space

Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope computing software was released in February of 2008 by the company’s Research division to display astronomical sky maps. Imagery from the software is provided by the Hubble Space Telescope along with a collection of earth-bound telescopes. The idea for the software, which was originally presented at a TED Conference, is now returning to its roots as a recent conference shows the power of WorldWide Telescope coupled with the Oculus Rift.

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Cold Space blasts into Windows Phone 8

We’ve been seeing more games from other platforms making their way into Windows Phone 8. Here’s another one. Cold Space is a 3D space shoot-em-up with excellent visuals and sound effects. You control a ship with a mission to destroy the alien-armada in the infinite space before it reaches the earth.

Your ship automatically fires weapons, so all you need to do is maneuver the ship by dragging it on the screen. Head past the break to watch our gameplay video on the Nokia Lumia 1520.

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Space Weather. Name rings a bell, right? It should as the Windows Phone app has been with us since 2011, back when Windows Phone 7 was all the rage. The developer, Timothy Stewart has got in touch with us to reveal an update that has just been released. Version 3.0 of Space Weather is huge. Not only are we talking about a complete app rewrite, but there are some new additions worth mentioning.

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While Windows Phone 8 10327 and higher (aka GDR2) does a great job of fixing the Other storage memory leak, there are still some quirks that are irritating a few users. The main complaint appears to be how Windows Phone handles auto-uploaded images to SkyDrive, or even if you manually mass upload photos and video.

In essence, when you upload photos to SkyDrive, they end up either in the 'Camera Roll' and 'Mobile Uploads' folders. You can then of course delete them from your device but believe it or not, Windows Phone holds onto them in Temporary storage for two weeks i.e. a SkyDrive cache.

That’s why some people have higher than normal Temporary storage numbers that cannot be cleared using apps like Nokia Storage Check. If you leave auto-upload for photos off, it will be quite low, usually less than 50MB in size (ours is at 33MB). If however you had a few hundred photos that were just processed, it could much higher.

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No Gravity is a fast paced Windows Phone 8 game that takes you to the depths of outer space. You are tasked with defending the empire from a mysterious plague by seeking out and destroying the enemy responsible.

No Gravity has thirty-one missions to conquer, each progressively more challenging. Graphics and animations are really nice and game play will keep you on your toes. If you're looking for an entertaining, fantastic looking space fighter game, No Gravity is well worth a try.

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If you're a fan of space exploration and NASA, check out the NASA Image of the Day lockscreen wallpaper app for Windows Phone 8.

NASA Image of the Day will rotate your Windows Phone 8 lockscreen wallpaper daily with a different photo from the NASA library. Everything from launch day photos to photos of the cosmos. Toast notifications are in place to alert you when the image changes.

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Mars Attacks!

With NASA’s successful landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars late Sunday night (it was streamed live on the Xbox 360) we figured we would mention a couple Mars tie-ins for your Windows Phone and even your Xbox in case you wanted to get in on all the action.

While there aren’t an overwhelming amount of Mars-specific apps for Windows Phone there are a couple that stand out to get you in the mood...

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A few weeks ago we mentioned the results of a recent Windows Phone hackathon, where devs get together, dream up and code apps and games within a fixed time period.

One of the noteworthy games that came out of that workshop was SpaceShooterz by Cubeslam. A retro arcade space shooter, the game needed some music and some finishing touches before it headed to the Marketplace. Luckily for you, it's now live and it's a fun little number.

The game is free with no ads (for now), has excellent controls, smooth gameply with a high framerate and the music is just badass sounding. It's certainly falls into the quick-gaming category as you only have one life and no continues, but it's a lot of fun and done very well. For that, we have to recommend it.

Pick up SpaceShooterz here in the Marketplace for free. In addition, the French-only home automation app that was also coded during the same hackathon is now available too. You can grab that app, called ZibaseWP, right here.

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Windows Phone Game Review: Chicken Invaders 3

Chicken Invaders 3 is an arcade game for your Windows Phone that is designed in the tradition of classic arcade games such as Space Invaders and Galaga. The key difference being that instead of battling alien space ships, you face hostile space chickens.

Graphically, the game is very appealing and the game play is somewhat challenging. You dodge a barrage of eggs, asteroids and treasure chests as you work you way to battle the various bosses of the game. Ship navigation can be a little tricky but overall, Chicken Invaders 3 is worth giving that trial version a go.

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There has been a lot of talk today about Angry Birds Space and whether or not it will find it's way to the Windows Phone platform (see our earlier post). First we had reports from Bloomberg that Rovio were not bringing the new fowl-flinging iteration of the game to Microsoft's platform, information received from Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio's chief marketing officer. Analyst Richard Windsor speculated this meant that Rovio may not have confidence in Windows Phone looking into the future, more on that shortly.

However, the story has since been contradicted by Rovio's CEO, Mikael Hed as quoted on Reuters:

"We are working towards getting Angry Birds Space to WP7"

Whilst Mr. Hed's statement is somewhat lacking in detail one would be inclined to believe that the CEO's position on the company's intentions would be the more reliable source. No release date or expected time of arrival has been communicated.

Here at WPCentral we've been discussing this story in some detail, particularly around suggestions from the Bloomberg article that the lack of Angry Birds on Windows Phone would make it difficult for Nokia to "attract gaming-oriented users and persuade developers that [Windows Phone] is growing".

It's an interesting point, can one app make or break Windows Phone alone? The answer of course is no, but it is a very important game which will be seen as important to the average phone owner. Whether you're a fan of Angry Birds or not, the game is huge, successful and a marked influence in the rise of Smartphone popularity. Just look at what Rovio can afford to do for publicity:

Angry Birds Space is the first major innovation the game has seen since the original version found it's way on to mobile screens everywhere. The game is superb, new gravity mechanics genuinely do create a completely different experience to the game, this time it's not just some new textures or types of bird, it's an almost entirely new way to play.

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Storage is an important aspect of your Windows Phone. Whether you're just downloading a few apps and games, taking pictures & video, or (like me) loading a whole load of music onto your device ready for your commutes into work, you need to have the gigabytes to hold that information on your phone.  However, how much storage memory is needed can vary from individual to individual.

So when you're making the decision on which phone to spend your hard earned money on, and particularly when you are committing to a long term contract, you should be considering the advertised storage on the device. Remember that storage on a Windows Phone cannot be supplemented with a micro SD card.

It's fairly common knowledge that the advertised '16GB' or '8GB' of storage is not the amount you actually end up with, the amount varies based on the filesystem, type of storage, and system files. But what you may not realise is just how much of a difference there is between some of the new 2nd generation phones out there on the market right now.

Luckily, here at WPCentral we've got you covered, and have put together the list below which shows the reported "Total Storage" for each of our review devices.  "Total Storage" is essentially the storage space your Windows Phone can see or be used for file storage.

 

HTC Titan 16GB 12.89GB HTC Radar 8GB 6.54GB Samsung Focus S 16GB 14.07GB Samsung Focus Flash 8GB 6.67GB Nokia Lumia 800 16GB 13.8GB

As you can see, certainly with devices claiming '16GB' of storage there's quite a divide, and if every single bit counts to you, it would definitely be worth considering these figures when you're picking up a new Windows Phone.

Is your device showing a different figure?  Check the 'about' screen in your phone's settings and then sound off in the comments!

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NASA Ringtones have landed in the Marketplace

Help Software has released a collection of free sound files from various historical space missions and they have been conveniently converted to ringtones for your Windows Phone. NASA Ringtones is a collection of 24 ringtones from various Shuttle missions, Apollo and Mercury Space missions, Beeps and Bytes, and sound bits from current missions that including the Cassini Saturn mission and the Atlas V launch.

Each set of ringtones has an mission appropriate wallpaper backdrop (i.e. the moon for Apollo and Mercury) that gives the app an impressive appearance (shame the pics can't be used as device wallpapers). Each ringtone can be previewed and saved to your Windows Phone.

Ringtones range from the Apollo 11 "The Eagle has landed" quote to the Sputnik beep. Growing up watching Neil Armstong land on the moon, these ringtones definitely bring back memories. If your a fan of NASA and space exploration, this is a must have collection for your Windows Phone. According to the developer this is just the start and look for more space sounds to be added with future updates.

There is a free trial available for NASA Ringtones and the full version runs $.99. You can download NASA Ringtones here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. It is a mango app so you'll need to make sure your Windows Phone is updated before hand.

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Hyper Defence XT - Review

We first mentioned Hyper Defence XT when it first hit the beta stages. The Windows Phone game has now hit the open Marketplace and our first impressions hold true.

Not much has changed with Hyper Defence XT since we last visited the pre-release version.  The tower defense game is set in the fictional Outpost 26 where you have to defend the outpost from invading aliens. There are a wide assortment of weapons to buy and upgrade to wipe out the invading hords.

Continued after the break.

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Not gonna lie, we have no need for Space Weather by TechnoTim. But some of us here are science geeks and we're in awe of how cool it is---come on, it's called Space Weather! So what is it, you ask?

"Space weather is the concept of changing environmental conditions in near-Earth space or the space from the Sun's atmosphere to the Earth's atmosphere. Space weather affects our planet, our technology, and all living things in many different ways. Solar flares, geomagnetic storms, and solar radiation are a few ways space weather can wreak havoc on the earth. It can also create beautiful auroras can that be seen near the poles and sometimes much further."

In other words, it's great for folks into astronomy, atmospheric science or anyone who's just interested in cool "stuff". It's also pretty nice looking and has a lot of features, many of which we have no idea what they mean but darn it, we want to know, which is a step in the right direction, no? The app fetches for $1.99 (here in the Marketplace) and our one complaint: no trial. We'll keep an eye on this one though as it has certainly piqued our curiosity.

Update: The developer let us know he'll be adding a "Trial" in a later version. We'll keep you posted.

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Hypership Out of Control Lite - Review

Fun Infused Games has released a fast paced, space shooter, arcade game for the Windows Phone that definitely lives up to its title. Hypership Out of Control Lite has you in control of a space ship that is, well, out of control. No brakes and the accelerator is stuck. Luckily your weapons system is stuck in the "on" position.

Your goal is to navigate your out of control ship through through various obstacles, collecting coins, bonus items and destroying various items as you fly towards the finish line. Once you cross the finish line, you move to the next wave that will progressively get harder.

Continued after the break.

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The University of Southampton sure has some ideas of how to have fun with their HTC 7 Trophy...namely sending it to the upper atmosphere (18,237 meters/59,832 feet). The project is part of the University's ASTRA (Atmospheric Science Through Robotic Aircraft) program and is meant to investigate "...new technologies for making low cost observations of the physical parameters of the atmosphere."

In this case, they teamed up with Microsoft to use the Trophy, write software for the phone meant to track the balloon and predict where it was going to land. From the Guardian article:

In Flight Mode, the app installed on the handset was able to record and transmit GPS and location data part of the way up and down – while within range of mobile networks – while in Hunter Mode on the team's own handsets, it plotted the latest data and predicted a landing site on a Bing map.

So why a Windows Phone? Partly because no one wanted to program in objective C (what the iPhone uses) and also because mobile phones today, with their small size yet onboard GPS, 1GHz processor and excellent build quality just make great mini-computers. All you need to do is write the app, have the software/hardware back-end (Microsoft Azure, in this case) and a signal. Like others, they hope Microsoft extends the Bluetooth profiles so they can have the phone "talk to" some of their other equipment and that compass API might be useful too. Friday's flight was just a test run and the whole system reportedly did very well. Either way, it sounds like a cool project and it would probably make a good ad for HTC.

Source: ASTRA Launch Diary; via Guardian.co.uk

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