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Beards & Beaks is one of WPCentral’s favorite games to talk about – it’s got a couple of affordable paid DLC levels, it’s been updated for Mango, and our own Rich Edmonds has long-wished to grow a gnome-like beard. It’s also the Xbox Live Deal of the Week this week, on sale for the low price of $1.99.

Beards & Beaks is a casual real-time strategy game in which players control an army of gnomes by flicking the guys around the screen. With lots of different types of levels, gnomes, and enemy crows, the gameplay is surprisingly diverse. Plus it has easy Achievements, which some folks like even better than ice cream. Since I’ve already earned them all, I think I’ll go get some ice cream now. Oh, but if you want to know more about the game, check out our full review and our interview with the game’s producer.

The Beards & Beaks sale starts this Wednesday and lasts for one week only. Get the game here on the Marketplace.

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Nokia Lumia 710 and 800 to be revealed tomorrow

Our good friends over at WinRumors have received some juicy, exclusive captures from a reader of the Nokia Lumia 710 (Sabre) and 800 (SeaRay). We're expecting these two devices to be announced tomorrow at Nokia World, and we're excited to see how the devices feel in the hand. The 800 is obviously taking the look from the N9, which is by no means a flaw. 

We're going to be amidst the action tomorrow so stay tuned for video coverage of hands on and more details. Check out the Lumia 710 below, it's great to see Nokia pumping out alternative designs and we'll have yet another white Windows Phone to choose from, but there's no SD card slot available for additional storage.

Source: WinRumors

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Nokia 900 specs leaked?

The Nokia Blog has posted the specs of the Nokia 900, one of the new handsets expected to be unveiled tomorrow at Nokia World in London.  The 900, looks to be the "Nokia Ace," sporting the same size screen and specs that were previously reported:

  • Windows Phone 7.5
  • 1.4GHz processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16 or 32 GB inbuilt memory
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 1800 mAh battery

It's interesting to see that both 16GB and 32GB models seem to be available, offering hi performance at a couple of different price points.  In addition to what's on the leaked spec sheet, we also heard that the 900 has an 8MP auto focus camera with Carl Zeiss optics and HSPA+ support for AT&T/T-Mobile.  The "Ace" will be the flagship phone of Nokia's new fleet, and with specs like this, it's no wonder.

UPDATE: There have been some questions raised as to whether this is a fake, based on Project #3 here.  Having compared the pics on that site with the one from the pamphlet above, and the one below that we left out of the original article, it just might be.  And of course, this is always one of the risks with reporting "leaks."  What say you, real or fake?

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Sprint hits in hurdle AT&T/T-Mo merger lawsuit

Sprint has hit a snag in their civil suit to prevent the merger of rivals AT&T and T-Mobile on the grounds that such a deal would kill competition, stifle innovation and result in higher prices for consumers .  A US District judge has denied Sprint's request to obtain internal AT&T documents, which are a vital part of the discovery phase of the lawsuit.  While Judge Ellen Huvelle stopped short of AT&T's request of dismissing the case, it dealt a huge blow to Sprint's hopes of suing the merger away. 

Explaining the decision, Huvelle said that Sprint does not "stand in the shoes of the consumer or the Department of Justice," and therefore, access to internal documents would not be "efficient or fair."  The Department of Justice is also suing to prevent the merger and may stand a better chance of obtaining the information that Sprint is after.  Judge Huvelle is presiding over both cases and still has yet to make a decision on whether or not to dismiss them all together.

Source: Reuters; Via: Electronista

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According to a report over at AdAge, Nokia is set to skip the U.S. and focus solely on Europe for the 2011 holiday season. We expect to see what the manufacturer has to offer consumers tomorrow with the unveiling of the Nokia 800 (Sea Ray), among possible other handsets. The above chart shows the amount of advertising investment manufacturers have made in the U.S.

We covered Nokia's plans a while ago where targeting Europe for 2011, early 2012, with their first handset is top priority. We suspect the U.S. will come soon after when volume rolls out with Russia being covered too. This is a logical plan of action with Windows Phone being the last life line for the manufacturer. Time to get the device and marketing perfect for one audience before targeting another.

Source: AdAge, via: DailyTech  Thanks goes out to Lesley for the tip!

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More photos of the Nokia 800

The Nokia 800 (codename SeaRay) has been in the news recently with press shots being released, secret teaser advertising on TV, and being listed elsewhere. We're expecting to see this handset be officially announced at Nokia World tomorrow, and we'll be at the forefront of the action so be sure to tune in to WPCentral for the latest gossip/news.

With the secret advertising witnessed on some channels, we can see that Nokia is going to have a field time promoting this phone with the £80 million they're set to spend in the UK alone. The N9 is a beautiful design so it's going to shine with Windows Phone installed.

Source: The Next Web, via: LiveSide

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We've just had reports that Kik Messenger for Windows Phone has been updated to version 2.0 and is now Mango certified. Bringing fast resume, integration with the contacts list and a noticeable speed improvement. Noticed anything else?

You can download Kik from the Marketplace.

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We made mention of the Windows Phone night parties some time ago. In a nutshell, these parties are meet and greet type events to introduce the second generation Windows Phones. The downside to these events is that they only involved a handful of U.S. cities.

Enter the Windows Phone Inner Circle.

The Inner Circle events add 15 more U.S. cities for a casual encounter with the new Windows Phones.  An event to let you "get into the loop before the loop even starts". Prizes, a chance to win a new Windows Phone, appetizers and cocktails are all on the agenda for the Inner Circle gatherings.

The Inner Circle tour begins on October 28, 2011 in Los Angeles and ends on November 21, 2011 in Seattle. The city list appears to be spread out fairly decent (still no Birmingham on the list!) giving more Windows Phone fans a chance to spend some hands on time with these new phone.

Registration is required and you can find the full list of the dates and locations for the Windows Phone Inner Circle events over here at the Inner Circle web page.

via: WindowsTeamBlog

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Content Shield - Mango App Spotlight

We shared a preview of the Windows Phone Mango app Content Shield the earlier this month and now the utility app is available over at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Content Shield is a multi-purpose utility for your Windows Phone that covers four areas.  Each of which can be password protected within the Settings Menu.

Passwords: Here you can store all your passwords and generate new ones. Live tile support will show the last time your passwords were accessed.

Task manager: Content Shield has a task manager/to-do list generator. Live tile support will show the number of incomplete tasks.

Jokes: What's a utility without a sense of humor? Here you can store your own jokes or download them from a Twitter feed. The feed is updated daily and if you're feeling giddy, you can submit your joke to be included in the feed. There is no live tile support for the Jokes section.

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TMobile has announced plans to release their 4G HTC Radar for $99 on contract on November 2nd. The handset comes with free shipping and packs some impressive specifications. If that isn't enough, it will pack HTC Watch and T-Mobile TV for TV and movies on the go. For a quick reminder of the insides:

  • 1Ghz processor
  • 8GB storage
  • 5MP camera with F2.2 lens (FF camera)
  • Windows Phone Mango

Source: TMobile Shop, via: @TMobile

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Develop apps with native Mango code [Homebrew]

Heathcliff74, a member over at the XDA Developers forum, has published an in-depth tutorial for developers who may wish to improve homebrew apps using native Mango code. It's a step-by-step guide that will enable homebrew apps take full advantage of native Mango code and APIs.

While this tutorial has been available since October 11th, it's worth mentioning after the release of the homebrew screen capture utility. Note that this isn't a tutorial for building homebrew executables, but how to utilise native code DLLs from within the Silverlight app.

Source: XDA Developers forum, via: Windows Phone Daily

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HTC Ultimate gets a Brazilian full-page ad

Now that the HTC Ultimate is available in Brazil, people need to know about it.  That's where this full-page ad in Brazil's Veja magazine comes in.  Veja is a weekly publication that tackles culture, politics, economics and entertainment.  According to Wikipedia, "it is the leading weekly publication in the country, and one of the most influential outlets of the Brazilian press."  

It looks like the folks at Microsoft and HTC have made good on their promise to start marketing WP7 around the world.  Both HTC and Samsung, with help from Microsoft, have committed more money to advertising in order to push the new features of Mango and hopefully jump to #3 in the smartphone operating system race.

Source: Veja; Via: @RodoCarmo (Thanks for the tip, Rodolpho!)

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Windows Phone homebrew folders demoed [Video]

We previously looked at the upcoming homebrew hack for folder tiles on the homescreen. Today, Windows Phone Hacker has published a video demonstrating what we should expect to see from the hack, which will require a developer unlocked handset.

While the app needs to be polished and optimized, the demand for such a feature has proved to be apparent so the team will work on the tweaks and look to release the app soon. They also note that more features are already planned for future updates. Keep an eye out for more updates here when the app is released. Should you be a fan of the folders concept by WPCentral member Sebastien "ArtSooby" Bruneau, then this will be right up your street.

Source: Windows Phone Hacker

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HTC and Windows Phone at Paris Games Week

HTC and Windows Phone has invaded the Paris Games Week, setting up a booth alongside Microsoft's Age of Empires Online. HTC has proved effective with improving their advertising efforts across Europe both online and in newspapers and stores. 

HTC also ran a contest with players battling against one another for a winning prize. Whoever achieved the highest score in Fruit Ninja walked away with a brand new Titan. Looking at the image below, it's good to see interest in the platform. Perfect placement being opposite Halo.

Source: MonoWindowsPhone

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Well not even a week after the last update which introduced some new features we get IM+ going to version 1.8 and adding Mango support for fast-app switching, at least according to Shape Service's Facebook page.

If there was any app that really needed this feature, it'd be IM+ just do to the nature of how instant messaging apps are used.

So how does it feel? Honestly, we still see a "resume" screen which doesn't make us feel too excited and there's no other advanced Mango features--no pinnable contacts, the live tile doesn't seem to be double sided, etc. It feels kind of the same as before. But hey, if you find anything new, hit us up on comments and let us know!

Grab IM+ v1.8 here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Sedp23, for the heads up!

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Nokia Conversations goes Metro

Nokia Conversations, the official Nokia blog, has received a boost of Metro goodness with a design revamp. They've rethought the structure of the website itself and plan to direct visitors to only the most relevant top stories. Upon visiting Nokia Conversations, you're hit by the top story immediately, with the ability to browse previous issues as if it were a magazine stand.

Check out the video walkthrough of the new design below.

Source: Nokia Conversations

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Xbox Live: Shoot1UP Exclusive Preview

We briefly touched on Shoot1UP back in August when it appeared in the Gamescom WP7 sizzle reel. Today it’s time to let the cat out of the bag and reveal lots of details about this upcoming Xbox Live title.

Shoot1UP comes from Mommy’s Best Games, who are best known for their recent Serious Sam: Double D Xbox Live Arcade game. Before graduating to Xbox Live titles, they developed several Xbox 360 indie games, including Shoot1UP. The game is a vertically-scrolling shoot-em-up that stands out for several reasons.

Head past the break for our full preview and exclusive reveal of the WP7 version screenshots.

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Flight Monitor - Mango App Spotlight

Flight Monitor is a handy app for your Windows Phone that will allow you to track any flight world wide. Flight Monitor tracks flights in near real time and has live tile support so you can monitor things from your Start Screen.

Flight Monitor has a Search Page where you choose your airline and search by flight number. From there a page will be generated to display the flight information and a map that flags the flight's positioning. Down below you have a buttons to refresh the map, pin the flight to your Start Screen and return to the search page.

Flight Monitor uses a two sided live tile where one side displays a map view and the other side displays the status and arrival time.

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Compal, a Taiwanese manufacturer, has signed a patent deal with Microsoft that will see the company pay the software giant licensing fees on sold Android and Chrome products. Compal now joins Samsung, HTC, Acer and Viewsonic in Microsoft's patent portfolio licensing handbook.

Microsoft continues to work with manufacturers directly with regards to IP licensing, which could further increase the likelihood of them looking at Windows Phone more seriously. With the platform turning one year old, more revenue from patent licensing can possibly mean increased investment in development.

Source: CNET

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Just a few more days before we get to see the Nokia 800/Lumia/SeaRay in person, but until then, you can take a gander at some photos taken by that device. We know that phone will feature an 8MP camera with an F/2.2 Carl Zeiss lens, the same as found on the Nokia N9.

Overall the quality seems solid enough but without seeing the full size version, it's of course hard to tell. Then again, Nokia optics have rarely failed to impress. We'll see more Wednesday of course when WPCentral will be live from Nokia World in London.

Source: Flickr; via The Nokia Blog; Thanks, Mark G., for the heads up!

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Happy 1st Birthday Windows Phone 7

This week marks the week when Windows Phone was officially released in Europe last year. The platform has turned one and boy what a year it has been! We've gone through two updates since launch, NoDo and Mango, and the future looks bright with Nokia coming on board.

It's been a year, how do you think Windows Phone has done so far, and what are you looking forward to most next year? Happy Birthday Windows Phone. Feel like reliving some memories? Click here to see our coverage a year ago of the Windows phone 7 launch.

Thanks TheWeeBearUK for the image!

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For those who remember OctroTalk, it goes back to the Windows Mobile days, like the 2008-2009 era. Heck, we worked with the developer on the earliest alpha version.

So it was a pleasant surprise to see them return to form with a Windows Phone edition of the app, supporting Mango no less. The app is v1.0 and does fetch for $4.99, which when compared to the multi-client app IM+, seems a bit high to us.

OctroTalk only supports Google Talk but it is laid out nicely and seem to work a bit better (plus with fast-app resume, handles better than IM+).  It supports pre-set statuses, push and toast notifications and even has a flipping Live Tile. The app looks to be a port of the older Windows Mobile version and so isn't completely Metro UI. It also doesn't play too well with those who use GV Max for monitoring their Google Voice information aka GoVoice e.g. our contact list turns into GVMax contact.

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