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3 years ago

Mystery HTC Windows Phone sporting a 12mp Camera?

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Images are surfacing across the internet of a mystery Windows Phone from HTC that appears to be sporting a 12mp camera. This just days after rumors surfaced of a 16MP HTC device called 'Bresson'--at least 12MP sounds a bit more realistic. Another interesting revelation from the images is that this camera has RAW support. For those not familiar with RAW image files, they are unprocessed by the camera. JPEG images receive a good deal of "in-camera" processing" while RAW images rely on post-processing from the photo editing software of your choice. I often describe RAW as a digital negative.

While the prospect of a 12mp camera with RAW support is interesting, the screen shots also give rise to some questions. RAW is an image format, why is it not listed under the resolution settings? You also see an Exposure Metering Mode that is set to a frame average. Could this be a bracketing setting (taking a series of the same shot at progressive exposure settings)? 

Granted these screens could be entirely different if this mystery Windows Phone ever sees the light of day but as someone who has spent a good deal of time around a camera, right now these images give me pause.  Unless HTC has moved to a larger sensor, I'm hesistant to get too excited over a 12mp phone camera. You can only fit so many pixels on a sensor and when you pass that mark, image quality begins to suffer.

Plus RAW files are huge compared to JPEG because of the lack of file compression.  It's not uncommon for a RAW file to be 10mb in size and that will require a hefty amount of on-board storage or a removable storage method for this to be practical.

Still, if these images hold true, some of these settings may bring the phone camera closer to the abilities of a stand alone digital camera.

Source: Slashgear Thanks goes out to smoothcrooner for the tip!

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3 years ago

Mini-Review: Network Tools

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Mini-Review: Network Tools

Network Tools, developed by Flippant Entertainment, is a simple server connectivity monitor app for Windows Phone 7 with bags of potential. Allowing the user to ping a server, TCP port test and perform a HTTP request.

While the functionality is fairly limited to these three scans, the beauty of Network Tools is the ability to add websites and servers as “favorites” where you can easily check them all at once, using all three scans. The app uses a server hosted somewhere for the tests, which I think is a bonus, yet a slight drawback. Both for the reason should the server be unavailable is there a fail safe, or you wish to try ports outbound on your network?

I see a lot more being available in terms of features for future releases. For example, we could have the option to use the server provided, or use direct connection from our device. There should be live tile support where you can pin one or more (when Mango comes around) sites to your home screen which can alert you with regular scans when they go down – perfect for server administrators.

A step further would be to some how be able to include Nagios monitoring, should you have any installed for your boxes. But I can only dream. Network Tools however is a fantastic app for simply checking on the move if your website is still up or if you can connect to your mail server. While extra functionality is absent, the app has built strong foundations and has filled a gap in the Marketplace for an app of this quality for network tasks.

Network Tools is available for ₤3.99 or for an unlimited ad-supported trial on the Marketplace, and can be downloaded here (Zune link).

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3 years ago

The Revenants updated, Corridor of Souls still haunted

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Remember The Revenants: Corridor of Souls? It’s an early Xbox Live title from Chaotic Moon Studios, the developers who recently brought Enigmo to Windows Phone. The game recently received a major update, and WPCentral is here to unlock its mysteries for you.

The Revenants version 1.2 changelog:

  • Improved visuals on the "end of level" sequence.
  • Improved the "loop detection" logic.  This should help people who draw "nearly closed" circles.
  • Improved how the game handles volume control for music started outside of the game.
  • Added new 8 backgrounds.  Improved the background for the last room in the level sequence.
  • Updated the Chaotic Moon logo screen.
  • Changed version from v1.0.5 to v1.2.0.

That last bit is worth mentioning because a surprising number of game makers forget to update their title's version numbers when a patch is released, including Star Wars: Battle for Hoth and Rocket Riot.

The Revenants is an arcade-style game in which players draw circles around ghostly enemies in order to free their souls. The game keeps players on their toes as hordes of enemies simultaneously flood the screen. Clear a room of its deceased stragglers and it’s on to the next room with untold dangers. Our review praises the circle-drawing gameplay and visual effects; though we thought it could have used a bit more content. The new backgrounds should add some welcome variety, and the loop detection logic makes a good thing even better.

The Revenants: Corridor of Souls is only $2.99, and there is a free trial. You’ll find it here (Zune link) in the Marketplace… if you dare.

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3 years ago

Guitar Hero 5 Mobile - Review

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Guitar Hero 5 Mobile - Review

If you play music games on consoles and also have friends who play real instruments, then you probably know at least one who won’t be bothered to play said games because he’d rather be doing the real thing. It’s a snooty perspective in which the musician is actually bothered by the idea of people pretending to do what he (or she) does without going through years of practice. You can try to tell them how the singing in Rock Band and Guitar Hero is real singing (karaoke-style), but by that time they’re probably outside smoking a cigarette while thinking of how much cooler they are than you.

Just as music snobs don’t get music games, as a music gamer, I don’t quite get Guitar Hero 5 Mobile. The real Guitar Hero is a simplified simulation of the complex act of making music that uses plastic instruments. The mobile version is a simplified simulation of that simulation, sans plastic instruments. It helps if you think about it that way – this version in no way recreates the act of making music. But it is kind of like playing the console game on a touch screen. Perhaps that’s reason enough for it to exist?

Plug in your amp and follow the jump for our full review.

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3 years ago

Super Monkey Ball - Review

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Super Monkey Ball - Review

Back in elementary school, I once bit into a piece of fried okra thinking it was a Tater Tot. What should have been a delicious, tiny hash brown actually tasted like green death, forever ruining okra for me.

Super Monkey Ball on Windows Phone is a lot like that. On the outside, it has all the makings of a quality game – cute characters, a fun premise, fairly good graphics, and catchy music. I was really looking forward to it before it came out. Beneath Super Monkey Ball’s tasty exterior, however, lies an unpleasant surprise: utterly abhorrent tilt controls.

The Super Monkey Ball series has made quite a name for itself since its debut in Japanese arcades and subsequent release as a GameCube launch title. Players guide one of four monkeys (each inside of a clear ball) across one or more floating platforms and through a goal, avoiding hazards and collecting bananas along the way. The only significant difference between the monkeys is the annoyingness of their voices – I found GonGon to be the most tolerable. Anyway, instead of directly controlling the monkey, you tilt the maze itself and try to steer the monkey where it needs to go. It’s a fun and unique concept.

Roll past the break for our full review.

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3 years ago

Verizon Trophy 2150 mAh extended battery now available

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If you managed to snag a new HTC Trophy on Verizon, you may at times feel a little underwhelmed by the 1300 mAh battery on board (most WP7 devices sport around 1500 mAh). If that's the case, remember to pick up an OEM extended battery via Verizon's accessories.

The extended battery is a plump 2150 mAh, which should work even for the biggest users out there. Of course, it does feature an extended "hump" door but it doesn't seem too large for those who need the juice. The big juicer goes for a fair $49.99 + tax.

It's nice to have options!

Source: Verizon; Thanks, Max R., for the tip!

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3 years ago

Shuriken Ninja - Review

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Shuriken Ninja - Review

Shuriken Ninja has been sitting in the top five Windows Phone apps for some time now and it's about time we took a look at this popular gaming title. Shuriken Ninja is an ad-supported, free game for your Windows Phone where you play the role of a ninja.

Continued after the break.

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3 years ago

Hydro Thunder GO - Review

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Hydro Thunder GO - Review

One of the latest XBox Live games to hit the Windows Phone Marketplace is Hydro Thunder Go from PixelBite. The racing game has sentimental value to me in that I can remember playing it in arcades and eagerly waiting for its release on the Nintendo 64 platform over a decade ago.

It has since been released in some shape, form or fashion on multiple gaming systems and has now landed on your Windows Phone. It's a pricey game but if you like racing games, especially boat racing games, it's well worth the price of admission.

We've spent some time with the PixelBite developers and after the break you can find out more on Hydro Thunder Go.

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3 years ago

AT&T HTC HD7S - Review

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AT&T HTC HD7S - Review

T-Mobile customers have been enjoying the HTC HD7 for some time now. The large screen Windows Phone is now headed to AT&T as the HD7S. The "S" is for the Super LCD WVGA screen. Personally, I would have liked to have seen AT&T go with something more creative like the HTC Slate. HTC HD7S is fitting but it can be somewhat of a tongue twister.

We ran a first impression video earlier and was impressed with what we saw. Over the past few days we've used the HD7S exclusively and while it still makes a good impression, there is some room for improvement.

Move on past the break to see how well that first impression lasted.

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3 years ago

Citi says HTC pays Microsoft $5 for every Android phone

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The investment arm of Citi released a massive report on Microsoft this past Friday. It had a couple of choice tidbits for those of us who have an affinity for Windows Phone 7, namely that HTC pays $5 per Android device it makes to Microsoft for patent protection, and also that Citi believes Microsoft may be able to make a move on the tablet market with the release of Windows 8, possibly moving into the number 2 position.

Both of these points are relevant to Windows Phone, but for different reasons. Android is the 800 pound gorilla in the room now, and a lot of people attribute its runaway success to being free (as in no licensing fees), and being free (as in unencumbered by intellectual property requirements.) If HTC is paying Microsoft $5 for every phone it puts Android on, it indicates that HTC believes Android might violate some of Microsoft’s intellectual property rights. The report also suggests that Microsoft will be trying to get other Android device manufactures to pay upwards of $10 per device. If that is true, then the $15 per device that Microsoft charges is less of a deal-breaker for an arguably cleaner OS.

The report also mentions that Microsoft is in a position to make a serious play on the tablet market with Windows 8, possibly coming in just below Apple's iOS. It’s no secret that Windows 8 will be available on ARM processors, but there is evidence to suggest that Windows 8 will use, at least on some devices, Metro for a UI. It may not be Windows Phone 7, but it might just end up being Windows Phone 8, and if analysts are correct (always a big if), then we may just get our 10” Metro UI tablet in the coming year.

Sources: Business Insider and Reuters

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3 years ago

Windows Phone Summary of the Week: May 23-29, 2011

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Well, this week was eventful to say the least. The Mango VIP Preview turned out to contain all the right answers for many consumers and developers, while some felt slightly disapointed with Steve Ballmer stating that there'll be 500 features included into Mango yet only a handful have been in the media. 

Let us kick-start this weeks round-up with our developer interview. This week we had the peasure in having Waheed Bhatti (Software Architect at Irtiqa) answer some questions about his view on Windows Phone and what projects both himself and Irtiqa are working on. Also, remember how last week we got excited about our app being released? Well, as you're more than aware of, the submission was rejected. Both myself and Jay went about fixing the issues and the official wpcentral app is now available (Zune link)! It has been receiving great feedback and positive reviews, so we thank you.

Back to Steve Ballmer announcing the 500 new features, you can check out our Mango VIP Preview event wrap up for the juicy gossip, videos and more.

Our George Ponder gave a quick run through of the top apps on the Marketplace just as the stat counter reached 20,000 on number of available apps and games. To further improve the experience of consumers and provide developers with more reach for their apps, a web version of the Marketplace was detailed to be in the works allowing purchases to be made through the browser on any OS.

Gaming was in the spotlight at the VIP event on Tuesday with the announcement that the Xbox hub will receive some aesthetic work. The tedious Xbox Live Extras will be replaced by including all Live enabled features within the hub itself, so you'll be able to see your avatar and communicate with your friends in no time at all. Hydro Thunder GO made an appearance kicking off the six weeks of must-have games and the RPG category of games for WP7 has finally seen a title; Dungeon Stalker.

Moving onto a somewhat serious note, Lincolnshire Police are using Windows Phone in a new fingerprint technology trial, while Rudy Huyn spent a few hours having fun with the new improved live tiles in Mango by turning them into his own Tetris playground. Shazam is back on the Marketplace and is still priced at a laughable $5.99 for the paid Encore version.

ZTE, a Chinese handset manufacturer, is planning to bring their first WP7 device (running Mango) to the table in Q3 this year. The Verizon Trophy is available everywhere, while being sold out in places. Newegg currently have it priced at $99. Speaking of new devices, we got our hands on AT&T's HTC HD7S.

A few entertaining stories to round off your weekend includes the demo of Mango improving heavily on speech recognition and control (voice-to-text etc) and the showing off of a new "I Love Windows Phone" design. The orange colour based theme in Mango will be renamed as the fruit in the next update and emotions will actually be displayed as emotions instead of text. Who would have thought the wall of tiles exists?

For developers we have some goodies. Mango development tools have been released and developers are expected to receive Mango prior to release. Should you just need that slight kick in the right direction with regards to your motivation, Elbert Perez shows that hard work pays off with WP7 by reporting his earnings of almost $30,000. If you need a slight helping hand then we have found a cheating sheet for you should you not be on top of things design wise. If you're after more information about advertising within your app, did you know you can use multiple AdUnits with pubCenter?

Oh, don't forget to check out our TVShow app giveaway contest!

Carry on through the break for the highlights.

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3 years ago

WPCentral app v1.2 - Video Preview

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WPCentral app v1.2 - Video Preview

Although the official WPCentral app has only been out for about 36 hours, we're hard at work bringing you v1.2 soon which will add a few new features and settings that many of you have requested. (Submitting comments and forum integration is coming, but those will be coming in later releases, as they're big projects)

Our developer Jay Bennett has already a working beta v1.2 and he made a video to show off what he has done so far. We gotta say, the "all black" option looks pretty slick too.

For those of you who added suggestions for the settings screen coming in v1.2, here’s a sneak peak at those options in action:

As I mention in the video, I’m looking into adding an option to increase the font size for the article viewing for this release as well.

As always, submit comments on Jay's blog, via the app or in comments below. And thanks everyone for the reviews in the Marketplace, it's much appreciated!

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3 years ago

Verizon HTC Trophy theme & gamer picture pack back on Xbox

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If you remember, back when the Trophy was still in "where the heck is it, already!" mode, it briefly appeared on Marketplace.Xbox.com as a two-part promotional offer: theme and gamer picture pack. Then, just as soon as we reported it, it was pulled and another Trophy launch was put on hold.

Well, if themes and gamer picture packs are your thing, then you'll be glad to know...ittt's baaaack:

Verizon Trophy Theme and Verizon Trophy Gamer Picture Pack

Thank, Jake D., for the heads up

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3 years ago

Another video tour of Mango: Bing Audio, Xbox Multiplayer confirmed? [Updated 2]

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Another day, another video of Mango in action!

This one shows all sorts of things including how Bing Audio works, YouTube video support (looks to work better within IE9), multi-tasking, messaging/history and some Xbox LIVE info (we like the part where the avatar punches and cracks the screen).

September/October can't come soon enough, that's for sure.

Update: Just got a nice tip from Antonio on this one.  Check out the video around the 4:38 mark.  In the XBox Live hub you see the option to "Pick a multi-player game and invite someone to play".  Could this be the multi-player (phone vs. phone) feature?  Any other new features hidden within the video?

Update 2: Oh look at that, we've always had that "notifications" page in our Xbox folder, but this does say "multiplayer" for the first time.

Source: Nokia with Windows Phone (blog); Thanks, Morten N., for the tip!

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