Monday, October 4, 2010
Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Software" @ 08:30 PM
Despite a few new apps for the Zune HD, Microsoft is still lagging vastly behind Apple's iOS in sheer number of apps available for the platform. Sure the XNA framework has been available for about a year now (and longer on the older models), but the severe limitations on running code have kept developers from unlocking the device's full potential. There was hope when, in April, ZuneBoards hacker itsnotabigtruck released OpenZDK, a toolkit which allows developers to access the same low-level APIs as first-party Microsoft titles like Audiosurf and PGR. There's still no Cydia-like central repository for app so app installs are still strictly a tethered affair, but yes it plays Doom. Here are a few standouts:
- VisualBoy Zune and ZuneBoy: usually one of the first real demos of a platform's power, Gameboy and NES emulators allow ROMs of classic games like Zelda, Mario, and Pokemon to run without modification. VisualBoy is themeable, with several community members creating some striking layouts while ZuneBoy's developer has recently pledged to return to the project to add new functionality. We covered VisualBoy when it first showed up in May.
- WebZerver: Nurta's web server can be used for hosting basic html files and text (no dynamic PHP or ASP content yet) online, putting the wifi to good use.
- YamaIRC: a simple IRC chat client for Zune HD, supporting login names, passwords, and user lists. Developer Yamagushi hopes to bring DNS resolution, landscape mode, and multiple servers/channels soon.
- Dive!: change the background behind text on the Zune HD.
- Cubic, Three Dee, Dragon, and Mandelbrot: demo apps that showcase the Tegra's graphics powers, with 3D, fractals, and lighting. The Mandelbrot app can be panned and zoomed for extra fractal goodness.
With Windows Phone 7 around the corner, it becomes even more crucial to show off the platform's capabilities and draw in new developers. Hopefully we start to see a few more daring programs with the extra phone functionality. I'd love to use my phone to VNC/remote desktop into my desktop (and vice-versa).