All posts by KennyB123

Ken has been an avid fan of technology since the dawn of the 8086 chip. He owned a Sony Clie in the early 2000's, and jumped onto Windows Mobile 5 with the Motorola Q in 2006. Since then he has owned an HTC Touch Pro, an HTC HD2, and now owns a Samsung Focus.

Game Room: Lunar Lander – Now Live in Marketplace

 

With around 30 minutes to go Eastern time, the XBox Game of the Week, Game Room: Lunar Lander, has gone live.  Some might call this another uninspired week for XBox Live, but maybe, just MAYBE, this classic brings good controls and solid gameplay.  Look for Andrew Bares’ review in the coming days, and feel free to download a trial to find out for yourself.

Game Room – Lunar Lander ($2.99, with Free Trial)

Prime TV Version 1.13 Sneak Peek

If you read my review of Prime TV Version 1.12, you’ll know this is already a rock-solid TV show scheduler / tracker app.  The developer has recently released a few screenshots of what is coming in version 1.13, featuring Twitter and Trakt.TV integration.

 

 

If you’re unfamiliar with Trakt.TV, it’s basically a service that can recommend other tv shows and movies you might like based on your watching history.  It also has some social networking features.

 

 

As you can see in the settings menu, there is also a Backup & Restore feature, which can be useful – but hopefully isn’t needed.  If you ever need to hard reset your phone, this can save you a lot of time, for sure.  No confirmation that this will be ready for version 1.13, but it looks pretty promising.

The developer already has big plans for version 1.14.  This app is turning into a showcase app for Windows Phone 7 and the awesome Metro interface.

 

Download Prime TV by clicking below.

Microsoft to buy Skype for $7 Billion?: Update – Apparently confirmed

According to the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is close to striking an agreement with Skype Technoligies SA worth more than $7 Billion, and could be announcing a deal as early as Tuesday morning.

This deal would rank at the top, or near the top of the largest Microsoft aquisitions in the company’s history.  It could also be considered one of their biggest risks.

Microsoft + Skype could bring about some really interesting combinations, like Kinect Video Chat.  There is already a Skype client coming for Windows Phone 7, so it is unknown what advantage this might have in the phone market.  Certainly, some more integration into the core-services of the Windows Phone OS could be coming, but how that looks, we’ll have to wait and see.

VIA: This Is My Next

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal

Update: Kara Swisher from AllthingsD claims the deal is confirmed, and would total $8.5 billion as Microsoft is also assuming all of Skype’s debts. Skype was valued at 2.75 billion in 2009, making it a very high premium for the companies 660 million + users.

Speculation is that this is mainly  a defensive move against Google and Facebook acquiring the headlining cross-platform VOIP app, but it is not clear how Microsoft intends to integrate the Peer to Peer technology with its own Live services.

 

Breaking: New Mango Features Coming For Windows Phone 7

According to Travis and Ryan Lowdermilk, from the Windows Phone Dev Podcast, some amazing new Bing services are on the way for Windows Phone 7.  Also rumored are turn-by-turn voice directions for Maps, and voice-recognition SMS messaging.  Podcast support within the OS has already been confirmed, and now we see some screenshots indicating as much.

Bing Audio

This is a Shazam-type service integrated directly into the Bing search window.  Just like Shazam, you press the Bing Audio button on the bottom toolbar, and record a snippet of the song you are listening to.  If a match is found, it will come in the form of a Marketplace result, while still remaining inside the Bing window.  Clicking that link will bring you into the Marketplace where you can stream the song, download it, or purchase it.

US, Great Britian, France, Italy, Germany and Spain are the initial countries that Bing Audio supports.

Bing Vision

This is a search service using the camera.  There are already separate apps like this available, but this is baked right into WP7, allowing you to scan barcodes, Microsoft Tags, QR Codes, books, DVD’s, CD’s, and even text using OCR.

Support for “Vision Recognizers” is available, suggesting that additional services can be added, letting you take a picture of a structure and get Bing results from it, or possibly layer search results on top of the camera view.  It could support augmented reality apps as well.

 

Native Podcast Support with Download Support -

 

If these images are in fact real, this is the new Podcast feature, allowing WP7 users to subscribe to podcasts, download them, and stream them – all from the phone.  There seems to be the ability to adjust your podcast series settings within the phone.  There is even a screenshot of a video podcast playing, while it’s still downloading! (see end of article)

Native Turn-By-Turn Directions

Also rumored is the integration of turn-by-turn directions, which has been a big hole missing from the current version of WP7.  All we have is the settings page screenshot, but it looks legit.

Voice-Recognition SMS Messaging

Allowing you to text while driving (sarcasm) and saving you from the dreaded “Blackberry Thumbs”, comes native voice texting.  LG’s WP7 lineup had an app that attempted this, but this will be natively supported.

The screenshots are convincing, but nothing has been officially announced.  Thanks to the Lowdermilk brothers for their great podcast, Windows Phone Dev Podcast.  Pretty soon you’ll be able to subscribe to their podcast straight from your phone!  Mango sure will be exciting.

Bonus screenshot -

Video App Review – PrimeTV

This is a video app review of PrimeTV, brought to you by the developer Renfred.  Version 1.12 was used for this review.

 

From the developer –

PrimeTV is a TV show tracking app designed exclusively for your Windows Phone.

No more frustration over which TV show will air on what channel and what time. Just hit up PrimeTV and you can browse through all your favorite shows in this beautifully designed, Metro concept inspired app.

That sums up the main function of the app, but it does so much more.  PrimeTV gives you a very organized way to add all of the shows you watch, which then unlocks a lot of useful information about those shows.

Once you’ve added your shows, PrimeTV will use the Metro interface to give you the Upcoming list, the already Aired list and a general TV-related news section.

Once you click into a show, you get a summary page, a list of all the episodes, including un-aired ones if they are known, and a news section which is specific to that show, which included an integrated web-browser. There is also a show gallery, with many random pictures of the show.  You can click to full-screen the picture.  As of version 1.12, you cannot save the pictures to the phone or set them as your lock-screen wallpaper, but this option is coming in version 1.13.

In the episodes page, you can checkmark boxes to indicate that you’ve watched that episode.  If you click and hold on a show, you have the option to “Mark all previous watched” and “Mark all previous unwatched”, which allows you to quickly manage the list.  You can click on a particular episode, giving you a preview of the plot, a picture, and even a video trailer, if available.

The “Settings” section is very detailed, and really allows you to tweak the program to your liking. The “Time Adjustment” section allows you to adjust show times based on time zone, and allows you to manually adjust each show’s starting time, if it’s wrong. The “Animation” section allows you the adjust between higher performance or better visual effects. The “Wallpaper” section lets you manually select the background wallpaper within the app to a certain show, or keep it as the next upcoming episode’s wallpaper. The “Organizer” section lets you change how you want your main list of shows organized, as well as your upcoming episodes list.  The options are great, and much appreciated.

One of the coolest newer additions to PrimeTV is the Live Tile feature.  If you add PrimeTV to your start menu, you can now see which shows are coming up next, along with a background of one of those shows!  It’s extremely well laid out, and really makes this app even more useful.  If you shake the phone within the app, you can change the live tile background to another upcoming show.   One negative is that this live tile only updates when you run the app, so it can display shows from a previous day.  The developer is planning to give the live tile pushed updates every 6 hours in the next revision.

 

The developer has big plans for version 1.13.  Along with the save-able gallery pictures and improved live tile functionality, there will be an option to enable toast notifications of an upcoming show 15/30 minutes before it airs.  He also plans to integrate Trakt.TV into PrimeTV.

BOTTOM LINE:

Positives:

  • Perfect way to avoid missing your favorite shows, and to learn all about them
  • Slick Metro interface, graphically beautiful, great performance
  • Extremely configurable to your liking along with a very organized feel
  • Handy, show-related news with an integrated web-browser
  • Live tile integration
  • App is updated often, squashing bugs and adding features
  • Low $0.99 price with nice trial

Negatives:

  • Live tile does not automatically update (fix coming soon)
  • Unable to save pictures to phone (fix coming soon)
  • Youtube show trailers is beta, and doesn’t always work

 

SCORE: 9/10

 

Links:

PrimeTV ($0.99 or free trial limited to 8 TV shows)

 

 

 

 

 

TuneIn Radio – Video App Review

 

This is a video app review of “TuneIn Radio” by the developer TuneIn, previously known as RadioTime.  Version 1.2 was used for this review.  TuneIn Radio is one of the premiere Radio apps available today on the Marketplace, and is completely free.

From the developer -

Local or global, never lose reception

With over 50,000 FM and AM radio stations from across the globe, TuneIn Radio makes radio local, no matter how far from home you might be.

Your favorite songs, your favorite DJs

Search for stations playing your favorite songs and start listening instantly. And with real DJs spinning the records, you’ll discover new, relevant music.

The full talk radio spectrum

Whether it’s commentary on current events or a play by play of the big game, TuneIn has the talk radio that keeps your work day compelling.

Sync presets across your devices

Quickly dial back in to all your favorite programs and stations with savable presets and they’ll instantly be synced across your TuneIn Radio devices.

Read the review after the break!

Continue reading

SuperTube – Video App Review

 

This is a video app review of “SuperTube”, brought to you by the developer Fast Code. Version 1.3 was used for this review.

SuperTube is a YouTube viewer, similar in function to LazyTube. I will compare the two together quite often, as they seem to be direct competitors. SuperTube’s main difference is that it has the ability to download videos to your phone for offline viewing.

After the break, we’ll look at the included features and review the app.

Continue reading

LazyTube Updated To Version 2.2 – Full Details

Developer Lazyworm has released a big update on their YouTube player, LazyTube version 2.2

LazyTube 2.2 now features a free, fully featured and unrestricted trial for a limited time so everyone can experience this update.

Features exclusive to LazyTube

  • Chameleon tile (adapts to phone theme when pinned)
  • HD video streaming

Note: HD video streaming requires a very fast internet connection and uses quite a bit of processing power and we’re still striving to optimize it further.  Users may experience slightly choppy playback while the videos load however once the video is fully buffered it should play silky smooth.

New features (also available in free version)

  • Lazylist (customizable video feed)  -Note: This list has two primary features, one is to give users the ability to customize a feed of their choosing and the other is so that we can communicate efficiently with our users.  We have a "Lazyworm Apps" feed which we will update over time with sneak peeks into new upcoming features and other WP7 related videos we feel users will enjoy.  Having said that, users have full control over this and can switch off our feed if they wish.
  • Author details & subscription
  • Regional settings
  • Recently played videos (history feed)
  • Improvements
  • Subtle interface animations
  • Selectable description text (Nodo only)
  • Preview playback while browsing comments & author
  • Usability improvements
  • Bug fixes

LazyTube ($0.99)

YouTube by Lazyworm (Free)

LazyTube – Video App Review

This is a video app review of “LazyTube”, brought to you by the developer Lazyworm. Version 2.1 was used for this review.

LazyTube is a fully-featured YouTube app that has really come a long way since the initial release. When Windows Phone 7 initially released in late 2010, early adopters quickly realized that they had to install a YouTube application from Microsoft to be able to view videos, and that they were stuck to using YouTube’s mobile website. LazyTube was one of the first YouTube apps that allowed for slick graphical interface and additional features.

LazyTube includes nearly all the features you might want in a YouTube application and performs well. Interesting to note, at this time, both the “YouTube” and “LazyTube” applications are identical on the Marketplace. One is free, and one isn’t. It’s certainly your choice if you want to support the developer at this time. Lazyworm promises added features for paid users on the upcoming version 2.2.

Please view the video to see it in action. If you’re lazy like the title of the app, skip to the bottom line and score after the break!

Continue reading

Weave – Video App Review

This is a video app review of “Weave”, brought to you by the developer SelesGames.

Weave is a news reader that really stands out on Windows Phone 7. It features 33 pre-loaded categories of news, utilizing 180 pre-loaded news sources including CNN, Wall Street Journal, ESPN, Engadget, USA Today, and WMPOWERUSER!

You are able to manage which news categories appear on your starting screen. Once you have your favorite categories, you can browse each individual category if you like. The best option, however, is to Weave it! When you click the “All News” link, it will weave all your favorite categories into a news feed for you. Sidenote: WP7 News is an included category!

Browsing articles is speedy and intuitive. While viewing a snippet, you have several options. You can mark it as read, view the full article, email it, post it to your facebook wall, tweet it, send it to your Instapaper account, and open it into internet explorer.

Reading full articles is another shining spot for Weave. The “Mobilizer” feature views stories without all the website fluff that gets in the way. It’s perfectly formatted for your phone, and the pages load near-instantly. It truly makes reading a joy.

At the bottom of the first page gives you the settings menu. This is where you can manage your categories, create new ones, manage your feeds, find new ones, and view the support page.

Swiping to the left brings you “Featured News” in a Photo Tile gallery. Very slick looking.

Swiping to the left again brings you the “Tasks” page. This is the same as the settings page. The option to import from Google Reader is coming soon.

BOTTOM LINE:

Positives:

  • Slick appearance and super-fast performance while navigating within the app
  • The Mobilizer function works flawlessly, and really makes this the news reader to beat
  • Great configurability to your interests
  • Numerous options for sharing stories and saving them for later
  • Several recent updates have truly improved performance and features, showing us that the developer cares about this app

Negatives:

  • None

SCORE: 10/10

Update:  Some have stated that they don’t like the load time of the application.  The developer tweets that the startup counter will countdown from 5 instead of 9 on the upcoming update.

Links:

Weave ( $2.99 and available as a free trial )

The Septic’s Freebie – Video App Review

You may be wondering what the heck “The Septic’s Freebie” or “The Septic’s Companion” apps are. According to the developer Beta Minus, it’s “A humo(u)rous yet strangely useful guide to British slang from the book, The Septic’s Companion. If you can’t tell your brolly from your baps or your pants from your plus-fours, this application will be essential. Browsable by category or letter, searchable, and includes audio clips of each word and even a “guess the definition” game. If you have a data connection, you can even hear audio pronunciations. Ideal for anyone who is relocating to the U.K., or dating a limey, or working with Brits, or watches British television programmes, or once went to a British pub, or has at some point in their life owned any item which came from Britain. Also it makes you popular at parties and may, in certain circumstances, avert fist-fights.”

I can safely say I fall into that category, being from the United States. I am, however, a huge fan of Top Gear, and I’ve noticed they say things that go right over my head quite often. This just might be the guide to help me out!

Full review after the break.

Continue reading

Samsung Focus NoDo Update Detailed

As you already know, AT&T officially began rolling out their version of the NoDo update to the Samsung Focus and possibly the LG Quantum today.  HTC Surround users, you are in for a bit of a wait, as your update isn’t planned until May.  The update is of course called the “Windows Phone Update, March 2011.”

If you jumped the gun and updated before the official AT&T release via the Hungarian VPN method, you must rebrand your phone to receive this update.  (Chevron updaters seem to update without any necessary changes.) Simply use the registry editor to revert the setting back to ATT-US from 000-88.  Once you’ve done that, your Zune software should notify you of an updated titled “Samsung Update for Windows Phone.”  This appears to be an update geared for those of us who already had a non-AT&T version of NoDo.  Thoughtful!

Information on what has changed after the break.

Continue reading

Unannounced NoDo bugfixes / features

Even though NoDo may not have brought too many bugfixes or features to the table, the ones that were added were definitely appreciated.  The Marketplace crashing was an endless frustration for many of us, and it seems to perform much faster, and is rock solid and reliable now.  Copy and Paste performs very predictably, and I have found myself using it a lot.

Are there any bugfixes or features that Microsoft never announced?  There seem to be!

Scenario – you’re enjoying your Classic Rock playlist while browsing WMPoweruser on your phone.  What’s this?  A video review of a game you’re interested in?  So, you click on the video, and it loads into Youtube.  You’re finished with the video, back to the article page, and your Classic Rock playlist is no longer loaded!

This has happened to me more than I can remember, and it was extremely annoying.

Enter NoDo – After the youtube video is finished playing, the playlist is restored to your volume bar, and can easily be resumed.  BEAUTIFUL!

I want to open up the comments section to you – are there any bugfixes or easter eggs that you’ve found that Microsoft has never announced?  They are certainly there, although they may be few.

Let us know in the comments below.