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All posts tagged "software"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tango Now Available in the Marketplace

Posted by Adan Galvan in "Windows Phone News" @ 09:00 AM

Good news for those that just purchased one of the new Windows Phones available on AT&T or T-Mobile! The first video chat application is now available in the marketplace. Tango allows Windows Phone the ability to use their front-facing camera to call up their friends and family. The application even allows users who don't have a front-facing camera to join in on the action by utilizing the back-facing camera to display the surroundings of those users. Although the app is not as refined as Skype, users will have to make due until Skype is officially announced (hopefully sometime soon).

Friday, October 28, 2011

The New York Times Applauds Windows Phone 7

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 05:30 AM

"Windows Phone 7.5 is gorgeous, classy, satisfying, fast and coherent. The design is intelligent, clean and uncluttered. Never in a million years would you guess that it came from the same company that cooked up the bloated spaghetti that is Windows and Office. Most impressively, Windows Phone is not a feeble-minded copycat. Microsoft came up with completely fresh metaphors that generally steer clear of the iPhone/Android design (grid-spaced icons that scroll across home pages)."

David Pogue, New York Times columnist, Missing Manual publisher, and Emmy-winning CBS new correspondent knows a thing or two about the tech industry. If you are familiar with the Missing Manual series of books from O'Reilly Media, you will also be aware that David knows a lot about the Mac platform and all things Apple. So, it is with quite a bit of interest that I read his October 26 column on Windows Phone 7. In short, he is very impressed with it. The column covers both the shortcomings and nice features of the platform, including the new audio and visual searching, character recognition, translation, voice recognition, Xbox integration, and more. Pogue concludes the column with some analysis of why Windows Phone 7 is not as successful as you might expect, and he has hopes that the success will grow.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

3D Marble Tracks: Multiplayer Racing Game

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone Software" @ 11:00 AM

It's billed as a racing game, but...I'm not at all sure how to describe it. To me it looks like a cross between tiddlywinks and extreme lawn bowling, but hey, you can't beat the price - free. 3D Marble Game also features multiplayer, and that's where the pull factor should come in. If you think its worth your time, this new effort by Trillion Games is now available in the marketplace.

Relative Merits of iPhone 4S/iOS 5 and Windows Phone 7

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 10:00 AM

"Speed and consistency has always been a hallmark of iOS, but Windows Phone 7.5 beats Apple here with an extremely snappy performance even on old hardware. Windows Phone 7.5 is as consistent as iOS and maybe even more so with less menu options and settings available to the end user. Windows Phone 7.5 does an excellent job with service integration while Apple forces you into the idea of working with specific apps, such as separate Facebook and Twitter apps."

While the comparison of two smartphone platforms is naturally a subjective exercise, one would think that reading the opinions of someone with a fair bit of hands-on experience with both would increase the credibility of the comments. So, it was with some interest I read the editorial by Matthew Miller on the ZDNet site. One of the more interesting points he makes is that the Windows Phone 7 platform is more task oriented (with quite a bit of task integration) when compared to the iOS 5 platform which is more app-centric. He gives quite a strong endorsement for WP7, but comments on the need for better hardware from the vendors. It's an interesting read, and well-worth contemplating.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Radar: Finding Your Way Back

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone Software" @ 02:00 AM

"A must-have application for parking, going to the countryside or travelling abroad...If you leave a place and want to return there later, just turn Radar on and select the place with one click. Then, when you want to go back, turn Radar on, and it will show you the way."

My wife has this habit of turning on the car alarm when finding our way through a parking lot back to the car - with this app, you'll be spared some odd looks. With Radar, you can mark the place you want with GPS, and it'll let you know what the direction and distance are to get back. Of course, us guys don't need such help right? :) If you're still interested though, Radar's available for $0.99 through the Marketplace.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Reflection: RIM's Malaise A WP7 Opportunity?

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 10:30 AM

"Here's the thing about BlackBerry users: We're people who, at least when it comes to our phones, appreciate function over form. We've stuck with our little, not terribly stylish bricks because they worked. They didn't drop calls at bad moments. The e-mail came in and was easy to access. The point was simplicity, lack of worry. It just worked. Can I really say that now?"

CNET's Jim Kerstetter has written an editorial suggesting his days of being a dedicated BlackBerry user might be over. If I read his editorial correctly, I think the reason can be summed up as: his perceived benefit of the BlackBerry platform has been pushed to the brink with yet another service outage, leaving the other platforms much more attractive than perhaps they were before.

I was a BlackBerry user for six years before switching about a year ago. I haven't looked back. I prefer the physical models of the other platforms, their user-interfaces and availability of apps. I am not aware of a service outage in the last year on my platform. I think I would have a hard time to go back to the BlackBerry platform. Are there others out there like me? I bet there are a lot.

So, is this an opportunity for Microsoft and Windows Phone 7? I think it is. For one reason, anyone who might have been teetering on the edge of switching from the BlackBerry platform (assuming they have control over that decision) might just have had that little nudge they needed. We have become so dependent on multiple forms of communication through our smartphones (e-mail, text/instant messaging, voice, video, broadcasting (tweeting)), that even an hour without service can be annoying. Another reason is that the timing might just be perfect - Microsoft's new Mango version of the WP7 operating system is hitting mainstream and garnering attention the platform needs. Combine that with the BlackBerry users' drifting eyes and there might just be an interesting intersection point being formed.

It could be an opportunistic period of time for Microsoft and WP7 in the lead up to the holiday season. Your opinion please: is this a realistic opportunity for Microsoft, or just a speed bump for RIM?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Phone7Market Helps ByPass App Geographic Restrictions

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone Software" @ 05:00 PM

Phone7Market is a homebrew app to get around geographic restrictions in the marketplace, though it only lets you grab freeware apps for now. The app is still in alpha, but within that limited scope it seems to work well. You'll need to have the Windows Phone SDK and there's a few other dependencies (hit the link for more info). Just bear in mind that trying this out is at your own risk.

Mango Talks And Listens Too

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone Software" @ 01:00 PM

Siri on the iPhone 4S has been touted as a game changer - fair enough, it's a fantastic implementation of voice control on a mobile. But Mango has speech highlights of its own so you won't feel too left out. Check out the video for how to get the best out of the new speech features of WP7.5.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Are BlackBerry Users Really Going To Abandon Ship?

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 09:00 AM

"Around a third say this week's outage will force them to look at alternative mobile services. Nearly 20% of BlackBerry users are in the process of moving away from the platform, while a further 34% believe they should consider switching to an alternative mobile platform following this week's massive service outage, a CBR survey has revealed."

It has been a tough week on both sides of the equation: BlackBerry users who rely on consistent, predictable service, and all those stakeholders involved with production and delivery of the BlackBerry service. This is not the first BlackBerry outage, but I'm not sure people are as forgiving this time as they were for previous outages. There are definitely many users enamored with the platform, and IT organizations dedicated to providing it for them, but the survey results from CBR will surely get the attention of a lot of stakeholders, including RIM. So, readers, will this be a potential windfall for Windows Phone 7?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Update: Status Of Mango Update Push

Posted by Richard Chao in "Windows Phone News" @ 11:30 AM

"...we're starting the roll out of Windows Phone 7.5 to more than 98 percent of existing Windows Phone customers. This is a simultaneous, coordinated, global update that cuts across carriers, phone models, and countries. This time, almost everybody is going first.

Check Where's My Phone Update? for the latest global status info."

Microsoft officially released Mango yesterday in a simultaneous update targeting 98 percent of their users with the exception of a few carriers and devices that were in the testing, planning or scheduling stage.

The current status shows that in the U.S., all carriers are in the process of delivering the update with the exceptions being device specific. The HD7S is in scheduling, Focus v. 1.4 is testing and AT&T Venue Pro is in planning. In the international market, all except Spain's Telefonica and Samsung Omnia 7 devices from SFR and Deutsche Telekom are currently in the process of updating.

Which Smartphone Operating System do You Prefer?

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 10:30 AM

"In a recent report from Nielsen, Google snagged 40 percent of the smartphone market, while Apple captured approximately 28 percent -- up just barely .01 percentage point from last year."

The only thing that surprises me about this is that there are so many that desire RIM for their next smartphone operating system. Maybe that and the fact that 30% of the late adopters aren't sure what they want. You would think that with all of the information out there, this percentage wouldn't be as high.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Detailed Mango (Windows Phone 7.5) Overview Leaves Positive Impression

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 06:00 PM

"With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has gone in a completely different direction from what they had been doing with Windows Mobile since the turn of the century. They now intend to really take responsibility for the platform. Android has taken over the exact same model that the failed Windows Mobile originally excelled at and there are plenty of signs of the same problems. Apple went to the other extreme and manages absolutely every little thing about their iPhone. Microsoft is trying to take all of the good things about both the wild-forest anything-goes philosophy and the walled-garden my-way-or-the-highway philosophy in order to make a more middle-of-the-road type of ecosystem that will be pleasant for users, developers, carriers, and manufacturers all the same."

Unless you are brand new to the Windows Phone 7 world, you will have likely heard about the next iteration of the platform that Microsoft has been working on for some time. Recently released, Windows Phone 7.5, code-named Mango, has been teasing us with all sorts of promised enhancements, fix ups, and core improvements. Reviews are starting to appear, and from what I've been reading there are many positive impressions of what Microsoft has done. The linked review by Adam Z Lein on the website is a very comprehensive walkthrough of the new update. Complete with screen captures and video, this should provide you with a very good understanding of what is new and enhanced. Read the review and I think you will have a good idea why positive vibes are emanating about the future of this platform. Agree or disagree? Drop back to our forum and share your thoughts.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Evernote 2.0 Available In The Marketplace

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 06:30 PM

"Evernote 2.0 for Windows Phone 7.5 is now available in the marketplace."

Evernote fans take notice: Evernote 2.0 is now available in the Marketplace. This comprehensive, multi-platform, note-taking application is constantly updated and has garnered much respect and praise from a legion of users. It is free to use with limited storage, but paid versions can access additional storage if it is required. Notes can be synchronized across both PC and smartphone devices, and the application has a number of organizing options for managing your notes. This is an app that is well worth checking out.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Get a NASA Ringtone for Your Phone, Be It Android or iPhone or ...

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 10:00 AM

"Space geeks take note -- NASA has just released several audio samples of famous moments in space history for use as ringtones on your smartphone."

Head on over to this site and see the list of all the ringtones available, including sounds from shuttle missions as well as Apollo and Mercury missions. Once you get the one you like, they also offer a handy walk through guide for putting them on your iPhone. If you have an Android, the best way to do it is to get the NASA Android app here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mango's Around The Corner

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone News" @ 09:00 PM

""For months, we and dozens of our partner companies have been laying the groundwork for the Windows Phone 7.5 update-and making solid progress. As a result, we now expect to start rolling it out in the next week or two. At that time, we'll also refresh the Where's My Phone Update? table to reflect the worldwide rollout status."

It's almost here, but given the vagaries of the update process and the vagueness of the statement, I think an October 1st rollout is the likeliest, with as long as a month until everyone gets it. There's a real dependency on carrier testing, even if Microsoft's actually pushing out the updates, and given the trouble with NoDo, there's no guarantees the process will be smooth sailing.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Microsoft's Learning

Posted by Nurhisham Hussein in "Windows Phone News" @ 07:00 PM

If you're one of the few who've actually picked up a Windows Phone 7 unit (hey, if you're reading this, you must be!), then you'll know that the buying experience leaves a lot to be desired. Despite Microsoft's spending on topline marketing, getting info (and working units) at retail isn't exactly easy. There's little in the way of support at ground level, except what little the handset manufacturers are willing to put up. For example, even here in Malaysia, I see plenty of ads on the Samsung's Galaxy II and HTC's burgeoning line of Android devices, but few for the Focus or the HD7. The carriers here aren't exactly pushing WP7 either - it's mainly the iPhone4 or Android. That may change soon, as Microsoft's strategy has changed - they're going to concentrate more on sales level training if this article from the Boy Genius Report is to be believed. Not before time, with Mango round the corner.

Windows Phone 7: Making Solid Progress

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 01:30 PM

"Market share numbers are important, but so is momentum. Momentum is the feeling of forward-progress; it's what creates excitement, draws anticipation, and makes people become true fanatics towards a given product. Momentum is the critical "X factor" that any new product needs to succeed. Windows Phone 7 has this momentum."

If you read smartphone-focused sites like, you will probably be familiar with the name Brandon Miniman. As Editor-in-Chief he has a wealth of experience in the industry and I find his commentary interesting. His recent editorial on the state of Windows Phone 7 suggests that Microsoft is well on-track for success in this highly competitive marketplace. He analyses four aspects of the product's play in the market: the overall product experience, support from OEMs, competitive positioning, and Microsoft's financial wherewithal. I agree, for the most part, with his analysis. I think the new WP7 offerings from HTC (the Titan and Radar), for example, will help interest consumers in switching to the platform. Hit the Read link to read his editorial, then drop back here and let us know your thoughts on Microsoft's potential future success.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Magiko Gaming's Platformance: Temple Death Game

Posted by Richard Chao in "Windows Phone Software" @ 10:30 AM

"While filming her latest movie, famous starlet Grace Belly gets abducted by a sect of evil savages. You decide to go and rescue her down the 'Temple Death'- a place filled with evil traps where only the fools can survive."

Magiko Gaming's newest game, PLATFORMANCE: Temple Death is now available in the Windows Phone App Marketplace.

Per the developer, the game features:

- over 40 challenges to overcome

- zoom in on the action or zoom out to see the whole level

- 3 difficulty modes with their own traps configuration

- take screenshots to send to your friends or brag over the internet

- Local scoreboards

- Rewards

- Flopwards!

- chiptune music

- once at the end, experience the game backward

App Download link:

Monday, September 5, 2011

WP7 Halo Effect Spurring App Growth On Other Platforms?

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Windows Phone Talk" @ 05:30 PM

"Windows Phone's market share may be low (according to Millennial Media, only about 2 percent of the U.S. market - PDF) but for venture capital-backed Kik, it was definitely worth launching on the platform. According to the company, Android and iOS user growth was actually 22 percent higher than anticipated following the launch of the WP7 app."

Here's an interesting phenomenon. An app developer releases a cross-platform app (in this case a messaging app) on the Windows Phone 7 platform, and it spurs additional users to buy and use the app on competing platforms. It makes perfect sense if you think about it. Messaging apps require two (or more) to tango, and with the right app those users could be on, potentially, any platform. Sell one copy of the app to a WP7 user, and their two friends using Android and IOS devices want in on the fun. The result: three app sales. Click through on the Read link to the TechCrunch site where the experience of Kik Interactive developers is detailed.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

An Explanation Of How Twitter Integration Works In Mango

Posted by Richard Chao in "Windows Phone Software" @ 10:41 PM

"As an active Twitter user on the Windows Phone team, I was excited when I first learned that Twitter integration was coming to our phone. But I admit I was also skeptical. We've had great Facebook integration for a while now, but Twitter is a different animal. And not just on the surface-the way that you communicate on Twitter is fundamentally different from Facebook."

The Windows Team has posted a great explanation about how Twitter integration works in Mango on their blog. Andy Myers also explains why he feels the new ME tile is now one of the most useful tiles you can have on your home screen. It's an interesting read and shows what is possible with the new Twitter integration. Especially if you are a heavy tweeter.

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