All posts by l3v5y

Olly is an Electronic Engineering student and a Microsoft Student Partner. He is currently using a bright yellow HTC 8X.

TuneIn Radio updates to v1.2

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.

BattleBallz released simultaneously on iPhone and Windows phone 7

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 £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  it’s good to see a forward-looking studio for once. 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.

Ad solutions for European developers

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).

The list compares the pros and cons of  ADDuplex,   Smaato,  millennial media,  Zesttadz,  WideSpace,  mobfox,  movend, mobclix, and  admob.

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.

Matt Bencke on Microsoft/Nokia deal and Mango

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 — 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.

WP7 on FastCustomer’s to-do list

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.

Hi there,

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
back

Alex.

The response he got was nonspecific, but positive:

Thanks for the message Alex, WP7 is definitely on our list of platforms as we
build out.

Nokia to continue Symbian support until 2014, devices until 2012

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.

via PC World Australia and The Australian.

Rumour: Fujitsu developing Symbian/Win7 hybrid

Fujitsu is rumoured to be developing the F-07c, a handset which dual-boots Nokia’s Symbian OS and Windows 7. Yes, that’s Windows 7 the desktop OS, not Windows Phone 7. Akihabara News, which broke the rumour, has this to say on the strange device:

According to the rumor, Fujitsu and Docomo will release this year the F-07c a tablet like 4” WSVGA device running on Intel Atom and with 32GB of SSD that will comes runs on dual Boot both Windows 7 and Symbian OS. Fake? Maybe since the picture provided with the news look fishy but this information is coming from a rather serious source that tends to nail it pretty much every time.

via gottabemobile.com.

Miso comes to WP7

Miso, a social television network centred around watching TV and movies, has recently made the jump to Windows Phone 7. Miso, which is also available on IOS, Android and a web frontend, allows “checkins” to various shows and integrates with Twitter and Facebook. According to intomobile.com, so excited over badges they mention them twice, an update is expected soon:

In the next update, you can expect to earn badges (like on the official iPhone and Android apps), earn badges for extra check-ins, and recieve push notifications.

Miso can be downloaded from in the Marketplace now.

via intomobile.com.

Rumour: MS to announce more “flexible” hardware specs

WinRumors believes that Microsoft is planning to announce a more flexible hardware spec for Windows Phone 7, possibly even at MIX 11.

WP7′s Chassis 1 spec was at the time of release high, almost punishingly so, although technology has marched on a little since then. Lower specs may facilitate cheaper devices, helping WP7 to compete better against Android at the lower end of the market. Nokia, of course, are famed for producing quality low-spec handsets, and this move may be a result of their new influence on WP7 – but it may equally not have been. We can only hope that a lower spec does not damage the fast, slick, and above all coherent user interface that is one of WP7′s greatest strengths.

via winrumors.com

WP7 at TechEd 2011: Lessons Learned

The Windows Phone for IT Pros blog on TechNet has announced that the WP7 sessions at Microsoft’s TechEd North America 2011 event, which takes place this May in Atlanta, Georgia, will focus in particular on the lessons that have been learned over the last six months of WP7 deployment and release.

Of particular interest will be sessions on understanding the intricacies of the Marketplace and WP7 dev tools, and optimising app performance. Actually making it to Georgia isn’t necessary, as virtual participation is possible through MyTechEd.

Synopses of particularly relevant sessions can be found at the Windows Phone for IT Pros TechNet blog here, and all WP7 related events on the TechEd 2011 site here.

SYNNEX announces WP7 development

IT services company and distributor SYNNEX Corporation, known, among other things, for distributing HTC devices in Australia, have announced their intention to develop WP7 software as part of their portfolio of mobile operating systems.

“By adding Windows Phone 7 Mobile Applications development capabilities, we are deepening our commitment and value to Microsoft and its entire ecosystem,” said Kevin Murai, President and Chief Executive Officer of SYNNEX Corporation. “By bringing mobility development capabilities on multiple OS mobile platforms, we are helping our partners to penetrate into the mobility space, influence the sales of up-and-coming technologies, like tablets, and most importantly, further enable them to deliver more efficient solutions to their customers.”

via echannelline.

Microsoft to delay opening of retail chains

According to Business Insider, Steve Ballmer has been convinced that ramping up the numbers of brick-and-mortar Microsoft stores is not a short-term priority.

It is rumoured that Microsoft have been interested in matching Apple store for store in terms of high street numbers, but there are drawbacks to this proposition: brick-and-mortar stores simply aren’t as profitable for Microsoft as for Apple. Apple have always had their stores as their flagship and primary outlet for their hardware, whereas Microsoft have historically preferred to focus on software and allow existing OEM and retail channels to take a cut. Thus, any brick-and-mortar Microsoft effort is essentially competing against its other channels.

However, this may change if Microsoft decides that a high street presence will be useful to WP7′s success, as it has been for the iPhone – Business Insider’s Matt Rosoff posted a convincing anecdote last November on the unique advantages of a real store with real staff to talk to.

via Tom’s Hardware.

WP7 student competition – win prizes!

studentblogThe MSDN UK Student Blog has posted about their upcoming WP7 app development competition.

To enter the student competition you have to write a Windows Phone 7 app and publish it in Marketplace, you email [email protected] with your publisher name, app name and a screen shot of your app and that’s it – we’ll do the rest. You can win a Microsoft LifeCam Show and/or Windows Phone 7 t-shirt in each of the 6 rounds of the competition and one of the 6 winners will win the grand prize of an HTC 7 Trophy. See full terms and conditions below for the STUDENT ONLY competition.

The competition (which is only open to UK students) is being marketed as part of the wider Think.Dev rewards scheme, and the same submissions will be accepted for both.

You can read the announcement at the MSDN UK blog here.