All posts by andrewbares

As an avid gamer, I see the Windows Phone as a solid platform for mobile gaming. I will review almost every WP7 game and give you an idea if it is worth your money or not! In addition to gaming, I have been using Windows Mobile since 2005, and understand just about everything there is to know about the Windows Phone platform. Xbox Gamertag: DirtSurfer07 (add me!)

Week in Review: April 7th

Welcome to the Week in Review, where we recap the top stories of the week.

WP 8.1 update for developers coming April 14th or 15th!

  • Joe Belfiore even confirmed that the developer preview will be available early in the week of April 14th
  • The update will be accessible through the Dev Preview program

8.1 still isn’t improving Office

  • Joe Belfiore announced that the new 8.1 update won’t bring any significant new features to Office on Windows Phone, which has remained stagnant for quite awhile.

Prepare for the 8.1 dev preview

  • To install the 8.1 developer preview before the painfully slow carrier rollouts, you first have to become a “developer”
  • You can become a developer through Microsoft’s App Studio for free
  • Then, install the Preview for Developers app and await the update!
  • Installing previews might void your warranty

Step by step installation of WP 8.1

In the video above, we show you how to install the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview on your device. Note that the the preview might void your warranty.

  1. Become a “developer”
    • Make a real developer account for $20/year at the Dev Center
    • Or get a free account through the App Studio (RECOMMENDED)
  2. Install the Preview for Developers app
  3. Launch the Preview for Developers app, check the box, click “done”
  4. Go to settings -> phone updates, and check for updates
  5. Install the 8.0.x update, preparing you for 8.1
  6. Then, check for updates again, and install the 8.1 update
  7. Enjoy!

Video: Highlights of Windows Phone 8.1

If you haven’t been able to install Windows Phone 8.1 and wonder what you’re missing out on, check out our new overview video showing the new features in 8.1.

The video quickly covers

  • Faster/new animations
  • Notification center
  • Cortana
  • New keyboard
  • Volume settings
  • Updated Store
  • 3D maps
  • Start Screen background
  • Internet Explorer
  • Battery Sense

8.1 feels like what 8.0 should have originally been! It’s quite awesome.

 

Talking Tones: Create text-to-voice ringtones

With Talking Tones, you can write a custom message, and then use the app’s text-to-voice system to record the message as a ringtone. And thanks to WP8, you can set specific ringtones and text message tones for each contact, allowing you to have a custom message for each contact.

The app also lets you include a sound bite after or before the text-to-voice. However, the sound library is very limited, and doesn’t include many popular songs. You also have no control over the duration or section of any of the sounds.

The interface is also poorly designed. The app itself is slightly ugly, and it could use some improvements in user friendliness. To preview a ringtone, you first have to click the “download” button. A more intuitive experience would automatically download before previewing. The text-to-speech accents also don’t work, since the voice always remains the same.QRCode

Nevertheless, Talking Tones is functional and manages to get the job done. You can also add some cool sound effects to the talking voice, making the ringtone sound less robotic. Talking Tones can be found in the Store for FREE.

Week in Review: March 31st

Welcome to the Week in Review, where we highlight the top stories of the week.

WP 8.1 features officially released

  • Action Center: notification center accessed from top
  • Cortana voice assistant
  • Lock Screen Themes
  • Third column of live tiles for everyone
  • Word Flow: just like Swype keyboard

Universal apps for 8.1

  • Code base between WP and Windows is even closer
  • Devs can offer a single app which runs on both WP and Windows, and only needs to be purchased once

Cortana US-only for quite awhile

  • Microsoft is only supporting US right now, and hasn’t said when other regions will be added
  • However, Cortana can be accessed by just changing your regional settings, as long as you use English of course

Week in Review: March 24th

Welcome to the Week in Review, where we highlight the top stories of the week!

No WP 8.1 developer preview at BUILD

  • According to WPCentral, the developer preview of 8.1 won’t be coming April 2nd like it was rumored

WP 8.1 hit RTM on March 26nd

  • This means it was released to manufacturers
  • New 8.1 phones like the Lumia 930 are expected to arrive end of April

More Lumia 630 specs leak

  • 4.5 inch screen
  • No LED flash
  • Should be revealed at BUILD

Week in Review: March 17th

Welcome to the Week in Review, where we highlight the top stories of the week!

Stats reveal Verizon’s lack of WP users

  • Verizon used to have the highest percent of WP users
  • Now Verizon sits at 4th place, with only 13.4% of WP users
  • This is likely because Verizon doesn’t offer the low-end Nokia Lumia 520, which accounts for nearly 39% of all Windows Phones

Modern Combat 5 coming to WP

  • Gameloft said it will be released on iOS, Android, and WP
  • No release date yet

Still no news about Tinder with Rudy

  • Tinder previously requested that Rudy pull his third-party app 6Tindr from the Store, but claimed that they would work with Rudy to make an official version
  • However, Rudy has still not heard back from Tinder
  • It remains unknown whether Tinder will ever release a Windows Phone app

Week in Review: March 3rd

Welcome to the Week in Review, where we highlight the top stories of the week!

More info about Action Center leaked

  • Developers can add/remove/group notifications seamlessly
  • Looks like it’ll be as good as Android/iPhone notifications + grouping

Facebook Messenger app released

  • Finally a quality Facebook messaging experience, developed by Facebook themselves
  • Push notifications actually work, conversations actually update, and stickers/pictures/seen by are supported!

Smaller on-screen keyboard might come with 8.1

  • A slide talking about 8.1 showed a mini on-screen keyboard, which could possibly be a new feature.
  • Large phablet devices could certainly benefit from a keyboard that doesn’t take up over half of the screen.

Week in Review: February 24th

Welcome to the Week in Review, where we recap the top stories of the week!

WP 8.1 Start Screen background pictures leak

  • Apparently the background pic is applied to the tiles, and the background remains black or white
  • You’ll also apparently be able to select between 2 and 3 columns on devices like the 920

Facebook Messenger in development

  • Windows Phone will finally get the Facebook Messenger app
  • Integrated Facebook messaging will be removed from 8.1, and apparently the Messenger app will be pre-installed

HTC promises new WP handsets

  • HTC’s America president claimed that more Windows Phones are on the way
  • No further details were provided

Week in Review: February 17th

Welcome to the Week in Review, where we highlight the top stories of the week!

Backup in 8.1 slightly improved

  • Developers will have instant access to backing up app data to OneDrive
  • The OS will backup your Start screen layout and IE user history

Nokia teasing something big for MWC 2014

  • Released a Vine video saying that “something out of this world coming your way”
  • It seems to be WP related due to the #Imagin8 hash tag and use of a Lumia 1020
  • My guess would be Snapchat? The Vine features a girl taking lots of selfies

Nokia users can now disable vibrate on the capacitive buttons

  • The newly updated “touch” system settings app allows you to disable vibrate when touching the Start/Back/Search keys
  • It might require Black? It hasn’t worked for some users

Week in Review: February 10th

Welcome to the Week in Review, where we highlight the top stories of the week!

WP 8.1 Developer SDK reveals tons of new features

  • Windows 8 and WP apps are closely united through common API’s
  • Multiple volume controls
  • Weekly view in calendar
  • Geo-fencing API

8.1 supports background Start Screen images

  • Also, IE 11 will support tab sync between your computer and phone

8.1 adds “Do Not Disturb” features

  • Called “Quiet Hours”
  • Similar to iOS, can select hours to block calls/texts
  • Can allow up to 40 contacts to still contact you while in Quiet Hours

8.1 rumored to be coming in June/August, developer preview sooner

  • Developers should be able to get WP 8.1 in April, in time for the BUILD conference
  • However, the general release probably won’t be till June/August 2014, quite a ways away.

Invitations for WP 8.1 SDK sent to developers

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This afternoon, top developers received an email inviting them to join the Windows Phone SDK Developer Preview Program. In the email, it was stated that…

You’ll get a head start on the new platform in exchange for trying out some new APIs and spot-checking app compatibility.

The SDK will include some new emulators running 8.1, which will probably be leaked by those who do not respect non-disclosure agreements.

The new SDK also promises new APIs, some of which are likely to include interacting with the new notification centre, but others will also help developers create more powerful applications.

Stay tuned to WMPoweruser to hear the latest! Once the SDK is released to the select developers, new features are sure to be leaked.

Week in Review: February 3rd

Welcome to the Week in Review, where we recap the top stories of the past week!

Notification center screenshots leak

  • Called the “Action Center”, accessible from a swipe from the top
  • Includes notifications grouped by app, and quick settings toggles
  • Apps apparently will be able to silently add/update/delete notifications

WP 8.1 rumored to have a new large tile size

  • A Twitter leaker posted the rumor, might not be the most reliable
  • No screenshots have leaked yet showing what the tile will look like

Popular game Flappy Bird now available!

  • WP is finally only a little late to receive this new popular iOS and Android game
  • It’s a Cave-like game with a retro theme