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Seriously?

We get a lot of tips here at WPCentral, some amazing, some lame and some that confuse us as we actually don't know every silly app ever made (which is why we pay attention to you guys). So tonight when we got an email from a reader named Amiel stating "Talking Tom Cat finally made it to WP7" we were a little perplexed.

Fact is, we still are but yes, Talking Tom Cat is now on Windows Phone. What is Talking Tom Cat? It's one of those silly novelty apps that features a cartoon cat that you can pet, poke, prod and harass. Oh and he repeats everything you say back to him. In a funny voice.

With 150,000 ratings in the iTunes store and nearly 400,000 ratings on Android (seriously?) there is something about Tom that people just love. Or maybe it's the kids.

Either way, the app is now available on the Windows Phone Marketplace for the low, low price of $0. It's not our thing but hey, we're not here to judge so if you want it, you can pick it up here. Combined with the official Cleverbot app we guess Windows Phone is winning? Thanks, Amiel, for the tip!

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WP Central

Ben Rudolph has taken a break from the Smoked by Windows Phone marketing campaign and kicked off a humorous Twitter competition that had users sending in entries to win a Lumia 900. To be in with a chance of winning, an ingenious caption had to be created for the above photo. Should the entry be original and witty then Rudolph would take it into account. Today, the winner was announced on the official team blog.

So what was the winning tweet / caption? See below:

"It took a heck of a lot of scrubbing, but I finally got all the cyan out."

Yep. We approve. That is a pretty good caption. Congratulations to @dnanian for the submission and winning a Lumia 900. Check out the #captionthalumia hashtag for more caption entries. Some good news that followed this contest is Rudolph stated that he'd like to do something similar in the future. Perhaps we'll see some more spontaneous marketing from the team to compliment the smoked campaign?

Source: Windows Phone Team Blog

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Microsoft moving to maintain Marketplace quality

We all want to see quality apps and games in the Windows Phone Marketplace.  With that in mind Microsoft is working to beef up the enforcement of existing policies to keep the "quality bar" high with the Marketplace.  While policy compliance will be expected across the board, Microsoft notes four areas where the concern is slightly higher.

Trademarks: While trademark complaint investigations find that the violation is unintentional, most can be avoided. Microsoft reminds developers to do their due diligence in researching any potential trademark issues. Resource suggestions from Microsoft include the Marketplace's content policy and the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office.

Bulk Publishing: We've seen plenty of bulk publishing where developers submit hundreds of similar apps with slightly different titles. While Microsoft has reduced the number of titles a developer can submit per day, they are still seeing violations.

Developers are submitting the same app to multiple Marketplace categories (a policy violation). Microsoft's position, if a developer submits the same app to multiple categories, the app will be pulled from the Marketplace.

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WP Central

Windows Phone Hacker has published an announcement on the blog detailing the version 1.0 release of Folders for Windows Phone, a homebrew app that enables users to create folders for apps, and more. We previously looked at the app while it was in development, starting off as a concept that took off with community interest.

Some notable changes in version 1.0:

  • Bug fixes / UI changes
  • One application for all - enable root privileges for application selection, otherwise Marketplace searching will be used
  • Added tilt effect in folders
  • Pin folders to your start menu (root only - experimental)

Check out the video below for a quick introduction. You can download Folder for Windows Phone from the Windows Phone Hacker website.

Source: Windows Phone Hacker

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Windows Phone Summary of the Week: April 23 - 29 2012

WP Central

It's Sunday, which means it's time for the WPCentral Windows Phone summary of the week. In this weekly recap we cover the news that matters most to you and combine all the headlines into one digestible article. But before we head into the summary itself, we've got a few WPCentral related headlines to advertise. First up is our Windows Phone community. The forums is a superb place to meet other owners and join in the latest hot topics.

After purchasing your shiny new Windows Phone; what apps are worth downloading for photo editing and whatnot? Our George Ponder takes a look at the top photography apps for your handset. Episode 144 of the WPCentral Podcast has gone live, which has our Daniel Rubino, Jay Bennett, and Rafael Rivera discussing stormtroopers and the cloud. Enough of us, head on past the break for the full summary.

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Nokia Lumia 900 Dicota case giveaway

Dicota Hard Shell Case

We've got three Dicota Hard Shell cases for the Nokia Lumia 900 sitting around collecting dust and felt it was time for a giveaway contest.

Keeping things simple, if you are using a Lumia 900 and have a case to recommend, sound off in the comments. Be it a belt case, shell case, one of those bumper cases that Nokia is offering or if you prefer pocket carry, let us know that as well.

We'll give it twenty four hours (May 1, 2012 at 9:00am CST) and then randomly pick three comments as winners to receive the Dicota hard shell case. You'll need to be registered to be eligible to win and that easy process can be found here and there are no residency restrictions.

Good luck everyone!

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From the Forums: New applications this week

WP Central

We are taking a look at some of this week’s new applications posted in our Applications Spotlight forum. What are these spotlight forums? They are our forums area we dedicated to developers. It’s a place for developers to pimp their new apps.

Gym PocketGuide - 70+ workouts all with HQ guides from Bodybuilding.com - This is what Dominic_W has to say about his app:

“Hey everyone, I recently found a passion for making WP7 apps so I thought why not combine it with my other interest, going to the gym. I wanted to make a quality app for fellow users so I contacted Bodybuilding.com to seek permission to use their high quality workout images (which I received).”

This is a nice app. It includes Programs for different body types, workouts for target areas and even includes stretches to help you get warmed up. You’re going to be listening to Zune music while you work out, right, so why not have an app on your phone to help you with your training?

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AT&T HTC Titan II on backorder from Amazon Wireless

WP Central

Despite being the phone of choice for a few of us here at WPCentral, the HTC Titan II on AT&T with 4G LTE, a 4.7" screen and 16MP camera has not been the hottest selling phone. Due in part HTC all but ignoring it (from a marketing standpoint) and it largely being overshadowed by the "hero" Nokia Lumia 900, the Titan II may go down in history as the least appreciated Windows Phone.

So it's a bit surprising to see it backordered on Amazon Wireless with a 8 to 9 day wait on the phone where it is selling for $150 on a two year contract, $50 less tha direct from AT&T.

Perhaps sales are better than expected? Probably not. The phone is sitting at #76 for top selling across all carriers and #23 on AT&T indicating that the device is not exactly pushing massive inventory.

WP Central

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Barnes & Microsoft

This morning, Microsoft announced a new partnership with Barnes & Noble for their eReader business having settled the previous litigation on claimed patent infringement.

The new subsidiary of Barnes & Noble called Newco (not the real name, just a placeholder to be determined later) will focus on the digital and college business of the company. Microsoft is investing $300 million into the venture and will maintain a 17.6% equity stake in the new company.

Of course it should come as no surprise that a NOOK eReader will be one of the first priorities of the nw partnership with a client for Windows 8 in the works. Barnes & Noble commented on the newly announced deal noting:

“The formation of Newco and our relationship with Microsoft are important parts of our strategy to capitalize on the rapid growth of the NOOK business, and to solidify our position as a leader in the exploding market for digital content in the consumer and education segments,” said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble. “Microsoft’s investment in Newco, and our exciting collaboration to bring world-class digital reading technologies and content to the Windows platform and its hundreds of millions of users, will allow us to significantly expand the business.”

Although lots of pundits like to criticize Microsoft for "patent trolling" others would claim that the company is looking out for their shareholder's interest by defending what they see as their intellectual property. Despite this, some saw in B&N as standing up to Microsoft, fighting them publicly in the matter. Instead, B&N made a deal with the devil perhaps even angering Google along the way (Android powers the new Nook eReader).

Either way, Microsoft's strategy seems to be paying off for although B&N does not have to admit any guilt for the claimed violations, they clearly were forced to the table for what looks to be an exciting deal for both companies. In fact, this could be the lifeline the fading book retailer needs in its life and death struggle with adversary Amazon.com.

No mention of a Windows Phone client has been announced which has been missing since Windows Mobile and the HTC HD2. However, rumors suggest that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are based on the same kernel and have large amounts of overlapping code. As a result the announcement of a Windows 8 client may in fact be a dual one for Windows Phone.

Regardless, you can imagine B&N will be getting some favorable treatment from Microsoft in the future. Something that Apple and Google will have trouble in matching. For this, we' very excited by this deal (even if we're Kindle fans here).

Full press release after the break...

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LG e740

This morning LG Electronics reported to the Korea Herald that they have no immediate plans to introduce new Windows Phone to the market. Instead LG are focusing on Android for their future smartphone releases noting that "The total unit of Windows Phone sold in the global market is not a meaningful figure."

The company claimed that the partnership between it and Microsoft remains good but the plan to focus on Windows Phone, announced in 2009, has not worked out for them financially. LG ended up losing money for seven straight quarters and only recently turned a profit. As a result they lost a lot of market share, especially with HTC and Samsung having a winning portfolio of Android devices.

Regarding Windows Phone specifically, a spokesperson for the company told the Herald that they will “continue research and development efforts” on Microsoft's mobile OS.

This news comes on the heels of an announcement of Steve Ballmer headed to Seoul Digital Forum on May 22 where he will be meeting with various business and developers. Though LG claims to not know his business schedule the implication is that Ballmer may meet with LGE for some damage control regarding their recent smartphone decision.

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If you have a few minutes you can watch the video above of reader Oli Gill bravely modifying his Nokia Lumia 800 to enable wireless charging ala Palm/HP and their Touchstone charger.

There is no doubt that any of us, especially with the more high-end Lumia 900 would love to have this feature in our Nokia Windows Phone. In fact, we wonder if and when Nokia will take the big plunge and be the first Windows Phone OEM to do this officially. After all, if there was one hardware company that could do this on a wide scale it'd be Nokia (though HTC and Samsung are fully capable too).

We're not going to lie though, this mod is quite advanced and we're pretty sure we won't have the time or skills to do this. But we also know a lot of our audience is highly educated and love to do things like this, so for you folks, here you go!

Oh and Oli, if you ever want to start a small side business, we're sure many of us would gladly send you our Lumias to have this warranty-voiding hack. Anyone else?

Thanks, Oli, for the tip and video

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Zune Desktop

Microsoft removed the ability to browse or purchase new apps for Windows Phone in the Zune Desktop app last week causing a stir amongst users. While Windows Phone users can still get podcasts, videos and music, the only apps available are for Zune HD users (who have no other method to get apps). Instead, users are instructed to use the Web Marketplace or the store on their phone, which is how most users are doing it anyway.

We reported on an interesting hack the other day to bring back the Marketplace but it was a bit convoluted requiring a server intercept of a config file.

Today though, reader Thomas W. sent us a simple registry trick on your PC that can instantly bring back the Marketplace. All it requires is adding a new Key with a new DWORD and you'll be good to go. If you have a registry editor on your PC, simply do this:

Registry

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Developer Interview

This week in our Windows Phone developer interview series we're joined by David Hamilton, CTO and Co-Founder of Pepper. We took a quick look at Pepper from a recent Windows Phone User Group meet-up and were intrigued by both the idea behind the app and the vision for future cross-platform development.

So what's the deal with Pepper and how did it come to be? We threw Hamilton a set of questions for an insight into not only app-specific development, but how the team views Windows Phone against competitors. Head on past the break for the full interview.

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Nokia Lumia 900 listed at Amazon UK

While the Nokia Lumia 900's release in the U.K. has been slightly delayed, we're seeing signs that the May 14th date is holding firm. The black Lumia 900 has popped up on Amazon.co.uk for pre-order. The Windows Phone is being offered Sim-free for £479.99 (about $780 USD). The cyan or white models of the Lumia 900 are not listed.

The shipping information notes that the Lumia 900 is due to be released on May 14, 2012.  We're not sure if the phones will ship on the 14th but delivery in the U.K. is free with Amazon's Super Saver Delivery. 

Lumia 900 at Amazon UK

Amazon U.K. joins Clove in offering the Nokia Lumia 900 for pre-orders. Clove's pre-order price for the unlocked Windows Phone is a little more attractive at £458.40 (about $745 USD) which is down from the original price of £486. Clove is still indicating the first stock of the Lumia 900's is expected on May 16, 2012.

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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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