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Facebook for Windows Phone bumped to version 2.5

WP Central

Microsoft has released version 2.5 of the official Facebook app for Windows Phone. The update brings many features requested by the community, including threaded messaging (much like messaging on Windows Phone), group messaging and the ability to tag friends in status updates / posts ('with' and 'at' formats supported).

As well as tagging friends, users can now delete posts and comments by tap-and-holding to bring up the context menu for more functionality. Links within published posts can be selected, which will open up the linked content, and the photo comments and likes views have been updated, that now both match the respective post views. When viewing likes and comments on photos, the photo itself is displayed above the lists, which can be pulled down to view.

And if all that wasn't enough, you can now 'like' comments! You can download the Facebook app for free from the Marketplace. 

Source: Facebook; thanks to all who tipped us!

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WP Central

Market research firm IDC has released Q1 2012 data that shows fairly large growth for both Android and iOS, while Symbian and BlackBerry continue to fall into gloomy depths. Android stole the show with a Year-on-Year change in terms of shipping volume of 145%, with iOS in tow at 88%. RIM and Symbian, on the other hand, were hitting -29.7% and -60.6% respectively. Some fairly steep recordings.

But what about Windows Phone? It's sat on a respectable 26.9% increase, which is the point to take away here. While the marketshare has dipped slightly from 2.8 to 2.2 (includes Windows Mobile), the shipping volumes for the platform have seen a boost. We can see clearly the effect Nokia is having on Windows Phone.

"Windows Phone has yet to make significant inroads in the worldwide smartphone market, but 2012 should be considered a ramp-up year for Nokia and Microsoft to boost volumes. Until Nokia speeds the cadence of its smartphone releases or more vendors launch their own Windows Phone-powered smartphones, IDC anticipates slow growth for the operating system."

This is exactly what Chris highlighted in his report on Gartner's Q1 2012 data. Without repeating ourselves, check out the chart below for more details on how the platforms have progressed between Q1 2011 and 2012.

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The ad in question

Two days ago we ran a fun little piece on a Nokia Lumia 900 ad showing up on some sites. The ad featured a rendered 900, spinning around with Live Tiles in motion. Nothing odd there except that two of the Live Tiles had new and very specific behavior:

  1. Contacts - The tiles flip and it says "Meet up with Sarah"
  2. Photo Hub - Flips and splits into two tiles, one with the latest photo, the other with a count

The contacts/People Hub behavior was a tad redundant but also not a bad idea. The Photo Hub count confused people as knowing how many pictures you had didn't seem very useful. We guessed at the time that instead that count was for non-viewed photos from contacts i.e. new Facebook uploads, etc which seemed plausible.

Of course the ad was Photoshopped--in fact the whole thing was. The question wasn't the means but rather the intent (if there was any).

Nokia PR got back to us yesterday on the matter though and perhaps not too surprisingly, deny that what we see is anything more than a marketing error:

"Just to clarify and remove any questions, I want to let you know that this was a change that was made in in the advertisement process and is not an indication of what may or may not come in future iterations of the Windows Phone software. Perhaps someone got a little carried away tinkering in the photo and video editing process, as it did not come from engineering or product management in any way.

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WP Central

Competition winners from a Windows Phone Developer Camp have been announced. The Dev Camp, sponsored by T-Mobile, saw a "huge" amount apps being submitted to win smartphones running Microsoft's OS. Much like we've seen elsewhere, these sessions aid developers who are new to the platform, who'd like to network and pick up on some skills and knowledge from more experienced personnel.

So what are the seven winning apps we speak of?

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WP Central

If you required any further proof that the magenta Lumia 900 exists and will be available in magenta / pink, then feast your eyes on the above. This image was published on Nokia Australia's Facebook page a handful of hours ago. With the Lumia 900 heading to Australia next month, we could well see the magenta version of the Windows Phone going down under.

The Lumia 900 has taken the market by storm (compared to any other launched Windows Phone) and also later caused serious delay issues for the rest of the world with unexpected demand for the AT&T version. Sporting a 1.4Ghz chip, 4.3" AMOLED display and a 8MP rear camera with a 1MP front-facing camera, as well as HSPDA+ speeds (on Australia's version), the Lumia 900 is a speedy old chap.

Source: Nokia AU (Facebook); thanks Jack for the heads up!

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WP Central

The Nokia-like Smoked by Windows Phone campaign, Blown Away by Lumia, has gone to Bulgaria with public heading through popular shopping malls in Sofia being challenged to beat the Lumia 800. Already witnessed in other countries, including India which produced some interesting (yet humorous) results, the challenge is successful at pulling in the punters to show off Microsoft's platform powering Nokia products.

Popular Bulgarian artist Deo took to the helm and led the team through the challenges. These included uploading photos to Facebook, opening web pages and posting status updates to social networks - basic smartphone tasks. Should the participant beat the Lumia 800, they'd pocket 50 lev, but if they failed they'd have to publicly admit defeat.

Check out some more shots after the break.

Source: MobileBulgaria; thanks Eirenach for the tip!

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Tesco Mobile has an Android powered Lumia 800 in stock

WP Central

News just in. Tesco Mobile, the mobile virtual network operator (using O2 as its carrier) from the supermarket, has got the Lumia 800 in its arsenal of smartphones. But it's not running Windows Phone. Well... it is, but it isn't. Confused? You certainly would be if you came across the above page.

According to the documentation the Lumia 800 is a Windows Phone device, but it sports a small Android logo to the right. Which is it Tesco? We've previously covered retailers getting it wrong when it comes to labeling Windows Phones, but should this really be happening with the platform being almost two years old?

Thanks Rob for sending the photo in!

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Now available: Official WPCentral app v2.3

WP Central

We released v2.2 only just 1 week ago, but thanks to a pesky "The parameter is incorrect" issue you may have encountered when tapping on a toast notification we're releasing a quick hot fix to the app to ensure functionality is restored!

So the change list for this version is much smaller than that of v2.2, but you can find it below:

  • Fixed a widespread issue where launching the app directly from a notification caused the app to crash
  • Implemented a workaround to optimise scrolling throughout the app, scrolling will no longer jump in any list (thanks to WPCentral reader 'rsuter' for suggesting this fix)
  • Fixed the about screen buttons
  • Improved social sharing by including the article title by default in the sharing screen
  • Comments now load all at once again as the new scrolling fixes the original issue
  • Added an option to always load high quality images when on Wifi
  • Added new wallpapers in the wallpapers section whilst we work on the community wallpapers functionality

None of the above would have happened without your feedback and comments, so please keep them coming!

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Bake a cake for a chance at winning a Windows Phone

Windows Phone Cake Contest

There seems to be a fascination with baking cakes that look like Windows Phones. So much so that Microsoft is hosting a cake contest where you could bake your way into a new Windows Phone.

Entering is simple. Create a Windows Phone inspired cake, take a picture of your culinary delight and submit it at the Windows Phone Cake Contest page over on Facebook. The three cakes with the most "likes" will win a Windows Phone.

Windows Phone Cake

Entries must be received by Wednesday, May 30, 2012 and voting ends on June 6, 2012. You can find all the fine print of the official rules here on SkyDrive. This is definitely one contest that could go straight to your hips.

Good luck and happy baking.

Source: Windows Team Blog

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WP Central

We previously covered the Crunchyroll Windows Phone app when it was released last month, but the app has been recently updated that enables guest access. When the app was released access was restricted unless you were in possession of a premium account, or enabled the free trial. The service allows users to watch over 600 popular anime shows.

So what shows are available on Crunchyroll (website)? The likes of Naruto Shippuden, Bleach, Shugo Chara!, Blue Exorcist, Gintama, Fate/Zero, Space Brothers, The World God Only Knows, and Bodacious Space Pirates. As mentioned above, this latest update enables access to those who don't have a premium account. To enjoy the full experience of the service, one is required to kick off membership.

Advantages of premium membership:

  • Watch new episodes 1-hour after airing in Japan
  • Watch over 3G and 4G network
  • No adverts
  • Access to 720p HD and DVD quality videos (1080p on newer series) on the website, crunchyroll.com

You can download Crunchyroll from the Marketplace for free. When launching the app, you can select to start a free trial, log in or test the app for free.

Thanks Elisha for the tip!

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Telstra officially announce HTC TITAN 4G Windows Phone

HTC TITAN II

It's official, Telstra has announced the HTC TITAN 4G, which will be the first Windows Phone to make use of the faster network speeds. After weeks (if not months) of speculation and anticipation from Australian Windows Phone fans, the carrier has finally released details surrounding the HTC monster device. It's actually the HTC TITAN II that launched in the U.S., but will be branded as the HTC TITAN 4G.

This is great news for those who are awaiting for a 4G Windows Phone as this beast of a smartphone not only packs 4G speeds, but a 16MP camera, which we positively reviewed. Will Irving, Group Managing Director, Telstra Business comments:

"Windows Phone fans will soon be able to surf the mobile web, respond to email and access work documents faster than before on the HTC Titan4G – Australia’s first 4G Windows Phone which launches next Tuesday on the Telstra Mobile Network.” In a clear pitch to business users and enterprise customers. Australian small businesses have embraced smartphones to help them work where they want and to stay responsive to customers and new business opportunities.

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WP Central

Nokia World 2012 was announced earlier this year and is set to be held in Helsinki, Finland on September 25-26. As was the case with London 2011, we expected a single event to be held in a fairly large convention centre. It seems Nokia has other ideas for this year as the manufacturer has revealed plans for a new format with holding a number of events separately.

The first of said events will be held on September 5-6, a handful of weeks in advance than previously announced. More information and details will be published in the coming months, but you can be sure Windows Phone Central will be at Nokia World to bring you the latest Windows Phone juice. The first event will target carriers and large partners, but follow-up events will cater different audiences.

Nokia has stated that we should look at future Nokia Worlds as more SXSW, rather than CES. All we know is that it's going to be an un-missable look at what hardware the manufacturer will have for Windows Phone 8 "Apollo".

Source: Nokia Conversations; thanks Kyle for the heads up! 

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WP Central

Our friends over at Windows Phone Geek, the developer-based community, have announced their new marketplace (link) that caters for developers who requires tools to help them build apps on the platform. This beta (currently invite-only) Windows Phone marketplace enables developers to buy / sell UI controls, developer tools, SDKs, app templates, source code and more.

So why launch a developer marketplace? The goal is to help developers build high quality apps and offer tools in a single location. For those who have already crafted such tools and projects, they can release them for free or earn a little revenue on the side by selling the tools to other platform developers. Submissions are stated to be free. Boryana Miloshevska, Founder and CEO of WPGeek Ltd, had the following to say:

"Our purpose is not just to list thousands of low quality components, but to list only those that really can bring value and can help developers to build better apps. So, quality and not just quantity is what we aim to achieve with the WindowsPhoneGeek Marketplace!"

Be sure to head on over to Windows Phone Geek to check out the resources available and show interest into the newly announced developer marketplace.

Source: Windows Phone Geek

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Monopoly Guy

Those hoping for an exciting Deal of the Week will likely be disappointed this time out. The latest sale is a repeat: Monopoly from Electronic Arts. It’s on sale for $2.99, down from an overpriced $4.99.

What can you say about Monopoly? Our review praises its faithfulness to the original board game and support of customizing the game rules. The lack of online multiplayer keeps the game from being all that it could be, but that’s mobile Xbox Live for you. Thankfully the game does support local multiplayer, which could be fun if you’re stuck somewhere with nothing to do. Easy Achievements (only one of which is luck based) might provide an incentive to buy as well.

Monopoly is on sale for $2.99 for one week only. Grab it here on the Marketplace.

QR: Monopoly

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WP Central

The premium version of Rowi has been updated today, which introduces features implemented in the recent Rowi "Lite" release. Without repeating ourselves too much, this update to both versions of the Windows Phone Twitter client makes use of the Aviary SDK (see our earlier exclusive first look) for photo manipulation and editing. 

As well as catering for the die-hard amateur photographers, version 2.1 also brings support for TweetMarker (website), a service that synchronises accounts across multiple clients and platforms. The update is rolling out for the paid version of Rowi as we speak, so fear not if you haven't received the notification just yet.

If you haven't got Rowi, you can download the app from the Marketplace.

Thanks to everyone who tipped us!

WP Central

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Best Windows Phone Apps for Hurricane Season

Windows Phone Central takes a look at apps that will help during the upcoming Hurricane Season

Hurricane Season and your Windows Phone

For many Windows Phone owners, June 1st marks the start of summer. For some, June 1st marks the start of Hurricane Season. If you live along the U.S. Gulf Coast, Atlantic Coast, in the Caribbean or any other area that could be impacted by hurricanes, there are a few apps for your Windows Phone that can come in handy.

These apps keep you informed of the tropical systems as they develop into hurricanes, monitor the storms track, help you weather out the storm, and pick up the pieces when the dust settles. Hopefully this Hurricane Season will be a quiet one but if not, maybe these apps will help.

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Droplitz Delight

Last month, Windows Phone Central announced that Droplitz Delight would soon be coming to Xbox Live. That time is now at hand, as Game House’s latest is now available on the Marketplace.

Droplitz Delight

Droplitz Delight is the mobile-exclusive sequel to XBLA and Steam puzzler Droplitz. In each level, players are tasked with guiding the adorable liquid droplitz from the top of the screen to the bottom. You’ll have to quickly rotate a bunch of tiles in order to create a safe path for the little liquids, and then do it all again after the old path disappears. Gameplay modes include the 40-level Target Quest, Dash, Classic, and Free Play.

The warm and cuddly art style of Droplitz Delight would be reason enough for puzzle fans to give it a look, but the game has another ace up its sleeves too. Droplitz Delight rings up at just 99 cents – the perfect impulse price. You can get it here on the Marketplace.

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AT&T Titan and Titan II out of stock online

WP Central

We're not too sure what to make out of AT&T running out of the HTC Titan I and Titan II online but if you head to their site, you can see for yourself.

Now we could explain away the original Titan becoming unavailable -- after all, AT&T would probably be happy to put away any stock on that device for it's bigger and better sequel. But even the Titan II is not available, which makes us wonder if HTC is having some component or production issues (or maybe they just forgot to make more, instantrimshot).

Could the Titan II be selling so well that they can't keep up? Obviously, we doubt that though we do have reports of general increases in Windows Phone sales due to the Lumia 900 (insert the whole "rising tide lifts all boats" idiom here) and maybe, just maybe the Titan II is seeing an uptick in purchases too.

WP Central

Heck, it should. It's a great Windows Phone and a great smartphone, rocking the largest camera available on the market. Which reminds us, why have we not seen a single commercial boasting that fact? Seems like an easy sell to us but what do we know...

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WSJ live

It's a good day for Windows Phone users as they can now download an official version of the WSJ Live for their devices (as opposed to the half dozen clones). The Wall Street Journal is quite the major publication and follows other recent releases on Windows Phone including TIme Magazine and the Daily Beast in offering high quality official apps.

The app is an interesting twist on the WSJ as this is the online "Live" branded version meaning all of the content is in video. In other words, instead of typical WSJ articles, you're getting news segments that last anywhere from 30 seconds to nearly 5 minutes in length. We just fired it up and was rather impressed with the quality of the video (over LTE of course) and the content presented. Think of this as a mini-TV news app rather than the proper WSJ.

WSJ Live

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TalkBox

We've chatted up TalkBox for Windows Phone now for a few weeks. The popular messaging app is already on iOS and Android and now thanks to an excellent beta program, the tried and tested version for Windows Phone is here.

What's TalkBox? It's more than a messaging app because it sends short voice clips in addition to straight text messaging to your contacts, making it a virtually hands free experience. Here are a few other key features that may interest you:

WP Central

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Custom Windows Phone Tango ROM released for Lumia 800

Lumia 800

RainbowMod? Sounds familiar, right? We previously covered a custom ROM for the Lumia 710 sharing an identical name, and now it's out for the Lumia 800. Built on Windows Phone "Tango" (7.10.8773.98) and based on Chinese firmware, RainbowMod is shipped with both English (US) and Russian languages.

It's required that the owner has configured the Qualcomm boot loader on their Lumia 800. So what's included in RainbowMod?

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WP Central

Good news for Chickens Can't Fly and Xbox Live avatar awards fans as details have surfaced surrounding the unlockables that were previously rumoured to be arriving in an update. Over on Avatar Awards, they've got two items, which are unlocked through reaching in-game achievements. The first is a chicken helmet, which can be won by obtaining 15 gold medals. The second is a pair of chicken slippers that are unlocked after an Xbox Live challenge is won against a friend.

WP Central

If you haven't played Chickens Can't Fly yet, it's worth checking out. It's basically an up-side-down version of Doodle Jump, but instead of using platforms, you have to guide your falling chicken though deadly hazards.

You can download Chickens Can't Fly from the Marketplace for $2.99. 

Source: Avatar Awards

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Nokia withdraw Skype support for the Lumia 610?

Skype Windows Phone

Skype working on Tango has come and gone with Microsoft and Skype announcing that the rushed-to-the-market Windows Phone app will not run on devices with less than 512MB of RAM. We then saw Nokia announce to the world that the Skype app will run on Tango Windows Phones (specifically the Lumia 610) with minimal amounts of memory. This was reaffirmed by Justin Angel using the app on his 610 to feature on a recent Windows Phone Central podcast.

Now Nokia HK has turned around and stated that they have decided to recommend to Lumia 610 customers that the Skype app really shouldn't be used and will not be available to those wielding the device. See the below quote from an email reportedly sent by the manufacturer:

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Nokia releases beta of Transport app version 2.0

WP Central

Nokia has unleashed version 2.0 beta of their Transport app for Lumia Windows Phones. We previously looked at leaked improvements detailed over at a Russian Windows Phone forum earlier in the month. The app provides public transport information and guidance when attempting to reach a destination in a supported location (see our early hands-on).

What's new in version 2-point-oh?

  • Find nearby stations, departure times and even types of transit lines available around your location.
  • Improved search:
    • Remember your last search query
    • Change your search without leaving the journey view
  • Improved performance:
    • Faster display of upcoming journeys
    • Faster journey request

You can check out the beta over at Nokia Beta Labs, or download the current version from the Marketplace (Lumia handsets only). Be sure to double check which locations are supported.

Source: Nokia Beta Labs; thanks Simon for the tip!

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From the WPUG WPBarCamp event in London

WP Central

The WPUG Windows Phone Bar Camp was an effort to attract more attendees from an earlier start, which had everyone (including myself and Jay) head to The Vibe Bar for a 10am start. Featuring a number of presentations not only from developers, but Telerik (the masters behind the RadControls for Windows Phone) as well.

Speaking of Telerik, be sure to check out their white paper on promoting your newly submitted apps. Apps that were presented included Screach, ZuneCardr, and an upcoming child-friendly app that makes use of approved YouTube playlists, applets and more to provide secure entertainment for the kids.

It was great to see some new developer faces on the night, as well as our friends Rafe Blandford from All About Windows Phone, and Boryana Miloshevska and co from Windows Phone Geek. We hope more UK based developers can make future events. Follow organiser Matt Lacey (@mrlacey) and WPUG (@WPUG) on Twitter for more announcements and details. Check out our presentation and some more shots after the break.

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