Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Meet Microsoft Windows 10

Windows 10

About the time that we think we have it all figured out, someone in marketing screws it all up for us. Today, instead of the announcement of Windows 9, Microsoft threw us all a major curveball by introducing a new unified OS under the name of Windows 10. Windows 10 will run on everything from the smallest of screens to the largest of HD displays. Moving through the ecosystem, you start with something that resembles the ‘Windows Phone’ look with its vertical layout. Moving in to the tablet or portable market reveals much the same look. Finally rounding out the big screens comes a hybrid of Metro and traditional Windows.

The new core system looks to be incredible. Instead of a fragmented ‘three in one’ concept that just never worked out, Windows 10 seems to be the perfect blend and is exactly what Microsoft needed to get rolling. With one ecosystem for all their screens to draw from – yes, the same App will work on Mobile, PC and Xbox going forward with minor tweaks – people will start to use the full ecosystem of products instead of having a chopped version of this App on their phone, a good version on their desktop and no option at all on Xbox.

Overall it’s a great move for Microsoft and the growth of all three platforms that they are operating with right now. The end user will benefit the most from this new OS and hardware manufacturers should be very excited to get those end users some new devices to make the most of that new experience.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Help Me Out By Shopping My Amazon Store!

Running a blog is a bit expensive. Many places offer up a ton of annoying ads to offset the cost of buying the latest gear until they are big enough to make “the list” of manufacturer’s demo programs. Focus On Windows Phone is no different. You probably see my reviews have links to Amazon.com in many places. The fact is those links make me a bit of cash to buy the next case, speaker or device to test out for you.

I do this so I can keep this blog full of new reviews, features and most of all, Apps from developers like you and your friends. Unfortunately, there are limits to how much disposable income is in my pocket from time to time and this is when I ask you for help. This isn’t something that will cost you money or even make you change a habit, it’s a very simple thing you can do to help me fund this blog. 

If you are someone that shops Amazon regularly, this is where you can help. Amazon has an affiliate program that pays me a referral on every sale that I make, about 2-4%. The only thing that someone has to do is shop through my link. You are still ordering from Amazon and you still have access to all the same items you would with the same prices as usual. The only difference is that it tracks through my link instead of just going to them.

All you need to do is shop via this link instead of the usual Amazon on you have bookmarked:


So, get ready for that holiday shopping season, bookmark my Amazon page and help me get my online store growing!

PS - Share the link with your friends too! The more the merrier!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

App Review: Find A Show Near You With Concert Wall


We’ve all been there. Wanting to go see a show, but not finding anything online or in the local paper to go check out. Or worse yet, when you pull open the internet and search for ‘local concerts’ and it pulls up a show 1,000 miles from where you are at. Windows Phone fans can kiss that feeling goodbye with Concert Wall, an uber convenient concert locator app from AppCreativity.

Concert Wall opens up to a base screen showing concerts near you. Yes, that is it. You tap the App in the list or from your home screen and it works, period. It first opens an artist view, but a simple swipe to the venue section and you can see who is coming to your local bar or concert hall. Concert Wall pretty much has this nailed right off the bat, so I’m not sure where they go from here, but looking a bit deeper, there is plenty more where that came from.


According to Concert Wall, Demi Lovato is coming to an arena near me next week, so I clicked on the listing. This took me to a page where I could find out everything about Demi’s music, add the event to my calendar and even navigate to the venue. Oh, and it also highlighted the attendees that have said they are going as well. Very slick setup.

Another tap takes you into the Last.FM concert page of the tour. This gives you a web link that you can pin to your start screen just in case you want the latest news on the show or want to share it with friends that don’t have Windows Phones. Again, bonus feature here people! Of course, with all the features that Concert Wall has built in, there is one feature that they left out – a PRICE!

That’s right, Concert Wall is 100% free, though I would hope that they realize how awesome this is and at least work some Ad Support or something into this thing as a thank you. Maybe a donate button? I’m just saying I feel a bit guilty getting this for free ok?

Concert Wall is only a 4MB download and can be downloaded from the Windows Phone Store by clicking here. Snag a copy today, you won’t regret it and if you are a music fan, you will love it!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Game Review: Ping Pong Masters Misses The Mark


Ping Pong Masters by Clapfoot Inc. is one of those games that I really wanted to love, but due to some outrageous graphical glitches, I just can’t recommend to people with higher end devices. In fact, in running the game on my HTC One M8 for Windows and the Lumia 1520, I felt like I Vanelope Von Schweets from Wreck It Ralph instead of a ping pong player.


Ping Pong Masters started out innocent enough, but then the striping on the table and the racquet became noticeable. Honestly, at first, I didn’t notice the striping as I thought it was just part of the table and paddle in an effort to give it an old school feel. After a few minutes of playing and seeing the graphics jitter, I realized that it wasn’t a built in feature, but it really was a glitch.


After trying to play the game for a few minutes, I finally had to throw in the towel. While the game has some major potential, I won’t be revisiting it anytime soon. That said, if you are running a lower quality display, Ping Pong Masters, is quite a bit of fun and is very fast paced. I read various complaints about the micro-purchases required to play, but I just didn’t give the game long enough to get into any of that.

Overall, Ping Pong Masters is a decent game that is plagued by the new Windows Phone hardware standards being opened up. If you have an older device or a lower resolution device, check it out and let me know what you think.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Game Review: The Sobering Beer Pong Champion 3D Experience


I really am the first to say that some of these new fangled video games drive me nuts. What I mean is games like Madden ‘15, with the X & Y sticks, D-Pad and 47 programmable buttons are just a bit tough for me to master. I prefer the old school games with a D-pad and a couple of buttons, or maybe I just come from a more simple time where complicated games just didn’t exist yet. That said, when I saw Beer Pong Champion 3D, I thought I was in for the beer pong experience without all the drinking… I was wrong.


This masterpiece of a game by Obaiah Kondaiah is one of the most frustrating, simplistic games on the planet. You simply bounce your ping pong ball from one end of the table into the cups on the opposite side of the table. Beer Pong Champion 3D is not only frustrating, but it is a complete blast to play. My only complaint about the game is that practice mode doesn’t seem to prepare you for the impending doom that is Beer Pong Champion 3D itself.


The combination of amazing graphics and frustrating ball reactions makes Beer Pong Champion 3D a must try game for just about everyone out there. Grab it from the store today and enjoy all the beer ponging excitement – just don’t tip over or drop your phone.

Download: Beer Pong Champion 3D

Game Review: Zap Them All In Tower Of Many


Tooling around the Windows Phone Store looking for something fun, I stumbled upon an instant classic. Tower Of Many, struck me as a mix between my love, tower defense games and my loathe, runner games. Fortunately, the love won out in this case as Tower Of Many comes out as a total win.


Game play is easy enough. You touch the shooters at the top of the display and then blast the crawlers coming from left to right. You have to pick them off before the reach the opposite side or you lose. While nailing the little buggers can be challenging, overall, it was simple enough to master the easier levels. Of course, once you turn up the heat, things start getting a bit tougher, but you can find that out for yourself.

Tower Of Many is just plain fun. You will spend hours of battery life over just a few days killing off those bad guys. The 15MB download size is more than manageable for even the smallest Windows Phones on the market today.

Tower Of Many is available in the Windows Phone Store and is well worth the download. Check out Tower Of Many for Windows Phone by clicking the link below.

Download: Tower Of Many

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

App Review: Device Shot Is A Developer’s Dream

wp_ss_20140911_0002 DeviceShot130549627154938086

When trying to get the word out about your App, getting a good screen shot can be hard. Even tougher is getting a great shot to look like it’s on a device, not in some simulator somewhere. Device Shot from InfiniteLoop is one such title that most developer shouldn’t live without. The simple App allows you to “crop” screen shots into the screen of many well know devices. It’s the perfect tool for developers to make their titles come to life right on the screen of the latest hardware.

It literally takes only seconds, to make create your device with the screen of your choice in Device Shot. Simply side load your App via your developer tools, snap a screen shot of it in action and select the device from the list provided. Here you can see a great shot of the HTC One M8 for Windows from it’s unboxing placed on a brilliant rendering of the HTC 8x Windows Phone.

Device Shot is $.99 for the full version and should be considered a must have tool for every Windows Phone developer out there. The 36MB size is a bit large for every day users, but for a developer, the space couldn’t be spent in a better way.

Monday, September 15, 2014

App Review: HabitChamp Makes Starting A Habit Easy


Starting a new habit is never easy. Whether you want to start working out every morning or if you want to make sure you drink enough water during the day, forming positive habits is challenging. The great news is that there is now help for those that need it, via your Windows Phone. Meet HabitChamp from Matthias Meilicke.

It couldn’t be easier to use HabitChamp. Simply enter the habit you want to start into the App. Check the boxes for when you want to do it and for how long. Submit the habit and watch your Windows Phone remind you to do it when you asked it to. It is that simple.


Once you’ve entered your habit into HabitChamp, you will see a list of habits on the screen. The habits in red are ones that still need to be completed. Simply tapping the blue circle on the habit will check it off for the day, or hour or whatever time frame you set the activity to.


Once the activity is completed for the day and checked off, you will see a checkmark appear in the blue circle and the activity will turn green. Your activity is now on the way to becoming a habit. A few more days or weeks of doing it, and soon enough, you won’t need or Windows Phone to remind you to do it any longer and you can remove it from the list. You can then start a new list of habits in HabitChamp to master all over again.


Another great feature of HabitChamp is the ability to customize the color scheme of the App. Not really a huge necessity here, but what a great personal touch. Want a black background and pink habit building lists? You got it. Want a green background and blue lists? Not a problem. HabitChamp just makes it easy to get the look you want with simple color selection tools.

HabitChamp is the perfect App for anyone that is trying to work on something. Whether it’s making sure to call someone you love every day or making it to the gym twice a week, HabitChamp can help. Take a few minutes and hit the Windows Phone Store and snag HabitChamp for your device. You should be pretty happy with the results and frankly, nobody is going to miss the 1MB that HabitChamp takes up, so go get it today and start building a positive habit.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Yezz Billy 4.7 Ultra Slim Is Coming Soon

Yezz Billy

If you read blogs, one of the things you probably look forward to the most is seeing what’s in the pipeline for later in the year. The Yezz Billy 4.7 hasn’t quite hit the market yet, but it is due out soon to many retailers, including Amazon.com.

The Yezz Billy has an ultra slim 7.2mm thin body, a 4.7” HD screen and an 8MP primary camera. The device features 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, which you can supplement with a Micro SD card in sizes up to 128GB.

The Yezz Billy will ship with Windows Phone 8.1 installed. This includes Cortana, Office and the usual MS fare, and it is Here Maps and services compatible as well. The Billy also includes three separate battery covers for those days you feel like something different. The red cover is shown in the image above, white and blue are also included in the package.

The street price on the Yezz Billy has not been set yet, but look for it to hit in the $100-150 range later this year. For more information on the Yezz Billy, you can visit the device’s Amazon page.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

HTC One (M8) for Windows Not Coming To T-Mobile Soon


In a depressing bit of news, T-Mobile confirmed to me today that the HTC One M8 for Windows will not be coming to their network until the holiday season this year. This lends a bit of credence to the possible 90 day exclusive for Verizon Wireless that so many had guessed at to start with. The device launched in August on Big Red, which would pin that 90 day period ending just before Black Friday and the holiday sales season.

If this is the case, more people might want to consider shelling out the $550 for the HTC One M8 for Windows to Verizon where you can take it to many of the US networks and only lose the MMS capabilities for now. Of course, you also have the option of keeping on the Verizon LTE network at $45 a month for their unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data with AutoPay.

Either way you go, the HTC One M8 for Windows is a great device on a great network. It’s just a shame that consumers won’t have a choice to have it on T-Mobile until so late in the year.

Game Review: PigJump! – Who Says Pigs Can’t Fly?


Anyone that has a Windows Phone should have heard of Ocean68 Studio by now. Their App Info+ and 11,000 Cool Facts Apps are just down right awesomeness for your Windows Phone. Now after a bit of poking, and prodding me on Twitter, I am finally done playing with their newest creation, Pig Jump!.


Pig Jump! isn’t just a game… It’s hours of horribly frustrating action that I have not felt the angst of since Flappy Bat. Pig Jump! seems simple enough on the surface, but as soon as you start actually playing, it becomes a terror of falling in holes, getting rammed by birds and eaten by fish… Of course, that’s because I officially suck at this game. That said, it is some of the most fun I have had in so long, I can’t really say anything to the negative.

Controls are amazingly accurate on my HTC One (M8) for Windows. Tilt a bit to the right and I move forward slightly. Tilt hard and it moves super quick. A quick tap of the screen and my Pig’s bazooka is blowing away the birds and fish that are trying to destroy my little journey through the pond.


Now, I am more than embarrassed to say that I did not complete any ‘levels’ in this game, so I have no idea if there is more fun to be had later in the game or not. I can say that Pig Jump! will be keeping a solid space on my device. The 16MB download (according to the Windows Phone Store) is well worth the price of admission to this game and any time a free game is offered up without annoying ads covering my screen I am there.

So, when you are ready to jump in, head over to the Windows Phone Store and snag Pig Jump!, you won’t regret it, but your phone battery might.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Protect Your HTC M8 For Windows With The i-Blason TPU Cover

If you feel like the Dot View case is a bit too much for you, or you feel like you want a bit more protection for your HTC One M8 for Windows, I have the accessory for you. The i-Blason SoftGel Flexible TPU Cover offers a great deal of protection, without adding much bulk and excess to your phone.

The ultra-thin design of the i-Blason SoftGel leaves the form factor of your M8 for Windows, or your normal Android powered M8, intact and feeling great. The frosted finish allows the brushed metal beauty of your M8 to shine through as well. Best of all, the i-Blason SoftGel Flexible TPU Cover is currently $7.99 online and is available with free Prime shipping.

Source: Amazon

HTC One M8 For Windows Sold Out At Amazon


If there is one thing that says how well a device is doing, it’s the availability of the handset to the general public. Sure, it’s hard for the carrier stores to sell out of the device, but when a third party reseller like Amazon sells out, you know your phone is doing well. This is currently the case with the HTC One M8 for Windows at the online giant. The $49.99 contract price was half the cost of Verizon’s own website and they are reaping the benefits of it.

Currently the HTC One M8 for Windows is showing as an, “Order now and we’ll deliver when available,” status. Of course, if you have to have one today, Verizon Wireless locations would be happy to take the additional money from you for the instant gratification of having your phone sooner. Either way, the HTC One M8 for Windows is a remarkable device and worth the price of admission. Remember also, the M8 ships unlocked for use on AT&T and T-Mobile or their MVNO’s with the proper APN editing being done. The only issue so far is that there is no option to edit the MMS APN.

Source: Amazon

Game Review: Hunter 2014 Brings Big Game Hunts Without A Big Price


As I drift back from Android and the HTC One M7 and rejoin the full time Windows Phone crowd, I have noticed a few of my favorite games missing from the Store. Games like MLB Perfect Inning and Deer Hunter 2014 allowed me to pass the time in an entertaining fashion. Coming back to Windows Phone, that pesky App gap started to become very evident, very quickly. While there are definitely some great titles in the store, there are some gaps. Fortunately, there are developers like TTX Studio that take some classic games like Deer Hunter and create a freebie version of it and do so quite successfully. Hunter 2014 isn’t a perfect game, but if you are looking for some hunting action on your Windows Phone, it gives the paid hunting games a serious run for their money.


The game runs on a simple premise, control your weapon by dragging your finger across the screen. Press the bullets in the lower right corner to shoot. Hit targets, or animals, and get points. Points and experience bump you up levels to where the game gets harder and harder. Game play is quick and challenging. The weapon controls are almost a bit too sensitive, but if you have ever tried to shoot targets with a pistol at any sort of distance, you will appreciate how realistic the sway is. Hunter 2014 is just fun to play.


As you increase your experience, you will unlock additional levels, weapons and hours of time killing enjoyment. Hunter 2014 includes various levels of hunting right now ranging from targets (pictured) to chickens, rabbits, deer and foxes. TTX Studio has stated online that they will continue development of the game and add additional levels that may feature bears, birds, tigers and maybe even dinosaurs.

Overall, Hunter 2014 is an extremely solid effort from TTX Studio. If you have an inkling to shoot some critters on your Windows Phone, you owe it to yourself to check out this game. If not, and you just want to play with the target practice level, you can do that also. Either way, check out Hunter 2014 and take it for a spin.

Download: Hunter 2014