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Hasta la Muerte Raven

It’s been a while since we’ve had occasion to mention Hasta la Muerte, a December 2011 Xbox Live release from French developer Pohlm Studio. Thought we could not stop for the game, the developers kindly stopped for us, recently releasing the first Hasta la Muerte title update.

Hasta la Muerte version 1.1 release notes

  • Fixed bug that prevented ‘Those dear delicious ravens’ Achievement from unlocking

…And, that’s it. There are 18 tiny ravens hidden throughout the game - see the image above, courtesy of Zebrasqual (full list here). Previously, only 17 would show up as being collected, preventing the associated 20 GamerScore Achievement from popping. Thanks to the update, Hasta la Muerte’s full 200 GamerScore is finally attainable.

We’re always glad when a broken Achievement gets fixed, but it’s disappointing that the update didn’t include Fast App Switching support. Hasta la Muerte was released after the debut of the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango update, but there was a window of time in which some Xbox Live games got pushed through without 7.5 support for various reasons. I would also like to see the game’s main menu undergo a revision – it’s one of the least intuitive menus of any mobile Xbox Live title. Pohlm Studios expressed some interest in fixing those issues when we first spoke to them, so perhaps another update will drop somewhere down the line.

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WP Central

Nokia announced late last week that their Reading app would be coming to the Lumia line this week and sure enough, that app is now available for download.

Nokia Reading promises to fill in the gap where apps like Amazon Kindle are not available for Windows Phone users, which turns out is a large part of the globe. Having setup their own eBook marketplace, Nokia seems to have done have a good job of offering an important service to many on Windows Phone who otherwise would not have access to the latest NY Times best sellers.

Nokia Reading

Of course the bad news as can be discerned from the title is those in the US (and possibly elsewhere) cannot download the app. Much like Nokia Music, licensing and possibly territorial divisions are evidently keeping this app and service out of our hands. But seeing as we have Zune Pass and Amazon Kindle, we'll probably survive.

Pick up Nokia Reading here in thew Nokia Collection. Thanks, Tim S., for the tip!

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WhatsApp

It's been awhile since we've seen an update to the popular messaging program WhatsApp (okay, well just over 30 days, not bad) so we're curious to see what could version 2.0 bring that required a whole version bump. Turns out, not too much. According to the release notes this is what you can expect from the latest version:

  • Set your profile picture
  • Several bug fixes

It's not the craziest amount of changes but the new profile photo makes the app feel more complete, the Settings are more refined and our "Paid" account doesn't expire till 2021, so we're happy about that. The app feels a bit faster to us too, which is a common complaint, so hopefully that will make some of you happy.

Pick up WhatsApp version 2.0 for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Rudy Z., for the heads up

QR: WhatsApp

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Lumia 900

Nokia has caught some flack for their less-than-stellar Windows Phone cameras, something which we probably remind people of all too often. Regardless, you have to admire their commitment to offering some of the best OEM apps on Windows Phone.

Word on the street (specifically Hong Kong) is that Nokia will be launching a new app for the Lumia line called Camera Extension which will allow users to have a new panorama feature, smart group capture, burst mode and self timer as new camera functions. These additions look to compliment the photo editing abilities in their Creative Studio app released a few weeks ago.

Camera Extension

The info was even captured on a slide during a Nokia "experience day" for the Lumia 900 and the info was revealed by a Nokia representative ensuring the legitimacy of the claim. No details on when we can expect the release but if we know Nokia, it's probably right around the corner.

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Official SmugMug app now available for Windows Phone

Official SmugMug app for Windows Phone

Looks like that push for more official apps on Microsoft's mobile OS is still rolling forth which is good news for all of us. SmugMug (www.smugmug.com) is where those too good for Flickr flock and is one of the biggest and most interesting photography sites on the 'net. Possibly only rivaled by 500PX, it's a spot where the more "serious" shutterbugs amongst us post their work (meaning our array of cat photos are probably not welcomed. Booo.).

SmugMug

Having an official app for Windows Phone is a welcomed gesture as many of our users will surely take advantage of the new app. So what do you get?

"Explore and be inspired by stunning images shot by passionate photographers around the world. Browse the day's most popular images on SmugMug's global photo community, or view the most beautiful photos of all time.

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WP Central

On an interesting podcast over at Platform Biased, Daniel Smith who's a CX-XBLA Producer at Microsoft, reveals some interesting numbers about those first generation handsets. Out of the three that came out (putting the Dell Venue Pro to the side), the Samsung Focus (see our review) reportedly accounted for about 90% of the sales while the LG Quantum (review) had about 8% and the HTC Surround (review) only garnered a meager 2%.

Smith doesn't mention AT&T directly nor does AnythingbutiPhone (where we grabbed this story from) but obviously that can't be the whole tale. T-Mobile launched the HTC HD7, Sprint followed months later with the HTC Arrive and Verizon even later with the HTC Trophy. T-Mobile and AT&T also both had the Dell Venue Pro, though that was an unofficial as it was never available in stores. Likewise, AT&T eventually picked up the HD7s (review) late in the game.

So there weren't three Windows Phones but rather nine for the first generation and the three mentioned were AT&T specific.

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Beem v1.1

Back in early April we reported on the new streaming music app Beem by Windows Phone Development MVP Den Delimarsky. The app taps into Digitally Imported (www.di.fm), the popular electronic dance music site which features everything from Techno to Trance to Chillout to Progressive making it quite the value. What's more, both the service and app are completely free and the app doesn't even have any ads. Did we mention it's pretty gorgeous too?

Beem v1.1

Version 1.1 just hit the Marketplace with a bunch of welcomed new features, some of which are extremely impressive:

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Nokia Lumia 900 survives torture test

If there was any doubt how well built the Nokia Lumia 900 is, the above video should ease anyone's concerns over build quality. The unibody design coupled with Corning's Gorilla Glass make the Lumia 900 a very solid Windows Phone. Solid enough to drive nails. 

The engineers who tested the durability of the Lumia 900 did the same test on the Lumia 710. The 710 held up just as nicely as the 900.

Now for the obligatory disclaimer. While the Lumia 900 clearly survives the torture test in the video, we don't recommend you using your Lumia 900 to build a deck, repair the back steps or deliberately abuse your Windows Phones.  Such activity would likely void your warranty.

Chime in below in the comments if you're Nokia Lumia 900 has survived near death experiences.

Source: Conversations Nokia

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Bridgestone Australia chooses the Lumia 800

Windows Phone and Nokia received another vote of confidence. This time from Bridgestone Australia who has chosen the Nokia Lumia 800 to replace the company's smartphone fleet.

The Nokia 800 won out over the iPhone and Blackberry in part due to the Windows Phone support for Outlook, Work and Excel. Bridgestone's workforce was a little divided in their needs with Sales needing easy email access and managers needing better integration with business apps. Then there was the desire for a device that bridged employees work and personal lives. Scott Baxter, Group IT Manager for Bridgestone commented,

"There was a strong business case for the Nokia Lumia 800. It gives us the best of both worlds - seamless integration with familiar business tools, such as Outlook, Internet Explorer, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as exceptional design and build quality."

Baxter also commented that Nokia Drive and Maps were two appealing apps that will allow staff to dispense with separate GPS devices.

Source: ITWire; Thanks, Hassan, for the tip!

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Mobilicity and Windows Phone Central Photo Contest

Windows Phone Central, with the help of Mobilicity, is having another Photo Contest to win a Windows Phone -- the Nokia Lumia 710 (review) which just arrived on the Canadian carrier. This time around, we've scaled things down a bit and instead of a black/white theme, we are going with the Great Outdoors. It doesn't have to be a picture of the Grand Canyon and a picturesque shot of your front yard will do.  It can be a sunset, a photo of the lake, the mountains, a garden, just anything outdoorsy that is eye appealing.

WP Central

Here's the fine print...

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geoDefense Mango update adds Live tiles and more

geoDefense Lead

geoDefense Swarm is out now and doing quite well, if reader comments and my own enjoyment are any indication. But the original geoDefense, which also happened to be the first good tower defense game on Xbox Live for Windows Phone, is still loved by many. As such, Critical Thought Games recently released an update to make geoDefense even better for current and future consumers.

geoDefense version 1.4 release notes:

  • 60fps on devices that support it  (previous cap was 30fps)
  • Live Tile (pin the game tile to the home screen, will flip to show progress)
  • Live Secondary Tile (hold down on level in list and it'll make a quick-jump live tile on home screen)
  • Supports Fast Application Switching
  • Fixed a bug with the targeting logic of locked laser towers (This was a big deal on some levels.)

Mango features are the standout additions. Many of us swear by Fast App Switching, so it’s great to see another popular Live game add that support. If only they would all follow suit (*cough, Plants vs. Zombies, cough*). Can’t go wrong with Live Tiles, either.

geoDefense is an easy-to-learn and addictive tower defense game. See our full review for details. The game costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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Lumia 900

Nokia is moving closer to its China launch of the Lumia 900, according to dates reported by Chinese news website Sina Tech. The Lumia 900 was approved for use on GSM and WCDMA networks by State Radio Regulation Committee (SRRC) on April 18, and the website is pointing to a June release for the Windows Phone. The younger brother, the Lumia 800c, was launched in the country back in March.

AT&T has been witnessing expectation surpassing results with the 4G version of Nokia's flagship Windows Phone since its launch earlier this year. Let's not forget the news of the platform market share overtaking the iPhone in China, which should continue to capture more of the market with the introduction of this high-end device. The Lumia 900 sports a 4.3" ClearBlack AMOLED display, 1.4GHz chip, 512MB RAM, and 16GB of storage.

Source: Sina Tech, The Next Web

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Tips and tricks for using SkyDrive on Windows Phone

In our latest how-to guide, we show you how to make the most of your Windows Phone and SkyDrive cloud storage

SkyDrive for Windows Phone

We've touched on the basics with Microsoft's SkyDrive services and the SkyDrive App for your Windows Phone. But how does all that translate into every day use?

The obvious every day use for SkyDrive and your Windows Phone is to free up storage space and make content easily available. Why bog down your Windows Phone with documents, pictures, and music files when you can store them in the Cloud and access them at your leisure? But did you know that several quality apps utilize SkyDrive? Of course you did... and we'll try to cover a few along the way as we look at every day uses for your SkyDrive account.

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Twitter and Live notes

New Twitter integration with Live and the People Hub. Left (New) and Right (Old).

Microsoft has evidently updated how Twitter interacts with Live services on Windows Phone by automatically pulling down a contact's Twitter profile an merging it into "Notes".

We're not sure when the change occurred but reader Kaush noticed the difference today which evidently happened when Windows Phone auto-syncs back to the server for contact updates. We managed to break out our international Titan (which we last used a few months ago) to quickly compare for a "before and after".

As an example, under Jay Bennett you can now see his Twitter profile integrated into Notes whereas the device on the right does not have that information.

While this is a small and subtle change, it is certainly good use of the Notes area which often goes unused.  So to our readers: is this something really new or have we just missed it?

Thanks, Kaush, for the tip!

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WP Central

Microsoft is developing a cross-platform service that will enable users to migrate from competitor platforms (or Windows Phone) to Windows Phone, according to a patent filed back in 2010. The service will allow apps to be detected on the legacy handset, which will then be listed on the new Windows Phone for convenient downloading, providing users with peace of mind when it comes to installed apps.

According to the filed patent, the company is planning to provide functionality within the service that would analyse installed apps on the legacy handset (eg.: Android). The service would then search for identical or similar apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace. The user would be presented with popular third-party suggestions should official apps not be available.

If there's no third-party app present on the Marketplace, the service will notify the user in the future once a similar app is published. Is that more than enough? Not according to the company. Microsoft is reported to be wanting to take things further with actually creating a complete solution where app data would be stored and transferred across to new Windows Phones or from other platforms, preventing data loss. Of course, little detail is available and we're yet to see how this service could work with the likes of Android and iOS

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WP Central

Around here at WPCentral, we get a lot of international users asking "When is X coming to my country?". The Lumia 900 is one of those frequently asked about and specifically in Singapore.

So we're glad to report that it's officially launching there on May 26th, fetching for S$849 (US$ 670) and available in three colors: matte-black, glossy-white and of course, cyan.

The pricing may seem a bit high, especially since in the US it can be had for $450 (off-contract). However pricing is relative and from what we understand high-end devices like HTC and Samsung often sell for S$900 or higher. In that sense the Lumia 900 is not cutthroat cheap but it's fair. Reportedly three carries will have the device available to consumers within a few weeks.

How well will Nokia and Windows Phone fair in Singapore remains to be seen. They already ave the Lumia 710 and 800 (in fact they had the 800 way back in December). Will the 900 grab that upper echelon of the market? We hope so.

Source: CNet (Asia); Thanks, Corraine, for the tip

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WP Central

WPDownUnder has received insider information detailing pricing of the upcoming HTC TITAN II 4G. As well as cost, the Australian website is also able to report a date for when the Windows Phone will be available in Telstra stores. May 29th is the date set for Australia's first 4G Windows Phone, should source information be trustworthy.

Apparently, the carrier has already had the device in-stock at selected stores for some time but it's not confirmed what has caused the delay. We were previously looking at an early April release. Check out WPDownUnder's graphic illustrating the plan pricing, which has been previously confirmed by the website from documentation.

WP Central

Note that no official announcement has been made from Telstra, so it's still a waiting game but at least we have some light at the end of the tunnel. 

Source: WPDownUnder

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Nokia Army

It looks like Nokia is taking the competition seriously as they have evidently formed their own military, aptly called the Nokia Army.

And what good is a military force if it doesn't have its own app, amirite? So it shouldn't be too surprising to find the official Nokia Army app sitting proudly in the Nokia Collection, awaiting your orders.

Now some caveats: civilians are not welcomed for this app. You need to have proper ID to get in and that includes having a nokia.com, team-nokia.com, team-nokia.net, navteq.com or marketsource.com email address. Should you possess one of these, head to www.nokiaarmy.com and get yourself registered and enlisted.

WP Central

So what's the app for? Details are murky ("fog of war" stuff) but we can say that it's a "Nokia Tool for Nokia Army Team members to use when visiting and supporting retail in North America.". There should be little doubt folks, this is for Nokia's troops on the ground during Operation Rolling Thunder.

Download Nokia Army, should you qualify, here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Over and out. Thanks, Jose, for the tip!

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Tweet it! is good for the soul

We haven't covered the popular Twitter app Tweet It! in quite some time so now feels about right. Tweet It! won our praise months ago for breaking the tradition of super-Metro Twitter apps that are out in force on the Marketplace. Featuring a unique UI, "Street mode" for walking, orientation lock, shake-to-refresh and more, the app is full of interesting surprises and stands apart from the crowd.

Tweet it! v3

Because it's the developers birthday, the app has gone from its normal $1.99 to free for the next 48 hours. Call us crazy, but that's a pretty good deal even if not sure if you'll like it (but we think you will).

Since our coverage, the app has had a major revision in version 3.0.The changes are welcomed including excellent scrolling capability and fast loading (try the "Post Tweet" tile). But don't take our word for it. Go download it now, take it for a spin and let us know your thoughts.

Pick up Tweet it! for free here in the Windows Phone Marketplace, you won't regret it. And happy birthday, Khamidov Timur!

Check out our video review of v2.0 and QR tag after the break...

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Quickly create ringtones on Windows Phone from YouTube

YouRang

Early this morning we reported on the mini song "Metro" by Matt Oglesby created on nothing but free Windows Phones apps. The tune has a chill yet vibrant feel to it and as a few of you noticed in comments, it would make a solid ringtone on your device.

While there are browser plugins that will easily rip YouTube audio and convert it to an MP3, there is a much easier way to do it directly on Windows Phone. The free app YouRang by Red Pegasus Media allows you to search YouTube, bring up the video in a small window and then by using pre-selected arrows, you can edit the section you want for a ringtone on your phone.

The app is free, beautiful and super simple to use. It maintains the full audio quality, volume and lets you "max out" the length of the ringtone according to Microsoft's specifications. In short, there's no reason not to get it even if you just want "Metro" for your ringer (just search for 'Metro' - Track Created...).

Pick up YouRang for free here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. [Edit: For those outside certain regions, stay tuned. The developer has submitted an update for other regions and it should be available soon]

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Looks like the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T is starting to get that second bounce in advertising. Today on Extra (pop news entertainment show), host Mario Lopez and Microsoft's Margaret Arakawa were talking up the svelte flagship Windows Phone.

During the 60-second segment Mario and Margaret demonstrated the photo app and Facebook tagging/upload capability which we're thinking is always a strong selling point of the OS (especially with that massive social networking being front and center in the news this week). Mario also talks up being organized and how easy it is with Windows Phone.

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WP Central

As well as the success in China, in the states Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility, had the following to say about Windows Phone and its future with Microsoft's upcoming dekstop OS release, Windows 8.

"I am really pleased with what I am seeing out of Microsoft and Nokia coming out with their first product. The operating system works really well. It is simple, it is easy to use, it is intuitive. The reception to the Lumia launch has actually exceeded our expectations. So we think there is a very good chance that Microsoft will have a very good OS that will be right in there with iOS and Android.

When they come out with Windows 8 in the fourth quarter, I think it will actually add to the value that that OS brings to the marketplace, in that that will be the first time that you can truly have a similar experience on your PC, on your tablet, and on your smartphone from soft Microsoft. From what I have seen and the previews that I have been given, I think it is going to be exceptionally good. I am very upbeat in what they are bringing to the market."

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WP Central

All eyes were on Microsoft's rather important launch of Windows Phone in China earlier this year. Nokia followed up with the Lumia 800c, released on China Telecom. According to Michel van der Bel, COO of Greater China Region at Microsoft, the company has achieved 7% marketshare in the country, overtaking the iPhone (sitting at just 6%).

Before you think "well 7% isn't something to get excited about", remember that the platform has only officially been available for just under two months. Windows Phone has captured 7% of the Chinese smartphone market in just 60 days, and the campaign has only just begun. This kind of growth is a struggling goal for the platform in other markets, so it's positive to see Chinese consumers choosing the Windows Phone experience. Plus, it's always a great headline when Windows Phone beats the popular iPhone.

With manufacturers also on-board and attacking supported countries, Windows Phone should look to repeat the success story currently being written in China, especially with Nokia powering through marketing budgets. There's still much more to do in China though, as van der Bel went on to admit the company understands the difficult task ahead and has deployed a 2,500 head strong team in its R&D department to focus on the Asian market.

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Professor Green spotted using the ZTE Tania in London

Professor Green, an established English rapper, has been spotted in London wielding a ZTE Tania. Check out the video above (note: it contains strong language) to see the artist use Windows Phone to locate a coffee house, and his team use the same device to record some of the live concert on-stage. Even DJ IQ takes the Tania for a quick spin with some humorous viewing.

It's good to see ZTE making an effort in the UK as we've yet to see any official event to launch a Windows Phone from the manufacturer. The ZTE Tania is available from Clove UK for just £175 (dropped again from £199).

Source: YouTube; thanks Leon for the heads up!

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Security Toolkit for Windows Phone

Microsoft recently held a Windows Phone developers contest in Italy, "Appload and Win", where developers were challenged to create an app and upload it to the Marketplace for a chance at €20,100 in prizes.

Venetasoft walked away with first prize of €3500 for their Windows Phone app Security Toolkit. It's a rather neat Windows Phone app that turns your Windows Phone into a security station with alarms and audio/video recorders. You can even turn your Windows Phone into a security camera by streaming videos to your PC using the companion desktop app.

In celebration of winning the Appload and Win contest, Venetasoft is sharing the joy. All of their apps (that you can find here) will be offered for free for one week. This includes the Security Toolkit, Intrusion Alarm, TurboCameraWebCam Viewer and more.

Venetasoft has just thrown the switch to offer the apps for free. The changes should be seen on the Marketplace within the next 48 hours.

Thanks, Lorenzin, for the tip!

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