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From the Forums (Windows Phone Meet Ups forum is live)

WP Central

Do you have a Windows Phone? Do you like to share your experiences with others? What better way than to sponsor a "Meet Up" in your area? Plan your event, then when you have the details post your Meet Up in our Forums so others can join in on the fun. Come join us in our Windows Phone Meet Ups area and post your event. We would love to see you there.

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

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WP Central

We all find it humorous when carriers and retailers get things wrong, especially when it comes to Windows Phone. From mistaking specifications, to calling the platform "Windows Mobile" - it's all fun and games. Cue Future Shop, a Canadian chain of electronics stores.

As you can see in the above photos, Future Shop have got their minds muddled with the Lumia family of Nokia Windows Phones. The Lumia 800 is now the 710. Either that or Canada is getting a slightly confused selection of handsets. We still wonder just how it's possible for marketing / promotion material teams to get this so wrong.

Thanks Lucas for sending in the photo! 

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Nokia's "Little Ideas" marketing campaign is taking them around South Africa with the same approach as "The Amazing Everyday" in other pats of the world. We've already had the manufacturer hand out free coffee as well as other promotion efforts in Cape Town. In Episode 4, we have a flashmob heading to an intersection in Joburg to showcase an interesting performance.

It's good to see the "Little Ideas" series rolling on, especially in South Africa where promotion is steadily becoming increasingly noticeable. Episode 3 of "Little Ideas", which sees Nokia providing complimentary carwashes, is located below.

Source: YouTube, via: MyNokiaBlog

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GroupMe

Here's one that will cause some confusion: there are now two GroupMe apps in the Marketplace. The first one is v3.0 which reported on back during Mobile World Congress. That's the version 3.0 overhaul that we really like as it includes a Live Tile, notifications and a complete UI redesign.

But it also had a few bugs and quirks as many of you had pointed out. Luckily, version 3.1 is now out and it reportedly fixes a lot of those issues. Problem is, you won't see the update notification for the Marketplace.

Two GroupMes?

The reason? There is a second, newer GroupMe app in the Marketplace but it's listed under Microsoft Corporation. For those keeping track, Skype bought GroupMe in 2011. Microsoft bought Skype, so by the transitive property, Microsoft owns GroupMe. And we guess they are now claiming it as their own, re-releasing the official app under their account (in fairness, there's no other way for them to get around this issue, so two it is).

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Lumia 900

For our friends Down Under, you may want to head to Mobicity's website and take a long hard gander at their new Nokia Lumia 900 preorder page. You can now slap your cold, hard-earned $799 down for your choice of black, white or cyan Lumia 900, fully unlocked. Ka-ching!

What's more, they have a date of "late April" as when to expect your device which puts you right about where AT&T is going to be offering the flagship Nokia phone to US customers.  Guess that rumored 45-day exclusive for us is out the window.

This Lumia 900 has some nice network support too so it should work in most places: GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, 3G 850 (NextG/Vodafone 850/US3G), 3G 1900, 3G 2100.

Source: Mobicity; Thanks, Doktor G., for the heads up

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MS Weather

Microsoft has updated their free Weather app for Windows Phone, finally bringing Mango support in version 2.0. We first reported on this looming refresh a few weeks ago and now the app upgrade is available in the Marketplace.

MS Weather

New in version 2.0 is the ability for fast app switching, multiple city support and the ability to pin each city to your Start screen with (get this) Live Tiles. Yes, now each city will display the current temperature and icon for current weather conditions right on your Start screen. While it lacks anything more advanced e.g. written forecast, radar maps, cams, etc. for many such a simple, minimalist weather program is all they want and need. In that regard, this app is pretty great for its "too the point" brevity.

Weather Live TIle

So if you want simple, free and no ads, this is your app. Pick up Microsoft's Weather right here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Joseph K., for the tip!

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Nextgen Reader gets big update with new RSS feed-finder

Nextgen Reader

For those of you who have Nextgen Reader (quite a few of you won a free license recently), you should be getting your version 2.5 update right about now. If not, you'll want to go check as it has some swanky new features on board, including a new "Featured" area which will be updated daily.

That "Featured" function is part of the new "Manage sources" area which allows you to quickly discover RSS feeds based on topic. So instead of just importing your Google Reader feeds or randomly searching for key terms, the app itself will suggest feeds based on various subjects, including Windows Phone, Microsoft, food, gaming, politics and more. It's really quite smart as it gets you easily started on using Google Reader right from your device by adding new feeds on the go. Other notable updates in v2.5 include:

Nextgen Reader

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WP Central

Press Play, the game studio behind the Xbox LIVE games Tentacles (our review) and Max & the Magic Marker (our review), has released a beta version of their Unity porting toolkit (Fast Forward - FFWD) for Windows Phone developers who wish to port across a Unity game engine developed title to the mobile platform. 

"The framework has been used for creating the games Max and the Magic Marker and Tentacles for Windows Phone 7, and is currently being used by another project at Press Play."

Developers will be able to use this toolkit (released under the MS-PL license) to export assets in the Unity editor. Full 3D support is present for graphics, but physics are limited to the 2D Farseer Engine. What's great about the toolkit is that it enables developers to do most of the work in Unity 3D and then port it to XNA.

Head on over to GitHub to download FFWD and be sure to check out the wiki.

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Lumia 800 White now available at Phones4U UK

WP Central

Phones4U has recently announced exclusive availability of the Lumia 800 in white and now the Windows Phone is ready for purchase from the UK retailer at an attractive price. The splash page also states that up to £100 cashback is available.

The Lumia 800 is a mid-level Nokia Windows Phone that sports a 1.4Ghz chip, 3.7" AMOLED display (with ClearBlack technology), an 8MP shooter and 16GB storage. The handset is available for free on contracts starting from £20.50 /mo.

Source: Phones4U

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WP Screensaver

WPDownUnder has created a humorous screensaver to compliment the #SmokedbyWindowsPhone competition. Ben Rudolph first challenged consumers who use different platforms at CES 2012 to see if they could best Windows Phone at normal tasks such as uploading a photo to Facebook.

Should you be interested in displaying superiority on your idle monitor, head on over to WPDownUnder to download the screensaver.

Source: WPDownUnder

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Tattooing your Nokia Lumia 710

Tattooing your Lumia 710

While the Nokia Lumia 710 Windows Phone can be customized with swappable colored back panels, a tattoo artist in London is taking the customization a step further. Simon Templeman will tattoo your favorite pattern on to your Lumia 710's back panel.

“It’s a great way to make your phone stand out. Tattoos say a lot about people, so I thought it would be great for them to be able to put that individuality on their phone too.”

For now, Templeman is using lacquer layers to make the designs permanent. He is working on a laser technique to burn the images on to the panel. The cost for the tattoo job? The jobs start at 40 pounds and go up depending on the details of the design.

Nokia Lumia 710 Tattoos

Not sure if Templeman is set up for mail order service but if you're in London, it might be worth a stop to get your Nokia Lumia 710 tagged with your favorite tat.  You can learn more about Templeman's services here his website, iaintnosaint.com.

Source: Conversations by Nokia

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And here is your Nokia 710 Photo Contest Winner!

Nokia Lumia 710 Photo Contest

When we first drew up the idea of the Nokia Lumia 710 Photo Contest, two things slipped our minds. First, a little event called the 2012 Mobile World Congress. Second, the vast number of quality entries we would receive!

Between Mobile World Congress and life in general, it took a lot longer than expected to judge all the outstanding entries we received. The good news is that we've identified our winner. The bad news is that you'll need to hit the break to see who won and who is our runner-up.

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WP Central

Not minutes after we teased about the Lumia 900 coming to AT&T soon, BGR is now reporting from their "source" that flagship device has been delayed by over a month till April 22nd. In a way, this explains why things have been so quiet around the stores e.g. no SKU leaks, product shipments, internal emails, etc.

While no official date was ever given for the AT&T Lumia 900, Paul Thurrot and Mary Jo Foley both claimed "March" for a release month with Thurrott getting more specific with the 18th. Later, BGR "confirmed" the date as well.

The price point of $99 on contract remains but if accurate, this is surely some bad news for those hoping for an exciting weekend next week.

Source: BGR

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Lumia 900

It's no mystery that the Nokia Lumia 900 is close to being released here in the U.S. Our latest info was (and still is) March 18th where the flagship device is expected to sell for $99 on contract.

We reported a few days ago that AT&T was gearing up for release with a "Coming soon" on their site. Many of you speculated in comments that this was probably related to the "new" iPad release but alas, AT&T has a new iPad page up and that "Coming soon" one is still there (it's the 2nd slide). Check and mate.

What's more, we have word from at least one developer that Nokia has already delivered some Lumia 900s to devs including the one that we spoke with. We're not sure what a dev (or Windows Phone site, ahem) has to do to get one of those 900s but evidently they are going out.

Finally, as reported on The Nokia Blog, Nokia is holding a job recruitment day in San Diego on March 15th for over 100 new positions at their offices located there. The all-day event will be peppered with, you guessed it, Lumia 900 giveaways every 30 minutes via a raffle.

All of that is telling us that the Lumia 900 is right around the corner. Will it be the 18th? We sure think so and hopefully something "official" will come forth soon.

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Deal Alert: AT&T TITAN free at Fry's this weekend

WP Central

Even though AT&T proper is offering the HTC TITAN for a penny, for those of you who like to shop at Fry's you may want to head there this weekend. They have the 3-month old phone for free (with a 2 year contract extension or new contract) which is a heck of a deal for such a great phone (seriously, best camera for a Windows Phone yet).

Frys

Also worthy of mention is the T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 710 which is also free with the same terms and the old-school Samsung Focus, unlocked and contract free, for $269. Good deals all around.

Source: Fry's; Thanks, Rondald V., for the heads up

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Purple Cherry Gameboy emulator

For those of you who remember Warrio's Jewels (WJ7), a sideloaded/homebrew Gameboy emulator, you'll be pleased to know that it has been renamed to 'Purple Cherry' and is on its way to the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Yes this is from the same developer who brought us the Sega Gamegear emulator, Sonic's Jewels which was later renamed to 'Blue Tomato' (due to copyright infringement). In trying to avoid the same legal issues, the developer has opted for a renaming and rebranding before submission this time and the emulator is expected to pass.

Purple Cherry Gameboy emulator

New images show that Purple Cherry is using the same design as Blue Tomato, something we're all for as it has an excellent layout with bold, clear fonts and UI elements. What's more, many fixes and improvements have gone into this updated emulator with more games running smoothly now e.g. Kid Icarus, WarioLand 2 and better Pokemon playability. In addition, SkyDrive support is there too allowing easy loading of ROMs to the emulator.

No word on pricing but we bet the same $1.49 price range can be expected. We'll follow up more as we get closer to release.

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8765

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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