Instagram, Vine, Xbox Video and many more hitting Windows Phone 8 in the coming weeks

The time has finally come for Instagram to hit the Windows Phone store! In the coming weeks is the officially release date according to Microsoft and Nokia who have worked really hard to finally secure the app for the platform. The same applies to Vine which should hit the Windows Phone Store around the same time. But there are many more apps that have been announced today as seen in the list below:

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HALO: Spartan Assault coming exclusively to Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 and Windows RT in July

The Halo franchise is finally headed to Windows Phone as an exclusive first party game from Microsoft’s 343 Industries Studio in collaboration with Vanguard Studios. Halo: Spartan Assault is a top-down arcade shooter game which will be exclusive to Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 and Windows RT. The game’s story line is set between Halo 3 and Halo 4 and will focus on the Halo: Spartan Ops team’s first mission against the Covenant forces.

The development and released of this exclusive title was only a matter a time given the different OS’ share core and APIs and is a definitive sign of Microsoft flexing it’s muscle to pushed it’s ecosystem further ahead of the Xbox One launch later this year. Still thinking that MS doesn’t really care about Windows Phone? Well this and the flood of high quality applications hitting the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 Store in the past months is a clear sign the Redmond is finally “getting it”.

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PES 2012 For Windows Phone 7 released

Konami’s PES 2012 for Windows Phone 7 has just been released as the XBOX Live game of the week . Now those of you who have been following Microsoft’ mobile OS for a little while may remember that PES 2011 was also available on the platform (hands-on video) but then suddenly disappeared not long ago. If you bought last year’s iteration of the game it’s now safe to say that you have been ripped off given that you cant download it anymore and that you will have to buy the 2012 edition instead if you really what to have a decent football/soccer game on your phone. To make things worst; this new edition is nearly identical to the previous one (besides the 2012 teams and menu background). As a matter fact just check ou the description below and compare to the previous one here:

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BulletAsylum for Windows Phone 7 released

The much anticipated shooter which was announced more than a year ago has finally landed in the Xbox Live section of the marketplace today for the price of $2.99. The games performance is top notch on my Nokia Lumia 800 handset but didn’t have time to check it out on my Omnia 7 yet so go grb the trial version now to check it out for yourself especially if you have a 1st gen Windows Phone 7 handset. I personally found the Lumia’s 3.7″ screen to be a tad too small for this game though. Here’s what’s included:

- Multiple unique game modes, including Arcade, Survival, and Architect.
- Dozens of upgrades; because bigger guns are better guns.
- Several game modifiers; change the rules – change the game.
- Leaderboards; Show your friends just how much better than them you are.
- Achievements; 200 Gamerscore up for grabs.

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Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit for Windows Phone 7 released

Quick heads up to let you know that Need For Speed hot pursuit has just been released in the Windows Phone Marketplace for $4.99. You can grab the trial right know and try it out for yourself especially if you have a 1st generation handset just in case it doesn’t perform well on your handset. Everything is running smoothly on my Lumia 800 that I tested it on, the only nasty thing being the “right in your face” and low resolution mipmapping level used in this version of the game (compared to Android and iOS) which I’m guessing was done to make the game playable on the Adreno 200 powered handsets. I will shoot a hands one video later today to show you the game in action.

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New Windows Phone Xbox Live games announced and 27 Exclusive EA Games for Nokia Lumia phones

Microsoft has announced the upcoming Xbox Live enabled games that a re set to be launched in February (even they don’t get mysteriously delayed as it has often been the case..). Among them are Need For Speed Hot Pursuit, Splinter Cell Conviction, Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp, BulletAsylum which was initially unveiled by its indie developers more than a year ago and finally Chickens Can’t Fly.

Nokia and EA Games have also outed their partnership for 27 timed exclusive games which are going to be made available to Nokia Lumia owners first. Among them are Real Racing, Mirrors Edge, Tiger Woods and more. Check out a short teaser video after the break:

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Halo Waypoint with ATLAS feature released

Microsoft has just released a new updated version of the Halo Waypoint app for Windows Phone 7 which now includes the ATLAS multiplayer companion feature of Halo: Reach. This will allow you to checkout overhead views of all the multiplayer maps and get real-time position and score information of the ongoing matches. Just just head over here to download it if you haven’t already and enjoy it.

Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone released alongside Xbox Live app for iPhone and iPad

The Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone 7 is finally available for download today if you are the proud owner of an XBOX 360 console (I’m not so I can’t test it for you sorry). If you own an iOS devices (iPhone/iPad) Microsoft has also released an Xbox Live application which brings the basic Xbox Live functionalities found in the first iteration of Windows Phone 7 and the Xbox Extras app to Apple’s best selling platform.

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Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone to be released on December 6th

Ready for some real Microsoft ecosystem cross platform integration? The Xbox Companion app will finally launch tomorrow (December 6th) alongside the consoles fall dashboard update according to Microsoft’s Major Nelson. This new Xbox Companion app will let you remotely control your Xbox 360 console through your Windows phone 7 handset similarly to a DLNA remote and will also give you access to some of the new console feature like Bing to search the unified Xbox catalog for movies, TV shows, music, games and apps.

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Kinectimals for Windows Phone 7 released

Kinectimals for Windows Phone 7 is finally out in the Marketplace and is this weeks Xbox Live enabled game for the platform. I’m going to shoot a video hands on which I’m going to embed below later today but there’s a few things I would like to point out before. The Adreno 200 GPU in the first generation Windows Phone 7 handsets is definitely showing its age here: the game’s framerate is really lower and choppier on the Samsung Omnia 7 compared to the HTC Titan (Adreno 205 GPU) which is perfectly smooth. The same thing is noticeable in last week’s Xbox Live game Orbital. The game is also note Mango “compatible”, this means that there”s no fast-application-switching, and no camera integration which means that there’s no augmented reality feature a previously thought (you can only take insert the animal in a previously taken picture or one shot by launching the camera a from within the game). Anyway the full game is $2.99 but you can already try the trial here.

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EA games to come exclusively on Nokia Windows Phones

Electronic Arts took the stage at the Nokia World event to announce that several of their big name EA Mobile games ill be released exclusively on Nokia windows Phones , the Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 710. As you can see in the slide above Fifa12, Madden 12, Dead Space, Need For Speed and several other AAA titles are headed our way. Hasbro and Chillingo’s collections are also part of the deal.

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Windows Phone 7 Xbox Companion app and Kinectimals shown on video

Here’s the very first hands on demo of the recently announced Xbox companion application for Windows Phone 7 and a short demo of Kinectimals too both running on the Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 710. The Xbox Companion app definitely looks like a must have if you own the XBOX360 and is finally the first step in the long await integration of the home console with the phone platform. The app allows you to browse your consoles content and remotely control it with you Windows Phone. Things will get even more exciting next year with the release of Windows 8 which will have Xbox Live directly built-in. Check it out after the break.

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Jet Car Stunts Xbox Live game for Windows Phone released


Microsoft has finally release another great Xbox Live game for Windows Phone 7 today called Jet Car Stunts. As the name implies this is involves cars fitted with Jet engines attempting to make stunts. The whole package is really solid and the graphics are far from being bad. The lighting is especially good and so is the framerate. THe only negatives I can think of is the nasty color banding everywhere and the lack of anti-aliasing. I will try to shoot a video of it running later on to show how that thing looks like on an HTC Titan. In the man time you can download it for $2.99 or try the fairly long trial version before taking the plunge here.

Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone announced: Control your Xbox from your phone

Microsoft has just announced the Xbox companion application for Windows Phone 7 (Mango) today enabling users to wireless control their home console via their handset. The application will also act as a DLNA remote so users can playback videos, songs on the TV. Here’s a short description:

- Finding Content: Just like on your Xbox, the Xbox Companion gives you instant access to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace catalog of games, movies, music and TV shows. I used it to search “Featured Content” and pulled up the X-Men: First Class.
- Learn more about what you’re watching, listening to, or playing: Once I found the movie and touched the movie tile, the Xbox companion app took me to an info page that has all the related details about. And the content is really rich, too – for example, when I swiped to the “cast” page and touched an actor’s name, like star James McAvoy, I was taken to other movies starring him. From there, I could easily learn more about the other movies, their cast, etc. It’s an infinite road of interactive content.
- Control & Play: Once I selected the content and hit play, the Xbox Companion flips into “controller mode” in which I could navigate my Xbox, or control video playback of your video. The best part here is that controls are virtually instantaneous – easily as fast as using my controller or a TV remote.

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Burn The Rope Xbox Live Windows Phone game released

This weeks Xbox Live enabled game for Windows Phone 7 is Burn The Rope, a critically acclaimed mobile game already out on iOS. As the game title says the goal is to burn the rope and to do this you will have to use your device’s accelerometer because the flame only burns upwards. The game cost $2.99 but make sure to try out the trial beforehand just in case this isn’t your type of game. For my part I think that this is the kind of content that really suits mobile platforms so it’s highly recommend. Only downside s that this versions still isn’t Mango compatible so you won’t be able to fast-resume. Get it here.

Tentacles Xbox Live game gets updated for Mango

We can now add Tentacles to the growing list of games and applications being updated for Windows Phone 7.5 Mango. The game now support fast application switching but other than that I didn’t notice any major change. This update should also tone down the games difficulty level and hopefully the game saves bug too. Don’t forget to check my interview with the developers in case you missed it a few weeks ago. Also note that the Samsung Now hub has also been updated today to version 2.5.

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No XNA support for Metro applications in Windows 8

Just a little heads up in case you are an XNA developer dreaming of developing multiplatform games for Windows Phone, Windows 8 and / or Xbox: XNA is not supported for developing Metro style applications in Windows 8. XNA applications will be treated as classic desktop applications in the new OS but XNA is still the recommend route for developing Xbox Live Arcade and Windows Phone games. Here are Microsoft’s recommendations for developing games targeting Windows 8′s Metro:

Graphics
DirectX gaming power underlies Windows 8, so you have several options when creating Metro style game
apps. You can write full-screen, chrome-free games with smooth, flicker-free action using HTML5, JavaScript,
and CSS3. Or, write impressive 2D and lightweight 3D games using XAML with managed C# or Visual Basic.
You can also use the full processing abilities of modern graphics hardware using native C++ and HLSL
with DirectX 11.1.

Create immersive games using the power of DirectX
The new Windows 8 graphics stack is better integrated, making Direct2D, Direct3D, and DirectCompute
components easier to use together and requiring fewer duplicated resources than before. Capabilities
previously available only in XNA, such as DirectXMath, XAudio2, and XInput, are now available. For the
ultimate experience in gaming and video, use DirectX 11.1 to bring stereoscopic 3D to your apps.

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Xbox Live confirmed on Windows 8

This is something we already knew for a while but it has now finally been confirmed that Xbox Live will be part of Windows 8 when it launches late next year:

We are confirming that we will be bringing Xbox LIVE to the PC with Xbox LIVE on Windows. We are very excited about Xbox LIVE coming to Windows 8. Xbox LIVE brings your games, music, movies, and TV shows to your favorite Microsoft and Windows devices. Bringing Xbox LIVE to Windows 8 is part of our vision to bring you all the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, made easy. At BUILD we are showing that it is easy for developers to create games for Windows 8 that take advantage of the power of Xbox LIVE. We have much more detail to share about the capabilities of Xbox LIVE on Windows and look forward to the opportunity to do so in the near future.

This obviously doesn’t mean that Windows 8 device will suddenly be able to run Xbox 360 games but you can instead expect the same level of service integration found in Windows Phone 7.5 Mango. Games developed for Windows8 will be able to integrated Xbox Live achievements,avatars, multi-player etc…

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Latest Hydro Thunder Go update greatly improves performance

As I tweeted on Saturday night the latest version of Hydro Thunder Go for Windows Phone 7 greatly improves the games performance which was previously suffering from sever framerate dips during busy races. The game is still being render at sub-WVGA resolution (400×240 instead of 800×480) but this is unfortunately caused by the Adreno 200 GPU which isn’t capable of handling what’s being rendered on the screen at the device’s native resolution (the water’s real-time environmental reflections is most probably the killer here). Thankfully the next batch of Windows Phone handsets which are set be released in the coming months will all include the more powerful Adreno 205 GPU but even then it will be up to developers to decide if it’s going to be worth targeting this GPU instead of the old one given the current install base.

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