Updated Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Phone 7 released

Microsoft has just released an updated version of the Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Phone 7. Unfortunately PubCenter is still only available to US residents. Contrary to what I thought earlier this month it is not yet open to developers worldwide but only to advertiser which can now sell ads via Adcenter. Anyway, here’s what new in the June SDK:

- Streamlined Ad Control APIs make common tasks simpler. For example, the Ad Control will now automatically collapse itself when no ad is available; this previously this required custom code.
- Added support for ads that link to Windows Phone Marketplace. Stay tuned for news on how you’ll soon be able to promote your app by advertising in other Windows Phone apps.
- The Ad Control is now automatically available in the Visual Studio 2010 toolbox.
- Ad requests over SSL for better end-user privacy.
- Numerous bugs fixes and stability improvements.

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Microsoft Advertising for Windows Phone 7 now available worldwide

Finally! Microsoft has announced today prior to the opening of the Cannes Lion festival that Microsoft Advertising Exchange for Mobile is now available globally (it was restricted to the US Only). This means that Windows Phone 7 developers from around the world can now used Microsoft’s in-app adverts to monetize their applications. Microsoft is also opening its Microsoft Advertising Exchange RTB in the UK and Netherlands with Canada, France and Germany in the coming months. Check out the full press release after the break:

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Free HTC application allows connection to hidden Wifi networks on its Windows Phone 7 devices

One of the most talked about issue with Windows Phone 7 is its inability to connect to hidden Wifi networks and this has yet to be addressed by Microsoft. Thankfully HTC users should be happy to learn that the company has released a free application called Hidden Wi-Fi that allows the device to connect to 3 different hidden networks manually pre-selected by the user. After manually adding those 3 hidden access point you will be able to connect to them like any other WiFi network. Grab the application here (only for HTC Windows Phone 7 devices).

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Verizon HTC 7 Trophy not coming out until May ?

Verizon’s HTC 7 Trophy is apparently still ways off according to the Microsoft employee offer that first surfaced last year the device won’t be available until May 5th (that’s not a public release date though). The previous date was April 7th and prior to date I remember somebody coming up with a February 28th public announcement date (we all know how this one turned out…). Let’s just say that if you are a Verizon user eagerly waiting for a Windows Phone 7 it is now probably time to look at other carriers offering or just get yourself an Android or iPhone 4 handset. The big red company doesn’t seem that interested in Windows Phone 7 at all even though testing has been going on for a while

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Google releases official AdMob SDK for Windows Phone 7

Google has just saved the day and announced the availability to the Beta SDK of Admob for Windows Phone 7. As you probably already know,Microsoft’s own Adcenter is only available to US residents, leaving every body else in the cold and forced to use third-party and un-officialy Ad controls instead. So it’s definitely nice to see Google stepping up and releasing an official Admob control for Windows Phone7 (it’s also fairly obvious that it was done because it helps them generate money … but that business as usual and for once also helps us developers).

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Halo Waypoint for Windows Phone 7 gets a major update

Microsoft has just released a major update to for the Halo Waypoint Windows Phone 7 application today.It finally enables some of the features that weren’t accessible in the first version and feels a tiny bit more snappier. But I’m a bit disappointed that it still doesn’t run under lockscreen:

Halo Waypoint for your Windows Phone 7 has gotten a sweet overhaul (available now!) with the addition of:

– Your Halo: Reach Service Record
– Xbox LIVE functionality
– New in-depth stats you won’t find anywhere else.

Take a look at what’s in store for Halo fans with Halo Waypoint 1.1 for your Windows Phone 7.

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Support for 14 new languages coming to Windows Phone 7 with Mango update later this year

As I have previously reported back in July, Microsoft is scheduled to add more native language support to Windows Phone 7 in the coming months. The company has now officially stated that 14 new languages will be added later this year as part of the Mango update. As of right now only English, French, Italian, German and Spanish are natively supported (even though you can select any location for the browser and search services). Obviously Finnish support is a going to be one of the 14 given that Nokia is supposedly aiming to ship its first Windows Phone 7 device at the end of the year.

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Final word on the Asus E600 Windows Phone 7 development handset

I just wanted to point out something and hopefully lay this subject to rest: the Asus E600 is just a Windows Phone 7 development handset never meant to hit retail. I’ve been telling you this since last October but nobody seems to have noticed (or cared) and we still saw baseless rumors popping up left and right about the device. Anyway, Raphael.R and the ChevronWP7 crew got handed out E600s last week and confirmed that these are only dev handsets similar to the LG GW910 and Samsung Taylor.

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Sony Ericsson still open to use Windows Phone 7. But not yet

It is a well known fact that Sony Ericsson is betting its future on Android but they apparently still have their eyes on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. The company keeps saying that they are open to use it but that the time has come yet. Is it for real or just PR purpose ? Nobody really knows.One thing is for sure though: they probably aren’t in a hurry to have an Xbox Live enabled smartphone alongside their soon to be launch Xperia Play PSP phone (which is totally understandable). Their parent company (Sony) has also recently decided not to launch a WP7 version of the PlayStation application (it’s out on iPhone and Android).

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Windows Phone 7 Review

It’s now time to take an in-depth look at Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system now that the project has finally seen the light of the day after years of tumultuous developments. This review is quite long so I’m first going to give you a quick history reminder about the development of the OS followed by description of the product’s features and my opinion of it.

Officially unveiled back in February 2010 during MWC in Barcelona, Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft last attempt to be relevant in the mobile market after the slow demise of Windows Mobile 6.X that took place during past few years. Contrary to popular belief Windows Mobile as we knew it wasn’t a bad OS, but it greatly suffered from Microsoft’s total lack of support and interest in its product and the only reason why it managed to survived this long was because OEMs like HTC poured R&D and money into developing alternative UIs to compete with Apple’s iPhone and later, Google’s Android. What many people don’t know is that Windows Phone 7’s development initially started back in 2004 when it was called Windows Mobile 7 (code named Photon) but because of a lack of motivation, foresight and some relatively stupid decisions taken by the Redmond company (like the Danger acquisition that later gave birth to the Kin devices) the development was a total mess and in Fall 2008 Microsoft finally decided to stop all ongoing Photon / Windows Mobile 7 development and re-start everything from scratch with a new team composed of the developers of the Zune media player and Windows Media Center.

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Zombies!!! and Brain Challenge released on Windows Phone 7

Microsoft has just released two new Xbox Live enabled Windows Phone 7 games today: Gameloft’s Brain Challenge and Babaroga’s Zombies!!!. Both games are available right now for $4.99 but be sure to check out the trial versions before making your decision. One thing I would like to point out is that contrary to what the game title made suggest, Zombies!!! it’s an action shooter but a turn-based game(you know with dices etc..). Anyway, just head over to the marketplace to try them out.

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Ilomilo now available in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace: Hands-on video Review

All non-AT&T user rejoice! Ilomilo is now finally available to everybody in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace. The full game will set you bak $4.99 but you can also download the trial version to check it out. Don’t forget to also read my interview with developers Southend Interactive here. Check out my hands-on video after the break:

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Amazon Kindle for Windows Phone 7 review

It was just a few days ago that I was wondering when was Amazon going to launch the Kindle application for Windows Phone 7 given that the original press release stated that it will be out in the Marketplace before the end of the year. Well, it is finally  out now and free for you to download on your Windows Phone 7 device. So just head over here and grad while it’s hot and check out my hands-on video after the break:

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Microsoft is looking to improve Windows Phone 7 cloud services, applications analytics, 3D graphics and public relations

This week’s going to be relatively slow with regards to technology news so I decided to take a quick look at Microsoft’s career website to see if there was anything of interest related to Windows Phone 7. Thankfully for us there are some interesting nuggets in there right now:

The Windows Phone Services team is apparently seeking to improve WP7′s cloud infrastrucutre by building new services using Windows Azure ans SQL Azure:

The Windows Phone Services (WPS) organization is responsible for building highly scalable and innovative cloud services that support the Windows Phone. The Platform and Core Services (PCS) team within WPS is responsible for the core infrastructure and services that build a framework for all WPS teams to layer upon. PCS will be taking advantage of Windows Azure and other internal services and tools to bring a platform that allows quick time to market, and flexible scale.

The PCS Engineering Tools and Services team is looking for a Senior Program Manager to drive the management of services and related engineering tools that will be part of a common framework for WPS. These services and tools are related to areas such as Live ID, and certificate management for the devices, and the developer pipeline for services. These services must run under the new PCS Azure framework and must be enhanced for the next Windows Phone OS. This role will require strong technical skills, and ability to communicate and collaborate with our partner teams within WPS and the Windows Phone team.

Come join an organization that knows how to build compelling and cost effective cloud services for mobile devices!

Do you want to play a critical role in a team that will enable Senior Leadership to make business decisions that’ll shape the future of Windows Phone? Are you passionate about working with raw data and transforming it into intelligent information? Are you interested in building a V1 infrastructure on top of Windows and SQL Azure? Come work with the Platform and Core services (PCS) team in the Windows Phone Services (WPS) division.

PCS team is charted to deliver a Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence platform for all of Windows Phone Services. This platform will drive all Data-warehousing and Business Intelligence needs of current & future services under WPS including Location, Notification, and Windows Live phone services.

Microsoft is also looking to improve the recently launched marketplace analytics tools for third-party developers:

We need a strong developer who develop the services to work with developers to advance our analysis of applications published to AppHub http://create.msdn.com/>. You will design and implement high performance tools and services that can process variety of Windows Phone applications. You will apply latest managed code and security scanning algorithms as well as advanced machine learning techniques to reduce the latency for application certifications.

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ShopSavvy for Windows Phone 7 released but without live scanning

After initially being developed for Windows Mobile 6.5 and never seeing the light of the day the guys at Big in Japan decided to jump into the Windows Phone 7 bandwagon and port their application over to the new OS. It is now finally out in the Marketplace but unfortunately an important feature had to be cut out: Live Scanning. Here’s how it went down according to the developers:

After much wrangling and negotiating with Microsoft they have decided to release our app WITHOUT live scanning for the time being. They have their own ‘tag’ app that uses live scanning and I think they want to give it a headstart before allowing ShopSavvy to go full-on live. Anyway, the app looks pretty cool (full on metro styling) and will give you the same results that the iPhone and Android versions provide. It is definitely a 1.0 version – i.e. not 4.0 (like iPhone and soon Android), but it is a good start. You can download it now from the Marketplace.

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Over 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 handsets sold in six weeks

Microsoft has finally  decided to communicate the first Windows Phone 7 unit sales today. According to Achim Berg, corporate vice president, Mobile Communications Business and Marketing Group, OEMs have already sold 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 devices to retailers and carriers (not end-user..) in six weeks. This definitely far from bad  (but not super amazing and reaching the 30 million units predicted earlier this year is going to be hard) and really promising for the future of the platform but Microsoft still doesn’t want to communicate the number of units sold to end-users . Also keep in mind that Microsoft is making money off off every WP7 licenses sold to OEMs. Check out the full interview after the break:

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Windows Phone 7 Facebook application gets finally updated. Now includes Places and Photo Tagging

Clarity Consulting has just released an updated version of the official Facebook application for Windows Phone 7 today which brings two new features to the table: Photo Tagging and Facebook Places support. The overall performance of the application also seems to have been slightly improved (the application can now also run underlock screen).

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The Nokia Windows Phone 7 handset rumor creeps up again

It’s this time of the year when rumor start flying around like Frisbees.This time it’s the well known Nokia basher and Russian mobile blog guru Eldar Murtazin who is claiming that Nokia is in talks with Microsoft to possibly start developing Windows Phone 7 handsets. We already heard the same thing a few weeks ago after ex-Microsoft President Stephen Elop was appointed Nokia CEO:

In the last month behind closed doors is a discussion of expanded cooperation Nokia and Microsoft (two-way discussion, initiated by the new leadership of Nokia). Not simply the exchange of technology, but creating an entire line of Windows Phone devices that may go under the name Nokia, through the sales channels for the company, and will also have the characteristic features of its products. This is a desperate measure of the two companies.

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The latest Windows Phone 7 and MWC rumors

I thought that I would comment on the latest Windows Phone 7 and Mobile World Congress rumor making the rounds today. Digitimes is now claiming (based on their “own” sources) that Microsoft is going to unveil a new batch of Windows Phone 7 devices during MWC in February and that the Asus E600 is going to be one of them. First off I would like to point out (did it earlier on Twitter) that when Digitimes doesn’t name its “sources” they are nearly always wrong (I highly suggest to take a look at the sites past claims about the iPad and other tech préductions if you want to have a good laugh…). Secondly, AFAIK the Asus E600 is never going to hit retailand is only used as a developer device by Microsoft (similar to the LG GW910 and Samsung Taylor, and the first WP7 prototype wy saw which was the Asus Galaxy 6). But don’t take my word here,just think for a second. Would Asus / Microsoft “unveil” a device that has already been officially shown publicly by Microsoft employees all over the world (you can see it being used many of the PDC10 keynotes) ?

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