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Could we see Nokia devices on every North American carrier?

Chris Weber, president of Nokia’s North America unit, is at it again, teasing us with the possibility of seeing Nokia Windows Phone devices on all of the major carriers across North America.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Weber reiterated comments that he made back in January, when he said that the key to Nokia's comeback would be offering "unique propositions" to each carrier so they can set their phones apart from the iPhones and Androids of the world. Weber shared,

“We’re back in the U.S., we’re back in Canada -- it’s exciting, but there’s more work to do.”

Nokia's partnership with AT&T has been hugely successful for the Lumia 900, and others to a lesser extent. The Lumia 710 is on T-Mobile now, but it is rumored that a Lumia 910, a slightly-modified version of the 900 with a 12MP camera, is headed there as well. Verizon Wireless is also rumored to be getting a Nokia handset as well.

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WP Central

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer considers buying Nokia. "Kinda want"

Rumors are flying around today, notably from the Register who has it on good account, that Microsoft did seriously consider buying Nokia but decided against the deal once the Finnish firms' books were opened. 

If the story is accurate, it represents an interesting twist on the partnership and may still leave a cold feeling for Microsoft's other OEMs. The Register cites "well placed sources" for the story so we'll have to take their word (and their sources) on the matter but Microsoft reportedly was "unimpressed" with Nokia's numbers--or at least didn't see the added extra value of buying the company versus just partnering with them.

As the Register puts it: Nokia didn't want to sell and Microsoft really didn't want to buy. The only reason for an acquisition would have been to keep Nokia out of someone else's hands due to their IP and engineering value. But both companies have time yet--Microsoft has Windows Phone 8 to launch and Nokia needs still has cash to burn. In other words, Microsoft is there as a golden parachute should Nokia really start to crash by next year. Not only that, should such a scenario happen Microsoft would actually get a better deal due to the de-valued stock.

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Toddler goes gaga over Windows Phone commercial

Disclaimer: There's no news here, but there is a cute video.

It looks as though Windows Phone is the choice of the next generation, or at least for one toddler in particular. The parents of this youngster posted a video of him shrieking in excitement over a YouTube clip of AT&T's LG Quantum commercial. Informed of the news that the commercial is on, he runs from the other room to stand transfixed on the laptop, and plays the video over and over again.

Now, it could be that the kid is just so blown away by the fast, smooth operation of the feature-packed Windows Phone operation system. However, something tells us that it has more to do with the cute, orange alien who stars in the ad.

Source: YouTube, Thanks for the giggles, Rad!

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Mateo and Paul before Warthog
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Windows Phone successes and failures at E3 2012

Windows Phone Central recaps the E3 2012 Expo

Mateo Nunez and Paul Acevedo at E3

E3 2012 – the Electronic Entertainment Expo turned out very much like we predicted. During their press conference, Microsoft touted upcoming Xbox 360 sequels: Halo 4, Forza Horizon, and Fable: The Journey; a new Gears of War prequel from Epic; plus several non-exclusive but cool console titles like South Park: The Stick of Truth, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and Tomb Raider. They also announced several Xbox Live Arcade games, including Ascend, Lococycle, Matter, and Wreckateer. Oh, and Usher mystified us with a performance in the name of Kinect update Dance Central 3. I fear Harmonix may be in danger of running the dancing genre into the ground with these yearly sequels as once befell the music game genre, but time will tell.

SmartGlass

Xbox entertainment library

We also knew to expect the rebranding of the Zune service to Xbox Music and Xbox Movies. Not a particularly exciting announcement, since nothing but the branding changed. The SmartGlass initiative is more noteworthy. Basically an evolution of the Xbox Companion App, it allows users to control Xbox 360 system functions (including the upcoming Kinect-enabled Internet Explorer), plus interact with movies, music, and games in new ways. Specifically, we can expect far more console titles to connect with Windows Phone – definitely a good thing.

Head past the break for our full E3 coverage summary, new videos, and lots more!

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Nokia Lumia 900 now at Amazon.de

It is no secret that the Nokia Lumia 900 is headed to Germany. The only mystery was the "when".

While we are still waiting for the European carrier O2 to receive the Lumia 900, Amazon.de has changed their listing for the Windows Phone from an expected delivery on May 31st to "In Stock".

Amazon.de listing Nokia Lumia 900

Amazon.de is listed for 504,89€ with free delivery. The Lumia 900 is being offered in black, cyan and white models.  The white model is listed at 499€.  Prices do include VAT and all three models are listed as being in stock.

Meanwhile over at O2, reservations for the white Lumia 900 are still being taken with inventory expected sometime this month.

Thanks, mreck, for the tip!

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Microsoft's SmartGlass took center stage at E3 2012 and was rather impressive. SmartGlass aims to bridge entertainment and productivity from the Xbox console to computers, tablets and smartphones. A connection that will go beyond simply pausing a video on your Xbox console and picking it up on your Windows Phone. While we aren't sure how far reaching SmartGlass will be with developers, according to Phil Spencer, Corporate VP of Microsoft Studios, we should expect SmartGlass support to be a constant feature in all of Microsoft Studios games going forward.

"It just makes so much sense for a developer who wants to supply, maybe not time-critical information, like 'that enemy is getting ready to shoot you,' but information that augments what's happening on screen."

"...you're even going to see situations like with Ascend, where there's actually gameplay that happens on the phone, even when you're away from your television and that interacts back with the online game that's happening."

We may see supplemental information appear on your Windows Phone while playing a game on the Xbox console or the game completely transfer to your Windows Phone when you walk away from the console. SmartGlass has the potential to seamlessly connect the three screens. Or is it four screens with tablets on the horizon?

Source: joystiq

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eBay app buggy? Auction bids entered way too high?

eBay App for Windows Phone

The official eBay app for Windows Phone has been out for some time and while the Marketplace reviews aren't stellar, they don't really call for you to run for the hills either. Yet we received a tip from a German reader that there could be a potentially disastrous bug in the app.

It appears that while bidding on a Nokia Lumia 800 a bid was entered as 211.69€ and appeared that way in the confirmation screen. However, when the bid was submitted it registered as 21169.00€. Luckily the ending bid didn't make it that far, ending at 270 Euros.

According to the tipster, eBay Germany was contacted and recommended contacting the seller to request a cancelation. While we first thought this could easily be pilot error, in scanning through the Marketplace reviews on the eBay app (found here at the Windows Phone Marketplace), other Windows Phone users report similar instances where the confirmed bid is higher than the submitted bid.

We aren't sure if this is a wide spread issue and hopefully if this is a bug, the quirk can be resolved easily with an update to the app. Still, bug or not, you might want to be extra careful to review your eBay bids when submitting via the Windows Phone app. If my recollection of eBay is correct, an incorrectly submitted bid can be canceled before the auction closes.

Thanks, aerone, for the tip!

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Windows Phone Central Ringtone Contest

Got some musical chops? Then make us a ringtone and win yourself a Nokia Play 360!

Have you created a unique, entertaining, humorous, inspiring, "turn your head", jaw dropping, "make everyone smile" type ringtone for your Windows Phone? If so, you could win a Nokia Play 360 ($150 value) which will allow you to stream and blast music from any Windows Phone via Bluetooth.  That's right, we're having a ringtone contest and we're looking for the best.

The winner will also have their ringtone featured in our app to be used by everyone. Ka-ching.

Here's how this contest will work:

  1. Create an original ringtone
  2. Post it in this Windows Phone Central discussion
  3. The ringtone has to be original content to qualify. No use of copyrighted music or materials unless it is yours.
  4. You can submit two entries but they need to be distinct and original
  5. You have until June 23, 2012 at 5pm EST to submit your entry.

From there, we'll listen to all the entries and select the two ringtones that stand out as the best to us. Expect the winners to be announced by June 28th.

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Thinking of You

For all of those with a significant other and two Windows Phones, you'll want to check out Thinking of You by Quinn Damerell. Damerell is also the developer of the super popular Reddit app, Baconit, which just received a fantastic update.

Thinking of You is a secure personal messaging app the allows you keep in contact with your latest beau. The service which is free, works by connecting two Windows Phones via a personalized PIN. The service then pushes messages between two devices by connecting to a server for Toast and Push notifications.

It's cute, quaint, secure and free. The service doesn't maintain the messages on the server and get this, if you "break the connection" i.e. you get dumped, the app will automatically erase the messages on both devices. That's good news for those worried about their SMS messages coming back to haunt them later.

Thinking of You

The app is fairly limited with just text being able to be sent (no photos, no location information) and you can only have one-secure connection at a time (sorry, swingers). It works well and there's even a prefab "Thinking of you!" message to quickly send to your loved one without all that effort making is a niche but well-done app.

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Best Buy

The low-cost Nokia Lumia 710 on prepaid

We haven't followed the whole pre-paid plan scene as much as we probably should here at Windows Phone Central. Blame it on our contract-centric culture but for a lot of folks, prepaid plans are brilliant--low cost and no commitment with a contract is a great idea for many (especially if you're holding off for Windows Phone 8 this fall).

Best Buy who's no stranger to the mobile phone biz is now offering the Nokia Lumia 710 (see review) for $299. That's actually $50 more than what T-Mobile sells it for ($249.99) but you do get the brick-n-mortar presentation and perhaps a few impulse buys. 

WP Central

Either way, it's good to see Windows Phone joining the popular Android devices on prepaid plans, especially the 710 which is a fantastic starter-phone. For those on AT&T, however, there's no such luck despite the carrier having the largest Windows Phone selection around.

Thanks, @cagmanthing/Manny, for the photo

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Foursquare

The official Foursquare app still focuses on Check-ins

A few interesting tidbits about the official Foursquare app for Windows Phone that you may be interested in on this lazy Sunday. Even though we swear by 4th & Mayor, some of you like the unique design of the Foursquare app even if it's a tad slow by comparison.

Today the app has an update to version 2.11 which is certainly fairly minor but still important. The first one is that it now runs on devices with 256MB of RAM aka "Tango phones" like the Lumia 610. While less than 2% of the apps of the Marketplace are non-Tango optimized they tend to be some big titles (mostly Xbox LIVE games), so it's nice to get that nod. 

The second update is the more vague "bug fixes" which will hopefully address some issues some of you may have had recently.

Perhaps the bigger news (and non-surprising) is the official Foursquare app has not been update to the new "5.0" system like Android and iOS. Those apps were completely rebuilt and re-coded from the ground up with Check-ins losing their primary status for the service. That's right, most users evidently weren't even using Foursquare for check-ins but rather recommendations of nearby locations.

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Xbox Live Arcade Games: Windows Phone Central's favorites from E3 2012

With so many Xbox Live Arcade games on display at E3 this year, it’s tough narrowing down just which ones are our favorites. We’ve already treated you to footage and interviews of Skulls of the Shogun and Ascend: New Gods, both of which are also coming to Windows Phone with connectivity features. Now it’s time to share a few XBLA games that don’t currently have mobile ports in the works but should definitely be on any console gamer’s radar. We spoke with the developers of all three titles: Double Dragon: Neon, Retro City Rampage, and Pid and came away extremely impressed.

Head past the break for more gameplay footage and our full Double Dragon: Neon producer interview!

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For Windows Phone gamers, the most exciting moment of Microsoft’s E3 2012 press conference was the announcement of Ascend: New Gods, an upcoming XBLA and Windows Phone title from Signal Studios. Boasting impressively detailed graphics and a smattering of graphic violence, it certainly caught our eyes. Later on during the Expo we had the pleasure of speaking with lead designer Ian Scott as we played the Xbox Live Arcade version of the game. Even better, he went on to detail Ascend’s cross-platform connectivity.

Head past the break for more Ascend hands-on gameplay footage and Windows Phone connectivity details!

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WP Central

Today, Microsoft threw the doors open to their Freehold, NJ store marking yet another feather in the growing chain's cap. While we're always excited to see another Store open up, especially on the East coast, what makes this opening just a tad hilarious is the curious Apple employees who evidently showed up.

As it is well known, Microsoft has been opening their stores wherever Apple has theirs (including our own location) and perhaps setting up for some interesting drama. In this case, reader Trav sent us the above photo of the brave Apple employees who were checking the competition.

Hey, we don't begrudge Apple and we more than welcome them to the fold even if for just a visit. 

Thanks, Trav, for the tip

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Nokia Lumia ESPN App updated, routine maintenance?

There were a few tips in the Inbox this morning that the Nokia ESPN app was updated overnight. Sure enough, when we turned on our Lumia 900 the update notification was sitting there waiting to be acknowledged.

Beyond that, there's not much more to say. The update takes the ESPN app to version 2.2 and appears to be a maintenance styled update. The Nokia ESPN app does seem to have a little more pep in its step after the update.

Then again, was UEFA Euro 2012 always in the list on the Sports Page?

Seeing that there's not much out there on the update, we thought we'd share a new video ad that Nokia is running on their Youtube Channel highlighting both the ESPN app and the Lumia 900. If anyone notices anything new with the update, please sound off in the comments.

If you haven't downloaded the Nokia ESPN app, simply go the Marketplace on your Lumia Windows Phone and go to the Nokia Collection.

Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

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WP Central

Microsoft has finally answered the call and opened up a Cafe Press store for Windows Phone stuff. Tee shirts, coffee mugs, a Thermos, glasses, you name it the Windows Phone Gear store has it.

You can head over to the site http://www.cafepress.com/windowsphone now and start ordering yourself or loved ones wares splashed with the "I Heart Windows Phone" logo. Oddly enough, it's the old logos with the non-Mango looking icons.

The prices are not exactly cheap being Cafe Press but hey, if you want to look the part you have to pay up, we suppose. 

Thanks, Rodney, for the tip!

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Battling the Kraken

The mobile Xbox Live lineup is getting better and better lately. This week we got Battleship, the first Live game with true online multiplayer, and next week’s game… Wait for it… Final Fantasy I from Square Enix! Why Microsoft chose not to demo the game at E3, we’ll never know.

Final Fantasy will be the first traditional RPG in the Windows Phone lineup. A direct port of the iPhone game which was a port of the PSP game which was a remake of the original Famicom version – it’s like seven degrees of Kevin Bacon but with black mages and imps. Players will assemble a party of four warriors from a pool of iconic classes and then set out to save the world from the dastardly Elemental Fiends. Overworld and underworld navigation utilizes a funky-looking virtual pad for movement while the battles are more tap-focused. Numerous hours of role-playing goodness will ensue.

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One of the biggest highlights of E3 2012 for us has been playing Skulls of the Shogun on Windows Phone and Xbox Live Arcade and meeting two of its creators at 17-BIT. Skulls is an amazingly beautiful and accessible turn-based strategy game in development for XBLA, Windows 8, and Windows Phone. Yesterday we posted our Windows Phone impressions; today we follow up with an interview and in-depth demonstration of the XBLA game in action. (The color shifting in the interview video is due to fancy overhead lights on the show floor.)

Head past the break for more Skulls of the Shogun details and gameplay footage!

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Turbo Camera for Windows Phone

Some time ago we reviewed the Windows Phone camera app Turbo Camera. It's an app that brings a rather fun burst mode to your Windows Phone camera that can capture images at a rate as high as thirty frames per second. Since our review, the app has climbed to the top twenty apps in the Marketplace and is currently the number one camera app in the Marketplace. Turbo Camera is available in twenty-nine Marketplace countries and is doing rather well in each.

Turbo Camera

Along with its popularity and success, Turbo Camera has also seen a few updates improving performance and bringing new features to the table. The latest update, version 1.7, adds the following features to Turbo Camera.

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From the Forums: Games Spotlight

WP Central

With all the new games coming out at E3 we are getting a good look at the future of games on Windows Phone. That’s great for the future but what about now. Where can we go to learn about games available today? We have the answer to that question in our forum.

Many developers are making their game content available for us to enjoy, review and offer feedback on. It’s all happening right here in our Games Spotlight area. Our developers want us to help them create the best game possible. They are posting information on these games in this area hoping we will download them and do just that.

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Microsoft Booth E3 2012

Microsoft's booth at E3 was massive

Now that we're home from the fray of E3 2012 and seeing as we now have working internet (shakes fist), we figured we would show you some of our photos from Microsoft's presence at the giant gaming and entertainment conference.

Needless to say, Microsoft had one of the largest and most busy sections at of the whole conference. For instance had you wanted to try the Halo 4 demo you would have had to wait 2.5 hours in line just to get a shot. Yowza.

 

Microsoft Booth E3 2012

Life size replica of the Halo Warthog

And yes as you can see after the break in our photo gallery, Windows Phone was there too. No, it didn't dominate but it was certainly there and people were playing with the Xbox LIVE games and seemed to enjoy the experience. Mobile in general at E3 is still a very tiny percentage of the conference, regardless of platform. But every year it grows a bit more and so far, the majority of those games are on iOS.

Here's hoping to Windows Phone 8 and E3 2013!

Check out our complete photo gallery after the break. (Maybe later we'll post some non-Microsoft shots as there were some very cool displays)

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Nokia's giving away a few Purity Headsets

Nokia Purity HD and Stereo Headsets

Nokia is having another giveaway contest over on Facebook. This time they are giving away three Nokia Purity Stereo headsets (in-ear) and three Nokia Purity HD Stereo headsets (over ear).

Entering for your chance is about as easy as it gets. Just head over to this Facebook page, tap the enter button, fill in the blanks and your done.  When you submit your entry, you can choose the style and color of headsets you prefer.

Closing date for entries is June 14, 2012 at 16:00BST (British Summer Time). If my time conversions are correct, that would be 11am EST on the 14th. Winners will be contacted by June 28, 2012 by email. Good luck everyone!

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One thing we can all agree on is the need for more mobile Xbox Live games that let us shoot things. Thankfully Glu Mobile is on the case. The noted freemium publisher will follow up Gun Bros on Windows Phone with a more realistic shooting game: Contract Killer. We had the pleasure of demoing it at E3 2012 today and came away impressed.

Contract Killer places players in control of a mafia sniper. From the map screen hub you’ll choose from a variety of missions or visit the shop. The actual missions come to life via detailed 3D graphics. Aiming at your unknowing targets is as simple as swiping the screen in the desired direction. Once you have them lined up, fire and ruin your enemies’ day!

Contract Killer

Each mission costs a certain amount of energy to take on. Energy restores over time, but you can also purchase snacks with Microsoft Points and get right back in the action. As with Glu Mobile’s other freemium titles, the PDLC is completely optional and simply a way to get through the game quicker while showing your support for the developers. Programmers gotta eat!

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Who says you can’t find mobile games at E3? A few days ago, Windows Phone Central met with Mike DeLaet and Jason Enriquez of Glu Mobile to discuss their upcoming mobile Xbox Live games. The first title they demonstrated for us is Gun Bros, which we revealed in April.

Gun Bros is a top-down twin-stick shooter somewhat reminiscent of arcade classic Smash TV. Players choose from one of two titular brahs, outfit them with an arsenal of high-tech weapons and armor, and then fly to one of several planets and start filling hostile aliens full of equally hostile ordinance. Don’t worry; the aliens are actually big jerks and they totally have it coming.

By completing missions you’ll earn both XP and Xplodium, a rare mineral. XP leads to leveling up, opening access to better equipment. Xplodium can be processed and used to purchase said equipment and items. Of course, Gun Bros is a freemium title and players can purchase even shinier guns and things with Microsoft Points. You won’t have to purchase credits to enjoy the game though.

Gun Bros has passed certification and should launch very soon. We highly recommend trying the PC version for free right now using Google’s Chrome browser – after a few minutes you’ll see why we’re dying to play it more on the go.

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