Yesterday we had AppFinder, today we have AppTracker. The latter allows you to look up software and their corresponding reviews, which by itself is not that amazing. What makes AppTracker unique is that you can "follow" specified apps for quick "look ups" on their performance with customers. That's a great tool for developers to keep abreast of how their app is fairing with their customers and makes a worthy download.
For consumers, it's a great tool to look up reviews worldwide of an app that they are interested in to better gauge if it is worth their time. Considering it's a free app, we like how it performs and think it's a great tool for those who want to know. Grab it here to take it for a spin.
Update: The developers of AppTracker, VerySoftware, let us know that "Version 1.0 is available FREE for a limited time whilst we work hard on boosting the app's feature set, so grab it fast." So you may want to grab it now, just in case!
Although Windows Phone 7 is "consumer focused" with only light enterprise support (for now, future updates look to address this weakness), Microsoft is still interested in courting those in the non-consumer environment. In addition to their general WP7 for Business Page, Microsoft has just posted several specific articles to help IT Professionals integrate Windows Phone 7 in a business environment. The guides, which can be downloaded in PDF form, include Internet Explorer, Exchange integration, and security management.
To revisit that old controversy, microSD cards and Windows Phone 7, it looks like manufacturer PNY has entered the arena, claiming that there new microSD cards are "Now compatible with Windows Phone 7 smartphones". Of course, we've seen this before, so lets just hope this time PNY have their act together, unlike Sandisk.
The cards come in 8 and 16GB class 4 flavors with no 32GB yet available. Better yet, you can reportedly pick them up right at your local Best Buy. So, who's going to give it a shot?
Edit: Talk about misleading. PNY may be claiming the movie service, not the "microSD card for cellphones" is compatible. with Windows Phone 7. Although user reports suggest that PNY do work well with WP7, it looks like this is still a grey area for now.
Whoa ho ho! Look at this little announcement just tweeted by Microsoft's Michael Klucher. Looks like tomorrow, the usual release day for Xbox LIVE titles, will be bringing two popular iPhone games to our side of town: Fruit Ninja and Pocket God.
For those who don't know or keep track of these things, both titles are up there with Angry Birds as far as popularity, meaning this is a huge win for our platform. And while Pocket God was known to be coming "soon" (see earlier coverage), Fruit Ninja (see their site) was something we forgot about (though it was mentioned in the original "50" list). Both titles are on Android too and doing very well, but it's good to see that we're catching up by acquiring these big names.
A few weeks ago we showed you Lyrics by musiXmatch, a sweet free app that pulled down lyrics to virtually any song you were listening to through Zune. While the app was free and it worked well it was missing something...the ability to scroll automagically through the lyrics, like a karaoke machine.
PicoLyrics ($1.29) does just that by syncing up a a community server where people (somehow) log the lyrics and time-cues to thousands of songs. In turn, PicoLyrics functions the same way as Lyrics--it integrates with Zune, uses 3G to pull down songs, etc. But it has a cleaner UI and the scrolling bit just makes it truly great. We feel $1.29 is a bit high for the app, with $0.99 being the sweet spot (or free and ad-supported) but we bought it anyways because it worked so well.
Version 1.1 just hit, bringing landscape support and bug fixes (no longer crashes when it can't find a song). While it may not find every single song out there, it did a pretty good job for our library and we're pleased with it. The app has a trial period of ten minutes, yes, you heard that right. Although after using it for ten minutes, you should know how you feel about it.
You can grab it here on your phone or Zune desktop.
The Harvest was one of the premier gaming titles to launch with Windows Phone 7 back a few months ago and while the game has received favorable reviews (see ours here), stability was a problem. In fact, the game was recently pulled due to so many issues but has just reappeared sporting a v1.1 update and fixes all around.
So if you had given up on the $6.99 game, despite its awesome graphics and RPG game play, you may want to give it another go as things seem to be much better.
Microsoft has finally gone on the record regarding sales of Windows Phone 7. Guess what?They weren't telling us before because they were embarrassed by the numbers (or rather, they should not be). In an official press release and interview with Achim Berg, vice president of business and marketing for Windows Phones, Berg goes on record about sales figures, expectations and other aspects of Windows Phone 7. The big part of the interview, though, is where Berg discusses those numbers:
News Center: Windows Phone 7 has been in market for almost two months now worldwide, how are sales going?
Berg:Sales are ramping well as our reputation is growing for offering users a unique experience and are in line with our expectations – especially when compared to other new platform introductions...
...Another is phone manufacturer sales – phones being bought and stocked by mobile operators and retailers on their way to customers. We are pleased that phone manufacturers sold over 1.5 million phones in the first six weeks, which helps build customer momentum and retail presence.
Of course, Microsofthas famously launched Windows Phone 7 "worldwide" on nine different devices, so making a direct comparison to the iPhone or Android not exactly accurate. Clearly, Apple had more momentum on launch even when severely hampered by supply shortages and a U.S. only launch. Still, 1.5 million is not too bad for a company many had written off in the mobile space and combined with their 18,000 developers (and growing), we think Microsoft is certainly in a good position in the end of 2010. Coming in 2011 we have "wave 2" of devices, Chassis 2 designs, numerous major updates and further roll-out of new product synergies (Xbox, Zune, Windows 8, etc.). Sounds good to us because Microsoft is ready to fight.
Speaking of updates, Berg said this, which we'll leave you with: "...We are on a path to begin releasing the first of several updates in the next couple of months".
Microsoft certainly has a lot on its plate these days, between launching Windows Phone 7, delivering updates, working with developers, rolling out tools and finally working on that Marketplace thing. It's a huge task and although it has been quite smooth, there will be bumps. Such is the case here with Microsoft attempting to combine WM6.x apps and game sales with WP7 for a "unified payout process"--a massive yet noble undertaking.
Evidently, there is a delay resulting in payments being pushed back from the end of December to the end of January to this group of hybrid WM6.x/WP7 developers. But in attempting to be the good guys here, Microsoft is offering developers $100 or 2% of their sales, whichever is larger, in attempt to ease things over. In a letter addressed to developers, Microsoft says:
...due to this migration to a unified payout process for apps developed for both Windows Phone 6.x and Windows Phone 7 we have experienced an unexpected delay that impacts developer payouts this month. As a result, developer payouts for Windows Phone 6.x apps and games sold in November will be processed in the last week of January, not in December as expected.
We regret that we cannot make the scheduled December payout and appreciate the importance of predictable revenue streams to businesses of every size. As a small token of our appreciation for your patience in this matter, we will also be depositing an additional $100 or 2% of the payout owed (whichever is higher) in addition to depositing payouts for your sales earned in late January. This additional deposit will be made to all developers which met the monthly payout threshold for November.
Good on Microsoft for being honest and trying to do something right in this situation. Once gain, they may not be perfect, but they do try to keep their developers happy.
Poynt is another location based search tool for your Windows Phone. Like Yelp! and Places, the Windows Phone 7 application uses your current location as a point of reference. You have the option to search by keyword or by category.
Categories include Businesses, People, Restuarants, Movies and Gas. Regardless of your method of searching, the results Poynt generates will be within an established search radius (can be set in the apps Settings Menu). As bonuses, Poynt has your current location's weather conditions on the main page and the main page's graphics reflects the time of day at your location.
To see how well Poynt performed and how it compared to other location based search apps, ease on past the break.
Need a quick and easy way to keep track of parcel packages from your Windows Phone? The Windows Phone 7 application Parcel Tracker is one way to do just that.
The hub layout is simple and straightforward. You have a page for listing all the parcels you are tracking, a pagd to add parcels, and a page to remove parcels. Easy peasy.
Parcel Tracker can track packages shipped from a dozen carriers including UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL. To enter a package, you choose your carrier, assign it an appropriate name (e.g. Christmas Gifts to Mom) and enter the tracking number. That package is now listed on the main page of the hub.
What's the biggest complaint about the current Marketplace? Okay, besides the occasional crashing issue, the next big complaint would be that when you search for something, anything, results come up for apps and music, with no ability to filter it down. In turn, it makes finding an app quite difficult.
Step in XDA developer ebadgerto rescue us (until Microsoft gets around to refining the store) with AppFinder. The app is simple enough and free: you launch it, type in what you are looking for and it dynamically shows you the results. It's even smart in that if you type in "reader" it doesn't have to be the first word, but will find all apps with the word "reader" in the title. Oh yeah, and it only searches apps.
You do need to know exactly what you want to find for it to work, but you can also browse around easy enough to discover new apps along the way. Plus we hear ebadger is going to be adding some features, so it can only get better from here. In short, we're throwing AppFinder on our "must have" app list as it's a huge help for our Marketplace woes. Grab it here on your phone or the Zune desktop.
Anyone who started off on the internet in the 1990's will remember the ubiquitous RealPlayer from RealNetworks--it was the only real video option besides the just-as-awful QuickTime. Then, YouTube came along and the world became a better place.
Today, RealNetworks announced their next plan: a cloud-based media network. Called Unifi, the service "...enables users to store personal media (music, videos and photos) and access it via any Web-connected device." Pretty revolutionary, if this was four years ago.
On top of the service, they plan to offer direct support for Windows Phone 7 in Q2, so like mid-year. We can't really say we're thrilled, but hey, maybe Unifi will be really awesome? Ahem, yeah.
Epic games, creators of popular Unreal series (head shot!) and even more popular Gears of War, has been busy porting their amazing Unreal Engine 3 to mobile devices like the iPhone and evidently Android (soon).
All of this begs asking the question what about Windows Phone 7? After all, Epic games has a pretty cozy relationship with Microsoft and the Xbox universe, not to mention PC gaming. Between that relationship and knowing the Unreal Engine works well on mobile, what's the holdup?
No surprise, but it's Microsoft, despite Epic games asking them to be allowed native access, or as Mark Rein of Epic Games has said "They've been nudged but so far nothing". That's sort of a bummer, but as noted by Examiner, it's still early and Microsoft is probably busy doing all of those other fixes. But lets hope that Microsoft and Epic team up sooner than later for some mobile gaming bliss.
The app is in some ways better than HTC's since it is not bound just by YouTube, but rather can play all sorts of videos found on the internet: MSN, MySpace, FunnyorDie, CNN, DailyMotion, etc all in HD (when over WiFi). The app also works over 3G for those on go. It does lack full YouTube integration, so managing your account of favorites and sharing seems like a no-go too, plus if someone sends you a link, it won't open RealTube (no file association). Still, despite the obvious limitations, video quality is quite high and the search works pretty well, even allowing filters.[Edit:Although I didn't know how to in the video, to get results from a specific web site, "...add the phrase site: to your search, for example: crazy cats site:funnyordie.com"]
While $1.99 is a bit pricey, the free trial at least lets you take it for a test drive (the trial is fully functional for a generous 15 days) and for you video hounds out there, this seems to be a solid solution, especially for a v1.0. Grab the app here on your phone or Zune desktop.