Although there are official product placements on TV, there are sometimes non-official ones. The former are clear mini-commercials where the latter are just things we notice but you can't tell what it is.
Unless you're an eagle-eyed Windows Phone owner like @Hendo427, who let us know he spotted the Focus the other night on Grey's Anatomy (S07E13).
We went to tape and grabbed some more screenies and it sure looks like a Focus...whose had it's carrier label taped over. No features of the OS were shown either, meaning this wasn't MS sanctioned. So this is just for you insiders out there ;-)
Although Windows Phone is still growing and early on in the launch, some developers are at least reporting a relaive hit. One of those is Halfbrick, makers of Fruit Ninja (see our review), the super popular citrus slicing game available also on Android and the iPhone.
In an interview with Business Insider Shainiel Deo, CEO of Halfbrick Studios said that game is having "moderate" success on the new OS noting that paid downloads (an important distinction) is in the "high tens of thousands". Halfbrick seems to be pleased overall with Microsoft but does note "I think Microsoft could be doing more to promote the phone and hopefully we’ll start seeing that soon."-- a common complaint we hear these days.
Deo also took a shot at Android stating that compared to Windows Phone "There are a number of varying devices but there is nowhere near the fragmentation issues that Android has." Zing. We've seen that before from Ballmer and Netflix.
Bottom line is although Windows Phone is still commanding very little market share, both developers and users seem to be quite happy from their respective sides--and that's important for driving growth.
If you've been following the Forum discussion, it's no secret that an update has been in the works for the popular Windows Phone game SpellIt. Well, the wait is over and the update was released this morning. Just launch your Marketplace app and click on Updates.
Improvements include players scores and last move fields are more readable and as well as the customary performance tweaks. The update also brings a few new features to the table that include:
Players can now shake their Windows Phone to shuffle their game tiles. This is a great way to give players a refreshed look at potential words that can be created.
There is now a score preview window to let you know how many points you will score. It will appear next to the Play Button and if you're spelling a word that is invalid, the score will remain zero.
There is also a visual cue for pending tiles that highlights the tiles you are placing. As the game progresses, the board can get a little busy and highlighting these tiles helps as you build words.
The new features only add to a very entertaining game. If you haven't tried SpellIt, you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace. It's a free game and very addictive.
We first broke the news about Flory IM last week and it's been just smashing for us since. The developer contacted us to let us know it has been submitted to the Marketplace and sure enough, here it is. The IM app offers free Google Talk IMs plus using the jabber protocol, you can do Facebook IM, ICQ, etc.
The good news, it's still free. The bad news, it's still in German :-P No big deal though, you're all smart enough to get through the simple username/password menus to figure it out and if not, we can help in our forums.
Important: when you update from 1.5 to 1.6, first close your gtalk connection! The servers for the worldwide release are nearly ready. We hope that all language versions get certified, so we can publish on sunday. Because we need to change dns and ip settings, there will be a serverdowntime for about 1 -2 hours. Sorry for that!
The U-Stream viewer has been out since the launch of Windows Phone, so nothing new there. But version 1.1 just hit and it looks to be quite the overhaul. For one, it works much better now. They've also look to have re-done much of the UI, making it easier to read, search and find new streams. Searching seems better, but we're not sure if it still finds everything.
What's really kind of neat though is if you have a (free) account, you can of course subscribe to your favorite shows or upcoming events. But the program goes one step further now with push notifications to let you know when your "event" is about to start--that's a nice addition. Though we haven't tried it, we imagine it's a Live Tile too with a counter.
Video quality is "ok"--hardly HD even over WiFi but it gets the job done and the app is still a big sluggish here and there (pauses between actions) , so we still see some need for improvement, but it's a big step in the right direction.
Microsoft this morning published a new app called Windows Phone Insider to the Marketplace. The tiny app is a great starting point for those new to the Windows Phone world though numerous features and tutorials. Here's what it can do:
Top picks - most popular apps in a genre (this week appears to be fitness)
Wallpapers - pulls down Bing images for use as wallpaper (nice)
Follow Us - Latest Facebook and Twitter posts from Windows Phone
Tour - short web tutorials on how to use your phone/make the most of it
The app is actually really slick and the Bing wallpapers feature is huge for many--it'swell worth the free download just for that option. Of course, we couldn't help but think this would be great on the phone to begin with, which makes us think that with the upcoming software update, you'll see this stock on your device after that first flash. Anyone wanna bet?
We've heard a lot about Microsoft and their "3 screens" idea for the future--specifically that you will interact primarily with your TV (Xbox), PC (Windows) and phone (Windows Phone) and that software should be interchangeable and seamless between the three platforms.
RC-AirSim, a cool little remote plane game, is one of the first to reach all three mediums, offering users the ability to have the same exact experience on their TV, phone or PC (well, the Xbox technically has some better graphics options, but still). The Xbox version has been out since 2009 and at that time had over a quarter million downloads, making quite the XNA hit. The game actually looks like it could be quite a blast and it's nice to see that even small developers can quickly code a game for all, with little hassle.
It started with an open letter from financial analyst Adnaan Ahmad, addressed to CEOs Steve Ballmer (Microsoft) and Stephen Elop (Nokia), explaining the mutual benefits that could arise from the two tech titans teaming up. What came next was a flurry of rumors that it might happen and show of confidence from stock traders. In the days since Ahmad posted his letter, Nokia's stock prices have risen more than 4%, a sign that those in the market may be trying to show a vote of confidence in Ahmad's wishful thinking.
Though these rumors have been bubbling ever since Elop left his post at Microsoft to take over as Nokia's CEO, Elop said last week that the phone maker might "create and/or join other ecosystems," lending further credence to possibility. Spokesmen from both companies have refused to comment on the validity of the rumors, but there is speculation from those in the know that Elop is going to announce the news during an upcoming speech on February 11.
Be it true or not, Nokia needs to do something soon. They have been steadily declining in market share, and according to some recent analytics, have already lost the number one spot to Android.
Are you someone who loves Apple products but has envy for Windows Phone 7 owners for the interface they have the privilege in staring at for hours of each day? Or do you already own a WP7 device and wish to expand the deployment?
This has now become reality from just a possibility thanks to wyndwarrior, a theme designer at modmyi.com. Titled OS7, this theme for the iOS platform will transform your grid style Apple interface into a live tile enabled, aesthetically pleasing design that is found on WP7.
Before you begin to wander about the quality of the theme, or if functionality such as pinning (and unpinning) tiles to the main screen is missing, then fear not. Basic functions look and work very well, but the best feature? Live tiles are supported with more support on the way such as Facebook pulling live data etc. Although the theme requires you to mess with your device, which some people don't feel comfortable doing, it really is simple to install and get cracking...
The HTC Mozart, a swell little device that we look to be getting here in the U.S. soon, received quite the red carpet launch event in Thailand today. Recently we were asked about new hardware launches, specifically the lack of new devices and to that we'll say that Microsoft and partners are more about augmenting that 30 countries/60 carriers figure than the nine different devices.--Thailand and Canada are good examples of that focus.
Oh and the above video is in Thai but it doesn't mean you can't appreciate the fun it looks like they're having. Did we ever mention we want to go there? The place looks awesome.
By now, it's no secret that the data problems some Windows Phone users were experience was the result of Yahoo! email sucking the life out of your data. Yahoo! has apologized for the problem and is working with Microsoft on a fix. However, in an effort some see as deflecting the blame, Yahoo! released the following statement,
"The issue on the Windows Phones is specific to how Microsoft chose to implement IMAP for Yahoo! Mail and does not impact Yahoo! Mail on these other mobile devices. Yahoo! has offered to provide Microsoft a near-term solution for the implementation they chose, and is encouraging Microsoft to change to a standard way of integrating with Yahoo! Mail, which would result in a permanent fix."
Well... it now appears that this problem isn't as exclusive to Windows Phone 7 as Yahoo! would hope. Within Windows programmer Rafael Rivera, who helped identify the initial problem, has done further testing to see if the problem existed on other platforms. Rivera discovered that the standard IMAP protocol Yahoo! that is used with the iPhone (the protocol Yahoo! feels Microsoft should use) also returns excess data.
MyBookie, the fantasy betting app for your Windows Phone, is getting updated. The update will offer Facebook expansion by adding Office Pools into the mix.
Office Pools are designed to add a competitive spirit to the game allowing you to bet against your Facebook friends as well as betting against the house. The update will allow you to join existing Office Pools or design your own.
For those not familiar with MyBookie, it's a fantasy sports betting game that has you betting virtual currency against real-world sporting events. The game pulls in real-time betting lines for events and covers NFL, NCAA Football, NBA, NCAA Basketball, MLB and NHL games.
The update is expected to be available on Super Bowl Sunday through your Marketplace updating system. You can catch the full press release after the break and you can find MyBookie here (opens Zune) as well as MyBookie Lite (the free version) here at the Marketplace.
While Windows Phone 7 is doing less than expected with LG, T-Mobile feels that the new Windows Phones are doing well. While no specific numbers were mentioned Josh Lipe, product manager for T-Mobile said,
"We’re continuing to look at options with Microsoft how to move the platform forward. The customers are very satisfied with the experience. We’ve done well with the devices that we sold."
And T-Mobile is planning on building upon that satisfaction. There are rumors that T-Mobile will be adding the HTC Mozart to their Windows Phone 7 lineup. T-Mobile is also planning on installing their Family Room application on their Windows Phone 7 devices. Family Room is a social network for family members that includes a message board, shared calendars and photo spaces.
Every time we post about a new app update, a lot of users chime in saying they can't see the update yet, meaning the Marketplace on their device is not showing any "updates" on the Tile.
Of course the update is there and in fact if you scroll down you can usually see the new version number listed, but there's no update button. Frustrating! Luckily, there's a little trick: just go in the Marketplace, search for the app, open the description, then back out...wait a second and go back in. This forces a software version-check on the device and now you should be able to update the app.
We're sure lots of you already know this, but hey, we know there's probably even more who don't.