The Smartphone Beta Test has been running since the birth of the smartphone, well technically it hasn't but it's a pretty neat marketing campaign from Nokia for the U.S. We witnessed a website (www.smartphonebetatest.com) being created with a bunch of videos published to poke fun at some competitor handset issues.
Now the Smartphone Beta Test website has been updated with more interactive content, videos and information on the AT&T Lumia 900, which is launching across the U.S. Cue "Operation Rolling Thunder", Nokia's plan of a attack for the states, which will see the manufacturer driving forward advertising not only for the Lumia handsets, but for Windows Phone too.
Prepare yourselves for some effective Nokia marketing. For a taster, check out the beauty of social integration and live tiles in Windows Phone in the humorous commercial below. Nokia is clearly on the attack here at other smartphones as well as how they can negatively impact our lives by being unreliable - something the manufacturer looks to change with Windows Phone.
Rowi, the popular Twitter app for your Windows Phone, was recently updated and now it's on sale. Just to recap, here are some of the highlights of what version 2.0 brings to the table.
Fast app switching
Pin tweets and messages to the Start Screen
Retweets are now included in the list timelines
Photo previews for tweets in timelines
Conversation views on tweet details page
Tweet details now show who retweeted it
Now Playing added to the tweet screen to let you tweet about what you're listening to
Image upload services through Lockerz, yfrog, Twitter and Twitpic
Toast notifications now display inside of Rowi and take you to the new tweets when tapped
New remaining character counter for new tweets or messages
The ad free version normally runs $2.99 but is on sale through April 15, 2012 for just $.99. Should you really like ads, there is a free, ad supported version available (Rowi Lite). However, the free version does not have notifications or live tile support.
You can find Rowihere at the Windows Phone Marketplace and Rowi Litehere.
After the songs they introduced the Nokia Lumia 900 while a DJ spun some music -- it was similar to the London-Deadmau5 event, though obviously not as massive. To the side, while the music was pumping, a giant high resolution LCD screen showed off an exciting light show leading up the Lumia 900 finally appearing.
All in all in was a fun albeit short event (it lasted about 30 minutes). While not as wow-worthy as the London 3D projection, it will certainly grab a lot of attention and is certainly some great publicity. Oh and a lot of the footage shot there will evidently be used in an upcoming video with the liver performance showing up tomorrow on Facebook.
After the break, you can check two videos we recorded (the second one starts shaky, sorry 'bout that, but it gets better). Also, we have some photos to boot.
The FedEx truck dropped of AT&T's latest Windows Phone from HTC earlier today. While Nokia's Lumia 900 is getting most of the spotlight, the HTC Titan II is quietly landing on AT&T's store shelves on April 8th and it makes a very impressive first impression.
Okay... here's the tell of the tape. The Titan II measures in at 5.2 x 2.7 x .50 inches and weighs only 5.18 ounces. The original Titan measures in at 5.14 x 2.78 x .39 and weighs 5.6 ounces. And for those curious, the Nokia Lumia 900 measures in at 5.03 x 2.7 x .45 inches and weighs 5.6 ounces. These three phones are extremely comparable in size, weight and feel.
The Titan II's 4.7" Super LCD looks great and is backed by a 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor. You'll find 512mb of RAM and 16GB of storage under the hood. Speaking of the 4.7" screen, it has a unique shape in that as the face of the Titan II reaches the three front buttons, it curves out. Not really sure why it's designed this way but it gives the Titan II just enough contour to make it feel really good in the hand.
Unlike the Titan, the Titan II does not have a removable battery. There is a SIM card cover but no battery access. And where the Titan has a bare metal back, the Titan II has a rubbery finish on the back that gives the Windows Phone a little more gripability.
The Smoked by Windows Phone marketing campaign has been extended by Microsoft until April 12th. Those with competitor smartphones will be able to pop into participating Microsoft Stores and attempt to challenge an employee to best the Windows Phone. The campaign recently came under fire for employees supposedly bending the competition rules, ensuring Microsoft's platform won regardless.
Those who manage to beat the Windows Phone will not be receiving a limited edition Hunger Games laptop, priced at $1,000. Instead the store will offer a $1,000 gift card ("hello fancy new Windows 8 tablet") to the first 10 winning participants and a $25 gift card to the first 250 who lose. Are you eligible? Check against the below points:
Last year, this writer paid a visit to Twisted Pixel Studios in Austin, TX to discuss their Kinect title The Gunstringer. Twisted Pixel is best known for their creative and irreverent Xbox Live Arcade titles, including The Maw, Splosion Man, Comic Jumper, and Ms. Splosion Man. Shortly after the visit, Microsoft acquired Twisted Pixel. I dared to hope that the move to first-party status would bring Twisted Pixel titles to Windows Phone, and what do you know…
Ms. Splosion Man, the larger-than-life sequel to Splosion Man, has now been announced for Windows Phone! In MSM (as I’ll now shorten it), players control the titular antihero. Like her male predecessor, she’s the result of scientific experimentation gone awry. MSM is a platformer, but unlike other games, the lead character doesn’t just jump, she ‘splodes to reach new heights. She’ll also ‘splode the hapless scientists and any other contraptions they’ve built that get in her way. It’s bright, cheerful, and extremely silly fun. The XBLA game also provides quite a challenge, but I’m sure Windows Phone gamers are up to it.
One of the noteworthy games that came out of that workshop was SpaceShooterz by Cubeslam. A retro arcade space shooter, the game needed some music and some finishing touches before it headed to the Marketplace. Luckily for you, it's now live and it's a fun little number.
The game is free with no ads (for now), has excellent controls, smooth gameply with a high framerate and the music is just badass sounding. It's certainly falls into the quick-gaming category as you only have one life and no continues, but it's a lot of fun and done very well. For that, we have to recommend it.
Microsoft hasn’t announced it yet, but we’ve caught wind of a mobile Xbox Live Easter sale. Or it could be a celebration of the Lumia 900's release - who knows? The following games are currently only 99 cents each:
This is easily the biggest and best sale on Windows Phone Xbox Live titles ever – seven titles is a lot, and they’re 66 percent off instead of the usual 33. Which games will you be picking up, awesome WPCentral readers? I probably had the most fun with Burn the Rope, but you can’t lose with most of these.
We don’t know the dates of the sale, but it’s likely to run at least through Sunday. This post will be updated should we spot an official date.
If you like using MetroRadio, the first unofficial Pandora app for Windows Phone, you'll be pleased to know you have a new option: an ad-free version.
The free, ad-supported MetroRadio will of course still be available but if you don't like garish ads in your music streaming, you can now plop down $1.29 for a cleaned up, full screen Pandora-ness. The Pro version also has some of the latest, greatest stuff on board including:
International streaming option (beta)
Explicit content filter
We've loaded up the Pro version and really like the look and feel of it. The screensaver, which is coming to the free version soon, is a nice touch and the international streaming option should be useful for those not in the US. Pick up MetroRadio Pro here in the Marketplace.
That's right folks it's delivery day. If you pre-ordered the Lumia 900 on AT&T you should have received your tracking number already. Most folks are reporting delivery should be by 3pm this afternoon. If you're like us, just sitting around refreshing your package tracking screen waiting for the 3pm delivery deadline, let us know in this thread: Delivery Day!!
We are still talking in our "Official has your Lumia 900 shipped yet thread" thread. It seams that AT&T took their sweet time getting the orders out which has caused a little anxiety for some. We have 22 pages and 435 posts in this thread at last count. For a one day total that's a lot of members trying to help each other on a somewhat stressful day. If you haven't received your tracking information, let us know in this thread: (Official) Who's Lumia 900 did not ship?
AT&T's Mobile Transfer services isn't exactly new but, with several making the move to the AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 from a non-Windows Phone the service might come in handy. Mobile Transfer allows you to transfer contacts, pictures and videos from your old phone to, say, your brand new Nokia Lumia 900.
The service isn't available for every phone AT&T carries and you can find out if your phone is compatible here. The Lumia 900 is the only Windows Phone currently compatible. There is no indication if the HTC Titan II or other Windows Phones will join the Lumia 900 on the compatibility list at this time. However, If your moving to the Lumia 900 from another Windows Phone, your contacts will transfer through your cloud service (Windows Live, Google, etc.).
You just install the Mobile Transfer app on both phones and follow the on-screen prompts. There is a 2gb transfer limit on videos and photos. Contacts do not count against this limit.
Once you've transferred your contacts, pictures and videos to your Lumia 900 then you can sync them with your Windows Live account or Skydrive. You can find more about AT&T's Mobile Transfer here at the Mobile Transfer website.
Leaked photos of a Lumia Pure View Windows Phone 8 ("Apollo") handset have blasted through the headlines this morning. According to a Chinese website, the handset pictured in this article is a Nokia PureView Windows Phone handset. We know what you're immediately thinking: "Gosh, this is fake or it's a damn ugly concept!". It could well be, but we'd like to take a different view on this one. We previously covered the Pure View technology back at MWC 2012, which left us in awe at the 41MP sensor.
First of all, check out the new Windows 8 logo used on the center capacitive button, a minute detail. Another is the blurred out information (probably device [code]name) in the bottom-right hand corner. Finally we've already seen a Pure View Symbian handset from Nokia. Since they're currently in a partnership with Microsoft, and there are even rumours of upcoming Windows 8 tablets from the Finnish manufacturer, it makes sense (and has been confirmed) for Nokia to bring this new camera-phone technology to Windows Phone to strengthen the Lumia family (if we don't see a second family emerge with the release of "Apollo").
So, back to the alleged PureView Windows Phone. Reported specifications from the slides are as follows:
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, the long-awaited sequel to Sonic 4, finally has a release date. And when I say that, I don’t mean just the Xbox 360 version has a release date. Even the Windows Phone and PC versions have them! That’s something you don’t see every day.
The information comes from a new trailer that debuted at GameSpot today. The Playstation 3 version rolls out on Tuesday, May 15; the XBLA version on May 16; iOS and PC versions sometime in May; Android in June; and last, but certainly not least, the Windows Phone port comes in July. Considering the wait for Sonic CD, a mere two months for Sonic 4 Episode II doesn’t sound so bad.
Still for some developers there were lingering questions about Windows Phone 8 would have the same core as Windows Phone 7.x. While details are still very sparse to that former aspect, tonight on the Windows Phone developer blog, Microsoft's Larry Lieberman reaffirmed that indeed, today's app will work just fine on Windows Phone 8:
"With regard to existing applications: today’s Windows Phone applications and games will run on the next major version of Windows Phone. Driving application compatibility is a function of Microsoft’s commitment to its developers. Regardless of what we release in terms of new developer features and functionality, we have made a large investment in protecting your existing investments."
That is certainly good news and should allay some fears for devs. But perhaps what is even more interesting is we're getting the first hints that Silverlight may be de-emphasized for the next generation of Windows Phone:
By RogueCode, Thursday, Apr 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm EDT
Virgin Mobile in South Africa is typically a bit behind the rest of the crowd. In-fact, it's only recently that they have realized that smart-phones should probably be on their offerings. And compared to the other service providers, they have a fraction of the subscribers.
So while some countries are celebrating the launch of the Nokia Lumia 900, it's with joyful surprise that we can now let you know that Virgin Mobile's latest specials pamphlet has both the Nokia Lumia 800 and the mid-range Lumia 710! The deals aren't too shabby either, especially the 710 where you are given close to your monthly subscription in airtime, plus 1000 SMS's! The deals are valid until the 6th June 2012.
That's good news for two reasons. First, Vodacom's exclusivity over the Lumia 800 has now ended, and second, if you really want a Lumia but don't want to port to Vodacom, then here is another option. And Virgin Mobile isn't actually all that bad. Their call prices are pretty competitive (especially if you manage to find another VM user to call), and R0.60 per MB out-of-bundle is about the cheapest you will find locally. For the entertainment of the international folk, R0.60 converts to $0.08 per MB of data.
It is rather strange that such a small provider can offer these phones before Vodacom's main competition, MTN. But it seems like you shouldn't be holding your breath if you are with them.
By RogueCode, Thursday, Apr 5, 2012 at 5:45 pm EDT
Over this past weekend Nokia hosted a hackathon in Durban, South Africa. Previously they have held similar events at other cities across the country, and are still having one up in Johannesburg soon. So there are many just like it, but this one was mine.
For those of you who don't know what a "hackathon" actually is, you might be surprised to hear that it's got nothing to do with hacking in the security sense. It's actually just a bunch of people hacking away at whatever the objective is, for a period of time. So, this particular Windows Phone hackathon was coders getting together and making phone apps from 4:30pm on Friday, straight through to the same time on Sunday - essentially 48 hours straight of coding joy.
The Durban event was held at the Moses Mabida Stadium - the stadium built for the Fifa 2010 soccer/ football (fight!) world cup. It wasn't on the actual field or anything- rain and computers just don't go- but rather in the room that the players do their glory walk onto the field from.
This hackathon differed from some of the international ones I have seen because this was exclusively for students (I had to use my slate as a cleaver just to get past security). Very few of them had prior knowledge of the platform, and many were actually rather new to programming. Over the weekend the guys from Microsoft did WP7 workshops to get them up to speed, and a bunch of us were there to provide support when people were stuck. The point in the whole thing was to get students excited about the platform, and to give them a jumpstart onto the WP7 bandwagon. They were each given a Microsoft DreamSpark account (which gives students all the MS software free, including a free AppHub account), and encouraged to publish at least one app onto the Windows Phone Marketplace by the end of the weekend. Nokia definitely succeeded in both of these, as many people told me how impressed they were with the platform after the weekend even though they had previously written it off, and most got at least one app submitted for certification on the Marketplace by Sunday.
Swisscom, a carrier in Switzerland, has announced on Twitter they expect to have the Lumia 900 available for customers in May. The international version of the Windows Phone is being made available for pre-order across Europe, but a release date has yet to be announced or confirmed.
The #Lumia900 is available with us from the beginning of May.
You can forget all the rumors that preorders for the Nokia Lumia 900 had sold out and the Windows Phone was on backorder. We are hearing that several pre-order customers are receiving shipping notifications on their Lumia 900. We even received our own notification from AT&T just a few minutes ago. I have a mental image of the FedEx loading docks being covered with pallets upon pallets of the Lumia C's.
I was late to the party, pre-ordering the Lumia 900 on April 2, 2012. According to the FedEx tracking information, the Lumia 900 will be at my doorstep tomorrow. There is always the possibility that some of the later orders on the Nokia Windows Phone might not get delivered tomorrow but AT&T Retail Stores are still expected to have plenty Lumia C's in stock on Monday, April 9, 2012.
So who else got their shipping notification today? If so, let us know in the comments and make mention of when you pre-ordered the Lumia 900. We've also got a WPCentral Forums discussion going on from those who have recieved their shipping notices.
We have a thread started in our forums Official 'Has your Lumia 900 shipped yet?' thread where I am certain we will get our first indication that they are on their way. This is the thread to watch as a lot of us are refreshing our AT&T order status awaiting any changes. If you want to know the minute these devices start shipping, this is the thread for you.
If you just want to show your excitement for today's activity, forum member txaggies07 has started this thread "Shipping Day!!!". Come share your excitement. We are also still talking about any potential delays of our phones in this thread "Backordered Status?". We have heard many opinions about this and it has put everyone on edge. We share in your anxiety, so don't despair. Come join us as we're the best support group around.
Remember, the forums are more fun when you register, so sign up today.
Even though the Lumia 900 is barely out the door it doesn't mean we can't start the rumor mongering and passing of faked images for Windows Phone 8, does it? Phone Arena were sent the above image described as a "non final poster template" that allegedly came out of Nokia's headquarters.
The poster reveals a "Windows Phone 8" name, a designation that has not been officially given for the updated OS, expected in late 2012. Nicknamed 'Apollo', little is known about the successor to the current Windows Phone 7.5 'Mango' although an earlier leak from a video was purported to divulge some details including dual-core support, higher display resolutions and removable SD cards.
The official Qantas app for Windows Phone, which we have been anticipating since MIX '11, has now been released on the Marketplace. The app enables users to keep track of their upcoming flights with the operator. As well as mobile check-in, the app also displays the status of the customer's frequent flyer programme with accumulated points.
The free Qantas app provides a boarding pass for the selected flight that can be used for a more efficient experience, just remember to charge the Windows Phone the night before (nothing worse than relying on your dead smartphone for checking into your flight). Should you have access to the available lounges at numerous supporting airports, the app will also provide information as to the location and opening hours of said areas.
Live tiles are present with the ability to pin flights to the homescreen for up-to-date details regarding the scheduled time of departure, etc. The official Qantas app is a convenient companion for any frequent traveller, it's just a shame that there doesn't appear to be any way to book flights through the app itself. It's pretty much identical to the British Airways app, which is also available on the Marketplace, basic but sports enough features.
We've noticed in our Twitter stream and from interacting with developers that there have been quite a few delays with Windows Phone Marketplace submissions. Before, it would take around 72 hours from submission to approval to publishing of the app. Now, it's taking significantly longer and there have been a few hiccups along the way too (see Rowi's recent update woes).
In the latest Windows Phone Developer Newsletter (April 2012), Microsoft confirms that indeed "due to high submission and update volumes, the app certification process is continuing to take longer than it has previously." Just how long? Microsoft states it can now take up to seven days which is quite an increase from the previous 72 hours. In turn, Microsoft is recommending to developers to plan accordingly by submitting as early as possible if they want a certain publishing date.
Of course this is a good news/bad news situation. It's a bit frustrating to developers who now have to wait significantly longer than it did a few months ago to get their app or app update to market. On the other hand, these delays are caused by a nice problem: a huge increase in app submissions to the Windows Phone Marketplace.
As we approach the release of the AT&T Lumia 900 this weekend, Nokia and Microsoft have a few tricks up their sleeves for promotions. The first of which is the Times Square event here in New York City on Friday night at 7pm. That event, which is open to the public, will involves some live performance(s) of some kind and presumably some other publicity stunts to drum up attention. And yes, WPCentral will be there to document everything, we have you covered.
Now MS_Nerd has Tweeted that another promotion will be happening on Monday, April 9th. Details are scarce but it involves the slogan "Free time machine in your pocket" which seemingly is referencing the whole "glance and go" efficiency of Windows Phones. This seems to be a theme along the lines of the "24 hours with the Lumia 900" web video posted earlier today.
There is also a corresponding website www.freetimemachine.com already up for the event which is to take place in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago.