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Chevron WP7

Back in January we reported that ChevronWP7 Labs, the officially-sanctioned "jailbreak" service for Windows Phone "homebrew", was coming to a halt. At the time, the reasons cited mostly revolved around the difficulties some users experienced in installing it and the following tech-support needed to help them out. The project was put on indefinite hiatus with more tokens possibly being bought in the future.

However, today it's official: the experiment is over.

Within 120 days, those who unlocked their phones via the ChevronWP7 Labs service will have their phones re-locked. The good news is all users who bought a token are eligible for a one-year Microsoft App Hub membership, a $99 value and allowing them to stay unlocked for 12 more months.

The jailbreak service is being permanently shut down for a few reasons, including those cited above but also because many of those who did unlock their phones so that they could "sideload" apps for experimentation, never moved on to actually publishing any apps to the Windows Phone Marketplace. That was one of the goals of the project -- to reduce the $99 barrier for devs who might not be able to afford the App Hub membership.

While ChevronWP7 Labs is gone, the ChevronWP7 team made up of Rafael Rivera, Long Zheng and Chris Walsh will continue tinkering around:

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Lumia 900 to be available at Clove UK on May 16th

WP Central

We've had the pricing details revealed by Clove UK for the Lumia 900, and now we've got the expected date of availability. Be sure to scribble in May 16th should you be looking forward to getting your hands on the handset that's currently making way in the U.S. Also, if you haven't already, check out our in-depth review of the Lumia 900 (AT&T version).

The date is slightly later than what Mobile Fun reported on, but we now have firm dates for when it's finally hitting the shores. Both the Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U have pre-order and interest registration pages up, but if you'd rather take one unlocked Clove has your back with a price of £460.80 (including VAT). This is a slight reduction of their earlier pricing of £528.

Source: CloveUK (Lumia 900); thanks @Jubbing for the heads up!

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Windows Phone Basics: The Pictures Hub

WPCentral's Guide to the Windows Phone Pictures Hub

Pictures Hub on Windows Phone

With the release of the Nokia Lumia series (710, 800, 900) and the HTC Titan II Windows Phones, we are seeing new Windows Phone users picking up the new phones.  We've touched on must have games and must have apps for your Windows Phone.  We've also touch on some of the best free apps for your Windows Phones.  Now we'll turn our attention more in-house to take a look at the various Hubs on your Windows Phone.  First up, the Pictures Hub.

The Pictures Hub on your Windows Phone is the repository for your photographic albums, a central hub where you can share your photos and where you can back images up to your Skydrive account.  The Pictures Hub is where you go to manage the moments you capture on video and photos.  After the break we have a walk-through of the Pictures Hub for those new to Windows Phone and a refresher for those more familiar with things.

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Official 7digital app released for Windows Phone

WP Central

The 7digital team have released an official app for Windows Phone which joins the iPhone, Blackberry and Android. The 7digital app allows users to log into their account and synchronise purchased media to their device. The massive online store is integrated so purchases can be made while on the go enabling the discovery, purchasing and enjoyment of music when not at the PC.

With reportedly over 18 million songs for users to choose from, 7digital is a solid alternative to iTunes, Zune or other music store. Available worldwide and localised for Europe (including UK, Germany, France, Spain Italy, Ireland) and North America, users are able to enjoy offline playback from their purchase library.

WP Central

As one can see from the screenshots, it's an extremely good looking client. The team have also taken advantage of live tiles in Windows Phone allowing artists, tracks and albums to be pinned to the home screen for convenient access.

You can download 7digital from the Marketplace for free. Thanks Bill for the tip!

WP Central

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Lumia Highlights

Although we take it for granted sometimes that everyone who buys a Lumia device (610, 710, 800 or 900) either knows Windows Phone or can figure things out, that is far from the case.

In turn, Nokia today has released a new app called Lumia Highlights and it's there to lend a helping hand to those who want to discover cool new things about their Lumia as well as the Windows Phone OS. The app features useful tips, tutorials, latest news on great apps and of course they hook you with the great accessories. 

While by no means revolutionary, the app is nicely laid out and should give new and old users alike something to poke around to discover new things, so we like it.

Pick up Lumia Highlights here on your Nokia Lumia phone.

via: Plaffo

QR: Lumia Highlights

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WP Central

The team behind Carbon for Windows Phone, the popular Twitter client which was born on webOS, has just released version 1.3 and the update has gone live on the Marketplace. This latest version is quite the update for those who were seeking landscape tweet composition, something our own Daniel Rubino also requested.

As well as the above feature, and numerous bug fixes and enhancements, the following is included in v1.3:

  • Timeline Filters/Mute for Users, Hashtags, and Services such as Foursquare, Getglue, etc…
  • Further Timeline scrolling & general performance enhancements
  • Read Later Enhancements: tap+hold on URLs in Tweet screen to save for reading later
  • Mark all Messages as Read by tap+hold on “.messages” pivot.
  • Saving to Instapaper & Read It Later now adds tweet details to saved URLs
  • Detect Images from URLs ending with .jpg .png .gif
  • Enhanced error handling with error messages along with option to Report Errors back to us
  • Added retweets to Lists timeline
  • Support for Japanese & Korean typefaces

You can download Carbon from the Marketplace for $1.99 with a free trial available.

Source: CarbonWP; thanks HD7guy for the tip!

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Magenta Nokia Lumia 900 pictured for AT&T

Magenta 900

We posted a little while ago that there may be a Magenta Lumia 900 for AT&T in the works, specifically a tie-in with Mother's Day which falls on Sunday, May 13th. Sunday's are also AT&T release days.

In a Microsoft store, one of our readers Clyde V. noticed this Lumia 900 emblazoned with the AT&T logo displayed on one of the demo screens advertising the new Nokia phone. Now at first we were cautious as tossing on one of Nokia's skin tight Magenta cases can also cause any 900 to look like that bold red color. But upon closer inspection this really does not seem to sporting a case (we'll let you decide though).

We know the Lumia 800 came in white and a glossy white 900 followed soon thereafter (coming to AT&T on April 22nd). And we know the Lumia 800 comes in Magenta, so a red-pink Lumia 900 seems hardly a stretch for them. Anyone waiting to see what happens?

Thanks, Anon, for the image!

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WPCentral 140: Nokia Lumia 900 vs HTC Titan II

WPCentral Podcast

Jay Bennett and Daniel Rubino are joined by George Ponder this week to hash out those two big Windows Phone releases, the HTC Titan II and the Nokia Lumia 900 both on AT&T.  Tune into our discussion of the pros and cons plus other Windows Phone news happening this week.

Full show notes after the break and HD Video as well...

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WP Central

We reported a few days ago that Microsoft was experiencing a unique problem: the Windows Phone Marketplace has grown so much, so fast that their servers and backend getting hammered, resulting in app-publishing slowdowns. Everything from submissions, to certifications to the App Hub itself was getting slower.

Today, Microsoft's Todd Brix addressed the problem in a blog post noting that they have an immediate method for addressing these problems and a more long term one. The addition of all those new markets over the last few months has taken its toll on the App Hub experience, more than they had anticipated. As a result they will be re-working their backend, which will take some time:

"We’re already in the process of developing a more robust and scalable Marketplace service that will address current problems and pave the way for the even more rapid growth we’re expecting in the years ahead. But engineering work this significant doesn’t happen overnight. Our plan is to have it complete by late summer."

For the short term, they already have started to work on these two areas:

  • Adding more server capacity to better handle the increased load.
  • Streamlining our processes to accelerate the rate at which apps can be ingested, certified, and published.

As a result, developers are now seeing shorter turnarounds from their submission to publication dates, which is a good thing. However, the more substantial changes won't be felt until later this summer.

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WP Central

The Swedish radio station Mix Megapol has released an official Windows Phone app on the Marketplace. The app enables users to listen to programmes that may have been missed, as well as stream live radio of course. The ability to read up on latest news and updates, as well as sporting an appealing UI makes Mix Megapol a must-have for any station fan.

You can download Mix Megapol from the Marketplace for free.

Via: WinGadget.se; thanks Peter for the heads up!

WP Central

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WP Central

Good news for those with Lumia 900s on Canadian carrier Rogers as an employee has confirmed that affected customers will see $100 credit on their bill, much like what AT&T is currently offering. The Lumia 900 has been troubled with a "memory management issue was discovered that could, in some cases, lead to loss of data connectivity", which has affected a number of owners.

AT&T and Nokia are allowing customers to exchange their affected 900 for a new one with the upcoming firmware update already installed, or you can sit tight for April 16th when the update is expected to be pushed out. There's certainly a win-win here with purchasing a Lumia 900 before April 21st, as you'll have a high-end LTE Windows Phone as well as $100 credit. So, really you're being paid to own one.

Those who are on Rogers, you have the exact same deal. You'll be given $100 credit on your bill should you purchase a Lumia 900 before April 21st, and if you're already affected you can either exchange your device for a new one with the firmware installed or sit it out until Monday when the update will hit Zune / Mac Connector.

Source: CBC NewsMalik Meghani, via: WMPU

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Nokia Lumia 900 owners, how's your battery life?

Nokia Lumia 900 battery issues?

There's a discussion going on in the WPCentral Discussions Forums about the Nokia Lumia 900's battery life. It appears that some Lumia 900 owners aren't experiencing the greatest of battery life from their new Windows Phone.

Tweetwp7 reports that their HTC Titan's battery would be around the 60% level at the end of the day while the Lumia 900 is at 45%. Red Grenadine, on the other hand, reports fantastic battery life.

Personally, I had stellar battery life on my Lumia 900 for the first five days and that's with heavy use trying to compare the Lumia 900 with the HTC Titan II. Then the other day the connectivity issues struck and my battery life dropped like a rock. I'm seeing about 40% left after eight hours of use where the Titan II is in the 55-60% range.  In the time it took to write this article (about twenty minutes) I saw the Lumia 900's battery drop 3%.

In checking out the battery performance using Nokia's Diagnostic Tools (you can install them by dialing ##634#) my battery discharge rate ranges from 100mA to 500mA while the Lumia 900 is sitting idle (no wifi, BT, no live tiles, no apps running in the background, etc). Now I'm no electrical engineer but that doesn't seem right.

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Nokia Lumia 900 sales still going strong

Nokia Lumia 900 hard to find?

The other day we made note that the AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 was selling strong based on the rankings over at Amazon.com. Today, it appears the strong sales numbers are based on the availability or un-availability of the Lumia 900 in AT&T's retail stores.

We've received several tips that the cyan Lumia 900 is completely sold out at various AT&T Retail Stores. WPCentral.com reader MaulerX reports that you can't find a cyan Lumia 900 at any of the AT&T Retail Stores in New York City.  Even Wichita, Kansas stores are sold out (thanks Seth!) of all Lumia 900 models.

Even Paul Roth, AT&T's President of Retail Sales and Service, in a WSJ.com interview recognized the sales of the Lumia 900 has exceeded AT&T's expectations and that some AT&T stores had sold out of the Windows Phone, particularly the cyan model.

And it's not only the devices that appear to be selling well. Nokia accessories are becoming harder to find. For example, the cyan case for the Lumia 900 is listed as "Out of Stock" over at AT&T's website.  Sounds like blue is the color of choice for a lot of Windows Phone users.

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WP Central

We broke the news the other night that Verizon Wireless was set to roll out the latest (or nearly the latest) Windows Phone OS update, version 8107, to HTC Trophy users on its network. That update not only fixes security issues but addresses the disappearing keyboard bug that has driven many mad for the last few months.

We've now received a flood of tips that the update is currently live and if you plug in your Trophy to Zune Desktop you'll be greeted with an update notification. Actually, you'll eventually have three updates to install as it's cumulative:

  • OS 7740
  • OS 8107
  • HTC Firmware

So sit tight as the backup process will vary from device device and will depend on how much "stuff" you have on your phone. Let us know in comments if all has gone well.

Thanks to all who tipped us! Thanks, Vance, for the image.

Trophy update

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Smoked by Windows Phone marketing campaign hits Malaysia

WP Central

The Smoked by Windows Phone marketing challenge has gone global since Ben ("the PC guy") Rudolph first started the campaign back at CES 2012. Now the Windows Phone team in Malaysia has taken to the streets to challenge the public who own competitor handsets and see if they can beat Microsoft's platform. 

Should the contestant manage to best Windows Phone, they'll walk away with RM100, and should they lose a card is at hand reading "My phone just got smoked by Windows Phone". Check out the following video of the Malaysian challenge in action.

To find out where the team will be to challenge them on April 14th and 15th, head on over to the Windows Phone Malaysia Facebook page. We'll also be the first to state that we want one of those polo shirts.

Source: Discovr, Youtube; thanks Jason for the heads up!

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Beem is bringing streaming radio to your Windows Phone

Beem available for Windows Phone

Beem is a Digitally Imported client that allows you to stream various EDM radio stations to your Windows Phone. In a nutshell, Beem is a music app that allows you to stream and enjoy various electronic dance music stations from your Windows Phone.

Beem takes advantage of the Windows Phone panoramic layout with pages to display the available stations and your favorite channels. Beem currently streams about forty different dance music stations ranging from Chiptunes (videogame music) to Hardstyle (head banging tunes).

Beem for Windows Phone

Tap and hold an individual station and a pop up menu will appear with options to pin the station to your Start Screen or add the station to the Favorites Page.  The music may not appeal to everyone but some of the stations aren't too shabby.  If you like music options for your Windows Phone, Beem is worth looking into.

Beem is a free app and you can grab it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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Fail Whale

If you're just picking up a new Windows Phone, re-installing your favorite Twitter app or trying out a new one today (and for the next few days), you may have some problems logging in.

As happens from time to time, Twitter has changed their OAuth decompression method sometime last night and numerous 3rd party Twitter clients are affected. We're told by Scott Peterson, developer of the Twitter app glƏƏk! that it affects "...any Silverlight Mobile Windows Phone client that uses the non-PIN authentication, and doesn’t not expect a GZip response"

As a result, those devs will need to quickly make a slight change in their apps and re-submit to the Marketplace. That means for at least the next 3-5 days there will be issues creating initial accounts (if you already have Twitter setup, the apps will continue to work just fine).

Peterson also believes that Twitter could change the OAuth for PIN-based/Silverlight mobile clients as well in the next few days, which makes sense. glƏƏk! has been updated and submitted but it won't be available until early next week in the Marketplace.

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WP Central

T-Mobile UK are rolling out the Lumia 800 12070 firmware update, according to customers who have received the notification. We received a few comments on our article covering the Three UK roll out last week that T-Mobile still haven't kick-started the process.

As mentioned before, depending on carriers who chose to release it, the 12070 firmware update will be rolled out to new countries on April 4th, 11th, and 18th until the update has been pushed out to every Lumia 800.

The firmware 12070 "battery fix" update will significantly improve available use between charges by optimisation to bring down the discharge rate. We noticed after updating a drop from 200mAh to <100mAh

Let us know in the comments should you also be receiving the update.

Thanks Scott for the tip!

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The cost of building a Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900 costs $217 to build

Ever wonder how much it cost to build a Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone? According to IHS iSuppli Research, the Lumia 900's bill of materials totals $209. This includes the cost of the memory ($27), touchscreen ($58), processor ($17), cameras ($18), and box contents ($5.50).  The screen is the top dollar item due to the ClearBlack technology and Gorilla Glass.

Lumia 900 parts cost

Toss in the $8 manufacturing cost and the cost to produce the Lumia 900 moves up to $217. Retail pricing is at $449.99 (without contractual discounts) giving Nokia $232.99 in profit to help cover salaries, research and development, licensing, marketing and other expenses. In comparison, the iPhone 4S has a materials cost of $188 and a retail price of $650. The Samsung SII Android Phone costs $235.50 in materials and is sold for $549.99.

Nokia has done a good job partnering with Microsoft and Qualcomm to keep the costs down while passing on the savings to its customers.

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Win free appvertising

Microsoft and Nokia are looking for new Windows Phone 7.5 apps to showcase in their next UK advertising campaign.  They have kicked off a new competition in which developers can submit their apps for consideration, and if chosen, get them displayed across the UK.  Those selected will appear in banner ads, the Windows Phone Marketplace, press materials, events and social media outlets.

MS and Nokia are looking for "innovative" apps geared toward UK consumers in the following categories: casual games, kids, family, health and fitness, shopping, social, travel, and utilities.  For the time being, there are two monthly campaigns for May and June.  Submissions for the May run should be submitted no later than April 20, while entries for the June competition will be accepted until May 15.  If you have a newly-developed Windows Phone 7.5 app that you want to show off, simply go the competition website and click on "Tell Us Today."

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Best free apps for Windows Phones

WPCentral's list of the best free apps for Windows Phone

Free Apps for your Windows Phone

We've taken a look at must have games and must have apps for your Windows Phone, now we turn our sights on the best free apps that might interest every Windows Phone owner. Everyone likes free stuff, right?

The Windows Phone Marketplace is full of free apps and games. Some good, some bad. Some with ads, some without.  We've compiled a short list of free Windows Phone games and apps the we found interesting and thought you would too.

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eBay

For those of you who use the excellent eBay app for Windows Phone, you'll want to get the latest update found now in the Marketplace. The past versions did an excellent job of allowing you to browse for new items to bid on, search for gifts, pin found items to your Start screen as a tile and even push notifications. But it lacked one big feature: the ability to create new auction listings right from your phone.

=Listings

Now with version 1.17, you can start a new listing, take a photo with your phone for submission, edit the description, choose payment method, pick shipping options and more. This ability has been found on eBay's apps for iOS and Android for sometime now, so it's excellent to see it finally come to Windows Phone. We're sure many of you will be using this tool on a regular basis (especially if you have a Titan II, ahem).

Pick up the official eBay app here in the Marketplace for free. Thanks, Tal F., for the heads up!

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Titan II

Earlier today, we compared and contrasted the Nokia Lumia 900 and the HTC Titan II on AT&T and each featuring 4G LTE.  Both phones have their strengths and weaknesses but if there is one thing we can absolutely agree on is the impressive rear camera on the Titan II (review).

Featuring a back-side illuminated (BSI) sensor for excellent low-light performance, 16MP for high resolution, f/2.6 lens with dual LED flash, the Titan II has arguably one of the best cameras on a phone today (well, definitely on a Windows Phone). In fact, HTC in general has been investing heavily in cameras as of late, including their new flag ship Android phone, the One X (review), which has an 8MP BSI sensor with a jaw-dropping f/2.0 22mm lens.

There's no debate about it: the Titan II's rear camera crushes the Lumia 900's (review) That doesn't make the Lumia 900 a bad phone at all, in fact we find that the camera performs quite well in well-lit conditions and we're throwing down $450 on April 22nd for a glossy-white one to back up our opinion. But if photos matter to you, then the Titan II deserves a serious look. And if you have 4G LTE in your area to send those massive pics, it will certainly helps for those uploads.

Besides the exceptional camera hardware, HTC have done some really great work with the Titan II's camera software too. For instance, it's the first Windows Phone that we know of that has smile detection in addition to face detection. There's also an impressive red-eye reduction built in, burst mode for rapid shots and the familiar anti-shake option (ramps up ISO for non-blurred shots).

settings

Those are very impressive and useful features but there's more. There's also 18 "scenes" including more obscure things like "Backlight portrait", "Night portrait", "Text", "Beach", "Foliage' and even a special setting for "Food". Yup, there's a pre-set mode for taking pictures of your latest meal. If you don't want to bother choosing your scene, just use the "Intelligent Auto" mode to automatically choose one for you (and yes, it's smart too). You even have some built in effects like "Vintage warm", "Vignette" and "Blue Tint" which can also be used for video. That's on top of what's built into the optional Photo Enhancer app by HTC.

But enough talk, lets see some photos. We walked around the streets of Manhattan snapping a couple of pics as well as some macro and regular shots for you to peruse and yes, we're linking to the full resolution pics for your pixel peepers out there. These photos have not been altered in any way except to remove some EXIF info like GPS from our home pictures. The dual LED flash was not used for any pictures.

Jump past the break to take a look...

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WP Central

Netflix, the popular movie streaming service, has updated their Windows Phone app to version 2.0. Using the app subscribers will be able to stream movies and TV programmes to the big screen and now their Windows Phone while on the go.

In this update UK and Ireland, as well as 47 countries in Latin America, are now supported, which is a huge plus for those who patiently awaited access on their handsets. Quick run through of what's new:

  • Support for additional international locations – UK & IRE, 47 countries in Latin America
  • New localised UI for all international locations
  • Support for subtitles, closed caption and alternate audio
  • Performance improvements and optimisations for a better browsing and viewing experience

You can download Netflix from the Marketplace for free (requires a subscription to use the service).

Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this.

QR: Netflix

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Last year WPCentral asked our readers what mobile games they’d most like to see ported to Windows Phone. One highly-requested game was Cut the Rope from Chillingo. Well, we’re getting one step closer to seeing that happen. WPCentral is pleased to announce that Chillingo has officially begun to support Windows Phone. Their first game: Feed Me Oil, from developer Holy Water Games.

Feed Me Oil is a physics puzzle game that closely resembles Enigmo. The player’s job is to get a bunch of dropping oil into the mouths of gigantic creatures. You’ll use a variety of gadgets to do so, pushing, pulling, and otherwise directing the flow of oil. While the gameplay may be somewhat familiar to puzzle fans, Feed Me Oil’s creative art design is far more appealing than Enigmo’s sterile setting.

Feed Me Oil

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