Archive for the ‘Silverlight’ Category
In my ongoing quest to
achieve world domination release a truckload of WP7 apps – 2 x new apps were submitted to the WP7 Marketplace for certification over the past couple of days (taking the mobilewares total published apps up to 18).
These new apps are designed to allow you to access the ‘best of’ new sources in the given regions (AU for Australia, UK for United Kingdom) – by offering a fast (and slightly sexy) RSS reading experience, grouped together by topics.
Click here for product page
Offers best of news from around the UK (England, Wales, Scotland + Nth Ireland) including BBC World, Sky News, The Telegraph, SUN, Mirror, Evening Standard, The Mail Online, Independant.IE and more..
Click here for product page
Offers best of news from around Australia – including ABC Online, TheAge, SMH, Brisbane Times, Mercury, Daily Telgraph, news.com, Herald-Sun, Bigpond (Unmetered access for Telstra users) and more..
Both apps share a common engine – and each provide around 200 built in/preset feeds for you to chose from (so no need to search for content/rss feeds on a ‘generic’ rss reader). For each topic (10 different ones to chose from) – they can be enabled/disabled and reordered for the main page/pivot (via settings page) – and you can then assign a ‘default’ feed to each one (so it quickly brings up that source when you pivot across to that topic). For any additional feeds – there’s also a ‘by topic’ and ‘by publisher’ browser allowing you to access any other feeds you don’t have assigned as a default feed for a topic.
Once you’re viewing a topic/feed – clicking on any news item takes you directly to an inbuilt viewer (with a web browser hosted inside the page) – so you don’t need to leave the app or lose your context/place.
Here’s some screenshots below (from both AU + UK versions) – check out the product pages (linked above) for the full set of screenshots and details of each app.
As with many of the Apps I have written so far – I’ve made this one to cater for a core user in mind – ‘me’. Personally, I wanted an App to be able to get to news from some of the more serious news sources (like Australia’s ABC, TheAge, The Australian etc) – as all the offerings around at the moment were locked into publications I wouldn’t normally be interested in due to their more lightweight/tabloid reporting or lack of local content (such as NineMSN, Bigpond etc).
While there’s a number of great WP7 RSS readers already out there too – all of them required quite a bit of setup/configuration to bring in all the feeds I actually wanted – so the idea of an app with everything ‘preloaded’ seemed like the way to go.
Hopefully there’s some other users out there with similar needs that will enjoy using this app.
Both apps have trial versions (so you can see if you like it first) – and are selling for the introductory ‘base’ price of USD$1.29 (which on the Microsoft Wp7 Marketplace currency exchange actually translates to AUD$1.70 and GBP£0.99).
These should be available sometime soon, both are already submitted (first one 2 days ago) – but there appears to be a bit of a backlog on marketplace testing this week (some of the FM radio apps submitted last weekend are still to be approved or tested).
Keep an eye out for these in the ‘News & Weather’ categories in paid apps on a Windows Phone 7 near you.
Another batch of new Windows Phone 7 apps have just been submitted for certification (hopefully should be published to Marketplace sometime in the next 24-48 hrs). This will bring the mobilewares WP7 app catalogue up to 16 published apps.
The new apps are designed to work with your phone’s internal FM Radio – allowing you to quickly locate available radio stations in your area (from an inbuilt database contain radio station frequencies, names, genre and transmitter information). You can also mark your favorite stations as presets (for easy retrieval) – or view/filter the stations by type.
The app(s) also allow you to add custom FM stations – which is really useful if you need to regularly tune into to stations at your local gym (ie. for watching TV sets), university/college or elsewhere..
There’s a specific app designed for each of 6 different countries/regions (more to come including the US) – and currently the offerings include (click links to go to the specific product pages) :
Supports a massive inbuilt catalogue of 1800+ stations from around Australia.
Supports a massive inbuilt catalogue of 480+ English and French stations from around Canada.
Supports a large inbuilt catalogue FM stations from various transmitters around Hong Kong – plus stations you can also receive from nearby Mainland China and Maccau.
Supports all the known FM Radio stations from across New Zealand – including popular music and indigenous Maori stations.
Supports a inbuilt catalogue of all the FM stations from Singapore + nearby stations in Indonesia and Malaysia (receivable in Singapore).
Supports a massive inbuilt catalogue of 3800+ stations from around United Kingdom – including England, Wales, Scotland, and Nth Ireland.
The apps support a common slick/theme aware UI (which adapts itself to the particular theme you have set your phone to use) – including using the accent color to colorize your digital frequency viewer (light/dark theme supported too) :
You can also tilt the phone sideways (into landscape mode) – to get an uber cool interactive radio frequency slider – which supports WP7 flicks/gestures to slide your way up and down the dial to available frequencies :
The apps are will be available shortly for purchase or for trial (with limited functionality – but allowing you to fully test out the features). Pricing various for app to app (to suit the individual markets) – ranging from USD$0.99 to USD$1.99.
Enjoy – and look for even more apps coming soon!
A bunch (4) of new apps have been submitted for certification to Windows Phone 7 Marketplace – which caters for those who are into sport.
These apps all use the recently developed ‘mobilewares Fixture Engine Technology’ (aka MFET – or at least until I come up with a sexier name) – to deliver a consistent and easy to use User Interface for keeping up with your favorite sports.
The four apps are :
AU Footy Fixtures 2011 – for AFL (that’s Aussie Rules Football for you non Australians)
AU League Fixtures 2011 – for NRL (Australian + Slightly Kiwi Rugby League)
ICC World Cup Fixtures 2011 – for the upcoming Cricket World Cup in February-March.
Super Rugby Fixtures 2011 – for SANZAR Super 15 Rugby (Union)
Note : Click on any of the above links to visit the specific product pages on the mobilewares.net website.
All the apps share a similar set of features (populated with appropriate metadata and imagery/logos) :
- View Upcoming Matches for the Comp + Nominated Team.
- Browse Entire season (or tournament) for selected Teams.
- View Round by Round (or day by day) fixtures as well as finals schedule.
- Browse Latest RSS News Feeds from Major Sites with team specific feeds
- Comprehensive Venue details with interactive Bing Maps
- Preloaded Images/Data minimizes bandwidth.
- Easy to use and Intuitive User Interface
Each app will be available shortly on Marketplace in the Sports category (as soon as MSFT publish/certify them) – and will sell for USD$1.99 each. Trial versions are available for each so you can take it for a test drive first.
Here’s some screenshots below of what you can expect (taken mostly from the AU Footy Fixtures 2011 app) :
I hope to bring out more of these apps (for other sports and competitions) over coming months..
stay tuned – and check them out in the Sports section of Windows Marketplace shortly!
I’ve just submitted a(nother) new App to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace – ‘AU Weather Pro’ which as the name suggests provides comprehensive Australian weather observations and forecasts (from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology).
Of Note – this app brings the observation/forecast functionality from ‘Big Screen Weather v2’ (for Windows Media Center) – with numerous enhancements to your Windows Phone 7 (such as BOM specific 72hour views etc). For those wanting the animated radar – this app can be used in conjunction with AU Radar (available now on Windows Marketplace).
The App should (hopefully) be live in the next 24-72 hours. (depending on how quickly it gets passed by the Marketplace certification team).
Here’s the wrap (taken from the Marketplace description) – or view the product page:
AU Weather Pro provides a comprehensive app to view Latest Weather Observations and 7 day* Forecasts from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (www.bom.gov.au).
With support for over 550+ Observation locations and 200+ forecast locations (provided by BOM weather stations around Australia) – you’ll be getting the most up to date and extensive coverage possible.
Sporting a slick and theme aware User Interface – once you’ve set your current observation and forecast locations – latest details will be displayed (and updated) upon load.
Finding your nearest BOM weather stations is made simple by using your phone’s GPS lookup – which auto configures the nearest points at a click of a button – or allows you to browse all the available locations by state and region. You can also configure refresh settings for data downloaded data.
When viewing latest observations – you’ll not only see the current temperature/icon – you’ll also get numerous other details such as wind speed/gust/direction, rainfall, humidity, pressure, cloud coverage, visibility as well as numerous other stats about the temperature where available (such as max/min temperatures for that day).
Drill down to a detailed 72 hour history for – which shows all available historical readings for that weather station (grouped by category – or via a summary page). Once in this page you can also tilt the phone to landscape mode and check out various data plotted onto a 72 hr graph.
When viewing latest forecasts - you can drill down to a graphical view – or you can go and browse over 200 forecasts from all over Australia – and see up to 7 days of forecast data from other locations (without downloading any additional data).
Please Note : the trial version of this application will allow you to view limited or sample data only – and forecast ranges will be limited to 3 days only. All values/data will be made available upon full purchase.
*Note that some BOM stations may not provide all metadata.
Pricing/Availability : USD$2.99 / AUD $4.00 (Trial Version Available) / Available soon in the ‘News + Weather’ category in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.
see screenshots below :
NB: Local WP7 Shell notifications functionality will be provided on a future update.
A few folks out in the blogosphere have been kind enough to take the time to write some nice reviews for Big Screen byRemote for Windows Phone 7.
You can check these out on the following links :
- Review by Motz – (see below for Video) -
Big Screen byRemote Windows Phone 7 App Review
- Review by Simon May / Microsoft -
A look at byRemote for Windows Phone 7
- Review by JayC -
Big Screen ‘byRemote’ for Windows Phone 7
- Review by Terry Walsh / Microsoft-
byRemote Takes Your TV Guide On the Road With You
Also if you haven’t checked it out yet – be sure to visit the the brand new mobilewares.net website – which has product pages for all the Windows Phone 7 products released by mobilewares so far to Windows Phone Marketplace.
If you like it (and you’re one of the odd 600 million folks with a facebook account) – be sure to click the ‘Like’ button in the Nav bar on the mobilewares site.
Also note that our Media Center site is still up and running on the http://bigscreenglobal.com URL).
The following Youtube video is from the DigitalMediaZone review mentioned above :
I’ve just submitted a new App to the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace – ‘AU Radar’ which as the name suggests allows you to view live Australian Weather Radars (from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology) on the go. Of Note – this app brings the imagery functionality from the ‘Big Screen Weather v2’ (for Windows Media Center) product – with some enhancements to your Windows Phone 7.
The App should (hopefully) be live in the next 24-72 hours. (depending on how quickly it gets passed by the Marketplace certification team).
Here’s the wrap (taken from the Marketplace description) :
AU Radar allows you to view the latest animated Weather Radar Loops from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (www.bom.gov.au). Covering 53 locations around Australia – (where available) you can view IR Rain Radars (64km, 128km, 256km + 512km), Wind Doppler, Rainfall (since 9am, 1hr, 6hr + 24hr) – plus view the National Satellite and IR Rain Radar loops.
Usage is fast and friendly – as it remembers you last location (and radar type) – meaning you get what you want instantly on load (after latest data is downloaded). Finding your nearest radar is made simple by using your phone’s GPS lookup – which provides you a quick list of the radar locations – or you can browse all the available locations by state.
The App boasts a ton of great features – such as ability to pause/play loops, move to nearby radars (via a 8 way on screen compass), toggle display of imagery layers (such as topography, range and locations) as well as set the animation speed for the radar loop.
The App is also super bandwidth friendly (and fast) – as all static imagery such as location backgrounds, topography and location overlays are pre-loaded into the App itself (no need to download them at all). Real-time imagery (such as the actual dynamic radar image overlays) are then downloaded from BOM as needed (and only uses a small amount of bandwidth – typically 2-15k per a 8 frame loop).
Please Note : the trial version of this application will allow you to view only the 256km rain radar loop per each location – and all other radars will be available upon full purchase.
Also note – that if using the GPS location lookup (optionally used when you nominate your radar location) – your location may be sent to Microsoft as part of standard statistics collection (which is a default requirement of using GPS capabilities on your handset inside applications).
Pricing/Availability : USD$1.29 / AUD $1.70 (Trial Version Available) / Available soon in the ‘News + Weather’ category in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.
see screenshots below :
NB: I will likely bring out a dedicated Weather App (with BOM observation/forecast data) sometime soon. (ie. the ‘other’ functionality in Big Screen Weather v2).
I’ve developed a couple of new Apps for Windows Phone 7 which will be available for purchase (and trial) via the Windows Phone Marketplace.
These app’s are designed for general consumers (read=non geek / non Media Center) users and are aimed at the ‘Health & Fitness’ category. These apps are Fertility Calculator (currently available for purchase) and Weight Calculator (available soon – currently undergoing certification) – and are both priced at USD$2.99.
Please see below for more information (and screenshots) for these apps :
Fertility Calculator offers a complete solution for fertility and pregnancy planning. Using one of three modes – ‘Trying to Conceive’, ‘Avoid Pregnancy’ or ‘Currently Pregnant’ – this application provides a visual calendar which shows you all the important dates and milestones of your menstruation cycles, fertility dates and your current pregnancy. If you’ve just fallen pregnant – this application will show you all the upcoming milestones like viability dates, your three trimesters and plot out the weeks of your pregnancy. If you are trying to get pregnant – you can also view your upcoming peak fertility and ovulation dates for each month, expected due dates (if you’re successful) and upcoming menstruation cycles. And if you’re avoiding pregnancy – this application will also help you plan the safest dates for intercourse.
Screenshots Below (See Marketplace for additional screenshots – or take the App for a free Trial run) :
Pricing/Availability : USD$2.99 (Trial Version Available) / Available Now in the ‘Health & Fitness’ category in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.
Weight Calculator offers a complete solution for keeping track of your weight and your health – by analysing 4 vital statistics of your weight profile – including BMI (Body Mass Index), BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), BFC (Body Fat Calculation) and your WHR (Waist to Hip Ratio). Once you’ve updated your profile (which includes your age, weight, height and other body measurements) – Weight Calculate will do the rest – giving you detailed personalized reports to view (with advice/classifications, calculations and graphical charts) – and target values to achieve a healthy lifestyle. The BMR calculator also provides advice on your daily calorie intake needs – providing calorie ranges for different levels of activities. This application is designed for use by Adults aged between 18 and 75 years old – and supports alternate calculations for Males and Females – as well as supporting both Metric (pounds/inches) and Non-Metric (kg/cm) measurement systems.
Keeping track of your Health was never this easy……
Screenshots Below (See Marketplace for additional screenshots – or take the App for a free Trial run) :
Pricing/Availability : USD$2.99 (Trial Version Available) / Available Soon in the ‘Health & Fitness’ category in Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.
The final version (v1.0a) of Big Screen byRemote has now been made available and is now available for download for all registered bigscreenglobal.com users.
This final release comes in two flavours -
- A *FREE* “Basic Edition” (which never expires) – and offers the majority of the functionality you’ve so far seen in the beta versions (with a few minor limitations on the Silverlight client – and with no restrictions on the Mobile XHTML client).
- A “Pro Edition” ($TBA) – which will in future offer some additional/new functionality – plus remove any restrictions/limitations of the Basic Edition. Note that the Pro Edition is not yet available for purchase – and will be made available sometime in the future (when this new functionality is added).
Note that users who download/register byRemote on their PC’s will be automatically given ‘trial’ access to the Pro Edition (Currently hardcoded to December 1st, 2010 – but will likely be extended) – and when that expiry date is reached the software will drop back to the “Basic Edition” – which will never expire.
Additionally – those who purchase the Windows Phone 7 native client (available soon via Windows Marketplace) – will only need to use the free “Basic Edition” to get the full functionality from the native client (so no purchase beyond Windows Marketplace will be required).
The new version contains a few improvements to the previous beta version (v0.6x releases) such as :
- Enhanced Silverlight UI with numerous bug fixes and some minor visual enhancements to the existing functionality.
- Extended Support for the Windows Phone 7 client (which will be available soon via Windows Phone Marketplace).
- Enhanced support/fixes for those using reverse proxies (and other more complex networking setups where IP Address/URL is remapped/routed)
- Note that the IUI (IPad/iPhone) specific browser experience has been dropped for this release and most users preferred the XHTML client anyhow on these devices (and the IUI based client will be rewritten in future).
Now that the final release milestone has been reached – I’d like to again say ”thank-you” to all those who participated in the beta of this product (and provided tons of great feedback, bug reports and suggestions) – and helped make this final version possible - and for part of this thank-you I’ve made this Basic Edition product free forever (so hope this keeps many users happy!).
I look forward to further enhancing this product in future..
I’m proud to announce that the final version of Big Screen byRemote for Windows Phone 7 was submitted to the Windows Phone Marketplace this morning for certification – and should hopefully be available for Trial and Purchase in time for the global Handset launch next week (Oct 21 in Europe/Asia/AU/NZ).
Secondly – I’m also happy to announce that the v1.0 ‘Basic Edition’ of Big Screen byRemote (the bit you install on Windows 7 Media Center) – to be launched shortly - will be made available completely FOR FREE with no expiry date! (as in free beer, free food etc).
The ‘Basic Edition’ will contain most of the functionality you are getting right now in the Beta version (with a few minor limitations/exclusions – but no show stoppers) – and will be all that is required if you want to run the Windows Phone 7 client (or other native mobile clients which may appear in future) – plus will offer the Silverlight 4 browser client and XHTML Mobile editions. Over the coming months – I also intend to launch a ‘Pro Edition’ for purchase which will contain some new and exciting features (plus no limitations) – and will be optionally available for purchase .
As mentioned - since the Host Server (Basic Edition) is going to be made available for free (and all you require to run the WP7 client) – it’s intended that users will be asked to pay a small amount for the native mobile clients (when purchasing via the Windows Phone 7 App Marketplace). The initial price for the Windows Phone 7 version will be set to be USD$4.99 – which can be installed on up to 5 devices which share a Windows Live account (note : the 5 device per login limitation is that which is enforced by Marketplace). I’m still getting my head around how the pricing gets converted to other currencies – but I believe this is around EURO4.50.
A (non expiring) Trial version will also be available on Windows Phone Marketplace – and will allow you to preview all the functionality you will get (but restricts what channels you can view / and limits the scheduling capabilities to your first 3 channels).
Also – for those who haven’t been keeping up with the WP7 press launch – when purchasing from Windows Marketplace (on WP7) – you should be able to either use your credit card (and will be processed by Microsoft) – or you can charge the purchase directly to your phone bill (nb: this second option is carrier dependant – so may not be available in some cases).
Pricing for the ‘Pro Edition’ of the Server will be decided at a later date as feature set is finalized (but should be a very reasonable/cheap price).
Enhanced Windows Phone 7 features (since the previous video)
This morning Microsoft released the full ‘RTM’ version of Silverlight v3 (which has been in public beta since Mix09 in March this year).
Once again it’s a huge update – with loads of new goodies for Developers and Designers to get excited about – and (even more) leaps and bounds from Silverlight v2. (which is only 9 months old).
Some of the major highlights for me of the runtime in this release include (but not limited to) -
- Built in support for (HD) MPEG-4, H264 Video, AAC audio playback. (previous releases were about pushing WMV – a really bad move – which was getting very outdated as fewer and fewer companies were using this by the day). Even more promising is that there is now API’s built in for raw bitstream audio/video processing (which can be developed with .NET) – so support for other formats is now a possibility (such as DVR-MS, WTV etc found in Media Center Platform – or Apple Quicktime .MOV etc).
- OOB (Out of Browser) application support – which as the name suggests – means you can run Silverlight 3 applications outside the internet browser – and make them act/behave like desktop applications.
- GPU Acceleration – which in turn pimps the graphics and animation engine to whole new levels. Some of the features/outcomes of this are 3d perspective graphics, bitmap and pixel API’s, and ability to use preset and custom pixel shader effects (ie. Blur, Shadows, Glow etc – similar to what we have seen in WPF), and much more fluid animations containing easing support etc.
Please visit Scott Gu’s Blogpost ‘Silverlight 3 Released’ for some more in depth details…
And with Great Technologies – come great developer and designer tools too….
Of equal excitement is the launch of the new ‘Microsoft Expression’ v3 suite which cranks things up a whole new level. Although at this point (Silverlight 3 RTM release day) only the ‘Release Candidate’ versions of these are available – however the full RTM version will be here within the next 30 days. (and available for free to existing MSDN Premium subscribers). NB: The beta versions of Blend 3 (released at Mix09) are rock solid (and not like the old technology previews) – so I’m sure the ‘RC’ version will offer the same usability/stability.
I’ve been playing with Expression Blend 3 (and SL3) beta for past couple of months and it’s a really giant step forward on the Blend v2 / SL2 product. With Blend v2 – Silverlight support always seemed to still be a bit of an afterthought/tack-on to the WPF functionality (and most of the real work needed to be done in VS2008 or notepad) – whereas in Blend v3 it really feels like the product was designed and targeted for those using Silverlight.
Apart from a greatly enhanced UI/designer – v3 of Blend now (finally) introduces proper intellisense support – not just for the XAML editing – but also allows you to develop .NET code in there as well (again with full intellisense to rival VS2008). For the first time since the Expression products were launched – it’s now really possibly to use Blend as a serious standalone development (with source control) and design tool to take your Silverlight projects from concept through to full release – without requiring Visual Studio. I have been crying out for features like intellisense since the v1 Expression products were released (and received some very puzzled and blank looks from some MS DPE’s for suggesting this in the past) – so it’s really nice to see this come about.
If you want to download and start playing with Silverlight v3 – you can get the VS 2008 Tools for Silverlight (includes SL3 dev runtime/sdk etc) – as well as the Silverlight Toolkit (which contains lots of free/open source controls for Silverlight).
You can also download the Expression Blend 3 (with ‘Sketchflow’) Release Candidate version from here.
Now that Microsoft have taken Silverlight 3 to these new levels of coolness (and usefulness) – both as a desktop centric ‘web/browser’ technology – but also a serious contender for creating LOB (Line of Business) applications – I really hope that both the MS marketing machine and other dept’s within Microsoft follow suit.
The penetration of Silverlight 1/2 (vs Flash and other tech’s) is still extremely low out in the real world – and although it’s been used for a few high profile sites (Olympics, Sporting Events, MJ Funeral etc) – it’s still pretty rare to see Silverlight being used seriously other than to ‘showcase’ the technology (for the ‘sake of using Silverlight’). Only recently have Microsoft themselves even started using it for their own online assets (but still use Flash in so many other places).
I think this is the big challenge now for Microsoft – as awesome as the technology is – it still needs to be a viable and palatable option for companies – which can only come about from better cross platform support and more end user/developer and designer education of what it actually is (and why it should be used).
Too often I hear it being promoted just as a ‘Video Playback’ Technology or a tool for viewing ‘Deep Zoom’ photos (and more recently its being promoted as an ‘interactive advertising solution’) – and when it’s (mis)-represented as only doing these things – I still get the impression that the general public are thinking ‘big deal – doesn’t flash do this already – who cares about Microsofts me-too product’. Silverlight is just so much more than this – such as solving real world development/design and deployment problems in IT – and leverages the skill-sets and knowledge already present in the huge pool of .NET developers out there (and this is one of the areas where it offers huge ROI and value for customers).
Microsoft’s other departments also need to wake up and start seriously making the ‘cross-platform’ and ‘mass adoption’ dream of Silverlight a reality. Today – you can use Silverlight on Windows/Mac (mainly as a ‘desktop’/2 foot browser plugin) and Linux (via ‘Moonlight’) – but it really needs to be adopted in their own other platforms – namely Windows Mobile, XBox360 (as technology for creating products – not just interactive advertising), Media Center (dump MCPL already please since you’ve stopped developing it) and Zune – just to name a few. While their own platforms (such as these) are being ignored by Microsoft – it’s not too encouraging for any other o/s makers and sets a really bad example.
At the same time … it really needs to be taken to other popular emerging platforms – such as the iPhone, Android O/S, Symbian/Series XX , upcoming ‘netbook’ related o/s – and STB’s/netbox’s and other Media platforms (such as DLNA enabled devices) for it to be a serious contender. Microsoft’s touch/go adoption of ‘hey we used Silverlight to do this’ <insert high profile media broadcast site here> – but at same time we didn’t feel it was appropriate for <platform/product x> is still sending out a very confusing message to would be adopters.
I appreciate Silverlight v1 and even v2 had it’s limitations (namely lack of codec support) – and wasn’t ‘quite ready’ to achieve the above – but now with v3 – all the pieces of the puzzle are there – and it’s time to start getting this great technology to reach it’s full potential (and make it worthwhile for developers/designers and business to make the investment).
Microsoft have never had a problem producing great products and technologies in the past – but getting them out there has been a much larger hurdle for them of late. I really hope it flies – and that they can leverage the ‘refreshingly positive buzz’ around Windows 7 to get people’s attention.