Microsoft Photosynth arrives, and Marketplace continues its roll

Microsoft Photosynth arrives, and Marketplace continues its roll

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Your phone’s camera just got a lot more exciting. Capping an impressive month for Marketplace (back to that in a second), the free and much-anticipated Photosynth app for Windows Phone has arrived. Download it now

What’s Photosynth? Simply put, it’s a Microsoft technology for creating majestic 3D panoramas from plain old 2D shots. Although that summary doesn’t quite do justice to how magical Photosynth is. Marketplace is already home to several solid panorama apps. But as the Photosynth team notes on its blog today, there’s nothing out there quite like this: It’s the only mobile app that can piece together a full panoramic sphere (that’s 360 degrees horizontally and vertically.)

A Photosynth image of Mt. Baker in Washington state

Originally dreamed up by a squad of PhDs at Microsoft Research, Photosynth intelligently sews together your separate snapshots into one immersive scene, recreating the drama and detail of what your eyes actually see. It’s hard to appreciate until you see a few “synths” for yourself. This one of Pulpit Rock in Norway gives me the heebie-jeebies when I pan down. Other favorites include Machu Picchu and the Seattle Japanese Garden.

The new Windows Phone app (pictured below) makes it easy to create synths of your own, then publish your panorama to the Photosynth site or share it via Facebook and Twitter. Check out the Bing and Next at Microsoft blogs for more on the new app.

The new Microsoft Photosynth app makes it possible to construct 3D panoramas from all your 2D snapshotsThe new Microsoft Photosynth app makes it possible to construct 3D panoramas from all your 2D snapshotsThe new Microsoft Photosynth app makes it possible to construct 3D panoramas from all your 2D snapshots

Speaking of big pictures, Photosynth wasn't the only exciting Marketplace news this month. In case you missed it, a parade of major new apps and app updates continue to roll in. Other notable new May additions included LinkedIn and AboutOne, a popular family organizer and Windows Phone exclusive. The official Facebook app for Windows Phone just received a beefy update. So did WhatsApp, which added a profile picture option you won’t currently find on the iPhone or Android versions. That’s right: Some developers are introducing new features on the Windows Phone version of their app first.

There’s also great stuff on the way, as Nokia made clear earlier this month. Rovio’s Angry Birds Space and EA titles including Madden NFL, NBA Jam, and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR are all en route. Ditto for PayPal and TIME Magazine apps. Nokia is also lining up Lumia-exclusive versions of apps like ESPN and Groupon that are already available in Marketplace.

Finally, there are a handful of other efforts underway that Marketplace shoppers will appreciate. I’ve mentioned the growing list of 99-cent Xbox LIVE games in other posts. Ongoing behind-the-scenes improvements, meanwhile, are designed to make top apps easier to find when you search.

To scan this tag, open Bing on your phone, then tap the eye icon to start Bing Vision.  To scan this tag, open Bing on your phone, then tap the eye icon to start Bing Vision.

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  • @tsrblke, I HAVE run into one more VERY annoying issue that pretty much is a showstopper for me.  I run my own mail server on a Windows Server 2003 machine, using the native POP3 & SMTP services.  The account I use for that is what I registered with Windows Live.  In other words, I didn't create a hotmail email address.  Now, this has always worked very well on the web and in Outlook using the Connector, not to mention my Windows Phones.  With the Windows Developer Preview and Consumer Preview there was no support for POP3 accounts.  While WDP and WCP allowed me to establish those as my account (and actually did pull down a lot of my Live profile) I couldn't get any email.  Well, now that the Release Preview is out it's supposed to support POP3, but I only see account setup options for Hotmail, Exchange and Google.  Initially, I setup Hotmail, but using my same POP3 account info (which, I would have thought, would be automatic once I established my Live account as my Windows 8 account) and I DID start receiving email.  However, I left the machine alone for a while (logging off, naturally) and came back to find that the Mail app no longer shows ANYthing.  No list of boxes (Inbox, Sent Items, etc.), nothing.  If I try to go into Settings, Accounts and add the email account back in I get an error saying the account has already been created.  Major fail, here.  I absolutely refuse to create an actual Hotmail or Live account just to get around this.  

    I sincerely want this to work well in order to make movement between my smartphone a tablet and desktop nearly seamless, but if they can't get it together regarding POP3 accounts it will stop me from migrating.

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts


    Oh I see now. I didn't want to install the release preview as I only have a my primary computer and a netbook to install it to (and the wife said no to the netbook install.)

    Glad to hear it's going well.  I'm going to wait for more info before I decide to upgrade to Win8 or not.  (Assuming they do the student upgrades again it's usually fairly inexpensive all things considered.

  • Nokia 610 = slightly lower experience out of the box = but still a nice little device= at the right price= FREE! lol..

  • @Rodney - I'm not surprised at all.  See my repeated rants on the subject... :(

  • The 710 is priced lower than the 610 at Carphone Warehouse. I'm confused,,, did I miss, or do not understand, something!

  • I used the Photosynth app for the first time yesterday and it's great! Works perfectly..

  • Semmal
    8 Posts

    Photosynth now shows up in the results of Marketplace search within the phone

  • KR
    503 Posts

    @Scuba.Lol.its funny how I am having the same shortcomings after using the WRP for a day and another really annoying bug is the windows store freezing or randomly going to the home page all the time, and it takes longer to lunch itself.have experienced any of this?

    I'm running it on an ASUS EP121

  • @tsrblke....WRP = Windows Release Preview.  And I LOVE it.  There are quite a few changes, though, so I'm still getting use to them.  The biggest thing I was looking for was POP3 account support, since my Live account is NOT a Hotmail's my own account from an email server I host myself.  I have found a couple of bugs so far, but nothing serious (annoying, at best).  I know the SkyDrive app is about to get updated, so a few shortcomings there I'm willing to overlook.  There seem to be a LOT fewer apps in the Store, now, which concerns me....particularly since some of the apps I was using in the Consumer Preview were very good (Hydro Thunder Hurricane, where did you go?).  But I'm anxious to play with how it works with my Windows Phone.  Also, I'm trying to divorce myself from the old Desktop view, if at all possible.  I want to rely 100% on the Metro interface.

  • Nokia lumia 900 Cameo!

    I got only a small part, but this was actually the best, and longest, WP cameo I've seen so far. Its from the Fox show "Touch" which aired tonight. I think it was the season finally part 2. The little boy moved throughout the OS, and the huge WP screenshot was amazing, really corny, but in a good way like old 1920's era movie plugs... Sorry I only got the end...

  • Yo, Scuba!

    I read your reply to my post on the last page, and I can dig it. That's about right, I mean we just got to be patient, and realistic...

    I also like what you told the others... Once again Scuba sets the record straight! Cool..

  • Calling Darrell, I repeat, calling Darrell, I repeat, calling Darrell.......

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts


    Huh now, I don't speak acronym!

  • I've had this for less than 24 hours, and I'm already getting compliments on it.  Great fun.

  • markbt
    3 Posts

    The app is not showing up in the marketplace (I'm in the UK). The only way I could find it was by scanning one of those barcode things.

  • ....waiting on pins & needles......WRP!

  • Semmal
    8 Posts

    app works great; thank you.. wish it was a Windows Phone exclusive :)

  • Semmal
    8 Posts

    This can only happen with Microsoft.  I gladly shared this info with my friends, but when i tried to search for this app to install from Marketplace in phone, this app does not show up in the results.  Tried with query strings like "photosynth" "synth" photo synth".  So irritating.  Then I found Thurrott's article where he has also mentioned this.  I ended up coming to this page and scanning the QR code.  Can someone please fix this right away ?

  • @ Nater...

    What kind of phone did you get? My buddy has a Razr, or however it's spelled. Lol. I like the sound quality of that phone. Its got a special EQ, and selectable sound presets. I also like the customizable map themes. There's a cool one thats all "black ops" looking. I also thought the HTC one/at&t was cool. It has this section in settings called developer settings?... Anyways, you can overlay the phones performance at the top of the screen. Its cool to see the changes in the hardware performance in real time while going from screen to screen. That's the best HTC phone I've ever seen, with that polycarbonate body,, beautiful!

    WP needs to get some cool things like this. You know, something for the guys, and girls, who like the more technical side of things. MS acts like there aren't any nerds ova here.. Lol! Yeah, we want some visual $h!7 to!

    Well, you know where to find me... right here dude! Lol... You Still Better Post At least One Comment Per Article,, Boy! U got that? :•»

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    Quote: "That’s right: Some developers are introducing new features on the Windows Phone version of their app first."

    Have you ever used WhatsApp on iOS/Android and then compared it to the WP7 version.  They need more than a Profile Picture to make thing thing as usable as its cross-platform counterparts.  It's beyond terrible.

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    I think most Android camera apps have Panorama built into them these days.  It's a shame WP7 users had to wait about 6 months or something after it was released for iOS for something as trivial as this...

    Oh well, I went back to Android yesterday and can't be happier.  For the first time in over a year, I actually am excited to use my smartphone.

  • Okay, playing with Photosynth was more fun than I was expected.  I did a 360 of my podcasting/music studio and easily published it to my Facebook page.  Bravo on a very easy to use app!

  • rono
    5 Posts


    Would/will look great on those hopefully upcoming PureView Nokia devices.

  • For me I need RSA SecurID ... an absolute must for me stop using my Android phone.

  • T Windows
    116 Posts

    Thanks Michael for the post, Photosynth is an awesome app indeed, it has recently replaced my older panoramaic apps since it's an offical Microsoft release.

    Thanks again and major cool points for adding the QR scan codes.

    - Stay Powered by Windows

  • @ KR..

    Oh yes, most definitely! I love the alternatives. I just like to request the popular apps because it would just help WP out by having more name brand apps. I wouldn't even load most of the apps I request,,, its more "self preservation" Just doing my job.. Lol

    Hey now! That doesn't mean you guys can't take me seriously for now on. :•»

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    OK, I futzed with Photosynth for about 10 minutes just now and overall I like it.  Apparently my room looks largely the same because it was having problems telling the posters apart in my room, and thus stitching everything together a bit wrong in places.  But overall it works well.  I just started house shopping so this will make my life a lot anything else.

    I do wonder if a Gen 2 phone will handle some of this better (with the Gyroscope and all) since in a few places the camera just seemed to be confused what direction it was facing.

  • Just installed it. It actually works.. very well. I like it!

  • KR
    503 Posts


    There's this app in marketplace called modifies pictures just as well or maybe even better than instagram and you can also share your pictures with others online

  • @ABM: Done. I had meant to do this but just plain forgot. Thanks for the nudge.

    @tsrblke: Glad you've noticed! Thanks for the comment.

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts


    I'm glad to see you guys are cracking down on the Totally faker apps.  No longer do I type in CNN to see several apps falsely using the CNN logo (and charging no less!)  There are still a few bogus apps using the Fox News and CNN money logos, but they're down at the bottom.

    Of course it'd be nice to have an actual CNN app, but that'd be the problem of the guys in Atlanta.

    In any case, things are moving up, and I'm glad to be a part of the upward trajectory or WP7!

  • abm
    268 Posts

    @Michael, it would be great if you add the QR and Microsoft Tag in blog posts with new apps. It would be very convirnet for folks reading blog and save them from signin to marketplace in browser (esp when i m using public pc i dont wana login to marketplace account). The same style the skype guys have adapted lately (scroll down and see the both codes) 8-)

  • abm
    268 Posts

    Great app. And nice user experience too.. especially auto detection of last-taken photo :-)

    I am trying to build a utility app for graphics designers which takes the live feed and and detect the font in it. Also the color picker tool would be available so they can catch the color code in web standard, RGBA, CMYK etc.. from on the (zoomed) pointed region on cam

    Andriod has this in a native SDK whereas WP SDK doesnt even have any native or non-native offline OCR support! Only Bing vision apps are privy to the Class-A OCR support (like if you have offline language pack installed in bing translator app, it detects and translates the font on-the-fly from the live cam feed without the data connection!). So please ask Bing team to release such app and open their secret namespace to public with aux functions like font-face detection like Andriod does.

  • Incredible app, fun and functional, congratulations to the team behind it :)

  • I think I'm going to like this app! And the marketplace is definitely Rockin & Rollin! Lets keep it up.. Next up Instagram?

    Also, check out "Turbo Camera" With a 5 star rating this app takes machine gun fast pics. I was able to take 200 pictures in less than 30 seconds,, no joke! you can stitch the photos together, similar to Photosynth, make GIF animations, or just use it to never miss a shot. Trust me, it's cool! Try it here..

  • Great news!! can't wait to see what they can do with Photosynth & Windows Phone

  • Photosynth looks awesome!  Can't wait to play with it!