Showing that there is no limit to where Windows Phone 7 will be available, today HTC announced that their flagship HD7 will be sold in Egypt. Kind of nice to know that our friends in the Middle East will start to get some Windows Phone experience.
No pricing, carrier or exact availability was mentioned, which is kind of lame if you're in Egypt right now. But hopefully it's soon.
If you have a Zune Pass, you'll read this story and chuckle as Shazam + Zune Pass = music heaven (I use the combo 4-5 times a week, easily). For those outside of the U.S. who either don't have Zune Pass by choice or by circumstance (basically, not these countries), this may make you a little peeved. (If we recall, only United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain have Zune Pass access)
Today, both companies announced a partnership that will come close to simulating the Shazam + Zune Pass experience:
Shazam, the world’s leading mobile discovery company, today announced that Spotify, the popular music service, will be integrated across the full range of Shazam’s free and premium Apps for iPhone, iPod touch and Android. As a result, Shazamers will be able to access Spotify directly through a new ‘Play in Spotify’ feature, which will take them directly to Spotify where they can immediately begin listening to the full track that they either tagged or discovered within Shazam from recommendations or the Shazam charts.
Why no Windows Phone support? We have no idea--although one could surmise a disagreeing Microsoft having a say. Shazam is already on Windows Phone and Spotify have a client that someday should see the light of day (whatever happened to that one?). So presumably they could do it, yet at least from the press release, it's not happening...yet. Of course, despite what the iPhone and Android will get, it still pales in comparison to the instant-download-gratification of a Zune pass, amirite?
For our Euro collegues and those without Zune Pass service: thoughts? Sound off below.
Just a few hours ago we're reporting on those new features in Seesmic v1.3 and now it's live in the Marketplace.
Although we gave some flack to the Twitter Racoon for no push updates, we'll applaud their team for this: Seesmic v1.3 is hands down the fastest Twitter app now on Windows Phone 7. It is very zippy and we even had our own 'Neo' moment with an audible "whoa" when launching it. (Too geeky?)
Besides the very impressive speed updates and unmentioned bug fixes, not much else has changed, including no landscape support, no conversation view (gah!). It also still doesn't run under the lock screen, so you get that 'resume' thing happening (double gah!). Oh, but there is that new Tile art above.
But hey Seesmic, you have a solid base going right now for your WP7 Twitter app--let's get some landscape support, run-under-lockscreen and push notifications going and you'll own this race. Twitterers: grab the update now.
Well, it's finally here folks. After months and months of tinkering around, Dark Forces Team (DFT) has finally completed their Windows Phone 7 to HTC HD2 port and it's all demonstrated in video glory (after the break). The whole process is demonstrated from flashing to it actually running and it's technically in four parts, but really only the first two you need to watch.
Here's the dirty list on how much works:
System starts quickly, after flashing the first boot needs about 20 seconds up to start settings.
Battery can be charged normally in WP7 OS. Testers reports that power consumption is normal.
Phone functions are working: call answer, dial without problems and good sound quality, speaker volume is very large, volume +,- keys works fine. During a call when you can adjust the volume.
SMS send and receive works without problems, display Chinese symbols right.
Import contacts from the SIM card works, the Chinese text displayed correctly, contact editing all normal. Setting ringtone working.
Camera works, all the features available, including the 720P video. (Photo-Flash sync is slightly buggy, better make photos without flash)
full list after the break...
Update: LIVE services seem to have been succesfully cracked, see here.
Xbox LIVE and the Marketplace still seem to be off limits due to Microsoft's advanced security, which is a bit of a downer, but the rest looks pretty solid. No word on when all of this will be made available, though we're sure your local XDA forums will have something on it soon. Question is: Is all of this worth it?
Check out all the videos of it in action after the break to see for yourselves.
One of the top games in the Marketplace is Crackdown2: Project Sunburst (see review). Although kind of gimmicky, it's can still be quite fun for many, even addictive.
Nice to know then an update is coming up "shortly" for the title. No word on what the improvements are, but we can imagine general bug fixes and hopefully some performance enhancements as well. Also, those GUI controls could use some refinement.
Keep an eye out or follow us on Twitter @wpcentral for when it goes live.
Update: It's up. Seems to load faster, not much else is known yet. Find something, lets us know in comments.
Seesmic was one of the top Twitter apps in the Marketplace for Windows Phone 7, until a little app called Beezz showed up. Still, many prefer Seesmic's UI and general behavior but the company has been pretty quiet on any updates as of late.
The current version is 1.2 and we imagine what their blog is referring to is a yet-unpublished v1.3. If that's the case, here are the folloiwng improvements we can expect:
Timelines are now cached for increased loading speed
Speed and scrolling improvements, everywhere in the app
Display of private and verified Twitter accounts
Added animations and transitions
Speed is good. Still, while Seesmic does support multiple Twitter accounts, something currently Beezz is lacking, the missing ability of push notifications is still quite significant. C'mon Seesmic, it's been a few months already--we'll all pay the $0.99 for the push-privilege, it's no biggy.
Following on from a previous article we published about an abnormal amount of data being used by Windows Phone 7 devices when idle, the BBC have reported that they have been informed by Microsoft with a status - they are investigating reports.
Some have calculated that their phones send "between 30 and 50MB of data" each day, an amount that even a heavy Internet user would have slight difficulty reaching. I use my Samsung Omnia 7 on the go with web browsing, email (three accounts set to push) and apps, I can't seem to hit 20MB, let alone double that amount.
I received an e-mail from AT&T saying that I was close to my 2GB data limit which truly shocked me as I feel I do not use data that much, I went and looked at my AT&T account online and noticed that my phone was sending huge chunks of data seemingly in patterns.
Another reported that they had noticed their device "idle data usage is around 2-5MB per hour", which is frightening when taking into account that contracts are normally capped, and people wouldn't mind using their phones for more than two minutes each day without adding more charges to their bill.
There could, however, be a fix for those who are experiencing phantom data usage. Bil Simser explains (what many have suggested to try) that turning off the feedback option in the WP7 settings area could drastically drop the amount of data that your phone uses. Have you tried the solution, and what results did you find? Do you believe that data caps by network providers are too low for smart phones?
As a developer, do you consider markets outside the US (or your country of location)? There are many factors that differ from country to country, like naming, pronunciation, and much more. All these considerations could lead to your app bringing in more revenue (downloads if free) or – for example - potentially receive less due to a large audience missing your product due to different keywords being used while searching the Marketplace.
Chris Hay, from the UK, noticed this trend that can be present if used effectively, or completely missed altogether. A clear and understandable article that he whipped up (includes a very pretty graph for you diagram lovers) explains how his Flashlight app – that was released for free – performs better in the UK market when compared to the US, and the rest of the world.
While English use the term “torch” as opposed to the American “flashlight”, the UK Marketplace searches would be performed using the keyword torch, while US searches would be flashlight. Seeing proof of these small considerations actually causing an impact on the number of downloads an app gains is pretty impressive. This is definitely a good example that developers should pay more consideration to how their app is presented, on any platform.
On Monday, Microsoft filed a motion for summary judgment with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in an attempt to get Apple's trademark of the term "App Store" denied. They argue that the term is too generic to be awarded to just one company, as it is made up of two everyday, commonly used words. As evidence of its generality, MS also shrewdly submitted an interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, where he is quoted as saying, "Amazon, Verizon and Vodafone have all announced that they are creating their own app stores for Android."
Apple's application for the trademark dates back to 2008, so it seems a bit odd that MS would just think to do this now. Obviously, the launch of WP7 and it's Marketplace prompted the move, but one would hope that the world's software leader wouldn't be so myopic. No decisions have been made as of yet. The status page for the trademark merely reads: "An opposition is now pending at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board."
The Halo series of Xbox games have been without question, hugely popular. Reach Central is a Windows Phone companion app that will allow you to keep tabs on your Halo Reach progression. If you're a big Halo Reach gamer, this Windows Phone 7 app will let you brag about your accomplishments and progress in a graphically pleasing manner.
Reach Central lays things out nicely on a four page hub detailing your progress in the game. Just enter your Xbox Live Gamertag and Reach Central will pull the Halo Reach stats from your account.
We’ve been covering the exploits of the ChevronWP7 team for a couple of months. From the original release and the various applications released for unlocked devices, to Microsoft having a heart-to-heart with the team and the subsequent discontinuation of the unlocker, it’s been a busy couple of months.
The stated reason for ChevronWP7 development being discontinued was that Microsoft was interested in officially facilitating the homebrew community, saying that this is an important area for consumers. It looks like Microsoft is putting action to their words. In a couple of tweets Microsoft’s Brandon Watson states that he is looking forward to hosting the ChevronWP7 team next week. Brandon also confirms that the hole that ChevronWP7 found has been closed, and recommends that any ideas or questions on the subject of homebrew development on Windows Phone 7 be directed to the ChevronWP7 team to be discussed next week.
What are your thoughts on the homebrew situation? Have you been using ChevronWP7? Is it good that Microsoft is being proactive? Talk it up in the comments.
JDB Pocketware introduced Handyscan some time ago for Windows Phone 7. Handyscan is a personal document scanner for your Windows Phone that uses your phone's camera to scan and save documents. Handyscan is a very good choice for those looking for a document scanner but some saw it a little on the pricey side. For those who saw price as an issue, a solution has become available.
JDB Pocketware has now released Handyscan (Lite), a free version of the original document scanner. The key features for the lite version aren't much different than the pay version and include:
Automatic optimization of scanned images
Zoom in/out capabilities
Align and crop scanned document
Add text to document (fill in forms)
Scan multiple pages per document and save them as one file
The features the Lite version lack includes:
Choosing the format you can email documents in (JPEG or PDF)
Choosing the size and quality of scanned results you send out
If you need a document scanner for your Windows Phone and are hesitant because of the cost, Handyscan Lite may be the solution you're looking for. You can get your free copy of Handyscan Lite here (opens your Zune desktop) at the Marketplace.
Here's an interesting, if somewhat odd bug found with Samsung Windows Phones: if you send a photo to any device with iOS 4.2, upon saving the photo, it renders it unreadable. So you can preview it when attached in an email (like above) but if you save it to the Photo Library, you get the gray JPG image and no pic. And indeed, we replicated the problem ourselves.
A simple work around is to use a 3rd party editor like Thumba 2 or Pictures Lab--those programs will alter the JPG header data in such a way as to render this (ba-zing) a non-issue. Of course, that's no excuse for Samsung (or Apple) to not take a look at this and address the issue for those iOS devices and Samsung phones.
So for all of us that were hoping that Microsoft and Bungie were secretly working on a Halo-port, we can probably stop now, or at least diminish it a bit. According to CVG, Bungie put out a job request for a senior mobile application programmer to startup their mobile gaming entry to the market:
Bungie is embarking on a new and challenging journey and if you have a serious passion for mobile application development we want you to be a part of it. Our mobile development team is focused on establishing real time connectivity for millions of users and terabytes of data. Join our team and define the interface of Bungie's next gaming universe to the world.
So it sounds like Bugie is just getting started on the whole "mobile gaming" thing, which is obviously the next-big thing in 2011. That's the good news. The bad news is, as previously noted, it doesn't sound like we'll be getting many titles from them for at least nine to twelve months. Of course, Microsoft has been aggressive in this area, so no reason that Microsoft Game Studios couldn't have something up their sleeves in conjunction with Bungie, but chances are looking a little more slim today. The only positive side is that at least the gaming hardware should be pretty redonk in a year, right?
Oh, and it's not too inspiring that they call it "Windows Mobile" in the advert nor that they mention iOS--twice. Sigh.