update

Good news for you Xbox 360 users out there (we hope that's most of you), the Companion app has received a nice little update to v1.1 this morning in the Marketplace.

Unfortunately, no word on what the changes are as there seems to be no obvious new features on board. But perhaps coincidentally, our Xbox 360 just received a system update to its OS and maybe the two are related. Or not.

(Edit: Today's Xbox 360 update is "... to quickly fix some voice recognition issues affecting our non-English speaking members" according to Microsoft's Major Nelson.)

Go download the app in the Marketplace here and in the meantime, we'll work on nailing down a changelog for ya. Thanks, Kyle S., for the heads up

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The official Facebook app has been updated to version 2.4, following reports that events were no longer accessible with the main menu entry being removed in 2.3. To be able read up on upcoming events requires the user to hit the "..." menu and filter out the news feed. Just a heads up for those who miss this feature being easily accessible.

Head on over to the Marketplace to download Facebook.

Thanks to those who sent tips in!

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The team behind the Facebook for Windows Phone app has announced an imminent update that will address an issue, which was introduced in the recent 2.3 update. A number of our readers noticed that you could no longer access the Events from the main menu (this now requires hitting the "..." menu and filtering our the news feed).

Good news for those who utilise this feature often and miss the easy menu entry. We'll update you all when the fix has been approved and rolled out on the Marketplace.

Source: Facebook, via: Plaffo, thanks Antonino for the heads up!

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Tango has been in the spotlight for some time - the upcoming version of Windows Phone for emerging markets. We've already heard that Tango will lower the minimum RAM requirements to just 256MB, as well as a few tips detailing a few feature implementations. Now wp7forum.ru has leaked some screenshots of a Tango Windows Phone, and as well as some improvements being displayed, we can also see some drawbacks (see above shots).

wp7forum.ru reports that camera hardware will be dropped to just 3MP, while the lower RAM requirements may see users being greeted with potential Marketplace warnings due to not enough system resources being available. This could lead to some degree of fragmentation and will prevent users on low-end hardware being able to run certain apps, with the possibility of 3rd party Live Tiles not updating automatically. 

On the bright side, there were a few new features present. In the above shots we can see more functionality added to messaging, including the ability to record voice, attach videos as well as multiple photos to a single MMS. Microsoft will also be increasing the allowance for OEM/carrier installed applications from 16 to 40.

As we previously covered, Tango is set to be an update targeted at emerging markets. This could potentially mean the rest of the Windows Phone user base may not be receiving Tango as an update, and may experience a longer wait until Apollo is rolled out. 

Source: wp7forum.ru, via: WMPU, thanks to those who sent tips in!

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There has been speculation previously that Mango apps wont be able to run on Apollo-powered Windows Phones, especially from rumour preacher Eldar Murtazin which were subsequently squashed by Brandon Watson. We've been fairly sure (and hoping) that apps would run on the next version of Windows Phone, and now WPSauce has come across a job posting at Redmond that confirms compatibility.

The job description for the position of contains the following:

"Automated testing of marketplace applications written for Mango, but running on Apollo. Write code, file bugs."

While this is further confirmation, we'll have to see what resources Microsoft provide to the developers in the coming months. With the Apollo update (Windows Phone 8) looking set to be a massive overhaul, it'll be interesting to see how the software giant plays this out. Perhaps we'll learn more at MWC.

Source: MyVisaJobs, via: WPSauce

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We mentioned how this morning version 2.3 of the official Facebook app should be going live today and true to their word, it has.

The new version brings a complete redesign of the UI as can be seen above in some new screenshots. The panorama look makes the app more Metro friendly and more importantly, it adds much more functionality like the ability to see and add "likes" to posts. There's also a refined tool bar at the bottom with quick access to Check in, Add (post) or quickly add/take a new photo.

In addition, you now have access to pages, groups, feed filters, privacy information and banner images. Speed of the app seems on par with before and we're hoping for more reliable notifications (always a tricky issue that is more Facebook than Windows Phone).

So far it looks to be a solid and respectable update, something many of you have been wanting for months now--so are you satisfied? Hit us up in comments...

Pick up the official Facebook app version 2.3 here in the Marketplace (and watch our video tutorial on how to force the update).

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Good news for you Facebook users out there not yet content with the official app, today you should be receiving an update to version 2.3 which from the looks of it is quite significant. From the Facebook page:

"Test out your groups. Visit your pages. Look at who likes your posts. Change the banner image. Check out the improved news feed performance. Use the new filters. Explore the improved navigation."

  • News feed performance improvements
  • New panorama design
  • New profile design.
  • Banner Images
  • Improved navigation
  • Pages
  • Groups
  • View “likes”
  • Feed filters
  • Posting privacy
  • Bug fixing

We're not big Facebook users but even we recognize that a lot of those are things many of you have been asking to be added. And new panorama design? Yes, please!

We just did the Marketplace check and saw v2.2 was still listed, so you may want to go in and check on a regular basis. Remember, you can watch our video tutorial on how to "force the update" when it does become available instead of waiting for the notification.

Pick up the official Facebook app here in the Marketplace.

Source: Facebook; Thanks, Cyruss89, for the tip

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IronSun Studios’ second Xbox Live title, Battlewagon, suffered from a bad case of broken Achievements when it launched last year. Like any responsible developer, IronSun quickly set out to fix those Achievements – but they didn’t stop there. The Battlewagon version 1.1 update includes a few additional tweaks that make for a more enjoyable game – fancy that!

Battlewagon version 1.1 release notes

  • All Achievements are now attainable
  • Added a restart button to the Pause menu
  • Changed the wagon launching mechanism
  • Added a power and angle indicator for lobbing

The new restart button should make replaying levels for higher ratings far more pleasant – no more suffering through additional tries when you’ve blown your first life or two. The wagon launching is much less finicky now, thank goodness. The shot power and angle indicator (displayed numerically at the top of the screen) also improve the gameplay. I still find aiming to be kind of awkward, but at least now you can replicate effective shots by paying attention to the numbers.

Battlewagon is a unique and very British game that takes place during medieval times. The object is to retake your lands from four evil barons, Robin Hood-style. Battlewagon’s 68 levels encompass a variety of gameplay styles, and the colorful Amiga-like artwork is quite appealing. We’ll have a full review soon.

Battlewagon costs $2.99 and you can get it here on the Marketplace.

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Everybody loves free games – especially Xbox Live ones. Updates are usually welcome too. On that note, ad-supported freebie Breeze, from Null City Software and Microsoft Studios, just received a festive holiday update.

Breeze version 1.1 release notes:

  • Adds holiday-based theme support
  • Fixes a few collision bugs

The holiday theme support is quite timely with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. Play the game any time between now and Tuesday, February 14th to see the new visuals. The player’s flower is currently a rose, and every level’s maze looks a bit love-lier than usual as well. Rob Hutchinson at Null City also offered this tantalizing comment: “Playing the game at different points of the year may yield different visual effects.” Anybody want to play with your phone’s calendar and investigate that hint?

Breeze is a fun little maze game with 50 GamerScore of easy Achievements – see our review for full details. Considering that the game is free and all dressed up for the holiday, Windows Phone gamers have no excuse not to give it a download. You’ll find it here on the Marketplace.

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News just in - we've lost Sonic's Jewels (pun intended). Sonic's Jewels 7 (SJ7), a SEGA Master System & Game Gear emulator, has long be at the centre of attention and was released two weeks ago. But now it has come to our attention that the app has disappeared from the Marketplace. The emulator received high praise from us for being both well designed and featuring some numerous options, including:

  • Pinnable games to the Start screen with Live Tiles
  • Three save slots per game; instant resume
  • Skydrive support for importing games
  • Frame skips for 1st Gen devices
  • Portrait & Landscape support

As well as being able to load ROMs from URLs or SkyDrive, the developer was working on an update that was planned to introduce sound emulation to complete the gaming experience. We've reached out to the developer for clarification as to why the app has been withdrawn. For now we'll allow you to speculate in the comments.

UPDATE: According to the Sonic's Jewels 7 Facebook page SEGA weren't going to allow the use of trademarked graphics/brands and thus Microsoft pulled the app. We've reached out to the developer so stay tuned for more information, thanks Lumic for the heads up on the link.

via: SmartphoneFrance

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One of our favorite Xbox LIVE games for Windows Phone, Rocket Riot, has received quite a major update a few days ago with version 1.4. We've reached out to the devs at Code Glu for a specific changelog but they're off having croissants or something, so we're winging it:

  • New icon - The old Rocket guys are gone and instead we have...rockets. Makes sense.
  • Two ringtones - We love when devs do this and Rocket Riot certainly has one of the most addicting (borderline annoying) theme songs in history. We're not actually crazy enough to use these to spare our sanity, but we're pretty excited that they're on board
  • Pin campaign to your homescreen - quick access to your campaign, perfect!
  • Rated E10+ (Everyone 10+) - part of that mobile ESRB thing we covered earlier

Overall this is a superb update. It gives users a few new options and breathes life into a game you may have put aside for awhile, so kudos to Code Glue for improvements! Read our full review of Rocket Riot and grab it in the Marketplace for $4.99 with trial.

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When TextTwist 2 launched less than a month ago, Achievement hunters were thrilled. After all, anagram games are super cheatable thanks to Scrabble helper sites. But alas! The game was glitched, and one mode (Daily Word) didn’t work at all. Thankfully Game House takes their Xbox Live titles seriously, and we already have a patch to fix things.

TextTwist 2 version 1.1 release notes:

  • Daily Word mode can now be played daily after the first round is completed (days are measured in UTC time).
  • Achievements based on completing multiple rounds of games modes (‘Apprentice,’ ‘Journeyman,’ and ‘Grand Master’) can now be unlocked.
  • The ‘Lightning Bolt’ Achievement, for completing a Lightning round with no hints, is now achievable.

The update does what it says, alright. I loaded the game up after patching, and grabbed ‘Lightning Bolt’ and some of the multi-round Achievements. Gotta love it when a developer moves so quickly to fix a game’s problems.

A word of advice: if you plan to complete the requisite 30 rounds of Daily Word by playing with the phone’s clock, make sure to set the clock back as far as possible before launching the updated game. That way, you can hit 30 days on or around the present date instead of waiting for the Achievement to unlock on some future date (a common side effect of playing with the clock). Or you could just be patient.

TextTwist 2 costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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We've been talking about Sonic Jewels 7 for awhile now. The SEGA Master System and Game Gear emulator fetches for $1.29 in the Marketplace and features the ability to load ROMs via URL or Skydrive. The emulator itself is exceptionally well designed but it was lacking one major feature: sound.

Now with the latest upcoming update (version 1.2) the dev has completed the sound-emulation aspect (no easy task) and we've managed to get an early look.

So far it has performed very well for us and our HTC TITAN (1.5GHz CPU). We have been able to max out the frame rate with sound and have seen no degradation in performance. Older devices may have some issues though which is why they can "skip" frames via the settings to help smooth out the graphics during gameplay.

Overall, the sound emulation really completes this experience and we look forward to the updated version hitting the Marketplace soon. For now, you can use the no-sound version here with a trial.

[And to fend off criticism on our earlier editorial, we want make it clear we're not against emulators per se on WPCentral, just against people selling other people's software which is what Rivera was talking about here]

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Everyone expects a game like Bug Village to have lots of bugs in it – ants, bees, and whatnot. But when the Windows Phone version launched a few weeks ago, it was infested by a few software bugs, and nobody likes those. Thankfully Babaroga and Glu Mobile worked quickly to kill off the worst offenders.

Bug Village version 1.1 release notes:

  • When resuming the game via Fast App Switching, task timers now advance correctly
  • The ‘Air Freshener’ Achievement (Kill 100 stinkbugs) is now attainable
  • The ‘Ding!’ Achievement (Reach level 25) now unlocks at the correct time

Previously, players really couldn’t use the Fast App Switching feature since it paused the game’s timer. With the game’s tasks all revolving around passing of the clock, the last thing you wanted was for the timer to stop and halt your progress. Fast App Switching now works fine (though it did crash on me once), a chime signifying that the timer has advanced when resuming. As for the Achievements, several players have already unlocked the full 200 GamerScore since the patch went live - definitely a nice improvement.

The developers still plan on future updates that will add new content and further refinements... Hopefully that means those stinkbugs and ladybugs will get easier to tap! To learn more about Bug Village, check out WPCentral’s developer interview and premium content analysis.

Bug Village is a free game with optional paid DLC. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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We've been waiting on our unlocked, international HTC TITAN to get the notification for the 8107 OS update which fixes the disappearing keyboard (and a half dozen other items) and today is that day. Reader Israel I. alerted us to his TITAN getting the update so we just plugged ours in and bam, 8107 is ready to be installed.

While this means little for AT&T users (no, this does not mean you're getting 8107. as that's AT&T's decision) it's a good sign for many of us who use HTC's flagship phone in its pristine and unlocked state. The 8107 patch seems like the final refinement of the Mango update from this summer and we look forward to other Windows Phones joining the crowd.

Still no word on any US carriers deploying 8107, but we'll keep an eye out.

Update: And no, no new firmware was loaded. Same builds as from the December update.

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We've covered Your Shape: Fitness Evolved and its companion app before but for those who don't remember, Your Shape is a Xbox 360 Kinect title that helps you exercise and get fit. The corresponding companion app allowed you to track your progress, see your rankings, get Your Shape news, etc and it was a pretty nifty thing to have.

With the new year, UBI Soft released Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 for Kinect. That game is a big overhaul of the 2011 version with a new UI, many more exercises and just overall a much better experience (we picked up ours for $29 on Amazon.com, which was a steal). So it's nice to see that the companion app too received a makeover and we really like the changes:

  • Brand new design and accessibility improved.
  • Guest mode for players without a Uplay account.
  • Live Tile to display your current level and calories burned.
  • You will now be able to interact into the application: create, join and abandon current competitions

Nice changes indeed. The ability to create goals is quite useful and the Live Tile with calorie counter is a a great way to stay motivated. Look, we're not going to get all preachy about health, but if you have a Kinect you owe yourself to get this game (or any other Kinect fitness title) and really use your Xbox 360 to help better yourself as well as have fun. Having this Windows Phone tie-in makes it that much cooler and we hope we see more instances like this in 2012 (except for you, Dance Central 2--get back in the corner).

Pick up Your Shape here in the Marketplace for free. Check the official trailer for Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 after the break...

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WPDownUnder recently created a "Where's my Update?" page of their own for Australia in light of the Windows Phone team blog post, which outlined communication alterations being made in the way Windows Phone owners are kept up-to-date with the status of updates. The official "Where's my Update?" is also believed to be on its way out (with more devices being added to the platform). Now the team has created a web page for U.S. visitors.

Should you be interested in checking the status of updates on U.S. carriers, head on over to "Where's my Freakin' Update?".

Source: WPDownUnder; Thanks, Sheeds, for the tip!

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Good news for those of you who didn't bother to buy YouTube Pro--your SuperTube app just transitioned to the updated look and feel of the new app. That's right, if you go and re-download "SuperTube" it will turn into YouTube Pro on your device--same app, same icon, etc.

That's a pretty good deal for those of you who didn't want to layout the extra $0.99 for the "new" app. Of course, if you did pay the $0.99 then you're a bit out of luck as you now have two versions of the app. (We're in the latter camp).

You can download SuperTube right here in the Marketplace to get the new updated version.

Thanks to eveyrone who sent this in!

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In a first for a US carrier, US Cellular has reportedly begun distributing the 8107 OS update to the HTC 7 Pro (aka Arrive) owners. We've had numerous reports come in from readers that they started receiving the update within the last 48 hours with more reports coming in.

That's both exciting and frustrating as US Cellular is the "sixth largest" carrier here in the States, serving up CDMA coverage to 6.1 million subscribers. Sprint too has the the HTC 7 Pro (aka Arrive) with CDMA bands meaning this update could, theoretically, be ready to roll out there--should Sprint choose to do so. Likewise, it's a bit funny to see the small carrier outshining the likes of AT&T, who has eight Windows Phones (if counting Venue Pro) and yet has not rolled out this update nor the previous 7740 just yet.

Still, with at least one US carrier now pushing this out, it gives some hope to Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and of course Sprint. But we're not betting anything here just yet.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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BoxShot, a light Dropbox app for Windows Phone, has been updated to 2.2. In this update we now have pinnable folder functionality, allowing users to pin individual folders from their Dropbox account to the home screen for more convenient access. The app will also now be displayed in the Pictures Hub under the "Applications" pivot, and a few fixes were thrown into the mix.

You can download Boxshot from the Marketplace for just $.99 (79p), with a free (ad-supported) version available. Be sure to check out our full review of the app too.

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