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Nokia Lumia 610 and 900 set to launch in Australia

WP Central

Nokia has been sending out invitations to the media for an event today, which will put the Lumia 900 and 610 on show at an undisclosed location in Sydney. Australia already have the 800 and 710, which will be joined by the flagship and budget Windows Phones to provide consumers more choice.

As the media event is on May 17th, speculations of a late June launch for both the Lumia 900 and 610 have already been published. A burning question will be if the Lumia 900 will be the 4G LTE or international version supporting just HSPDA+ DC.  The 900 sports a 1.4Ghz chip, 4.3 AMOLED display and a 8MP rear shooter with a 1MP front-facing camera. The low-end Lumia 610 features an 800Mhz processor with 256MB RAM, 5MP camera and a 3.2 LCD display.

Of course, Mobicity has already been taking pre-orders for the Lumia 900 for a few months now.

via: Techin5

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Nokia Marketplace Rebrand

We've heard through the tip line during the last few days that the latest Tango ROM updates for Lumia devices features a slightly new Marketplace.

In short, the 'Nokia Collection' is being renamed to 'Nokia Market' on all Lumia phones, a move that we applaud ("Collection" never really fit). The move is accompanied  by a icon change for the Marketplace as the traditional bag is flattened for a more Metro look but also features a big 'n' logo emblazoned on the side.

The new logo can be seen in an unboxing video for the Lumia 610 in Vietnam at about the 3:25 mark

Certainly this is an unprecedented move by Nokia obviously done with the blessing of Microsoft. It also shows how deep the Nokia-Microsoft partnership can go with Nokia slowly but surely exerting control over the OS and user experience with the focus on Lumia and less on "Windows Phone". Even with all the advertising here in the US for the 710 and 900 the words "Microsoft" and "Windows Phone" are never mentioned, which is probably a good thing for now.

Users of the AT&T Lumia 900 should probably expect their Marketplace to be updated with a future software update which will most likely include Tango.

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WP Central

Microsoft has desires for the much-rumoured certified Facebook Phone to be built on Windows Phone foundations, according to sources familiar with company plans. The social network has been tied to Android when it came to their own device being discussed, much like what Amazon has done with the Kindle Fire. Of course we should take this with a massive truck load of salt, but it's an interesting topic of discussion.

Why would Microsoft want Facebook to use their mobile platform over Android? According to the source, Microsoft has already integrated services into Facebook, but the added traffic to Bing and other products could be huge with the size of the Facebook user base. The company is also deeply interested in penetrating the mobile market to offer a NFC-powered payment product for consumers with supported Windows Phones, something which the Lumia 610 features. They want to be the physical version of PayPal before Google advances with Wallet.

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QR Coder

Here's a funny problem we all have with smartphones regardless of OS choice: how to quickly share websites and inks between phones.

Sure, you can email, text or type out the address but it's a waste of email on both ends and if it's a long sub-link for an article, typing it out is a pain  This problem also bothered Faisal Iqbal so he decided to do something about it and thus QR Coder was born.

Faisal created a Java Script that you save as a favorite on your Windows Phone. While on the web page you want to share, you simply go to the favorites and select QR Coder. That Java Script will then dynamically generate a QR code based on the site you're viewing and display as an overlay on the screen. Your fellow pal can use their Android, iPhone, Symbian or Windows Phone to scan it and they now instantly have the link on their phone.

Brilliant.

It's actually really easy to setup too, literally 30 seconds. Go to Faisal's site and watch his video on how to get it going on your phone. Feel free to share it with your non-Windows Phone users for maximum convenience.

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Grow for Windows Phone

We covered the fish-feeding game Grow which came out about two weeks ago for Windows Phone and brought the great artwork and fun from Epic Pixel. The game has quickly racked up some outstanding reviews from new users and indeed, it is quite enjoyable.

One big complaint though that many had no trial quite the bummer for a $1.99 game. Sure, Epic Pixel is a reputable studio with multi-platform offerings but people want to try-before-they-buy, it's one of the main advantages of Windows Phone. While version 1.0 lacked this to many people's dismay, version 1.1 now has a trial-option leaving you little reason to not go grab this casual arcade game.

You can read our initial impressions of the game here or you can take those fish a spin for yourself. So go try it and holla if you like it. Pick it up here in the Marketplace.

QR: Grow

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8

The Daily Beast gets official for Windows Phone

The Daily Beast for Windows Phone

For those of you who like Tina Brown (and now Newsweek) in mobile form, you'll want to check out the official The Daily Beast app based off of the popular news/opinion site www.thedailybeast.com. From the app description:

The Daily Beast for Windows Phone

"The Daily Beast app is the quickest way to get breaking news from across the Web on your phone. The Daily Beast offers instant summaries of the Web's must-read stories, plus original news reporting, opinion, and photos."

The app itself is laid out very nicely with high contrast and bold graphics, smooth loading and nice transitions. Though it features an ad in the articles themselves (near the bottom) it's not too intrusive.

It also has nice integration with the Windows Phone "sharing" options  including the Social option (Twitter, Facebook, Live, etc.) and a swanky Live Tile that flips to show the latest headline.

Overall, a nice free app and great to see another official app on the Windows Phone. If it sounds good, go pick it up here in the Marketplace.

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WP Central

HTC Locations, the GPS app from the manufacturer, has now got a price tag for the app's navigation services. After introducing offline turn-by-turn navigation to combat Nokia's offering with Lumia Windows Phones, it was seen as a smart move by consumers. Unfortunately, now it seems the manufacturer either has other ideas or simply can't afford to keep the "free" label.

When running the app, users will be greeted with an option to purchase a license for maps, which enable turn-by-turn navigation. The U.S. pricing is $4.99 for 30 days, $19.99 for a year, and $29.99 unlimited. All of North America will cost you $9.99 for the month, $39.99 for 365 days, and $49.99 unlimited. Europe will set you back €49.99 and €39.99 for Eastern Europe.

WP Central

Question being, what do you guys think of this move? 

Source: WinphoneBG; via: WMPU

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Nokia and the Windows Phone team have taken the "Dare to Live" challenge to Edinburgh and Glasgow as the next step on their UK tour. Like what we witnessed in London with the challenge being held at the Shepherds Bush Westfield shopping centre, the public are challenged by the team at common smartphone tasks. Should the participant win they pocket £20 there and then, but should they lose then a daring activity awaits.

In London there was height frightening tightrope walking, but Scottish losers of the Dare to Live challenge in Glasgow get to take part in a bungee launch.

WP Central

Have you dared to challenge Windows Phone? Check out more photos on the Windows Phone Facebook page.

Source: Facebook (Nokia)

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WPCentral's Mother's Day Gift Guide

It's that time of the year again to celebrate Mother's Day. Here's what to get her in our latest gift-guide.

WPCentral's Mother's Day Gift Guide

While it appears there won't be a Magenta Lumia 900 available for Mother's Day that doesn't mean we should forget good old mom. While we are sure many were dead set on getting the magenta Lumia 900 for their mother this weekend, we thought we'd give you a few options to fall back on.

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WP Central

Nokia has been a busy bee with bringing more big brand support to Windows Phone. We recently covered the manufacturer creating partnerships with a number of companies for new official Windows Phone apps to be developed, and to add one more name to the list we have Six Flags. For those who aren't familiar with the brand; Six Flags is an entertainment corporation that owns and runs multiple theme parks across the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Lumia Windows Phone owners will be able to enjoy a custom app, which will be available for all U.S. states, and Nokia will embark on a marketing partnership with Six Flags -- providing opportunities for the Lumia 900 to be advertised in amusement parks. Additionally, both companies will partner on national sweepstakes and retail promotions.

What about the app itself? The Six Flag app will sport unique content for each theme park, including an interactive map, attractions / ride information, cuisine and shopping, as well as special event listings. A customisable day planner enables visitors to plan their day ahead and check out rich media from Six Flags TV. Nokia will also provide discounts each night on select in-park retail, restaurant or games locations with Nokia Nightly Offers.

Check out the press release after the break. Source: PRNewsWireThanks Brian for the tip!

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WP Central

According to Nokia's U.S. president Chris Weber, sales of the Lumia 900, which recently launched in the states, has been outpacing supply. We've covered how the LTE Windows Phone has been out of stock more-so than anything else, which is having an effect on other markets looking to stock the device.

It would appear as though the sellout on AT&T is indeed due to demand and not simply a case of not stocking anywhere near enough units for launch, with little demand / interest present.

"Demand has been outstripping supply for the first couple of weeks, and we've been working hard to rectify that. The demand for cyan [phones] is significantly outpacing supply. When you give people something different from a design perspective—colors, etc. —it really stands out, and consumers want that."

As well as discussing AT&T and how the Lumia 900 is selling, Weber also touched on actual AT&T retail store support for the Windows Phone.

"Generally, we’re seeing very good support. It’s a work in progress."

It would appear as though Verizon is on Nokia's goal list for the future with the understanding that having the CDMA carrier on-board as well as AT&T would certainly boost growth for both the manufacturer and Windows Phone. Unfortunately, no details were revealed surrounding Windows Phone 8 "Apollo" upgrades for Lumia smartphone owners.

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The Nokia Collection...of domination

Nokia has made moves to gain some big titles (and leverage) for their hardware. Who does it hurt? Who does it benefit and is it a good thing?

With yesterday’s announcement from Nokia describing a planned set of “exclusive” apps and even more games for their Lumia line of Windows Phones (and presumably anything else they have up their sleeve), Nokia has won both praise and some scorn for their bold move.

The concern, as echoed by some in the tech press, is that Nokia’s move will cause that dreaded “F word” to happen. No, no that one, the other one – fragmentation.

Fragmentation is the boogey word of the year due almost entirely to Google and their Android OS. But as ex-Microsoftie Charlie Kindel astutely pointed out, there isn’t just one type of fragmentation.  Rather, there’s at least six ways you can divide up the terms with some of it being positive and some of it negative, affecting consumers or developers. Point is, they're not the same and what is causing problems for Android is not the same as what Nokia is doing.

The real question is, will Nokia’s strategy to get these apps and games on their hardware hurt Windows Phone?  We say “no” and here’s why.

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TalkBox is coming

We've mentioned that popular messaging app TalkBox a few times here at WPCentral. The service is not only a way to send messages and photos to your contacts on the go but it also allows you to send those popular voice-clips, you know for those too lazy to type.

That'd be us, actually.

Speaking into your phone and sending the message, especially if you're like us and bathing in AT&T 4G LTE speeds, seems like the next logical step in instant messaging. TalkBox has that service down pat and what's more, it's cross-platform meaning you stand a good chance of your non-Windows Phone friends being able to use the service (it's available on iPhone and Android).

The app went into a public beta a few weeks ago and the developers behind it are putting on the final touches as we speak. Tonight they've released this teaser vid which shows you what to expect.

So should you be excited? Yeah, you should. We've been using it off and on for weeks now (going back to the alpha days) and the app is fast and sharp looking. It's just pretty. Plus it works well.

We'll keep you posted when the app is finally available on the Windows Phone Marketplace for all, which should only be a few weeks at most. Or if you wish, sign up at the TalkBox site to register your interest.

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From the Forums: Windows Phone Meetup (St. Louis)

WP Central

It’s that time again WinPhans, that's right, it’s time for another Windows Phone Meetup. What is a Windows Phone Meetup? Well that’s where we get together for eats and drinks while we talk about Windows Phones. Our first ever Windows Phone Meetup was held in St. Louis and was hosted by WPCentral forum member speedtouch. It was a big success. You can get all the backward info in this thread. “After Action Report from the April 14 St. Louis Meetup”

 WP Central

It’s time for round two in St Louis and speedtouch is up to the challenge again. He is a master at these things, even trying to get some gear together for us. On that topic he has this to say:

“I might be getting some gear from Nokia to give away. No guarantees yet, but I am in contact with some marketing folks at Nokia.”

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Pocket God

Now that some high quality games like Feed Me Oil are launching at the 99 cent price point, would you consider buying a crummy iPhone port for twice the cost? That’s what we get for the latest Xbox Live Deal of the Week: Pocket God from ngmoco:). It’s on sale again for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Pocket God started as an iPhone game from Bolt Creative. In addition to its cute art and humor, the iOS game is known for its frequent episodic updates, which add new environments, minigames, and other fun content, all for free (vanity PDLC packs are also available). ngmoco:), who handles both the Windows Phone and Android ports of Pocket God, simply hasn’t shown a commitment to maintaining parity with the primary version.

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The Caddie +

Looks like it's a big week for Nokia. First they release the beta for City Lens and now The Caddie + (aka Executive Caddie) is available for download, exclusively for Nokia users. And it too features some augmented reality functionality on board.

We've covered the popular Vertisan app extensively here at WPCentral earlier showing the first screenshots as well as a demonstration of the built-in Augmented Reality function called GolfScope.

The Caddie +

The app is an amazing win for serious golfers out there as it features some really great tools all wrapped up in a souped up, elegant little package:

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geoDefense SwarmNow that Feed Me Oil, this week’s Xbox Live release is here, we’re neck-deep in oily physics puzzle goodness. But that doesn’t mean gamers don’t look to the future as well – especially those who’ve had their fill of physics puzzlers already. Kudos then to Microsoft for announcing next week’s Live release: geoDefense Swarm from Critical Thought Games.

geoDefense Swarm is the sequel to fan-favorite tower defense game geoDefense. The new entry switches from predefined enemy routes to a grid-based field. Enemies can approach from all directions, so players will need to construct mazes in order to keep them at bay. Like its predecessor, Swarm features an appealing neon geometric look and easy to learn gameplay. It will also likely suffer from balance issues, but said issues didn’t keep its predecessor from winning many gamers’ hearts. Most excitingly, the Windows Phone version of Swarm includes a new tower, a new creep (enemy), and new challenges. We’ll find out what those challenges are next Tuesday or Wednesday when the game debuts.

geoDefense Swarm comes to Xbox Live on Wednesday, May 16 – if not the night before, as many Live releases have done lately. It will cost $2.99, the same price as its predecessor.

Source: PlayXBLA

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Xbox Live: Feed Me Oil splashes onto the Marketplace

Feed Me Oil for Windows Phone

WPCentral broke the news of Chillingo’s Feed Me Oil coming to Xbox Live last month, with the promise that it would release within the next 1-2 months. It looks like we were right on the money, as Feed Me Oil has just debuted on the Marketplace. Even better news? It costs only 99 cents, just like its iOS counterpart. Also of note: Electronic Arts published the game rather than Chillingo, their subsidiary.

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Wikitude

With all the hype Nokia devices get especially with their onslaught of custom software, we figured we'd throw a bone to the rest of you who aren't on the Lumia train.

In case you missed it, Nokia launched the beta of City Lens today. A nifty little app that uses the camera, gyroscope, compass, GPS and internet to show you in real-time where shops, coffee houses and restaurants can be found. It's certainly well done but not particularly original (see LG's ScanSearch app from 2011).

But in case you own an HTC or Samsung phone and want to have the same functionality there's a great free option already out there: Wikitude.

Wikitude

Actually, Wikitude does even more than City Lens since it's more robust with search features. It's been around for awhile and is found on competing platforms making it more widely supported. It hooks into Yelp, Twitter, Flickr, Starbucks and more. Heck, their system even has APIs so dev's can integrate Wikitude's services into their own apps.

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ZTE Tania

Back in January, ZTE was optimistic on bringing their range of Windows Phone to the US. At the time, they noted "The United States and China will be key engines driving our smartphone sales" which seemed ambitious, only because navigating the sea of US carrier approval is a tough goal to accomplish.

Now in a article on CNet, ZTE is once again promising to bring the Windows Phone Tania to US shores by the end of the year.

In of itself, this is not news at all. It is simply ZTE re-stating what they said five months ago to Reuters. What makes us scratch our head is if the ZTE Tania, a relatively low-end Windows Phone 7.5 device, is coming by year's end to the US--what OS will it be running?

It seems odd to want to sell what is at best a low-range phone from 2011 right when Windows Phone 8 is reportedly launching at the the same time. The Tania sports a 4.3" screen, 1GHz CPU, 5MP rear-camera and a measly 4GB of storage. Presumably some of that will be upgraded which is fine, we did like the Tania for what is was back at CES (see our hands on after the break).

But will they really launch a device with Windows Phone 7.5 by December? Or will it have perhaps another OS on board, like Windows Phone 8? We really have no idea as that status of Windows Phone 7.5 as an OS is unknown at this point, which makes ZTE's plans curious. Maybe they are planning on selling direct as a pay-as-you-go phone or maybe they are planning on updating the hardware and OS for the US, in which case are we really still talking about the Tania?

Like we said, this raises some interesting questions. Either way though, we're happy to see ZTE try their hand at the US market.

Source: CNet

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Sprint exec says he is "still bullish on Apollo"

Could we see Windows Phone 8 devices on Sprint?

When it comes to Windows Phone, we've been pretty hard on Sprint in the past, and rightfully so. After testing the waters with the first-generation WP7 HTC Arrive, they have been a non-player, even going so far as to make the Arrive the poster child for their buyback program. Well, we could possibly be seeing that stubbornness come to an end with the imminent arrival of Windows Phone 8 (Apollo) later this year. Speaking at CTIA, the carrier's director of consumer acquisition, David Owens, said that he's "still bullish on Apollo." 

This is the same man, mind you, who said back in January:

"We have a Windows device in our lineup, but honestly, it hasn't done well enough for us to jump back into the fire. We told Microsoft: You guys have to go build the enthusiasm for the product."

Microsoft certainly paid heed to his word, setting off on a monstrous advertising campaign with the help of its partners, like Nokia and AT&T. Since then, we've seen huge demand for other Windows Phone handsets, like the Nokia Lumia 900. Perhaps the shifting momentum has changed Owens' mind. Or perhaps he has caught a glimpse of Mango's successor, Apollo, and liked what he saw. Owens failed to elaborate on his comment, so we'll just have to wait and see.  However, it gives us some hope that we could see an Apollo device or two in Sprint's Fall lineup.

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Rabobank for Windows Phone

Rabobank, one of the largest banks in the Netherlands, has released a mobile banking app for Windows Phone. Like its counterparts for Android, Blackberry and iOS, the Rabo Banking App lets users take care of their banking needs, be it checking their balance, viewing account history or making transfers, wherever they may be.

Rabobank

In order to use the app, you must already have a Rabobank account and have your Random Reader and debit card handy. You can click here for more information about the Rabo Banking App, or here to download the mobile banking app from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

QR: Rabo Banking

Thanks for the tip, Lobbie 1978!

 

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Smoked by Windows Phone, new numbers and ads

Microsoft's Smoked by Windows Phone began way back in January at the 2012 CES conference. Since, it's grown by leaps and bounds traveling to various Microsoft Stores across the nation and world wide.  We've even seen the Smoke by Windows Phone challenges held by former Miss World, Priyanka Chopra.

Ben Rudolph, who started all this, has released some numbers associated with the Smoked by Windows Phone.

  • 95%: Windows Phone's global winning percentage
  • 36: The number of countries running Smoked by Windows Phone promotions
  • 50,000+: The number of phones that have been smoked by a Windows Phone
  • 8,000,000+: The total number of views the Smoked by Windows Phone has generated since it launched in January.
  • 100,000,000+: The estimated number of people who have seen, participated in or read about Smoked by Windows Phone. 

The Smoked by Windows Phone campaign will continue with a new set of internet ads hitting the web today. The ads are also available over at the Windows Phone YouTube Channel. While the Smoked by Windows Phone has had its moments of controversy, the campaign has brought a lot of attention to how well our Windows Phones measures up against the competition.

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WP Central

Nokia has today announced in a press release that a number of apps and games are to be exclusive to Lumia Windows Phones. At CTIA Wireless 2012, the manufacturer has focused on creating original app experiences to Lumia customers by building relations and forming partnerships with developers. Marco Argenti, SVP, Nokia Developer Experience, added the following comment.

"We are focused on delivering great, locally relevant apps, and importantly, those which offer unique, exclusive and original experiences. With Nokia Lumia smartphones now available in 48 markets, developers are rapidly recognizing the business opportunities and creating their best work for our consumers."

Nokia has already built a strong arsenal of apps in their OEM collection, including the likes of Nokia Drive, Transport, Maps, Music and the recently unveiled City Lens. Crawford Del Prete, EVP, Chief Research Officer, IDC, had the following to comment on Nokia's progress with moving to Windows Phone and building developer relations.

"Nokia has achieved much in a short space of time when it comes to key brands and partners creating apps for Nokia Lumia customers. We believe developers are now moving away from simply porting, to create new innovative and high-design apps that fully leverage the Windows Phone Metro UI and features such as live tiles. With new and exclusive apps launching on a regular basis, and Nokia Lumia rapidly expanding into new markets, Nokia and Microsoft are demonstrating meaningful differentiation for consumers, developers, operators and retailers."

So with al lthis talk of exclusive apps and games, partnerships and developing progress, what's on the horizon for Lumia Windows Phone owners? Check out the summarised list below of content that's destined to be exclusive for Nokia devices (and Windows Phone owners as a whole).

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WP Central

Nokia's Beta Labs has just made public City Lens, an augmented reality experience for users to find local points of interest. Much like Local Scout, but more realistic, City Lens provides a more user friendly overview of what establishments are located in the vicinity. Instead of guessing which building is which (should signage not be effective enough), Nokia Lens slaps a label on each to help you out.

Landmarks, restaurants, hotels, shops and more are listed in camera, list or maps view. This adds more options for the user, which will be handy should you not wish to wave your handset around at that exact moment and look like a tourist recording a video. Your location is loaded, much like any other app with similar functionality, and this can then be shared with social networks. Favourites can also be saved for more convenient access - pretty neat. 

Nokia Beta Labs is interested in receiving feedback on this experience, so be sure to download Nokia City Lens from your Lumia Windows Phone. City Lens isn't listed in the Nokia Collection so you'll need to open the link from your Lumia Windows Phone or scan the QR Code below.

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