cars

Race Illegal: High Speed 3D is one of the more recent racing games available for Windows Phone 8. The game offers nice 3D graphics, several gaming modes and hopes to fill your need for speed.

Along with the multiple gaming modes, Race Illegal: High Speed 3D offers twenty racetracks to conquer and nine cars to choose from and customize. The game has had its fair share of success over on iOS and Android platforms and in taking Race Illegal: High Speed 3D out for a test drive, the game comes across as having similar potential on the Windows Phone 8 platform.

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One particularly interesting talk out of Build showcased Microsoft’s plan to bring Windows Phone into the car with a new embedded software concept. The idea here will be to project the data from the phone onto the dash display in a usable, safe format, but as you can see, a lot of the Windows visual style is retained. This is great, considering most embedded car system interfaces (Microsoft’s included) are pretty ugly.

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Have a car? Ever wanted a remote start system for it? If so, we may have just found the missing link to get you to buy one as the official Viper SmartStart app for Windows Phone 7.x and 8 has become available in the Store.

The Viper SmartStart is a two part system that relies on hardware (the remote start equipment in your car) and the software (an app on your smartphone), creating a powerful combination to make your car “smart” for 2013 (or make it possessed like Christine, whichever). The hardware isn’t cheap, starting at $399 for the basic system plus installation, with optional addon modules like GPS, Bluetooth and security to further enhancement.

In short, with the basic system you can push a virtual button on your smartphone to start your car, lock the doors or pop the trunk. For some of us up north, this is a nice feature for the winter. Down south, it's a great way to cool down your car before you get in. Throw in the alarm system and you can enable/disable that, use the panic button and more. Have more money to spend? Toss on the GPS system to enable social-media checkins (seriously), lockdown alert (tells you if your car moved), vehicle location, speed and more.

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Drag Racing is a new game for your Windows Phone 8 device that has over fifty officially licensed cars that you can race down the strip. Everything from compact sports cars to muscle cars to sedans.

Drag Racing has plenty of upgrades to enhance your cars performance that can be purchased with your race winnings. You can race against the computer or choose an online opponent to challenge.  We've only messed with Drag Racing for about an hour and it comes across as a fun game for short bits of time as well as longer, marathon gaming sessions.

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Auto Trader (www.autotrader.co.uk), the popular website for those who are seeking a new or used vehicle to purchase, has just released an official app for the Windows Phone Store. We started playing with the app for a few minutes and already we're hooked. The interface is absolutely gorgeous, definitely one of the more well-design apps available on the platform. It's not all about looks though, and Auto Trader doesn't fall short when it comes to functionality.

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Windows Phone Game Review: Drive To Home

Drive To Home is an odd sort of game for your Windows Phone. Odd in that the object of the game is to... well... drive your car home. Which sounds like a simple task except for when you throw a hand full of twists and turns along the drive.

Graphics are nice, game play a bit on the challenging side, and for the most part Drive To Home is a decent game for your Windows Phone.

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Volt Link is a Windows Phone app that might appeal to the OnStar subscribers in the audience. While not officially affiliated with OnStar, Volt Link supports reporting of vehicle status, remote vehicle starting, and unlocking doors.

Volt Link also enables Bing search results to be sent directly to your car. For those driving Chevy Volts, Volt Link has the ability to find EV charging stations and sending their addresses to supported vehicles.

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Fulfilling our tradition of badly punned headlines, this week’s Xbox LIVE title is Asphalt 5 from Gameloft. And it's ready for your challenge. The weird part? This game was one of the "original 50" Xbox LIVE titles for Windows Phone, meaning it's like just 2 years late.(Seriously, it was announced in August 2010).

Racing games can be fun and Asphalt 5 should make many folks pleased with some punchy high resolution graphics of dreamy sports cars. Well, at least that’s how Gameloft is selling the game. In fact, it features over 30 cars including such beauts as the Audi R8, Ruf Rt 12, Ford Shelby GT500, Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce, Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano.

The game clocks in at 109MB, so you’ll need Wi-Fi to install and it’s priced at a moderate $2.99. While that won’t please you “It must be $0.99!” folks we’re okay with the $3 price range for games—especially ones which have high replay value....

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Microsoft's Connected Car team may be looking to bring many aspects of the Project Detroit car to consumers. Project Detroit was a suped-up Ford Mustang packed with the technological horse-power of Windows Phone and Kinect. It's audio, security and lighting systems could all be controlled through a Windows Phone.

According to the job posting, Microsoft is looking for someone to help integrate not only Windows Phone and Kinect with automotive technology, but also Windows 8, Bing, Azure and TellMe. The result would be a fully-interactive vehicular experience:

"The new Connected Car will know its riders, and will interact with them naturally via speech, gestures, and face tracking. It will learn their habits, and offer personalized contextual information and driving assists to get them to their destination as quickly and safely as possible. Through a growing catalogue of applications, it will inform and entertain them, and keep them connected with the people and information they care about."

While Microsoft already offers its Windows Embedded technology in such products as Ford's Sync and Kia's UVO, along with many others, this goes above and beyond.

"The combination of rich local sensing, user identification, cloud access, and data mining will transform tomorrow’s cars from passive objects into intelligent assistants for both the driver and their passengers."

It looks as though the posting may have disappeared from the website, but you can read it in its entirety below.

"We, the Microsoft Connected Car team, have a strong track record and an extensive customer base in the automotive industry. In the past fourteen years, we delivered various iterations of our Windows Embedded Automotive platform to the automotive suppliers of major auto brands such as Honda, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin, and McLaren. We also partnered directly with select automakers to create integrated Telematics products such as Fiat Blue&Me, Ford SYNC, and Kia UVO. Featuring cutting-edge communications, travel information, entertainment, and accessory control via voice and touch interfaces, these products have been highly successful, increasing the automakers’ US sales of by up to 35% and telematics adoption up to 70%.

Yet our ambitions do not end there. For the next generation of the Connected Car Platform, we plan to leverage the full power of the Microsoft ecosystem including Kinect, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Windows Live, Bing, Azure, and Tellme. The combination of rich local sensing, user identification, cloud access, and data mining will transform tomorrow’s cars from passive objects into intelligent assistants for both the driver and their passengers. The new Connected Car will know its riders, and will interact with them naturally via speech, gestures, and face tracking. It will learn their habits, and offer personalized contextual information and driving assists to get them to their destination as quickly and safely as possible. Through a growing catalogue of applications, it will inform and entertain them, and keep them connected with the people and information they care about. The possibilities are endless."

Source: Microsoft; Via: IStartedSomething

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E3 2012 - The dazzling cars of Forza Horizon

One of the Xbox 360 games revealed during Microsoft’s press conference yesterday is Forza Horizon, the latest entry in the popular Forza Motorsport racing game series. After releasing four simulation-oriented installments from Turn 10 Studios, Playground Games is in charge of this more accessible spin-off. We don’t know much about the gameplay other than it will be open-road based instead of focusing on closed tracks like previous games. The change in direction could be just what the Forza series needs – until the fifth numbered game comes along for the next Xbox console (as some of us predict).

To celebrate Forza Horizon’s announcement, Microsoft is showing off two very beautiful sports cars here at E3. Head past the break for more lovely photographs.

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Microsoft has kicked off "Project Detroit", a concept car using various connected technologies including Windows Phone to give developers ideas for next generation automobiles.

Currently, Microsoft has embraced the SYNC/OVO system which curiously has little Windows Phone support at all. However, they are looking to change that with Project Detroit which extends Microsoft's vision for an all-connected future. The project is built off of Ford SYNC but it incorporates just about everything Microsoft has control over including Kinect for Xbox 360, Xbox 360, Windows 8, Windows Phone, Windows Azure, and Bing.

The demo car should also raise some eyebrows for fellow car enthusiasts:

"To create Project Detroit, a 2012 Ford Mustang with a 1967 fastback body, Microsoft teamed up with Ryan Friedlinghaus, an award-winning automotive designer based in Corona, Calif., and star of the Discovery Channel's Velocity network reality TV series "Inside West Coast Customs."

Just as exciting is the Windows Phone app that was created to control everything in the car,

"Using a Windows Phone, remotely watch and listen to the live video stream and audio from the Kinects embedded in Project Detroit. From this same application, your Windows Phone becomes like a microphone for the car’s external audio PA system."

More impressive is the ability to control other added functionality to the car including the accent lighting, the horn sound “ringtone”, activating the “projector screen” and sending a message to the rear windshield all using the Windows Phone app.

While such a car-system is merely for demonstration purposes, it really sets the imagination on fire thinking of all the different things one could do with a car (and some money). We don't imagine Ford or other car companies will be throwing all of these technologies in the car in the near future, but safe to say system like Microsoft Kinect as they become miniaturized will be inserted into more and more everyday applications. Likewise, with Windows 8 running on ARM processors, the ability to transplant these various systems should be easier as time goes on.

To see "Project Detroit" in action, tune into Inside West Coast Customs Sunday, March 25 at 6 p.m. PDT (9 p.m. EDT).  We'll try to bring you the video when it goes up.

Source: Microsoft; Thanks, Amir, for the tip!

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MSN Autos app is ready for a test drive

Into cars? Neither are we. But that shouldn't stop those of you who are from taking a look at MSN Autos which just went live in the Marketplace. The app is basically a shopping guide for new or used cars and features the worlds longest app description, even though we just told you what it does. Here's a snippet, from page 128 of said app description:

MSN Autos for Windows Phone is your resource for new & used car news and research, whenever and wherever you need it. Check out photos, car specs, reviews and videos; tag cars as Favorites and catch up on the latest news and tips. The MSN Autos app is your resource for onsite research and comparison, so you’ll be more confident when stepping onto car lots.

Whether you are seriously shopping or simply browsing for a new or used vehicle, the MSN Autos app lets you easily find cars by:

  • Make & model.
  • Criteria, including price, new/used, fuel economy, body style, convenience, and safety (even down to rain-sensing wipers).
  • Category, such as economical commuter cars, affordable performance, fuel-efficient SUVs, etc.

The app is just like every other MSN app out there--black, minimalist and for some seriously stupid reason, populated with ads. We say that out of love (MSN Movies is a nice app) but the ads really ruin what should be a free experience on Windows Phone. But putting our late morning gripes aside, MSN Autos is quite a useful app if you're in the mood for car shopping. If that's you, you'll want to head here to the Marketplace. Thanks, Ryan S., for the tip!

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Pod Rods - App Spotlight

Jacksonville.com, the website of The Florida Times-Union has an interesting app for car lovers, Pod Rods. The app offers the latest automotive news, information on First Coast car events, plus photos, videos and podcasts from the automotive industry.

The Times-Union isn't new to the Windows Phone arena, having launched four apps for the Windows Mobile platform; the Jacksonville.com App, Ultimate Jaguars, the University of Florida Gators, and High School Sports.

The app also offers traffic and road construction updates to keep you informed as you travel from car show to car show. In touching base with the developers they felt that Pod Rods would be a good way to gauge interest for the Windows Phone 7 format and promote local car events.

Pod Rods is a free application and you can find it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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