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3 years ago

IM+ for Windows Phone hitting beta this month

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We've been waiting for quite some time for IM+ to hit Windows Phone 7 and we finally have word that the first beta should be hitting the streets in April.

No other features have been announced, pricing or if the beta is open or closed. That's the bad news, but hey, at least it's still up for release this month in some form. In the meantime, Flory will have to hold us over, which is just fine by us.

Source: Facebook; Thanks, Tom/Kranked90, for the heads up!

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3 years ago

Funny Stories by JOJO lands at the Marketplace

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JOJO Mobile has created a rather interesting app that might be appealing to Windows Phone users with small children. Funny Stories is an interactive book for children that might come in handy on road trips, waiting at the restaurant, doctor's office or any where else a child's attention span might be tested.

The interactive books in the Funny Stories series includes (links are to the Marketplace) Funny Vehicles, Animal's Farm, Colorful Vitamins, and Under the Sea. Each book has both female and male narration as well as picture/word association where the words zoom up and are spoken when pictures are touched. There are three ways the books can be read.

  • "Read to Me": Stories are narrated with pages manually advanced by the reader.
  • "Read it Myself": Books are read by the child with pages advanced by the reader.
  • "Auto Play": Stories are played like a movie with pages turned automatically.

The stories are billed as educational as well as entertaining.  Funny Stories' graphics are well done, the animated page turns is a nice touch and the books should spark the interest with any toddler.  Funny Vehicles is free with the additional books running $1.29.

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3 years ago

Group SMS - App Spotlight

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Group SMS - App Spotlight

Here's a handy application if you have the need to text or email groups from your Windows Phone. Group SMS allows you to create groups from your contacts to avoid having to send your messages out individually.

In a hurry and need some boiler plate messages or responses? Group SMS also allows you to create message templates to send pre-defined messages. The developer, Stefan Stumpfl, liked the Metro design of Windows Phone 7 and choose the panoramic hub design for Group SMS to make it easier to navigate around. Group SMS tried to adapt the Windows Phone concept of "get in, out and back to life".

It's our understanding from Stefan that future updates to Group SMS will support multiple languages (German, French, Italian, and Spanish) as well as synchronization with Google Groups and Windows Live Groups.

There is a free trial version available for Group SMS with the full version running $.99. You can download both here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Wipe out Windows Phone viruses with Pandemic

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Wipe out Windows Phone viruses with Pandemic

Z Games, developers of Bubble Burst, is offering Pandemic over at the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. As described by the developer, Pandemic has swarms of cute little viruses are invading your world and your objective is to stop them.

Pandemic is a colorful puzzle game where you have to match three or more viruses in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line. Viruses can be moved freely around the board to create these combinations as long as the path is clear (they can't jump other viruses). The Bejeweled-like game has two different game modes, Pandemic and Zen. Pandemic Mode is a fast paced game that has your racing the clock while the Zen is a more relaxed, no pressure game.

To help you along the way there are a few bonus items (bombs and rainbow viruses) that will help you destroy more viruses.  The game includes online leaderboards and a lengthy glossary defining each virus, covering the virus's gender, likes, dislikes and general description.

After playing Pandemic for a short period, I found it to be an entertaining, mildly addictive game. Graphics are nice and the game ran smoothly.

Pandemic is a free game and is available here (opens Zune) over at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Mini Squadron - Exclusive preview

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Mini Squadron - Exclusive preview

MiniSquadron is already a hit on iOS and Android devices. Microsoft approached the game’s creator, UK-based Supermono Studios, and asked them to bring the game to Xbox Live. Supermono promptly teamed up with Fat Pebble to do the conversion. We spoke to Fat Pebble about the game, and now we’re bringing you this exclusive preview.

MiniSquadron, as you might expect, involves planes. Lots of ‘em. Players battles hoards of aerial opponents in a two-dimensional space. Controlling the plane is as simple as changing the pitch (the angle of its nose) with a virtual analog stick. This lets you pull off a variety of loops and other maneuvers as you chase down enemy planes and dodge oncoming attacks. Just don’t fly too high or the plane will stall and nosedive; hit the ground and you’ll crash and burn. Horizontal level boundaries just bounce planes safely away.

Incoming fire won’t bounce off so safely, though players and enemies alike can take a few shots before going down. Every aircraft comes equipped with one of seven weapon types, including cannons, missiles, fireballs, lasers, and more. Each type has its own variations, with different damage, firing speed, and range. Blasting enemies without getting hit yourself increases a combo multiplier, so skillful players will earn higher scores.

Fly past the jump for screenshots and details about MiniSquadron’s new Windows Phone features.

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3 years ago

'Multitask7' homebrew brings fast-app switching to Windows Phone

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A few weeks ago, we saw the advent of a de-hydration hack on Windows Phone that seemingly brought fast-app switching to the OS (and despite claims, we didn't see a hit on battery life).

Now the same hacker, Jaxbot over at Windows Phone Hacker, is bringing it to the next level by adding on an app-switching program to the mix. In short, this brings near full multi-tasking to Windows Phone well before the 'Mango' update, expected this fall.

By utilizing the camera's half-shutter button, a user can bring up a nice UI that allows one to now choose between apps that are "running" instead of just using the back-arrow or "re-launching" the app from your Start screen. Of note, this is just a 'preview' meaning the design is still in development and things can change as it progresses. Either way, we're stoked:

...the application is triggered by pressing the half shutter button (pressing the camera button halfway, not to the point where the camera would launch), and allows the user to jump between desired applications. The applications run in the background to a degree, as shown with the timer, and no time is required to bring the applications back from their background state. It's all very technical, but rest assure that he will be sharing some more details in the future.

Keep in mind the application is a preview-the interface and how it functions may very well change before release, and no release date is available. But if you're interested in having it on your device, share some thoughts about how you think it should look, function, etc, in the comments below.

Very cool stuff. Stay tuned for more as this develops. Of note, you will need a developer unlocked device to have this work when it is finally released.

Source: Windows Phone Hacker

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3 years ago

Weekly Nodo Update from Microsoft

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According to Microsoft, they aren't going to be happy until everyone gets their update and continue to work hard to get this job done. In their weekly Nodo Update Microsoft recognizes that the update has gone out to O2 and SFR customers in Europe and Telstra customers are receiving the February update now. Eric Hautala also offers a word of caution to those turning to homebrew solutions.

As an engineer and a gadget lover, I totally understand the impulse to tinker. You want the latest technology and you’re tired of waiting. Believe me, I get it. But my strong advice is: wait. If you attempt one of these workarounds, we can’t say for sure what might happen to your phone because we haven’t fully tested these homebrew techniques. You might not be getting the important device-specific software we would typically deliver in the official update. Or your phone might get mis-configured and not receive future updates.

Hautala continues to say a lot of progress has been made in recent weeks. However, we all know there is still a lot of work to be done. AT&T has changed their update status to indicate that Scheduling (the stage before distribution) would begin early April 2011. But "early" April is fast turning into "mid" April. It is entirely possible we'll see the new AT&T HD7S running the updated OS before existing phones are updated.

With the original Windows Phone 7 OS working well, I'm more concerned about the update process than the update itself.  While I agree with Hautala's call for patience, at some point Microsoft needs to get better control of their update process and make it more timely. Thoughts?

You can check the latest Nodo Status for your Windows Phone at Microsoft's Update Page or you can download "Dude, Where is my update?" app here (opens Zune).

Source: Windowsteamblog

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3 years ago

HTC is first to push own ROM update

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HTC is first to push own ROM update

While NoDo is still in the process of being tested and rolled out across networks, HTC have played a wild card and have began rolling out their own update. While we previously covered the news that Dell is looking to push out their own separate update post-NoDo, but this is the first attempt from a manufacturer on the platform. 

[Edit: Actually, Samsung has been doing it with the Focus for various users too]

According to the information received at TheUnwired, users are reporting that they too are receiving the update while being prematurely on NoDo, so it seems as though ChevronWP7.Updater isn't such a huge problem. This - of course - is an update from HTC and not Microsoft though.

Our own George Ponder has received the update for his Surround (updates the firmware to 2250.09.10307.502) and notices that their is no noticeable change in performance, and no word has been located as to what the update actually add and/or fixes. Could well be simply HTC showing off. Have you received the update, do you notice anything different?

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3 years ago

Bank of America App sneak peek [Exclusive]

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The Bank of America Windows Phone 7 app was first mentioned during Steve Ballmer's CES 2011 keynote address. We are now getting indications that the app is in the final stages of testing and should be available over at the Marketplace soon.

Not sure if this will be how the final product looks but based on the screen shots we've received, it appears the app will give you access to a wide range of banking information. Features appear to include checking account balances, paying bills, transferring funds and finding local branches.  Branch searches will pull up Bing Maps and map the nearest branches to your current location.  We're not sure if turn-by-turn directions will be a part of the search results.  The app looks nice and should be well received by Bank of America customers.  

It's a nice looking app and hopefully other financial institutions will follow Bank of America's lead and bring more banking apps to the Windows Phone.

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3 years ago

ChevronWP7.Updater pulled, breaks future updates on Windows Phones? Maybe not.

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Information is a bit murky, but it looks like there could be a problem with the recently released ChevronWP7.Updater that was posted a few days ago by Chris Walsh. The updater as of now has been pulled offline with no explanation given. Based on Microsoft's own tools for fixing NoDo installation errors, Walsh was able to modify it so that it forced a NoDo update for any device queued for the ROM upgrade without any "hacking" to the phone itself.

Adding fire to the mix is a report, unconfirmed, from the::unwired who said this:

According to Microsoft, the use of ChevronWP7.Updater could possibly put the updated Windows Phone 7 device into a state where it cannot receive future regular updates to the OS anymore and the only fix will be re-flashing the device with an original stock ROM. At the end of the day if could mean that such Windows Phone 7 devices have to be send to the manufacturers or carriers service centers because unlike for Windows Mobile, stock ROMs are officially not available as a public download for end-users.

However, before we all start panicking, the man himself, Chris Walsh, has chimed in on Twitter saying "Don't believe everything you read" in response from numerous people mentioning the potential issues.

Pure speculation here, but we imagine Microsoft asked Walsh to pull the update till they could test all the ramifications of the hack. In the process, some premature dire warnings made it out to the 'net without 100% confidence behind them e.g. better to be cautious than not. In short, if you haven't done this update yet, your best bet is to wait a few days for the dust to settle as we're sure Walsh and Microsoft will have something to announce on the matter when something definitive can be said.

Source: the:unwired, My Coding Adventures, Twitter 1, Twitter 2

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3 years ago

Monopoly is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week

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It’s time for another Xbox Live Deal of the Week! Get ready to roll around the town with Uncle Pennybags, because this week’s sale title is Monopoly, down from $4.99 to the sale price of $2.99.

The Windows Phone 7 version of Monopoly was developed by Babaroga Interactive (makers of Zombies!!!) and published by Electronic Arts.  Our Monopoly review praises its faithfulness to the original board game and support of customizing the game rules. We would have liked to see online multiplayer, but it does at least support local multiplayer. The Deal of the Week price should make offline-only Monopoly a lot more palatable. This also raises hopes that we may see other Electronic Arts titles go on sale eventually – I’m looking at you, Sims 3!

Monopoly goes on sale sometimes after midnight tonight, and the sale lasts for one week. It will cost $2.99, and there is a free trial. Grab it here on the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Praetor - App Spotlight

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Praetor - App Spotlight

In the spirit of classic role playing board games, Random Software Games is offering the Windows Phone 7 game Praetor.  Praetor is a RPG board game that relies more on strategy than flashy graphics (not that flashy graphics are a bad thing).

The storyline goes that you, a member of the Roman Army, are shipwrecked on an island far from the heart of the Roman Empire. You command what remains of your troops to explore the island and conquer what you can. 

Characters and equipment in this turn based game are represented by a colored disc (with appropriate symbol).  Praetor allows for character name customization (default name is Scipio) as well as character paths (warrior, sorcerer, etc). You also have a choice of what color/style game piece you'll be using. The game is well narrated and has a rather appealing, nostalgic look to it. All that is missing is a a pair of die.

When you first start playing Praetor, a tutorial will guide you through the first few moves. As you progress through the game you will earn more strength and skills that will help you conquer the land. Game play is decently paced and full of challenges. You get to battle wild boars, war hounds, and other vicious creatures.

If you like strategy, role-playing board games Praetor is worth looking into. There is a free trail version available and the full version runs $.99. Both can be found here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Photowiz 7 - App Spotlight

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Photowiz 7 - App Spotlight

Cheat sheets, tip cards, reference guides have been a part of photography long since the days of Matthew Brady. Photowiz is a Windows Phone 7 application that brings the basic photography reference cards and tips to your Windows Phone.

The main pages of Photowiz 7 spreads the photography information out nicely and breaks down as such.

  • Picture of: The "Picture of:" page offers tips and tricks for taking a pictures under certain conditions or of a certain style. Landscape, portrait, water, flowers, fireworks and sunrise/sunset photos are covered.
  • Night ISO: Night ISO gives you recommended settings for night photography. Options are available to take the amount of moon illumination into account.
  • DOF Calc: The DOF (depth of field) calculator helps determine your depth of field based on your image sensor size, f-stop, focal length and distance from the subject. The sensor size selection is scrollable and ranges from 1.3x cropped sensors to 8x10 large format sensors.
  • Help: The Help page will provide you with definitions for several common photography terms. This page covers metering, exposure, lighting, and the Sunny 16 Rule.

PhotoWiz 7 can be used for both film and digital cameras. And as popular as youth sports is, I'm a little surprised there wasn't a sports category on the "Picture of:" page.

Regardless, Photowiz 7 is a handy application for the beginner shutterbug and could come in handy for the seasoned photographer. It is a free application and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

Photo Search - App Spotlight

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Photo Search - App Spotlight

Need to hunt down a particular photo from the internet? Photo Search is being offered over at the Windows Phone Marketplace to help fill that need.

Photo Search does what the name implies, searches the internet for images based on keywords. Photo Search also has the ability to filter your image results by type (photo, faces, clip art, etc.) and size (small, medium, and large).

Once you find your image within the search results, you can save the file to your Windows Phone Picture Gallery or share them through email. In tinkering with the trial version, the search results were accurate (not indicative of the sample screen shots) but some of the thumbnail results generated a "image not available" error.

There is a free trial available for Photo Search to let you try before you buy. The full version runs $.99 and you can download either here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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3 years ago

o2 rolling NoDo out as planned

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o2 rolling NoDo out as planned

Recently we covered o2 claiming that they're looking to push NoDo update out for customers on April 5th, which is today. Long and behold folk are begining to announce they're updating and we've had a reader tip us that he's received the update notification and is updating his device too. Seems o2 held their word and all WP7 users on o2 UK should begin to receive the notification from today onwards.

Have you received the update notification on o2 yet?

Thanks StaticPlaya for the tip!

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