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WP Central

We’re going to say right off the bat that we’re not into the whole JunoWallet thing—but we do recognize many of you are, so it’s with that sense we’re glad to announce that they have a well polished app for Windows Phone now.

For those of you who don’t know, JunoWallet (www.junowallet.com) is a mobile service that brings “deals” to your phone. Basically you have to fill out surveys that then earn you credits.  Those credits will then allow you to redeem things like gift-cards and other items from the JunoWallet company.

It’s like the opposite of online anonymity. Instead of not wanting companies to track you, you’re embracing the system to earn free stuff. And we have heard of people making quite a bit of money off of these deals—basically just filling out forms all day.  Granted, you can fill out fake info and we suppose that could work too—like we said, we don’t do this stuff, so we’re not completely privy on all the ins and outs...

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Looks like that Windows Phone 8 SDK preview (leaked on the web a few days ago) is still coughing up many little changes. The latest deals with the Live Tiles of Windows Phone 8 and yes, there are some subtle but welcome changes.

  • New Live Tile counter – instead of a black circle we now have a square which more closely matches the Metro UI
  • Tiles can cycle through images – we’re not sure what this is called but evidently a Live Tile can have multiple images within it, allowing it to run through them.

The first one is well overdue in our opinion as the circle counter really never fit in with the Tiles not to mention they sometimes were jaggy. Going to Square looks much better to us and we bet you’ll agree too...

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Samsung Apollo Hardware

Samsung are set to unveil dual-core hardware when Windows Phone 8 launches, according to documentation acquired by The Verge. The two listed Windows Phones are included in court documents submitted as part of the trial Samsung has against Apple. Both devices are stated to be packing the Qualcomm MSM8960 chipset, which is a dual-core 1.5Ghz CPU that Microsoft has been using for Apollo test devices.

According to the documentation (see above snapshot), the Samsung Odyssey will sport a 4.65" S-AMOLED display (with HD resolution) and an 8MP main rear-shooter. It is also marked as supporting NFC, a feature which is currently being marketed on the Nokia Lumia 610. It would seem that OEMs will attempt to include such functionality to further expand on the possibilities of NFC on the Windows Phone platform.

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Neat Streets

Orange Stripes has released a NeatStreets app for Windows Phone. NeatStreets is a service available for those who reside in Australia (website) and New Zealand (website), which enables residents to report on any issues with litter, graffiti, sanitation, footpaths, roads, streetlights, and more. These reports are forwarded to the authorities who will be able to act on the compiled information.

We have a similar Windows Phone app here in the UK, called Love Clean Streets, which pretty much shares the same functionality as NeatStreets. The services are a great way for Windows Phone users to help keep local environments clean and to alert local authorities to anything that's considered an issue. NeatStreets is a simple, yet effective, app which can be utilised wherever the user may be located.

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WP Central

Keep track of your data, calls and messages with Nokia

Another day, another Nokia app is released you know the drill.

Today’s release is the much-anticipated ‘Counters’, which allows you to track your usage for calls, messaging and data. You simply add in your monthly billing data and restrictions and the app will do the rest for you.

What’s cool about this release is this is a Windows Phone 8 feature made for ‘7’ by Nokia—so don’t ever say they don’t do anything for you. In Windows Phone 8, the app is called DataSense and can do a bit more e.g. push browser data through a proxy server for compression. While you don’t get that here you do get the rest, which is quite a useful feature for many of us.

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Deal of the WeekThis week: Buy the OtterBox Defender Series Case for Nokia Lumia 900 and save $15.00!

This three-layer case offers rugged protection for your Lumia 900, keeping it safe from drops, bumps, dust and shock. A high quality silicone core is combined with a hi-impact polycarbonate shell for ultimate protection.  The screen is covered with a thermal formed clear membrane. Comes in black and grey/yellow.

Backed by our 60-day return policy and fast shipping.

List Price: $49.95     This Week: $34.95

Learn More and Buy Now

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WP Central

UK mobile phone retailer Phones 4u has announced today that it will be launching the Samsung Omnia M exclusively. The Windows Phone is said to be arriving into the UK on August 1st when Phones 4u will exclusively stock the device for two months until it opens up for other retailers.

The Omnia M sports a 1Ghz chip, 4" S-AMOLED display, and 4GB of storage, perfect for those who don't require a powerful device and who don't particularly want to splash out on a shiny new Lumia 900. Phones 4u has been able to bag a handful of exclusives on the Windows Phone platform, including the white Lumia 800 / 900.

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Paul Acevedo and Ben Ahroni

Paul Acevedo (left) and Ben Ahroni

I made no secret of my love for recent XBLA release Zuma’s Revenge in my review – after all, it’s a PopCap game. Those guys practically always knock it out of the park. As it happens, Casual Connect Seattle featured a panel on the connected experience (gaming on TV, tablet, smartphone: SmartGlass-type stuff).

Who should we find among the panelists but the producer of Zuma’s Revenge, Ben Ahroni. Naturally I snagged him for a video interview. See Ben discuss Zuma, a potential sequel to Plants vs. Zombies, and Windows Phone after the break!

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Microsoft Surface shipping October 26th?

Microsoft has, in a round about way of doing things, may have unintentionally announced that the Surface tables will become available on October 26th. In a filing with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission, Microsoft states:

"The next version of our operating system, Windows 8, will be generally available on October 26, 2012. At that time, we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices."

According to the original announcement from June, this would be the WindowsRT version of the Surface with the Surface Pro making it to market about 90 days after the WindowsRT hits.

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Mobile Nations

A little change this week for the Monday Brief as our normal host, the adventurous Ashley Esqueda, is off in London right now taking in the London 2012 Olympic Games. No, you'll not see her on any diving boards or dressaging any horses herself but you can check her adventures on the her Samsung Global Blogger page. The show as they say though, must go on so go ahead and check out what's been happening around Mobile Nations below.

Mobile Nations

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Windows Phone Dev Day – Bournemouth UK
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Windows Phone Dev Day – Bournemouth UK

Yesterday saw the start of a new developer group, this time not based in London but on the south coast in Bournemouth. Scott Lovegrove of Ferret Labs and Dan Thomas of Moov2 conceived the meet up. The core idea in creating the group is simple, to bring developers interested in both Windows Phone and Windows development together. With the looming releases of both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 now seemed like the time.  We signed up to attend the event and were invited to present a short talk. With everything from games development to a platform overview of Windows Phone 8 from a Microsoft evangelist, it proved a very worthwhile trip.

The event was generously hosted by local digital agency redweb. As well as the excellent space, they were able to provide a great meeting room and a fridge stocked with refreshments for the ever-thirsty developers. We arrived after a very early start to make it for 10am to find that the place was already buzzing with devs. We took our places and the talks began, first it started off with a show and tell section.

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From the Forums

It's been an eventful weekend so far with the London 2012 Olympics in full swing and our community forums haven't seen any sign of sowing down for the games with more discussions being forged and engaged in by registered members. So what's been discussed over the weekend? 

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Bing Get Me There

Microsoft has released an update to their Bing Get Me There app, which is available for those who either travel through or reside in London. The app enables users to keep up-to-date with the status of public transport links in the city. It also sports functionality for quick assistance to get the user home (or to a connecting rail terminal) with a pinned Live Tile opening up directions from current location to the configured "home" in the settings.

We previously looked at an update which was pushed out adding support for the DLR (Docklands Light Railway), London buses and Overground lines. Now the app has been bumped to version 1.5, which now includes a Bing search box for instant web searches from within the app, handy for those times when you require further information. Bug fixes and optimisation are bundled, as well as recently re-opened stations and stops.

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WP Central

The Weather Channel app re-imagined by Nokia

In what has to be a surprise continuation of Nokia’s commitment to their Lumia line of Windows Phones, they have gone ahead and re-imagined the Weather Channel App (which is simply called ‘Weather’) by bringing new features and a re-design that greatly enhances the experience.

The app is at version 2.0 and only found in the Nokia Collection meaning regular Windows Phone users won’t be able to use the supplied link below. This may also be a US-limited feature...we're trying to confirm now. [Edit: UK is confirmed]

So what’s new in Weather 2.0 from Nokia?...

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Lindsay Duffy and Camay Wells of Game House

Lindsay Duffy (left) and Camay Wells

Windows Phone Central exclusively announced Sally’s Spa for Windows Phone a few months ago, and now we’re back with the first footage of the game running on our platform of choice.

“How?” you ask, filled with cat-like curiosity. Well, my inquisitive reader, Sally series publisher Game House had a major presence at Casual Connect Seattle, hosting not just a sizable booth but also a thumping pre-party featuring chicken and waffles, among other fine things. Aren't you dying to be a journalist now?

During the actual conference, Camay Wells, Director of Mobile Games Marketing, graciously demonstrated the game for us and showed off some of its new features. Spa-tastic video after the break! (Video link now fixed)

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Official Heathrow Airport Guide

Should you be traveling to or through London's Heathrow Airport, there is now an official app for your Windows Phone to help you find your way around the airport and monitor arrival/departure times.

The Heathrow Airport Guide is rather impressive with the amount of information it provides not only with flights but just getting around the airport. Airport information covers maps, shops, restaurants, parking, baggage claims, internet access, and more.

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Windows Phone Central visits Skulls of the Shogun studio

Jake Kazdal and Paul Acevedo

Jake Kazdal (left) and Paul Acevedo

At E3 this year we interviewed Ben Vance and Borut Pfeifer, two members of 17-BIT about their upcoming Xbox Live game Skulls of the Shogun. Yet we still had much to learn about the unique multiplatform strategy title, and so 17-BIT kindly invited us to visit their studio during the week of Casual Connect Seattle. One of the highlights of the visit was our interview with Jake Kazdal, studio founder and Skulls’ creative director/lead artist. Check it out after the break!

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Windows Phone 8 to be child friendly with 'KidZone'?

WP Central

Ever since that leak of the Windows Phone 8 SDK a couple days ago, we’ve been slowly finding out more and more about the new OS.

We’ll file this next one under ‘not sure’ but it certainly looks like Windows Phone 8 will have some sort of family-child filter built in either for the Marketplace of in the OS itself.

The evidence comes from the site Windows Phone Hacker who found a simple registry entry with settings for ‘KidZone’ (nested under ‘Family'). Though it may be too early to say exactly what this feature will entail it is certainly interesting. (The evidence is found under Software --> Family --> KidZone in the registry for the OS.)

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WP Central

If you’re a fan of the official CNN app for Windows Phone, which used to be exclusive to Nokia but is now available for all, you’ll want to go grab version 1.3.03 now in the Marketplace.

For the most part, the app looks the same though we suppose there could be some under the hood changes but the big new feature is a section dedicated to the 2012 Summer Olympics.

The section is merely one of a multitude of others under the ‘sections’ area but it features all the latest news for you sport nuts. Even better is the ability to pin the Olympic section to your Start screen for quick and easy access—in fact we highly recommend doing just that.

If you find any other changes, let us know and we’ll throw up an update. Otherwise you can go and grab the official CNN app now in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Makre sure you also see our Olympic app roundup for more coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics. QR code after the break..

Update: CNN 'hid' the old CNN app in the Marketplace and added a 2nd version (presumably so they can roll back after the Olympics are over). Link and QR code updated for v1.3.

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Eros Resmini of GREE

Japanese social gaming giant GREE International made a big splash at E3 this year. Nobody expected a massive booth dedicated to mobile gaming at the console centric show, but GREE’s booth outshined many a console publisher’s. And that’s to say nothing of their party at Club Nokia.

GREE had a strong presence at Casual Connect Seattle as well, though their focus as more on developer relations than showing off an arsenal of quality mobile games. Currently GREE’s ‘platform’ extends only to iOS and Android, but we can’t help wishing for some of their games to land on Windows Phone as well. That’s just one of the things we discussed with Eros Resmini, GREE’s SVP of Developer Relations and Marketing. Video interview after the break!

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Nokia Contacts Share

Nokia promised back a few weeks ago that they had plenty of software to still releases yet for their Lumia line of Windows Phones and today they did so again with the Contacts Share app.

Contacts Share is yet another “fill what’s missing in Windows Phone” app from the Finnish company and should be a huge boon for business users. The app is simple enough as it allows you to send contact info via email or SMS to any phone including Symbian, Android, iOS and BlackBerry in standard Vcard format.

The contacts are then imported by email or when the app is opened and they brought right into the People Hub like any other contact...

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WP Central

In a new study just released tonight, Appcelerator and IDC surveyed 3,632 'Appcelerator Titanium' developers from May 11-18, 2012 on their plans for app development now and in the future. Though not a survey of consumer demand the data is but one piece of the bigger picture of how Windows Phone (and Android, iOS, BlackBerry and webOS) is fairing amongst developers. For that reason, it should be considered as a metric but not necessarily the only one to measure interest or future success.

The news is not very good for Windows Phone but there is some light at the end of the tunnel for the future iterations of the OS, specifically the ‘Apollo’ update coming later this year.  That's interesting as Windows Phone has been coasting on ‘hope’ for nearly two years now and developers have not yet completely abandoned it, seeing weakness in Android.

For a complete run down, head past the break…

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Hey DJ!

Hey DJ!, previously known as Speak To Play, is a Windows Phone app that enables users to tap a button to speak, and state clearly an <artist>, <song>, <playlist> or <genre> and the app will start up whatever matches in your music collection. Sounds pretty neat already, right? We previously covered the app when it was rebranded, was updated with new features and had its price tag slashed.

Now we're excited to report that Hey DJ! has been bumped to version 1.8 and is now completely free for the next 72 hours (until July 31st). So if you haven't already purchased a copy for your Windows Phone, you'll want to do so now while it's on offer. Once the period has closed, the pricing will return to $0.99.

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Windows Phone Central Roundup: Olympic Apps

Windows Phone Central's Roundup of the 2012 Olympic Game apps

[With the Olympics kicking off tonight, we figured we would bump our roundup of apps for Windows Phone that will keep you up to date on the massive sporting event. -- Daniel]

The official Olympic app hit the Marketplace a few days ago, London 2012, and these are a few of the alternatives that stood out to us. Some stand out stronger than others and some have features that have them stand out a little.  Also remember that this is just a sampling of what is available. The number of Olympic apps at last count was pushing thirty.  If you've got a favorite Olympic app that didn't make the cut, feel free to share in the comments.

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