• amazon,  att,  lumia,  microsoft,  verizon,  windows phone

    Are Lumia Smartphone Sales Softer Than Expected?

    According to a story in today’s Wall Street Journal (link, subscription required), sales of Nokia’s Lumia Windows Phone 8 smartphones may not be selling in the US as well as carriers had hoped.

    Deals on the flagship Lumia 920 and 822 smartphones can be found at online retailers like Amazon.com for as little as $0 – $39 dollars depending on carrier and phone configuration.  For example, the high-end Lumia 920 can, with a new 2-year service agreement, can be purchased for $39 at Amazon.com.  At AT&T stores, the phone is still on sale for $99 with a new 2-year service agreement.  Amazon.com also has the Lumia 822 on Verizon Wireless is free with a new 2-year service agreement.  Without a contract, both the Lumia 920 (AT&T Wireless) and the Lumia 822 (Verizon Wireless) sell for $449.99.

    Offering smartphones at a deep discount is not uncommon for phones that have been out for six months or more as a promotion to drive sales of new phones in advance of the next year’s model coming out.  It is also a tactic that manufacturers use with their carrier partners to help drive adoption of their phones and their mobile platform.  What is raising eyebrows is the timing of the discounts.  The Nokia 920 and 822 have not yet reached the six month mark.  We know US adoption of smartphones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system hasn’t been selling as well as Microsoft had hoped.

    So what’s really going on here?  Are AT&T and Verizon trying to drive sales of these new phones with a limited-time, post Christmas discount program?  Is Nokia providing further incentives or marketing support to drive up their year-end sales numbers?  Is Microsoft somehow involved in an attempt to drive up market share numbers against Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms?

    Without sales numbers or an official statement from one of the major players involved it’s hard to know for sure.  Deep discounts on new smartphones are not completely uncommon, however, this close to a new product launch does send up some red flags.

    [Via WSJ.com…]

  • cydia,  ios,  iphone,  ipod touch,  jailbreak

    Auxo Posted to Cydia

    The other day, we wrote a post about Auxo, a jailbreak tweak that enhances multitasking on iOS 6 devices.

    According to a new post on iDownloadBlog.com, Auxo is now available as a $1.99 purchase from Cydia.  Jeff Benjamin writes:

    “If you have a jailbroken iPhone running iOS 6, I’m happy to report that you can now download Auxo from Cydia’s BigBoss repo for just $1.99.”

    Seems pretty reasonable to me.

    [Via iDownloadBlog.com…]

  • apple,  ios,  ipad,  iphone,  ipod touch,  jailbreak

    Auxo Tweak Revolutionizes iOS App Switching

    Tech blogs are abuzz this weekend because of Auxo, a new iOS 6 tweak for jailbroken iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch handsets.

    Auxo, developed by @Sentry_NC, is a replacement application switcher for iOS.  There are two main features of Auxo which really grabbed my attention.  The first is a new card-like interface to show you which applications are running on your iOS device.  The second, a feature that I really like on smartphones running Google Android, are a sort of widget-like toggles for features that you normally have to go hunting for in the Settings control panel.

    iDownloadBlog.com recently posted a video demo of Auxo running on an iPhone 4S.  Below are some screen captures from the video which we link to below.

    These first two photos show the new app switcher interface.  The standard iOS app icons have been replaced by smaller versions of the app icons with a thumbnail of the application state.  This is really kind of cool in a webOS kinda of in that it shows you what the application is ‘doing’.

    These next photos show more detail in to the other key feature of Auxo, iOS control widgets.

    The first image in this set shows the replacement iPod music controls and the second image shows the regular Rotation Lock control, and three new controls that allow you to quickly toggle Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular radios on/off.  Auxo also allows you to have two rows of four controls.  In the last screen shot, the red arrow points to the two ‘page’ indicators that you see elsewhere in iOS, like in the Home screen.

    [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4Q_97exnJk]

    Auxo is an unofficial tweak for iOS 6 devices.  Because Auxo is a tweak, and not an ‘official’ app that comes from Apple’s App Store, you must be running a ‘jailbroken’ device and install the software from the Cydia app store.  Auxo will be a paid tweak, however reports say that the cost will be ‘reasonable.’  The developers are suppose to be working on an iOS 5 port now.

    Auxo, Jailbreaks, and Staying Competitive

    I have to say that I’ve always been a member of #TeamPure and up until now, I have not seen a tweak that would make me consider jailbreaking my iPhone 4S or iPad 3.  There has been a growing call from bloggers and ‘geeks’ (ie: not your average consumer) that iOS needs a major features shake up with iOS 7 that is expected to be released late in 2013, and I’m starting to come around an agree with that sentiment.  Google’s Android and to a lesser extent, Microsoft’s Windows Phone, are putting up a strong challenge to Apple’s mobile platform.  With iOS 7, Apple needs to start ‘borrowing’ ideas from their rivals and making some ‘strategic’ code acquisitions from the iOS jailbreak community if they want to stay competitive.  I hope that Tim Cook, Jonny Ive, and the rest of the Apple team setting the direction for iOS in the wake of Scott Forstalls stepping down as the head of iOS development really take a look at what’s going on with other mobile operating systems and look to them for inspiration on new features and improvements in iOS.

    [Via iDownloadblog.com…]

  • app store,  apple,  games,  ios,  ipad,  ipad mini,  iphone,  ipod touch,  microsoft,  playstation,  sony,  xbox

    Karateka Returns to Delight a New Generation of Heroes

    Back in the mid-1980’s I was introduced to the Apple //e and a I fell in love with computers and technology.  The first real game that I played back in 1984, after Apple Presents…Apple, was Karateka.

    For those of you who don’t remember, or may not have been around back then, Katateka is game focusing around an evil warlord who has captured the princess and the tasks falls on you to save her.  Pretty straight forward.

    Fast-forward to 2012 and Karateka has been reborn on the iOS, PlayStation, XBox Live, and Steam.  The game has been updated to run on today’s popular gaming platforms and looks amazing all the while staying true to it’s 8-bit Apple //e roots.

    This time around, you must still save the princess, however, you are given three warriors with which to save her: the warrior, the monk, and the brute.  You battle your way into the warlord’s fortress, fight his minions, battle his hawk, and then fight him to save your true love.

    After finding Karateka on the Apple iOS App Store, I immediately purchased the game and started playing on my iPhone until the battery died.  Then I picked up my iPad and kept playing.

    Gameplay is simple and easy to learn.  In combat, you have two moves: block and attack.  The controls are pretty easy to master.  You tap the screen to block an attack and you tap the screen to attack.  New in this version of the game there is the ability to double-tap the screen to use a special move that allows you to stun your opponent and unleash a powerful combo attack that shaves a good amount of hit points off his health meter.

    I found the new Karateka true to it’s 1980’s original.  Yes, the game has been updated with new graphics and new characters, but at it’s core, it’s still the same game that I loved as a boy.  Personally, I think that it’s a tribute to the care and detail that went into remaking Karateka.  I have played some other ‘reboot’ games on iOS this year, and with all of them, I came away longing for the originals.  No so with Karateka.

    If you’ve played Karateka before you will find this version familiar and fun to play.  If you are new to Karateka, hopefully, you will have found a new game to play that is fun to play.

    Karateka is available now from the Apple iOS App Store (link) and sells for $2.99.  Karateka for iOS is a universal application and will play on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.  Before you buy, make sure you have a supported device as the game only plays on the iPhone 4S and newer, iPad 2 or newer, including the new iPad mini, and the iPod touch 5th generation.  Karateka is also available now on Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network, and Steam.  The console editions sell for about $9.99.

    For more information about Karateka, check of the game’s website.

  • microsoft,  office,  office365,  windows,  windows phone

    Upgrading Hotmail.com to Outlook.com

    Earlier this year, Microsoft upgraded their Hotmail service to the new Outlook.com email service.  This upgrade was a major improvement to Microsoft’s free and paid web-based email service, so much so, that I will actually use Outlook.com.  And that’s saying a lot.

    Now that I have Windows 8 Pro installed (on my Mac, using Parallels and VMware Fusion) I want to be able to login using my @outlook.com email address rather than my @hotmail email address.  Windows Phone users might also want to do something similar.

    All the way back on August 3, Microsoft posted directions for either setting up an @outlook.com alias to send email to your existing @hotmail.com address or actually converting your @hotmail.com email account over to an @outlook.com address.  (After the conversion is complete, your old @hotmail.com email address is configured as an alias pointing to your new @outlook.com address.)

    To get started, you will want to log into your Hotmail account, and from the Settings menu, select “More mail settings” to access the command for managing your email account.

    Microsoft’s directions are pretty clear and straight forward.  If converting your mailbox is something that doesn’t sound like ‘fun’ to you, don’t worry.  Microsoft has you covered.  Simply read their blog post on switching to Outlook.com first before you get started and you will be fine.

    Special Note to Windows Phone Users

    If you use a Windows Phone device, you will want to pay attention to Microsoft’s warning:

    “If you use a Windows Phone, you will need to reset your Windows Phone to factory settings, and then set it back up with the new account name. You will lose all personal data on the Windows Phone when you do this, so make sure you have that data backed up. You will need to re-install all your applications on your phone, although you will not need to re-purchase them.”

    [Via Microsoft Outlook blog…]

  • lumia,  microsoft,  windows phone

    Windows Phone 7.8 Confirmed for Early 2013 Release

    Windows Phone 7 users have a little something exciting to look forward to in the new year.  Microsoft has posted on the Windows Phone blog that the Windows Phone 7.8 update will be coming to Windows Phone 7 devices in early 2013.

    “As previously announced, with Windows Phone 7.8 we’re also bringing the feature to existing Windows Phone 7.5 devices. During the development process, I used builds of 7.8 on my Lumia 900 and it felt like a completely new phone: resizable Live Tiles totally change the way I do things, providing faster access to more of my favorite people, photos, and apps. 

    Windows Phone 7.8 also includes some other cool stuff. It doubles the number of theme and accent colors—to 20—so you can make your phone even more personal. There are also new lock screen features: the option to automatically display the Bing Picture of the Day plus the ‘A1B2C3’ PIN/password challenge to prevent accidental device wipes on phones connected to Exchange accounts.”

    Windows Phone 7.8 users will also get access to some popular games, including: Words with Friends, Draw Something, and Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars.

    Check out the Windows Phone blog for more details.

    [Via Microsoft Windows Phone blog…]

  • microsoft,  pc,  windows

    Geeks Rejoice! Windows 8 Does Have a Run Command

    Microsoft Windows 8 has gotten a lot of exposure in the past month with 40 million customers upgrading to the new OS.

    Geeks will be happy to know that the “Run” command and command line tools are alive and well in Windows 8.

    To access the Run command, press the Windows key + R on your keyboard.

    To access the command line interface, affectionately referred to as the DOS prompt, type ‘cmd’ in the Open field of the Run command and then click the OK button.

    Once the DOS window appears, type the command ‘ver’ and press enter to see the version and build number associated with your installation of Windows 8.

    To close the DOS windows, type the command ‘exit’ and press enter or simply click the red X dismiss button.

  • microsoft,  pc,  windows

    Add Windows Media Center to Windows 8 Pro

    Microsoft’s Windows Media Center has been around in various Windows editions since Windows PX Media Center Edition and Windows 8 is no different.

    There are only four versions of Windows 8, but if you upgrade to the Windows 8 Pro edition, you can also purchase the Media Center pack.  As an added bonus to early adopters, Microsoft is giving the Media Center Pack for free until the end of January, 2013.

    According to Microsoft’s website:

    “Windows 8 Media Center Pack is available at no charge for a limited time only through this promotional page on Windows.com. If you obtain Windows 8 Media Center Pack through any other location fees might apply. Offer valid from October 26, 2012, until January 31, 2013, and is limited to one product key per email address. You qualify for this promotion if your PC is running Windows 8 Pro. Additional hardware may be required to watch and record live TV. You must provide a valid email address to receive your Windows 8 Media Center Pack product key. Your product key must be activated no later than January 31, 2013. Microsoft will only contact you at the email address you provide to send you your product key and to remind you when the activation period for your product key is ending.”

    To claim your Media Center Pack for Windows 8 Pro, check out Microsoft’s Windows website.

  • apple,  ios,  itunes,  itunes store,  mac,  mac os x,  windows

    Apple Posts Redesigned iTunes 11

    Last week, Apple released iTunes 11, the next major upgrade to the company’s media management and iOS device sync software for Mac and Windows PCs.

    It has been widely reported about the new features of iTunes 11 with it’s iCloud integration, cleaner design layout and improved iTunes Store layout.

    Love it or hate it, iTunes 11 has a new design layout that is a big departure from all previous versions of  iTunes.  New users may find the changes welcome, but for long time users like myself, who have been using iTunes since version 1.0, the changes can be a little bit disorienting and a little confusing.

    No problems.  To get a more familiar view of iTunes back, turn on the iTunes Sidebar.

    Just use the View > Show Sidebar menu command or press Option + Command + S on your keyboard.

    Oh, and there is also a small side benefit; in the iTunes 11 Sidebar, the colored icons are back!