Windows Phone 7 Unlocking Application May Brick Phone

I do not know if this is sensationalist, but that is exactly what Microsoft is reported to have claimed about the ChevronWP7 jailbreak/unlocker application that we wrote about yesterday. To tell you about the application, it is a Windows-based application that can enable users to sideload non-Marketplace apps on to their WP7 phones thereby bypassing the App Hub.

According to a statement from Microsoft, the unlocking could “void the warranty, disable phone functionality, interrupt access to Windows Phone 7 services or render the phone permanently unusable. We anticipated that people would attempt to unlock the phones and explore the underlying operating system. We encourage people to use their Windows Phone as supplied by the manufacturer to ensure the best possible user experience”

However, the developers of the WP7 jailbreak app have claimed that these allegations are false and that ChevronWP7 makes use of the same procedure that is used by the official phone registration tool.

We really do not know who to believe, so we leave that part of interpretation to you.

Number Of Kinects Sold In Japan During Opening Weekend : 26,000

Media Create, a Japanese video game research firm has published a new report that shows that the new motion controller from Microsoft may not have had the best of starts in the oriental market. According to figures released by the firm, Microsoft sold 26,000 units of Kinect during the opening weekend of November 20 & 21. This number includes stand alone units as well as those bundled with an XBox.

The figure looks all the more sober when you consider that this is just half of the number of Sony PlayStation Move units sold during the debut weekend in October this year. However, a deeper look reveals why. PlayStation Move is available at a price of 5100 Yen (approx. $60.89) a unit. On the other hand, Kinect is being sold at a price of 14,800 Yen (approx. $176.70). Kinect is nearly triple the price of Move and this could be the primary reason why Microsoft has failed to attract the crowds. This has also consequently meant that none of the Kinect games have risen to the top 20 rankings in the past week.

We wonder if Microsoft would wisen up and announce a price drop soon.

Buy One & Get A Free Windows Phone 7 Handset

Microsoft and AT&T have teamed up to announce a nice deal for the holiday shopping season in the United States. Starting today, customers can walk into any of the AT&T stores and order one of the Windows Phone 7 handsets to get one another phone for free. The phones that are available in this deal include LG Quantum, HTC Surround and Samsung Focus. This is for a limited time and it is not clear when this offer will end. So get one quick.

That’s not all. AT&T is also independently offering a free entertainment pack to new WP7 customers. The entertainment pack will include ilomilo, a new 3D puzzle app, unlimited music streaming with Zune Pass for 30 days (including 10 free downloads) and a free video service to watch and download TV shows for 30 days. The total value of this offer is $29.97 so that is quite a lot.

View Broadcasted Powerpoint Presentations Over Windows Phone 7

Microsoft is without doubt the leader when it comes to enterprise productivity tools with Microsoft Office being the most popular application suite. Quite logically, Microsoft has tried to transform this success into their edge in their recent smartphone foray with  Windows Phone 7.

As you may already know, the latest 2010 version of Microsoft Office lets users broadcast Powerpoint presentations. The presenter may set up their computer as the host and choose to broadcast their presentations. This will create a temporary session on the Microsoft server that is then available to be viewed on a shareable link on other computers in remote locations.

Apparently, this link is also viewable on Windows Phone 7 handsets with no set up required. Users clicking on the broadcast link are seamlessly taken to the Powerpoint show being broadcast – a great way to attend conference calls and meetings while you are away from the computer.

Internet Explorer & YouTube App For XBox 360 Coming Soon?

This is a slightly extrapolated speculation. A new job posting on the Microsoft website has called upon applications for a position that will be “responsible for delivering features for Silverlight on the XBOX as part of the next wave“. Microsoft has since then removed all references to the console. But the posting itself has caused quite a bit of speculation about what the “next wave” could mean here.

It is definitely not just another buzz term used to lure potential employees. One speculation is that Silverlight could be the platform Microsoft could be banking upon to let developers build one app that can be used across platforms – on XBox 360 as well as Windows Phone 7. Another speculation is that Microsoft may be hiring developers who will build more applications for the XBox dashboard.

While we do have XBox integrated with services like Facebook, Twitter, ESPN and Netflix,there are still no apps for browsing the internet and watching YouTube. Do we have an Internet Explorer app and YouTube app coming soon?

Get A Free LG Ally With New Kin TWOm – MS Kin Relaunched

The Microsoft Kin One and Two phones were expected to make waves among the teenagers. But the phones disappeared without a ripple and according to some analysts, the sale numbers hardly crossed four digits. The ridiculous data pricing was blamed by many as the reason why these phones never took off among the target group.

But these phones are back with an extra ‘m‘. The new Kin ONEm and TWOm are basically the same as the earlier models except that they come with more reasonable pricing plans. Kin ONEm will cost you $19.99 while Kin TWOm will be priced at $49.99. As you read in the title, Kin TWOm buyers also win a free LG Ally handset with that purchase. Speaking about the monthly plans, voice begins at $39.99 per month while data starts at $9.99 (with 25MB data cap). And yes, there is also an activation fee of $35.

While this is still not too cheap, at least Verizon should be able to sell a bit more than they did last time. At least, that’s the hope.

Gears Of War 3 To Support Kinect Motion Controller?

Microsoft Kinect has been a terrific success in the American market so far with more than 1 million units being sold in the ten days since launch. However, not many hardcore gamers have taken to the new controller given that a majority of Kinect-supported games at the moment are casual. However, we hear that this could soon change with the launch of a new Kinect supported version of Gears of War.

According to these rumors, Microsoft is looking at the upcoming Spike TV Video Games Awards to make an announcement on this new game. However, it is not clear if this is going to be an all-new version of the game or if the existing version of Gears of War shall be retro-fitted with these Kinect controls. But if the words of Epic Games’ lead designer Cliff Bleszinski are anything to go by, it may just be the latter. He has noted that the Kinect supported version is not going to be Gears of War 3. So there you go.

Bug Allowing App Source Code Download On WP7 Marketplace Revealed

App pirates just need a reason to crack into proprietary applications for a free download. And that is now child’s play thanks to a significant glitch in the Microsoft App Hub system that lets any user check out the source code link for the apps and download them. The bug here is apparently in the way the Zune software pulls information about the WP7 apps using an ATOM XML feed. Consequently, it is just a matter of checking out the feed for the XAP Package address and downloading the source.

Microsoft is apparently aware of the issue and had in fact advised app developers to encrypt details before app submission. But this advice was offered only earlier this month and has not been viewed by several developers who submitted their applications earlier.

Nevertheless, the chances of pirated apps being distributed elsewhere is slim considering that such pirated apps can only be viewed over emulators and cannot be made to run on WP7 devices. That’s the sole consolation for now.

Users Complain Kinect Shutting Down Randomly

There appears to be a minor bug with a batch of Microsoft Kinect units that went on sale in the United States earlier this month. A number of users in the official XBox discussion forum have complained that their new motion controller system has been shutting down randomly in the middle of a gaming session. Overheating does not seem to be the root cause as users note that their unit continues to run when the device is warm and freezes or shuts down only intermittently. No fixes have been discovered so far. Here are some excerpts from the discussion.

“We’ve been having trouble with the Kinect shutting down randomly while in the middle of playing games. The lights on the unit go off (not the one on the connector), no error messages or anything, just turns off. We have to unplug it from the USB and re-plug it in, then it boots back up and works for a while.”

“I have also been having my Kinect shut down randomly in the middle of games. I played both Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports and during both the Kinect has turned off while I was in the middle of some activity. I am currently using an Xbox Slim (and thus no usb/power adapter involved- just a direct plug into the back input).”

Have you been facing similar issues with your Kinect as well? Do remember to share your experiences in the comments below.

Running Kinect On Mac OS X Now Possible

Earlier this week, a hacker successfully broke into the newly launched Microsoft Kinect webcam based motion controller to be able to transmit monochromatic images tracked by Kinect to a computer. With this hacking done, it was just a matter of time before we got to see more improvisations.

Hacker Theo Watson has now released a OS X port for libfreenect, the open source Kinect driver that was released recently. The new port, a video demo of which you can see embedded below, lets the user run those very monochromatic images from Kinect on a computer running OS X.

This is still not in a very useable form since it does nothing more than transmit your body movements in monochromatic images. But considering the quickness with which these breakthroughs have been achieved, expect for a lot more custom builds to be released shortly.