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Nokia is expected to push into China very soon e.g. within weeks and now we're starting to see some of that effort. In a screeenshot of the the Lumia 800c ('c' is presumably for China's CDMA system) we can see that this is now rocking a later version of "Tango" than build 8757 (which we've seen lately on some other phones e.g. TITAN II, Lumia 900) but it is the same OS as found on the Lumia 610, lending credence to the idea that 8763 may be close to the shipping ROM. (See below for updated info).

In our discussions with Nokia, they noted that there is no final-build of "Tango" though and in fact they don't refer to it internally as that. Evidently, they just get new builds which they use to address issues accordingly, which makes sense. Understanding that it makes sense that "Tango" is not a fixed build but rather a range of post-Mango updates and with certain ones reaching "shipping" status.

Also of interest is the later firmware build. Here the Lumia 800c is sporting firmware 12080 which is just slightly ahead of the recently released 12070--once again it's safe to say this has more to do with the radios on board than anything significant. There's little doubt Nokia has to customize things a bit for China's more strict ecosystem so these changes are to be expected.

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WP Central

Yesterday we showed you how to get the latest firmware for your Lumia 710, version 12070, on your device early but those in Singapore won't have to. As promised earlier, Nokia has started rolling out this update officially for that device in that region meaning all you need to do is plug in your phone to your Zune Desktop.

Singapore is also getting the 12070 firmware update for the Lumia 800 as well.

WP Central

The update addresses an annoying issue where some users can't end  call once initiated, instead they have to pull the battery or shutdown the phone. Further, this update brings other "performance enhancements" to the table e.g. we notice our phone turns on faster now when we hit the power button.

This is also a good sign that Nokia will begin rolling this update out more globally in the next few weeks, dependent on carrier request.

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Orange UK rolling out Windows Phone 8107 update

WP Central

We've just received confirmation that Orange UK is rolling out the Windows Phone 8107 update (for the Lumia 800 anyway). The update addresses the pesky disappearing keyboard bug among other issues. Should you be on the network, and are waiting for the notification, be sure to regularly check Zune when plugged in.

Let us know in the comments should you have the update on the carrier, or are still waiting.

Thanks James for the heads up!

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Ro Ramtohul is a student, studying at the University of Dundee, Scotland, who has been working on a project called "reculture" for the final year of his course (Digital Interaction Design), and it involves a Windows Phone. Those who primarily reside in the West (or share the same stereotypical ignorance towards foreign cultures as the British) are being targeted by Ramtohul for some interactive education.

The project, as can be witnessed in the above video, is a Windows Phone app that works with the Kinect for Xbox 360, much like we've seen with previous concepts. As opposed to learning the language, or reading blocks of tedious text, Ramtohul's work will have the user engage physically using gestures. The Windows Phone app will compliment the Kinect by acting as a type of 'instruction manual'. Users are alerted by a notification when they're in the proximity of the Kinect and can watch a small video within the mobile app illustrating what gesture is required to be carried out (accompanied by some details about the culture).

Gestures (and cultures) alternate on a daily basis, with the above Japanese greeting acting as a single example - a successful command turns on the TV. It's a really neat concept and we look forward to see how the development pans out. You can find out more about what motivated Ramtohul with reculture, as well as checking out more videos of his work via the links below. The project is full steam ahead with more cultures and gestures being programmed - of course, the British gesture will be drinking a cup of tea.

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Lumia 800 Windows Phone on sale at TELUS for just $25

WP Central

The Canadian carrier TELUS currently have a relatively large sale going on on their latest smartphone offerings. The special offers, that will run until the end of March, includes a Windows Phone - the Nokia Lumia 800. Should you be interested in purchasing the handset on TELUS, you'll be pleased to know that its price has been knocked down to just $25 (from $50).

Unfortunately all the eligible handsets require a 3-year ($50 /mo minimum) contract, but for $25 the Lumia 800 is a bargain. You can -of course- buy the 800 contract free for $529.

Source: TELUS; thanks @jonnybravo_ for the heads up!

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WP Central

Microsoft is sending out email notices to current and former Windows Mobile 6.x users to prepare them for the upcoming shutdown of the 6.x Marketplace.  As of May 9, browsing, purchasing and downloading functionality will be discontinued.  While currently installed apps and games will continue to function, users are warned to check for updates sooner, rather than later, as they will no longer be provided for the soon-to-be legacy software.

It's the end of an era and an opportune time to upgrade.  There is a wide range of Windows Phone devices out there at every price range (unless you're on Verizon or Sprint).  However, with Apollo due out later in the year, does it make sense to cut off Windows Mobile users and inspire them to upgrade, only to prompt buyer's remorse when Windows Phone 8 hits?  Could this timing signify the arrival of Apollo, or at least offer hope that WP7 can be upgraded to WP8?

Source: Microsoft

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Lumia 710 w/8107

Okay, in a way we really don't recommend you do this, on the other hand we just did so who are we to judge. In short, with a few tools and about 20 minutes of your time, you can flash the latest build of Windows Phone (8107 with the keyboard fix) and the latest firmware (12070) onto your T-Mobile branded Nokia Lumia 710.

The latest firmware fixes the end-call bug in addition to giving other "performance enhancements" e.g. powering on from standby seems faster to us now, whereas before there was delay. We haven't run it long enough to see if battery life has improved, though we presume since this matches the Lumia 800's new firmware that it has some of the same tricks (we're idling at about 135mAh, for what it's worth).

How is this done? The files come from Nokia's servers where you can download various ROM packages. In this case, Nokia has available three variants (by color) of their latest 710 ROMs for India available. That's right, you'll be installing a ROM for India on your US phone. No worries though as it's unbranded and heck, it even has two pics of the Taj Mahal as a bonus.

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Zomies Ate My City

It was only late last year that we covered the news of Chaos Created, a UK based studio, asking for volunteers in and around London to dress up as zombies and act out in footage for their upcoming Windows Phone title, Zombies Ate My City. The game has now been released onto the Marketplace and is available for... wait for it... absolutely nothing ($0 / £0).

So what is Zombies Ate My City all about? It's a 'transmedia' title that is part movie, part game, part augmented reality and part location discovery. A real mixup, which is unique to Windows Phone and is also a platform exclusive. You're tasked with heading to different locations using Bing Maps, much like Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst, and defend the area from zombies. Achievements are unlock-able as well as more powerful weaponry.

Zombies Ate My City App

Windows Phone UK caught up with Ali Maggs, co-creator and programmer of the game:

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Gerbil Physics papercraft

We gave you an exclusive preview of Gerbil Physics, next week's Xbox LIVE title for Windows Phone, showing off the graphics and gameplay including details, story and history of the game--truly a must read (so go read it!).

Now, in preparation the developers of the game, in conjunction with Microsoft's Play XBLA site, are sponsoring some gerbil papercraft goodness. Basically go and print up those pages, cut and fold your way to a little afternoon project. What better way to spend your office work time (instead of surfing Reddit)? And if you submit your photos, Play XBLA might just post your pictures for full internet glory.

Source: Play XBLA

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From the Forums: What's your next Windows Phone?

WP Central

We have Windows phones lots of Windows Phones available and more to come. Some of the early adopters of the OS are reaching the end of their carrier contract and it's decision time.

Forums Member RiseAgainst94 wants to know "What's your next windows phone?" and so do we. With AT&T's gearing up for TITAN II and Lumia 900 release  we will soon have more top-of-the-line hardware to chose from making the decision even harder. Are you at the end of your contract and looking for information on what new Windows Phone will be best for you? Our What's your next windows phone thread is the place for you--it's our top thread in the forums for a reason. 

It seems everyone has an opinion when you're making an investment like this, so it's best to have as much information as possible. When you have made your choice and think you have the device that is right for you in mind, you can then visit our device forums where we have all the details on all these devices. Come and join the discussion and let us know what shiny new Windows Phone you will be carrying. 

Remember, the forums are more fun when you register, so sign up today.

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We mentioned how Nokia was giving away free cab rides in London during Social Media Week back in mid February. In short, the company was sponsoring black-cabs (analogous to our yellow-cabs here in New York) and paying for your destination to wherever. Nice treat, for sure.

But evidently there was more.

Nokia also gave away some Lumia 800's to some lucky guests and when they turned on the device, they were greeted with four London locations that they could go to (presumably the lucky winners would pick just one). Areas included things like spas and laser tag which does look like an amazing way to spend your day...plus, you know, free Nokia phone.

We can't deny we're a little excited to see what they do here in the US with the Lumia 900 launch looming, especially in New York City. Fingers crossed.

Source: Nokia (YouTube)

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White Lumia 800 now available in Singapore

WP Central

Itching to get your hands on a glossy white Lumia 800? Live in Singapore? Then you'll want to head to SingTelShop.com to order youself up one of the more rare looking Nokia devices.

WP Central

Available now for $349 you can order and renew a line or get a whole new one. And if white isn't your thing, you can of course still get black, cyan or fuchsia for the same price.

Source: SingTelShop; Thanks, VoodooKing, for the heads up

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LG Optimus 7 unlocked on offer in Australia for $159

WP Central

The LG Optimus 7 is available unlocked for an incredibly low price of just $159. The special offer is at Catch Of The Day, an Australian deal site, but you'll have to act fast should you wish to snap a purchase as the handset is only at this price for another 13 hours.

The Optimus 7 (some hands-on footage) is a solid first generation Windows Phone, packing a 3.8" display, 1Ghz CPU, 5MP shooter and 16GB storage. At this price, who could complain? The same Windows Phone experience at an incredible price. There is one slight issue, as WPDownUnder points out, this device is a 900 band 3G unlocked phone that will be restricted to Virgin and Optus (no Telstra NextG).

Source: Catchoftheday, via: WPDownUnder

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Good old Jaxbot from Windows Phone Hacker has managed to get his hands on a pre-release version of the Windows Phone "Tango" emulator (build 8731, which is earlier than the shipping 8757).

In addition, he's gone an unlocked the whole thing making it available for others to download and use. But for those of us who don't want to bother they can just watch the above video walkthrough demonstrating the few changes that are present in "Tango" (most of the changes are under the hood). Things like voice-notes in MMS or the location-icon detailed earlier though are nice little changes.

All in all, not too much to get excited about but if you want the emulator, head to Windows Phone Hacker for more info and the download links.

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It’s Official: Windows Phone Users Hate Macs

WP Central

Two weeks back Mobile Nations ran a survey asking all of you to tell us a few things about your computing and mobile device ownership and buying plans.  I’ve been digging into the data which is especially pertinent given today's iPad announcement.

Admittedly, those of us who fill out these surveys in the first 48 hours are often the most enthusiastic tech people of the bunch.  So we can’t go too crazy drawing conclusions.  But still, the data is interesting.

We had just over 1100 Windows Phone users fill out the survey.  The percentage of those people who use a Mac versus a PC is quite small, at only 5.1%

Across the entire survey population (over 7500 results), Mac has 17.7% market share. Without doing the math, this sure looks like a statistically significant result to me.

This may not be too shocking of a result to many of you, but I think we can safely say that Windows Phone users dislike Macs more than the average person.  A lot more.

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WP Central

Nokia has finally finished up a ROM and firmware update for the Lumia 710 for India and Singapore (we also see one for Brazil's TIM network on their servers). This next update will finally bring the Windows Phone 8107 OS update which address the disappearing keyboard issue as well as security flaws. In addition, the firmware will fix the end-call bug and bring the ever vague ""minor performance and usability improvements".

Unfortunately, this update is dependent on "market requests" meaning we don't know who else will get this, though T-Mobile would seem to be a likely candidate (they did push out 8107 for the HTC Radar recently and the Lumia 710 is still rocking the old 7740 OS). We'll keep an ear out for any rumblings.

Likewise, the Lumia 800 is currently getting the 12070 firmware update which we detailed the other day. That too has an official changelog which is similar to what we reported. That update also is dependent upon "market request" so we'll just have to wait and see who gets it:

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We're just going to come out and say it: Zero, the new to-do list app from tomzorz labs, borrows heavily in inspiration from an iPhone app called Clear (see the iMore review). What makes that funny is Clear is understood as borrowing heavily from Microsoft's Metro UI design language meaning we're finally coming full circle with Clear Zero coming back to Windows Phone.

The to-do list/task manager app is very minimalist in design with zero chrome, ahem. It is primarily gesture based forgoing the traditional bottom-bar method found in most Windows Phone apps--in that sense, it actually deviates against Metro UI but only because it's going more minimalist instead of less. Gestures are simple and universal: up/down to create, left to delete, right to check off, pinch in to go back, pinch out to re-order lists. Because of the gestures, you'll need to tap through a brief (but well done) tutorial at first but you'll lean the system quick enough.

Zero

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Google Search app redesigned for Windows Phone

WP Central

Google has just published a new post on the official mobile blog detailing a redesigned Google Search app that is available on the Marketplace, which sports the following features:

  • Google Autocomplete: As you type in your search, our autocomplete feature offers search predictions that often match your intended search term making search entry easier and faster.
  • Voice Search: With our voice feature, you can avoid typing all together. Simply press the microphone and begin speaking your query.
  • My Location: With your permission, Google can use your device location to provide nearby results easily and accurately. For instance, a search for “coffee shops” quickly displays the nearest places you can go to for a cup of coffee.

This is available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German. Although it appears the app is only available in the U.S. You can download the Google Search app from the Marketplace.

Source: Google

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Some Pig

Last weeks’ three-peat sale might have left a bad taste in bargain hunters’ mouths, but this week’s special should wash that right out. Yes, Farm Frenzy 2 is now the Xbox Live Deal of the Week - for the first time. It’s currently $1.99, down from $2.99.

Farm Frenzy 2 is a light farm sim that plays a bit like a time management game. Keeping your animals alive, harvesting the goods they produce, battling off wild bears (the game was developed in Russia where I guess they have lots of bears?), selling goods at town, and having other supplies flown in… It’s all a day in the life of a farmer.

Farm Frenzy 2

This here farmin’ game’s levels are nice and short, but shucks, finishing them quickly enough to earn the Gold medal can sure be a challenge. You might want to use this guide. Think of it as a Farmer’s Almanac!

Farm Frenzy 2 is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Just watch out for bears on your way to the Marketplace.

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Nokia Lumia 710 scores high on customer satisfaction

Nokia scores high on customer delight

It shouldn't come as a big surprise but owners of the Nokia Lumia 710 are delighted with their Windows Phone. If there was doubt, we now have a customer survey to prove it.

Argus Insights, a leader in product innovation analytics, has released the results of a customer satisfaction survey that places satisfaction and delight with the Nokia Lumia 710 ahead of the iPhone 4S, Motorola Droid RAZR 4G and competitive with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Argus believes that the lower priced Lumia 710 pushed consumers who were waiting for a lower priced smartphone off the fence.

The survey results took into consideration responses on such issues as connectivity, quality/reliability, usability, display, speed/performance and functionality.  All of which reflected overwhelming positive comments on the 710.  

It would appear that consumers, based on Argus's findings, see the Lumia 710 as giving them the biggest bang for their buck.

Source: Argus Insights; Thanks, damthman, for the tip!

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Three UK Plans

Three UK has announced plans to remove all 'out-of-bundle' data charges that may occur when customers go over contract data limits and to introduce new tariff families. The carrier will now cut off the Internet for customers should they hit the limit, as well as send warnings prior to inform of heavy usage. New customers (and those who wish to upgrade) will be able to take out a plan from one of the new tariff families (see above image for more details on each plan) - Ultimate Internet Plans and Essential Internet Plans.

Both new tariff families will replace all available plans sold by the carrier, excluding The One Plan and SIM only packages. The Essential Internet Plans will suit light usage smartphone owners, whereas the Ultimate Internet Plans (as well as The One Plan) will sport an all-you-can-eat data allowance.

This move is welcomed to further simplify contract browsing and provide consumers with more scope to accommodate the increase in Internet usage while on the go. Three UK has been officially awarded "UK's Fastest Growing 3G Network", and with the recent alterations and improvements made by the company, it's easy to see why.

Find the press release below.

Source: Three UK, via: Androiduknewsetc

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WP Central

Microsoft has updated the how-to section of the official Windows Phone website to include a small tip regarding when location based services are currently active. A small indicator (see above image) will be included in a future update, which be displayed with the other disappearing status indicators that will alert the user as to when apps are using the phone's location.

Microsoft informed The Verge that the update will be included with handsets shipping with Windows Phone "Tango" with existing devices receiving the update once the company has finalised the update with carriers.

"After the new devices are out, we’ll start the process of working with mobile operators to bring an update to current customers. It’ll be a few months before we have specifics on that roll out,

Just how long existing consumers will have to wait for the update hasn't been specified, but it's a positive move to fight privacy concerns. We could well see the update including this location indicator being bundled with the new features in "Tango" for Mango users.

Source: Microsoft, via: The Verge@WPUG

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Metro Studio 1: Thousands of Metro icons, FREE [Developers]

Metro Studio 1

  

Every so often we cover tools that help out developers, but this is in another league. A company called SyncFusion has created a product called Metro Studio 1 which looks to be invaluable to developers and designers alike. The company traditionally develops .NET components for ASP.NET, WPF, WinForms, Silverlight, WP7 and others.

Metro Studio 1 comes with 600 unique metro icons that can then be customized through the interface. You can change the size, padding, background shape, and colors of any icon. Plus, the XAML source is provided for the icons, or you can save the PNG. Every icon is vector based (hence why the XAML source is available), so exporting at any size is possible.

Best of all, the studio is totally free, and every icon is royalty-free and can be used in commercial projects.


  

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Ask Ziggy

We showed you the latest version of Ask Ziggy, the Siri-like app knowledge app, last week and we told you it'll be here soon. Sure enough, the app has now been updated in the Marketplace, bringing all that new re-designed goodness free to your phone.

As we remarked and showed in our video, Ask Ziggy v2.0 brings a new Metro look, geolocation localization to answer questions about whereabouts, weather, time and searches. It's also a bit smarter, allowing the developer to update certain features from the backend.

Ask Ziggy

So how much attention is Ask Ziggy getting? A lot. Our first video has 166K views, Microsoft has taken an interest in it. And now we have word that that Nokia has personally invited Ask Ziggy to give a special demo of their voice recognition technology at its 3-domed “Nokia Lab” at the SXSW (South by Southwest) Festival on March 12th. What's more they've doubled their staff from one to two people, which is quite impressive when you think about what they're up against.

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