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Stay on the social ball with our weekly platform and news round-up.

 

Love Thy Devs

In today’s mobile landscape, developers are king. Either create a thriving ecosystem of satisfied devs or crumble into nothingness while your competition showers in innovation. As Microsoft looks to continue its recent momentum, it is increasingly apparent that its developer community has been put front and center. By launching a shiny new dev center last week, Microsoft is attempting to make designing, building, and managing apps for Windows Phone as seamless as it can get.

Every so often, being late to the party can have its perks and Microsoft’s dev environment has an opportunity to exploit where Apple and Google have failed. Emphasizing speed and profitability with infrastructure upgrades and in-app purchasing products has already widened plenty of eyes. Refined amenities such as stronger analytics, streamlined submission tools, and fewer beta testing limitations along with PayPal support in select markets make for a solid value proposition.

Sometime amid September’s mobile showdown of showdowns, Nokia will set the tone for Windows Phone 8 as it unleashes its next generation of devices. With a progressively hopeful dev network in place and the excitement of the Surface tablet on the horizon, expect to see a united WP8 community rally to retake some market share.

OMG Wolves

One Swiss biologist is on a mission to help reduce attacks from the big bad wolf. Similar to monitors used by runners during training routines, research indicates that sheep under stress show increases in heart rate almost threefold. And it’s a pretty safe bet that being confronted by a slavering canine is going to send it skyrocketing. Hence a special collar has been developed to monitor a sheep’s heart rate and send a notification to the flock’s shepherd via text message alerting them of any extended increase in activity.

Several types of collars are set to be released this fall including those with a mobile chip for SMS alerts as well as others that trigger a loud noise or spray a chemical repellent attempting to scare the wolves away. Standard text messaging rates may apply, but this is a small price to pay to let the sheep cry “Wolf”.

SoundWave

With the continued success of Kinect, the camera-based motion sensing device most commonly used for Xbox 360, Microsoft Research labs has taken a new approach to detecting movements and gestures.

Requiring only your standard set of PC speakers and microphone, SoundWave allows software to be controlled by hand-based movements. Using what is known as the Doppler Effect, it emits an inaudible tone through the speakers and detects objects by changes in frequency captured by the microphone. Algorithms translate the movements into gestures which are then used to control the on-screen experience such as scrolling through a website page.

Unaffected by outside noise or music playing on your speakers, it is able to operate strictly on existing commoditized PC hardware and could easily bring this gesture-sensing interface to any modern computer. Although currently limited to deskbound use cases, expect to see this technology develop into more advanced applications whether it is ever productized or not.

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