Monthly Archives: July 2011

7 Hottest Features In Windows Phone 7 Mango

Paul McDougall 07/28/2011 Microsoft this week shipped its Windows Phone “Mango” update to phone makers–adding key features to the smartphone OS that Microsoft is pitting against Apple iPhone and Google Android. Check out this visual tour of seven significant new functions.

Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7 to considerable hype in October 2010. Initial reaction was mostly lukewarm. Pundits praised the unique, “Live Tiles” interface that pushes real-time feeds from social networks and other services directly to the startup screen. But beyond that, there was a consensus that the platform offered little else new compared to rival offerings-and it was significantly lacking in some crucial areas–most notably multitasking. That may partly explain why, by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s own admission, Windows Phone 7 has struggled. “In a year, we’ve gone from very small to … very small” in market share, Ballmer said at the company’s recent Worldwide Partner conference in Los Angeles. Microsoft hopes to change that with the Mango update. Mango adds the long-awaited multitasking. It lets users move freely between applications and pick up and resume where they left off without having to restart the app. For instance, a user playing a game that’s interrupted by a phone call could take the call, then switch back to the game at the point where he left off. A new addition to the interface lets users check app states and select those that are currently running. Windows Phone needs multitasking just to keep up with Android and Apple’s iOS, both of which have already implemented the feature.


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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Android, Apple, iPhone, Windows Phone


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Avis Launches First Car Rental Mobile Application for Microsoft Windows Phone 7

PARSIPPANY, N.J., Jul 28, 2011 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) — Avis Rent A Car has released a mobile application for Microsoft Windows Phone 7 smartphones that allows travelers to make real-time reservations for rentals at Avis neighborhood and airport locations throughout the United States and Canada. The new application, available for free download at the Windows Mobile Marketplace, makes Avis the first company to offer a car rental application for Microsoft Windows Phone 7 mobile devices.

“We are committed to providing our customers with technological innovations that will enhance their rental experience,” said Tom Gartland, executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer care for Avis Budget Group, parent company of Avis. “We are excited to launch the Avis application for Microsoft Windows Phone 7 devices and allow those on the go to make an Avis reservation anytime, anywhere.”

The application can be used to make reservations at Avis neighborhood and airport locations throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, renters can modify, view or cancel existing reservations and store profile information, such as their name, contact information and rental preferences via the mobile app. The Avis mobile application runs on Windows 7 Mobile OS and is specifically designed for Windows Phone 7 smartphones. For more information on the Avis application, visit the Marketplace, Microsoft’s virtual store for apps, games and other entertainment.

“More customers are using mobile devices to make reservations,” said Mr. Gartland. “In fact, the number of rentals booked via mobile platforms is increasing every month. Avis customers are also using the devices to manage their rentals, and our conversion rates are growing as well.”

Introduced in the United States in November, Windows Phone 7 is the only phone with Office, X-Box Live and Bing. The device also features a “people hub” to stay connected to friends via social media, as well as hubs for pictures, games, music and videos.

The Avis Windows Phone 7 application builds upon Avis’s commitment to offer renters time-saving amenities, an example of how we are “in the business of treating people like people.” In 2007, the Company unveiled the industry’s first online booking tool for Internet-enabled portable devices through an optimized version of designed for mobile phones. Avis has also led the industry with innovations such as the introduction of the first portable navigation device and electronic toll collection solutions.

About Avis

Avis Rent A Car System, LLC and its subsidiaries operate one of the world’s leading car rental brands, providing business and leisure customers with a wide range of services at approximately 2,100 locations in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Latin American / Caribbean region. Avis is one of the world’s top brands for customer loyalty, ranking as the number one car rental company in the Brand Keys(R) Customer Loyalty Engagement Index for the past twelve years. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Avis Budget Group, Inc. /quotes/zigman/2380077/quotes/nls/car CAR -1.43% . For more information, visit .

The Avis logo is available at

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire,

SOURCE: Avis Budget Group, Inc.

CONTACT: Alice Pereira


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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Microsoft, WP7


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Developers Get Updated Windows Phone 7 ‘Mango’ SDK

On the heels of the Windows Phone “Mango” release to manufacturing, Microsoft on Wednesday also provided developers with an updated version of its beta Mango software development kit (SDK).

The revamped software, known as the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 “Beta 2 Refresh,” is available for download now at the Mango Connect site, Cliff Simpkins, product manager for Windows Phone 7, wrote in a blog post. The update represents “a month of great progress by the engineering team, further refining and improving the Mango developer experience,” he said.

Simpkins highlighted a few of the improvements included in Beta 2, including locked APIs, built-in screenshot capability in the emulator, improved profiler, the ability to install NuGet into the free version of the Windows Phone SDK tools, and a peek at the Marketplace Test Kit.,1468,i=303865,00.jpg

Microsoft also sent out an OS update to Microsoft Update servers, which will let developers update retail Windows Phones that they updated to Mango over the last month. When it’s available, developers will see a pop-up, which will prompt them to connect their phone to their computers. The update, dubbed Build 7712, is not the RTM but a pre-release build; details about installation are available on the blog.

So why didn’t Microsoft provide developers with the RTM version of Mango? Two reasons.

“First, the phone OS and the tools are two equal parts of the developer toolkit that correspond to one another. When we took this snapshot for the refresh, we took the latest RC drops of the tools and the corresponding OS version,” Sipmkins wrote. “Second, what we are providing is a genuine release candidate build, with enough code checked in and APIs locked down that this OS is close enough to RTM that, as a developer, it’s more than capable to see you through the upcoming RC drop of the tools and app submission.”

Simpkins urged developers to try out build 7712; “it’s a sweet ride, to be sure,” he wrote.

For more, see’s preview of Mango and the slideshow below. “The next version of Windows Phone 7, called ‘Mango,’ although that won’t be its final name, is great-looking and fun to use,” wrote PCMag mobile analyst Sascha Segan. “It’s full of people-centric features that make it easier to stay in touch with friends and family, to communicate, and to share ideas. It’s easier to use than Android, and in many ways slicker than Apple’s iOS.”

Also this week, the first smartphone running Mango was unveiled in Japan.The Fujitsu IS12T will hit carriers and stores in September, but is not expected to come to the states.


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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in SDK, Windows Phone 7, WP7


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Cave Developing New Original Shooter for Windows Phone 7

According to a press release from Microsoft, 37 companies have signed up to publish titles for Windows Phone 7 in the Japanese marketplace. One of these is Cave, renowned for its bullet hell shooters on other platforms, which is said to be developing an original new shooter for the platform.

There are no details on Cave’s new title yet — not even a name. The company’s past mobile titles Espgaluda II​, DoDonPachi Resurrection, Deathsmiles and Mushihimesama Bug Panic are among the best games on Apple’s iOS platform, so its development for Windows Phone 7 devices will hopefully give the mobile OS’ respectability as a gaming platform a healthy boost.

Also on the way to Windows Phone 7 is Sonic 4 Episode 1 from Sega; Pac-Man, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX and Katamari Damacy from Namco; and an untitled new project from Konami.


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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Apple, Windows Phone 7


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Windows Phone 7’s ‘Mango’ Update Looms: 10 Important Features

Microsoft is inching closer to launching its Windows Phone 7 “Mango” update. The upcoming operating system improvement will be coming to devices this fall and is now in the hands of vendors so they can preinstall it on their devices so they will be ready for the official launch.

Mango is releasing at an extremely important time for Microsoft. The software giant has been trying desperately over the last several months to cement its position in the mobile market, but so far, it has fallen short as its top competitors, iOS and Android, continue to appeal to both consumers and enterprise users.

Of course, much of that has been due to Microsoft’s own issues. The company waited too long to release Windows Phone 7, and when it finally did, the operating system lacked a host of important features, such as full multitasking. But Microsoft is addressing that problem and others with Mango.

Read on to find out about some of the most important improvements Microsoft is bringing to Mango.

1. Apps and search play well together

One of the most important additions in Mango is the ability to search the Web via Bing and, based on what the user is looking for, call up apps related to a query. As Microsoft points out, if users are searching for movie times, for example, the new feature will provide users with a direct download point to add the Fandango app to their phones. If it’s implemented well, the feature could have a profound impact on Microsoft’s mobile application support.

2. Full multitasking

One of the biggest complaints of Windows Phone 7 users has been the platform’s lack of full multitasking. With Mango, users will be able to switch between applications easily, as well as have multiple applications running at the same time. Considering competing operating systems already have that functionality, it’s about time Microsoft follows suit.

3. Better Live Tiles

Microsoft has promised far more appealing functionality in its platform’s Live Tiles. According to the company, its Live Tiles will provide more real-time data, as well as allow users to track individuals or groups of people from their devices. Live Tiles is far more useful in Mango, and most Windows Phone 7 users will be happy to see that.

4. People Hub is a nice addition

Microsoft is making it easier for people to keep in contact in Mango. A new addition called People Hub will help users find all the online places where they can contact a friend. One of the biggest issues on mobile devices now is finding where people are. People Hub is designed to cut down on those issues, and by the look of things, consumers will be happy to have it.



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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Microsoft, Windows Phone 7


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5 more free tools for Windows 7 you have to try

Despite all of Windows 7’s capabilities, creative developers keep finding cool utilities to offer to make it even better

Every couple of months, it’s both entertaining and useful to revisit the tools and toys available to make our desktop experience smoother, more flexible, and, yes, more fun.

A while back, I identified eight free Windows 7 tools you have to try and later revealed some truly awesome tools for Windows 7 power users. I have five more “gotta try” Windows tools for you to consider:

[ Get all the details you need on deploying and using Windows 7 in the InfoWorld editors’ 21-page Windows 7 Deep Dive PDF special report. | Stay abreast of key Microsoft technologies in our Technology: Microsoft newsletter. ]

1. Mosaic Project’s CodePlex: With all the fuss about Windows 8 and the new Metro UI that feels more like Windows Phone 7, CodePlex has a “skin” of sorts that will give you the feel of Windows 8 today. It’s not fully functional, but it does contain a set of widgets that pulls content from the Web or your PC into the live tile UI that we expect to see with the next release of Windows.

2. ProduKey from NirSoft Freeware: If you’ve ever had to do a reinstall, you know how frustrating it can be if you cannot find your product key. Perhaps you have a bank of keys and forgot which one went with which system. ProduKey displays the Product ID and the CD key for Windows and Microsoft Office, as well as Exchange and SQL Server for your servers. You can use it to view the information on your current system or on a system over the network through command-line options. Never worry about losing a product key for Windows or Office again.

3. Bins by 1-up Industries: From the same folks who brought us Fences, Bins is a great organizer that combines related programs on your taskbar into bins to help reduce clutter and allow you to access your programs quickly. You can do more than just pin programs to Bins; you can pin files and folders as well.

4. Joli OS by Jolicloud: This tool is simply awesome. In fact, Joli OS is, as the name suggests, more of an entire operating system than a tool, providing a Web-based OS that could give Google Chrome a run for its money in terms of power and ease. What’s really cool is that you can install it as a dual-boot OS with an existing Windows 7 system, then pop into Joli OS quickly to shoot off an email or do some Web browsing. In fact, you can jump into Joli OS and get your work done in the time it takes for Windows 7 to get to the login screen. Obviously the value of the dual boot is to allow you to keep using Windows 7 for more complex tasks, such as gaming, video and photo editing, and so on.

5. GbR by Dexpot: This tool allows you to have different virtual desktops that you can use to organize your working structure by placing applications you need on multiple desktops. You might have email on one, Internet on another, video games on a third, and so on. With GbR, you can use different screen resolutions, have 3D transitions between each desktop, and work with plug-ins.

There you have it: five more tools that can help make your Windows 7 experience both more productive and more fun. If you have additional tools you like, please mention them in the comments section to share with your fellow readers.

This article, “5 more free tools for Windows 7 you have to try,” was originally published at Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese’s Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.


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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Phone 7


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GoDaddy’s New Hosting, UK LulzSec Arrest, Amazon Worth $100B, Fox Squeezes Net TV, First Mango Windows Phone, Facebook Business

This and more important news from your Fast Company editors, with updates all day.

GoDaddy Launches Next-Gen Web Hoster. Best known for selling domain names, GoDaddy has just launched what it’s calling its 4GH (fourth generation web hosting) service, which uses a shared server system in which different websites are hosted across a cloudy server infrastructure with smart traffic adjustments–much more resilient to web traffic spikes. –KE

UK Police Nab A LulzSec’cer. British cops have just collared a 19-year-old going by the hacker handle Topiary, and are busy searching the home of the young Scot. Another youngster, this time aged 17 and London-based, is also being questioned. –KE

OK Go Goes Chrome For All Is Not Lost. OK Go has released it latest Big Video, this time with an assist from Google Japan, HTML5, director Trish Sie, the dance company Pilobolus and a lot of spandex. The video, for All Is Not Lost, combines dance, text, music and the multi-window HTML5 experience in a kaleidoscopic visual treat (watch for the Human Centipede move). Viewers who visit the dedicated site (suggested browser: Chrome, natch) can customize the video with messages that the band will spell out with their feet. –TI

–Updated 12:05 p.m. EST

Amazon’s Market Cap Over $100 Billion. Amazon is huge. How huge? Bigger than $100 billion huge. That’s thanks to recent upswings in its share price after it reported better than expected earnings. –KE

–Updated 09:40 a.m. EST

Fox Squeezes Net Access To Its Shows. In a move that you could call pushback at the advance of Net video channels, Fox is changing its policies to require online viewers of its content on Hulu and its own websites to prove that they are paying for cable access to the shows (or have paid for Hulu Plus). Only Dish network is a valid log-in at the moment, which may be a limiting feature. After an 8-day period immediately after a show’s “real” broadcast, the log-in requirement is relaxed. –KE

Japan Gets First Dibs On Windows Phone. Microsoft’s make-over for Windows Phone 7, dubbed Mango, will now officially hit a Fujitsu/KDDI smartphone in Japan first of all. The handset is sleek, waterproof and comes with an insane-sounding 13.2 megapixel camera…and Mango brings multitasking, turn-by-turn voice assisted navigation and a bunch of other features. This phone will help determine if Microsoft (and Nokia’s) future in smartphones looks rosy. –KE

Facebook’s Business Effort. Mere days after Google began killing off business-related Google+ profiles (and with no “enterprise+” in sight) Facebook has rolled out its guide to help small businesses maximize the way they use Facebook. There’s assistance in setting up a page, organizing ads and deals and so on, all nicely wrappered. It’s not much–there are no secret extra features you’ll get access to, for example–but it’s a start. Is it a sign Facebook’s getting a little nervous? –KE

Anonymous Hits PayPal, Legally This Time. Proving that a collective organization can change its tactics, hacktivists Anonymous are trying to motivate the public to move against PayPal in protest at its role in helping police make AntiSec arrests. The campaign asks you to disconnect your PayPal account, thus hitting the company where it hurts–although it’s unlikely to encourage enough support to be more than a parasite gently biting at PayPal’s huge flank. It’s also the first “piece” in a bigger campaign to come…But what actions will Anonymous take? –KE


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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Facebook, Google, Windows Phone 7, WP7


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Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition Now Available for Windows Phone 7

This week sees the release of Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition on the Zune Marketplace for Windows Phone 7 handsets. Available to download now, Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition is a time management game in which players have to satisfy their customers in order to build a successful business.

The second time management title released for Windows Phone 7, following the popular Star Wars: Cantina, the basic premise of Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition is getting customers’ hair all fixed up and out of your salon as quickly as possible, as there are other patrons waiting who might get irate and leave if left waiting too long.

Sally’s Salon Luxury Edition is available via the Zune Marketplace for Windows Phone 7 handsets now, priced at £3.99. Electronic Theatre will keep you updated with all the latest releases for Microsoft’s mobile format.


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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Microsoft, Windows Phone 7


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Official: Japan To Get The World’s First Windows Phone 7 Mango Handset In September

As the sun just starts to set here on the West Coast, we’ve got a bit of news straight from the other side of the globe: Fujitsu and KDDI (Japan’s second largest wireless operator) have just confirmed that they will launch the world’s first phone running Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) sometime in September.

Word of the new handset comes from a Tokyo press gathering which just began moments ago. Exact details surrounding the handset are still developing, but all signs are pointing to it being the Toshiba-Fujitsu IS12T device that Microsoft gave a very brief sneak peak of at their Worldwide Partner Conference just a few weeks back.

The handful of images in this post are pulled from a video of that fleeting glimpse; we’ll update with better photos as soon as they’re available.

Here’s what we know about the device:

Windows Phone 7.5 (otherwise known as “Mango”, since all the cool kids give their updates fun nicknames now) is the first major update to the platform. I’ve spent a good amount of time with it on a pre-release device, and to sum up my experience: call it what you will, but this is version 1.0. This is the first version of Windows Phone 7 that feels competitive thrown up against the likes of Android and iOS and, while it’s still lacking a trick or two, is the first version that feels complete.

For those of you who don’t gobble up every bit of Mango news, a quick recap of the bigger new stuff:

Alas, chances are pretty slim that this thing will ever come stateside. Don’t fret though, Windows Phone fans (hey, they exist!): there should be plenty of Mango to go around by years end, with the likes of Samsung, Acer, and plenty of others throwing their goods into the ring.


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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Microsoft, Windows Phone 7


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Google plus comes to Windows Phone 7

Google is a company that has repeatedly proved itself in every arena, except social networking. After the Google Buzz debacle, Google has tried to redeem itself by launching the Google+ social network.

Google + is Google’s attempt to ace Facebook and Twitter. It has tried to compete with these two by providing the Google+ app on almost every smartphone platform. It has already unveiled the Google+ app for the iPhone and Android phones and the Google+ app for Windows phone 7 release next week.

The Google+ app for the Windows Phone 7 is not much different from the Facebook app for the same platform but it does offer some advantages.

Unlike Facebook, where you cannot edit a post after you have posted, the Google + app on your windows phone provides you the ability to modify a post even after sharing it. It has enhanced integration with Google Chat. It has fixed one of the major issues with Facebook, which is its photo-sharing capability. One can instantly upload photos with Google+. Unlike Facebook, you can update Google+ right from your home screen. In addition to that, it also keeps a tab on the user’s location and provides advanced privacy settings. As a Google+ user, you can customize everything as per your own usage whether it is notifications, account settings or anything else.

Google+ has an edge over other social networks as it offers the ability to use applications such as Google Docs and calendar with its circles.

You can also switch this application off on your Windows Phone 7 according to your own convenience.

Google+ has already generated a storm in the market. Its availability on the Windows phone 7 makes it even more popular and provides a win-win situation for both.

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