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Skype Giveaway could land you a Titan II or Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II

Hot on the heals of the Smarter Apps Sweepstakes over on Facebook, another giveaway has surfaced. The Windows Phone Skype Giveaway is also being held over on Facebook and gives you a chance to win either an HTC Titan II or Nokia Lumia 900. Ten Windows Phones will be given away.

Just go to this Facebook page, watch the Skype video and then complete the entry form. You have until June 7, 2012 at 11:59PST to enter. Unfortunately we couldn't find the fine print so we don't know if you can enter daily or if you only get one entry.  Our guess, one entry per Facebook account per day but we could be wrong.

Oh...and the contest is only open to residents of the United States and District of Columbia (don't hate the messenger).

Good luck everyone and if you win will you choose the Titan II or Lumia 900?

Thanks, Ruslan, for the tip!

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Ask Ziggy

While we don't have Siri (and Woz misses it) we do have Ask Ziggy which is getting closer and closer to Apple's AI. Some of the last few updates were interesting for Ziggy but the one for today comes across as stabilizing in addition to adding a few new features:

  • Live Calendar integration
  • Fixed annoying pop-ups ("query canceled", etc...)
  • New toggle to add/remove secondary Reminders tile
  • Yelp integration local and remote with multiple tappable areas on results
  • Improved splash screen animation
  • Fixed greeting issue + mic states
  • Improved overall performance
  • Search Tweets by topic "Tweets for NFL Combine"

We've been throwing lots of questions at it and the results seem more accurate (and quicker too) than in previous versions.  The Live Calendar integration looks to be a huge bonus for many of you who need to make appointments and the search Tweets feature is certainly a new twist.  Using Yelp for search results should also help you find that local bar or coffee shop too.

Overall, we're impressed with the update and seeing as the app is still free (and ad free) we so no reason for you to not try it. And if you have tried it in the past, you may want to re-download it and give version 2.3 a spin.

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Amazing Weather v3

In the race for the coolest weather app for Windows Phone, you're the winner. Which is why we love to bring the news of app updates in this area for Windows Phone, since so many of you have your favorites and lets be honest, everyone needs a weather app.

We reported earlier that Amazing Weather (review) was going to get some major new themes in version 3.0 and sure enough, that update has just gone live in the Marketplace. Here are the changes:

  • 3 beautiful themes
  • 3 distinct live tiles
  • weather alerts
  • offline mode
  • auto location using GPS
  • 5 different cities,
  • refined UI with charts
  • support for new languages

The auto-location using GPS is great as you can pin that tile to your Start screen and it auto-updates your location when the weather is refreshed -- perfect for those of you on the go.  The new themes are great and a clear shot at Weather Flow (who went after the "realistic weather" model that Amazing Weather had originally brought).

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Nokia's Lumia 900 $100 credit rolling out

Nokia distributing 00 credit

We all know the story surrounding the connectivity issues with the Nokia Lumia 900, right? The Lumia 900 had a software bug that caused data connections to drop and in the span of a week Nokia acknowledged the problem, worked up a fix and distributed it ahead of schedule.

Customers had the choice of swapping out their Lumia 900 for a new unit or simply updated their existing Lumia 900 with the fix. To help compensate customers (who bought the Lumia on or before April 21st), Nokia also threw in a $100 credit.  The credit was scheduled to be applied within the next sixty days according to a reminder text message from AT&T.

Just as Nokia wasted no time rolling out the update, they aren't wasting any time rolling out the $100 credit.  We're getting reports from several readers that they are already seeing the credit showing up on their AT&T account. I just checked mine and sure enough, it's there.  

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Glossy White Lumia 900

"Operation Rolling Thunder": a slow, steady and gradual increase in marketing for Nokia in the U.S.

At least that's what we're lead to believe how Nokia and AT&T are approaching the Lumia 900, the flagship Windows Phone on the nation's largest carrier. While supplies have been tight these last few weeks, Nokia seems to be increasing the ship rates for the devices in all colors with most outlets now having stock (and we're still expecting that Magenta version in a few weeks).

According to AT&T employee Jeffery Brown, there are a few changes coming down the line:

  • AT&T reps are now required to sell at least one Nokia Lumia 900 by the end of April
  • "Marketing to go into high gear in May, June."

Both of those certainly sound plausible and we're contacting some of our other AT&T reps to confirm. But in all likelihood as the Lumia 900 continues to makes waves e.g. the comments by Steve Wozniak and regular non-tech users get their hands on the phone, Nokia and AT&T will ramp up their advertising accordingly.

In fact, reader Franklin S. contacted us the other night with this little gem:

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Lumia 610

A big day for those living in the Philippines as the Nokia Lumia 610 has finally gone on sale there making it the first country for the intro-level device. This is also after the Lumia 710 and 800 went on sale there last weekend. The price of the Lumia 610 is set for 11,000 PHP or about 260 USD which comes across as a fairly competitive offering and could sell well at that price.

The Nokia Blog was on hand in Manila and the Nokia store looked well decked out. And according to Mark Guim the staff were courteous and knowledgeable as well, setting a good example.

Nokia in Manilla

The Lumia 610 gets rid of the ClearBlack AMOLED screen of the 800 and 900 and goes for the cheaper 3.7" TFT-style to help bring down the cost. It also features 256MB of RAM (running Windows Phone "Tango") and a 800MHz CPU. Despite those low specs, it seems to perform very well and from our hands on with the device (after the break), we're just as impressed with it as the Lumia 710.

According to Mark, we can expect the Lumia 610 to land in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam in a few weeks. It's great to see Nokia entering these markets to help expand the Windows Phone base.

Head over to the source link to see some more photos of the Philippines launch.

Source: The Nokia Blog

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Editor's Choice: remembeReel for Windows Phone

If you listened to this week's podcast, you may have heard me mention my new favorite app, remembeReel for Windows Phone.

I'm a big fan of movies and tend to watch between 3-5 a week, even while working two jobs. One of my problems though is remembering all the things I've watched, especially since I often take forays into international, independent and odd little motion pictures, hence my need for this app. (By the way, check out a film called 'PontyPool' on Netflix, really interesting). remembeReel is free, has no ads is fast and fluid and well thought out.

remembeReel simply allows you to type in the movie you're watching (or watched), it checks it against Rotten Tomatoes (site) and pulls down the info for you. With one tap, you save it to your list. A few more taps and you can add it to your 'favorites', add notes, punch in the date and share it via Twitter, Facebook, Live, etc. Not only can you share it but it'll provide the URL for the listing on Rotten Tomatoes so others can quickly read-up on what you've just watched. Brilliant. You can also sort by title or date-viewed which is convenient.

remembeReel

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Steve Wozniak

Co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, calls Windows Phone "Intuitive and beautiful"

We reported recently that co-founder of Apple and all around cool geek Steve Wozniak was looking to purchase a Nokia Lumia 900 (WPCentral review) The info came via his Twitter feed where he posted from Foursquare. At the time, he was waiting for the AT&T store to open to check out the flagship Windows Phone.

Since then, we haven't heard much. In fact, there was no confirmation that he had even purchased the device but as it turns out, he did and what's more, he loves it. Over at  aNewDomain.net, Dan Patterson, Todd Moore and Gina Smith not only caught up with "the Woz" but got him on tape talking about his experience with Windows Phone and the Lumia 900.

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Nokia Lumia 900 Facebook Sweepstakes

Microsoft and Nokia's Lumia 900 Windows Phone marketing juggernaut doesn't look like it's slowly down.  The latest chapter of Rolling Thunder appears over on Facebook with a chance to win one of ten Lumia 900s in the Smarter Apps Sweepstakes.

To enter just hop on over to this Facebook page, choose your favorite apps (WPCentral is listed in the News Category), type why you like these apps and share your choices (optional).

The sweepstakes has ten entry periods that span from April 23rd to June 30th. Entries will only be eligible for the entry period for which they are received and participants are limited to 25 entries per authorized Facebook account holder per day. Oh and the sweepstakes is open only to residents of the U.S., D.C., and Puerto Rico (don't blame the messenger).  You can find the rest of the fine print at the bottom of the Facebook page.

Good luck to all who enter and let us know if you get lucky.

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Cyan Lumia 900 available for order

The cyan Nokia Lumia 900 is joining the white and black models as being available for order from AT&T.com .  Can't really say the cyan model is really back in stock because the Windows Phone is listed as "will ship in 5-7 business days".

More than likely Nokia informed AT&T that the truck's ready to leave the Nokia assembly line to head over to the AT&T Warehouse. Which usually takes a few days.

While not the most ideal of situations, it is progress. For those not familiar with the Lumia 900, it's available at AT&T for $99.99 after two-year contractual discounts or $449.99 off contract.

AmazonWireless has the cyan Lumia 900 listed for $49.99 after discounts and $449.99 off contract. Downside with AmazonWireless is that they are listing the cyan model as "Usually ships in 1 to 3 weeks".

Thanks, mamacita42, for the tip!

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WP Central

Ben (the "PC Guy" and "Mass Windows Phone Marketing Agent") Rudolph is returning with a slightly different attempt to give away Windows Phones. Should you desire what we'd assume to be a white Lumia 900, then you might be in with a chance of winning one (image / competition idea courtesy of Nokia For Us). Simply use your creative powers to create a suitable caption for the above photo, which sits the Nokia device next to a white bar of Dove soap.

How does one enter with their snazzy caption? Simply tweet your entry, adding the #captionthatlumia (click to view some of the entires already published) hashtag. The competition is running through until April 29th (11:59pm PT) when Rudolph will create a post on the Windows team blog announcing the winners. You can enter as many captions as you like, we look forward to reading yours. It's at least a refreshing change from the Smoked by Windows Phone campaign.

Source: Ben Rudolph (Twitter) via: GoWindowsGo; Thanks, Sam, for the tip!

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Yesterday WPCentral promised to reveal two upcoming Xbox Live games from Glu Mobile, the first of which is Contract Killer. Today we follow up with the announcement of a second, even more exciting Glu title: Gun Bros.

Gun Bros (pronounced ‘bros,’ not ‘brothers') is a twin-stick overhead shooter. Players control either of the two beefy siblings as they fight to stop the evil organization known as T.O.O.L. (no relation to the band, whose concert was the first I ever attended) from stealing the galaxy’s valuable Xplodium resources. The plot is basically an excuse to head from planet to planet, taking on missions of various difficulties, killing tons of unfriendly aliens, and collecting as much Xplodium as you can.

Between missions, the Gun Bros can process their Xplodium to turn it into gold. Better processing methods unlock as you go along. Gold is then used to buy new weapons and armor pieces. The character customization element adds a nice degree of depth and helps the heroes survive against more challenging foes.

Gun Bros

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Take me to your leader!

We're not huge fans of Cleverbot aka the witty artificial intelligence program out there that engages in a back and forth conversation (www.cleverbot.com), but we do recognize that a lot of people are fascinated by the technology.

Luckily you can now bring the fiendish AI bot with you on your Windows Phone. Yes, the official Cleverbot app for Windows Phone is now in the Marketplace and fetches for $0.99 with no trial.

That's a shame about no trial but the app is well done. It has some neat little sound effects, allows you to share your conversations to Facebook, Live, Twitter and even email. That's a requirement because sharing those conversations with the 'bot is one of the favorite pastimes for folks on the inets these days. From the app description:

"Talk to an app with Actual Intelligence! Say anything you like and it will reply. Make a friend! Roleplay, lyrics, jokes, memes - all sorts!

Cleverbot is Artificial Intelligence. It learns what people say, in context, and imitates.

Cleverbot says many things - claiming to be human, role-playing and much more. It may even say things you find inappropriate. Use with discretion and at your own risk.

Cleverbot is conversational entertainment - no more, no less. It is not made to be logical, give advice, or be useful. Parents must decide whether they wish young people to have access. Be sure of this, however: it is a bot. It is software. You will never talk to a human."

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WP Central

Sometimes we come across odd things on the internet, after all we frequent reddit and 4chan on occasion. This video certainly ranks up there for entertainment value as it features someone very infatuated with his Lumia 900 and who also likes to rip into Android.

The result is crass, debased, juvenile and at times spot on. We also laughed. Obviously, satire and off the wall humor is not for everyone and due to language, you'll want to watch this with headphones on. We're not sure if Microsoft or Nokia would want him as a spokesperson but the guy is a character.

Normally we wouldn't cover this, but our frenemies over at AndroidCentral posted it to troll their audience (talking about being crass) so we figured we had to share it as well.

Video after the break.

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WPCentral 141 - Stormtroopers and the Cloud

WPCentral Podcast

We're back again for another exciting podcast, this time with myself, Jay Bennett and Rafael Rivera. The big news this week is the Lumia 900, its purple problem, sales and Microsoft's new SkyDrive push.

Rafael also tells us a lot about Skype and why getting calls in the background can be difficult on Windows Phone. Plus we take your questions!

Show-notes and HD video after the break...

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WP Central

While Samsung is evidently taking the summer off from Windows Phone, seeing as that AT&T 4G LTE "Mendel" phone is MIA (we think it was canceled), it only makes sense to start speculating about what will come in the fall.

It's no surprise if you follow tech blogs that Sammy is about to release they're much hyped Galaxy S III  Android phone. Not much is known on the exact specs yet, but it's rumored to be 4.7" Super AMOLED HD (or whatever gimmicky name they have now) with a "micro arc oxidation" back. All you need to know is it will be crazy thin with a large screen and very fast CPUs on board.

Over at WP-Life, they claim to have a reliable source in South Korea noting that ol' Sammy will basically recycle the S III for a Windows Phone 8 device come this fall. While such a device won't be an exact clone, it will rely heavily on what ever is revealed in London on May 3rd.

In fact the working name is Samsung Focus S II. Basically the idea is because Windows Phone 8 steps up the specs so much, Samsung can easily port over WP8 to this almost existing, relatively cutting edge hardware. Here's what we supposedly can expect:

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Samsung is now the wrold's #1 handset vendor

A report by research firm Strategy Analytics shows that Samsung has surpassed Nokia to become the largest handset vendor in the world in terms of volume. In a quarter that saw a small three percent rise in mobile phone sales, Samsung captured 25 percent of the market. In the meantime, the struggling Finnish manufacturer Nokia's shipments decreased by 24 percent due to declining sales in emerging markets. Despite strong sales of their Lumia line of Windows Phone handsets, Nokia recorded a substantial Q1 loss of 3%, prompting Moody's to cut their debt rating to the lowest possible investment level.

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, said, "Nokia's global handset shipments declined a huge 24 percent annually to 82.7 million units in Q1 2012. Volumes were squeezed at both ends, as low-end feature phone shipments in emerging markets stalled and high-end Microsoft Lumia smartphones were unable to offset the rapid decline of Nokia's legacy Symbian business. Nokia was the world's largest handset vendor between 1998 and 2011, for 14 years, before finally yielding top position to rival Samsung this quarter."

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LG confirms no Windows Phone 8 upgrade? Not quite

LG Optimus 7

There has been some confusion this morning surrounding a tweet that was published by the Italian LG Twitter account. The tweet in question was in reply to another user who queried whether or not the LG Optimus 7 would be receiving the upcoming Windows Phone "Apollo" update, which stated that the device would not be upgraded as confirmed by Microsoft.

LG Update Tweet

Microsoft hasn't officially confirmed anything regarding the "Apollo" update, apart from app compatibility. LG has since published a follow up tweet explaining that the previous statement was made in error. It's still up in the air whether first and second generation Windows Phones will be updated to "Apollo", so we should all continue to await confirmation from the software giant.

Via: Plaffo

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Best Photography Apps for your Windows Phone

Best Windows Phone Photography Apps from WPCentral

Best Photo Apps for your Windows Phone

We've taken a look at the best free apps, the must have games, the must have apps and the best weather apps for your Windows Phone. We now turn our attention to the best photography apps for your Windows Phone.

Now that you have some insight on how your Windows Phone camera works, these apps will help you edit and add a creative touch to your photographs. Some of these apps will even have an in-house camera function to keep everything under one roof.

As with all our "best of" lists, this list contains the apps that stand out in our opinions. If we've missed an app that you think should be included, please sound off in the comments.

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WP Central

The Australian carrier Telstra has announced a new Windows Phone competition featuring the Lumia 800. "The Lumia Quest" will see 10 glossy new white Lumia 800 handsets being given away in 5 cities across the country this coming May. The members of public will be able to follow social media clues posted on the official Facebook page to find the hidden Lumia stash.

The competition is finders keepers and is taking place in Brisbane (May 7th), Melbourne (May 8th), Perth (May 9th), Adelaide (May 10th) and Sydney (May 11th). What do you receive should you manage to successfully find the handsets on the treasure hunt? Well the white Lumia 800 of course, but along with the Windows Phone, the ten devices come with a Telstra $50 Pre-Paid Cap Encore recharge, with $1000.00 credit and 2GB of data. Not bad, eh?

WP Central

So who's heading down to the events? Keep an eye out on the official Telstra Facebook page for more information as well as the clues on the competition days.

Update: We've just corrected the article that it's indeed the Lumia 800, not the Lumia 900.

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WP Central

This week's hottest thread really isn't just one hot thread but rather a collection of related threads covering one topic: Windows Phone and its shortcomings.

Some of these so-called deficiencies could be bigger than Windows Phone itself or at least that is what some think. In this thread "Why WP isn't as popular as it should be"  forum member baileystein, who sells Windows Phoneshas a unique perspective on all of this and shares it with us.

Curious as to what he and others have to say? Read on past the break to get their views.

 

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Wordament Tournament

The popular word game Wordament went to full Xbox LIVE status this week and in our previous story on the brain straining game we mentioned how Microsoft would be promoting the app with a Wordament Tournament.

Happening right now at the Bellevue, WA Microsoft store, there's quite a crowd there evidently getting into the game. With food, giveaways and prizes (no human sacrifices though), it looks to be a fun time and a great celebration for a unique Windows Phone experience.

If you're there, send us some more pics and we'll throw 'em in this post. Also leave some comments based on what you've experienced . Pick up the free game here in the Marketplace, if you haven't already.

Update: "Here is a picture of WicketEwok in the left and DiscoPigeon on the right, two of the top players going head to head."  Thanks, Dustin S., for the photos!

Wordament Tournament

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Crunchyroll for Windows Phone

Good news for you diehard anime fans, your official Crunchyroll app (www.crunchyroll.com) has arrived for Windows Phone and word from the ratings is it's damn fine. In fact, one comment has it pegged as better than the iPhone and Android version.

From the app description, sounds like it has everything you could want:

"Download the app to watch the latest anime from Japan in English and legally! Now you can watch new episodes 1 hour after airing in Japan on your Windows Phone device!

Watch the latest anime shows like Naruto Shippuden, Bleach, Shugo Chara!, Blue Exorcist, Gintama, The World God Only Knows, Bodacious Space Pirates, Nisemonogatari, Eyeshield 21, Skip Beat!, Beelzebub, Gosick, and more."

Crunchroll

Only downside? You have to have a premium account to even launch into it the app, making this no good unless like we said, you're a diehard fan. But if you are, it seems like you can't go wrong with this app. If this is something you want, head here to the Marketplace and pick 'er up. Thanks, Avid R., for the tip

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Windows Phone Marketplace back in business

Whatever the reason for the Windows Phone Marketplace had for not playing nice earlier, the problems appeasr to have been resolved. We've been able to access the Marketplace online as well as from our Windows Phones.

Even the links to Marketplace apps are behaving as they should. The glitches we've experienced today as well as over the weekend could simply be the result of Microsoft working under the hood.

None the less, all appears to be corrected and we hope everyone is now able to access the Marketplace.  Sound off in the comments if you're still having problems.

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Vodafone rolling out Nokia Lumia 800 update

Vodafone updating the Lumia 800

Vodafone is rolling out a firmware update for the Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone. The update, 12072, is primarily a bug-fixing release that will address the battery issue, updated the camera software and address the volume problem. The firmware update lacks internet tethering which is still slated for a future update.

According to Vodafone Australia, this update supersedes the previously announced 12070 update that began rolling out earlier this month in other markets. Apparently there was an issue that prevented the wide scale roll out of that update. It sounds as if this update picks up where the earlier roll-out left off.

We are getting tips that Vodafone Spain, Australia and U.K. customers are receiving the update. If you've received the update, feel free to share your experiences in the comments.

Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

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