All Articles by Rich Edmonds

Using multiple AdUnits per WP7 app

How many AdUnits can I use in my Windows Phone 7 applications? I've seen this question pop up a few times across the Interwebs, and a post on the pubCenter blog has just clarified a few FAQs about using multiple adverts across your applications.

It's really simply to understand too, you can have multiple adverts in multiple positions within your app all using the same ApplicationId, since it's only required on Microsoft's side to calculate how much revenue is due for payment on your account. You don't even have to use multiple AdUnits either, you can simply use the same AdUnit, but duplicate it for the different ad locations you wish it to appear at.

Pretty awesome for developers who wish to continue down the path of offering their app for free (or have a free version). Thinking of using adverts in your WP7 app(s)? Check out our recent coverage of Elbert Perez publishing his earnings (set at $30,000) from games on the Marketplace. If done correctly you can earn a nice sum from your hard development work.

Of course, you have multiple advertising options to choose from, so shop around beforehand.

Source: pubCenter Blog

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Developer Interview: Waheed Bhatti

Next up on our developer interview schedule is Waheed Bhatti, Software Architect at Irtiqa. They are the team behind the London Travel (previously London Tube) app on the Windows Phone Marketplace, which is a must have for all who go about their business on the TFL (Transport for London) network.

Ride on past the break for the interview.

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Windows Phone designer cheat sheet [Developers]

Should you be new to Windows Phone Metro UI development, coming from either Android or iOS for example, then this well worth checking out. Teppo Kotirinta, Principal Designer at Nordkapp, has just published an article on their blog announcing their designer cheat sheet.

This image which can be printed off or downloaded and opened on a 50" TV and will guide you through each illustration detailing what each screen contains and how the structure and design should be developed for effective deployment. Included are dimensions for live tiles, hex codes for all the WP7 themes and more. It really is a 101 for designing perfect Metro apps without the 1,000 pages worth of reading required.

They state that the cheat sheet will be updated as of when Microsoft release more features/information, so keep an eye out for updates should you find this useful.

Source: Nordkapp

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Windows Phone Marketplace hits 20,000 apps

That's correct folks, we've reached the 20,000 app marker, which is fantastic for the platform in seven months. Our 10,000 milestone marker coverage mentioned how we were expanding at a faster rate than both the iPhone and Android. It's worth to note that the 10,000 app marker was surpassed in four and a half months (since launch) - we've since halved the time taken to get another 10K. Not to mention it's only been a month since 15,000 apps were announced!

RIM currently has little over 20,000 apps available for their platform since 2009, which we will be over-taking shortly. Will this growth continue for WP7? It certainly seems that way. Check the graph below to see the increasing number of apps being submitted, the line is becoming more steep as we advance in time.

Of course, there's always a downside to high numbers; fragmentation and spam - iOS began experiencing this when they reached the 20k marker for the App Store with a ton of LITE apps. Some of which we've witnessed lately with regards to some real estate apps (one being submitted per state), which could possibly be integrated into one offering? Let's hope the certification process starts becoming strict on these sorts of submissions to keep the Marketplace clean.

None of the above would be possible without our contribution - the wpcentral app. See, even we're helping out in the counters where we can!

Source: Windows Phone Applist

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Provide and vote on feedback for WP7 [Developers]

Developers, when not building incredible applications for the platform, would you like to leave feedback for the Windows Phone 7 team and vote on other ideas? Well, you can with the Dev Feedback Forum. Should you wish to see some changes (or features introduced) in a number of categories, including the emulator, network, sensor APIs, Silverlight and tiles, now's your chance.

You have 25 votes to use, which will be returned should ideas be taken on-board by the Windows Phone team. Suggestions will be moderated should they become actual planned features to be included in a future update and it's stated that all ideas will be looked at. Some good signs showing from the developer community with a good number of ideas already submitted and voted on. Microsoft seem to be continuously providing the means for users and developers to provide feedback, always a good thing.

Source: Dev Feedback Forum

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Screen capture in WP7 [Homebrew]

XDA Developers forum user fiinix has brought on-screen captures to Windows Phone 7, something everyone (especially us bloggers) desire more than above all else, as a homebrew solution. While requiring the dehydration hack, this app contains the setting to toggle whether it's active or not (preserving battery life).

Here are the provided instructions:

  1. Open up the app
  2. Navigate to the app/screen you want to capture (no more than 2 apps in between (this app will be killed by "Watchdog"))
  3. Hold "focus" (not click, >focus), for at least 500ms
  4. Wait for messagebox to verify capture
  5. (SUCCESS) > Located under "Pictures > All > Saved Pictures"

You can download the screen capture app and find out more information over at the thread on the XDA dev forum.

Source: XDA Developer Forum, via: WPSauce

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Brandon Watson interviews Andrew Clinick [Video]

Brandon Watson interviews Andrew Clinick, Lead Program Manager, one of the folk behind the new app platform. They discuss some of the new features included in Mango, how they achieved the final result and how they tackled problems.

Features discussed in the above video include multiple and improved live tiles for developers, the introduction of multi-tasking as well as what developers want. Some tips were thrown out from Andrew about creating apps for the platform too. A good watch for developers.

Source: Channel 9

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TouchStudio updated to 1.2

TouchStudio, the app from Microsoft Research that allows users to create their own scripts and run them on their devices, has just been updated to 1.2. This update brings a fast game and physics engine which enables support for scripts to take advantage (there's a demo ninja game included in the release) and you can now pin scripts to the TouchStudio home screen.

For all you heavy Facebook users, you are now able to post to your wall within your scripts. Global variables are introduced as well as a number of other improvements. The new features in this fun little app are welcomed and it hasn't been a month since 1.1 was released, we look forward in seeing wht else will be added in the near future.

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Windows Phone apps magazine

The Windows Phone UK blog have just posted a new entry about their digital guide to the Windows Phone 7 for consumers. This magazine covers topics including; social networking, games, FAQs, Marketplace and an introduction to the operating system.

Perfect for all users, especially those who have just made the leap to WP7, the magazine features over 140 apps. Some of which are sorted into twelve categories: news & weather, travel, maps & search, games, productivity & tools, business, entertainment, music & video, lifestyle, reference & books, social networks and photography. Not to mention a list of ten apps that will help improve ones life.

Some helpful tips on getting yourself started with both Zune and setting up a Live ID are included as well as some tips and highlights of WP7. Head on over to the blog via the link below to check out the publication.

Source: Windows Phone UK Blog

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Verizon Trophy available on Verizon website

I'm late with the April fools jokes, so relax and take this in because it's really happening. The Verizon website now features the HTC Trophy and is available to purchase at full retail price with month-to-month ($429.99), or on a two year contract ($199.99). Currently there is a $50 mail-in rebate on the contract pricing. Today is the 26th, which is bang on target with the finalized date and completes the agonizing journey we've all been on (see our past coverage of the Verizon Trophy).

What's more is the availability of overnight shipping, so you can receive your long-awaited Trophy the next day. We previously mentioned that there would be a free Xbox 360 game included as a deal sweetener (and compensation for the long wait), which is online and ready to be taken advantage of at the promotion page (be sure to have your MEID number at hand). Act quickly, the offer is only valid until June 30th.


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More detail on WP7 Web Marketplace [Updated]

Todd Brix, the overseer of the Marketplace, just posted an article on the Windows Team Blog which goes into more depth about the web version of the Windows Phone Marketplace. This was announced yesterday, which we relayed.

The new version of the Marketplace available on the web will launch later this year along with Mango. This will, as mentioned in the previous post, bring a new platform to developers that will automatically provide them with more reach to customers without requiring the developer to do (or change) a thing -- it's all backend as expected.

There will be more placements for featured apps that will bring more noticeability and reach, ensuring developers receive more potential conversions while their app is in the spotlight. Users who browse the web version will be able to share apps and games via social media and email to contacts and friends.

Bing visual search will be re-configured too. Any end-user searching for apps and games will now be linked straight to the web Marketplace on their PC, ready to download and install. Your Live ID will be integrated so you wont have to activate a separate payment gateway in order to make a purchase. Simply click and go using card details on your account. Applications and games will be downloaded over-the-air via SMS or email.

It will also be a huge plus for anyone using a Mac who doesn't have access to the Zune software. Oh, and it looks gorgeous, thank you Metro UI.

Update: We've been contacted by Microsoft for a clarification on how the Web Marketplace would operate, ideally:

Regarding how apps are pushed to the phone OTA, we expect the vast majority of customers to install apps to the phone from Web Marketplace in a single step, using our notification service. SMS would only be used the first time if the notification service is not already turned on. This means that customers get the app on their phone with no additional steps - - no links or added engagement on the phone. There is an alternate scenario whereby customers can choose to send themselves an email with a link as we discussed, but practically speaking, we expect most people to simply let the app install in the background.

Source: Windows Team Blog Thanks goes out to Jay for the tip!

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Tethering still missing from Mango [Updated]

While it seems all our feature check lists were complete throughout the Mango VIP preview yesterday, there was one small function they seemed to miss - tethering. This is without doubt one of the most requested features by consumers and it seems the Windows Phone team are aware of those user who require it.

Achim Berg, corporate Vice President of Windows Phone marketing, told Pocket-lint at the VIP event in London that he regrets not being able to get tethering included into the update by the development team and mentions it was clear on the day (at the event yesterday) that many of those in the audience wanted that feature to be mentioned.

Update: Microsoft's Matt Bencke responded and gave more detail on the status of tethering on the Windows PHone blog (Thanks, @techSage)

"I appreciate your pain around tethering (using your device as a modem) as this has been something that I've used in the past. Tethering, in the past was something that we managed independently of the Mobile Operators (e.g. AT&T, Orange, Verizon). In recent years, the Mobile Operators have now taken ownership of this functionality x-all platforms (e.g. our competitors as well as us). We are continually working with them and our OEM partners to enable this functionality for our devices, but at this time there isn't an announcement that we've made in regards to rolling out this feature. Stay Tuned!"

Source: Pocket-lint, via: PocketNow

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Three, T-Mobile and Deutsche Omnia 7s getting NoDo

We've received word from readers that they are receiving the NoDo update for their Samsung Omnia 7 devices on T-Mobile UK and Deutsche Telekom. I can also confirm that Three have been rolling out updates to their Omnia 7 handsets, so we can only hope that this is the last of the problems Samsung device owners will encounter. Should you encounter problems when updating to 7392, be sure to check the Samsung patch.

Unfortunately, still no word on Focus handsets. We will -- of course -- notify you all as to when we receive any information. To some, the news of more manufacturers coming to the platform is music to the ears with the potential switch to avoid future mishaps.

Source: T-Mobile, Thanks @awicksey and mydefposse for the heads up!

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ZTE to bring Mango devices to Europe in Q3

This is interesting news, at the VIP event yesterday, ZTE was one of the new manufacturers who will be joining the Windows Phone 7 platform and increase the number of handsets available to consumers. Today, we've learned that they apparently plan to launch their first device Q3 this year.

According to a report over at Reuters, Jeffrey Fan (Vice-President of ZTE's terminal devices unit) told them that they're already working on a smartphone for Europe and plan to launch it this year. It will be exciting to see what the Chinese manufacturer brings to the table. Being the fourth largest handset producer in the world, it could be yet another positive push that WP7 needs on top of Nokia.

Source: Reuters, via: WMPU

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Developers to get Mango prior to release

Joe Belfiore, Vice President of the Windows Phone Program Management, has tweeted today that Microsoft is looking into releasing Mango early to the developers before end users receive the update later this fall. This would make sense with giving developers an opportunity to update their applications to take advantage of the new 1500 APIs, as well as giving them an early preview on what's to offer and how they can further improve the user experience their end.

However, nothing has been finalized as of yet, but Brandon Watson did mention back at MIX that developers would possibly get the chance to receive Mango before it gets rolled out. Here's hoping.

Source: Joe Belfiore, via: WPSauce

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Combined mailbox, threaded email and enterprise security in Mango

Email is fairly limited on the platform for the moment, featuring only the standard functions required to synchronize with multiple protocols, reply and forward messages and attach files. This is set to change with Mango with the introduction of threaded conversations and a combined mailbox.

Linking multiple accounts will enable users to separate addresses (such as work and personal) and pin a tile to your home screen for easy accessibility. Threaded viewing (and grouping) of your emails will provide a less cluttered interface, especially in work related mailboxes with multiple conversations taking place with numerous contacts. A huge improvement for enterprises will be the security improvements being made in the upcoming update with the support for more complex passwords.

We will also be seeing the WP7 team bringing threaded conversations to SMS.

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Find nearby locations with Local Scout

Bing in Mango is to receive the addition of a location based service called Local Scout. This service, upon activation, will search and display local places to eat, drink, shop and explore. Users will be able to save certain individual results to their favorites.

What's even better about this feature is the integration (which is a focus with Mango) it has with Mail and Calendar. Should you receive an invitation via email or have one synchronized in your calendar, simply selecting that location will open up Local Scout which will show points of interest.

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WP7 Marketplace hitting the web

We've always heard the constant cry for a web-accessible version of the Marketplace, especially those who use OS X (like myself) -- the Windows Phone 7 Connector is simply no Zune media center. Matt Bencke, in the same post where he announced the Mango SDK being available, spoke about plans to bring in a web version of the Marketplace.

"To better reach customers worldwide, I’m also pleased to announce today that Mango will offer a new web version of Windows Phone Marketplace. This will enable customers to shop, share and buy/download apps and games from any PC and send them directly to their phones. You get more visibility for your apps with no extra work. The Mango Marketplace will bring several new features and capabilities that Todd Brix will be expanding upon here a little later."

Great news all around. The ability to view and purchsse apps on your PC (or Mac -- hopefully) will surely improve the usage of the store and bring a new wave of users to WP7 developers.

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog

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Mango does Voice to text and vice versa

This will be a life saver -- literally -- for folks who use their handsets while on the go (driving etc.) and have Bluetooth headsets on. Mango will be taking speech recognition beyond simple app opening commands. Should you receive an SMS, the phone will announce via speech stating who the text is from and ask if you would like to hear it. You will then (should you choose to say so) be listening to the message your contact sent you.

Not only do we have text to voice, but we have voice to text. Should you say "reply" once the phone has completed reading you the message, you can then record your reply and it will preview what you've said. On confirmation the text will be sent to the recipient. All hands-free.

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Mango brings messenger, threaded SMS, and Groups

The first of the big announcements for the user end is Mango will be bringing messenger to Windows Phone 7, which will support groups and threaded chat. SMS conversations will also receive this threaded feature as well as the ability to group texts. Allows integrated communication to friends without running applications for specific tasks. Windows Live will see a more prominent presence.

Also on the groups note, Live Tiles for individual contacts will notify the user upon changes with alerts for new emails etc. from that specific contact.

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