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Office 2013

Microsoft has made the customer preview of the upcoming Office 2013 suite available for download. Being cloud based, Microsoft has decided to integrate both SkyDrive and Skype into the suite and offer more social functionality to end-users. Signing into your Live / Microsoft Account, you'll be able to store and access documents on the cloud from any supported platform, including Windows Phone.

As well as more optimisation, Office 2013 has also gone 'Metro' with emphasis on simplicity to create an immersive experience. We've installed Office 2013 on our machines and boy does it install promptly. We didn't even have time to make a second cup of tea before it was all set up and ready to go. The suite includes Access, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher and Word.

Modern Office

Be sure to head on over to Microsoft's website to check out the Office 2013 Customer Preview.

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WP Central

A new video purporedly shows limited NFC functionality on the Lumia 800

A video has appeared today (which we have been unable to verify for legitimacy) that reportedly shows a Nokia Lumia 800 making brief near-field communication (NFC) contact with a Nokia Play 360 (which supports NFC pairing). The phenomenon happens when toggling WiFi on and off, suggesting the powering of the NFC is connected somehow to WiFi.

The question naturally presents itself: does the Nokia Lumia 800 in fact support NFC? And will it get an update to enable this if so? The answer is a bit messy but we’ll just be brief here and say “no” and “no”.

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Amazon Cloud Play Windows Phone

According to a job listing, Amazon is looking to develop a Windows Phone app for their Amazon Cloud Player service, which enables customers to stream stored music to multiple devices, much like iTunes Match. Using the Amazon cloud storage solution Cloud Drive (amazon.com/clouddrive), the music service enables customers to upload and access their library.

The interesting part about the music streaming functionality is that unaltered Amazon MP3 purchases don't contribute to the free 5GB allowance (paid plans available should more space be required). Music can be streamed via Amazon Cloud Player on the web and on supported platforms. 

What the successful applicant will be tasked with:-

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Pictures Lab for Windows Phone edits price

Pictures Lab for Windows Phone

Pictures Lab is a very nice photo editing app for your Windows Phone. The app offers a wide selection of editing tools that includes filters, borders, exposure adjustments and more. The app is in the top five photography apps on the Marketplace and has recently had it's price cropped. The original $1.99 price tag on Pictures Lab is dropped to $.99 making the app a steal of a deal.

Pictures Lab

Pictures Lab has Facebook and Twitter integration to make social sharing of your photos easier. Settings allow you to set the image quality on images you share and save. Plus you can add an artist name (e.g. copyright) to the image's EXIF file. plus you can set the image quality in the app's settings.

If you're not sure about Pictures Hub, there is a free trial version available to let you try before you buy. The full version is running $.99 and you can find Pictures Lab here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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Lumia 900

It's estimated that with each Lumia 900 sold in the US for $49, $450 is used to market the Windows Phone for the consumer to actually make the purchase. So we're looking at a fairly expensive US launch should reports be accurate. Is it really all doom and gloom for the platform and Nokia?

Blogger Horace Dediu suggests the push in the States has had negligible impact on the market so far, which we'd agree with. It has been pretty poor. The Lumia 900 received "hero status" from AT&T and is the largest marketing effort by the carrier to-date. But according to recent marketshare numbers, the Windows Phone platform is still struggling in the up-hill battle. We can't just look at the Lumia 900, we have to really look at the perception of Windows Phone as a platform.

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WP Central

Microsoft already told you WP8 supports USB mass storage

When it comes to Windows Phone 8, there is much more information coming than has been revealed—Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore stresses this at the beginning of the WP Summit a few weeks ago. However, there are things we do know--either things we’ve leaked are or the more direct method like what Microsoft announced during the Summit.

A “rumor” going around today is that Windows Phone 8 supports “USB Mass Storage” i.e. the ability to plug your phone into your computer to transfer files.

Folks, this isn’t a rumor nor is it news. For one, we can tell you 100% that this is the case as Microsoft spoke about this on and off the record with us and a few other news outlets pre-Summit. Second, you can just watch it for yourself when Joe Belfiore briefly discusses this feature at the 14 minute mark in the Summit video:

“We introducing removal micro SD support as a core part of the platform and this core micro SD card support spans both the PC and the phone. The scenarios are both valuable to consumers but also to developers and even hardware vendors.

What this enables that’s different than what Windows Phone 7.5 has today is that an end user can add a micro SD card months after they buy the phone expanding their storage and then they can use it to transfer contents between their PC to their phone, from phone to phone, it can be used a distribution vehicle for apps and it supports all of things in a very natural, integrated way in the Metro experience.

We didn’t want to deliver this feature until we could do it in a way that would be easy to use, predictable and high performant [sic] and we think we’ve got that nailed in Windows Phone 8”

We admit that this announced feature didn’t include a big, splashy graphic but this technically isn’t a rumor and Belfiore is telling you nearly all you need to know about this upcoming ability to Windows Phone 8. Regarding the other half of the rumor today--that Microsoft getting rid of the Zune Desktop client and allowing native syncing with Windows--this too is old information as it was reported in February and should be obvious by now. If it's not, consider this your confirmation. 

And let’s be clear: this mass storage support gives you a PC mountable experience for the micro SD but not access to the phone’s internal memory for security reasons. But the ability to add media, files, etc. via a presumably drag-n-drop method for expandable storage is what many people have wanted for a long time and it makes sense. So there is nothing to see here but hey, if this is news to you, then we're glad we made you a bit more happy for Windows Phone 8 this fall.

See the video of the Summit cued up after the break...

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Tesco Mobile Offering Lumia Windows Phones

Lumia 800 Tesco in Box

Tesco’s in the past were perhaps a little confused about Windows Phone. That is all set to change as they are now kindly offering the Nokia Lumia 710 and the Lumia 800 for use on their pay monthly tariffs. The Lumia 800 is being offered free of charge provided you are willing to commit to a two-year contract at £22.50 per month, available here.

Lumia 800 Deal Banner From Tesco Site

The Lumia 800 is not alone in its fight for the hearts and minds of the UK’s grocery buying punters, the 710 is here too. The Lumia 710 sports the same internals as the Lumia 800 but is a little more budget friendly due to its construction techniques. Tesco are offering that on a similar 24 month contract for £20.00 a month.

Tesco Lumia 710 and Lumia 800

If you are someone that prefers to have his or her phone without the contract shackles, Tesco offer the Lumia 800 to purchase on Pay as you go for a hefty £359.97. I will note that you can buy the device cheaper on sites such as Expansys.

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WP Central

The Nokia Lumia 610 is now available on Canada's Koodo Mobile for $50 with free shipping when you activate a new line of service. To make the deal even sweeter, customers ordering online will receive a $25 Visa gift card 4-6 weeks after activation.

Koodo works a bit differently than other carriers when it comes to pricing their phones. Starting at the retail price of a device ($200 in the case of the Lumia 610), customers can knock money off of the cost by opening their account with a "tab" or pre-paid minutes. The bigger the tab you start with, the less money the actual phone costs you. So by maxing out the new line of service with a tab of $150, the final price of the Lumia 610 becomes $50. Throw in the $25 gift card, and now you're down to $25. Not too shabby for a solid budget-friendly Windows Phone device.

Nokia Lumia 610 on Canada's Koodo Mobile for $50

The Lumia 610 is the cheapest of the Nokia line. It features a 3.7” non-ClearBlack LCD display, 256MB of RAM and a 800Mhz CPU with 8GB of storage and runs Windows Phone 7.5 Tango. If you are looking for an entry-level Windows Phone 7.5 handset, this might be the right deal for you.

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WP Central

For those looking for one heck of a deal, you may want to consider heading the online Microsoft Store for that Nokia Lumia 800 entertainment bundle. We first reported on this a few months ago where the four-part package fetched for $899.  No doubt a bit pricey but how does $599 sound?

To refresh your memory, the Nokia entertainment bundle comes with a Lumia800 (black or magenta) which is unlocked and tuned for AT&T’s 3G frequencies. You also get the Play 360 which is a portable, high-fidelity speaker that will allow you to stream your Lumia’s music via Bluetooth (and it has NFC for the future too). To top it off, you get a swanky Nokia Purity HD headset by Monster which for home use is an outstanding choice (they’re over the ear, so not as portable as the in-ear solution) and a Nokia Luna Bluetooth headset (reveiw)

The Play 360 ($150), Luna BT headset ($79) and Purity HD headset ($200) means you’re getting an unlocked Lumia 800 for just $170 which is pretty awesome if you ask us. We of course have a few Lumia 800s here but they have Euro bands making them less than optimal for use on AT&T. Because of that, we’re seriously contemplating throwing down some cash on this bad boy package. We do dearly love our Lumia 900 but the 800 is really the apex of design with the curved screen—truly a great phone.

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WP Central

Great news for you instant messaging fans; Nimbuzz is now available to download in the Windows Marketplace. The popular cross platform app was a personal favorite of mine back in the Windows Mobile days and has also been a success on other operating systems. Now it is our turn on Windows Phone and the it will not cost you a penny to download. It is free.

WP Central

Nimbuzz offers the following features:

  • Free messaging - Replaces SMS with unlimited free chat.
  • IM Community - Connect with multiple IM accounts and have them all in one list. Nimbuzz supports Facebook, Yahoo Messenger, MSN/Windows Live Messenger and Gtalk.
  • Picture sharing - Click and share you favorite pictures with friends and family.
  • Chat history - Keep your conversations handy for use later.
  • Chat Buddies - Use popular chat buddies for Twitter, Cricket, Astrology etc.
  • And much more - Guided tour, contact management, Presence management, Message typing indicator, N-Word, Free avatars and much more.

 

More information/Download Nimbuzz for Windows Phone  via: WMPoweruser

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Six Flags

Nokia recently brought along an official Windows Phone app for Six Flags amusement parks. The app enables users to view a map of their local Six Flags, locate services and points of interest within the park, and check out all the available rides (with intensity filters), plus much more. Part for the deal between the two companies is for the Lumia 900 to be advertised and promoted throughout the parks.

Now Nokia and Six Flags are running a sweepstakes where entrants could win a Lumia 900 and four tickets to any Six Flag theme park in the US. Pretty neat, eh? There are six prizes to give away, so be sure to get your entry in to be in with a chance of being picked. As usual, you are required to be 16 or above, and can only enter one person per email address per day, through July 31st.

To enter, head on over to the Six Flags website and fill in your details. Official rules are available so be sure to check them out before entering. Also check out our hands-on with the Six Flags Windows Phone app below.

You can download Six Flags from the Marketplace (Nokia Collection for Lumia handsets only). 

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WP Central

Now officially $49.99 thru AT&T

Nokia has announced on their official blog that the Lumia 900 has indeed had its price slashed at AT&T, which now sits at just $49.99 with a two-year contract. 

We published an article on Friday unveiling the potential offer, using multiple sources familiar with carrier plans. The high-end Windows Phone is perfect for those seeking a slick design, large display and a full-blown Lumia experience.

This deal comes in time for the debut of the pink aka magenta Lumia 900, which is set to be released this morning as well. While many would argue that the wait for Windows Phone 8 hardware is worth more than taking out a two-year deal with current generation hardware, we'd like to counter by reiterating just how brilliant the current Nokia Lumia family is. As well as wielding a device that has won multiple awards, you'll have access to all the OEM apps that Nokia have promised to update, even after Apollo is here with next generation Windows Phones.

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WP Central

Earlier this week we mentioned how the app I’m a WP7! was renamed to Outsider and re-released to the Windows Phone Marketplace. The app, made by the team at Liquid Daffodil, is for fans of Windows Phone to come together, discuss software, hangout, setup multiplayer games and just have fun. Filled with numerous Easter Eggs that include hidden functionality, the app is not only fun, it’s free.

With the update though came a challenge: Three “movers and shakers” of the Windows Phone community had to unlock 7 Easter Eggs in the app within 72 hours—if successful, Liquid Daffodil would make their other apps free for 72 hours.

Those movers and shakers were Microsoft’s Ben Lower (@benlower), Ben Rudolph (@BenthePCGuy) and yours truly (@Daniel_Rubino) and we’re pleased to announce that Lower and myself have completed the challenge with Rudolph almost finishing (he’s a busy man with a new kid, so our sympathy). As the great philosopher Meatloaf once said "Two out of three ain't bad"!

WP Central

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WP Central

Network speed test apps are always finicky and hard to judge for accuracy but we like what we see with the new app called Speed Test (or my Speed Test).

The app is free and has a companion site (http://www.myspeedtest.mobi) which is very useful for checking on your stats, seeing geolocaiton information and what others are getting for speeds. There’s no way to create an account but the Sign In area near the top suggests that this feature may be coming down the road.

WP Central

The companion Speed Test website

Speed Test is quite basic—you launch it and start the test, measuring your latency, download and upload speeds. You can either do a “complete” test or “fast” with the latter using smaller file-sizes, resulting in slightly less accurate results. You can then scroll over for “network” info including seeing your location and once more for test history. There are no options for changing between kb/s and Mbps with the former being used in this app.

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A quick look at the coolest Windows Phone Fan

WP Central

As we say in New England...this is wicked awesome

With the hot days of summer settling in we figured we cool down with a Windows Phone Fan. Literally.

We covered this little gizmo back a few months ago when our friends over at WeLoveWP.hk managed to grab a few during Microsoft’s launch. The fans themselves are your standard “hand fans” with some LEDs in them that can be programmed. Evidently they're quite common for promotions.

Simon Luk of WeLoveWP.hk was kind enough to send one over to us and we actually forgot we had it until the other day.

We’ll contact Microsoft to see if they have any available and maybe we can grab a few for you guys. And if not, we’ll tell them they should get more because they’re kind of awesome. Check out the video below to see for yourself.

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Dave Lang

It’s time for another installment of Windows Phone Central’s Xbox Live Developer Interview series! We jumped at the opportunity to speak with Chicago-based Iron Galaxy Studios, developers of the upcoming Ms. Splosion Man for Windows Phone (based on Twisted Pixel's XBLA hit), Wreckateer for Xbox Live Arcade, and many other fine titles. CEO Dave Lang fills us in on the challenges of developing fighting games, working with the Kinect, bringing the same game to both Windows Phone and iOS, and much more.

Head past the break for our lengthiest interview yet, filled with brilliant concept art and exclusive Ms. Splosion Man screens!

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Freda ebook reader for Windows Phone bumped to 2.6

Freda

Freda, the free ebook reader for Windows Phone, has been updated to version 2.6, which introduces a number of new features and improvements. We previously looked at the app back in November when the developers were eagerly seeking beta testers for a previous update, so it's good to see Freda continue to receive invested time and effort to further improve the user experience.

So what's new in version two-point-six? The Turnipsoft team have worked hard to translate the UI for French, German, Swedish and Slovak users, further opening up the service for international consumers, but that's not all. Find the full changelog below:

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Experiment 19

Microsoft Research has published a few more details on their skunkworks project that commenced in 2008 to bring the Windows NT core to ARM. Better still this goes on to show that not only were they successful, but also they were able to beat Windows CE in performance tests on the same hardware.

Windows CE, on which Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7 run, has been the mainstay of Microsoft’s mobile efforts for a very long time. The problem of course is that it’s never really been Windows at all and for the most part it an entirely separate beast. Windows NT, the core of Microsoft’s standard Windows products, was long considered too large and resource heavy to work well on mobile devices. Experiment 19 was a project to prove that not only could NT come to mobile, it could do so and beat Windows CE in the process. It was a success.

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Surface Windows Phone 8 Concept

Could Microsoft make a Surface Phone? Not likely

We've re-published a number of concepts in the past when it came to guessing what designs Nokia had up their sleeves for Windows Phone, or how Windows 8 tablets could look like. Fortunately for consumers, Microsoft decided to smash the latter and unveil their Surface range of Windows 8 tablets to compete with the iPad and Android counterparts. So we now switch back to the phone, and with Apollo on the horizon what could we see if Microsoft and RIM made a Windows Phone?

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White Lumia 800

We've covered a number of deals the past few days and it's certainly a coincidence that most (if not all) have been Nokia Windows Phones. We've got yet another offer to reveal to you should you reside in the UK. High street retailer Phones 4u has the exclusive white Lumia 800 listed at just £15/mo with Orange.

The Lumia 800 is bundled at no extra charge, and the 24-month plan includes 100 minutes, 3000 texts and 100MB of data. It doesn't sound a lot if you're a power user, but it's the Dolphin package from Orange so one can always upgrade should they wish to do so. 

The Phones 4u Lumia 800 product page shows a 3.8 / 5 average customer rating with 77% recommending it. Be sure to head on over to the retail website for more information. Note that Nokia have halted the free Monster headphones offer.

Source: Phones 4u; Thanks, Mark, for the heads up!

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Lumia 610

The entry-level Lumia 610 Windows Phone is now available at Big W in Australia (following New Zealand), at an enticing price of just $229. The low end hardware running Windows Phone "Tango" enables Microsoft and manufacture partners to penetrate the prepaid market, which we've seen with in the states with both Best Buy and Walmart offering Nokia Windows Phones on prepaid plans.

While the Lumia 610 is considered a "low-end" smartphone, unlike Android counterparts, it doesn't suffer from performance issues and the same Windows Phone experience witnessed on the likes of the HTC TITAN II or Lumia 900 is packed within. In fact, the Lumia 610 goes one better than more expensive Windows Phones as it has Internet sharing pre-loaded and ready to go, and an upcoming version even supports NFC.

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Lumia 900 Summer Prize

Yes, dear reader it's summer, to celebrate the fact, those nice people at the Carphone Warehouse are generously running a Windows Phone flavoured prize draw. Included in the prize is the chance to win a Lumia 900 and a couple festival tickets to a major unnamed UK based festival. I am personally waiting for summer to start here in London, but am lead to believe its in full swing around the UK presently.

Carphone Warehouse excitedly describes the Lumia 900 like this:

  • A dazzling 4.3" touchscreen
  • An amazing 8MP Carl Zeiss lens camera
  • Crystal clear video calling
  • A super long lasting battery life

Nokia are offering the festival tickets as part of their July Music Promotion. Currently new purchases of the Lumia 610, 800 and the 900 are eligible to receive Music vouchers from Nokia on standard purchases. Whatever the reasons for the promotion it’s good to see both Nokia and the Carphone Warehouse working together to raise awareness of Windows Phone. Interestingly CPW are only offering Windows Phones from Nokia at this point.

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Windows Phone Dev Day: 28th July 2012, Bournemouth, UK

Windows Phone Dev Day

Developers, Scott Lovegroove and Dan Thomas are set to bring a Windows Phone developer event to the charming surrounds of Bournemouth. The seaside-based event is to provide a space for fervent discussion on the recent developments from Redmond, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. 

Whilst a full agenda for the day is still to be confirmed, the day is to be peppered with presentations, developer insights as well as some time to get in and hack away at some code. If that’s not enough for you they are also planning a ‘Geek Dinner’ where I’m sure the frivolities will continue with gusto.

With the coming opportunities to cross develop for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 coming edging ever closer. Events like these should be invaluable to those seeking to know more about these exciting changes. So if you have an interest in development I’d urge you not to miss out. As with all developer events like this, the more that attend and contribute the better. 

Windows Phone Central will be representing there too in the form of Richard Edmonds and myself. We are always interested in seeing any upcoming projects you may be working on so please do come by and say hello. We will endeavour to make ourselves known. Head on over to the WPDD website for more information and spot registration.

Source : Windows Phone Dev Day

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