According to rumour, next week Facebook is to launch a new in-browser video chat based on Skype technology.
The product has been built on Skype and will include a desktop component. Itâ€™s not clear to me whether that means it will just work if a user has Skype already installed on the computer, or if additional software will need to be downloaded even if the user already uses Skype. But itâ€™s clear that thereâ€™s very deep integration between the products, and from the userâ€™s perspective, the product will be an in browser experience.
Facebook and Skype have already been working together, including integration of various Facebook features into the Skype service.
But this is something else entirely. The partnership could substantially increase Skype usage. Facebook has more than 750 million active users. Currently Skype has just 170 million. And it will certainly help Facebook become even stickier for users as they start to have voice and video chat as an option to communicate.
Microsoft has long invested in Facebook, and closer links between Facebook and the now-Microsoft-owned Skype can only be a good thing. Skype last year became much more closely integrated with Facebook chat – perhaps in the near future the two will become one and the same?
While various hacks and custom theme workarounds for developer-unlocked devices exist, a broader range of colours for WP7′s tiles is a perennial request from everyday users, and rumours have circulated that more customisation would be available in Mango. However, Joe Belfiore today stated in a tweet that no such customisation is forthcoming – not in Mango, at least.
@necrovoid There’s not dramatically different color or visual tile customization in Mango.. sorry about that!
While Mango may not be bringing more colours to WP7, the customisation options for developers remain broad. Saijo George, following on from several previous posts on custom themes, has posted a new tutorial on how to use registry edits to customise the background colour.
A caveat, of course, is that this involves playing around with the registry, and shouldn’t be attempted by novices. Unfortunately, this customisation only works on developer-unlocked phones.
After reportedly lacklustre advertising efforts in the French market, Microsoft (in concert with Orange) has launched not one, but two new online advertising campaigns for Windows Phone 7: the first playing up WP7′s Xbox Live integration and “Must Have” games, the second aimed at business users.
The page linked to by the “Must Have” campaign opens with an advert for WP7 devices on Orange for a mere 19/month, and talks up the gaming features (translated:)
Keep the game beyond your living room with the Xbox LIVE Windows Phone!
Find your Gamertag on your mobile and follow the progress of your Gamerscore and your success at any time. You can also compare your performance with your contacts Xbox LIVE.
Changing your avatar on your phone like on your console. Personalize it, dress him and make him live in the palm of your hand.
Discover the best mobile games with stunning graphics and animations: Hydro Thunder Go – May 25, Doodle Jump – June 1, geoDefense – June 8, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I – June 15, Plants vs. Zombies – Jun. 22, Angry Birds – June 29
It’s time to upgrade to Windows Phone!
Meanwhile, the more soberly presented Windows Phone for Professionals sells WP7′s enterprise features (also translated):
Why settle for a smartphone designed for business use
when you can do so much more with Windows Phone?
Thanks to Outlook, go to your mail wherever you are.
View, edit and send attachments of your emails with Office.
With Windows Live Messenger on Windows Phone, please
and chat with all your friends at home or on their mobile.
With Internet Explorer, surf the web like on your PC to view
your accounts, book your travel or do your shopping online.
Discover the world of Xbox LIVE for Windows Phone: graphics and animations
worthy of handheld and an exceptional choice.
It’s time to upgrade to Windows Phone!
Following on from the announcement that popular all-in-one instant messaging software IM+ was today submitted to WP7 Marketplace, WMPU reader Tej Palladino Peters asked whether this app would contain support for Windows Live Messenger. The answer? No.
There have long been complaints about the “official” Messenger client, Messenger by Miyowa, and here, as with the removal of other Messenger clients, it seems Microsoft are actively preventing third party competitors. WLM users can look forward to excellent Messenger integration in the forthcoming Mango update; however, until Mango rolls out, it seems we’ll have to be satisfied with what we have.
As with the Japanese support, this appears to be full localisation and integration of the Korean language rather than simply an alphabet switch.
Korean MSP Chan Heo (a finalist in the 2011 Imagine Cup) has an account of the event, and more pictures, on his blog here (in Korean.)
Thanks to Joon Hong for the tip.
The device was bought by Japanese WP7 user @Pandora_Grani from Yahoo Auctions Japan. The seller claimed to have bought it in Shanghai or Hong Kong. While the phone appears to think it’s been set to English language, the text all over the phone (apart, strangely, from the Music & Video hub) is in Chinese. It’s suspected that this was made by ROM hackers at xda.cn. If this is an amateur effort, it’s an impressive one (though as I can’t read Chinese I can’t tell how well done or useful it really is).
The eagle-eyed folks at monsmartphone.net have noticed that the options page for Mango’s IE9 as seen in this video above (skip to the three-minute mark for the options) includes a new field – “default search engine”. It seems with Mango Microsoft are broadening the choices available for IE9′s search bar – and, potentially, the one-press search using the phone’s hardware button.
Thanks to Clarkk for the tip.
While the official Groupon application launched last week, it sadly only works for users in the US and Canada. However, a WMPU reader dropped an email to Groupon and received word that a UK version is in the works. Quoting a Groupon spokesman:
Unfortunately the Windows Phone 7 Groupon app is currently only available for the US and Canada. We’re working on a UK version and hope to launch it soon. In the mean time, you can view the daily deals by pointing your phone’s browser to www.groupon.co.uk.
Popular WP7 radio app TuneIn Radio, once of iOS, has updated to version 1.2. Improvements include:
Better support for Windows streams (no pause in playback, when locking the screen, should work over Bluetooth now)
Fixed error loading low bitrate (< 32 kbit/s) streams (many radio scanners stream at 16 kbps).
Option to disable screen auto-lock for Now playing screen, which is useful when user wants to see now playing information all the time
The app can use location services to find radio stations local to the user, as well as allowing them to select from over 50,000 radio stations round the globe.
Be advised that some UK users have reported trouble installing TuneIn Radio through the Zune software; it does however work fine when installing directly through the phone, though (tested on Samsung Taylor).
via simplemobilereview, thanks Chris for the tip.
Continuing with the multi-platform theme, why port your game when you can write it cross-platform from the start.
Pocketeeers has just released its first multi-platform Arkanoid style arcade title BattleBallz for iPhone, iPad and Windows Phone 7.
The game can be played both against a computer or a second player (using 4 point multi-touch). Players face off across a playfield separated by breakable bricks and do battle over 10-30 rounds of increasing difficulty.
As the difficulty increases the playfield is littered with hazards such as Gravity Wells, Zappers and Grabbers. Players can power up their own team or put the enemy team at a disadvantage by collecting positive power-ups, whilst collecting negative power-ups will put the players own team at a disadvantage.
BattleBallz is designed to support a wide range of skill levels with 4 difficulty modes (easy, normal, hard and insane). An achievements system is integrated into the game giving the player around 80 achievements to obtain and post to their Facebook account .
The app features:
- Single and 2 player modes allowing you to play head to head against insane AI or an insane friend
- Pick your battle arrangement using AI opponents to help you
- 4 modes of difficulty (easy, normal, hard and insane)
- Progressive difficulty from round to round with new game play features added at various stages such as zappers, black holes and gravity wells
- Around 80 different achievements that can be earned and posted to Facebook
- Pick-ups to help / hinder players such as barriers, shrink enemy, grow player, freeze wave and more
- Slam play to trick your enemies
- 10, 20 and 30 round battles
- Stats tracking to help you measure and improve your performance
- Death match bonus rounds
BattleBallz is Â£0.99 with a free trial and can be found in Marketplace here.
With too many devs release for iOS first and put together ports for WP7 Â it’s good to see a forward-looking studio for once.Â Pocketeers previous work includes titles such as Need for Speed on Nintendo GBA and Nintendo DS. Video and more information about the game can be found at www.battleballz.com.
Microsoft’s recent update to the WP7 advertising SDK is a potential boon to Stateside developers – setting up a unified advertising service so that devs don’t have to worry so much. However, the Microsoft ad solution has one fairly large issue for those outside the USA: they can’t use it.
French WP7 site monsmartphone.net has however put together a useful list of ad solutions for WP7 developers outside the States (in French).
Developing for WP7 from outside America is at times a very difficult and frustrating process. Does anyone else have horror stories of leaping through all the Microsoft and IRS hoops?
Thanks to Gilles for the tip.
ZDNet UK have an interview up with Matt Bencke, head of WP7 marketplace development, in which he discusses the development of the forthcoming Mango update in the context of Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia.
Bencke, seen in the video above discussing the signing of the Microsoft/Nokia deal, offers some interesting thoughts into both the reasons for the deal and Microsoft’s future development plans.
We’re just trying to make it effortless in a way that developers can be a part of that, because the developers are always going be more creative and innovative than we can be. Things like breaking developers out of static app tiles with real live tiles and deep linking and extras, better Bing indexing of Marketplace â€” all those things are just tools for developers to take assets we’re working on together already with Nokia and make them shine.
We are trying to balance, ‘we build the hardware, it’s our way or the highway’, and the fragmented, ‘anything goes’ thing. We’re trying to balance giving device makers some flexibility so they can charge higher or lower prices and yet not eliminate addressable market for developers.
It’s worth a manufacturer thinking it wants to produce a low-end Windows Phone if we’re thinking that’s maybe not such a bad idea, given a market that’s growing 57 percent this year.
You can read the full interview at ZDNet here. Thanks to Tiago for the tip.
WMPU reader Alex Bustamante recently mailed the creators of FastCustomer, a popular iOS/Android app which allows you to put call services on hold without sitting through hours of terrible elevator music and tiresome corporate recorded messages about their commitment to excellent service and how valuable you the customer are to them.
Recently i read on various internet news websites about your application for
mobile users. I was curious so i clicked on a link only to find that your
application is made available to solely to iPhone/andriod users. I recently
bought a Windows Phone 7(WP7) phone OS by Microsoft which is a brand new to the
phone market but your application currently doesn’t support WP7. Im sure that a
ton of other WP7 users would greatly appreciate your application if you were to
port it over onto the Windows Phone 7 marketplace. I haven’t seen any
application like yours on the WP7 marketplace and I know that it will be a great
addition to it. I would gladly pay to have your genius application on my phone.
Thank you for taking the time to read and keep up the good work. Hope to hear
The response he got was nonspecific, but positive:
Thanks for the message Alex, WP7 is definitely on our list of platforms as we
Despite having previously acknowledged the costs of continuing to support Symbian, Nokia has not only pledged to support the OS until 2014, but will continue to release Symbian phones until 2012 “at least”. Both of these announcements come from Chris Carr, MD of Nokia Australia, at a press event in Sydney yesterday; they may be specific to the Australian market.
Already the benefit of the new synergy between Nokia and Microsoft is showing, with Nokia adopting an upgraded Microsoft Exchange server client and Communicator in its new business phones.
But Mr Carr said Nokia would not be tying itself exclusively to Microsoft.
…Chris Carr stressed that Symbian and Windows Phone 7 will co-exist until at least 2012. When pressed if 2012 would be the last year of Symbian smartphones, Carr refused to confirm or deny the presence of Symbian phones beyond this point. He also said Nokia has “invested an enormous amount of money” in Symbian and stressed the continuation of the platform in years to come.
Carr also reaffirmed Nokia’s continued development of MeeGo in partnership with Intel, and announced the latest Symbian update, “Anna”. You can read a full breakdown of the press conference at The Australian here.