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The world is changing, folks, and just in case you weren't aware of that fact, Microsoft Research has released the above video to show just how dramatic those changes will be. Though they aren't quite usable as anything more than the most simple activities (like bouncing a ball or picking up a 3D holographic object), the HoloDesk by the research team at Microsoft shows some really cool possibilities for the technology, especially by showing a holographic Windows phone. As you can see from the video, interaction with a 3D hologram is not just something the characters in Star Trek can do anymore - Microsoft has taken their Kinect to a whole new level and brought holograms in direct contact with our fingertips.

While we probably won't be using any holographic smartphones any time soon, that didn't stop the development team from creating their own version of a WP7 device to play with in their HoloDesk. At 2:40 in the video, you can see the user picking up a translucent holographic Windows phone, browsing through the available applications and even launching one of them. Not bad for a phone that doesn't actually exist.

The HoloDesk uses a number of sensors to watch exactly how the user is interacting with what they see. It watches their hands for motion and direct interaction with the displayed objects, and their eyes to know what they are looking at (and change the perspective of the illusion as they do so). This technology could eventually be used for prototyping new devices, manipulating x-rays or displaying an array of data and charts, if not eventually be used in gaming or other forms of entertainment.

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Samsung AllShare DLNA workaround patched

It's confirmed this time around. Samsung has finally patched the AllShare app to fix the glitch that enabled Focus and Omnia 7 owners to use DLNA and stream content to and from supported devices. Unfortunately Samsung seems to be dedicated to leaving us 1st-gen handset owners in the dark with the latest features.

While we previously brought some good news to the table when reports came in that the manufacturer patched the app and the glitch remained operational, it's game over now folks.

Thanks NaterBater for the heads up!

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Skype for Windows Phone still coming this year

Last we spoke of an app for Skype coming to Windows Phone was back in April, at MIX'11. An app was demoed and was slated for a "late fall 2011" release. Neil Stevens, Skype's Vice President and General Manager of Products and Marketing, spoke about how Skype is looking to be more integrated into the OS as opposed to being a mere app, which should be likely with Microsoft's acquisition.

We've now caught wind of Microsoft confirming the upcoming launch of a Skype app for Windows Phone, which is scheduled for late 2011. It will be interesting to see what the solution will be, we expect video calls will be supported to keep the app up to par with other platforms.

Source: @leoberto, via: MobileTechWorld

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We understand some folks on T-Mobile are a little miffed about not getting the Titan and instead have to "settle" for the Radar 4G. We disagree a little bit, having handled the Radar and knowing what a svelte device it is.  We also know that these second generation devices have better internal hardware, a faster CPU, newer more powerful GPU and better screens to name a few differences.

In this case, WP7.com.pl has put the HD7 next to the Radar for a side-by-side speed test. While it should be of no surprise that the Radar wins easily, it's still certainly interesting to see the margin of difference. Needless to say, a lot of us will enjoy that extra speed boost that the Radar gives, even if it still only has a 1GHz CPU (but newer build).

Source: WP7.com.pl

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For those of you who don't know, Klout (Klout.com) is a new social-network metric for measuring how influential you are on specific topics. The higher the score, the more influential. It's based on things you say, who's connected to you, who re-Tweets your messages, etc.

Some love it, some hate it.

Regardless, Microsoft has teamed up with them through their 'Klout Perks' program to offer 500 Windows Phones for free to people who qualify. That's a whole lotta phones, making this a serious contest. What's more, winners will get VIP tickets to those launch events we just mentioned a few posts down.

To qualify, you'll have to have Klout connect up with your Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+ accounts. Then you have to have a Klout score of 55 or higher in Technology. That's pretty high--heck, @WPCentral is at 67 but myself (@malatesta77) is only at 52 (just a "specialist", le sigh). 

But hey, if there any big movers and shakers out there, feel free to try to get the "perk" by reading more at Klout here.

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Microsoft Gulf, a division of the company that is based in the Middle East, is increasing its efforts to make WP7 more accessible and usable to their customers who live in the region. By partnering with digital marketing firm Prototype, Microsoft plans to bring a number of new applications to the Windows Phone Marketplace, all of which are built for purposes and businesses that are unique to the UAE (United Arab Emirates).

The list of new apps includes titles like Time Out Dubai, to give users access to restaurant reviews and locations; Aramex, for tracking courier shipments; and mParc, an exclusive Windows Phone Mango app that will give users instant access to Dubai's paid parking lots.

As more of these localized apps are built, Microsoft is making it clear that they intend to spend their massive marketing budget wisely to increase their WP7 user-base. Expect to see more such programs launched worldwide as not only Microsoft, but soon Nokia, continue to integrate WP7 into the world of smartphone users.

Source: IT Pro Portal

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If you recall, once a developer had submitted a "Mango" 7.1 app to the Marketplace, it essentially cut them off from access to the non-Mango 7.0 version. That meant that the pre-Mango version was frozen, basically forever, with no chance for bug fixes. And although the goal is to get Mango on 100% of the devices and basically all the updates are rolling out now, developers were still a little unhappy about that limitation.

Microsoft of course listened and figured out a way to let devs have access to both 7.0 and 7.1 versions of their apps. They announced this awhile ago but it has just officially been instantiated in the developer AppHub, meaning devs can update their old pre-Mango apps just like before.

As you can see from the image above, thanks to our developer Jay Bennett, devs will have the option via a drop down menu to choose which app to modify. Seems like a good solution to us and hopefully devs will take advantage of it.

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"Your App Here" advertising campaign [Developers]

Microsoft's Windows Phone developer team is offering a splendid deal for developers to get promotion and advertising for apps with up to seven apps being featured in campaigns funded by the team. Apps will be located in banners published across the MSN network of web properties, featured in the Marketplace for a single day, and receive potential PR promotion.

Unfortunately, to enter you must be a registered App Hub developer and reside in the U.S. Simply publish your app on the Marketplace and fill in the registration form found via the link below. Deadlines for the programs:

  • 25/10 – For December 2011 campaign consideration
  • 16/11 - For January 2012 campaign consideration
  • 22/12 – For February 2012 campaign consideration

Head on over to the campaign to register your apps with selections being made on the following criteria:

  • Originality & innovation: Uniqueness of idea
  • Consumer friendly: Easy to use and engaging
  • Look and feel is consistent with Windows Phone 'Metro' user experience: e.g., panorama display
  • Integration of App Connect when relevant

Source: Advertising Campaign

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Samsung Focus pops up on TV's Psych [Video]

Well, we asked and you answered. After documenting the HTC HD7S on NCIS: LA, you folks let us know in droves that last night on Psych, the Samsung Focus made an appearance.

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Sure enough, we got the clip for you and it's actually pretty hilarious. It's still not as cool as the Hawaii FIVE-0 spot, but good to see the ol' Focus getting some screen time. Check out our collection of TV product placements here.

Thanks everyone who tipped us! Keep 'em coming...

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We love Arcane's Tower Defense. It's easily one of the most elaborate and polished indie games we have on Windows Phone. So we're pretty psyched to see it get a Mango update, enabling fast-app resume. On top of that, we hear another update is coming in a few days with some bug fixes, new campaigns and new features.

In addition, if you didn't want to pay the entirely reasonable $1.99 for the game, you can now get a free, ad-supported version that is also Mango-ready. It's the exact same game except we hear the paid version will get some new campaign maps.

All in all, if you enjoy tower defense games with a hint of World of Warcraft, we implore you to give this game a spin. You won't be disappointed. Pick up the paid version (w/trial) here or go for the new free ad-supported version here.

Peep the video of it in action after the break...

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Radar - Mango App Spotlight

Ever forget where you parked your car? How about where your hotel is? Radar is a Windows Phone app that is designed to help you find your way back to locations such as where you parked your car. The app taps into your Windows Phone compass and GPS to tag these locations and track you back to them. No data connection is required.

Radar's layout is simple with a page for the radar display and a page to tag your return locations or targets. The Radar Page is basically a compass that will display the return direction to get back to your location.  There are three preset tags available on the Targets Page and all three can be in use at the same time. You have tags for your car, hotel and custom location (can be anything) that will place a corresponding icon on the radar screen.

To set a location, simply tap on the location title on the Target Page. To cancel or reset the location, tap again to stop the tracking service.  As you move away from the tagged location, the distance from that point is displayed on the Radar and Target pages.

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We do love ourselves some AR (augmented reality) apps around here, so devs, just add AR to your app to get featured here. Just kidding, but it doesn't hurt.

Case in point is this nifty little app called Heads Up Compass. It uses the camera's live feed and overlays the compass headings in cardinal points and direction on top, allowing you to scan the horizon for Tusken Raiders. Or maybe Bear Grylis.

We actually have no practical use of this outside of looking bad ass in New York City when we get out of the subway. That didn't stop us from buying it for $0.99 though. Of course you could use it for free (with ads) if you don't want to spend the buck.

Grab Heads Up Compass here in the Marketplace. And good luck finding R2.

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Live in the US? Live near New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles or San Francisco? Then you'll want to head over here to the Windows Phone Facebook page to reserve yourself a spot, as Microsoft is set to throw two-night parties in those cities to celebrate the launch of some new Windows Phones.

Free drinks, live music from some indie bands and a chance to see and play with the the HTC Radar, Titan, Samsung Focus S and Flash. There will be food, a lounge and a chance to play others in video games, which sounds like a grand old time, if you ask us.

And yes, at least some of us will be attending (cough, me, New York City), so perhaps we'll see you there. But reserve now as space is limited! You will need a Facebook account though.

Bonus cool feature: You can send your e-Ticked to your Windows Phone, which you use to get into the event.

Bonus cool feature 2: First 20 registrants for each night get a VIP upgrade...go go!

Source: Windows Phone Blog, Windows Phone Facebook page

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It's no secret that Windows Phone devices like to make cameos on popular TV shows lately. We saw it used on Hawaii FIVE-0 the other day, when we compiled a few examples of SkyDrive and Windows Phone in action.

Now we got word from you folks that NCIS: LA has been making judicious use of our favorite OS. Indeed, the HD7S showed up no less than three times on three different episodes this season. Heck, there's probably more but we only have so much time.

And because we're swell people, we did all the work and compiled those three cameos into a short lil' vid for your viewing pleasure.

Make sure to take a look at our growing collection of Windows Phone product placements and like they say here in New York City, if you see somehting, say something.

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Bloomberg just ran an interesting story interviewing President of the Windows Phone division Andy Lees, who's been making the press round lately.

The gist of the interview focuses on how it used to cost $400 to produce a Windows Phone back in 2010, but for this next generation of devices, production costs for OEMs are down to about $220. The goal though is to lower that even further to below $200, which will allow Microsoft to essentially flood the market with devices ranging from low-end (where Android dominates) to high-end (where the iPhone and other Android phones take the lead).

Something we haven't heard about though is that there is a tiered licensing based on cost of production for the OEM. The cheaper it is for them to make a phone, the less they have to pay Microsoft. So even though Redmond would be making less per device, the aim is have more devices to make up the difference.

The other real interesting tidbit is the acknowledgment that Qualcomm is the only semiconductor partner Microsoft is working with for Windows Phone:

Microsoft works exclusively with Qualcomm to develop chips that power handsets using its system, allowing it to specify technical details to ensure devices run more smoothly, the executive said.

There is currently no plan to work with other semiconductor makers for Windows Phone 7 devices, he said.

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From the WPCentral Forums...

Mango is out and with that it is time for us Windows Phone 7 users to get a little respect from all those other OS’s. Even Rich Jaroslovsky of Bloomberg has something to say about it. Join us in the discussion: "The Eyes Opening to WP7 Is Beginning" Now that we are starting to earn some respect, what else do we need to get this party started? O_o yah! We need some advertising and who better to get the ball rolling than Microsoft? Are we ready or has Microsoft waited to long?

Now for some fun! WPGenius noticed something you might want to check out. In this thread you can learn how to “amaze your friends”. We are getting a little silly in the forums these days and that’s okay but in all seriousness Vector555 and I have to know "What is your phone's name?".

What a week for our developer community. We have had a bunch of new Applications and Games land in our Spotlight forums this week and I think we might have set a new record. If you haven’t stopped in to check out what’s new, you better. Here are a few of this week’s titles.

Applications Spotlight;

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Is this the Nokia Sabre Windows Phone?

Could this be a prototype of the upcoming Nokia Sabre? According to PocketNow it could well be, definitely looks real enough. We previously touched on the codename with Microsoft Canada revealing the Windows Phone on their website briefly. Steve Ballmer recently stated that a "bunch" of handsets will be unveiled at next week's Nokia World, so the Sabre could well make an appearance.

Looking at the photo above, the handset is following suit of the HTC Radar in terms of colour uniqueness compared to the current line of Windows Phones and looks great. Reported specifications stand at a 1.4GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 3.5-inch WVGA screen, 5MP camera and a price tag of around €300-350 ($410-$480).

Source: PocketNow

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Nokia's Q3 report on the good side of bad

Nokia's Q3 earning reports came out yesterday, and to nobody's surprise, the $12.35 billion was not good, a 3% drop from Q2 and 13% from the same time last year.  The unexpected silver lining here is that Nokia's overall net loss this quarter, $93.34 million, is a huge improvement over last quarter's $668.50 net loss.  This beat nearly everyone's expectations and gave Nokia a nice pre-trading stock bump of 8%. 

Nokia still has a long way to go, as they are well behind their $553.20 million profit from last year.  However, the Finnish phone manufacturer has a whopping $6.95 billion in its coffers, so it can certainly tread water until the launch of their new line of Windows Phones, expected to be on October 26-27 at the Nokia World conference in London.  CEO Stephen Elop has confirmed that we will see the first Nokia WP7 handsets this quarter, and Microsoft will be there in force as well.

Source: DailyTech

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Andy Lees: Android copying is flattering

Microsoft's Andy Lees, president of Windows Phone division, has spoken out about Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), particularly the People app. Similarities are present, which was noticeable in the Android ICS video we covered yesterday with Google heavily borrowing from other platforms.

"It's always flattering when someone starts copying you. Fundamentally, their point of view is different. They provide you with a grid of icons and a sea of applications and the more functionality you add, the more complicated and difficult to use the phone becomes."

Even though some parts of Windows Phone are being copied, there's still space for Google to be critical about the platform. Andy moves on to what Matias Duarte said about Windows Phone Metro UI.

"The problem with the Android model is that (when) somebody decides to do something, they hack up the operating system and they make it work. But that puts it (at) a dead end for that device, and that's why phones don't get updated, it's why sometimes they run applications and sometimes they don't."

If you missed the video for Android ICS, check it out after the break. 

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Photobucket Mango updated to 2.0

We've got word that Photobucket has been updated to Windows Phone 7.5 (or Mango as we've all come to be accustomed to), which brings some requested features as well as advertisements. For a quick run through of what we know so far:

  • Changed start-up interface with more browsing capabilities from photobucket.com
  • Added ability to add live tiles of various albums rotating pictures
  • Launch camera app within Photobucket and snap and upload on the fly
  • Have multiple uploads at once simultaneously
  • Added advertisements

You can download Photobucket from the Marketplace for free.

Thanks Eric for the tip and info!

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High res images of the AT&T HTC Titan

Also just posted on the Windows Phone Blog, we finally get to see the AT&T HTC Titan what may also be called the ultimate Windows Phone. Behold it's glory and while many of you know the specs on this big boy, we'll repost below to tantalize you:

  • 4.7" TFT display
  • 1.5GHz MSM8255 CPU
  • 8MP BSI sensor with AF, F2.2/28mm. 2X LEDs flash
  • Front facing camera
  • 11 hours talk time

Also no word on pricing or availability, but we're gonna guess sometime in November since this image doesn't look like the prototype device we saw a few weeks ago in New York City.

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Samsung Focus Flash 4G details and specs emerge

In addition to the Focus S, we can not get a glimpse of the Flash Flash 4G, which is the "lower end" device but it's far from low end in these eyes. The phone features the following specs, leaked on the Windows Phone site.

  • 1.5GHz CPU MSM8255
  • 5MP rear camera
  • VGA front facing camera
  • 7 hours battery life
  • 3.7" Super AMOLED display
  • "4G" HSDPA+

All in all, a solid device and it looks a lot like the Omnia W, if you ask us. No word on pricing and availability.

Source: Windows Phone Blog; Thanks, Jason P., for the link!

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AT&T Focus S 4G revealed in photos

The Windows Phone Blog didn't want to seem to wait for leakers to do their job, so they've gone ahead and published some new photos of the highly anticipated Samsung Focus S.

Specifications on the device are expected to be pretty high end:

  • 1.5GHz MSM8255 CPU
  • 1.3MP Front facing camera
  • 8MP Rear camera
  • 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus sceen
  • "4G" aka HSDPA+

Pricing and availabilty, unfortunately, have not yet been announced. But with the EOL of the Surround and Quantum, you can bet it's right around the corner.

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In a fairly candid interview with the Seattle Times, Andy Lees, President of Microsoft's Windows Phone Division, answers some questions about Windows Phone, Mango, OEMs, advertising and more.

There are some typical responses, like on the iPhone 4S (see review at TiPb) since it's only one form factor, it doesn't offer consumers a choice. Meanwhile, Android is "chaotic" with some phones being excellent and others being sub-par, resulting in a mishmash of offerings on that platform.

Regarding advertising, it seems in the U.S. it is mostly up to the carriers with some OEM involvement whereas in the rest of the world, OEMs have more freedom to define their phone and experience. In fact, the strategy doesn't sound too different than what Microsoft has previously done in the past--which may not bode too well:

Lees: "In the United States, the operators own the vast majority of the retail through which phones are purchased. That's not true in many other parts of the world. I would say the OEM is disproportionately important in most parts of the world. And in the U.S., it's probably a balance between the OEM and the operator."

Q: So are there commercials that Microsoft is producing that they will all use?

Lees: "What we want to do is allow each hardware manufacturer to celebrate what's unique about their phone."

In other words, don't expect any Microsoft commercials or at least a broad campaign.

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AT&T LG Quantum no longer available

We've had word, which we're confirmed, that you can no longer purchase the LG Quantum from AT&T, via their online store or on the phone. This ties in with our secret AT&T tipster who took a screenshot of the Samsung Focus and LG Quantum being discontinued. AT&T has just recently halted the HTC Surround too.

Second generation handsets have a plot to move into, so it'll be interesting to see the Samsung Focus S come to stores soon, not to mention possibly the Focus Flash or a Nokia handset.

Thanks, @toenies, for the heads up

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