homebrew

Windows Phone Hacker has released Lock Widgets for the homebrew community, just in time with the recent release of Root Tools 0.9. Lock Widgets enables users, who have access to a rooted Windows Phone, to use small tiles on their lock screens to act as glance widgets. Information which can be displayed include Twitter feeds, RSS feeds and weather reports, to name but a few.

Feature highlights of Lock Widgets:

  • Weather widget
  • RSS widget
  • Twitter @user widget
  • Memory widget
  • Puts widgets on your lockscreen. Pretty simple.
  • Daily Bing wallpaper
  • Custom background

You can download Lock Widgets from Windows Phone Hacker's website, note that you'll need an unlocked and rooted handset to use this software. 

Source: Windows Phone Hacker

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Windows Phone hacker Heathcliff74 is announcing the immediate availability WP7 Root Tools 0.9 today. 'Root Tools is a suite of tools for Windows Phone that we've been following since inception and already features a full blown registry registry editor, file system browser, and certificate injection capabilities. But the new version comes jammed pack full of additional new and exciting features that will no doubt re-energize the homebrew community. I'm talking about features such as:

  • True and unfettered root access
  • Better performance
  • Increased device support
  • A new policy editor
  • A new software development kit

The more exciting news here, however, is the shiny new SDK (0.1) in tow, offering homebrew developers a set of APIs that tap into the same root-level features that the tool relies on. An application wishing to wield such power, however, must first seek permission from the user. That is, the users must explicity mark a particular app as "trusted". Grumble all you want, this gate is in place for obvious and serious security and privacy reasons. You don't want all those private photos on Twitter, right?

With no shortage of gullible install-everything phone users out there (see Android) policing root-required homebrew applications, Heathcliff74 admits, "will be tough." At this stage, we'll have to rely on the attentive homebrew development community to continue sniffing out crapware. In the future, however, a more centralized model complete with app certification may be in order.

All that serious stuff aside, Heathcliff74 was kind enough to let me play with the SDK prior to release and let me tell you: it's easy to use and full of awesome. Working with Delphi aficionado [ed -- *snicker*] David Golden (@GoldenTao), of MetroTwit fame, we decided to retry the implementation of my grandiose hackathon idea -- to create a complete backup the phone, including Marketplace apps. And succeed we did.

 

Screenshots of the upcoming Complete Backup app.

While the app isn't quite ready yet -- we still need to button up some networking code, resolve app guids to names, create a restoration app, etc. -- it will support the complete backup (and eventual restore) of Windows Phone application data to the PC via native sockets. And better yet, it'll be completely open-source and available on GitHub.

So at this point, you're probably thinking: "Where do I get this spoonful of delicious?" Simple. Head over to Heathcliff74's new home on the Internet, where he will blog about and host the WP7 Root Tools XAP. But be warned: The software drills deep into the phone. I can't recommend enough that you use Zune to backup your device prior to install. Oh, and you need to have a device that's "Interop Unlocked" (or flashed with a custom hacked ROM). Sorry.

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So far, custom ROMs for so-called Gen 2 devices like the HTC Titan and Radar are nonexistent. This has to do with changes to the bootloader which has proved to be a difficult beast to unlock and therefore, reflash a new ROM onto. As a result, devices like the HD7 and even the HD2 are getting some of the latest, cutting edge OS builds while Gen 2 devices are left waiting with official releases.

That may (we stress, may) all be changing as the Dark Forces Team (DFT) are reportedly working on getting those custom ROMs for the Titan and Radar, or so says Cotulla (@CotullaCode) who recently tweeted "DFT team is working under ability to flash custom ROMs for Omegenka and Titanchik"

Nothing else was revealed like an ETA or progress of such a project, but honestly what more can we ask other than those fine DFT folks at least try to work on this? DFT has made a lot of headway in making custom ROMs for Windows Phones in the past (and even for Samsung devices), so if any group can do this, it'll be them.

We'll keep you posted if and when any developments occur.

Source: @CoutllaCode; via Windows Phone Hacker

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Lock Screen Widgets, a concept by Windows Phone Hacker, has just been released as beta to the homebrew community. With this app, the user will be able to add app information in the form of small live tile widgets on the lock screen. Information displayed can range from weather reports to RSS feeds. We previously looked at the preview video of the concept last week, but now you're able to try it out for yourself.

To be able to use Lock Screen Widgets, you'll need a rooted Windows Phone. Remember that this is the beta version so issues are to be expected, and feedback is appreciated by the developer. Optimisation and further improvements are currently in development, so be sure to keep up-to-date with progress. Head on over to Windows Phone Hacker to download the beta.

Source: Windows Phone Hacker; Thanks, Jesus, for the tip!

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We previously took a look at Windows Phone Hacker's Lock Screen Widgets concept, where enough interest from the homebrew community would spark development to turn it into reality. It would appear as though enough interest was received as in the above video, we can see a working preview of said concept in an app form.

Work is still ongoing to apply UI enhancements and tidying up. Adding, re-arranging and removing widgets is fairly straightforward and selecting the Bing wallpaper is also possible. Suggestions are welcome for new widgets or on the app itself. We look set to see a beta version released next week (depending on continued progress), so stay tuned.

Source: WindowsPhoneHacker, YouTube

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I like experimenting and tinkering with software. A lot like how a circuit bender tries to get electronics to emit beautiful music, I attempt to coerce software into doing things it wasn’t designed to do. Often, like my recent Windows Phone Hackathon, I fail spectacularly. But rarely, I do make notable progress. Cue Audible.

Audible.com (Audible for short) is a service owned by Amazon that provides digital audio books. They put out software that works across a slew of devices such as the iPod, Kindle Fire, Blackberry, and even PC. Old hats may even recall that Audible supported Windows Mobile 5 devices such as the HP iPAQ Pocket PC. One platform void of support, however, is Windows Phone.

We – along with our readers – have been keeping the pressure on Audible for quite some time now, to no avail. Support technicians would say an app is in the works but has no ETA. Now they're saying this month. Who knows when this is really coming out? More importantly, what’s taking so long?

I sat down one day and decided to figure out why this was taking so long, or at least try. I started by downloading the old Windows Mobile 5 software. In the dusty CAB were a number of skins and resources, to support the fragmented Windows Mobile market, along with some key application files. Disassembling the Audible Player executable revealed they all relied on a single dynamic link library (DLL) to perform all the needed functions: AAXSDKWin.dll.

AAXSDKWin.dll is a library compiled for devices containing a StrongARM processor, like the iPAQ mentioned earlier. Without going too deep, it was compiled using an instruction set (ARM4i) that is still used in today’s ARM (e.g. Cortex) processors. At this point, you’re probably thinking “Hey… doesn’t Windows Phone sit on top of ARM too?” Yep, it sure does.

I took the library and started weeks of disassembly, study, and boozing, excruciatingly dissecting bit after bit until I had enough of their APIs worked out to use the damn thing in a proof of concept. I jiggered it into a Silverlight for Windows Phone application project and deployed it onto my Samsung Focus test phone. I was able successfully parse an Audible book and light up my UI with relevant metadata (e.g. title, author, etc.). I remember thinking “Holy crap, it worked.” (The app shot below is not a functional application.)

How Audible for Windows Phone could look like.

I continued my research efforts, with the goal of playing a book in mind, but stopped short for two reasons: One, Audible’s books are protected with a DRM scheme. This meant I needed to reverse engineer their account activation, authentication, and decryption logic – something I wasn’t keen on doing. Two, we reported that Audible was warming up for a late March release. I had no intention of busting hump to later be superseded by a better and official application. But with the success of the concept application, I couldn’t answer the original question – What’s taking Audible so long to put out an app?

I can only surmise as to why. We know getting legitimate native access on Windows Phone is easy and possible. I also know that all the APIs they need are there. So from a technical perspective, an Audible app is possible. But perhaps Amazon, in a move to increase Kindle interest, decided to not continue porting Audible to newer mobile devices. Or maybe there’s some behind-the-scenes political or logistical clashing we’re not privy to. Or more likely, Audible just didn’t have the Windows Phone marketplace numbers to justify paying a team to rework their ancient source code into something usable on Windows Phone.

Regardless, an Audible application official or otherwise is coming.

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Developed by dotcmpt over at XDA, the Deepshining Marketplace was an extension of the Deepshining custom ROMs for older HTC devices like the HD7. The Marketplace took advantage of the ability to install XAP files over Internet Explore, a trick developed by the Dark Forces Team. By hosting Homebrew XAP files on his own server, dotcompt was able to deliver XAP files via his Marketplace to folks using his custom ROMs.

Now he's released the XAP for his custom, homebrew Marketplace for others to use. This means of course that you could install it on any dev unlocked phone--but be warned, installing XAPs over IE won't work making this little more than a browsing tool (with some swanky wallpapers and site links). Having said that, others who have custom ROMs by other chefs could now install this thereby taking advantage of dotcompt's nice work.

In that sense, this news is clearly for the niche user out there but it's still a great move in the right direction. The DS Marketplace is smooth and elegantly made so it deserves a little more attention from those with custom ROMs out there.

Dotcompt also released a power tool call DS Supertool that gives quick links to certain settings and even a speed dialer. That will work on any dev-unlocked phone and is worth checking out if you like new homebrew apps to play with.

Find DS Marketplace here at XDA and DS Super tool here in these threads for more info. For another take on the Hombrew Marketplace scene, take a look at our Bazaar coverage.

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Windows Phone Hacker, the developer behind the Folders homebrew app, has come up with a new concept to add small tiles to the lock screen that can display app information, much like you'd expect on the home screen live tiles. Data could be pulled from apps such as weather, RSS readers, image sharing, etc. 

Another idea is to have the wallpaper dynamically change to fit the Bing background. The bad news is you'll require root access to be able to use this app, should it become reality of course. Be sure to head over to Windows Phone Hacker to spark interest in the concept.

Source: Windows Phone Hacker

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Never ones to back down from a challenge the Dark Forces Team (DFT) have created a neat little utility to allow one to transfer files between phones or devices using just Bluetooth. You can even send over XAP files for installation of Windows Phone apps giving users yet another option for file distribution.

The bad news is you'll need a fully-unlocked phone meaning dev and interop devices need not apply. That also limits this currently to Gen 1 devices (as you can see initialization fails on the Titan for obvious reasons).

Still, it's an impressive piece of work and hopefully it will lay the ground work for future hacks, assuming Microsoft doesn't give us the function first.

Source: XDA; via Facebook (Bazaar)

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We've mentioned Bazaar before--it's the first serious attempt at a homebrew Marketplace for Windows Phone, a place where developers can centralize and easily distribute their work for end users, allowing people to keep up on updates and learn about new apps. That's important as browsing our forums, XDA or just watching our front page, while helpful, can cause you to miss things.

Previously though, Bazaar was restricted to custom ROMs as an addon app for Windows Phone. While extremely useful and impressive, this limited its influence. Today though that all changes with the release of the Bazaar Desktop client.

If you have a developer or Chevron unlocked phone, you'll definitely want this. The app is quite impressive allowing you to browse, as far as we can tell, all the homebrew apps that are out there. You have concise app descriptions including if it will work on your device (lots are restricted to Gen 1 devices, for instance) and screenshots to see what the app looks like.

Perhaps more importantly though is the ability to download and install directly to your phone, making the whole process extremely easy. The app simply piggybacks off of Zune Desktop and if you have your device paired with that app, it will "see" this one. That latter part is very useful as it even shows you already installed homebrew/sideloaded apps, making management a breeze (most of us are still limited to just 10 homebrew/sideloaded apps). 

Other worthy mentions include Featured, Browse, and Favorites making it a snap to find an app (although even we admit that the homebrew scene is a bit anemic).

Bazaar for Windows Desktop is free, well designed and just works. For that we're giving it a big recommendation and a thumbs up to the hard work of the dev team who are certainly worthy of a donation. Get more information and screenshots at their distribution page: http://118.139.161.234/bazaar/BazaarForPC.aspx

Source: Bazaar for PC; via Plaffo

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Well known Windows Phone hacker Heathcliff74 announced an upcoming revision to his homebrew suite of tools on Twitter today. He noted WP7 Root Tools 0.9 will bring additional device support and allow homebrew developers to mark their applications as "trusted", opening up unfettered access to the file system and Windows APIs.

He also noted that he'll release a mini SDK, allowing developers to use both Windows APIs and use model-specific functionality without infringing on the copyright of any major carriers, OEMs, or Microsoft [ed: like Julien Schapman's TouchXperience].

Keep your ear to the ground, we'll let you know the moment it's ready!

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Game emulators are always popular and so long as they don't offer the ROMs on board, they seem to be okay in the Windows Phone Marketplace. So it's with great excitement that we're anticipating the first SEGA Gamegear-Master emulator to land within a few days for your purchase.

The emulator, seen above in below in some screenshots, will cost $1.29 and there will be a trial for you to take for a spin. Named Sonic's Jewels, the emulator seems to be a spin off of the popular homebrew app Wario's Jewels 7 (WJ7) and features URL importation for games as well as Skydrive integration. In addition, game saves and even GameGenie codes are supported meaning this should be a fairly solid emulator, assuming the frame-rate and controls are good.

We'll see about getting an early hands on. In the meantime, start looking for some games you may want to play as over 500 are supported.

Source: Facebook

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A good developer will add this option to their app: disable accelerometer. We've seen it in some Twitter apps and even our own WPCentral app has a "lock portrait view" option. Still, there are times when you want to do this globally because perhaps you can't sleep and want to use your phone while lying on your side in bed--hey, it's your world!

In that case, Windows Phone Hacker has provided a neat homebrew tool that disables the accelerometer on a global but temporary basis--great for those odd moments when you just don't want the phone rotating your apps.

That's the good news. The bad news is this is only for interop-unlocked Samsung and LG devices, meaning if you're on HTC or Nokia, you're left in the cold. Plus, you'll have to reboot your phone in order to gain back the accelerometer functionality, suggesting this isn't as elegant as we'd like it (but that's not the fault of WPH, who did what they could).

For those of you interested, you can grab the app here at Windows Phone Hacker to side load. Remember, only Gen 1 Samsung and LG devices can use this app. Finally, check our all the other homebrew Windows Phone apps here: wpcentral.com/tags/homebrew Thanks, Carlos, for the tip!

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This is a really handy tool for those who enjoy loading XAPs onto developer-unlocked Windows Phones (including ChevronWP7 Labs), which is currently in active development by XDA Developers Forum member andreacorti. The tool will help the user keep track of what apps have been installed on the handset (both from the Marketplace and via developer loading), allow the user to install (and update), as well as launching/killing or uninstalling loaded apps. 

Quick run through of some features:

  • Install new application on device
  • Update existing application on device
  • Show the list of installed applications (only developer installed)
  • Launch, Kill and uninstall applications
  • Explore isolated storage of applications
  • Download files and folders from isolated storage
  • Download SMS from device (in combination with the smsBackup XAP)

As a bonus, the tool enables access to view and download files/folders from isolated storage, as well as backing up SMS conversations from the handset. So, what's coming in the next version?

  • Add resources from DLLs (application names)
  • New function: re-upload to isolated storage of a cache file
  • Load documents
  • Load PDFs
  • Load provisioning XML

Head on over to Codeplex to download the tool, which is currently in Alpha (version 0.1), and be sure to provide feedback in the XDA Developer Forum thread on future features, etc.

Source: Codeplex, via: XDA Developers Forum; thanks Andrea for the tip!

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We've covered "Folders" before, the app from Windows Phone hacker which allows you to add folders to the Start screen. The first release involved using an editor on your desktop to make the folders and was a bit tedious.

Now, a new branch of development has occurred and it has become infinitely more useful in our opinion. Starting today, you can load a XAP file (and an optional secondary one) and just create folders on-the-go without the need for a desktop. The task is simple: create and name a folder, add apps by using a Marketplace-lookup or System apps (e.g. Zune) then pin to the Start screen.

The trick does not require interop access meaning anyone with a developer unlocked device can do this and due to its simplicity, we have to give a big thumbs up to this homebrew tool. Read more at Windows Phone Hacker where you can download the XAP files right now.

Thanks, Maximilian, for the tip!

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XDA forum member Thunder_ has created an app called Office File Uploader that allows you to move MS Office files directly from your PC to your phone's Office Hub.  Using it is easy. Simply extract the ZIP file from the source link below, connect your phone to your PC and double-click the bookloader.exe file.  Once connected, go to the Office tab and choose what file you want to add to your device by clicking on the upload arrow icon at the bottom.  Make sure your phone is not screen-locked.

Thunder_ discovered that Office File Uploader will also port PDFs over to the Office Hub, which displays them with the red PDF icon that launches Adobe Reader.  However, because the Adobe Reader app does not have access to the My Documents folder on the phone it fails to open them.

Source: XDA; Via: Plaffo

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We covered Supreme Shortcuts before, the homebrew app over at XDA by MJCS that allows you to add shortcuts to virtually anything on your Windows Phone. Unlike similar apps in the Marketplace, Supreme Shortcuts go waaay beyond what those offer by giving access to deeper level settings. How many shortcuts can you create? As of version 2.0 you can pin 71 settings/menus/apps. That's why it's supreme and now version 2.0 is out and looks even better:

  • Major UI overhaul
  • Ability to select: Accent Color (both stock and custom), Library of stock Icons, Library of your own Icons, Library of stock Backgrounds, Library of customized Backgrounds

Sure, you probably won't even use a 1/4 of these but being able to have a shortcut to Internet Sharing for us is enough to sideload this free app (though donations are encouraged). If Supreme Shortcuts sounds like something you want, head to the source link below for more info, including a list of all the shortcuts.

Source: XDA Forums

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This is  an interesting albeit very limited hack for 1st generation Samsung phones using WP7 Root Tools. The trick allows you to use basically any size alert on your phone as opposed to the 39 second/1MB limit and you can use different formats, including .aac , .amr , .m4a , .ac3 , .aiff , .flac , .mka , .mp2 and .ogg format (with only .m4a working for SMS).

Now in order to do this, your Samsung phone needs to have interop-access -- not just unlocked -- in order to run the WP7 Root Tools. In theory, if you could get access to the registry and copy/paste files to the /windows folder, you could do this on any Windows Phone, but these tools are a bit limited now.

Finally, if you set your alerts too long, there's no way to dismiss them. It's a complicated hack and seemingly a lot of work just to have a wicked cool and long alert, but hey, it's your phone. While we want to change our email and SMS alerts like everyone else, we'll wait till Microsoft hopefully offers some more customization in further updates.

Get the instructions from XDA Developers.

via WPXBox

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We previously covered the homebrew Folders for Windows Phone app, which allows users to create live tile folders to store multiple tiles within. It's become fairly popular in the homebrew community and Windows Phone Hacker have updated the app to version 3. What's included in the update:

  • Support for custom accents (have to enter the colour code manually)
  • Optimization and bug fixes
  • Easier to pin applications
  • Able to use applications from other markets (e.g France)
  • Able to save the XAP to deploy manually (makes things easier)

You can download Folders for Windows Phone from Windows Phone Hacker. Remember that you require an unlocked handset and need to be running Mango.

Source: Windows Phone Hacker

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For those looking to literally explore more of your developer-unlocked Windows Phone (including CheveronWP7 Labs), you'll want to grab v1.8 of the Windows Phone Device Manger by Schaps. The app is a one-stop place for doing all sorts of cool things on your phone via your Windows Desktop--it's basically the old Device Manager from Windows Mobile but augmented with many news functions. Here are just a few:

  • Applications management: view, install/uninstall & update applications
  • File management: explore device, exchange files with your phone
  • Sync files, folders and favorites with phone
  • Send to Windows Phone (to send files, apps, ringtones, web links in one click)
  • Detailed device information (CPU, ROM, RAM, storage, network, battery, OS,...)
  • Detailed storage information
  • Add and manage custom ringtones
  • Send SMS, E-mail, notes directly from PC (without needing cloud services)
  • Remote screen view and take screenshots of the phone
  • Backup/restore files and application data
  • Create and manage backup/restore of the phone
  • Full access to apps isolated storage....

And there's much more. Anyways, the latest version is now available to the public and seems to be working on most 2nd generation phones, including the HTC TItan and Samsung Focus S. The app is technically free but a donation (if you use it) is highly recommended for continued development of this project.

Source: TouchXperience; WPDM v1.8; via WPCentral Forum (dragonide)

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