Ilomilo coming to Windows Phone 7?


Nothing has been officially announced yet but I noticed that Ilomilo was present in Microsoft’s Brad  Brooks’  Xbox Live Hub on his Windows Phone 7 device (during his howcase demo at the Financial Analyst Meeting). I unfortunitely didn’t have time to snap a screenshot during the live webcast and it is not available on the company’s site (it has be recut and posted in several parts with stuff missing) so you will have to take my word on this one. Ilomilo is developed by SouthEndand and is Qualcomm’s showcase game for the new Adreno 205 GPU so this is kind of surprising given that everybody’s expecting the first WP7 devices to pack a “normal” Snapdragon SoC (with and Adreno200). The game is currently only announced for Xbox Live Arcade on the Xbox 360 but the developer have said that:

Q: What formats are you releasing ilomilo for?
So far it has only been announced for XBLA, but there is a possibility we will release it for other formats in the future.
Q: Are you making ilomilo for android? I have seen it run on MWC videos.
The version of ilomilo shown at MWC was a tech demo we made for Qualcomm so they could show off their snapdragon technology. However it is possible that ilomilo will be released for portable platforms in the future.

Check out the game running on Qualcomm’s MSM7x30 development device and Android:

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Hasta La Muerte Windows Phone 7 Game video trailer

There isn’t a day that goes by without a new Windows Phone 7 application or game popping up. This time its a XNA game called Hasta La Muerte developed by french developer Frederic Pedro. It looks really good and definitely different from what we are accustomed to see. Check out the full trailer after the break:

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Android 2.2 for the Motorola Droid coming next week

Not much to say here other than what’s in the title. According to Verizon the Android 2.2 Froyo update for the original Motorola Droid is expected to be pushed out sometimes next week. This would definitely confirm that the Droid 2 which is expected to launch on August 23rd will indeed be rocking Froyo.

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Android 2.2 Froyo for the HTC EVO 4G download available

Can’t wait until August 3rd? Just grab the Android 2.2 firmware for your HTC EVO 4G and manually installed yourself right now. Downlad the Zip file here move it to the  root directory of your SD card, boot the phone into recovery mode by holingd the volume ”up” button while the phone is turning on, and select apply update from the .zip file. Voila! Have a nice weekend and enjoy your EVO 4g.

UPDATE: HTC Took the file down claiming that it is not final. Here’s a Mirror just in case you want to try it out

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Samsung Cetus SGH-i917 Windows Phone 7 handset revealed

Looks like Samsung’s first Windows Phone 7 handset is going to be the SGH-i917 aka Samsung Cetus according to the BlueTooth SIG. The Cetus will apparently feature a 4″ AMOLED (or super-AMOLED) display a 5Mpix camera, a front facing camera etc…:

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HTC Desire Android 2.2 Froyo update officially coming out this Weekend

That’s right folks, the Android 2.2 Froyo update for the HTC Desire is going to officially be released this weekend according and 720P video recording is now finally on board (remember I was the first to report about this back in february)! The update will also include the app sharing widget that was introduced on the HTC Wildfire plus a couple of other features and improvements. Read the full statement after the break:

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Download the Motorola Droid 2 User Manual

Can’t wait until August 23? Well here’s your chance to grab the Motorola Droid 2 User Manual / guide nearly one month in advance. Nothing to fancy in there given that the Droid 2 will be running similar software to the Droid X (but apparently with Android 2.2). So if you have time to waste just hit the link below and grab the pdf.

Download here

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Android 2.2 coming to the HTC EVO 4G on August 3rd

HTC EVO 4G owners rejoice! Sprint has officially anounced that the Android 2.2/ Froyo update for the device will be released on August 3rd:

Android 2.2 offers HTC EVO 4G feature enhancements including Bluetooth® voice dialing, built-in Flash, the ability to store apps to the memory card and much, much more

The award-winning HTC EVO 4G just got that much better. We are excited to announce that beginning the week of Aug. 1; Sprint will begin rolling out the Android 2.2 upgrade to its HTC EVO 4G customers.

Sprint will be the first wireless carrier to bring1 the latest version of Android to its customers. The Android 2.2 software release provides a significant number of feature enhancements, including:

Voice Dialing Over Bluetooth.
Application Storage on External Memory, giving users more storage room for all their apps.
Camera 4-way rotation allows the camera icons to rotate with the camera.
Improved Browser Performance including a faster JavaScript engine and Flash 10x Support improving the user’s ability to view videos and available content associated with web pages.

“Sprint is thrilled with our customers’ response to HTC EVO 4G and the innovative and exciting experience it offers,” said Fared Adib, vice president – Product Development for Sprint. “It is exciting for us to lead the industry in bringing the Android 2.2 update to these customers and improve on the amazing experience they receive with America’s first 4G capable phone.”

Easy Downloading

Sprint will begin sending update notifications to users in waves beginning Tuesday, Aug. 3 and the upgrade should be available for all HTC EVO 4G users by the middle of August.

The notification will let the users know that the update is available and it will provide the simple two-step over-the-air download process.

Users will receive a notification that Android 2.2 is available for download.
Once the user has downloaded the update, they will be prompted to install the update. The user will be notified that their device will be disabled during the installation process. The phone will be ready to use once the process completes.

For those who just can’t wait to get Android 2.2, there will be an easy user initiated option to download the upgrade. Customers can access the software update through their HTC EVO 4G under the Settings Menu > System Updates > HTC Software Update. This will initiate the three-step process also.

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Several LG Windows Phone 7 handsets to be released this year: first one in September? Nope

According to LG’s PR Ken Hong the company is expected to launch its first Windows phone 7 device in September (this sounds a bit early given that the OS isn’t expected to launch before October 7th) and will follow up with other WP7 handsets before the year end. As I have reported several times here, LG is the primary OEM parter for Windows Phone 7 and Microsoft currently has an dedicated LG Team in Redmond working on devices. Other than the LG Panther we can probably expect to see the LG C900 and LG E900.

UPDATE: Ken Hong just told me that he told IDG “around end of the Q3″ and not in “September”!

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HTC Wildfire Hardware tour video and picture gallery

Here’s my quick hardware tour picture gallery and video of the HTC Wildfire handset. There isn’t much to say frankly. The device is really well build and feels good in the hand, the since is also perfect for one handed navigation. The only major downside is the QVGA resolution of the screen. I must admit that I totally forgot that it had a QVGA screen before turning it on for the first time. But once it finished boot it up I was unfortunately unpleasantly greeted by the super low resolution of the screen. QVGA is kind of acceptable on a 2.8″ screen but on a Wildfire’s 3.2″ it really sticks out like a sore thumb. Add also the fact that the panel used by HTC suffers from severe ghosting when panning and scrolling graphics (I will show you this in an upcoming video). I talk more about performance in an upcoming video. Check out the gallery and video tour after the break:

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Windows Phone 7 codecs support: No HD video playback, no DivX either

Remember a few months back I posted the list of media codecs supported in Windows Phone 7 and was really happy to see that things like DivX and VC-1 were natively supported. Well, bad news folks, I’ve just discovered that Microsoft has recently updated the list with more information and the first thing you will notice is that DivX is no longer on the list but there’s even worst; the maximum video playback resolution is 800×600 at 30fps. That’s right, Windows Phone 7 won’t support HD video playback even though the competition does it now without a problem (iPhone, Android, Symbian etc..) and the hardware supports it. What I don’t understand is that you can apparently encode MPEG-4 Part 2 – Simple Profile videos in 720P (if the device’s camera supports it) but can’t playback at 720P (remember that encoding takes more resources than playback, so WTF?). Check out the full list after the break:

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AT&T to be Premier Windows Phone 7 vendor in the US

According to a company spokesperson AT&T will be the Premier mobile operator partner for Windows Phone 7 in the US. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone given the recent leaks about the Windows Phone 7 retail material hitting AT&T’stores and the rumor that the mobile operator has already placed an order for 8 Million WP7 handsets. One thing to keep in mind is that AT&T won’t be the exclusive carrier, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile will also have Windows Phone 7 devices (as seen in the leaked T-Mobile roadmap). AT&T will probably have more models and have a bigger / more expensive marketing campaign.

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Microsoft’s upcoming Bing Maps Street Slide view and 3D navigation in Photosynth

If you have used Microsoft’s Bing Maps lately you are probably familiar with the Street Side feature that enables you to navigate in first person view through the street of many US cities (similar to Google’s Street View). Microsoft Research isn’t totally happy about the user experience, especially the way the users has to jump from one bubble to another when trying to navigate through a city and is now currently working on a new technology called Street Slide:

Systems such as Google Street View and Bing Maps Streetside enable users to virtually visit cities by navigating between immersive 360° panoramas, or bubbles. The discrete moves from bubble to bubble enabled in these systems do not provide a good visual sense of  a larger aggregate such as a whole city block. Multi-perspective “strip” panoramas can provide a visual summary of a city street but lack the full realism of immersive panoramas.

We present Street Slide, which combines the best aspects of the immersive nature of bubbles with the overview provided by multi-perspective strip panoramas. We demonstrate a seamless transition between bubbles and multi-perspective panoramas. We also present a dynamic construction of the panoramas which overcomes many of the limitations of previous systems. As the user slides sideways, the multi-perspective panorama is constructed and rendered dynamically to simulate either a perspective or hyper-perspective view. This provides a strong sense of parallax, which adds to the immersion. We call this form of sliding sideways while looking at a street facade a street slide. Finally we integrate annotations and a mini-map within the user interface to provide geographic information as well additional affordances for navigation. We demonstrate our Street Slide system on a series of intersecting streets in an urban setting. We report the results of a user study, which shows that visual searching is greatly enhanced with the Street Slide interface over existing systems from Google and Bing.

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Google Maps Mobile 4.4 includes new Places feature

Google has just updated its Google Maps application for Android handsets today with the new places feature enabling users to easily find the nearest restaurant, movie theater, store etc similar to what Yelp offers. Google Maps 4.4 is currently only available on Android 1.6 + devices (through the Android Market) and will later be released on BlackBerry. No word yet on the Windows Mobile version thought (wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t one).

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Add elasticity to your Windows Phone 7 scrolling lists

It is a well known fact that the current Windows Phone 7 development tools are still missing important controls like Panorama, Pivot, Jump List etc… Thankfully smart folks from around the world have developed some the missing controls so third-party developers can start building WP7 applications without the need to wait for Microsoft to release the official ones in a few weeks/months. Clarity Consulting has been doing this for a little while now and has just released a few lines of code that will enable you to add the elasticy/squeeze/stretch effect to you scrolling lists as seen in the the core applications of Windows Phone 7:

Anyone that has an iPhone has undoubtedly been delighted when scrolling through lists for the first time. Aside from the kinetic scrolling, the resistance and elasticity characteristics make for a really nice fluid user experience. These effects are partly based on basic physics principles and partly faked by the animation framework of the phone.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably driven yourself mad by pulling, pushing and flicking your phone to death trying figure out how to re-create these effects.

And if the inertia, elasticity, and resistance weren’t enough WP7 has introduced a new subtly that takes the delight one step further. The scrunch effect. (See video below) Not only does the vertical offset of the list change when you scroll past the end of it, the items within the list box also scale in size. This, for lack of a better label, creates a “scrunch” effect…where all the items appear to get squished together as you pull down the list.

Unfortunately, some of these subtleties don’t ship by default with the windows phone controls. So with some help from my college kmarshall we cranked out some of the interactions and packaged them up in a behavior.

Check out the video adfter the break:

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Why Microsoft started the Employee developer program for Windows Phone 7

There’s been a lot of talk ever since Microsoft announced last week that every employee will receive a free Windows Phone 7 handset and given the opportunity to develop applications for the platform. One thing that many of you probably don’t know is that when you work for a software company like Microsoft every single line of your code is usually owned by the company. This means that depending on their actual contract many Microsoft employees couldn’t create WP7 applications and then sell them on the Marketplace. The company has decided to change this rule and start the Employee Developer program to allow them to develop Windows Phone 7 applications and profit from them. Read the full statement posted by Brandon Watson after the break:

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Press Start Studio’s second Windows Phone 7 game: Butterfly

The french team at Press Start Studio are currently working on a second Windows Phone 7 game expected to launch on day one this fall. Following the buzz generated by the WP7 port of Twin Blades (you can see my hands-on video here) the team is now developing a more casual game named Butterfly. I don’t really know what are the exact mechanisms of the game but from what I can see in the teaser video the player as to open as many flowers as possible without getting eaten by a carnivore plant / Frog. check out the first teaser video after the break:

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HTC Vision in the wild again and headed to T-Mobile as the HTC G1 Blaze

We already knew that the HTC Vision was going to be on T-Mobile’s rosterthis fall and the picture above finally confirms it (see the T-mobile logo?). According to Engadget’s tipster the Vision will probably be known as the G1 Blaze when it finally hits retail later this year. Nothing new has been spilled though. The 3.7″ screen will either be AMOLED or SLCD and the qwerty keyboard definitely looks spacious enough to be usable. Good to see Android devices with hardware keyboards after the avalanche of touchscreen only devices in the past months. The HTC Vision / G1 Blaze will go head to head against the Motorola Droid 2 and Samsung Epic 4G.

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Video of Scribble Defense for Windows Phone 7

Xbox Live Arcade game Scribble Defense is headed to Windows Phone 7 this fall. Mechaghost, the developer of the game has already posted several video of the new WP7 version on YouTube and things are looking really nice so far. Scribble Defense Check out the latest build in action below:

New art assets are being used to bring Scribble Defense to life in Windows Phone 7. As well as a new control scheme and gameplay tweaks to make the game a natural fit Windows Phone 7. Scribble Defense for Windows Phone 7 will try to launch the same time the marketplace for Windows Phone 7 launches

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