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Deutsche Telekom sets Monday 26th as Mango day

We recently caught wind of Deutsche Telekom's plan to roll out Mango to HTC devices beginning next week and later cover Samsung handsets. Chip.de now reports that the German-based operator is looking to kick start the process as early as Monday, September 26th.

Hopefully more details surrounding the Samsung wave of the roll out will be released sometime soon. 

Source: Chip.de (Bing Translate) Thanks Malte for the tip!

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Nokia releases first app that highlights apps

While we're all still eagerly awaiting Nokia's first handset to hit stores before the year is out the manufacturer has decided to launch itself onto the Marketplace with Top App. "What does Top App do?" you might ask, well it highlights apps that are worthy of download in Nokia's view.

Some highlighted features:

  • Update live apps on the home screen
  • Consultation of the content featured, carefully selected each day for you
  • Lists of the best apps local and global, never miss anything Research and consultation of new apps is fast and fun.

It doesn't look like Top App is available for download just yet but you can view the Marketplace listing here (opens Zune).

Source: MonWindowsPhone Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

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Super Monkey Ball has been updated by Sega, which fixes the broken achievements we reported on a while back. We've received word that the achievements are now obtainable and all gamerscore can be successfully earned. The achievements in question are:

  • Crowned Champion - Get a crown on every stage of a world
  • Conquer Space Case World - Complete all of the stages of the Space Case World

If we get an official change log from Sega, we'll pass it on.  You can download Super Monkey Ball from the Marketplace. It's currently running $2.99 and there is a free trial to let you try before you buy.

Thanks Aaron and mydefposse for the heads up!

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Sneak peak at Evernote 2.0 [Mango]

In the above video, Damian Mehers, Senior Software Engineer of Evernote, walks us through what we can look forward too in Evernote 2.0 for Windows Phone Mango. The update will bring the ability to pin notes, tags, map locations and searches to the home screen.

Background synchronisation is going to be active with any new notes created on other platforms being displayed as a counter on the app tile, should the user not run the app on the handset since. If your device is plugged in and is connected by WiFi, Evernote will download the content as well as headers. Mango search integration we've seen with IMDB etc. will now sport Evernote with notes being created easily in that moment.

Templates can be created and pinned to the home screen, in the above video Damian runs us through creating one for creating expense claims. Better social forwarding is present making use of native Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Windows Live so there's no need to re-enter account details.

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Earlier this year Microsoft was brought into the geo-location controversy along with Android and the iPhone, but remained vigilant that no foul play was present. Earlier this month the software giant was attacked again by a lawsuit claiming the camera app in Windows Phone collected and sent location information without prior permission.

Microsoft denied the claims with a firm statement:

"Because we do not store unique identifiers with any data transmitted to our location service database by the Windows Phone camera or any other application, the data captured and stored on our location database cannot be correlated to a specific device or user. Any transmission of location data by the Windows Phone camera would not enable Microsoft to identify an individual or 'track' his or her movements."

Now Rafael Rivera over at Within Windows has posted his own findings that backs up the lawsuit against Microsoft. He found that packets were being sent by the camera app to Microsoft's Location Interference service. What's being sent? OS version, device information (make, model, etc.), local wireless access points and various GUID-based identifiers. 

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Sprint Arrive running Mango captured in the wild

We've heard of a few sightings of a Sprint HTC Arrive running Mango and now one has been captured on film. WPCentral forum regular Coolaaron88 was in his local Sprint Store out in Vegas and stumbled upon the HTC Arrive running OS Version 7.10.7720.68.

We haven't heard anything official or unofficial from Sprint and finding the Arrive running Mango doesn't guarantee an impending release. As with the Verizon Trophy being spotted in the wild running Mango, we like the odds that Sprint will join the Mango crowd sooner than later.

Thanks again to Coolaaron88 for sending this in!

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Take this how you will, but it's a good sign in our book when your official Verizon stores are displaying their one and only Windows Phone, the venerable HTC Trophy, running 7720.68 aka Mango.

These pics were taken by reader aphrophyre at the Broadway & 17th Street, New York store today. Does this mean absolutely that Mango is coming the 27th? Nope, but we like the odds that it's coming sooner than later.

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Bell Canada jumping on the Mango Cart?

I'm sure by now the Customer Reps for wireless carriers that offer Windows Phones are up to their eyeballs with online questions about the Mango update. While it's not definitive proof on when Mango will hit the update airwaves, such conversations can serve as indicators of what might happen.

This go around, it's Bell Canada's turn in the spotlight.  The question was presented to a Bell Canada Customer Service Rep, "Will Bell be rolling out the Mango update on September 27th, like all the other major carriers?".

While the CSR politely replies that Bell doesn't have an announced date for the update, it probably will come out on September 27th.

So take it for what it is worth. Bell Canada (who offers the HTC HD7 and LG Optimus) may be joining the other carriers rumoured to be releasing Mango on the world next Tuesday, September 27th. Luckily, we won't have long to wait until we know for sure if all the online Customer Service Reps are right.

Thanks goes out to Andy for the tip!

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Mango on Verizon September 27?

After Microsoft's announcement that Mango updates would roll out "in coming weeks" and AT&T's confirmation that they would begin on September 27th, one of our faithful readers decided to take it upon himself to try to find out when exactly Verizon was planning to send out their updates. 

He poked around the Verizon Wireless site, when suddenly he was prompted to join a live chat with a representative.  Through a clever bit of social engineering (AKA, directly asking the rep if Verizon's Mango update would roll out the same day that other major carriers' would) he was told that it would indeed be available on September 27th.

There are a couple of other interesting points in this conversation.  Firstly, the representative says that regardless of whether the phone is purchased now, or post-Mango roll out, the software will be the same.  So it sounds like Trophies will come pre-loaded with Mango.  Secondly, when asked about other Windows Phone devices on the horizon, the customer support rep states that no information has been given out.  Hopefully, this is just a matter of timing and not a sign that the Trophy will be Verizon's sole WP7 offering.

You can see the relevant part of the chat log above.  Names have been redacted, as to not get anyone fired.  Now, customer support reps have been known to be wrong in the past, so don't take any of this as gospel truth.

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Customers on Verizon who own the HTC Trophy (see review) are certainly wondering where big red stands on the Mango update. By all accounts, most carriers seem to be in line with the "in a few weeks" stance that Microsoft has given them and because of that, we expect Verizon to do the same. That and we've seen the finalized HTC ROM for the Verizon Trophy--meaning this is really just Verizon approving it.

Now, via Verizon's Twitter account, they have spoken on the issue. No specifics were given, but it seems as if they are still aiming for "soon" like everyone else:

"It [Mango] is coming soon. We do not have the exact date yet. Once available, you will receive notification on your phone."

Not a home run, but at least is something, right?

Thanks, Matthew W., for the tip!

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Good news for those on T-Mobile wanting the HTC Radar 4G--the device has successfully cleared the FCC, meaning it's in T-Mobile's hands now to approve it on their network and get it stocked for shipping.

The 3.8" screen, "4G" speeds and slick front and rear cameras make this is a solid middle of the road offering on T-Mo, especially with that white eye-catching color. The only other interesting info from the FCC docs that we can see is the model number: P106110. So if you see that number anywhere else, you know what phone its referring to.

Hopefully with those Mango updates coming this week, T-Mobile will get this phone out the door sooner than later. AT&T has the Focus S FCC cleared as well, so it looks like these two are aiming for the same time frame.

Source: FCC; via TmoNews

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We saw earlier in this week (video review) the private beta version of WhatsApp, the super popular IM program that's on all other platforms. While minimalist and sparse, the app seems solid, fast and should a great addition for Mango users.

Seeing as it was v1.01 and in private beta, we could surmise that its release is imminent and indeed, that seems to be the case. In an email to the developers, it was asked if they were still accepting people into the private beta. The response speaks for itself:

"Thank you for your message and your interest. We should release a public version on the marketplace within the next 24 hours, so I do not think it makes sense to send a link to the closed group of beta."

Sounds like a done deal to us. So to our eagle-eyed readers, keep a look out for this a-bomb of an app to land in the Marketplace. We'll leave a little wiggle room and give them the weekend though, as sometimes the release process is a little slow.

Via: Plaffo.com

See our hands on experience after the break to get an idea of how it works...

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Three UK rolling out Mango with everyone else

Three UK have been answering the same question about when they'll bring Mango to customers (as have all other operators globally), but instead of giving a time frame of their own or specific detail, they've continuously referred to Microsoft's announcement post on the Windows Phone Developer blog. We're eager to learn what the plans are for Windows Phone with Three, whether they're looking to drop support or not; but we can now rest easily knowing that Mango will be rolling out on their network in the next week or two.

At least we'll get the update. I can't see Three passing up on the HTC Titan; they sure love their massive 3G handsets.

Thanks to Christopher and everyone who tipped us!

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Good news for users of IM+ (both the Pro and free versions), you can now update to v1.6. The new version brings some pretty cool new features that we're liking a lot. Via their Facebook page:

  • Send photo option
  • Message delivery confirmation
  • Spanish, German, French, Italian language support

The send photo option is what it sounds like--you select a photo, it sends, they receive a in-chat bubble that they tap to open the photo. Worked like a charm for us. The "message delivery confirmation" is even nicer--now when you send a message, the bubble is yellow till it's received by the user, at which point it goes green in color. That's a great addition and gives a little peace of mind.

*Remember, this version does not have MSN/Live Messenger--so if you're still on v1.2, do not upgrade if you want to keep that feature.

This is still the NoDo version though and we can expect update soon: "Mango support will come to IM+ along with the official release of Mango. Thank you for understanding!"--so hopefully next week sometime? If one app could really benefit from fast-app resume, it's IM programs. We can't wait. Get IM+ Pro in the Marketplace here.

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We can't believe we're writing this because for some odd reason we thought it already happened. But evidently, those on AT&T with a locked/branded Dell Venue Pro are finally getting the v2.12 firmware update aka the one firmware to fix 'em all (seriously, it does make the phone a winner).

We've had two reports now from readers telling us they've plugged in their DVPs to Zune and got a nice firmware update. Biggest change? No more dreaded WiFi lockups.

This is great news though for two reasons: sounds like AT&T is still prepping this phone for Mango (it will get it, just a matter of time) and two, like we said v2.12 will restore faith in your DVP. Any other readers confirm the change?

Thanks, Roël F. and Timothy, for the tips!

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Millennial Media has released some statistics which puts Windows Phone in a healthy attack. According to the mobile advertising specialist Microsoft's platform has increased the volume of advertisement impressions month-on-month by 48%, matching Android. iOS and Symbian remain "relatively flat" while Blackberry grew by 10%.

With Mango just around the corner, we will look forward to comparing data from a number of analytical sources before and after the release of the update and launch of new hardware. We looked at Millennial data back in June and how Windows Phone has a higher CTR (click through rate) than iOS and Android.

The above table shows the top 10 app categories ranked by the number of impressions accumulated. It's interesting to see health and fitness jump into 8th place, while gaming is always a firm favourite to top the chart. Check out the full global report in a PDF below.

Source: Millennial Media (PDF), via: WMPU

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Reasoning with changes in Mango IE9

The above chart certainly paints an interesting picture about usage within IE on Windows Phone. Back at MIX'11 when we managed to get a demonstration by Joe Marini of IE9, the excitement began of a chrome-less browsing experience. Moving onto later previews and in-depth looks at what's changed in the browser, many began to question the move to take away the status bar and hide the tabs and featured sites. One of the major complaints about the new IE on Windows Phone though is the missing "Find on Page" feature.

Amin Lakhani has published an insightful article over at the Windows Phone Developer blog, which runs us through the reasoning behind the changes that have been made. Looking back at the chart above, it's clear to see that the majority of users neglect the tabs and favourites features in favour of the address bar (myself being one). It's all about gaining as much screen as possible from chrome and using it for content display, to tie in with the whole concept of Metro, Microsoft has actually done this rather well.

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I'm not really sure what to make of this, it's as though Microsoft plans to not only provide you with a powerful, simplistic handset, but to throw in some Nintendo Wii Remote-type accessories as well if this patent is anything to go by. Should this indeed turn out to be the case, that all future Windows Phone handsets will have a slide-out accessory expansion slot, then it could open up a whole new realm of opportunity.

From the trusty external keyboard that aids typing to a battery extension to a game pad that gives the user an edge in gaming, I'm sure Microsoft has bags of imagination (as anyone would) surrounding this idea. As for me I'm not one to fuss about moving/interchangeable parts as I'm fully aware that hardware wears out. It's one of the reasons why I adore my Samsung Omnia7 - it's just a block with no moving parts (sliding keyboard etc.).

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Hydro Thunder GO has gone all Mango on us

Hydro Thunder GO (see review), the super fun race-boat game, received it's last update (v1.3) at the end of August. Now, just a few short weeks later, they've pushed out their long awaited Mango update.

As far as we can tell, it looks like it got the 60 FPS update, as our game play is smooth and stutter free (and this game certainly could use all the graphic improvements in can get). In addition, it of course has the requisite fast-app resume feature, which we're really starting to dig now that all of the Mango apps are coming out.

You can pick up v1.4 now in the Marketplace. As usual, we'll update when we get a full changelog if there's more to add. Thanks, Lerimer S., for the heads up via our app!

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For those of you on Vodafone, you may be disappointed to know that you won't be getting visual voicemail with your Mango update. That's not too surprising as many carriers won't be able to support this feature, which seems to us to be downplayed by Microsoft.

Likewise, tethering, at least according to the Vodafone blog, won't be initially supported either:

"Regarding Wireless Hotspot, it isn’t integrated in the initial release of Mango however it may be deployed at a later date."

That's kind of interesting about the "initial release" of Mango and wireless hotspot--for now we haven't see too much of this feature and perhaps it's coming down the line in a subsequent patch. Either way, while both visual voicemail and tethering are awesome, the other 498 features that Mango brings will surely make up for it, no?

Source: Vodafone Blog; Thanks, Garry, for the heads up!

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For all of you on AT&T and awaiting Mango, we have some big news for you, so grab yourself a seat, because you're hearing it here first. Looks like that earlier info about "being on time" was accurate.

We just received a series of emails exchanged between some higher ups at AT&T and an anonymous source (the source is anonymous to you, but known and verified by us). The emails give, in detail, AT&Ts plans for their Mango updates, including schedule according to device. The original emails are attached as images with all names and times redacted.

In short, here is the plan. "Starting September 27, 2011, Microsoft has approved and is planning to release a new “Mango” update to AT&T customers using..."

  • HTC Surround (SKU 65212)
  • LG Quantum (SKU 65205)
  • Samsung Focus (SKU 65203) [More on this below]

"A subsequent release is projected to be available for customers with the HTC HD7S (SKU 65255) in early to mid October. A subsequent advisory will be provided for the HTC HD7S after the MR update has successfully passed TA."

The update requires two steps: download new Zune software and plug in your phone.

Now the bad news. The Samsung Focus is still divided into two camps, depending on the hardware revision. Revision v1.3 will get the update on 9/27 while v1.4 will have to wait till end of October:

The Samsung team came back an provided this information about WINDOWS 7.5 for the Samsung Focus devices.

  1. rev 1.3(Micron): Windows 7.5 update will be available through Zune on 9/27.
  2. rev 1.4(LSI) : Update has not entered the AT&T SPE lab yet; however, Samsung is targeting for 10/17 lab entry and 10/31 TA

So there you go folks. The only thing missing from the above is the Dell Venue Pro, but we're under the impression that Dell will handle that directly. More info as it comes in. And thanks to our tipster for the excellent information and timely communication! Full emails after the break...

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Microsoft's Mike Ormond has gone ahead and finally published a nice eBook called "Building Windows Phone Apps: A Developer's Guide", which looks to give a "puddy up" "into developing on the platform and, importantly, helps you to avoid making the same mistakes others have made".

The book was done as a collaboration between various volunteers in the community, including Colin Eberhardt, Pete Vickers, Andy Gore, Mike Hole, Gergely Orosz, Sasha Kotlyar, Dominic Betts, Will Johnson, Ben Cameron, James Bearne, Samidip Basu, Paul Marsh, Stuart Lodge and looks to be dynamic, with new chapters added over time.

"The plan was always to publish an initial set of chapters and then iterate, adding new chapters and updating / refining existing chapters as we went."

Seems like a good resource for devs out there and seeing as it is free, there's little reason to not grab it. More info can be found on Mke Ormond's blog here. Thanks, Aleksandr (Sasha) K., for the tip!

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Joining the many Xbox Live games that have been updated lately is Plants vs. Zombies, the enchanting tower defense game from PopCap. The version 1.2 update fixes a longstanding issue with Zen Garden plants.

As our review explains, the Zen Garden is a meta game mode that ties Plants vs. Zombies’ Adventure Mode and many minigames together. Players randomly find seed packets during normal game play, which can then be planted in the Zen Garden, tended, and eventually harvested for money. Previously, fertilizing certain sprouts caused the game to crash. A couple of months and a little patch action later, those sprouts can finally be fertilized like any other. Just what kind of plants do the problem sprouts grow into? Why, Kernel-pults, the game’s combat corn on the cobs.

Now that Zen Garden is fixed up, the Windows Phone version of Plants. Vs. Zombies really is just about perfect. It's the only game I've reviewed to receive a 10 so far. Nice as it runs now, we can still expect a Mango update to come along and enable fast-app switching sometime in the near future. Already beaten the game inside and out? Check out our interview with PopCap Games that looks into the history of PvZ's development.

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