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DoDonPachi Maxium

It’s been a long time in coming – Japanese developer Cave first announced their exclusive shooting game for Windows Phone way back in July. Many months later, DoDonPachi Maximum has finally debuted on Xbox Live.

DoDonPachi Maximum is a vertically-scrolling shoot-em-up that borrows elements from previous games like DoDonPachi Resurrection. The twist is that the entire game is supposed to be a computer simulation, so the backgrounds and enemies have all been given a retro graphics makeover. At the start, you select from two different ships, each with its own weapons and abilities. Tip: the Delta Sword kills bosses much faster. Two more ships are supposedly unlockable, but I shudder to think about the requirements for doing so…

DoDonPachi Maximum

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AT&T's gearing up for TITAN II and Lumia 900 release

Lumia 900

The HTC TITAN II and Nokia Lumia 900 are rumored to drop on Sunday, March 18th and last we checked it's getting close to that date.  Two things have happened within the last few hours to make us think that AT&T is starting up their Windows Phone gears again:

  1. The AT&T site is teasing something big as "Coming Soon" on their site with signups to be notified
  2. The Microsoft Windows Phone site now lists the TITAN II and Lumia 900 as "coming soon"

WP Central

AT&T

Sure, it's no firm pricing (Lumia 900 is rumored for $99) or official release date but c'mon, if those phone aren't launching in the next two weeks then we'll eat our vegetables. Start saving your pennies, folks.

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Nokia increasing advertising efforts in Chile

WP Central

The above photo was captured at the Parque Arauco shopping mall in Chile, which displays Lumia 800 advertising banners being hung from the ceiling for maximum exposure on all floors. This may signal an imminent release of both the Lumia 710 and 800 into the country.

We'll keep a look out for launch parties and announcements for further detail. Good to see the manufacturer prepping the handset arrivals.

Source: @BLeavellB, Nokia

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HTC Desktop Cradles available at Expansys

HTC Cradles at Expansys

While third party desktop cradles are available for the HTC Titan and Radar (here's our review of the Mobi cradle), we haven't seen a massive distribution of the HTC cradles for these Windows Phones here in the States. 

One such place you can find both the HTC Titan Cradle (CR S600) and the HTC Radar Cradle (CR S610) is over at Expansys USA. Not sure if these are European imports or are U.S. models.

Nonetheless, the cradle for the Titan can be found here and the Radar's cradle here. Both are running $38.99. If you know of any other vendors carrying the cradles, feel free to sound off in the comments.

Thanks, Clifton, for the tip!

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WP Central

Rumor has it that Nokia is working on two new handsets due to arrive on AT&T later this year.  Unnamed sources have told The Verge that the Prodigy and the AC/DC will be the first of Nokia's Windows Phone 8 handsets.  The Prodigy, as the code name implies, will be a high-end "superphone," along the lines of the Lumia 900, while the AC/DC is expected to be more of a mid-range offering.  Sadly, this vague report came without any details on hardware or features, though a Nokia-partner video has recently revealed that multi-core processors and a NFC-based "wallet experience" could all be part of the equation.

With Apollo's likely arrival later in 2012, the rumors will be flooding in.  Hold on to your hats, folks.  We've only just begun.

Source: TheVerge; Thanks for the tip, damthman!

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Nokia Lumia Live events to be held in Australia

Nokia Lumia Live launch parties

Nokia is planning to hold a number of launch events in Australia this month to celebrate the release of the Lumia 800. As one can see in the above image, an event is planned in three major cities - Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne. The events are set to sport a number of Lumia (both 710 and 800) demos to allow the public to test drive the experience of Windows Phone and Nokia.

While we're not aware of exactly what the Finnish manufacturer has planned, but if London is anything to go by it should be an impressive day in each of the selected cities. The full event schedules are as follows:

As well as the above official launch parties, both Techin5 and WPDownUnder are collaborating to arrange a meet up at Melbourne, on the day of the Nokia Live event. Should you be interested in meeting up with other Windows Phone enthusiasts as well as the two websites, be sure to head on over to Techin5 (link below) and the WhirlPool thread for more details / updates.

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WP Central

Nokia has announced the dates and location of this year's Nokia World - the event that covers everything 'Nokia'. While Nokia World 2011 in London was a blast, we're looking forward to the next event from the manufacturer as it's most probable that Windows Phone 8 ("Apollo") handsets will be unveiled. All we know for the moment is that it's going to be a fairly sizeable show with it being held on Nokia's home turf in Helsinki, Finland.

September 25-26 are the set dates and the Helsinki Exhibition & Convention Centre is the designated venue. 2012 will be the first year that the event has been held in Finland, which couldn't be better timed with Helsinki being officially titled as the World Design Capital for the year.

For more information, be sure to hit the links below.

Source: NokiaNokia Conversations

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Baconit v1.8 now in Marketplace

We here at WPC love us some Reddit (as if you couldn't tell) and we're also big fans of Baconit, the metro-style Reddit app.  The oft-updated app has just been upvoted to version 1.8, which packs a whole lot of additions.  Among the major ones is Image Mode for subreddits, which allows full screen viewing, endless image scrolling, comprehensive viewing options (pinch to zoom, drag to pan, double tap to reset) and the ability to save images to your phone.

Other significant changes include:

  • Added landscape support for subreddit, web page, and comment viewers, as well as submit a link
  • Added story domain in to story list
  • Added orientation lock
  • New comments are tracked on stories that have been viewed
  • Fixed long self-text / comment cut off problem
  • Improved web page viewer
  • Improved up vote and down vote hit boxes

There are other changes and fixes as well, which can be viewed in their entirety here.  And as you can see in the change log, version 1.9 is already in the works.

You can download the free version, or reward the developer for a great app with a $1.99 donation.

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With about 18 hours before this week's Xbox LIVE game goes live for y'all to download, we figured we would tease you a little bit with some gameplay from DODONPACHI MAXIMUM.  Yes, it's in all caps because this game is yelling at you...with bullets.

What can we say about this game?

  • It's $4.99
  • It's Japanese, from studio Cave
  • It's ridiculously crazy, fun and challenging
  • May induce seizures

Yeah, we like it even if it's going to take time to get good at. This is the kind of game where you can just pick up, blast away and pray you last longer than the last time you did. We're digging the graphics and all the little details throughout, meaning you should get a little excited about this is if shumps are your thing. (And yes, I'm still suffering from a head cold from Barcelona, hence why I sound sick, ahem).

Look for the Marketplace link later tonight right here at WPCentral to try it yourself...

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HTC TITAN II 4G Windows Phone coming to Telstra

HTC TITAN II

WPDownUnder has reported that Telstra staff have received confirmation of the HTC TITAN II making its way to the Australian shores and onto the network. With the Lumia 800 being stocked at multiple sources across the country, as well as on Telstra itself, the situation is starting to pick up with regards to available hardware.

At an event last night, it was revealed that the HTC TITAN II (as well as another unnamed Android 4G handset) will be launching on Telstra this coming April. Even some lucky members of staff attending the event got the chance to take home a Lumia 800 with door prizes being handed out. 

WPDownUnder expects the TITAN II to be available on the $79 /mo Freedom Connect plan, using the MRO bonus (no handset fee), and would total $1896 across the 24 month contract. Although, the site notes that should the HTC Velocity be anything to go by, then the TITAN II may also be available on the cheaper $59 plan, with a $5 /mo MRO free, totalling $1536.

What's more is that Nokia has reported that they're still in talks surrounding the introduction of the 4G international Lumia 900, which would further strengthen Australia's range of Windows Phones. Who would have thought last year that we would be seeing prosperous moves from both Microsoft and manufacturers in Australia?

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WP Central

Nokia seems to be wrapping up testing of their much anticipated firmware update, 12070. The update brings better battery life through better controlled screen-brightness and ~70 mA discharge when idle.  In addition, the update tweaks the camera's white balance a little and sound is improved via the bass response.

We can testify that 12070 has nearly tripled our battery life since we forced-upgraded from 11401, making this a worthy and important update for Lumia users.

Those in Singapore seem to be the lucky ones tonight as they are now getting 12070 official through Zune Desktop, making them the first group to get the honors. So if you're in Singapore, y'all need to stop reading this and go get your update as it is totally worth the 15 minutes.

We expect the rest of Lumia 800 users to start to get their updates later on this week. Stay tuned.

Thanks, VoodooKing for the heads up; See XDA forums for further confirmation

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AT&T TITAN

We're still expecting the HTC TITAN II to drop in the next few weeks and perhaps in an attempt to clear some stock, AT&T has dropped the behemoth Windows Phone to just one cent with a new contract.

That's pretty amazing for a 4.7" screen device with a 1.5GHz CPU and the best camera yet on a Windows Phone (yeah, we're calling it). The TITAN has been a big success, according to the folks at HTC we spoke with back at CES and we can't argue with that as it has been one of our favorite devices around.

WP Central

The TITAN though is not being discontinued as far as we know as HTC told us that it will still be sold alongside the TITAN II (which is slightly redesigned, has a 16MP camera and LTE 4G on board), so we think this is more of a sale to push Windows Phone rather than an end-of-life scenario. Either way, it's a great deal.

Source: AT&T; Thanks, Reece, for the heads up

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Hotmail refresh

Well, it certainly took long enough but it looks like the folks at Hotmail finally realized that Windows Phone is their company's OS, not the iPhone. What we mean of course is when you navigate to Hotmail.com you used to be greeted with the three smartphones: Samsung Focus, iPhone and some Android thing.

Now, in an ever-so-slight refresh, the Nokia Lumia 800 has taken front and center moving the iPhone to the back.

Sure, most might not even notice but it's still a nice nod to Windows Phone users and the success Nokia is bringing the ecosystem as a whole. It's great to see Hotmail at least acknowledge that much.

Thanks, Patrick, for the heads up!

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WP Central

An unlocked white Lumia 900 is available on eBay with expected shipping dates between April 3rd-9th. The handset joins the black and cyan versions that were previously available on the auction site back in January. The only difference separating the previous listings and this new one is the colour and price tag. The white Lumia 900 4G Windows Phone will set you back $829.

You never know with eBay listings such as this so proceed at your own risk. Check out the auction (and make your purchase) by following the source link to the item listing.

Source: eBay; thanks Cole for the heads up!

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Windows Phone SDK incompatibility with Windows 8

WP Central

With the release of the Windows 8 customer preview last week, the Windows Phone team have published an article on the official blog detailing a few issues that occur when running the Windows Phone SDK on the new desktop operating system. Due to the release being at the preview stage, some software incompatibility is to be expected.

The team have provided the following confirmed issues:

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Audible?

I like experimenting and tinkering with software. A lot like how a circuit bender tries to get electronics to emit beautiful music, I attempt to coerce software into doing things it wasn’t designed to do. Often, like my recent Windows Phone Hackathon, I fail spectacularly. But rarely, I do make notable progress. Cue Audible.

Audible.com (Audible for short) is a service owned by Amazon that provides digital audio books. They put out software that works across a slew of devices such as the iPod, Kindle Fire, Blackberry, and even PC. Old hats may even recall that Audible supported Windows Mobile 5 devices such as the HP iPAQ Pocket PC. One platform void of support, however, is Windows Phone.

We – along with our readers – have been keeping the pressure on Audible for quite some time now, to no avail. Support technicians would say an app is in the works but has no ETA. Now they're saying this month. Who knows when this is really coming out? More importantly, what’s taking so long?

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From the Forums: Mobile World Congress 2012 Roundup

WP Central

Mobile World Congress 2012 has ended and we got a lot of news out of the event but not necessarily what you were hoping. We have some threads from Forums Members that are skeptical about the future of Windows Phone. For instance, in  "Ride the boat till it sinks, or jump ship?" forums member DizztMaker predicts the end of Windows Phone.

We also have a discussion about Microsoft, Nokia and what they would do (or more importantly wouldn't do) at MWC 2012 in: Prediction: Microsoft/Nokia will disappoint at MWC Without the announcement of a new high end windows phone and without news about Windows Phone 8 (aka "Apollo") was MWC 2012 a success? We think Microsoft has done enough to silence some of the critics. For example, we have a new device from Nokia, the Lumia 610, we also have a new device from ZTE, the Orbit,  both of which are low-end/emerging market devices more suited to the upcoming release of "Tango".

We also learned this week that Microsoft is opening up in 23 new markets. All that combined has the future of Windows Phone looking up, telling us that Microsoft is in it for the (very) long haul. We don't yet have a clear picture of the future so we are discussing that as well in threads like this one: Windows Phone 7's Upgrade to WP8 Apollo Now Unclear, which is sure to elicit some heated discussion.

 

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Official Qantas Windows Phone app almost here

Qantas WP7

It has been almost a year since we last heard of an official Qantas app being developed for Windows Phone at MIX '11 (see our wrap up for more details). We've now caught word from their Twitter account that the app, which has been somewhat-delayed, will be available this month (March).

Windows Phone owners who use Australia's flag carrier to hop between countries will be pleased to learn that development of the app is at a stage where it's ready to be submitted and / or approved. The Qantas Windows Phone app will enable users to view upcoming flight times, quickest routes to airports, check into a flight, and more.

WP Central

We'll update with a follow-up post when the app has been released with more details (and screenshots) available, so keep an eye on this space.

Source: @GCrance1982; thanks Geoff for the tip!

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WP Central

Good news for those of you who enjoy Sid Meier’s work on lush and detailed strategy games, we'll be getting not one but two offerings sporting his name:

  • “Civilization Revolution” (2K) – Award winning Sid Meier’s “Civilization Revolution” is coming to Windows Phone! Build, Discover, Rule the world.
  • Pirates!” – Sid Meier’s “Pirates!” is an exciting high-seas adventure overflowing with intense pirate action and a treasure chest of gameplay riches!

Those titles should be familiar to those who indulge in strategy games as they are both ports from other systems, but that shouldn't stop the excitement as they are considered to be solid games.

Pirates! is already available on Xbox 360 (since 2005) so you can go ahead and try that now to get an idea for the game. The original Pirates! goes back to 1987 but was re-released and updated in 2004 and it is still getting ported to new platforms (including the iPad). It's your normal sail around the world, engage in battles and grab some booty game.

Civilization Revolution, known as the game Meier's "always wanted to make", is widely available on multiple platforms and continues the Civilization/empire building turn-based-strategy stylings of previous games in the same series.

No word on release dates but we imagine it will be sometime this Spring, giving Windows Phone users plenty of options and some skilled strategy gaming.

Source: Major Nelson; Thanks, Daniel G., for the tip

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Verizon passes up on Nokia 'Om' Windows Phone?

Verizon

According to sources familiar with company plans, The Verge has reported that Verizon may have passed up on a Nokia Windows Phone 7.5 handset. Microsoft Stores were ready to stock the Nokia device, codenamed "Om", late January / early February but the carrier canceled due to concerns over lack of Verizon LTE support.

If this rumour is true, Verizon will be joining Sprint where both may well be waiting for "Apollo" to introduce new Windows Phones to customers. For the mean time, the HTC Trophy will be the only Windows Phone available on Verizon. More interestingly, this info seems to contradict earlier information from Paul Thurrott who noted that a Lumia 710 (with no LTE) was headed to Big Red sooner than later.

Either way, this is not good news for those on CDMA in the US who want a modern Windows Phone.

Source: The Verge; thanks Craig for the heads up!

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WP Central

Although one would think the Lumia 610 goes far enough to compete with low-end Android devices for emerging markets, according to Niklas Savander, executive vice-president at Nokia, covering Brand, Marketing, Sales, Supply Chain, Customer Care and Information Technology, they still need to go lower:

"We are competing with Android, Android is in many markets at the €100 price already, so that would suggest that if we are at €189 with the Lumia 610 we still have work to do when it comes to creating a lower-end first-time user smartphone."

That's certainly a tall order as the Lumia 610 already ditches things like gyroscope (compass?), ClearBlack, some RAM, CPU speed and more. Other areas where Nokia could reduce costs though would be to newer-but-low-cost SOC chipsets, even cheaper screens and overall leveraging of existing production lines.

When we heard Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, speak at the Mobile World Congress last week, he mentioned how the sub-$100 smartphone will come next year, so clearly even Google has their eyes set on that milestone too. The question is will Nokia have to reduce features or will production of smartphone parts become cheaper to reach that point? More likely a combo of both.

Source: Pocket-Lint

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Windows Phone Game Review: Jewel God

Jewel God for Windows Phone

"Bejeweled on steroids" is an easy way to describe the Windows Phone game Jewel God. If you like the Bejeweled-styled games but are looking for something with more of a quicker pace to it, then Jewel God should be right up your alley.

The concept of Jewel God is very similar to Bejeweled in that you are searching for combinations of three or more of the same jewels but the pace is fast. Some may say frantic. Jewel God is a entertaining, addictive game for your Windows Phone that will definitely keep you on your toes.

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As we mentioned last week, Japanese developer Cave’s new shoot-em-up DoDonPachi Maximum comes to Xbox Live this Wednesday. To help promote it, Cave has opened up the game's official site. It's packed with new screens, details, and even a soundtrack sampler video.

As the teaser video hinted, Maximum is supposed to be a virtual reality simulator within the DoDonPachi universe. We had already anticipated that it would be a best-of remix of classic series stages and enemies – and indeed this version is based on DoDonPachi Blissful Death and DoDonPachi Resurrection, both of which debuted in arcades before transitioning to iOS. The music from those games has been remixed by WaSi303 and sounds great.

DoDonPachi Maximum

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Weekly Summary

Welcome to your Windows Phone weekly summary! Should you have somehow been absent for the past week, fear not as we've combined this daily news recap with the stories that appeared from MWC (Mobile World Congress) 2012. So strap in, hold on tight and keep your brew at hand as this is going to be a long one!

Here at Mobile Nations (the umbrella of all our sister mobile news sites) we value our readers and any feedback provided. Should you be an active contributor at one of our communities, you'll want to take part in a survey we've got running that will enable us to further improve the on-site experience. It has also been Mobile Nations fitness Month where all mobile news sites have been tasked with showing just how smartphones (and technology in general) can help shake the Christmas pies and that unwanted bingo. Be sure to take a quick gander at our cross-community roundup. As well as the roundup, we've announced winners of our fitness month challenge (with the grand prize being a shiny new Xbox 360 and Kinect).

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