Windows Phone

Post #200 or what exiting times we have with Microsoft

Post #200 or what exiting times we have with Microsoft

microsoft_logoI struggled with myself very long on what topic I dedicate this post with the anniversary number 200 and ended up with this article.

We all had already a very exiting year with Microsoft. Microsoft is fully in his “reimagine” phase, and the winners of this are we – as users, and as developers.

Windows 8

The year was starting for me with a key milestone: Windows 8 CP. A more fluid and fast alternative to the DP Microsoft released last year. And we finally had a good amount of apps (for a beta build). I felt really in Love with Windows 8 after using it only a few hours. Windows 8 is totally different. The Metro start screen will change the way how users will interact with their PC – also if it is non touchable.

I am currently running the final version of Windows  (RTM), and I love it to use more and more apps instead of visiting websites. It is way more fun to use a twitter app than to use their website, for example.

It is a change in the daily use of your PC, but most of the users that I personally know are exited about how easy it is to use a PC with apps. Sure, there are some people who will not be satisfied. That is not a bad thing. We all like different kind of things. But I am convinced that the majority of people will accept the Metro screen as part of their PC. Period.

For Developers it is amazing: no matter what language you are using right now, almost everyone can do Windows 8 apps. No matter if you are a Web Designer, used to Java, C# or C++, your app can be there on Windows 8! And you can even use more than one programming languages in one app.

In March this year I visited the CeBit, a trade fair that is for technology news here in Germany. I was amazed about the things I saw from Microsoft, but Germany is not a big target for the mobile/IT-industry- at least not shortly after the MWC. You can read my report about the CeBit here.

Windows Phone

Windows Phone is also an important point on our list. Microsoft´s mobile OS may not be blown up as iOS or Android – but we are satisfied with what we have! The OS is fast, does Average Joe´s daily doings way faster than the other two OS – without Multicore-CPUs!!! Microsoft demonstrated this with their “Smoked by Windows Phone” campaign, which was happening in several countries around the globe.

The best thing is: The OS will be getting even better! The existing devices will get an update with new functions, that will further enhance the user experience. And there will be the next generation: Windows Phone 8!  Windows Phone 8 will get a whole new core compared to 7, that will bring a lot more features, and for all that spec-driven users out there also multi-core support. Soon we will know more about it (I guess in September).

Xbox 360 and Xbox Live/Zune

Microsoft is also evolving the Xbox/Zune services as well as the Xbox OS itself. If you were one of the lucky one´s like me to enter the Fall 2012 beta update program, you know that it is getting better and better.  I am not allowed to go to deep into detail, but a few things have been announced, like IE for Xbox.

Xbox Live and Zune services will be merged together to further enhance our experience. Hopefully Microsoft will be providing more features to all countries, not only US. Best example is Zune Pass, which is still not available here in Germany. I don´t know what issues Microsoft has with the Germany system, but others like Deezer and Spotify were also able to solve those problems. Let us hope all the best for this.

And then there will be SmartGlass. Your Xbox companion – regardless which device you use. SmartGlass will be used to extend the experience you with your Xbox. Additional info for Movies, extensions for Games, and many many more.

Office 2013

I am also exited about the free-to-test-for-everybody Office 2013 Preview. Microsoft changed the programs into streamed applications. And they are performing very well (even with my slow 2 MBit/s connection). On top Microsoft released One Note MX, a Metro app for Windows 8 for those who use a WinRT tablet only. Get it today via the official Office 2013 website (for up to 5 PCs!). Skype integration is coming later this year via an “Office app”.  There are also further apps in the Office Beta Store.

Microsoft Account and connected Websites

Microsoft changed the formerly known “Live-ID” into “Microsoft Account”. You still have all service like before, with a new name. But there is more. Hotmail will be replaced with outlook.com (in Metro Style). outlook.com has also a “People” app, “Calendar” and of course your “Mail”. On top we now have a Metro “Messenger”. SkyDrive is the last one in this round. Also SkyDrive has been Metro overhauled an got new functions, like a url-shortening service, using skdrv.ms.

MSiccDev goes BizSpark

As some of you know, I am also developing for Windows Phone and will start with Windows 8 soon. I started to learn creating apps because there was no app for fishermen, and I needed a fishing knots app in the marketplace. I am currently planning on a big service for fishermen that targets Windows, Windows Phone and the Web. To get things done with a little help from Microsoft, I applied for Microsoft´s BizSpark program – an got approved last week! Stay tuned, soon I will reveal more information about the project. But it is great that Microsoft support startups. A special thanks goes to @AWSOMEDEVSIGNER (follow him!).

Final thoughts

I don’t know how you feel, but that was a pretty awesome year until now. Windows 8 is around the corner, and will bring new device factors like Microsoft´s surface. All big vendors announced at least one Tablet/PC-convertible. Windows Phone 8 will be the booster rocket for the phone OS version, the codename “Apollo” fits really nice in here.  Microsoft´s vision of “three screens, once experience” is getting closer and closer. And the best thing: we all can participate right now!

Posted by msicc in Bing, Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments
WPDEV: smooth SplashScreen transition for your Windows Phone app

WPDEV: smooth SplashScreen transition for your Windows Phone app

Today I finished an update for one of my apps with adding a CustomControl as SplashScreen. I had to do it this way because my app is localized in English, German and Italian. Most annoying at this part was that there is no smooth transition between the SplashScreen and the MainPage. By the way, there is also no smooth transition with the “normal” SplashScreenImage.jpg that is included in all app templates of Visual Studio 2010.

I often use the transitions that are built into the Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit (download here or use the Nuget-installer of Visual Studio). These transitions can be modified and used for custom transitions. I will show you how to create a fade out effect for your custom SplashScreen control.

First we have to create a project. I called the sample SplashScreenTransition.

The first thing we have to do is to create two classes: CustomTransition.cs and SplashScreenTransition.cs.

Let´s have a look on the first class, CustomTransition.cs:

namespace SplashScreenTransition
{
    public class CustomTransition : ITransition

    {
        Storyboard storyboard;

        public CustomTransition(Storyboard sb)
        {
            storyboard = sb;
        }

        // these are used by the transition

        public void Begin()
        {
            storyboard.Begin();
        }

        public event EventHandler Completed
        {
            add
            {
                storyboard.Completed += value;
            }
            remove
            {
                storyboard.Completed -= value;
            }
        }

        // not used for SplashScreen, but needed to create the whole animation
        // if you don´t add these, you will not be able to build your project

        public void Stop()
        {
            storyboard.Stop();
        }

        public void Pause()
        {
            storyboard.Pause();
        }

        public void Resume()
        {
            storyboard.Resume();
        }

        public void SkipToFill()
        {
            storyboard.SkipToFill();
        }

        public void Seek(TimeSpan offset)
        {
            storyboard.SeekAlignedToLastTick(offset);
        }

        public void SeekAlignedToLastTick(TimeSpan offset)
        {
            storyboard.SeekAlignedToLastTick(offset);
        }

        public ClockState GetCurrentState()
        {
            return storyboard.GetCurrentState();
        }

        public TimeSpan GetCurrentTime()
        {
            return storyboard.GetCurrentTime();
        }
    }
}

As you can see, we create a new Storyboard which will hold our transition. We use the ITransition interface that comes with the Toolkit.

When I was creating my first custom ITransition, I was running into several issues. We are effectively using the Begin()-Method and the Eventhandler Completed. But we have to implement all other Methods to get this class working.

Now let´s have a look to our second class, SplashScreenTransition.cs:

namespace SplashScreenTransition
{
    public class SplashScreenTransition : TransitionElement
    {
        public override ITransition GetTransition(UIElement element)
        {
            Storyboard FadingStoryBoard = CreateStoryBoard(1.0, 0.0);
            Storyboard.SetTarget(FadingStoryBoard, element);
            return new CustomTransition(FadingStoryBoard);
        }

        private Storyboard CreateStoryBoard(double from, double to)
        {
            Storyboard result = new Storyboard();
            DoubleAnimation animation = new DoubleAnimation();
            animation.From = from;
            animation.To = to;
            Storyboard.SetTargetProperty(animation, 
                new PropertyPath(UIElement.OpacityProperty));
            result.Children.Add(animation);
            return result;
        }

    }
}

With the code above we are connecting the animation itself to an UI-Element. To get this working, we need to create a simple opacity fading Storyboard which we connect to an UIElement. We connect the Storyboard to the GetTransition-Method by overriding it. What we get is our CustomTransition.

Now the only thing we have to do is to display the animation, which gets a bit tricky.

Create a new User Control. I added a a TextBlock and an Image to the sample.

Important:

  • set the value of d:DesignHeight to 800 (to cover the whole screen)
  • put your Image/TextBlock into a Stackpanel and set the Background. If you do not, the Background will be transparent and your MainPage will be visible

To display the custom SplashScreen and its animation, we have to create a Popup and a BackgroundWorker:

  • declare the names of both in your PhoneApplicationPage:
public partial class MainPage : PhoneApplicationPage
    {
        // declaration of BackgroundWorker and Popup
        BackgroundWorker bgWorker;
        Popup SplashPopup;
  •  next step is to add a new Popup which holds our SplashScreen-UserControl and start our BackgroundWorker:
// Constructor
        public MainPage()
        {
            InitializeComponent();

            //calling Popup, using our UserControl

            SplashPopup = new Popup() { IsOpen = true, Child = new SplashScreenControl() };
            bgWorker = new BackgroundWorker();
            RunBackgroundWorker();
        }
  •  Last but not least we have to get our BackgroundWorker to do some work and display the transition:
private void RunBackgroundWorker()
        {
            bgWorker.DoWork += ((s, args) =>
            {
                Thread.Sleep(5000);
            });

            bgWorker.RunWorkerCompleted += ((s, args) =>
            {
                this.Dispatcher.BeginInvoke(() =>
                {
                    SplashScreenTransition SplashScreenTrans = new SplashScreenTransition();
                    ITransition transition = SplashScreenTrans.GetTransition(this.SplashPopup.Child);
                    transition.Completed += delegate { this.SplashPopup.IsOpen = false; };
                    transition.Begin();
                 }
            );
            });
            bgWorker.RunWorkerAsync();
        }

If you would display only the SplashPopup, you would only set IsOpen to false. But we want to get the Fading out effect, so we call a new SplashScreenTransition.  Then we connect our custom transition to ITransition of the Toolkit and let the transition begin.

Essential is the delegation of the Completed Eventhandler. If you do not set the IsOpen of SplashPopup to false, the Popup remains open. That would result in a non-responding app.

The result of the work done above will look like this:

I hope this article was helpful for creating a smooth transition of your SplashScreen.

Download the sample code here.

Posted by msicc in Dev Stories, Windows Phone, wpdev, 0 comments
WPDEV: 2 tools that make localization of your Windows Phone apps easy

WPDEV: 2 tools that make localization of your Windows Phone apps easy

Today I want to show you two small tools that will help you to make localizing your apps easier.

 

Localizing in-app strings

The first tool I want you to know about is a tool called “AppTranslator”, made by Xda-Member singularity0821.

To provide the language settings, you need to name the strings in your app. I recommend to use format “x:name”, as sometimes without the “x:” your strings will not be accessible. Then you have to create a .resx file for your “neutral” language. You can find a good tutorial here at MSDN.

Once you have done this, you have to translate all strings and put them in a separate .resx file. Doing this manually in Visual Studio can really be an awful job. This is where the “AppTranslator” comes into the game.

apptranslator_1

As you can see it has a very clean UI. Everything you now have to do is to load your .resx file into the app and start to translate your app really fast:

apptranslator_2

You can save your work at every point, in the end you will get a ready to paste in .resx file.

You can download the tool here at xda.

 

Localizing app title

Ok, now you have localized your app content. But the app title will remain the one that you set in you “neutral language”.

To localize your app title, you have to generate resource-only DLLs. This could be very difficult if you are developing your apps with the VS 2010 Express. You simply can´t do it. An overview of how to do it manually and an explanation can be found here at MSDN.

No need to scream now, as also for this exists a tool from Patrick Getzmann, a German MVP.

AppTitleLocalizer

The tools uses Bing to translate your app title. You can edit all the strings also manually, if you want. Once you´re done, just hit “Save DLLs” and you are ready to integrate them into  your app.

The tool can be downloaded here.

I hope you will enjoy the tools as much as I do.

Posted by msicc in Dev Stories, Windows Phone, wpdev, 3 comments
Must have photo apps for Windows Phone (Summer 2012 Edition)

Must have photo apps for Windows Phone (Summer 2012 Edition)

must_have_post_photo_header

As I announced already yesterday, this post is all about must have photo apps for Windows Phone. The selection and this post is reflecting my own opinion about the apps. If you are using other apps or have another point to mention on the apps I write about, feel free to leave a comment below.
First, photography and social networking seems to be “modern” and “cool” at the moment. Before I did not give much about it, but over time, the community and the fantastic camera of the Lumia 900 I currently use have made me kind of addicted to it (and also my wife Winking smile).

 

Thumba Photo Editor
Thumba_logo

Thumba Photo Editor was one of the first Windows Phone apps when the platform was launched in 2010. Since then it made a really big evolution, providing tons of features to edit your photos. Check out a few here:

Thumba_Photo_Options

Once you choose an option, you will get a preview screen with a before/after view. Depending on the chosen option, you may have the option to adjust some settings before applying finally:

Thumba_Photo_Editing

And here is final result of the above set options (yes, that´s our cat):

msicc__2012-08-07_05-47-59

The app has built in sharing feature for Facebook, Flickr and Twitter. You can download the app right here from Marketplace. The App will cost 99 cents and comes with a free trial.

 

Lomogram

Lomogram_logo

This app was recommended to me by Enrico (follow him!).

Lomogram has only predefined filters. You can add some light effects, choose from filters and add some frames. The app can load already taken pictures or take one immediately.

Lomogram_Photo_Editing

Although there are only those predefined options, results are pretty good, as you can see:

Lomogram_2012-08-08_07-17-53-AM

Once you saved your pictures, you can share your pics directly to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr and vk (Russian network).

You can download the app here at the Marketplace for free.

 

 

My Comic

mycomic_logo

This is a very simple app. you choose a picture, and you will be able to add some comic-style text-bubbles to it. As you can see you have the option to position the bubbles, edit the text and its size.

mycomic_Photo_Editing

Sadly there are two points that are negative about that app:

– there is a watermark with the icon on every photo you make (you can overlay it with a bubble)

– the app is not ready for multitasking. If you are going away from the app and return, you will have only a black screen and all edits are gone.

Currently the developers run the app for free, it is a nice gimmick to have so head over to the Marketplace to grab it!
GetMeRated!

getmerated_logo

GetMeRated is a social network where you can get your photos rated via “photo questions”. If you want to have a look on their website, go to www.getmerated.com. They released until mobile apps for Symbian and Windows Phone first, Android and iOS apps are in the works.

Once you have finished the registration process, you are automatically following 11 people to assure you can test the network. This is how the photo feeds and the photo details are looking like:

getmerated_pictures_view_and_rate

Posting a photo question is also very easy done. You choose a photo, ask you question, choose if you want a rating ore a vote and post your photo. Votes can also be edited.

getmerated_post_picture

What makes this app outstanding are real-time push notifications about ratings, votes and messages and Live-Tiles. Don’t wait and head over to the Marketplace and join the fun!

They have also a translation program, so don’t hesitate to offer your help for translation via the contact form or their contact mail.

 

 

fhotoroom (upcoming V2!)

fhotoroom_logo

fhotoroom is another social network that is exclusive to Windows Phone. Their Windows Phone app is also a really fantastic photo editor. They are providing a ton of filters and options to edit photos.

As I am absolutely enthusiastic about this app and did mention it on Twitter, the devs contacted me to offer me to take part in a beta test in the last few weeks.

The images you now will see are exclusive and the first that are out in the wild!

When you start the app, you will see like before the “#recent” feed. It shows you the latest photos were posted by fhotoroom users worldwide. The UI has been completely reworked to match the Metro guidelines (Yes, I said Metro!). Also the profile is no following this new UI. The pics are now loaded really fast, even with a low EDGE connection you don´t have the feeling that you have to wait a long time.

fhotoroom_feeds

In their first versions you had to switch to another page to choose your edit option. That has completely changed. Now you have a one page editor that lets you choose your option and adjust its setting.

fhotoroom_edit_picture

In V2, you can easily switch between the edits, styles and frames without leaving the one editing page. That is really great and is a big step for usability and makes me love the app even more.

Another huge feature is the own camera part of fhotoroom, which lets you set a ton of options and really takes all the best from your camera.

The app lets you save your finished pic to the phone or to your SkyDrive so you can use it anywhere else. I for myself post them from time to time also to GetMeRated! to obtain some feedback.

As most other apps fhotoroom has also a connection to Twitter and Facebook, where you can share your pics as well as the pics from other users. Additionally you can post them to Tumblr and Flickr.

What do you wait? Head over to the Marketplace and join fhotoroom for free, while having a great photo editing app! Do it now!

 

 

Photosynth

photosynth_logo

We were really waiting a long time for Microsoft´s Photosynth app on Windows Phone. And the app is great, really great. First: The app does not really need a gyroscope. I tested it on a Lumia 800 as well as on my Lumia 900.

Photosynth lets you take 360 degree panoramas with your Windows Phone and upload them to www.photosynth.net (if you have an account). You can share them also via social network or view the ones you have already uploaded to this site. You can also view highlights if they were saved in a Photosynth.

photosynth_watch_panorama

While editing, the app helps you to take the right position, it is really intuitive to use:

photosynth_shot_panorama

If you like panoramas, head over to the Marketplace and download it for free.

 

 

Nokia Camera Extras – Panorama

Nokia_camera_Extras_logo

If you have a Lumia Windows Phone like me and the latest software installed, you can download Nokia Camera Extras to your phone. It is an camera extension that lets you also take panorama shots – but they are static, not 360 degrees like the ones from Photosynth.

The app guides you easily through the steps to take a panorama:

Nokia_camera_Extras_panorama

Due to the fact that the screenshot tool I used is not able to see the built in camera view, we can not see photo on the screenshot while taking them. But you are able to see how it the app helps you to get your static panorama. If you have a Lumia, you can download the app here at the Marketplace.

So this is my personal selection of photo apps, and I think it is a great one. You can do a lot of things with all these apps.

If you know any other app or just want to share your opinion on the apps above, leave simply a comment below.

Posted by msicc in App Reviews, Windows Phone, 6 comments

What we know so far about the ominous Easter Egg #12 in Outsider for Windows Phone

Outsider_Logo_App

First, if you don´t know this app, you really should check it out. It is kind of a community, the app has a bunch of awesome features, and will cost you a really good amount of time. You can download it here from the Marketplace.

This post is for all those Outsiders that are searching the Easter Egg #12 in Outsider for Windows Phone (formerly known as … I´m a WP7!).

The search is taking a lot of days, and it seems besides the developer of the app no one knows where that Egg is hidden. Once we find that d*** Egg, we will be able to send “gifts”.

Liquid Daffodil (LD) gave us some hints, which I want to sum up in this post. Maybe we will find this egg after all hints are written down in one place:

Here are the hints via Twitter:

  • It´s not a “just tap a logo” one
  • It´s NOT in our own Lair
  • Go to [scrambled] and tap every [scrambled] (not sure how this should help)
  • Still searching for Easter Egg #12? Here’s a clue: ❼ x ❼.

Here are the hints via the forums (in General Information):

  • It does not require a theme change
  • It is in a hidden area that existed before the update to 3.12
  • A simple tap won´t do it, it needs multiple taps on multiple items
  • The taps have to be synchronized

I also recommend this thread in the forums:

 forums-thread-Easter-Egg-12

LD stated that there is somewhat onto the right direction (did not find it until now…).

LD is updating the app with “sound”, this maybe will help us a little bit in 3.13 (hopefully, fingers crossed).

As always, feel free to leave a comment below. If I am missing a hint, do not hesitate to comment also, as I will update the post.

Let us work together to get that d*** Egg #12!

Update 1:

Outsider! We got new information. LD just tweeted another hint:

On top of that, he posted also this picture of the Egg-found-dialog:

EasterEgg#12found

Now we only need to find this screen, and we will get that d*** egg!

If we find that egg, we can send themes and “hex”(?) to other users through a new “task”:

Lubbilub_unlocked

So let´s solve the puzzle and find that Egg #12!

Posted by msicc in Windows Phone, 3 comments

BinaerForceOne´s take on Windows Phone 7.8 vs. Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone 7.8 and 8 Start Screen

Windows Phone 8 Developer Summit is finally over and has many early adopters who recently purchased a second generation device left unsatisfied, to say the least. As an early adopter myself who bought a Nokia Lumia 900 about 8 days ago I can fully understand the rage that is going through the community. But I still have some common sense left that tries to find explanations for why Microsoft chose to take the decision the way they did.

First of all Windows Phone hasn’t been the top seller many of us would have liked to see it becoming ever since its release in October 2010. WP’s marketshare is still low enough that Microsoft is willingly taking the risk of pissing people off who already bought into their still new ecosystem. But who are those people who feel let down by Microsoft? Is it the average customer that has just jumped on the smartphone bandwagon? Or is it rather the tech savvy geek who is never really satisfied with what he currently owns and is always longing for newer, better hardware and more features? My assumption is that in at least 7 times out of 10 it’s the latter. And I bet that 3 or 4 of these 7 would have bought a newer device anyways when it hits the marketplace. Even if their current devices would have been upgraded to Apollo.

But why did Microsoft take that risk in the first place anyways? From my understand they didn’t even have a choice to take a different path. When they realised that Windows Mobile was going down big time, it was pretty much too late as Apple and Google already had taken control over the mobile market. What Microsoft needed to do was two things:

  1. Come up with something so different from everything else currently available and unique in many ways, that it would be noticed and gain some traction even though it would lack many features commonly available on competing platforms.
  2. They needed to do it as quickly as humanly possible in order to not let the already existing gap between them and their competitors become even bigger.

Besides the fact that hardware that was available when Microsoft began development of Windows Phone wasn’t by far as good as it is today and thus most definitely not even capable of running an NT based kernel, what was Microsoft supposed to do other than taking an existing and as being reliably proven system (aka Windows CE) and give it an overhaul?

From a business point of view it’s the only way that makes sense to me. From a consumer point of view though I have to admit that I’m of course not actually happy with what was announced yesterday. Even though I have to admit that it was a Summit meant for developers which of course unvealed mainly things relevant to these. It has yet to be announced what features both, WP7.8 and WP8 will bring to the consumers. I still believe that WP7.8 will not be all about the redesigned homescreen. Being a bit speculative here I assume that every single feature that Win CE and our single core Snapdragon CPUs are capable of, will be delivered with this update.

To sum things up: am I pissed off? Do I feel screwed by Microsoft (and Nokia)? Certainly. Does this mean I close my eyes before things that were pretty obvious and most definitely inevitable? Heck no! What Microsoft announced yesterday may feel like a slap in the face for many, but they couldn’t really have done it any other way. And as a matter of fact: I enjoyed Windows Phone 7.x and my Lumia 900 before yesterday. How the hell could that Summit have changed that? It didn’t. I still enjoy the experience of WP on my device. And I will continue to do so for as long as it may take until I can get my hands on a dedicated Windows Phone 8 device.

Just a quick last note before I save this post and have it published. Many WP users are pretty much concerned with the marketplace situation that is ahead of us. Sure, Microsoft promised that all existing apps will run just fine on Windows Phone 8. But what will happen to people who use Windows Phone 7.8 then?
Without diving too deep in technical aspects, Windows Phone 8, regardless of the new kernel, still supports XAML and C# (aka managed code) which was, is and will be absolutely sufficient for most apps. All these apps should run without any issues on WP7.x as well and thus certainly be available on this particular marketplace. Apps that make use of WP8’s newer hardware or are natively coded won’t run though. That again is speculation as there’s no WP8 SDK available right now to play around with. Once it’s available will see if there are differences or not.

That’s it, I’m done. Call me a blind fanboy, but I still believe Microsoft took the right decision. As unpopular and fucked up it may seem. Period.

Posted by dkp1977 in Microsoft, Windows Phone, 3 comments

Microsoft is preparing the real take-off of Windows Phone

wp8

Today at the SF Windows Phone Summit, Microsoft showed us a sneak peek how they are preparing the take-off of Windows Phone. First of all, according to Joe Belfiore, the following features are only a part. There will be more to come, as they did not show all consumer features.

A shared core to break into new Galaxies

Microsoft is porting over the whole Windows 8 core to Windows Phone. This leads to fantastic new possibilities, including new hardware specs:

  • Multi-core CPU support (dualcore and more!)
  • New screen resolutions: added 1280×768 (WXGA or 720p+) and 1280*720 (720p)
  • MicroSD card support
  • Internet Explorer 10
  • Wallet: enables your phone to be a wallet where you can store credit cards, coupons etc as well as carrier based billing for secure SIM capable endpoints. It enables also in-app purchases, so we will see more apps with premium content
  • Nokia Maps and Drive built in on all Windows Phones!
  • NFC wireless sharing between devices
  • Over the Air (OTA) updates for Windows Phone OS
  • 50 languages, Marketplace will be available in over 180 countries

A new cockpit

Microsoft improved the whole Start screen. What we know for now is that we will get more colors, and even more important, more tile sizes. You can watch the video below to get a feeling for what is coming:

Developers are taking seat in first row

Also for developers there is much more to come:

  • Finally Native code support (C, C++) which will lead to more powerful apps and games
  • In-app payments
  • Integration of VoIP and Video chat for all developers
  • Multitasking enhancements
  • Speech API´s
  • Cloud based compilation by Microsoft
  • Current apps will be recompiled by Microsoft for Windows Phone 8

Joe Belfiore announced already that the developer tools and coding sessions will be available later this summer.

Enterprise will be on board

  • Device encryption
  • United Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)
  • Remote management
  • Company Hub and apps

Existing Windows Phones

Sadly existing Windows Phones are not able to work with Windows Phone 8. But there will be a 7.8 update for existing devices.

What we know until now: the Start screen will be ported. Still we do not know any more about the other features that will come, so please try to calm down. The update will bypass all carriers, so ALL Windows Phones will be updated to this OS version.

You can read the official announcement here.

I am excited. Really excited. How about you?

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows Phone, 0 comments
Get a free Windows 8 tablet for your Xbox Live avatar!

Get a free Windows 8 tablet for your Xbox Live avatar!

xbox-live-tablet

Today I found out that you can have a new gadget for your Xbox Live avatar.

I searched for accessories in the avatar marketplace on my Windows Phone, and found the “Internet Explorer 9 Tablet” prop.

As you can see on the pictures, my avatar is very happy about his new gadget:

dancing-avatar-win8-tablet

That´s cool, right?

Everyone can have this nice little gadget prop easily: You only have to click here.

After a few clicks you can also enjoy your avatar playing around with this nice little gadget.

Alternatively open Xbox Extras on your Windows Phone, go to marketplace, popular, and you will see it as the first popular item. And the best Thing: It is free for everyone!

Posted by msicc in Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments
Roundup of Xbox 360 E3 Event – a huge ecosystem to come by Microsoft

Roundup of Xbox 360 E3 Event – a huge ecosystem to come by Microsoft

Today Microsoft hosted a 90 minute event at this year´s E3. They talked about several things to come to our Xbox and even to our smart devices.

First I want to show off a list of all games that were presented by Microsoft and their partners:

•    Halo 4

•    Forza Horizon

•    NHL Gamecenter Live

•    NBA GameTime with NBA League Pass

•    ESPN will tur into live on your Xbox (if you are in the US)

•    Gears Of War Judgement

•    FIFA 13

•    Madden 13

•    Splinter Cell Blacklist

•    South Park

•    Dance Central 3

•    LocoCycle

•    Ascend: New Gods (only on Xbox 360)

•    Matter

•    Nike+ Training for Kinect

•    Resident Evil 6

•    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2

There is even more TV and Entertainment coming around the world, and today 35 of them where announced:

•    Absolute Radio – U.K.

•    Ameba TV – Canada, U.S.

•    BreakMedia – Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, U.K., U.S.

•    Comedy Central Stand Up – U.S.

•    Comoyo – Denmark, Norway, Sweden

•    Corus Entertainment’s Franklin the Turtle – Canada

•    GameSpot TV – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.

•    Headweb – Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden

•    Indie Flix – U.S.

•    Machinima – All Xbox LIVE markets

•    Napster – Germany, U.K.

•    Nickelodeon – U.S.

•    Paramount Movies – U.S.

•    Picturebox – U.K

•    Quickflix – Australia, New Zealand

•    Rakuten ShowTime – Japan

•    Revision3 – Canada, U.K., U.S.

•    Rhapsody – U.S.

•    RTL XL – Netherlands

•    Slacker Radio – Canada, U.S.

•    SnagFilms – U.S.

•    Terra (Sunday TV) – Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico

•    The AOL On Network – Australia, Canada, Netherlands, U.K., U.S.

•    The Weather Channel – U.S.

•    The Whistle – U.S.

•    TOU.TV – Canada

•    TV3 – Spain

•    Twitch TV – U.S.

•    Univision – U.S.

•    Wuaki – Spain

•    Youzee – Spain

Until here, this is an announcement like we have expected. New Games, Apps and new Entertainment partners. What´s more you ask? Ok, here we go:

Xbox Music

Microsoft announced a Music service for Xbox, Windows Phone and Windows 8. They will call it simply Xbox Music. The service will include about 30 million tracks. Some of you might have been using Zune Pass, you will find similar features like Smart DJ there. No details were announced, so I expect there will be more to come.

Xbox SmartGlass

Xbox SmartGlass is an application for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and other portable devices that connects phones, PCs and tablets with your Xbox 360 console to make your entertainment smarter, more interactive and more fun.

During the keynote Microsoft announced the Xbox SmartGlass app. It will be just an app you download on your Windows Phone, your Android or iOS device and of course to your Windows 8 PC or tablet. It provides you airplaying features for apps, films, music and games.

Internet Explorer on Xbox

Other consoles have webbrowsers, yes. But no one has a browser that can be controlled by voice and SmartGlass.

Through the power of Xbox, the magic of Kinect and the intelligence of Xbox SmartGlass, you will be able to surf the Internet using your voice on your Xbox 360 and navigate using your mobile devices for an incredibly easy Web browsing experience on the television.

Xbox on Windows 8

Finally, Xbox will make its way also to Windows 8. The premium entertainment experiences that Microsoft will launch on Xbox will come to more than 180 countries. You will have a huge experience with the Metro apps for Video, Music, Games and Xbox SmartGlass. And of course Xbox Live will come to Windows 8.

Summary of this year´s event is that Microsoft is about to create a more huge ecosystem that Apple, Sony or Google are have created. With the unique Metro design language, the power of the Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and Windows 8 Microsoft will gain marketshare.

I bet we will hear some more about the upcoming Windows Phone version Apollo at 20th of June, when Microsoft is about to hold a developer summit to close the circle for this epic ecosystem we will live in.

You can read and view more here.

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments

How to turn on Bing maps traffic outside the US on Windows Phone

bing-maps-logo

Recently Microsoft´s Bing-Team announced another achievement in the collaboration with Nokia. Bing Maps is now using Nokia´s Backend for Traffic and Geocoding.

As a Windows Phone user, I wanted to test this also on my Windows Phone. And sadly, as I am outside the US, it did not show up.

So I contacted Bing Germany via Twitter to ask what is going on there. They also thought it would be available equally to the PC´s version of Bing Maps. They had to ask the German Windows Phone team.

After a couple of hours, they answered that it yet has to be rolled out. But there is a workaround.

So here is my little guide:

Open Settings/Language Settings and scroll down until the browser- and search language-field and change it to “English (USA)”:

After saving this setting, open the maps app on your Windows Phone. If you click now on the application bar, your will recognize the “show traffic” option. Tap on it to activate.

After a short loading time, the actual traffic situation shows up on your Windows Phone:

You can switch the browser and search language setting back, but then the setting is always active. It should only be a matter of time until the feature is available in all languages directly.

I hope this little guide helps you to use this awesome feature. This guide should work with any language, I tested it with German and Italian, both time working perfectly. Feel free to leave a comment below.

You can read the German Bing blog post here.

Posted by msicc in Bing, Windows Phone, 0 comments