Thursday, November 29, 2012

Confirmed: Windows Phone 7.8 coming in early 2013.

In a blog post to the Windows Phone blog, Terry Myerson reveals that Windows Phone 7.8 rollout will begin in early 2013 as soon as test with hardware partners and carriers are completed. No mention is made about the devices to be updated besides the Lumia but the post does say that the maximum devices will get the update.

Terry Myerson also announces the release of new devices running Windows Phone 7.8 which will cost less than WP8. "New models running Windows Phone 7.8 are beginning to launch in many countries around the world, strengthening the ecosystem by bringing more Windows Phones to more people. These devices will typically be sold at a range of lower price points, meaning there will now be Windows Phones for everyone's budget and need. This is incredibly important for broadening the reach of Windows Phone across the globe and ensuring we have the right product for every market."

What's new in Windows Phone 7.8?
Besides the resizable tiles, the upgrade will include additional themes and accent colors, up to twenty. A new lock screen with the option to display the Bing picture of the day plus the PIN/Password challenge to avoid accidental device wipes on devices connected to Exchange servers. Unfortunately, there's still no support for Bluetooth file transfer and Internet Explorer 10. The latter needs multiple cores processor to run.

Now that we know more about Windows Phone 7.8, are you excited?

Read the full blog post

Posted while commuting to work.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Don’t Get Scroogled: Bing Launches Campaign for Honest Search to Help Shoppers this Holiday Season

"we want to alert you to what Google has done with their shopping site right in time for Christmas. Instead
of showing you the most relevant shopping search results for the latest coffee maker you're looking to buy mom, Google Shopping now decides what to show you –and how prominently to display what product offers they show -- based partially on how much the merchant selling the product has paid them. Merchants can literally pay to improve their chances to display their product offers higher than others inside of Google's shopping "search," even if it's not better or cheaper for the consumer. The result of this new "pay-to-rank" system is that it's easy for consumers to mistake an ad for an honest search. That's not right, it's misleading."

Bing is really getting serious about the search business.

Source: has over 25 million users, makes it easier for Gmail users to switch over.

Launched back in July, has received mostly positive feedback with its new and fresh interface that got it's inspiration from Microsoft modern UI. Today has over 25 million active users and the team found that a third of users are active Gmail users. They hired a research firm to recruit Gmail users to try for the first time and this is what the Gmail users think about

  • They prefer's clean user design
  • does a better job of blocking spam and it outperforms Gmail when it comes to helping manage unwanted messages like newsletters and daily deals
  • makes it easier to share photos and Office documents
The team is also announcing some new features that will be released in a few weeks:

One-click Archive: from the inbox, select messages and click the Archive button to move the selected messages to the Archive folder (or any other folder of your choice). It's a fast and simple way to move messages out of your inbox to find later.

More and more keyboard shortcuts: has dozens of keyboard shortcuts and we're adding even more. And better yet, we don't need to list them all in this post because you can now find all available keyboard shortcuts by simply typing a question mark when you're in your inbox.

More customization of your inbox: we added several new ways to make your inbox look and work the way you want.

Read more on Outlook Blog

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Apollo Plus will bring VPN, WiFi fix to Windows Phone 8.

Windows Phone has just been released and Microsoft is already working on an update codenamed Apollo Plus which is to be announced and released in February at Mobile World Congress. Tom Warren of The Verge reports that sources have confirmed that an update is in the works and that Microsoft plans to include VPN support, WiFi connection fix that will maintain the connection on under the lock screen, audio improvements and some other fixes. Apollo Plus will be an interesting update in that it will be the first that Microsoft will push over-the-air. Unlike Windows Phone 7.x devices that requires Zune desktop to install updates.

Source: The Verge

Monday, November 19, 2012

After "Smoked by Windows Phone", Ben Rudolph is back with "Meet Your Match".

Remember the "Smoked by Windows Phone" campaign where Ben Rudolph aka BenThePCGuy, challenged owners of competing phones to demonstrate that Windows Phone was simply faster? The guy is back with a new campaign called "Meet Your Match" to show off Windows Phone 8. While the new campaign will retain the features comparison that made the success of the Smoked by Windows Phone, Ben Rudolph writes in a blog post that "Meet Your Match" is "a different take on our Smoked challenges, focusing not just on why Windows Phone is faster, but also on why it’s better, easier, more useful, and more fun. The soul of Smoked – a side-by-side comparison of us vs. the other guys – hasn’t changed, but now it’s about why our phones and features are a better match for you, no matter who you are or what you’re into."

A new series of videos has already been posted on the Windows phone blog featuring Ben Rudolph of course and the HTC Windows Phone 8x and the Nokia Lumia devices. "Meet Your Match" events will be held in Microsoft Store across the US as well as in the UK, France and Germany. If you're lucky to have one of these events, go ahead, you may well win something. 

Check out the first series of "Meet Your Match" videos below.

Source: Windows Phone Blog.

Evernote and Twabbit for Windows Phone updated.

Among all note-taking apps, Evernote remains my favorite. I use it on all my devices because, one, it is free and, second and most importantly, my notes sync to the cloud and are therefore available on all my devices with little to no effort. Even if cloud synching is a feature that is now native into about any apps these days, Evernote is probably a precursor. Sure Windows Phone has OneNote, which I like. I can get it for free on Google Play for my Android. Unfortunately, while there is a version for iOS, it is not available for my region. But I like Evernote for its simplicity no matter which platform you're using it on.
What's new in this release of Evernote:

- New tile layout design for note list
- Redesigned login and registration screens
- New popup tips help users discover the app
- More spacious note editing mode
- Numerous performance improvements including faster startup
- Evernote turns your phone into an extension of your brain.

Check the MarketPlace tile for the notification update. If you are not using Evernote yet and need a nice note-tasking free app, download Evernote for your Windows Phone.

Twabbit is one of the several Twitter clients that I use on my Windows Phone. Is it my preferred one? No, but it's second after glƏƏk!. Nothing much to write about here. The app is not free and costs $1.49. A trial is available. I managed to get it free when the developer decided to make it so for a limited time. Readers of this blog must have got it too at no cost.
What's new in version
1. Bug fixes
2. Changes for twitter API 1.1
3. Retweets info not automatically loaded in tweet details
Twabbit should already be showing up as an update on your Windows Phone. Otherwise, it can be downloaded on the Windows Phone Store

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Windows Phone 8 ads featuring Jessica Alba and Gwen Stefani.

After the launch of Windows Phone 8 last month, Jessica Alba, the mum of two, is back in a 30 seconds ad showing how she uses the Kid's Corner on her phone. Gwen Stefani is the other celebrity who has been tapped by Microsoft to promote Windows Phone 8. She is a fan of Skype and Office. Watch the two ads below:

Source: Windows Phone Blog

Review: Manzer Lakaz (Home Food), first Mauritian app for Windows Phone.

Today I’m writing about a special and unique recipe app called Manzer Lakaz – Home food in English. Manzer Lakaz was developed by a Mauritian thus making it the first app made locally that is posted to the Windows Phone Store for free. So let’s take a look at Manzer Lakaz.

The app opens up on the featured recipe of the day screen. You see the picture of the featured recipe and its name. Tap and you’re taken to the full recipe with the cooking time next to the picture.  Below is the list of ingredients you will need for the dish and easy-to-understand directions that will make sure that the dish will impress. The picture of the featured recipe will also show up on the live tile if you choose to pin it to the Start screen.

From the Featured recipe screen, swipe to the left to access the Explore screen where you will easily see the entirely list of recipes that the app has to offer or you can use the built-in filters to get the list of Dish Type, by Main Ingredients, By Cooking Method and By Cooking Time. The latter lets you filter furthermore with a choice of cooking time: 15mins, 30mins, 45mins, 1 hour and 1 hour 15mins. For example, the dishes that take longer to cook are Baked Aubergine and Beef Rougaille. This is good to know when planning.

The “By Dish Type” screen is quite interesting. The developer did a good job at making the navigation easy and intuitive. The dish Type screen is devised in such a way that it doesn’t necessitate a manual filter. It’s all there for you to peruse the 5 types of dishes at your leisure: By Appetizer, By Main Dish; By Side Dish; By Salad and by Desserts.

Again, the same experience applies throughout Manzer Lakaz. The “By main Ingredients” screen sorts dishes by Chicken, Fish, Beef, Pasta and vegetables. Same goes for the cooking method filter where you can choose between Boiling, by Simmering, by Pressure, by Grilling, by Baking and by Frying. No matter how and what you cook, it can be added to a favorite list for future reference. To do that, open a recipe and tap “Add favourite” on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen. Repeat the same steps from the Favorite window to remove the recipe from the list. Manzer Lakaz does fit well with the Windows Phone UI.

However, there are some features missing. It would be nice to have a Comment area for each recipe so users can also share their own tips or submit their own recipes. There are a lot of local dish that are missing in the app. But I’m sure more recipes will be added through future updates to showcase the rich culinary diversity of Mauritius.
All-in-all Manzer Lakaz is a nice and helpful app for people around the globe to use and discover Mauritian gastronomy. 

Manzer Lakaz was developed by Wasiim Hosenbocus.
Download link: Windows Phone Store

Developer kills Reinstaller app for Windows Phone.

The developer behind Reinstaller has posted an update to the Windows Phone Store that actually kills the app. Yes, he deliberately killed his own app and there is a good reason for that. First a brief recap about Reinstaller. It's one of these apps that comes in handy after you've performed a hard reset on your phone as it helps you re-install your apps without much effort. The app works very well and does exactly what it's been designed for. So why kill it? Blame Microsoft. Well not really. It's not Microsoft fault either. 

Let's see what the change log says:

  1. Completely broken with no immediate chance of working again.
  2. App will be removed soon after a few more tries.
This is the funniest change log I've ever read.
What force the developer to kill Reinstaller is simply the fact that Microsoft recently made some changes to the Windows Phone site. Because of these changes, Reinstaller is unable to get the list of your installed app anymore. Simple as that. The good news is that the developer is not entirely giving up on Reinstaller and is seeking help from fellow developers out there to make it work again. His email is ashish [at] wpfied dot com. As of now the app is still available in Windows Phone Store.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Amazon Kindle update fixes startup crash bug.

Do you read books on your smartphone? For some the screen is to small while for others, it's one of the very purpose of a smartphone. I do read books on my devices wherever possible. So yes, Amazon Kindle is a must have app for me. Today Amazon has published an update for the Kindle app that fixes crash at startup and fixes crashing bugs when opening books. Personally I haven't experienced any of these issues but the update is available for download in Windows Phone Store, so I'll just go for it and I encourage you to do the same.

"Amazon Kindle" is one of thousands of great apps for Windows Phone.  See more at!

Sent from my Windows Phone

Sunday, November 11, 2012

TextContact Light is one very useful app to share contacts via SMS on Windows Phone.

Longtime Windows Phone users, and new ones, know that their favorite mobile phone cannot send contacts via SMS. This feature is indeed missing in Windows Phone 7.5. I don't know about WP8 as I don't own one yet. So how do you send a contact phone number via SMS?

The answer to that is TextContact Light/Pro. A nice little free app that actually sends the full contact card with phone numbers, emails etc. Of course, you can remove whatever data you do not want to send. Before the how-to, you need to know that TextContact is available free with adds and limited features and a paid one, the Pro version.

The free version will let you send a contact card of course but you will not be able to save the SMS, access the History and pin to start. All these features are available only in the Pro version which cost $0.99.

Now for the how-to. After you start the app, you are presented with a To box at the top. Start typing the recipients name and a pickup list will appear, filtering your contact list as you type. The app itself does not support sending to multiple contacts. But there is a workaround. More about that later.

The second box is where the contact details you want to share will appear. To add the details to that box, tap the Add Contact icon on the Menu bar at the Bottom and select a contact. The selected contact is added to the second text box. You may modify its content as needed as the app will pull all the contact details except links to website or Facebook and Twitter.

That's it, now you're ready to send the SMS. Tap the Create SMS button and the built in Messaging app opens. If you need to share the contact with multiple recipients, tap the + sign at the top right corner of the screen to select another contact's phone number. Click Send. That's it.

TextContact Light is a useful app since Windows Phone does not have this feature built in. You may want to get the pro version if sharing contacts is one of your favorite activity.

Download the free version here and the Pro version here.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weather Smiles update brings weather forecast to Windows Phone at low cost.

Weather Smiles is the only weather app that gives you the forecast for two locations on just one tile. It is a must-have and reliable app especially that the developer is always working the add new features to Weather Smiles. As a matter of fact, the latest update is quite interesting. Weather Smiles uses data connection to provide up to date info about the weather and that costs money.
The devs has now made it possible for Weather Smiles to not pull weather data if the current location has not changed in the last 3 hours. The devs didn't stop there. The app will now use last observation time to determine night time for moon icon, rather than making another API call. This behavior helps reduce data usage.

Weather Smiles can be downloaded here at $1.29. A trial version is also available.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Angry Birds Star Wars lands in Windows Phone Store.

Angry Birds Star Wars is available today in the Windows Store. The good news is that Rovio chose to do a simultaneous release along with iOS and Android. The price, $0.99, is also the same on all platforms. The bad news is that, like Angry Birds Space released yesterday, Star Wars is available in the Windows Phone 8 Store only. Windows Phone 7.5  owners are once more left out, free to join the dark side of the force. Sigh!

Check out the trailer:

Read Rovio's press release here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Angry Birds Space for Windows phone 8 goes live.

It's frustrating not to have a Windows Phone 8 especially when you're particularly excited about the device. It is said that patience is a virtue. But I would love to play Angry Birds Space on a Windows Phone. For those among you out there who are lucky to have one, you get the chance to play the popular game on your shiny new device.
Angry Birds Space features 150 levels of birds gravitating around planets and moons from slow motion to light speed. More powers will be added free to help you achieve your quest of destroying the space pigs to recover the precious eggs. Lucky you.
Don't wait and download a trial or buy your copy for $0.99 only here. Enjoy.

Twabbit updates now support main tile update, not specific account updates.

I downloaded Twabbit when it was made free for a limited time a while back. It is a fun Twitter client to use. 

Change logs:

1. Auto streaming option while application starts. After streaming First tweet always provide option for loading more tweets that by design
2. Background tasks update main tile now and not account specific tile. Also removed account specific tiles
3. Bug fixing

Xbox Smartglass app for iOS released.

Xbox Smartglass app is now in the App Store for iOS users to download. The free app lets users control their Xbox console using their iPhones and iPads.
Here's a list of features that will let you interact with your Xbox from your couch.

Xbox SmartGlass lets you: 
• Navigate your Xbox 360 with swipe and tap
• Use your phone’s keyboard to type to your Xbox 360
• Browse the Internet on your Xbox 360 with full keyboard and zooming
• Play, pause, fast forward, rewind, and stop videos and music on your Xbox 360
• Search the full Xbox catalog of music, video, and games
• Enjoy rich, interactive experiences from select game and entertainment content creators
• Track and compare your achievements with your Xbox friends
• Change up your 3D avatar
• Message your Xbox friends
• Edit your Xbox profile

Download: iTunes

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

PC Remote updated; Copy files from PC to Windows Phones and vice-versa.

If you are looking for a simple free app to remote control your PC, then check out PC Remote for Windows phone. They published an update to Windows Phone Store yesterday with the following changes:

• Browse PC files on phone and open on PC with one click
• Ability to open phone’s pictures on PC
• Copy files from PC to phone and vice versa. 

Check out the list of existing features:
• Mouse: move cursor, left/center/right click from phone
• Keyboard: type from phone - full keyboard support including control, shift, alt, tab, function and other special keys
• Remote Desktop without locking PC: view PC screen at phone, use keyboard to type and tap to move mouse cursor
• Volume: control PC volume from phone
• YouTube: search YouTube in the app and use "Play on PC" feature to view YouTube videos on PC
• PowerPoint: control PowerPoint presentation - change slides, start/stop slideshows, change mouse cursor to a pen
• Windows Media Center: fully control Windows Media Center from phone
• Zune: view and play playlist and song
• Wake up PC using “Wake on LAN” feature
• Power controls: shutdown, logoff, sleep, hibernate 
• Turn on/off monitor
• Password protection
• Encrypted data transmission
• Drag and drop file/folder
• Zoom in/out on browser
• Vertical scroll
• Domain network support
• iTunes
• Spotify
• Media Player Classic
• Netflix
• Hulu

PC Remote can be downloaded free here.