out or integrate their tech? Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer was recently asked this by Maria Bartiromo:

Q: What has stopped you from making really bold bets on technology? You've got more than $40 billion on the balance sheet. If you want to have substantial market share in smartphones, why not just acquire Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry?

A: We've made bold technology bets. We've bet on the Cloud and our Enterprise business; it's going fantastic. We made the bet on Xbox; we made the bet on Kinect. We bet on Bing and are growing like a weed in that business. So I feel pretty good about the bets. When do acquisitions make sense? That's a complicated subject.

Not exactly a specific but when tied into the rest of the interview it begins to make sense: Ballmer really believes in Windows Phone 7 noting

There's a lot of competition, but we've got the best-looking phones on the market. We've got the greatest range of alternatives, the phones, the software, the craftsmanship. It is as good or better than anything out there. We have a lot of work to do. But, we're in the game. We sold 1.5 million into the carriers.

Why acquire RIM when you have a solid product you believe in? That Dell believes in? RIM appears to be slowly relegating themselves to the sidelines for consumers, so no need to aid that, evidently. Going further, the money required to take over RIM, integrate their tech and IP, etc. could take years. Going further still, Microsoft sometimes has a spotty record with acquisitions (see Danger and 'Project Pink'), ahem. Still, we would have loved to take over our sister site, Crackberry.

Source: USA Today; via TechRadar

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3 years ago

Sony Ericsson: Keeping an open mind about Windows Phone 7, but not this wave

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Two rumors love persisting in the blogosphere: Nokia wants Windows Phone 7 (despite numerous public denials) and that Sony Ericsson has either  devices planned (despite public denials)

Of course neither are true and that was reiterated today by Sony who in an interview made it clear they are sticking with Android for now. However, they also are clearly leaving the door open for a future with Microsoft but they are evidently being conservative here, waiting to see if it takes off:

We've done a lot of work with Microsoft over the years. We’ve launched a number of 6.xx products, but we made a decision not to bring a product to market in the first wave. We absolutely maintain to keep an open mind towards Windows Phone 7. We continue to engage in a relationship with Microsoft, but we haven’t made any concrete announcement about when and how we would introduce Windows Phone 7 into the portfolio.

We shouldn’t limit ourselves to one opportunity, but we aren’t yet ready to make any specific announcement about products. At this moment in time, there is clearly a galvanizing within the industry around Android as a creditable alternative to what’s out there, and we think that’s a good thing.

We're actually fine with this decision and think it makes sense. Sure, in theory having SE on board with Windows Phone 7 would be a huge sign of support but on the other...it's Sony Ericsson, the company with grand ideas and poor execution of nearly every major smartphone it has released recently.

Source: Pocket-lint

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3 years ago

Truecaller - Review

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Truecaller - Review

Need to look up a phone number that's appeared on your Windows Phone caller ID? Truecaller is a Windows Phone 7 app that will let you not only search by keyword but also by phone numbers.

Results are returned listing the name and address (if available), a link to show the location on TrueCaller's map, a link to search the result through Bing, as well as the ability to call the number or add it to a spam listing. While I like the ability to add a number to a spam list, there doesn't appear to be any way to manage such a list.

TrueCaller also gives you access to International numbers.  Just tap the Choose Country at the bottom of the main page and select the Country you would like to search.  For the most part, TrueCaller ran smoothly but from time to time, the app crashed while conducting the search.  It's not enough to drive you crazy and hopefully the next update will fix things.

There isn't a trial version available for TrueCaller but the full version is only $.99. If you need to search phone numbers, TrueCaller is worth a look at.

You can find the Windows Phone 7 app here (opens your Zune desktop) at the Marketplace and follow the break to see a video of TrueCaller in action.

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3 years ago

Kill the Duck - Review

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Kill the Duck - Review

Kill the Duck has been in the Top Ten list of Windows Phone 7 downloads for some time now. It's a free game for your Windows Phone with a simple gaming objective; shoot down as many ducks as you can without taking out any doves.

There is a little more to this hunting game. Each level is timed and you have scoring objectives to meet in order to advance to the next level.

Graphics have a classic gaming appearance and to take out a duck, simply tap the screen on the duck. For effect, cross-hairs appear on the screen. The doves are sneaky in that they often fly across the screen in between ducks making the shots more challenging.

The game ran smoothly with no glitches, bugs, or crashes experienced.  There is an addictive quality to the game and after playing if for a while, I'm not surprised Kill the Duck has stayed in the Top Ten Downloads for so long. 

You can find your free copy of Kill the Duck here (opens your Zune desktop) at the Marketplace and just past the break you can see a video of the gaming app in action.

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3 years ago

Zombies!!! - Review

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Zombies!!! - Review

Zombies seem to be invading our Windows Phones these days. At last count, there were about fifteen zombie themed games at the Marketplace.  One of the more anticipated zombie themed games for Windows Phone 7 has to be Zombies!!!.

A collaborative effort between Microsoft Game Studios, Babaroga, and Twilight Creations, Zombies!!! brings the popular board game to the small screen of your Windows Phone.  Graphically well presented, Zombies!!! represents the original board game extremely well.

The game premise is simple. Wipe out 25 zombies or make it to the helipad to escape the City. Along the way you compete with other players who'll do what they can to slow you down by playing action cards or positioning zombies in your way.

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3 years ago

Liquor Run turns your Windows Phone into a booze hunter

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Liquor Run is a surprisingly neat little app, ported from the iPhone and Android, with a specific purpose: find liquor stores anywhere around you. The thing is, it does it well in a very fast and slick little package. By simply using your location, typing in address or zip code, the app shows all the known liquor stores in your immediate area. On top of that, it gives you turn by turn directions, maps, ability to call and local liquor laws for selling (hours, days, etc.).

Extended features include over 1000 drink recipes separated by category and a list of beers by alcohol content and calories. Did we mention it was free too?  Check out the vid above and if you think you'll want it, grab it here in the Marketplace.

Bonus trivia fact: In Massachusetts, Georgia and Connecticut (where I'm from), liquor stores are called package stores and we go on "packy runs". No joke.

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3 years ago

Reader question: How does gaming on WP7 tie into the Xbox 360?

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We often get questions about the Xbox Live service on WP7 devices and how it correlates to the Xbox Live service on Xbox 360 consoles or on Windows PC's (where it's called Games for Windows - LIVE!).  Oh look! Here's one now from ericesque:

In general, I'm just fuzzy on how gaming on WP7 ties to the Xbox 360. Specifically, I'm wondering if I buy a game on my xbox, will I have to pay for a copy for WP7 too? Also, have we seen any games that let you play with friends on xbox if you're on WP7? I couldn't find any good learning resources from Microsoft. Hoping the experts could help.

Currently, gaming on WP7 is separated into two categories - games, and Xbox Live games. The Xbox Live service on WP7 is not so incredibly different from the Games for Windows - LIVE! service on Windows PC's. Downloading games and game demos from the marketplace is present and accounted for. A great deal of the social ins and outs is present too. With Xbox Live on WP7 you can easily see what your friends are up to - be it gaming or watching a movie or listening to music.

Friend requests and game invites are also present but will often lend itself to signing in on your Xbox 360 to accept a request. Game invitations, or rather, asynchronous multiplayer isn't currently set up for anything other than Uno and Chess in Game Chest: Logic Games. Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst works in tandem with Xbox 360's version of Crackdown 2 in that unlockables will become available in each version of the games with playthroughs from each other.

So far, the majority of the Xbox Live games on WP7 aren't companions to anything available on Xbox 360 and must be purchased separately. Ilomilo is the most recent game to come out for Xbox Live Arcade that is also on WP7 and is very much the same game as its WP7 counterpart, but each must be purchased separately.

No game, as of yet, can be played 100% synchronously with other people. The tie-in that you speak of doesn't exactly exist other than that it's just an extension of the service - of the same name, on a different device. A copy of a game on PC can be completely different from the Xbox 360 version and the version of that same game on WP7 will be worlds different in format, control, fun, and especially mobility.

See our Xbox/Windows Phone 7 Guide for more info.

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3 years ago

Bing hurting Google with search quality and Windows Phone 7?

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Google is considered the top search engine in the world, and has held this title for some time since early development. When Microsoft had MSN (later as; Live) deployed as a competitor to Google (and Yahoo! at the time) no one really adapted to the giant’s offering – understandable since the results provided by the index were either slightly off, or just blatently ridiculous.

Requiring a new product (much like Windows Phone 7), Microsoft developed a search engine to create a stronger hold on the search share across the globe. Bing was born. Featuring a new User Interface and supposedly “better related” results, this was the secret weapon to attack Google’s fort.

With continued growth through the redirection of MSN/Live searchers to the new home of Microsoft search, and the acquisition of Yahoo! has had Bing in the spotlight for not only the Search Engine Optimisation world, but for those technologically banded. Not all could remain well for the two competitors however...

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3 years ago

Accent Changer app now supports HTC and LG Windows Phones too [Homebrew]

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We already demonstrated that you can change the accent color or theme on HTC (but complicated) and Samsung phones, but now Dave Amenta has also added LG and HTC support to his simple app Accent Changer..

It's the same deal as before, you need to have a developer unlocked phone to sideload the XAP file, but once you do so you  can simply drag your finger to manipulate the color gradient. Heck, you can even restore the original value with a touch of a button.

And now that LG and HTC devices can join in, the circle is complete (Oh right, no Dell, sorry). Read more and grab the XAP here.

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3 years ago

DioDict updated, format issues fixed

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DioDict is a multi-language, dictionary app for Samsung Windows Phones. It's a free app available from your Samsung App Zone but was plagued by poor formatting. Words were cut off in mid-sentence and picked up on the next line of text.

While I'm sure the update contained performance tweaks, the most noticeable improvement is with the text formatting. Words are no longer broken up and definitions are justified to the right. The update gives DioDict a much cleaner appearance and it does appear to have a little more zip to it.

If you're a Samsung user, check your Marketplace app for the update.

Thanks goes out to David for the tip!

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3 years ago

Capturing screenshots in Windows Phone 7's future?

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We will be the first to raise our hands in support of Windows Phone 7 having the ability to capture screenshots. Not only does it make reviewing applications a lot easier, it gives you the ability to share images from your Windows Phone screen with others. There are alternatives such as capturing a screenshot through the desktop emulator or taking a picture of the screen with a camera. But not everyone has access to the applications XAP file and video screens aren't the easiest thing in the world to photograph.

Microsoft's Director of Mobile Communications, Aaron Woodman, was asked if screen capture abilities was on the short list of features to be added to Windows Phone 7. His answer,

"I have never sat in a user group--and I sit in a lot of user groups, a lot of retail groups--I've never heard an end user go 'why can't I take a screenshot of that?'"

Just in case Mr. Woodman reads this post, let me be the first. Why can't I take a screenshot with my Windows Phone?  Microsoft gave the KIN the ability to snap a shot of the screen and Windows Mobile had the ability. So why not Windows Phone 7?

Woodman points out there could be copyright issues with allowing users to capture screenshots.

"The reality is, we have a DRM requirement for our marketplace, which makes things like HDMI and those types of things out, more difficult. We've made a choice to have a more protected set of content on the phone and available to consumers, so we do have restrictions within that."

While Microsoft's desire to protect copyrights is appreciated, not every use of a screen capture will result in such a violation. I just don't see an outbreak of copyright violations occurring if Microsoft gives us the ability to capture screen shots.

Even with Microsoft's reservations, restrictions could be put in place to protect certain protected material such as movies played on your Windows Phone. Woodman does give those longing for a screen capture utility a ray of hope in saying that such a feature could end up in a future build of Windows Phone 7. 

Unfortunately for now, we'll just have to learn to live without a screen capture utility on our Windows Phones.

Source: CNET

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3 years ago

The Daily Show official app now available for Windows Phone 7

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Whoa, where did this come from? Even though the Daily Show is openly pro-iPhone, looks like they are showing some Windows Phone 7 love as MTV Networks (Viacom) just released an official app for the show.

From the description:

"Get the Quote of the Day and video clip for the most recent episodes. Share them on Facebook and Twitter. Search the entire archive of videos by category or topic. Drag topics together to narrow results to an interesting combination."

That's the good news. The bad news is it costs $1.99 and there's no trial available. Oh Viacom, you greedy devil you. And you just know you won't be able to watch the whole episode. Torn between our love of Jon and dislike of corporate media giant.

Grab it now, right here.


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3 years ago

Easily change Accent colors on Samsung Windows Phone [Homebrew]

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There's been successful attempts at modifying HTC Accent colors aka "themes" on unlocked developer devices, but up until now, Samsung phones were left to watch in envy.

Now Dave Amenta of Send to WP7 (Desktop) fame, has gone ahead and released a simple and effective app for Samsung phones that will allow you to easily modify all of your themes to any color you like. The beauty in it is you don't have to mess with those silly #FF339933 codes, but instead just use a color/shade slider. Easy as cake. But yes, your device needs to be developer-unlocked.

As you can see, we changed our Focus to a nice blue-grey theme and we feel pretty happy about it. Except now we want to go try every other color, so we're gonna go do that now, kthxbai!

Update: The app now works on LG and HTC devices too. See here.

Great work Dave (and thanks for the tip)! Read more on it here. Edit: Love black on white!

 

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3 years ago

Zombie Defense - Review

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Zombie Defense - Review

While Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst (see full review) has mutant freaks, Zombie Defense from Rush Forward has plain old zombies. The Windows Phone 7 game has you defending your neighborhood from a parade of the living dead.

The multi-level tower defense game offers ten types of zombies to defend against and three different tower weapons. Zombie Defense is an entertaining game for the Windows Phone but to see if it's worth the $.99 price tag, you'll have to follow the break.

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