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Nokia 808 with Pure View camera

While Microsoft took center stage yesterday with the Surface tablet, Nokia had an announcement of their own to make. We briefly mentioned this with speculation that Nokia might be a party to Microsoft's event but quickly learned that these were two separate events. Even though it doesn't deal with Windows Phones, we felt the need to come full circle with things.

Yesterday, Nokia announced that the Nokia 808 with 41 megapixel Pure View camera will be released in the U.S., unlocked, through Amazon.com. The 808 will run $699 and will be compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile networks.

There is still some speculation that we'll see the Pure View camera make the jump from the 808 to a Windows Phone later this year but for the time being, Pre-orders for the Symbian phone should begin later this week. You can sign up for notification here at Nokia.com.

Source: Nokia Conversations

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WP Central

We brought you the news, even before it was official, that T-Mobile and Nokia were teaming up here in the US for Batman the Dark Knight Rises promotion. The promo involves specially crafted Lumia 710 Xpress-on covers in cyan, magenta, yellow, black or white and feature the iconic Batman logo.

Nokia has now officially announced the availability and details of the promotion and we like what we hear:

  • The promotion will run exclusively at T-Mobile stores from June 20 – July 31, during which customers can pick up their covers in T-Mobile stores
  • TDKR Xpress-On covers are free to existing Nokia Lumia 710 customers, as well as with the purchase of a new Nokia Lumia 710
  • Learn more about the exciting 4G Nokia Lumia 710 Windows Phone and the TDKR Xpress-On cover offer here:  www.nokiausa.com/us-en/thedarkknightrises

What's more if you tweet the hashtag #Lumia710NYC starting on June 20th, you'll be eligible to win a ticket  to the US World Premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in NYC on July 16.  But really, how cool is it if you already own a Lumia  710 on T-Mobile you can evidently walk in and pick one of these bad boys up for free? 

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Microsoft Surface Tablet

Those nice folk at Carphone Warehouse here in the UK dropped us an email this morning detailing their excitement following on from yesterdays Microsoft Surface tablet announcement.

According to Carphone Warehouse, the Surface will 'trigger a new tablet race' which is quite possibly true. With prices and dates still yet to be announced I hope that Microsoft either rectify that or at least keep up the hype with TV advertising etc.

With Carphone Warehouse being the largest independent mobile phone retailer in the UK, with over 800 stores nationwide, it is sure to push the Suface heavily. In its larger stores they already seem to sell as many tablets and notebooks as they do phones so I see the 'Surface' being a great marketing tool for them.

Graham Stapleton, Chief Commercial Officer at Carphone Warehouse, says,

“Microsoft’s first foray into producing both tablet hardware and software is an exciting addition to the market, which has been relatively quiet over the last few months. Today’s news is really going to shake things up. Microsoft’s Surface is going to appeal beyond the existing tablet community and draw in new tablet users, especially with the new Windows 8 software. Microsoft Office functionality and the dual-purpose cover keyboard should go down well with professionals who may have been put off by touch screen keyboards in the past.”

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Nokia Monster Headset Offer

That keyword that everyone loves so much - FREE.  

Nokia are feeling generous and for the month of June are giving away Purity headphones by Monster when consumers purchase a Lumia handset. 610 and 710 buyers will get the in-ear Purity Headphones where as if you buy the Lumia 800 or 900 you will receive the HD on-ear Purity Headphones.

Considering the price of the devices and the fact that the headphones are worth up to £199 this really is a bargain and may do Lumia sales a world of good. It is just a case of heading over to www.nokiamonsteroffer.co.uk and following the simple instructions. The offer ends June 30th and you must be at least 18 years old and a U.K. resident to be eligible.

Nice idea Nokia.

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Is your Windows Phone a health risk?

Is your Windows Phone a health risk?

Could your Windows Phone be a health risk? According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (London, England) the health risk is a concern.

We've seen concerns over radiation exposure but the Society is more focused on neck and back pain as well as stress related illnesses that develops from poor posture.  Try as we may, we often end up hunched over our Windows Phones which isn't really good for the lower back.

A recent survey of 2,010 office workers conducted by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy which indicates that nearly two thirds of those survey continue to work on smartphones, laptops and tablets outside office hours. Society Chairwomen Dr. Helena Johnson views the results as a huge concern.

"While doing a bit of extra work at home may seem like a good short-term fix, if it becomes a regular part of your evening routine then it can lead to problems such as back and neck pain, as well as stress-related illness. This is especially the case if you're using hand-held devices and not thinking about your posture."

The survey concluded that workers are risking their mental and physical health by working more than two hours extra every night.

While the survey focused on time spend on our mobile devices for work purposes, it doesn't make any reference to time spent for entertainment purposes. Granted the stress of work isn't necessarily present when playing games or watching videos but the posture issues might be.

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Netflix App to be available for the Surface Tablets

Microsoft Surface Tablet

We overlooked an interesting feature mentioned last night at the Microsoft Surface tablet event. The Netflix app.

Microsoft showcased the Netflix app during last night's presentation saying it supported semantic zoom and that the Netflix app would be ready when Windows 8 launches later this year.

We're guessing that with SmartGlass you could start a Netflix movie on your Xbox console, pause it and resume watching the movie on your Surface tablet or Windows Phone. With the kickstand feature on the Surface, the tablet sounds ideal for mobile movie watching.

Details are still sketchy on how our Windows Phones will interact with the Surface and hopefully we will be able to shed a little light on things after tomorrow's Windows Phone 8 event. In the meantime, you can catch a brief glimpse of the Netflix app, in the full video of Microsoft's Surface announcement around the 14:25 mark.

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Windows Phone App Review: myHealthbox

WP Central

 

Ever given much thought about the medicines you are taking and needed bit more information about them? Well you can easily access all that and more with myHeathbox for Windows Phone.

The application is an extension of the myHealthbox.eu and will allow for not only quick and easy access to medicine information, but in addition several extra cool features.

The application contains the following features:

  • Instant medication search by name and country.
  • eLeaflets
  • Alerts on drug recalls
  • News on new products
  • Instant access to local pharmacies using Bing Maps with the option to telephone the pharmacy from within the application

When opening the application for the first time you will be required to create an account. This is painless as only basic information is required such as an email address and a password. Once completed you will be emailed a link to verify your account. You will then have access to both the application and the myHeathbox service on the web.

myHealthbox

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Although no live recording was allowed during the Microsoft-Ballmer reveal of the now famous Surface tablets, the Redmond company has gone ahead and put it online for your viewing pleasure.

The full video chimes in just under 48 minutes, so grab yourself your favorite beverage of choice and relax as you're shown what looks to be "the next big thing" in mobile computing.

We'll save our thoughts for later tomorrow but for now let's just say we're feeling pretty good about where Microsoft is heading.

Make sure to check out our other coverage on the Surface below:

Source: Microsoft

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Fling for Windows Phone

Actual Windows Phone screenshots free of marketting text!

It’s getting down to the wire, but we do at last have details of this week’s Xbox Live release. This Wednesday, prolific Swiss developer Miniclip’s latest game Fling makes its debut. Fling’s Achievements were first discovered back in early May, along with Battleship and Mirror’s Edge. This will make two down and one to go, won’t it?

Fling is a puzzle game that plays much differently from Miniclip’s previous Xbox live releases. In each level, players must flick furballs into each other with the goal of leaving only one monster on the board. Furballs can only travel horizontally or vertically and they only stop when they hit another furball, so you’ll need to experiment and/or think a few moves in advance to win.

Fling packs metric tonnes of puzzles spread across four game modes. Free-play lets you play at a relaxed pace without time constraints; Arcade challenges players to solve as many puzzles as possible before time runs out; Challenge breaks groups of levels up into timed sets; and Frenzy is a never-ending survival mode. Arcade and Frenzy each have several specific Achievements, while the other modes do not.

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Surface rear facing camera

While we aren't sure what the specs will be on the Surface tablets camera, Microsoft refers to the camera as a LifeCam, the branding for their webcams. This likely means the Surface will be loaded with the typical LifeCam software as well.

But here's an interesting aspect of the camera. It is positioned at a 22 degree angle and when you flip out the kick stand, you basically create a tripod for hands free recording.  This will be a nice feature for recording meetings, your child's birthday party, opening presents at Christmas and all the other situations where you need to have your camera stationary.

Surface front facing camera?

The Surface is also fitted with dual microphones for decent audio for your videos or audio quality for Skype calls. Based on the images we've seen on the Surface, it appears there is a front facing camera to help with those Skype calls as well.

It will be interesting to see if Microsoft goes beyond the typical laptop styled camera on the Surface.  Would it be too much to hope that Microsoft borrows HTC's 16mp BSI sensor from the HTC Titan II?

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Surface website for all that is the Surface

Surface Website

The Surface website has... well... surfaced.

It launched shortly after Steve Ballmer introduced the new tablets to the world and is slowly becoming populated with details on the Surface.

You've got a gallery, video and downloadable spec sheet currently on the site. Hopefully, we'll see pricing and availability popping up on the Surface website.  As well as more details of what's in store with the Surface.

Just point your favorite browser to Surface.com for all the details.

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WP Central

One of the biggest decisions some of us are going to have to make is which Surface device to get--the zippy and light RT version or the big Win8 Pro one?

Of course price, of which we have no idea, will certainly come into play as will your needs. We're a bit torn ourselves between the two but are leaning towards the RT for a "play" device while we keep our Lenovo laptop for our hardcore writing and reporting duties.

To help make it easier (or perhaps harder), Microsoft has gone ahead and done a side-by-side of the two devices and their respective specifications in the above image. We'll also repost them below:

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What does the new Microsoft Surface tablet cost?

Microsoft Surface Tablet

And that's the real question, isn't it? When it comes time to put up or shut up -- and Microsoft's not yet saying when or where you'll be able to buy one of the new Surface tablet laptop thingies -- just how much are you going to have to shell out? Here's the official line.

Suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC. OEMs will have cost and feature parity on Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Not exactly long on details, is it. But even if it's competitive with a comparable ARM tablet (of which there are a scant few, by the way) or an Intel Ultrabook, you're still going to be handing over several hundred dollars. What's more is that nobody's saying whether the Surface Touch Cover -- that's the official name for the keyboard cover -- will be optional, or if it'll come with the tablet. 

That's long been a complaint about tablets like the ASUS Transformer Prime. By the time you buy the tablet and optional keyboard, you're well within laptop costs. But we'll all keep our fingers crossed.

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Microsoft Surface Tablets to sport VaporMg casing

Surface Tablets VaporMg Casing

Microsoft made a point in their Surface tablet presentation to bring attention to the tablets casing, VaporMg. We are told it is pronounced Vapor-Mag but what is it and why is it so special?

According to Microsoft the casing is created by molding metal and depositing particles that creates a finish similar to a luxury watch. Using magnesium, parts can be molded as thin as .65mm. Much thinner than your typical credit card but lighter and stronger.  The end result is a 10.6" tablet that weighs in at 32 ounces.

Combined with the Corning Gorilla Glass protecting the front of the Surface tablets and VaporMg casing protecting the back side, these tablets appear to be Lumia tough. I just wonder when we'll see the first video of someone driving a nail with a Surface tablet.

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Microsoft Surface Tablet

Microsoft this afternoon in California breathed new life into its Surface line, taking the table-top wonder and scaling it down into pair of Windows 8 (and Windows RT, but more on that in a minute) tablet/latop hybrids.

First things first: The new Surface is based on a 10.6-inch display. The Windows 8 Pro version is an Intel-powered beast, while the Windows RT version, as you'd expect, is powered by an ARM processor. The former squeezes things into a 13.6 mm-thick magnesium chassis, while the Windows RT version, with its more traditional mobile architecture, takes things down to a mere 9.6mm. Either way, these things are thin.

But addding a little bit of bulk -- 3 mm to be exact -- is the Touch Cover. Think iPad Smart Cover, only with a full multitouch keyboard built in.

Source: Microsoft; More: Surface gallery

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Microsoft Surface PC promo video

Two tablets -- erm, laptops -- one epic video. Microsoft obviously is throwing its full weight behind its reimagination of Surface, which is coming in the form of a Windows 8 hybrid that runs the best of the Windows of yesterday in a form factor for tomorrow.

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WP Central

Is Windows Phone a  "potential competitive threat" to Android?

We all know that there is a great war going on right now in the smartphone world. Apple and iOS continue to be taking most parts of the world by storm, where as in North America RIM's numbers have plummeted over the last year or two. So where does that leave Windows Phone?

Well it would seem that for most people it is apps that are important and that is where Flurry comes in, where we found this interesting report. Flurry is an analytic company that tracks developer support across all the major smartphone operating systems. The statistics are easy for Flurry to trace as when a company creates a new project in Flurry Analytics it will need to download specific SDKs.

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Photosynth version 1.1 update is a must have update

Photosynth v1.1 update mandatory

The other day we saw an update for Photosynth for Windows Phone get pushed out taking the app to version 1.1. We didn't know what all the update involved but today we are being told the update is mandatory or the app will stop working after June 20th.

Apparently the update was necessary to correct an oversight with the original version that was released about a month ago. Version 1.0 was released with a safety feature designed for beta tests that calls for the app to expire automatically within 30 days. Anyone running version 1.0 of Photosynth after June 20th will receive a "application expired" message and the app will shut down automatically. So, if you've been putting off the update to version 1.1 now is the time to update your copy of Photosynth.

If you haven't installed Photosynth to your Windows Phone, it's a free app that you can find here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Source: Photosynth Blog

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T-Mobile update for Lumia 710

A leaked internal T-Mobile memo shows that the carrier will begin pushing out the Windows Phone Refresh (Tango) update for the Nokia Lumia 710 in two short days. Windows Phone update 7.10.8773 will begin rolling out on June 20 and will continue in a staggered fashion through July 31.

Users will be notified over the air and through Zune that an update is available. The memo describes the following fixes and improvements:

  • Enables tethering hotspot
  • Resolved keyboard disappearing
  • Resolved unlock screen getting stuck
  • Improvements to uplink speed
  • Improvements to camera quality
  • Improvements to proximity sensor
  • Improvements to software stability

The memo itself also states that Microsoft is responsible for pushing the update and that T-Mobile has no control over who gets notified when. So even if you are feeling antsy and try to call them, T-Mobile customer service will not be able to help you out.

Source: T-Mobile; Thanks, Jacinta, for the tip!

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Tango is popping up on MS France and Spain

Windows Phone Refresh, also known as Tango, is expected to be heading to consumers pretty darn soon. Hopefully, as proof of that, Microsoft has updated some of their Windows Phone update history pages to explain upcoming changes that Tango will bring with it. Among them, is improved messaging features, including the ability to attach multiple images, videos, audio notes and tones to text messages. In addition, Windows Phone Refresh will let users export contacts from their phone to SIM card and vice versa.

That is all for specifics, but the site also says that the update will bring "other improvements in quality" and  "enhancements for Windows Phone." There's no timetable listed, but presumably, those countries showing the updated webpage are likely to be seeing the update rollout sooner than others.

So far, we have seen Tango added to the French and Spanish Windows Phone sites, but sadly, not the U.S. one. It's likely made its way out to other countries' sites as well.

Have any of you seen it elsewhere?

While we all wait you can check our hands with Windows Phone Tango in our video tour on the Lumia 710 after the break.

Source: Microsoft; Via: MonWindowsPhone

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WP Central

Only for demonstration purposes

We are only a few hours away from Microsoft's media event where it is expected the software giant will take the wraps off their own tablet running Windows 8.  We have now seen leaked specs on an Xbox Surface tablet. Could this be Microsoft's tablet or is this a completely different device?

According to the specs that have surfaced on the Xbox Surface the tablet will sport a 7" 1280x720 screen, SD card support and Bluetooth/Wifi radios.  There is also indications that the Surface will have four USB ports, an ethernet port, and HDMI port.

Note when reading the specs: there are TWO devices, one tablet and one "stationary". Don't confuse the two.

Xbox Surface Specs

Again, we don't know if the Xbox Surface is what we'll see at today's Microsoft's media event but it does look like an interesting device. What makes this all a bit more interesting is LiveSide has attained a second document that has the same Xbox Surface branding, corroborating the story.

Hit the break for page two of the leaked specs and take note that under Tablet Device (Controller) specs there mention of "Kinect Workloads".  Could the Xbox Surface have Kinect motion technologies built in?

Update: We should also not that Barnes & Noble are not a part of tonight's announcement, lending credence to this idea a bit more

Source: LiveSide; StephenWagner.com

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BrushFire

Microsoft's live-survey app code named 'BrushFire' is in early alpha stages of development

The notion of using live feedback and crowdsourcing during events isn't new--heck your teachers probably did when they asked you to "raise your hands" when voting on something as a kid. But this is 2012 and we need something with a little more bite to it. BrushFire is such an attempt.

Made by Microsoft (and technically for internal use only at the moment) the app is is still in the "alpha" stage meaning don't expect it to actually work. But the concept here is what's neat. From the app description:

"This is for internal MSIT use only. The application allows users to complete surveys by supplying a provided code. The application is alpha and only demonstrates the first activity type of survey. Future versions will include other types of activities. You can use the code MSIT to sample the application. "

How BrushFire works, in theory, is when a presenter at a conference wants to get feedback or interact with the audience in some e.g. a survey, they can fire one up and have it broadcast through this app to the audience. The audience can then take the survey on their phones and the info is calculated in real time. This type of feedback is often done with product testing and audience screenings of movies but now the technology can go anywhere and be configured nearly on the fly.

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WP Central

In this week’s hot thread we are talking about  Microsoft giving away all our exclusive apps. Earlier in the week we received the news that Microsoft was releasing the XBOX companion app on Android and updating the IOs version to 1.5 bringing features that even Windows Phone doesn’t have. The question here is does it matter? Is Microsoft shooting itself in the foot giving away exclusive apps to other platforms?

In this thread “Well the scumbags did it....just go ahead and throw the ecosystem away” forum member inteller is saying just that. He thinks that by making this app and other Windows Phone exclusive apps available on other platforms Microsoft is killing Windows Phone:

“Stealth update for XBL on iOS adds all the Companion functionality we had exclusive. Let's just go ahead and release Office and remove any other reasons for people to come to Windows Phone. Bag of tools...is anyone running Microsoft?”

These are strong words indeed and tough for Windows Phone users to hear.

We would sit with our friends on a Saturday night and show off apps like this one to our iPhone toting companions. “Look what I can do with my Windows Phone” is what we would say. This app and others like it are how we could show our Windows Phone's superiority. If these apps lose their exclusivity, is this making Windows Phone less relevant?  

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