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Taiwanese blog I Heart Windows Phone has released a set of three Halloween-themed wallpapers for Windows Phone 7. All three feature what appears to be the site’s mascot in different costumes, drawn with an attractive cartoonish art style. These wallpapers are an adorable way to show your Halloween spirit on the go, perhaps as you make a trip to the store to pick up some candy for the trick-or-treaters.

To get the images, use one of the following methods:

  1. Visit the blog on your phone (Google Translate it for a nice introduction to Halloween for foreign readers)
  2. Tap on one of the images to display the full version
  3. Tap and hold on the image and then select ‘save picture.’
  4. Once saved, find the image in your phone’s Photo section
  5. Tap the … button at the bottom of the screen to bring up the menu
  6. Select ‘use as wallpaper’

OR

  1. Download the zip file from your phone using this link
  2. Select one of the three images
  3. Tap the … button at the bottom of the screen to bring up the menu
  4. Select ‘use as wallpaper.’

Source: I Heart Windows Phone  Thanks to Grace for the tip!

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Here's a useful utility for those of you who have a phone that is (a) developer unlocked and (b) interop-unlocked. There's a new little toy out there that willl allow you to take screen caps right on your device without being tethered to the desktop.

The app comes out of the WPXAP forums and is just called 'Screen Capturer' version 2 as it now works on Mango devices. To get it to work you:

  1. Launch app
  2. Set a time via the slider at top (1-60s)
  3. Click ”开始截屏“
  4. Begin screen capture/Hit the Windows Key
  5. Wait for time (set a time(1-60s)) to verify capture
  6. Open Picture --> Albums --> Saved picture

We've been using for a bunch of apps without a hitch. Doesn't seem to work with Xbox games though. Other than that, this is a super useful app for many. And since we're swell folks, we're hosting the file for a quick easy download. Just get the XAP here.

Update: Scratch the inter-op requirment, now just regular developer unlocked devices can use it too. Thanks to Windows Phone Hacker for the update XAP which can be found here.

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Is Sprint killing unlimited data packages?

It's the last major feature that differentiates Sprint from its competitors, but according to DSLReports, Sprint may be slowly moving towards killing off their unlimited data service. As more and more of their users have picked up smart devices on the US network, Sprint has made big changes every few months to their policies regarding unlimited data, and it looks like only time stands in the way of the company making that final decision to axe this unique offering (something the other major carriers did long ago).

Sprint hasn't said anything officially about this yet, but their actions are clear. First they added a $10 monthly fee to all 4G data users, then they capped their mobile hotspot subscribers to 5GB a month. Two days ago Sprint made another announcement via their website, saying that this data cap is expanding to include everything from tablets to netbooks to USB cards and beyond starting in November. The only thing left untouched is your average smartphone.

While Sprint has been gaining new subscribers over the last year from its one-of-a-kind unlimited data plan, the company continues to struggle to gain much of a financial profit. It may not be happening just yet, but here in the next year we may well see Sprint make a final decision and join the other carriers in capping their service, since they obviously aren't beating them yet. It's all speculation at this point, but from looking at the series of events up until now, that assumption just can't be helped.

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We just received this admittedly tough to discern ad/teaser spot, recorded during X factor USA on ITV2 in the UK. Although you can barely tell what is being shown, it sure looks like a Nokia 800/SeaRay/N9 device being teased.

What's real telling is that the background disco lights are the same from the leaked ad we saw a few days ago, which we find real interesting. Assuming this is what we think it is, it looks like the UK will be getting a taste of Nokia Windows Phone real soon. Anyone else see this and want to comment?

Big thanks to David T., for the video!

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LG E740 and E950 spotted on WP Bench

Windows Phone Daily has spotted two new LG devices on the WP Bench statistics page, the E740 and E950. It's worth noting that the LG Optimus 7 is the E900, so we could be in for a Mango version with the E950, much like the Omnia W and Focus S. The E740 on the other hand, we have little to go on.

Chances are we could be looking at a device that is built on the previous leaked E700, but a slight upgrade in terms of hardware, or it could be a carrier-specific handset. Whatever the outcome is for either device, it's good to see LG possibly working on future Windows Phones. Let us not forget the Jil Sander E906, which was only recently launched.

Via: Windows Phone Daily

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London Travel updated to version 3

London Travel, arguably the best travel app available for Windows Phone, has been updated to version 3. This update brings more tile goodness, which was requested by users. The best part? A live tile for your Oyster balance, now that is just awesome. Main highlights include:

  • All tiles in the app can now be pinned to the start screen
  • Oyster live tile that displays your Oyster balance
  • Application tile doubles as a status tile telling you if there are any disruptions
  • Network lines' status can be pinned to the start screen
  • Overall performance improvements
  • Some artwork has been updated
  • Drop shadow removed from application tile
You can download London Travel from the Marketplace. Be sure to check out our review.

 

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If you live in Brazil and you've been itching for the HTC Ultimate aka Titan, you'll be pleased to know it's now available (though limited supply) on Vivo for R$1,800 (about $1,000 USD), just as we reported earlier.

The 4.7" Windows Phone Mango device is one heck of a first for the country and should make a lot of new customers happy. Gizmodo Brazil has some hands on with the phone and seem quite impressed with both the hardware and OS (who can blame them?), noting that the 1.5GHz CPU makes the OS very fast. They also noted the quality of the screen was also top notch--not iPhone Retina great but up there, nonetheless.

Only complaint is a common one: the Marketplace is very limited, with only a few games available. Microsoft evidently responded to the criticism:

"In that first moment, we have 10 games in the franchise available on Xbox LIVE marketplace Brazil by the end of October. Microsoft wants to bring more titles, but as is necessary to follow the Brazilian legislation indicative classification, cash will not be simultaneous to the United States."

So all in all a pretty solid launch, but there's certainly room for improvement on the services side. Check the hands on video after the break for some eye candy.

Source: Gizmodo Brazil

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Windows Phone coming to Colombia in December

We know Brazil is ready for Windows Phone, so it only makes sense that Colombia get some love too. And according to Jorge Silva Luján, Microsoft Colombia GM, Windows Phone is heading there in December. So was the news conveyed to by him over all things, Twitter, a few days ago.

"Windos Phone en Colombia. Diciembre!! Las personas son el centro,no los iconos ni las aplicaciones. Como tiene que ser. Listos?"

"Windows Phone: People at the center, not apps or icons. They way it should have always been. Colombia available in December. Are you ready?"

From later tweets, he reveals that the carriers Comcel and Movistar will be getting the devices and that both are involved in the approval process at this point. While it's not clear which phone or phones will be available, it looks like the Samsung Focus may be one of them.

Source: Twitter; Thanks, Elmo C., for the tip!

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WhatsApp hits v1.3.2 gets a new feature

Yeah, everyone's favorite chat app, WhatsApp, just hit v1.3.2. As you can probably guess, that's hardly a big version change meaning there's not too much in the way of new stuff. What we noticed:

  • Settings --> Auto-save incoming pictures (new)
  • Version number is now correct (woo!)
  • Performance feels faster (unverified)

Other than that, nothing else. So looks like it's baby steps for WhatsApp, but hey, we'll take what we can get, right? Pick up WhatsApp here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Mosammey, for the heads up

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Windows Phone Marketplace ratings are broken

Here's something we've noticed over the last few days and was brought to our attention by some developers: basically no new ratings/stars are being calculated. If you have 200 ratings before a few days ago, they're essentially frozen there. If you're a new app or game introduced in the last few days, you may be getting reviews from users, but the star-rating and counter are not being updated to reflect new reviews.

Many users, including ourselves, use the star ratings (and review count) to get a first impression of an app. You see a game with 4.5 stars with 50 reviews, well, you know that's a game to download. Vice versa, if a game has 2 stars and 121 reviews, you know to avoid it. In other words, these ratings and their accurate reflection are key to an app's success in many ways.

Case in point: Jet Car Stunts, released this past Wednesday, has plenty of 4 and 5 star reviews but the overall rating for it? No stars, zero reviews.

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Comparing cameras: HTC Titan vs. iPhone 4S

One of the weaker aspects of HTC Windows Phones has been the camera. We keep hearing reports that the camera has dramatically improved on the second generation Windows Phones from HTC.  We've seen comparisons with the HD7 and Titan and now we are seeing a comparison between the Titan and the new iPhone 4S.

Les Numeriques did a comparison of these two smartphones and based on the photos the Titan appears to be capable of holding its own. For the most part, the Titan produced sharper images than the iPhone but the flash seemed to be harsher.  Color saturation seemed to be a draw and overall one could make the case that the Titan is the better performer.

The test photos were taken from a distance of three meters and all settings were automatic.

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GoodMovie - Mango App Spotlight

Trying to find a good movie? Look no further. The Windows Phone app GoodMovie is the app you want for such occasions. GoodMovie could easily be a must have app for your Windows Phone. If you're a movie buff, it's definitely a must have app.

GoodMovie taps into the Rotten Tomatoes film website and brings all the movie data to your Windows Phone. You can search movies by keyword or by a wide range of categories that include theatrical releases, movies just opening, upcoming titles, movies out on DVD, top rentals, and your recently reviewed titles.

When you pull up individual movie titles you will get pages that cover reviews, information about the movie (actors, synopsis, rating, etc.), images from the movie, news items, and YouTube videos (typically the movie trailers).

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Microsoft’s official Windows Phone UK blog recently posted about Xbox Live features that gamers may have missed. I can tell you why most gamers wouldn’t have noticed these features – all but one of them aren’t active yet!

Here’s a quick rundown:

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The Walking Dead zombie sweepstakes

Windows Phones are used by the walking dead as well as the living. AMC and Bing are running a sweepstake that will see the lucky winner take part in The Walking Dead season 3. For more information on how to enter and what the rules are, head on over to the sweepstake page below. Note that this is open for U.S. residents only.

Source: The Walking Dead, via: WMPU

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Folders coming to Windows Phone via Homebrew?

This should be pretty exciting once it's finalized. The chaps at Windows Phone Hacker (site) have been working on a "Folders" solution to Windows Phone, analogous to the fan concept we ran back in July.

The image you see above is purportedly the real deal and not a mockup--those tiles are "dynamically generated". The only issue we're told is that it's a little "clunky" on the setup which is to be expected with this level of homebrew activity. The good news is the device only needs to be unlocked and not the deeper, more difficult interop-unlock, which is a bit tricky to instantiate.

Windows Phone Hacker is looking to release this and was gauging the desire/want for this type of hack. Basically they don't want to invest time in cleaning it up, making it more streamlined if there's no one to use it, which is understandable. We suspect demand will be quite high for this feature, so let them know in comments and via Twitter @wphonehacker.

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Free Ringtones - Mango App Spotlight

Okay. We've covered a lot of ground lately with ringtone apps for your Windows Phone. We've got one more ringtone app to spotlight for you. Free Ringtones is a free ringtone downloader for your Windows Phone that gives you access to thousands of tunes and sounds.

Free Ringtones is laid out in simple fashion with a main page highlighting Hot Ringtones, a keyword search page, a page listing all the tones you've downloaded and another page to show the download progress of your new tones. From the Hot Ringtones page you can access a dozen or so categories of ringtones that range from Blues to Holiday tunes to Sayings.

To preview a tone, just tap the headphone icon and a preview of the tone is streamed to your phone. You'll also find a Play and Pause button at the bottom of the screen to manage your preview. 

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Samsung Focus Flash/Omnia W lands at the FCC

The GT-i8350 aka Omnia W, which suspiciously looks a lot like the Focus Flash for AT&T, has taken its spot at the FCC and looks to have cleared any remaining hurdles for release here in the States.

The Flash is expected to hit shelves sometime in November but no release date or pricing has been revealed. The "mid range" device features a 3.7" Super AMOLED screen, 1.5GHz CPU and a 5MP rear camera. Although mid-range, it looks like a nice little device to us, especially for those who don't want a large phone.

Source: FCC; Thanks, bancza, for the heads up

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It wasn't long ago that ...I'm a WP7! was updated to version 3.2 that brought gamer meetups, wallpapers and ring tones, and much more. Now we have version 3.3 available for download. Highlighted features in this update:

  • Gamer Achievements and profile fixes
  • New easter eggs
  • Mini game "Match-Atar"
  • More "pinnable" live tiles
  • Numerous updates and fixes to all areas

Version 3.3 is a fix-focused update with the mini-game being the main feature added.  It's a free app and you can download ...I'm a WP7! from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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Don't want to wait for Skype to come to Windows Phone? Have a developer unlocked device? Then you can head over to XDA to grab the XAP file for Tango, the video calling and VOIP solution that costs nothing to use. Originally offered on the HTC Titan and Radar, it has been ported to older Windows Phones for some fun.

We loaded it up on our HTC Arrives and sure enough, it works. Sure, video calling is a bit choppy, even over WiFi and the audio is only routed through the rear speaker, but the novelty of it is certainly exciting.

The app seems to work on all HTC generation phones and LG phones, but only audio for Samsung devices (Focus, Omnia 7) and of course there's no love for Dell.

Head here to XDA for the relevant thread. Thanks, David, for the link!

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Can't think of that word and have no Internet connection at present to use the Dictionary.com app? Annoying, right? Well not any more with the app being updated to take advantage of Mango goodness with the addition of offline usage. Over two million words are available from Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com, putting the power of language and constructive writing in your hands.

Pick it up here in the Marketplace.

Via: @techjunky79

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File this one under big rumor/subject to change.

MS Nerd has published what he says is the timeline for a lot of Microsoft's major platforms, including Windows Phone, Windows Desktop and the launch of Xbox "Loop" aka next gen Xbox hardware.  While of course tantalizing, there's nothing really to back it up. Then again, when you read it, it's quite realistic and logical as to what you expect Microsoft to do. It even follows their current scheduling of things, so why not?

We'll just hit on the Windows Phone news:

  • CES 2012 - Tango1 Launch
  • Mobile World Congress '12 - Tango2 SDK
  • MIX 12 - Tango 2 launch, Apollo announce
  • E3 2012 - Apollo SDK
  • Mobile World Congress '13 - Apollo +1 teaser
  • MIX 13 - Apollo +1 teaser
  • Mobile World Congress '14 - Windows Phone Nine teaser
  • MIX 2014 - Windows Phone Nine SDK
  • BUILD 2014 Windows 9 Mobile RTM
  • November 2014 Windows 9 Mobile Launch (with Windows 9 and Kinect H2 release)

From what we've seen of how Microsoft releases things, this seems quite logical. The interesting change is of course in 2014 when Windows 9 and Windows Phone 9 merge and we get what MS Nerd lists as "Win9M". We're  assuming that means Windows 9 Mobile, but who knows.

Edit: No surprise, but Microsoft's Brandon Watson disagrees with the leak: "I love reading "logical" "leaked timelines" and laughing. #wronginsomanyways". Of course, no one was expecting him to confirm it either.

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HTC advertising in Norway

While HTC and Phones4U make a difference in the UK, we have Telenor, Norway's largest carrier, advertising the HTC Radar in a Norwegian newspaper. The photo above, sent in by a reader, shows the HTC Radar available on contract. Looking at the Telenor website, we can see the Radar is also available unlocked for 3,099kr (£349).

Source: Telenor. Thanks Morten for sending in the image!

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Phones4U Windows Phone store promotion material

HTC is going big with promotion and advertising for their Titan and Radar handsets. We've seen their commercial being aired on prime time TV, full page newspaper adverts and Phones4U has also been publishing advertising material in newspapers. We're aware of HTC and Samsung investing more funds in promotion, but it's good to see a store take part with the above photo from a Phones4U store in Norwich, UK. Purchasing the Titan will earn you 800 MS points and 12 a month Xbox Live subscription.

Thanks Joseph for sending the photo in!

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The Samsung Omnia W (i8350) has gotten it's price for consumers in the Netherlands, €329, slightly less expensive than its Italian counterpart.  The Omnia W, which just recently launched in India as well, is a nice mid-range phone at a mid-range price.  It sports a 1.4GHz CPU, along with a 5MP camera and 3.7" Super AMOLED screen.  It won't blow your socks off, like the HTC Titan, but it won't break the bank either.

Source: Belsimpel (Thanks for the tip, Relief!)

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Telerik Unleashed events special prize

Telerik, the brains behind the Tasks App and RadControls, have announced today the Telerik Special Windows Phone Unleashed Events Grand Prize. There is a selection of the top 25 submitted apps from the Unleashed events organized by Microsoft and local communities. On October 28th, the winner of the grand prize will be selected at random, which will pot the winning developer $5,000.

This is where things get interesting. Telerik is also offering a community favourite prize of $300 for the app with the most tweets. Visit the Telerik Unleashed page (link below) to check out the available apps and tweet your favourite. Do make sure, when tweeting, that "#telerikwp7prize" is included with your selected winner.

Source: Telerik Unleashed

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