Windows Phone

How to create a RSS feed web tile with notifications for your Microsoft Band

This is a blog post not only for developers, but also for users (I will try to get not to technical in this post).  I managed to buy a Microsoft Band 2 for me here in Europe two weeks ago, and of course I am still exploring all the functionality that it has. A web tile is one of the cool features it supports – with a web tile, you can add your digital footprint to the Microsoft Band. And the best thing: you don’t need to be a developer to create your own! Microsoft provides a web kit that creates the tile for you!

Let’s have a look at the (not so hard to understand) steps it takes to create your own web tile:

The First step is to choose the layout, which also describes the type of the web tile:

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After selecting the feed tile template, you need to find the RSS url of your blog or other source site. Paste it in the desired field and hit the next button.

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Microsoft’s site now reads your RSS feed and provides you the single fields that come with your feed. When you hover with your mouse over the fields, they’’ll get highlighted. Just drag and drop them into the Microsoft Band preview image on the left hand side.

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Now that you have selected the data that should appear on the Microsoft Band, let’s set up the notification for the web tile. This is where it gets a bit tricky, but most feeds should be covered by the following image:

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No worries, I am telling you what is done here. The first and second line is the title and the description of the notification. You can put in there whatever you like. The most important part is the condition expression below the Band preview. Sadly the documentation provided by Microsoft is not as detailed for feed tiles as it should. Luckily, I found a post at StackOverflow that explains a little bit more. If you’re a developer, feel free to read the full text. If you are a user: just drag and drop the guid field of the “item” section into the first and also into the last field and set the condition to not equal. If your feed gets a new item, you will get a notification on your band with that. This condition looks if there is any new guid in the items list of your feed – and if so, sends out the notification and shows the badge.

In the last step, we just need to provide some details about the web tile we have created. If you want to have all features, you must provide both images:

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If you want to have control on how the image looks like, you should provide the images already flattened into a transparent and white image already. The result could look very creepy otherwise. After that, you have finally created your web tile – congratulations!

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Once you have downloaded the web tile, you just need to mail it to yourself or anyone who wants to use it. The other option is to put it on your OneDrive and just share a link to your web tile. To share the link you need to add the link of your online storage to this: “mshealth-webtile://?action=download-manifest&url=”. The web tile I created for my blog is in this case: mshealth-webtile://?action=download-manifest&url=http://1drv.ms/1TDRGSC . This link only works on phones (also Android and iOS). It opens the Microsoft Health app (that needs to be installed for the usage of web tiles, anyways) and asks you to install the web tile:

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Once you have done that, your web tile is ready to go. Once you have a new entry in your RSS feed, the notification should appear on your band. If you want to force the update, just force the Microsoft Health app to sync with your band. After that, you should see the notification and also the badge count. Here is a shot of the one I did for testing:

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I only began to play around with web tiles, and already was able to create a pretty good result so far. As I will explore them more and more, I will continue to blog about it. In the meantime, I hope this blog post is helpful for some of you. Have fun, everybody!

Posted by msicc in Dev Stories, Microsoft Band, User Stories, Windows Phone, 1 comment

Nokia promoting his Lumia 925 at German carrier o2

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As some of you know, I am working for the German phone carrier o2. Today a Nokia promotion team visited us to show us more of the Lumia awesomeness and gifted us some ice cream.

The promotion is called “Nacht.Sicht.Gerät”, which means “Night. Sight. Device”.

Within the truck Nokia showed off the FatBoy chargers and the Purity wireless headset. They weren’t working with my current Lumia 925 testing device – the promoter said it was due to the fact that my battery was already full. Honestly I think there was no charger in it.

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There was also the possibility to win something. For that, Nokia put up giant Lumia Buzzer automat, where you had to hit the buzzer as often as the screen said. The price was some Nokia Lumia swag (yes, that’s me on that pic).

 

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At least Nokia was demonstrating Nokia SmartCam. You could wear a “Man of Steel” costume and be photographed behind in front of this scenery from the movie:

 

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Sadly I did not find the time to let me photograph there. Funny thing:  there was also some Kryptonite Candy swag (get it?).

Here one final image for all the swag I was able to get:

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Good to see Nokia is still pushing their Lumia phone(s) and their accessories and helping Windows Phone to get more acceptance.

Posted by msicc in Windows Phone, 0 comments

Game Review: EA Real Racing 2 for Windows Phone

It has been a very long time now that I did my last game review, but Real Racing 2 somehow made me changing this.

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Although the game is a Lumia Exclusive and has a relatively high price ($4.99/€4,99), I love racing games. After playing around with the trial version, it was clear that I’ll buy it. It needs 243 MB of your phone storage to work.

So let’s get into the game:

First, you need to choose a car to get into the racing cups and leagues. Therefore you get 25.000 bucks to buy a new car. I started with the Volkswagen Golf GTI, but you are also able to choose a 2010 Volvo C30.

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After buying your first car, you will have no money left for the moment, so you need to start your first race. There are 5 different ways to control the game, I prefer the “Auto acceleration-Tilt to steer”-touch to brake combo.

I switched off the steering and the brake assistant because I want to control the car by myself (or even not, you will see).

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In most races you’ll start from the very last position and need to drive through to position 1. This is a bit tricky for the first races, because the CPU drivers are closing gaps very hard partly, but you will find a way to pass them after you have made some experiences with it. Sometimes it also helps to be as rough as the CPU drivers.

You have 5 different camera angles which you can use during a race:

  • in car
  • behind the car – near
  • behind the car – far
  • front on top of the engine hood
  • front bumper

I often us the front bumper angle, but with Real Racing 2 it is a lot of more fun to use the in car angle. The movements of the driver are realistic, which makes the whole game play more realistic.

Of course, like every good racing game, Real Racing 2 let’s you pimp your car a little bit. There are upgrade packages which you can buy like Racing brake pads or a chip tuning for your engine.

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Besides the career mode, you can also play Quick Race, Time Trial or Multi Player. There is also a Leaderboard, where you can check how good you are compared to your friends.

Cars from the following  constructors are available:

  • BMW
  • Chevrolet
  • Ford
  • Jaguar
  • Lotus
  • McLaren
  • Nissan
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo

Every constructor has street models as well as special racing models to choose from. Over all, I already love this game, and hardly can put it down.

Here is a short demonstration of the game in action. Thanks to my son Daniele, who was the “camera man” for this video:

If you use my blog reader app, click here to open the browser.

You can download the game here in the Windows Phone Store.

Posted by msicc in Game Reviews, Windows Phone, 0 comments

Are lockscreens outdated?

In one of their latest shows, Vernon and Andrew from the awesome Glance and Go Radio discussed whether or not having a lockscreen still makes sense.
Unlike many people may think, lockscreens were not really meant to protect a device from being accessed by other individuals, but derived from the keypad locks cell phones used to have to avoid accidentally performing a phone call while carrying the device in your pocket (butt dialing).

While you may argue about the actual use on touch devices, I find lockscreens a great way to further personalize my device. Especially with the new features Microsoft introduced with Windows Phone 8.
Meanwhile several dozens of all kinds of lockscreen apps can be found in the Windows Phone store. Some of them offering quite unique features. I’m currently going with Lock Buster, which you can find here.

And even though there are certainly more important parts of the OS which need optimization and improvements, I seriously hope Microsoft hasn’t reached their end of the line with the lockscreen options. I personally would like to be able to add more than just 5 apps to it. I don’t see a single reason why a second array of icons couldn’t be added.
And while these icons at least serve the purpose of letting users know about the amount of new items for the configured apps, I don’t see it necessarily stop there. I’d love to be able to tap the icons to have them reveal more detailed information about what’s awaiting me. These could simply be displayed above the clock. Perhaps with a net slide or fade in effect.
That’s just my personal opinion of course.

What do you think? Would you rather get rid of this ancient feature or keep it?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Posted by dkp1977 in Microsoft, Windows Phone, 1 comment

Editorial: Samsung Ativ S – a Windows Phone that should not be

I managed to get my hands on a Samsung Ativ S recently and to play around with it a bit. This post is about my experience.

First, of course I am happy about every OEM that releases a Windows Phone Device. But Samsung achieved something I never thought it would happen to me: I wish they would have not released the Ativ S.

Ok, let’s check the device itself:

If you open the package and see the device, you will see immediately that the Ativ S is a revamped device. It looks identical to the Samsung Galaxy S3. Even the lock screen wallpaper is the same. First bad feeling on that device.

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First positive thing: the display. The Ativ S uses Samsung’s AMOLED technology, which is really a good piece of technology. Colors are strong, and the display illuminates very well in the dark as in the light.

As it is a Windows Phone, the social networks integration works as you’d expect. Apps are working like they should, no surprise here.

Let’s check the Samsung Zone in the Windows Phone Store. Samsung has only a few apps they provide. They have a diary app, some photo apps, a RSS reader, their on ChatON app and a Music Hub. The biggest part of the Samsung Zone are Dictionary apps.

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I did not test all of the apps, but the apps I tested did not feel spectacular or made me want to use them again.

Even HTC, who also produces also Android devices, has lead me to more enthusiasm for their apps than the Samsung Apps do.

Ok, now let’s take another look at the hardware. The device feels very light-weight in your hand. On the other side, it feels very cheap. They brushed the back cover to look like solid metal cover, but it feels just like plastic.

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I had multiple Smartphones in my hands already, even plastic could feel better.

The only advantage I can see is the extreme large battery, which has a very good life time.

Clearly Samsung needed to bring a Windows Phone 8 device to the market as a Microsoft Partner. But they did it in a wrong way.

Using the hardware of one of their Android devices makes sense from the economic view. But they could not expect to be successful with that.

My conclusion: This device will get some attention from Samsung fans, but I doubt it will be one of the top Windows Phones. The only recent news about the Ativ Series (both Windows and Windows Phone) were that Samsung discontinues distribution to certain markets, which is not surprising me after I had the chance to play around with the Ativ S.

Posted by msicc in Windows Phone, 10 comments

How to search the Windows Phone Store within your app

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I am currently working on my NFC app, and I want to make it easier for the end user to search for the AppId which you need for the LaunchApp record. So I thought about a possible solution for this, and of course the easiest way is to search the app.

If you only want to search the Windows Phone Store and let show some search results, there is the MarketplaceSearchTask, which you can call as a launcher. The only problem is, you cannot get any values into your app this way. But I found a way to get the results into my app. This post is about how I did it.

The first thing you will need to add to your project is the HTMLAgilitypack. It helps you parsing links from an HTML-based document. Huge thanks to @AWSOMEDEVSIGNER (follow him!), who helped me to get started with it and understand XPath. Xpath is also important for the HAP to work with Windows Phone. You will need to reference to System.Xml.Xpath.dll, which you will find in

%ProgramFiles(x86)%Microsoft SDKsMicrosoft SDKsSilverlightv4.0LibrariesClient or
%ProgramFiles%Microsoft SDKsMicrosoft SDKsSilverlightv4.0LibrariesClient

Ok, if we have this, we can continue in creating the search. Add a TextBox, a Button and a ListBox to your XAML:

            <Grid.RowDefinitions>
                <RowDefinition Height="90"></RowDefinition>
                <RowDefinition Height="90"></RowDefinition>
                <RowDefinition Height="*"></RowDefinition>
            </Grid.RowDefinitions>
            <TextBox x:Name="MPsearchTerm" Height="80" Grid.Row="0"></TextBox>
            <Button x:Name="searchButton" Height="80" Grid.Row="1" Content="search" Click="searchButton_Click_1"></Button>
            <ListBox Grid.Row="2" x:Name="ResultListBox">
                <ListBox.ItemTemplate>
                    <DataTemplate>
                        <StackPanel Orientation="Horizontal">
                            <Image Source="{Binding AppLogo}" 
                                   Height="50" 
                                   Width="50" 
                                   Margin="10,0,0,0">
                            </Image>
                            <TextBlock Text="{Binding AppName}"
                                       FontSize="32"
                                       Margin="12,0,0,0" >
                            </TextBlock>

                        </StackPanel>

                    </DataTemplate>
                </ListBox.ItemTemplate>
            </ListBox>

After creating this, we will hook up the Click-Event of our Button to create our search. We are going to use the search of windowsphone.com to get all the information we want. You can parse any information that you need like ratings etc., but we focus on AppId, Name of the App and of course the store Logo of each app.

First, we need to create the search Uri. The Uri is country dependent like your phone. This is how we create the Uri:

string currentLanguage = CultureInfo.CurrentCulture.Name;
string searchUri = string.Format("http://www.windowsphone.com/{0}/store/search?q={1}", currentLanguage, MPsearchTerm.Text);

After that, we are using a WebClient to get the HTML-String of  the search. I used the WebClient as I want to make it usable on WP7.x and WP8.

//start WebClient (this way it will work on WP7 & WP8)
WebClient MyMPSearch = new WebClient();
 //Add this header to asure that new results will be downloaded, also if the search term has not changed
// otherwise it would not load again the result string (because of WP cashing)
MyMPSearch.Headers[HttpRequestHeader.IfModifiedSince] = DateTime.Now.ToString();
//Download the String and add new EventHandler once the Download has completed
 MyMPSearch.DownloadStringCompleted += new DownloadStringCompletedEventHandler(MyMPSearch_DownloadStringCompleted);
MyMPSearch.DownloadStringAsync(new Uri(searchUri));

In our DownloadStringCompletedEvent we now are parsing the HTML-String. First thing we need to do is to create a HTML-Document that loads our string:

//HAP needs a HTML-Document as it is based on Linq/Xpath
HtmlDocument doc = new HtmlDocument();
doc.LoadHtml(e.Result);

The next step is a bit tricky if you do not know Xpath. You need to got through all the HTML elements to find the one that holds the data you want to parse. In our case it is the class called “medium” within the result table “appList”.

var nodeList = doc.DocumentNode.SelectNodes("//table[@class='appList']/tbody/tr/td[@class='medium']/a");

Note that you have to use ‘ instead of ” for the class names in Xpath. I recommend to open a sample search page in an internet browser and look into the code view of the page to find the right path.

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Now that we have a NodeList, we can parse the data we want:

foreach(var node in nodeList)
            {
                //get AppId from Attributes
                cutAppID = node.Attributes["data-ov"].Value.Substring(5, 36);

                //get ImageUri for Image Source 
                var ImageMatch = Regex.Match(node.OuterHtml, "src");
                cutAppLogo = node.OuterHtml.Substring(ImageMatch.Index + 5, 92);

                // get AppTitle from node
                //Beginning of the AppTitle String
                var AppTitleMatch = Regex.Match(node.InnerHtml, "alt=");
                var StringToCut = Regex.Replace(node.InnerHtml.Substring(AppTitleMatch.Index),"alt="",string.Empty);
                //End of the AppTitle String
                var searchForApptitleEnd = Regex.Match(StringToCut, "">");
                //FinalAppName - cutting away the rest of the Html String at index of searchForApptitelEnd
                // if we won't do that, it would not display the name correctly
                cutAppName = StringToCut.Remove(searchForApptitleEnd.Index);
           }

As you can see, we need to perform some String operations, but this is the easiest way I got the result I want – within my app. As always I hope this will be helpful for some of you.

You can download full working sample here:  MarketplaceSearch.zip

Happy coding!

Posted by msicc in Dev Stories, Windows Phone, wpdev, 0 comments

Who is it that actually complains about WP?

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That’s a question that’s been driving me for some time now. When I first came to Windows Phone – on my HD2 back in the days – I was kind of disappointed too. Coming from Windows Mobile and Android I was used to have access to almost anything in the system. I used to have all these nifty things like a file browser, a task switcher/manager, custom lockscreens, custom alarms, custom ringtones. Well, I spent more time for tinkering with the OS than I actually used the device. Not to mention that I flashed my device at least twice a week. Why? Because every single iteration of the ROMs I used was supposed to bring a little more stability and speed. I can’t even tell if this was actually true, but I always considered it well worth a shot.

So after flashing the first DFT WP ROM onto my HD2 – which was months ahead of the first update aka NoDo – I came to realize that MS obviously took a couple of steps back in terms of features. It almost felt as if they were approaching mobile OSes the same way Apple did. Which I found kind of shocking to say the least. Pre NoDo – and even pre Mango – WP7 lacked a lot of features that I felt were a necessity for each mobile OS. There wasn’t any multitasking, no official Messenger app, no social networks. But unlike many other users I saw the potential this new OS had. Even though it was lacking in so many ways. After spending a couple of weeks with it I started to lose the feeling to actually need file browsers, RAM cleaners, task managers and even the whole lot of customization I had gotten used to. Windows Phone’s strength was the focus on delivering information without the need of digging through a thousand of apps. It was its focus on providing a unique user experience and convenience that only Apple managed to provide with iOS so far. And from my point of view they did it in a much better way.

NoDo, Mango and now Windows Phone 8 all built up on these strengths. They added more features and even more access for devs to the underlying system. Each and every single feature Microsoft added was well thought about and felt right. It didn’t have that Frankenstein like patched together feeling I’ve always had with Android and even Windows Mobile.

I’m not blind though. I know that Windows Phone still lacks a few things and certainly doesn’t do everything right. Backups anyone? Podcasts? Xbox Live video support? Unlike many others I at least don’t have any issues with synchronization. But I can see that this is still considered a construction zone rather than a top notch solution. Zune did a better job there. But these are downsides every single OS has to deal with. There isn’t something like perfection.

I’m going to cut the chatter here now and go to what was supposed to be the original topic:

so who are actually the users who complain so much about Windows Phone and what it does or does not? That’s the point I was making with my personal story. It’s mostly these people who feel limited, because of the lack of customization. Limited because of the lack of access to the system. What these people see as boundaries is in fact the exact opposite. Windows Phone set them free. Free from things they actually don’t need. The issue is, they refuse to give into it. They refuse to take the time it needs to get comfortable with it. If more people would really USE a Windows Phone for more than just a couple of hours, they would see and feel the difference. Just like I – and many others now – did.

Bottom line is, it’s up to Microsoft and the OEMs to convince people that Windows Phone does (almost) everything a smartphone needs to do these days. And it does it in the most beautiful and convenient way possible.

Posted by dkp1977 in Microsoft, Windows Phone, 9 comments

Tap+Send: The Love Story of 2 NFC Devices

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Innovation in technology is hit and miss for a number of reasons. To prognosticate what advances in technology will be accepted by the general public is by no means, an exact science. There’s a constant barrage of new expensive toys with exclusive features that are “sure” to turn the world upside down, only to hit the market and fade into oblivion as a “niche market” concept. There are more than a handful of these types of advancements in the devices we all use on a day-to-day basis now, regardless of preferred OS. Yet for all intent and purpose, most don’t get utilized because of a lack of end users with similar features. NFC is one of those exclusive features and having 2 devices with it, I’ll explain why I see this being a feature that is here to stay.

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I won’t spend much time explaining NFC as most of you know about it. Quickly, NFC(near field communication) is a set of standards for devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity. Up to this point, most of the NFC ado has been made about NFC tags and the Qi wireless charging capabilities with our Windows Phone 8’s: Charging plates, charging stands, phone covers with Qi, the JBL PowerUp speaker that can charge your device while playing. Being such a new innovation in smartphones, there are limited accessories to aid in this new technology, even HTC used JBL’s speaker for Nokia to advertise its most recent Android device. In addition to the lack of accessories currently available for NFC enabled devices, there are a lack of end users who actually own a NFC enabled device. NFC is about sharing and if you have no one to share with, it becomes one of those “niche market” features fading into the past, full potential never being realized.

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My wife and I both have Nokia Lumia 920’s which has led to a unique experience among smartphone users, being able to utilize many aspects of the NFC’s features and that is what I’ll focus on now. One of the drawbacks to WP7 was the inability to share via Bluetooth. This was remedied in Windows Phone 8 allowing for the next evolutionary stage is sharing photos, videos, songs, documents, contacts, or websites…via NFC. No more waiting while you tried to get your Bluetooth to find the other incompatible device right next to you, no more waiting for the other person to email you with that important file or pic even though they’re standing next to you, no more waiting for file to download when opening your email, no…things have changed. Tap your phone and give or get that info now in a fun and engaging manner! I am beginning to see the Tap and Share feature as perhaps the most innovative feature with the largest amount of potential to the end-user. Of course like most new technologies this is assuming it can make it onto enough devices and into enough hands, driving the hardware cost down and finding its way onto lower cost devices for the masses to use. Without “the masses”, NFC, aside from wireless charging, losses its luster. In some sense, I’m actually rooting for HTC and Samsung to have some success with their Android devices utilizing NFC, the better they do, the better results all OS’s with this feature will do. Again, NFC’s success really does rely upon the masses.

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My wife and I use the Tap+Send feature frequently. We’re constantly sharing pictures and with Tap+Send, it’s always much faster and a sure bet the recipient gets the file! I’ve found that we’re both more likely to share pics when it’s as simple as Tap+Send. Send 1 or send multiple, it doesn’t matter. Honestly, I’m finding myself impatient now when I know someone is sending me a file and I have to wait for it to arrive in my inbox and still have to download it! Another added benefit to sharing your pics or videos via NFC is the data aspect. I avoid having to use up my allotted data both with my carrier and at home on WiFi, for those of you with shared family plans or have data limits because of satellite internet, you understand.

App

A close 2nd in utilization when it comes to Tap+Send: App Sharing, we do this at least once a day! As many of you know sharing apps via your WP8 was made easier by Microsoft when they gave us the ability to share it directly from the app side of your device. By pressing and holding an app, “Share” is now listed as on option and even better…you can do it via Tap+Send! Lightning fast access to the app’s direct link in the Windows Phone Store! Again, no waiting for it to show up in your inbox, it’s just there! I actually transferred all my apps this way when switching over from my old 920 to my new 920 to see how arduous it was. I’ve used App Reinstaller and it can take quite a long time to auto-populate your entire app history. I was blown away at how fast I was able to get my new 920 up and running with all my old apps!

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We also share music via Tap+Send. I’m going to start by saying that neither of us has a music pass of any sort. When we see something we like we purchase it, so I’m not sure how sharing music on a pass will work. My experience with music and Tap+Share has been sending and receiving music from my computer or music purchased from Zune and Xbox Music, all which has transferred and played without a hitch! It’s a relatively quick process, taking about 30 seconds from share to play!

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My wife and I have busy schedules between our marriage, kids, friends, activities, and work. We have many people who are friends in common and some aren’t for one reason or another, thus our people hubs are similar but not an exact match. There are many apps that help share contacts and WP does a pretty good job at giving you ways to share contacts as well, however none come close to the efficiency and speed with which you can do it when shared using Tap+Share! 2 taps and a phone “high-five” and the info is waiting to be saved.

Ready-for-enterprise

The last way I’ll look at is actually tied into the “Gold Mine” Microsoft sees in enterprise, sharing your documents via Tap+Send. The ways I’ve talked about using Tap+Send have been for the average user, but we all know that Microsoft is targeting businesses globally with WP8. The ability to share documents as simply as touching phones can be a game changer. Running late and can’t wait for that file to get to your inbox…need it now…phone “high five” and off you go! Not a gimmick, time is money and that makes dollars and sense!

I hope in time that we’ll see more and more devices showing up on the market NFC enabled at every level of phone: high, mid, and low range. This will take time but it’s time well worth it. When I stop and think back 2 years ago, I think about my Windows Mobile HTC Touch Pro 2, it could share via Bluetooth but it was a disaster of a process to get it to pair or be paired with not to mention the inability to retrieve most of the files types being sent! Our beloved Windows Phone has come a million miles from its predecessor, not without bumps in the road. Without those bumps though, many would forget all the amazing feats accomplished and adversity Microsoft/Windows Phone has managed to overcome!

Posted by TheWinPhan in App Reviews, Windows Phone, 1 comment

Editorial: 2012 – what a year!

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The year is coming to an end soon, so I wanted to write a short summary of my 2012 with Microsoft and MSicc.net.

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I started the year with a clean install of the Windows 8 preview, and was using it since then as my main PC OS. Everyday I felt more in love with the speed of Windows 8 and the idea of using apps on a PC. Microsoft constantly updated their previews over the year, until the final release.

Also Windows Phone was getting new attraction with the awesome Lumia 900. Nokia and Microsoft started a big ad campaign to support the launch of this device. Surely some of you will remember of “The smartphone beta test is over”.

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Over the year, Microsoft did tease us a few times with Windows Phone Apollo. We all thought in the beginning that our existing devices will be getting the Apollo treatment, until MS unleashes some more details about Windows Phone 8. Windows Phone 8 shares a lot of the OS with Windows 8, so naturally there has to be new hardware. Windows Phone 7 will get 7.8, which will bring at least the look of the start screen to older devices.

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Another beta program was launched for the Xbox Dashboard, which had better voice functionality, and of course another big thing: Internet Explorer on Xbox! That is really awesome as we are now able to surf the web with Kinect support as well as the Smart Glass app on your phone/tablet/PC.

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Which leads me to another fantastic release from Microsoft. The Smart Glass apps, no matter on which platform you will use it, extends the experience of films, games and also your Music experience.

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Talking about Music, Microsoft finally launched their Music Pass in Germany. Personally, I was waiting for this since the initial release of Windows Phone 7, and now they finally launched it. I did not wait a second to cancel my Spotify subscription, and switched to the Music Pass. And I love the experience, be it on WP7, WP8 or Windows 8/ Xbox, my collection is synched across all devices. I can choose which Songs I ‘ll keep in the cloud for streaming and which I download, so there is always a growing collection for me now.

I was also attending several developer days from Microsoft, which helped me in some parts of my own dev story. I updated Fishing Knots SE and plus several times this year and created I learn to tie my shoes, which is getting really good reviews all over the web. If you want to take a look at these apps, they all come with a test version, just type MSiccDev in the search, you will get a list with all of my apps.

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Sadly I have a bit trouble with the updated version of MSicc’s Blog for Windows Phone, I hope I can release it in early 2013, so you all can read and discuss or share articles from your phone.

Of course all of my Windows Phone apps will receive a special Windows Phone 8 update while keeping the work on the WP7 version.

I have also started development of a Windows 8 app for MSicc’s Blog, which I will submit in the early 2013 days to Microsoft to get it approved for the Windows 8 store.

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My personal highlight this year was to attend a keynote of Steve Ballmer himself, which was absolutely motivating as user and even more as developer. He really knows how to keep the crowd attending, and I really have to thank Microsoft Germany for this unique experience.

I want to thank Mark and Sean for joining me here on MSicc.net to entertain and inform you all, I bet we will see some awesome articles of both next year!

A big thanks also to the WPDev & Win8Dev community out there (you all know who you are). Keep up your great work and please keep the community alive!

Now I will come to an end with this post, as I want to further play around with my awesome Lumia 920 which Santa (aka my lovely wife) gifted me this year at Xmas.

What were your highlights this year? Leave a comment below!

As here in Germany is said for the new year wishes in advance: “Have a good slide into the new year”, stay safe and enjoy your time!

Posted by msicc in Dev Stories, Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 5 comments

Merry Xmas from Msicc’s Blog

MSicc's Blog Team XMAS

We had an amazing year. Microsoft launched Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, updated the Xbox Dashboard and the Xbox Live services. And there are a lot of things that are worth a mention, but this post is a short salute from our small team here at MSicc’s Blog.

A special thanks goes to Mark and Sean, who have started to support me with their own thoughts and articles, which is a huge enrichment..

Now that Xmas is knocking on our doors, we want to salute you, our readers, followers and friends, with a short message of every team member.

 

Mark (BinaerForceOne):

Dear readers and visitors,

 

I have to admit that I’m terribly bad at these things, but I want to wish all of you a merry Christmas, happy holidays and just a beautiful time with those who matter most:

 

your loved ones. Be it your family or close friends. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

See you all next year. 🙂

 

Sean (TheWinPhan):

What’s on your Christmas list…Lumia 920? 8X? Ativ S maybe? Have you been naughty or nice?

 

Myself and the rest of my WinPhan Family want to wish all of you Windows Phone owning readers, the happiest and Merriest of Christmas and may all your wishes and hopes come to fruition!

 

Thank you all for taking the time to follow along as we continue to profess our love, discuss the many nuances, and talk about Windows Phone and Microsoft here. Please be safe, love your family, and take time to appreciate all that is in your life!

 

Good Health, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!!!

 

The WinPhan

 

Marco (MSicc):

Dear reader, visitor, follower and friend,

 

we had a year full of action, with ups and downs, troubles, amazing keynotes, waiting for releases from Microsoft and their OEMs.

 

Now it is time to calm down for a few days, and give all attention to our families and our friends – apart from our technical life.

 

I wish you and your families a merry, merry Christmas. May the Xmas star shine for you and your loved ones and keep you safe.

 

We will continue our work between the years, for now enjoy your family time!

 

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 1 comment