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2 years ago

Bing search and speak recognition [How To]

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Bing search and speak recognition [How To]

We've looked at Local Scout among other improvements brought to the user in Windows Phone Mango, but nothing beats a British walk through of how to search, use Bing services and the speech recognition. Take a quick look at the above video for a brief overlook in what's new with the search functionality in Windows Phone, while the below how to takes us through running commands with voice in favour of touch.

More information can be found at the Windows Phone UK blog, link below.

Source: MykindofPhone

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2 years ago

Birdsong Twitter app hits v1.6 and goes for Mango

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Birdsong Twitter app hits v1.6 and goes for Mango

One of our top Twitter apps, Birdsong, has finally gone all Mango on us which is now live in the Marketplace. Birdsong has some unique fetaures in it, making it worth considering if you're browsing for a new Twitter client. For one, it has detailed controls over the Live Tile (mentions/messages) as well as Push Notifications (mentions/messages) and it even has a "do not disturb" option so you don't get any alerts during specified hours.

Version 1.6 brings a host of Mango features as well as some other fixes and additions:

  • Fast switching - One of Mango's biggest features, allows you to return to Birdsong from another application quickly and with the application state entact.
  • t.co link wrapping
  • Browser configuration - You can now configure whether to use the internal browser or launch IE directly. The default is now IE as fast app swtiching makes this a much nicer experience.
  • Toggling Favourite had broken due to a change in the Twitter API
  • Added Japanese Language support
  • Added integrated picture viewing support for http://instagr.am/

Our impressions? Birdsong has greatly benefited from the speed and scrolling enhancements in Mango, making this quite a nice app. It would have been to have a more robust Live Tile (no flippy action is used here) but otherwise, it's pretty solid. Birdsong can be had for $0.99 with a free trial. Pick it up here.

Thanks, ShipWreck and themoose14, for the heads up!

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2 years ago

Call frequent contacts more easily with 7Dialer

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Call frequent contacts more easily with 7Dialer

Do you find that you can't pin enough contacts to the home screen for quick access? Introducing 7Dialer, by JDBPocketware, a solution for those who wish to create a contact wall where frequently contacted people can be pinned and accessed within seconds. The app features two main panes, the first is an intelligent search, while the second is the people wall.

A few limitations are present unfortunately. These include the inability to edit, remove or add contacts from the app (official People hub will need to be used, followed by  synchronising 7Dialer) and phone numbers for contacts pulled from Facebook will not be available due to privacy policies.

Some highlighted features include:

  • Smart dialling/filtering either with number pad or characters pad
  • Option to call, SMS or email
  • "Call later" reminders
  • Pin contacts as Live Tiles to start screen, as a to-do related to a contact
  • Fullscreen People wall (aka favourites) with customisable layouts
  • Dial tone sounds
  • Breathing effect for contact tiles
  • Live tile display options

7Dialer can be downloaded from the Marketplace for £1.49 ($1.99) and a free trial is available.

Source: JDBPocketware, thanks TheWeeBear for the tip!

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2 years ago

MS commits £20m to advertising Nokia phones, Samsung gets some too

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Just in time for the holidays, Microsoft has given Nokia a gift of their own, £20 million to advertising Nokia's new line of WP7 phones in the United Kingdom.  The money will fund a barrage of advertising across all media, focusing on different aspects of the phones' capabilities, including social media, gaming and wide variety of apps.  It comes as part of Nokia's agreement to scrap its proprietary operating system, Symbian, in favor of Windows Phone.  The partnership is huge for Microsoft and make or break for Nokia.  According to one source:

"Microsoft is funding a massive campaign with Nokia across every single media you can imagine. It’s the last roll of the dice for them. They must go big, bad and boldly. Microsoft is desperate to kick the hell out of Android. If they can get across how amazing Mango is they could really crack it this time."

And shortly after making their own financial commitment to marketing WP7, Samsung is receiving some help from Microsoft as well.  The Korean handset manufacturer has partnered with MS for a £8 million holiday push for the Omnia W, touting it as a multimedia device for everyone.  Details on how much of the £8m Microsoft contributed are scarce, but in a statement Windows Phone Division president Andy Lees said:

"It’s not good enough to have a ramp that’s similar to other guys, you have to ramp faster. That’s what we are aiming to do this holiday season, and particularly into 2012."

Great attitude!  WP7 fans have been wanting to see the word get out for a long time now.

Source: MobileToday, Via: WMPowerUser

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2 years ago

Dell's ongoing Venue Pro problems: No compass driver in Mango?

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Anyone who's used the Dell Venue Pro know its a love-hate relationship. And  just as things were looking up for the device with Mango and some new firmware, a new issue has cropped up, one that has been bothering us too.

The compass doesn't work. For any app. No Stars 3D, no compass, no augmented-reality, nothing.

The compass drive and API are up to the OEM to provide which is why when you update to Mango you get two updates: the OS and the firmware. And while Dell did deliver the firmware (jumping from 212 to 219) they evidently botched it with the compass driver, as is becoming obvious for many users.

Now at XDA, some sleuthing has in fact shown this to be the case. Mitchell S., has taken a look at the log during the Mango setup and found this:

**** Starting IMGFS Update @ 16:46:58 ****

Deleting file compassDrv.dll.  &$^4?!

CustomSettings.cab.pkg->5E542BF4-046F-41AA-8BB7-FFB031E0F024.rgu @ 16:46:59

Setting invalid OS state

QC_8x50_OS_SHIP.cab.pkg->D3F0E60E-DE7C-11DF-930A-3D26E0D72085.rgu @ 16:46:59

CustomIcon.cab.pkg->05E12A31-F993-40A4-8A58-136879E5CCEC.rgu @ 16:46:59

Even if that wasn't the reason, it still doesn't explain why our compass is locked at 100 degrees. What say you, Dell? Are we going to have to wait another six-months for this to be fixed?

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2 years ago

Pumpkin Smash arrives in time for Halloween

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Pumpkin Smash arrives in time for Halloween

A spooky pumpkin-catapult-undead-smashing indie title has flung its way onto the Marketplace and is available for free (ad supported). GlowPuff, the developers behind the likes of Gridrunner Girl and Impossible Mountain, are the brains behind this thriller, which will have you firing pumpkins to keep the enemy at bay. The gameplay is simple, but addictive.

Some highlighted features:

  • Engaging hand drawn graphics and animation
  • 30 levels of increasingly challenging battles
  • Normal and Easy mode for each level
  • Attack with Fire pumpkins, Ice pumpkins, and more!
  • 12 different monster types, each with unique weaknesses
  • 5 epic boss battles against famous movie monsters!
  • Score Combos and Multi-Kills for bonus points and extra candy rewards
  • Full musical soundtrack

You can download Pumpkin Smash from the Marketplace for absolutely nothing at all.

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2 years ago

Look who's talking, Microsoft closes Skype deal

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Microsoft has closed the deal on its acquisition of Skype, which saw the software giant forking out $8.5 billion. What's interesting to see from this deal is what will be brought to Windows 8 and Windows Phone. We're aware of Skype support coming to the platform but it will be exciting to see how both Skype and Microsoft go about implementation.

Skype CEO, Tony Bates, is set to remain at the top within the division at Microsoft and will report directly to Steve Ballmer. Microsoft has a neat and tidy portfolio of services with Skype, Live, Office, Windows and the Xbox to name but a few. 2012 is going to be one hell of a year.

Check out the full press release after the break. 

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2 years ago

Microsoft responds to Xbox Live release drought

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Microsoft responds to Xbox Live release drought

As gamers have surely noticed by now, there was no new Xbox Live release for Windows Phone this week. The same applies to last week, which means we haven’t had a new Live game for two weeks in a row. It’s a frustrating situation for avid gamers and Achievement hunters, and has lead to much speculation about the cause of the release drought.

Who better to ask about the situation than Microsoft themselves? So we asked and this is what Michael Yaeger, Senior PR Manager for Xbox Live, had to say about it:

We are actively working with our partners as they finish development of new mobile titles, and look forward to sharing them with you as they become available.”

In other words, while many games are in development, none of them has been ready to publish in the last couple of weeks. Yes, it’s disappointing to people who want more games to play. But Michael stressed the importance of properly testing games and maintaining Xbox Live’s high quality standards. I can see his point there – I would rather have no game than a buggy game that takes months to get fixed (like I Dig It, whose patch finally went live recently).

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2 years ago

More on Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada

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More on Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada

Earlier this week, NAVIGON was released on the Windows Phone Marketplace bringing us a GPS navigation solution with offline maps. Today, Turn by Turn Navigation released their GPS navigation app with offline maps, Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada. The application itself doesn't seem to have changed (here's our original take on Turn by Turn) asides from giving you the option to download complete maps to your Windows Phone.

While having your navigation maps stored on your Windows Phone is an advantage, Turn by Turn takes this advantage a step further by allowing you to choose what maps to download. NAVIGON missed the boat on this one and requires you to download the full 1.6GB of maps on to your Windows Phone.

The initial download for Turn by Turn Navigation US and Canada is 37mb. Using my regions as an example, I will have to download the South US and Southeastern US map packages (roughly 730mb). My total storage needs for Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada will be roughly 767mb as opposed to the 1.6GB for NAVIGON.

Additionally, Turn by Turn is running $28.99 and while NAVIGON is running just a dollar more, that's an introductory price. After November 15th the $29.99 price for NAVIGON jumps to $49.99.

While Turn by Turn will give you a savings both in cost and storage requirements, we'll take the offline version out for a test drive to see how well it performs with offline maps. NAVIGON is still an outstanding navigation app in it's own right but Turn by Turn may give you a worthy alternative if cost and storage space is a concern.

We'll take Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada out for a test drive and see how well the offline maps perform.  Look for a follow up performance review up shortly (if all goes right by tomorrow evening).

There is a trial version available for Turn by Turn that allows you to download one map package and try it for 24 hours. The full version will run you $28.99 and you can find Turn by Turn Navigation US + Canada here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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2 years ago

HTC Brazil set to announce the Ultimate Windows Phone on the 20th

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We've mentioned how the HTC Ultimate aka Titan, with its massive 4.7" Super LCD screen managed to pass through Brazil's FCC equivalent ANATEL. That's a pretty good sign that the phone is coming to Brazil sooner than later, heck we even saw its accessories and manual to boot.

Now we have a date for its announcement (but not release): October 20th

On that day, HTC is set to reveal "the launch of the year" with Lee Ittner, Vice President from HTC Latin America, Cristina Palmaka from MS Brasil and Hilton Mende from Vivo (a Brazilian carrier) in attendance.

At the press conference, we can expect to see the Ultimate née Titan in its full glory and we bet a release date will be given too. Our guess is it won't be more than a few weeks into November, which gives you some time to save up for that slick phone!

Source: Gizmodo BR; Thanks, Lucas S., for the tip and translation!

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2 years ago

AT&T HD7S official Mango update is a go!

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Though it was rumored to be coming on Tuesday the 11th, Microsoft is now officially delivering the Mango update to the HTC HD7S on AT&T, which includes hopefully that updated firmware (to enable the compass feature, selective focus and general performance enhancements).

Microsoft just updated their blog with the info (guess they forgot it this morning) and users should be able to plug in their phones now to start receiving the update.

Lets us know in comments if you got it and how it went!

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2 years ago

Microsoft announces winners for frustrated Blackberry/iPhone users contest

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Last night we reported on how Microsoft was giving away 25 Windows Phones to frustrated Blackberry users (and later expanded to iPhones), who were in the midst of a near worldwide disruption of RIM services. Today, after more than 1,500 well thought out responses to the question "Why do you want a Windows Phone?", twenty-five winners were announced, including their reasons.

Here are the top five:

  1. Jon404: @BenThePCGuy I'm sick of drinking the Apple Kool-aid! I need some Mango to take the taste away ;)
  2. mattymorgs: @BenThePCGuy with #iOS still stuck on its bubbly look from 5 years ago, #windowsphone is the true 'Think Different' of UI style today.
  3. jdnorthwest: @BenThePCGuy As a frustrated #DearBlackberry user I was shopping the Bellevue @MicrosoftStore yesterday for a #windowsphone
  4. sweeneyben: @BenThePCGuy #DearBlackberry my Storm2 was great if I went back in time, but is so outdated, with poor service. I want to go back to Windows
  5. joegaus: @BenThePCGuy i want a #windowsphone because only Beyoncé Knowles' beauty can compare to those DAMN SEXY LIVETILES

What's even better is Microsoft via Ben Rudolph, will be giving away a Windows Phone once per month using the same criteria: send a story about why you want (or need) a Windows Phone. Then, they'll turn that story into a blog post on the Windows Phone Blog. Seems like a decent enough idea!

Congrats to all the winners! We hope you enjoy your new OS, in fact we know you will!

Read more at the Windows Phone Blog.

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2 years ago

NFL Pro '12 huddles up in the Marketplace

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NFL Pro '12 huddles up in the Marketplace

Are you ready for some football?  NFL Pro '12 has arrived at the Windows Phone Marketplace to bring all the scores, stats and standings to your Windows Phone. Billed as giving you the most comprehensive coverage available on your Windows Phone, NFL Pro '12 features include:

Fantasy Playoff Prediction: Here's where you can personalize your own fantasy playoff prediction and pick who is going to win the Superbowl this year.  At the end of the season, compare your picks with everyone else's to see who is the master prognosticator.

Favorite Team: Tag your favorite NFL team for quick and easy access to your team's page.

Live Radio: Can't pick up the game on your FM Radio? NFL Pro '12 Live Radio streams your game coverage to your Windows Phone.

Deep News and Roster: This provides you with the latest news and roster information for every NFL team.

Live Sports Talk: Share your comments and knowledge with everybody else at your Team's Page and talk smack on other team's pages.

So, if you just can't get enough of the NFL this season NFL Pro '12 might help take fill the void.  NFL Pro '12 looks nicely laid out and does offer a ton of information on not only the NFL teams but the players as well.

NFL Pro '12 is a free app and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks goes out to @Ritsuko_Inoue who tipped us via our @WPCentral twitter page

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2 years ago

Turn by Turn Navigation US + CAN offline version released

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The other day we mentioned how the company GPS Tuner was gearing up for a release of their offline mapping solution for Windows Phone. What makes 'Turn by Turn Navigation US + CAN' unique when compared to the newly released Navigon is that you can select individual map regions to download as opposed to the whole country. As you can see above, we're downloading the Northeast US and it comes in at a humble 231MB which is a lot lighter than the 1.6GB Navigon makes you download.

The app is priced at $28.99, which considering the options you're getting, sounds pretty decent. Navigon is similarly priced in the US but that's just temporary until it gets bumped to $50, in that sense in the long run this app is certainly more cost efficient. Other features include:

  • Voice-Guided Turn by Turn Navigation with premium audio quality
  • Full detailed Navteq maps
  • Automatic Map rotation according to your heading
  • POI and address search
  • Add POI-s or locations to Favorites
  • Route calculation based on Time or Distance
  • Supporting Portrait and Landscape mode
  • Automatic re-routing if you miss a turn
  • Speed dependent Volume control
  • Driving and Walking directions
  • US and Metric units are supported
  • Itinerary (turn list for planned routes)
  • Avoid Highway/Toll roads option

We're obviously in the middle of downloading some maps and we'll see about throwing up a video. Oh and best part? Unlike Navigon, you DO have a trial, so give it a go here in the Marketplace. And we expect a European version sometime soon too.

One thing that we can gripe about? It's not a Mango app. So no fast app switching nor is there any contacts integration, making quick routing a pain.

Thanks, TheWeeBear, for the heads up!

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2 years ago

How to Knot a Tie - App Spotlight

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How to Knot a Tie - App Spotlight

Here's a different Windows Phone app for you to consider if you feel the need to move away from those clip on ties and need to learn the various neck tie knots. How to Knot a Tie is a Windows Phone app that includes step by step instructions to tie various knots including:

  • Four in Hand
  • Half Windsor
  • Double Windsor
  • Pratt (Shelby)
  • Prince Albert
  • Bow Tie

Once you pick your knot, tap details and a step by step illustration will appear. Just side swipe between the steps to learn the knot.

Personally, I think neck ties should be abolished but recognize that they do have a time and place (funerals, weddings, criminal trials, etc.).  If you have the need to wear a tie and need to learn your way around the knots, How to Knot a Tie might be worth a gander.

There is a trial version available (limited to the first step of each knot) and the full version runs you $.99. You can find How to Knot a Tie here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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