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Nokia discussing Windows Phone 8 plans with carriers

WP Central

Nokia is set to market their first Windows Phone 8 hardware differently, according to a report by the Financial Times. The manufacturer will be entering into partnerships with a handful of EU carriers to exclusively launch their next generation Windows Phone. The newspaper states the company has already entered into talks with a number of operators including France Telecom.

Nokia has traditionally relied on flooding the market with a number of mobile devices in the hope of getting them in the hands of as many consumers as possible. This may well be scrapped for a more exclusive release-based strategy with handpicked partners, much like the deal established with AT&T in the US, or perhaps we could be seeing devices specifically tailored for different carriers with differentiating features and branding?

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Retail Report WPCentral

A few days ago, we visited London’s newest shopping mecca, Westfield to get a quick take on how much coverage Windows Phone is getting in the retail space. Much has been made about Windows Phone not having good retail exposure. We wanted to see if this was true and get a feel for how things look for Windows Phone in the UK's largest shopping centre.

Almost as soon as we entered the main concourse, we were surprised to find a full-blown ZTE promotional stand. Currently ZTE produce one Windows Phone, the Tango spec Tania, a device that’s somewhat hampered by having only 4GB memory it does make up for it with a generous 4.3" screen size. The stand was there primarily to promote a new Android phone but the Tania was along for the ride and being displayed right up alongside it.

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WP Central

Our audience is smart enough to know that no electronic system of communication is impervious to eavesdropping and there’s very little out there that’s near 100% secure. So it should come as no surprise that Skype is getting some publicity of its internal network restructuring that started occurring once Microsoft acquired the company last year.

The charge: Microsoft is reconfiguring the Skype network so that it Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) can have access to intercept calls over the network to aid in investigations.

The reality is of course convoluted with no concrete evidence but it’s worth mentioning what exactly is going on here. So head past the break to get the scoop.

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WP Central

Although it’s been a slow news weekend there have been a few bits worth mentioning but not necessarily getting a full on post—mostly because they’re somewhat interesting but not necessarily important. This weekend's stories are:

  • Does Nokia have an exclusive early release for Windows Phone 8? We call shenanigans.
  • Nokia's stock - now with even more junk!
  • Nokia Music gets amped to version 3.1

Head past the break for the weekend’s collection of too small to pass but too big to print...

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Trines Hangman for Windows Phone

If you're not familiar, Gydar Industries is the developer behind Windows Phone titles such as Trine's Hangman and People Search. Gydar Industries is based out of Norway and today marks the anniversary of the tragedy in Oslo and Utoya. Feeling the need to do something positive in remembrance of this tragic event, Gydar is offering all their Windows Phone apps for free today.

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Windows Phone Central Photosynth contest winners!

Windows Phone Photosynth Contest Winners

While some may have thought we had forgotten about the Windows Phone Central Photosynth contest, truth be told it was down right tough picking out a winner. If my count is correct, we had eighty-eight entries submitted over at the WPCentral Forums ranging from beach scenes to mountain landscapes to concerts to even a laundry mat photosynth. There were so many fantastic entries it was tough to pick just two from the lot.

But in the end, the two photosynths that stood out are....

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WP Central

Update - Version 3.0 is now live in the Marketplace as we just got the notification! Link after the break...

Although we’re still seeing version 2.0 for Nokia Drive on our Lumia, Nokia has finally pulled the covers of their highly anticipated version 3.0 which should be hitting the Marketplace in the next 24-48 hours. It has us so excited, we’re almost yearning to get lost just so we can use it.

Version 3.0, in our opinion, finally makes Drive the app we all wanted and expected from Nokia—sure the other versions were nice, especially for free, but they paled to the pay apps of Garmin, etc.

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WP Central

It's time for another 'From the Forums' where we bring you only the latest and greatest threads from the Windows Phone Central community forums. If you have been absent for the past few days, this round-up will provide you with everything you need to know.

Kicking us off is rsuter who poses the question "Will WP8 beat this?", where he asked the community if they thought the next Microsoft mobile upgrade could compete with Google and Apple when it comes to voice recognition and assistance. We've already got commands that can be performed by a Windows Phone when speech is detected, but how will it evolve?

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Mush is probably the most charming platformer in the mobile Xbox Live lineup – and it’s an exclusive to boot. Developer Angry Mango has kindly provided Windows Phone Central with some exclusive goodies to share with you.

First off, Mush is a generally easy game. Like ilomilo you can’t die, so the challenge comes entirely from the puzzles. It does get harder as you progress though – take the puzzle at the end of Level 5: Catfish Capers, for example. Getting the ball where it needs to go in order to activate a switch and open the door might just stump some gamers. Fear not; the above video shows exactly what to do. Whichever lovable writer got stuck on this puzzle was most certainly overthinking things.

Next up we have a bevy of beautiful Windows Phone-sized wallpapers. Check ‘em out after the break.

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WP Central

Still in beta, Pulse is now at Version 0.95.7

Looks like Nokia is putting some renewed vigor into their Pulse social app which is still in beta form. Version 0.95.7 just went live in the Marketplace and brings some cool new additions with it:

  • Conversation live tile – pin a specific conversation to your Start screen
  • Pulse from landing page – tap in the “Send a message” box and go directly to the Compose screen
  • Recognize multiple email addresses for an individual user
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WP Central

Nokia has reportedly shipped 6.9 million Lumias

Sales numbers and estimates are always a tricky thing, especially when you don’t have concrete numbers to work with. We also tend to boast the good news and downplay the bad so with that caveat we’ll provide you the latest in “market analysis”. Don’t worry, this one is mostly good.

Strategy Analytics is making quite the name for themselves this day if only because they tend to buck the trend when it comes to Nokia and Windows Phone. In their latest report (available here to subscribers), they claim that Nokia shipped (not necessarily sold) 6.9 million Lumia Windows Phone since its launch in Q4 2011 and up through Q2 2012. 

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Birdsong for Windows Phone

Birdsong, a Windows Phone Twitter app, experienced a little technical difficulties with Live Tile and push notifications. The developers have worked diligently over the past few weeks and the new push notification service went online just a little while ago.

Birdsong is a nicely laid out Twitter app for your Windows Phone that supports multiple accounts, threaded conversations, geo-tagged tweets, off line viewing and much more.

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WP Central Mark Osborn Interview

Mark Osborn, creator of the Windows Phone app Articles for Instapaper, is just in the process of uprooting from the UK and moving to the the US. We had been in touch with Mark for a while as he had shouted me on twitter to tell us about his Instapaper Client for Windows Phone.  For those not familiar, Instapaper is a free web service that lets you save web pages and articles to read later.  With Articles for Instapaper, you can tap into your Instapaper account from your Windows Phone to read your articles.

We were just in time to catch him before he headed off to frolic in Europe one more time before he left and had the opportunity to sit down, drink too much coffee and chat about the old, the now and the next.

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WP Central

Zite for Windows Phone - now available

We haven’t heard much about Zite (zite.com), a news service that’s owned by CNN, but we should start paying attention to it. Zite is not just a news-app but rather a service that finds stories based on your likes and interests which gets you away from the “information overload” that many of us experience today.

The app has been on iOS since late last year and is also on Android too but now the service is coming to Windows Phone and the CEO is quite excited—mostly because he uses a Lumia 710.

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Podcast Lounge Nokia Lumia 800 Cyan

During last night’s WPUG meet in central London, we got a chance to catch up with Richard from Igneous Software. BBC Podcast lounge is a must-have app for those that want to catch up on all the amazing and free content from Auntie Beeb. Richard was able to give me a quick walkthrough of the latest update that is currently in testing.

The current app is great but with this update, Richard looks to be taking a logical and very welcome next step. From 1.4 onwards users will be able to subscribe to podcasts. Great news, even better is that it offers options to keep up to 3 podcasts of each. That is very similar to the options presented on the Zune desktop client. Whilst the Zune music hub in Windows Phone is great, it’s not possible to subscribe to podcasts or even browse and download manually. The only way to get podcasts on your device through Zune is to first connect to the computer, subscribe to the podcast and then sync with your phone, once that’s done it will grab them. It’s a far from convenient solution, something better needed to be found.

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WPCentral Podcast

We're back for another exciting week in Windows Phone news. Jay and Daniel take on the headlines and your questions, including some Windows Phone 8 discussion.

Head past the break for the show notes and HD video. (Our apologies on the video as it's fairly laggy--you can do what we do and blame Canada)...

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W Phone 8 for Windows Phone

A fairly lightweight Windows Phone emulator has made its way onto the Marketplace, which enables the user to see how the upcoming UI refresh would look on their handset. By lightweight we mean that no tiles launch any apps (links to Marketplace listings instead), but it certainly gives you a feel for what's to come with live tiles showing data, flipping around and having fun.

That's pretty much W Phone 8 in a nutshell, and while it may not seem a lot it's very well presented.

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Windows Phone Game Roundup: FORE!

WPCentral's Roundup of Golf apps

Windows Phone Central's Roundup of Golf Games

The Open Championship is this week in sunny Lancashire, England. The Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club is hosting the Open and in honor of the Championship, this week's round-up is dialed into golf games for your Windows Phone.

We've got an Xbox Live title, a few miniature golf courses, a pirate and for good measure we toss in a golf app that should be on every duffer's Windows Phone. As always, if a title doesn't make it to the roundup it shouldn't reflect poorly on things. If we missed one, chime in below in the comments and let us know.

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WP Central

$6.9 Billion profit? Not bad, not bad at all

Tonight Microsoft announced its Q4 results for fiscal 2012.  Everywhere you turn, the media is writing about how the Redmond giant just reported its first loss ever.  People writing these headlines are either clueless as to financial reporting, or in search of headline bait.  But since everyone is doing it, it’s pretty crap headline bait.

So here’s the simple truth:  Microsoft reported an extremely profitable quarter with respect to its regular operations.  On top of this it also made the decision to write down the value of assets pertaining to a company it acquired back in 2007.  The acquisition of aQuantive, a digital advertising company, didn’t contribute to Microsoft’s advertising platform as expected.  When stuff like that happens, you write down the value of those assets on the balance sheet.  The write down is a wave of the accounting magic wand.  It does not represent a cash expense. 

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MetroSpec

You can now enjoy the classics while on the go

Can we have a drum roll? Announcing the upcoming Sinclair ZX Spectrum emulator for Windows Phone - MetroSpec. This current work-in-progress by Starquake Mobile (website) is the first generic ZX Spectrum emulator for Windows Phone which isn't tied to a single title. 

The gist of the app is to enable Windows Phone users to download, load and enjoy Spectrum titles to either bring back memories or to defeat that all-impossible last boss that one could never beat. Head on past the break to see why you should be interested in MetroSpec, as well as some hands-on footage from the recent WPUG meetup.

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SlingPlayer for Windows Phone on sale

If you have a SlingBox and have been putting off buying the SlingPlayer Windows Phone app, now is your chance to same some bucks. The SlingPlayer app normally runs $29.99 but through July 22nd, Sling Media has slashed the price 50% bringing the price down to $14.99.

Compatible with Slingbox SOLO or PRO-HD slingboxes, the app will let you play anything you can watch on your television at home on your Windows Phone. SlingPlayer will let you change channels, control your DVR, view live or recorded shows, control your cable or satellite box, and much more.

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WP Central

There’s been a lot of news today—both for Microsoft and Nokia—so we’re going to just touch on a bit of that and also mention some other Microsoft stories that you may have missed. So here’s your roundup:

  • Microsoft wants you take your Xbox security seriously and posts tips on how to do that
  • Mark Penn, former advisor to President Clinton, will be a VP at Microsoft where he hopes to make Bing cool
  • Microsoft may have lost money this quarter but their consumer division is actually doing well

So head on past the break for today’s wrap up...

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WP Central

If you just tuned in to our latest podcast, you probably heard Jay and myself discussing when we expect Windows Phone 8 to actually come out—especially since we now know that Windows 8 Desktop will be here October 26th.

Going on simple history, the last two release cycles for Windows Phone have occurred in the October/November timeframe and we expect that to repeat again this year. Throw in the October 26th street date for Win 8 and it should be obvious what Microsoft’s overarching strategy will be—a dual launch where two of their main products dominate headlines. Or what lame business folk call “synergy”.

Over at ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley is hearing from a trusted source the following dates for Microsoft:

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