Project Aura: Xbox Live Avatars integration in Windows Phone 7

Project Aura is an Avatars driven social application aimed at enabling people to interact with each other across Microsoft devices like Windows Phone 7and Xbox with the use of animations rather than text. The project is developed at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center and sponsored by Microsoft:

Source: Project Aura via Istartedsomething

Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7: The Three Pillars

Microsoft’s Andre Vrignaud has posted an article describing what he (and the WP7 team) thinks are the Three main Pillars of Xbox Live on Windows Phone 7:

The Three Pillars of Mobile Entertainment

Our vision for Xbox LIVE is to bring gamers the entertainment they want, with the people they care about, wherever they are. Three major pillars will guide our development efforts:

Simplicity Matters

Gamers who are familiar with Xbox LIVE on the console or Games for Windows – LIVE on the PC expect a consistent, unified experience for their gaming, and the mobile experience must be the same: everything must work as the gamer expects it, and must be seamless and familiar. Mobile gamers who experience Xbox LIVE for the first time should feel an instant appreciation for the simple, intuitive way that they can connect to and share their gaming experience with their friends.

Everything Counts

Any time the gamer spends playing a game, no matter how small, should be respected. Games should automatically save the player’s progress, and any actions taken in-game should be allowed to count toward the player’s larger goals in your title. For games that target multiple platforms, this might include adding benefits to console versions of the game when the player engages in short play sessions on a mobile device. It is important for the time that a player spends in a game to be both recorded and rewarded. Awarding achievements is a valuable way of rewarding the player for his or her efforts, and it is an essential part of the Xbox LIVE experience.

Let Friends Play Together

Games should make it easy for gamers to connect with their friends and to form deeper connections with them through frequent, shared, online experiences. Xbox LIVE allows gamers to participate in play experiences with each other through game invitations, leaderboards, and by comparing achievements and gamerscore. Deeper social bonds are promoted by displaying players’ status updates and their personalized Xbox LIVE avatars.

Though Xbox LIVE now has over 23 million members, it’s important to recognize that Xbox LIVE isn’t the only social network with a gaming audience. Games can connect with other social networks such as Facebook or Twitter and make it easy for players to share gaming experiences with friends (such as game invites or leaderboards) who might not have an Xbox LIVE account. Friends may be located in multiple social networks, and gamers should be able to play with them all.

I think that it’s universaly agreed that bringin Xbox live services to Windows Phones was long overdue espceially after the Xbox Live anywhere announcement back in 2006(this project never saw the light). On the other hand lots of people a fearing that this consumer centric approach is going to be the final nail in the coffin for Windows Mobile. For my part, I’ll just suggest to all the skeptics to wait until the OS is released and see how things turn out. Look at the iPhone look and the Nintendo DS, the XBOX etc… at the end of the day, people are not going to care if this or that feature is absent from the first release. They want games, apps, flashy graphics , these  are the things that are going to sell phones and this is what Microsoft is trying to provide. First establish a great software ecosystem and then refine it with new features.

Source: Ozymendias

The iPhone 4G is out in the wild

Steve Jobs is going to nuke somebody…. Engadget first started posting leaked shots of the handset during the weekend and now Gizmodo a whole friggin hands-on with videos of the iPhone 4G! The device is claimed to be a lost iPhone 4G prototype and according to early investigation by the GIZ, feature s high res screen, front facing camera, Micro-Sim Slot, dual microphones, and a bigger camera lens paired with a led flash.
Here’s Apple Jonathan Ive reaction :

It could all be a planned leak though….
Source: Gizmodo

Leaked document details Windows Phone 7 architecture

The Dutch boys at got the hands on an internal Windows Phone 7 document detailing the architecture of the new OS. This Architecture Guide for Windows Phone 7 OS is the source of the info that was leaked here right before the official announcement at MWC10.

The first slide posted shows the Kernel architecture of the OS. As you can see WP7 is composed of two distinct layers: the user Space & the Kernel Space. Inside the User Space you have the OS services, the shell etc. The Kernel Space on the other hand contains the Kernel itself, the file system, graphics rendering, radio, drivers etc.
Continue reading Leaked document details Windows Phone 7 architecture →

Multi-Touch / Dual-Touch SDK for Resistive touchscreens released

Some call it Multi-Touch others Dual-Touch one thing is for sure though: Testers are needed. Anaadoul over at XDA-Devs has posted the Beta release of his Dua-Touch SDK for resistive touchscreens (only Windows Mobilehandsets). One important thing to note is that this isn’t really multi-touch it is sort of simulating the same function on a resistive panel.

In December last year, i posted an Alpha version of this SDK. Now it is mature enough to announce it as Beta. This SDK allows developers to build Dual-Touch enabled applications. so let’s get into action.

•Pinch to Zoom Support
•Drag (swipe) support.
•Replacement events for the mouse move fires only when a single finger detected.
•Multiple events based on gestures.
•Performance optimized, memory footprint is minimal.

You can grab the SDK here, and follow the discussion thread here

Source: XDA-Devs

HTC Droid Incredible up for pre-order now

Eager to get your hands on the latest and greatest Android handset? If you don’t mind switching to Verizon or if you currently are part of the big red family you should be delighted to know that the HTC Droid Incredible is now up for pre-order on the company’s online store. Shipping date is still April 29th and the phone will cost you $199 with a 24months contract. Head over here to pre-order it.

Source: Verizon

HTC Droid Incredible Reviews

The two first HTC Incredible reviews have been posted a few hours ago and it looks like HTC has once again released a pretty good product. There is obviously nothing really new or impressive on the Droid Incredible given that it is basically a Nexus one with 8Gb of internal memory and a 8Mpix camera. The devices biggest selling point is obviously the fact that it’s on Verizon and also the only SnpDragon powered phone with HTC’s Sense UI in the US. Here’s Engadget‘s conclusion:

Let’s just put this out there: the Droid Incredibleis the best Android device that you can purchase in America right now. It’s better than the Droid, better than the Nexus One, and certainly beats the pants off of any previous generation handsets like the Eris, myTouch, or Cliq. It’s not just a very, very good Android phone (though it is); it’s also an excellent smartphone no matter how you cut it. If you’re on Verizon right now, you’re finally getting really great options for phones, but the Incredible is currently sitting at the top of that heap with a good bit of distance to the next in line. Sure, there are still issues like a lack of quality titles in the Android Market, and if a hardware keyboard is a must, this won’t do the job for you. Also, while Sense is truly great on this phone, there may be users who prefer a more streamlined, stripped down experience. Still, if you’re looking for an ultra-fast, extremely capable smartphone that has the guts and gleam to go the distance, the Incredible just might be the Droid you’re looking for. Yes, we made that joke.

And here’s Gizmodo‘s:

The calculus is relatively simple: If you’re on Verizon and want a smartphone (and aren’t stuck with BlackBerrys), the Incredible is pretty much the one you should buy. With Palm’s future unclear, and its app ecosystem shaky, it’s hard to recommend the Pre, even though its software is generally more usable than Android. And the Droid’s single redeeming feature over this, a physical keyboard, is actually less usable than the custom keyboard HTC’s put on the Incredible. The Nexus One for Verizon looms, but the only reasons it could be considered superior—it feels better built and more expensive, and the promise of timely updates from Google—are mitigated by the fact the Incredible is here now, and HTC’s Sense does glossy up some of Android’s rough spots.

and here’s BGR:

This is always the hardest section to write because everyone has different taste, and everyone usually has their own reason for wanting a new phone. Maybe you dropped it in your toilet, maybe you want to smash your BlackBerry 9530 with a sledgehammer, maybe your boss can’t stop making fun of your Palm Centro — we’re not sure. What we do know is that HTC has come up with another incredible device, pushing the boundaries of Android in practically every direction we can think of. There is awesome corporate integration, tons of social networking elements built right in, a really friendly UI with fun and engaging widgets and animations, and a great web browser. If you are not a bare bones type of person and have no need for a physical keyboard (seriously, get over it already), we could not recommend a better phone on Verizon Wireless at this point in time.