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Microsoft rejecting social apps in Japan

So we've had trouble in the U.S. and Europe surrounding submission approval for apps, as well as flaws in the system which allow spam and useless apps to flood the Marketplace. We now turn to Japan where a social bookmarking app, Hatena Viewer, has been rejected due to links within the app pointing to 2ch/Futaba (Japanese 4chan equivalent).

Hatena Viewer is a Hatena Bookmark client, which shares the same functionality as Digg. AppHub stated the rejection reason as the following:

"It appears the application contains several articles linking to 2chan."

They really don't like anything 2ch4chan, etc. related, and this is what bothers the Japanese developers. Due to this type of app publishing user generated content, the developers can't control what is linked to or submitted. Also, what's more interesting, Hatena Bookmark for iOS is available without age restrictions (link below).

As well as the Hatena Viewer app being rejected, a 2ch viewer app was also turned down due to the following reason, provided by the Windows Phone Policy Team:

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The Nokia Arch at Westfield, Stratford

WP Central

We recently covered Nokia launching their Arch promotion stand in the new Stratford Westfield shopping centre. We popped by today to take some photos using the Nokia Lumia 800, so feel free to gander at the three shots in this article. Not only do they display how serious Nokia is with promoting the platform, but also how decent the camera is too.

Check out two more shots after the break.

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There's a Pizza Hut App on the loose

Ordering pizza online has been around for a while but now you can order your favorite Pizza Hut pizza from your Windows Phone. The official (not sure if there was an unofficial) Pizza Hut app has been unleashed on to the Windows Phone Marketplace.

The Pizza Hut app features includes:

  • Access to Pizza Hut's full menu including specialty pizzas, Tuscani pasta, and WingStreet Wings (hungry now?)
  • Guest Checkout to allow you to order without creating an account
  • Credit Card options for check out

The app is laid out really nice. The Main Pages includes your menu options (signing in, starting an order, create account, etc.), a map page showing the Pizza Hut locations close to your current location, and Pizza Hut tweets. Ordering is simple as well. Find your location and you'll be sent to a Menu Hub that covers regular items as well as specials. From there, you build your order, pay and either wait for the delivery dude or go pick up your order.

Orders can only be placed during the operating hours of your local store and unfortunately, the ordering function is U.S. only (don't blame the messenger). Hopefully it will expand because this looks like a great, convenient way to order on the go.

The Pizza Hut app is free and you can download it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks goes out to 5tephen for the tip!

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According to the "...I'm a WP7!" app, the percentage of Windows Phone users who have updated to Mango has almost reached 50%. NoDo installations still account for 36% of the statistics. Germany has gained second place with the number of users on Mango at 57%.

Some data for you to wrap your head around should you be interested in the status of the Mango rollout.

Thanks Robert for the tip!

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Torchbear is a social networking styled game for your Windows Phone where you see how far you can pass a torch between other Torchbear members. A torch can be a thought, idea or image and collectively, Torchbear torches have traveled approximately 86,750 miles. Working off the success of the application and feedback from users, Torchbear has been updated to version 1.2.

New features include:

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Live in Switzerland? Want to order the Nokia Lumia 800? Then good news as Digitec.ch has it up for pre-order for CHF 599. The only bad news is it's not shipping till mid-January. However, all three colors--black, cyan, and magenta--are available for ordering at least. Other than than, not much else to say outside of get your order on!

Source: Digitec.ch; Thanks, Eric S., for the tip!

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Fuse news reader finally goes Mango with v1.3

For those of you using Fuse, the great looking news reader from Rudy Huyn, you'll want to check our v1.3 as it just went live in the Marketplace. The new update finally brings those much needed Mango features, joining our growing list. New additions include:

  • Fast app resume
  • Multiple live tiles (you can pin feeds or groups)
  • Background agent to update live tiles
  • A choice between 5 types of live tiles (seen below)

All in all it's performing great for us and looks to be a solid update to an already fantastic app. Pick it up here in the Marketplace for $1.29 with a free trial. And check our our early sneak peek video of Fuse in action.

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In a new article with Business Week, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop talks of US plans next year as well as Nokia strategy. While nothing concrete is stated, multiple US carriers were noted (and we know T-Mobile is one of those). In addition, it was revealed that Nokia has tripled normal marketing expenditures for the Lumia 710 and 800 when compared to previous launches by the Finnish company--both a sign of desperation but also perhaps confidence in the platform.

Also worthy of attention is the mention of them being picked up by 31 carriers in six European countries for the Lumia 800, with Russia and Asian markets by year end. A notable accomplishment for an initial launch. Finally, Elop dodges the question a bit about Windows 8 tablets but notes “There’s a new tablet opportunity coming...We see the opportunity...", possibly hinting at future plans (see their experimental flexible display for another hint).

One thing that can be noted about Nokia: they're the 800lb gorilla in the room and we're starting to see them make some movement.

Source: Bloomberg Business Week

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Although Qualcomm is sitting comfortably with Microsoft and Windows Phone, it looks like their monopoly on the OS has finally given in. Today, ST-Ericsson has announced a deal with Nokia to supply low-end chipsets for upcoming Windows Phones. The deal both confirms and contradicts and earlier report about Microsoft's plans, though it does reinforce earlier rumors of a Nokia-ST Ericsson alliance.

So far, Qualcomm's chipsets, while diverse and flexible in design, have only been used in "high end" phones. Microsoft and especially Nokia though have been keen on cracking the low end market found in developing/emerging countries and ST-Ericsson will reportedly help in that area. STMicro's shares were up 4% and Ericsson's was up by 2% as of the news. From ST-Ericsson:

"We are pleased to have been selected by Nokia as a key partner for Windows smartphones, in line with our goal to be present in all segments and major operating systems," said Gilles Delfassy, president and CEO of ST-Ericsson. "Our NovaThor platforms continue to gain traction as they enable customers to bring great smartphones to the market."

This is an early breaking story so we expect more details soon. The current Lumia devices (710 and 800) both use Qualcomm chipsets and that's expected to stay the same.

Source: Reuters; Finanz Nachrichten; Specs of the U8500 chipset after the break

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T-Mobile HTC Radar 4G for $49.99 on Wirefly

If you wanted the new HTC Radar 4G on T-Mobile (and it is a pretty sweet phone, we have one in our hands as we speak), you'll want to take a look at getting it through Wirefly. They have it for the low-low price of $49.99 for either new service, new line or your upgrade, should you have one waiting.

To put that price in perspective, T-Mobile-direct advertises the device as $99 with a new contract, but alas, it's actually $150 with a $50 mail-in-rebate. We say "boo" to those and would rather just pay $50 direct to Wirefly and call it a day.

We'll have a review up of the Radar 4G in a few days, but so far we're impressed with the device--solid build, beautiful screen and fast. Shame about that 8GB of storage though.

Source: Wirefly

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For those who missed the connected Kinectimals last week, which made a "teaser" appearance, you'll be happy to know it's back for your enjoyment. Priced at $2.99, the game has garnered mostly positive reviews with comparisons to Nintendogs but with the further bonus of having some iteration with your Xbox/Kinect setup.

As Paul wrote last week:

"Kinectimals is the portable version of Frontier Software and Microsoft’s feline-themed Kinect game. Players can choose one of five kitties or import an existing cat from the 360 version (which we haven’t tried just yet). Then it’s time to teach your kitty tricks by performing swiping motions, play catch, complete challenges, and buy lots of accessories. So far Kinectimals is a surprisingly faithful port of the retail Xbox 360 version, and it doesn’t even have the original’s obnoxious announcer, always a plus. The Achievements are also super easy. And last but not least, it’s Nodo compatible!"

You can grab the game right here in the Marketplace. Check our hands on vid with the game from Nokia World after the break...

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Duudle: Nokia-Windows Phone Hackathon winner

The very last event at Nokia World last week was the announcement of the winner for the Hackathon event. Basically 40 devs had 40 hours to write up and code an application on a Nokia phone (either Windows Phone, Qt or S40). Some were games and some were apps (even HalfBrick, the makers of Fruit Ninja were there), all were pretty awesome.

In this Channel 9 video, we see the winners Peter Lindgren, Lukas Gustavsson and Hendrik Pettersson from Visiarc who won with their killer game called Duudle. It's like AlphaJax but for Pictionary on Windows Phone--you get a word, you doodle it on the device and then it is sent to your opponent who has to guess the word by seeing the image re-drawn. The faster they "get" the word, the more points. Our opinion? This game will be huge. It has a great UI, the gameplay is totally unique and it has what you folks want, turn-based multiplayer action.

The team won 50,000 euros in prizes and cash, which ain't too shabby. Hopefully we'll be seeing Duudle in the Marketplace sometime soon, after they polish it up a bit. We can't wait.

Check the Channel 9 and Hackathon videos after the break...

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Brazil already launched the HTC Ultimate aka Titan, so why stop there? Looks like TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile) is slated to get the Samsung Omnia W to compliment the Ultimate in that country.

The news comes via WinPhoneBlog Brazil, who confirm that the device has passed Anatel (that country's version of the FCC) including pics of the battery, charger and even the full manual (PDF) for your perusal.  In case your forgot the specs of the Omnia W:

  • Super AMOLED screen of 3.7 "
  • 8 GB of storage
  • 512 of RAM
  • VGA Front Camera
  • Rear 5 MP camera with LED Flash and Autofocus
  • 1500 mAh battery
  • Dimensions of 115.6 x 58.8 x 10.9 mm
  • Weight 115 g
  • DNLA
  • WiFi HotSpot

In other words, a solid middle of the road phone, which seems like good marketing. No word on release or pricing, but it should only be a matter of time before we find out.

Source: WinPhoneBlog; Thanks, Fabio T., for the tip!

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TMoNews is reporting that the Nokia Lumia 710 is slated to be introduced to the T-Mobile line-up in January of 2012. The internal codename is being listed as "Sword" and the Windows Phone will be available in black and white colors. Makes sense as we first broke the news about the phone passing the FCC with T-Mo bands a few days ago.

No word if "Sword" will stick and we'll see the curtain raise on the T-Mobile Nokia Sword come this January.

We liked what we saw of the Lumia 710 at Nokia World. The 710 sports a 3.7" WVGA 800x480 TFT screen, 8GB of storage, 1.4ghz processor and a 5mp rear facing camera.

So... two questions for our T-Mobile customers. First, happy with the 710 or would you have rather seen the Lumia 800 hitting the shelves? Second, should T-Mobile stick with "Sword"?

via: TMoNews

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A couple of weeks ago, Puzzle Quest 2 became the first mobile Xbox Live title to go on sale two different times. Now Monopoly breaks new ground – or is that old? – as the first game to be an official Deal of the Week twice. It’s going on sale for $2.99 once again.

The Windows Phone version of the classic board game/capitalist propaganda tool Monopoly comes from Electronic Arts.  Our Monopoly review praises its faithfulness to the original board game and support of customizing the game rules. We would have liked to see online multiplayer, but it does at least support local multiplayer. The Deal of the Week price should make offline-only Monopoly a lot more palatable. The game was also updated to support Mango Fast App Switching recently, but NoDo owners can still buy it too.

Monopoly goes on sale Wednesday, November 2 for one week only. It will cost $2.99 (the price it always should have been), and there is a free trial. Grab it here on the Marketplace. And don't forget, Kinectimals officially comes out tomorrow too.

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View the status of car parks with Parking Pal UK

Introducing Parking Pal UK, a unique Windows Phone app, which enables users to search through 14,000 car parks in the UK for spaces, pricing and other features. The app is constantly updated with more car parks being added and existing entires being updated annually. It's guaranteed to improve the life of any driver who frequently parks up.  

Unfortunately, the app does not support on-street parking. Some features include:

  • Car parking information is obtained from the most comprehensive database of car parks in the UK, with over 90 % of car park information updated annually (no on-street parking)
  • Rapid car park location and price information.
  • Choice of using Bing or Google maps.
  • Searches can be filtered to narrow down leads. For example, by toilet availability or locations holding safer parking awards.
  • In-built 'reminder' function- to record where you are parked and note parking ticket expiry time.
  • Live tile with currently parked space information, and ticket expiry time.
  • Ticket expiry reminder alarm.

It's a neat little app with an intuitive user interface and integrated map. Future versions will introduce real-time space information. You can download Parking Pal UK from the Marketplace for £2.29 (trial provides 4 free app uses) and a demo after the break. 

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Microsoft is really starting to make true on the promises of connectivity between Xbox 360 and Windows Phone titles. This week’s Xbox Live release, Kinectimals allows gamers to transfer their personalized kitties to the console version and vice-versa. Next week we’re getting another ‘connected’ title in the form of Fusion: Sentient from developer Wahoo Studios (aka NinjaBee) and Microsoft Studios.

Fusion: Sentient is the portable companion to Xbox 360 title Fusion: Genesis (developed by Starfire Studios). Both titles release on the same day, but unlike Full House Poker, the Fusion games are much more distinct from each other. Sentient is a third-person strategy game. Visually, it closely resembles The Harvest but the gameplay is closer to BioWare RPGs like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic thanks to the turn-based nature of the combat.

Head past the break for more details on connectivity between Fusion: Sentient and Fusion: Genesis, screenshots, a trailer, and a free MP3 soundtrack.

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For business-people and travellers that are on the go, nothing says "Buy this smartphone" like 6 huge screens showing off major features of the latest ultra-portable computing device (a.k.a. a smartphone) from Nokia. The Handheld Blog has taken a nice video of the Nokia Lumia 800 ad while it was running near Departures at Terminal 5 of the Heathrow Airport in London, England.

It's done in a similar style to other ads and demo videos that we've seen pop up around the web, and focuses on the features that travellers would be most interested in; voice-guided car navigation, easy to use camera, managing office documents on-the-go. fast internet browsing, and of course the ability to connect with your friends no matter where you are through social networks. The ad is beautiful, fairly descriptive and will likely draw a lot of eyes - a great thing in a world filled with advertisements already.

With only two weeks left before the handset is made available, we'll likely see more than just a few airport ads released. If they are as eye-catching as this one, you won't hear many complaints from us. Check the video above to see the 1-minute long ad, and let us know if you've seen other ads around the country in the comments below.

Source: The Handheld Blog; Thanks, Mo for the tip!

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The Windows Phone Marketplace has undergone its fair share of renovations here lately.  One new feature that might come in handy if you're looking for new, trending and staff recommended apps is the Marketplace Extra.

Marketplace Extra highlights eight categories of apps, focusing on about a dozen recommended apps from each.  You also have video demos, news items on Windows Phone apps and feature articles from The Windows Team Blog.  Marketplace Extra is a good source, along with WPCentral, to find those pin-worthy apps.

Thanks goes out to TheWeeBear for the tip!

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We sure do love Twitter apps and even though Mango goes a long way for most people, there are those who still want a dedicated client with more features on board.

TweeterLight isn't exactly new, heck it just hit v1.4, but it's one we missed when it came out. Turns out it's a pretty solid client. As you can tell by its name, it is meant to be light and fast, so if you're looking for a Swiss Army knife of functions, this isn't for you. Then again, it does have a nice feature set and the speed make up for it for many of us.

It does support Read It Later, uploading of pics, geolocaton, contact look up (using a list picker) and trends. Plus with v1.4, it is now Mango ready. It also highlights new, unread Tweets, making management a bit easier.

Overall we dig TweeterLight a lot--it's fast, supports full landscape mode and has a nice UI. Sure a Live Tile wouldn't hurt but for $0.99 with a free trial, it is certainly worthy of consideration if speed is your concern.

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Something that we seemed to have missed at Nokia World (even our one-to-one walkthrough of the extra software never covered this) is the Contacts Transfer app, available to Nokia Lumia owners. The app will allow users to pair their existing Symbian handset to the Windows Phone and transfer contacts across via Bluetooth. These contacts will then be synchronised with the Live ID associated with the phone.

The functionality appears to be limited to contact data and will only work one-way. Once the app has been launched, it will search for local Bluetooth devices, and once the correct device is selected a pairing request will be sent to the Symbian handset. Couldn't be simpler to upgrade to Windows Phone.

Source: AllAboutsymbian

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WPCentral Podcast 128


And we're back after a week in London for Nokia World. We recap the event, discuss the pros and cons of the new Nokia phones, talk about why Kik Messenger is better than WhatsApp and Jay does his best to make ghost noises.

Listen in now! Show notes after the break...

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Klout Perk giveaway was for a Samsung Focus

The other day we posted about Klout, the online rating system for individuals, and how they were giving away five-hundred Windows Phones as part of a promotion. The first 100 were for folks who resided in New York City, had a Klout score of 55 or higher (which is pretty high) and were leading in the topic of Technology.

Obviously the idea is to get a Windows Phone in the hands of technology "influencers", those that command a large following on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and other social networks. They get a phone, perhaps they'll talk about it and bam, you generate buzz. A not too dissimilar approach to getting it into celeb hands, like what Brandon Watson was doing awhile back.

Anyways, the first phones shipped and what everyone was wondering is which device would folks get? Basically Gen 1 or brand-spanking Gen 2 Windows Phones? Turns out, it was Gen 1 and specifically the Samsung Focus, which seems to be Microsoft's work-horse phone for media and contests (not a bad choice). But hey, if you feel bad about not qualifying, perhaps this will lessen the sting a bit. Look for the other 400 to be given out for other cities soon.

Video unboxing after the break. Thanks, Mark G., for the link!

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We've been in touch with Three UK after they announced stocking the Nokia Lumia 800. While the 16th has been announced as the date when the handset will be made available, it's interesting to note that (on Three UK at least) the carrier is only stocking the Cyan and Black colours of the 800 and the dates of availability seem to differ between the choice of colour: 

  • Black Nokia 800 - 16th November
  • Cyan Nokia 800 - 28th November

Quite a large gap, we must say. Have you ordered the Nokia 800 and noticed a delivery delay elsewhere?

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31 Days of Mango [Developers]

For the devs out there who are interested in picking up some new tips or tricks, you'll want to check out Jeff Blankenburg's new project "31 Days of Mango" where he'll be ..."publishing a detailed tutorial on Windows Phone development each day this month, specifically focusing on the new additions that were introduced with the Mango update."

Sounds like a great crash course for those both new and experienced, so you'll want to bookmark and check back every day.

Source: Blankenblog; via @BrandonWatson

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