Archive | December 2011

Windows Phone into round 3, Nokia Lumia 800 taking on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus! Vote now!

Windows Phone sailed through round 1, and did a good job defeating the Nintendo 3DS.  Now, in possibly its biggest fight ever, the Nokia Lumia 800 is taking on the new Android heavyweight, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Vote for the Lumia 800 and all of Windows Phone against Android at Gizmodo here.

Want to dev-unlock your Windows Phone? Here are your options.

So you got a Windows Phone for Christmas? Sweet. If you’re a developer, you’re probably itching to start writing code for the device. If an advanced hobbyist, homebrew software may be more of your interest. While the emulator — a part of the Windows Phone SDK — rocks for testing locally, you’ll eventually want to try the real deal by loading up XAPs on your phone. You will discover the pros and cons of each approach to do so.

Read more at Author Website

10 Windows Phone 7.5 Mango tweaks

The Mango update for Windows Phone is a huge leap forward for the platform, bringing battery-friendly multitasking and lots more features for developers – like being able to use the camera and GPS in apps.

And setup is as simple as ever; just fill in the details for your Windows Live account, Facebook and Twitter and all your contacts and calendar entries will arrive.

But there are a few settings you’ll want to change to make the best of your phone. Here are ten recommended Windows Phone Mango tweaks.

1. Use more than one tab in IE

Mango includes the mobile version of IE9 so you can now load just about any website, but if you follow a few links from tweets in the What’s New section and then open the tabs, you won’t see anything except the last page.

By default, the browser loads all the links from other apps in a single tab. Change the setting in Internet Explorer for ‘Open links from other applications in’ to ‘A new tab’ and you can have multiple pages load in the background.

Follow a link then press and hold the back key to jump back while the page is still loading and instead of waiting, you can read some more updates, click some more links and then read the web pages that have loaded.

2. Configure picture sharing

You don’t want to automatically share every picture you take – especially if you’re snapping a receipt or credit card statement you want to save, or if you accidentally take a shot of the back of your thumb or the inside of your pocket.

You can still save all your photos to SkyDrive, but now you have to turn that on deliberately using Settings > Applications > Pictures + Camera > Automatically upload to SkyDrive. Pick whether you want to see a shortcut for Twitter, Facebook or SkyDrive on the menu for individual photos (the others will be options when you pick Share… for a photo).

You still only get full resolution copies of photos when you plug your phone in to your PC; if you want to drag and drop those from the default folder in My Pictures, do it from Explorer rather than the Zune software.

3. Turn on battery saver

There are more things in Mango that can use up your battery – like background apps, live tiles, apps that use the camera and GPS. It’s not that battery life is worse in Mango; it’s that you have more choices between using features and tweaking setting to save battery.

There are some specific settings to check but there’s a handy automatic power saving feature that’s not on by default: Battery Saver. You might see a prompt to turn it on when you battery first starts to run low, or you can turn it on right now from Settings > Battery Saver.

When you get down to 20% battery, email will stop syncing automatically, live tiles won’t update and apps won’t run in the background, although you still get fast switching and you can still sync email by hand if you’re expecting an important message. That way you can eke your battery out for longer and you don’t have to remember to turn power saving options on and off by hand.

This is also where you can see exactly how much charge you have and how long that’s going to last.

4. Turn off live chat

If you want to use Messenger and Facebook chat like text messages, it’s built in on Mango; you can swap between SMS and IM in the same conversation using the Switch button and swipe across to see which contacts are online.

But if you don’t use it, even if you don’t see online contacts you might still be using up battery for chat. Check Settings > Applications > Messaging and slide Facebook Chat to Off.

5. Take control of multitasking

With apps that are written to run in the background in Mango, you get to switch back from another app instantly and things carry on in the background – like music playing and settings syncing. But just because an app can run in the background doesn’t mean you want it to.

Good apps will have a setting to let you choose, and you can also turn them off from Settings > Applications > Background Tasks. Check the Advanced button for a list of all apps that do background processing whether or not you can control that – at this point your only option is to uninstall them, but at least you know which apps will carry on running and can make that choice.

6. Pin Wi-Fi settings

One of the little annoyances with the original Windows Phone OS was having to go all the way into Settings to turn Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on and off. Now that Mango gives apps more access and lets you pin tiles for features within an app, there are several apps that let you pin a link to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth settings directly to your Start screen. You could use Toggle, which also lets you pin tiles for data, airplane mode and reminders.

7. Set up web app installs

If you read about a cool app when you’re using a computer that has a keyboard and a nice big screen, you don’t have to pull out your phone and tap away on the on-screen keyboard to get to the same place.

You can browse the Windows Phone Marketplace in the Zune software and set apps to install when you next connect your phone. Or you can browse the web version of the Marketplace at www.windowsphone.com and send apps directly to your phone; you just need to fill in your phone number and accept the terms.

If your mobile network isn’t feeling helpful, you’ll get an email message with a link to click to open the app page in Marketplace. But if everything is working right at the operator, what arrives is a text message you never see that tells your phone to install the app straight away.

If it doesn’t work the first couple of times you try it, go back and put the phone number in again. If you don’t get prompted for your phone number when you click the Install button, go to My Phone onwww.windowsphone.com and choose Account, Update and add your phone number again.

If you upgrade to Mango and need to reinstall apps – or get a new phone – you’ll see a list of apps you’ve installed before on the Account page and you can reinstall them from here.

8. Install enough apps and games

When you have a lot of apps, it’s important to be able to navigate through them quickly. In Windows Phone 7.5, installed apps are still arranged alphabetically but you can also tap on any letter to bring up an on-screen alphabet so you can jump down to Y for Yelp more quickly.

The letters dividing your apps only appear if you have enough programs installed – for some reason that’s 43 apps, so it’s rather bizarrely worth installing a few extra apps you’re not sure you’ll ever use to make it easier to navigate through the ones you know you want.

There’s a trial version of most apps in the Marketplace, so try out everything that looks interesting; get a copy of AppFlow to get some great suggestions.

While you’re at it, install more games. Once you have 20 games installed, the Games Hub puts the games you’ve played most recently at the top of the list instead of starting with the Xbox games and tucking independent titles away at the bottom of the list.

9. Look for Mango-ready apps

Whether you’re pinning an exchange rate, the weather in a specific city or your tube journey home to see at a glance when there are delays, live tiles make apps that are designed for Mango much more useful – even more so when the tile tells you so much you don’t have to launch them to get what you need.

10. Set up wireless sync

It’s not new to Mango, but wireless sync is so useful it’s worth mentioning again (and you might need to set it up again after updating your handset to Mango – or you might find you actually can set it up instead of seeing unhelpful errors about not being connected).

Connect your handset to your home Wi-Fi network and choose Settings, Wireless Sync in the Zune software while your PC is connected to the same wireless network; the Zune software will pair with your phone and whenever the phone is plugged in and on your Wi-Fi network (and you’re not using it) it will sync photos and music (as long as your PC is on too).

Set up sync lists of dynamic playlists like Smart DJ lists and you’ll get new music automatically.

 

Culled from TechRadar

Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: Don’t Trip Over Your Travel Plans – Get My Trips

 

My Trips is an app designed to work with the travel site TripIt.com, and syncs all of your travel plans to the app, giving you an easy, accessible place to review your travel plans. That also means you’ll have quick offline access to your travel plans, which is pretty handy for filling out those immigration and customs forms on international flights. The app includes a Live Tile, and if you have a TripIt Pro account, you can access real time flight status, gate, baggage claim, and frequent flyer miles information. My Trips is available now from the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace for $1.99.

 

Culled from ChipChick

“Windows Phone Toolkit In Depth” 2nd edition FREE e-book now available

The second version of the popular FREE e-book “Windows Phone Toolkit In Depth” is now available for download. The book covers all controls from the latest release of the toolkit Nov `11 with detailed examples and full source code!

  • 250 Pages
  • Publish Date: 15 Dec 2011
  • Includes all controls from the Windows Phone Toolkit Nov 2011!
  • 22 Chapters!
  • Full Source Code
  • Based on Windows Phone 7.1 (aka 7.5) Mango!

Here is the link to the book:

The book is free, but a donation is appreciated, and can be found here.

Culled from wmpoweruser

10 Windows Phone apps to shame an iPhone

Truly, ‘tis the season for giving a Windows Phone. And not just because the Nokia Lumia 800 is the most impressive Microsoft mobile yet: as you can see from the apps that follow, its suite of software is outdoing the iPhone. Read on for the 10 best Windows Phone apps better than their iPhone counterparts.

Spotify
The Swedish song streamers sure took their time about it, but Spotify mashed up with Windows Phone’s Metro UI has been well worth the wait. It’s a spectacularly beautiful app with album art tiles: it runs in the background and you can control tracks from the lockscreen as well. By comparison, the Spotify iPhone app is just words on a screen.

Xbox Live Companion app
You can download Xbox Live for iPhone and fanny about looking at your Gamerscore if you really want. But on a Windows Phone, the Xbox Live companion app lets you use your blower as a remote control, which is perfect if you use your Xbox as a media centre as well as a game station.

Foursquare
Foursquare for Windows Phone, which needless to say looks lovely, lets you set places as live tiles on your homescreen for quick check-ins with a single tap.

Nokia Drive
Want some free turn by turn on iPhone? You won’t find it built in, and none of the solutions on the App Store are as impressive as Google Maps Navigation for Android – or for that matter Nokia Drive for Nokia Windows Phones. Using Nokia’s Navteq mapping powers, it’ll guide you from A to B at no extra charge.

British Airways
If you’re a frequent flyer, you’ll want to check this out: British Airway’s fantastic Windows Phone app not only serves you up a boarding pass for a flight on your homescreen, complete with QR code, it lets you pin individual passes to your homescreen. Even if you’re flying economy, you can still enjoy the ultimate in convenience.

Microsoft Office
There are plenty of office suites on all mobile platforms, but Microsoft Office on Windows Phone is undoubtedly the best: it’s preloaded, powerful, and easy to use. For better or worse, you can even edit PowerPoints if you want. Ah, we hear you cry, but in Pages for iPhone you can edit Pages documents as well. Let us lay a slice of wisdom down for you: NOBODY WANTS YOUR INCOMPATIBLE PAGES DOCUMENT.

SkyDrive
You can now get SkyDrive on the iPhone, and it’s a mighty impressive rival to the likes of Dropbox and even iCloud given Microsoft’s willingness to hand out 25GB of free cloud storage per user. As you’d expect from a first party product though, it’s a better experience on Windows Phone: it’s integrated as a drive for your files and in Microsoft Office, and third party apps can now plug into it as well. You’ll have to do everything within the app on iPhone, sadly.

Halo Waypoint
Halo Waypoint is an interesting new companion app on Windows Phone, iPhone and Android for Xbox 360 title Halo: Reach, stuffed with map layouts, stats, and a realtime feature called ATLAS that shows’ player locations, ammo drops and more. Whatever you make of using a phone as a second screen for console gaming (We think it’s evil), there’s no denying it’s cheaper on Windows Phone: on iPhone, the ATLAS feature is a £2.99 in-app purchase.

Amazon Kindle
Amazon’s e-reader app is available on every platform worth even half its salt, but it’s crippled on one of them: iPhone. That’s because Amazon baulked at Apple’s insistence on getting a cut of every single in-app transaction on iOS, and removed the purchase button for the iPhone app. No problems whatsoever on the Windows Phone app: it looks stunning, and you can shop on it too.

eBay
That ability to pin anything to the start screen really comes into its own with the eBay Windows Phone app: it turns this into a bargain hunter’s wet dream/worst enemy. You can save individual searches and bids to the start screen, which means if there’s a certain vintage dress or, let’s be honest, rare SNES cartridge you’re after, you can keep a constant look out for it on the move.

Culled from Electric pig

PhoneGap 1.3 Released With Full Windows Phone Support

Adobe’s PhoneGap team has introducedPhoneGap 1.3, the latest version of the open-source HTML5 mobile development framework with full support for Microsoft Windows Phone, new support for BlackBerry and enhancements for Android and iOS.

However, primarily PhoneGap 1.3 is about the progress made with BlackBerry and Windows Phone. For Windows Phone, developers can now use the full PhoneGap API, Windows Phone Getting Started Guide, more documentation updates and many plug-ins.

PhoneGap is an HTML5 app platform that enables developers to write native applications with Web technologies and get access to APIs and app stores. PhoneGap leverages Web technologies developers already know best–HTML and JavaScript. Building applications for each device–iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile and more–requires different frameworks and languages. PhoneGap uses standards-based Web technologies to bridge Web applications and mobile devices. And because PhoneGap apps are standards-compliant, they are future-proofed to work with browsers as they evolve.


Jesse MacFadyen, a core developer for PhoneGap, recently blogged about his experience with bringing PhoneGap to Windows Phone. Read the full journey here.
You can also read the Microsoft announcement here.

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