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Chase app for Windows Phone in the works?

Chase Bank coming to Windows Phone?

There has been a discussion going on over in the WPCentral Forums for some time about the hopes of a Chase banking app would find it's way to the Windows Phone platform.  A recent email response one of our readers received from Chase gives us hope that a Chase Bank App is in the works for Windows Phone. Currently Chase only offers an app for the iPhone and Android devices but in an email response to one of our readers, that may change.

According to the email a Chase Internet Service Center Rep, states:

As of right now, the Chase application is only applicable with the Android and iOS platforms. We have consulted our Online Management Team and they will be implementing an application for Windows phones this July 2012.

Several European banks already have apps available over in the Windows Phone Marketplace but for the U.S. Market, Bank of America and USAA seem to be the only two currently available. Hopefully with Chase jumping on board, other banking and financial institutions will follow suit.

You can chime in on the WPCentral Forums discussion here or sound off in the comment section below if the thought of a Chase (or any other bank for that matter) app is something you'd like to see.

Thanks Sed for the tip!

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Like Bing? Go get Bing Desktop now for your PC.

Bing Desktop

Yesterday, Microsoft released a new app for Windows 7 PCs called Bing Desktop (it was in beta for the last few weeks). It's an interesting move as Google as had their Desktop app for years (it's also a little creepy as it can search your hard disk).

Luckily, Bing Desktop does no such thing and darn it all, it's awesome to boot.

For one, it can download the Bing wallpaper daily to your PC and makes it your desktop background. Next, there's a nifty Bing Search bar that sits on your desktop and allows super quick access to Microsoft's increasingly awesome search service. Pro tip: pin it to the top of your screen and you can tap to bring it down anywhere for quick lookups-- Microsoft really nailed the interaction here in our opinion.

Enough chit chat though, go and download it here and read the Bing Team's description of it here. We think it's awesome though. You?

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Zune Desktop

Although we're of the camp that doesn't mind that the Windows Phone Marketplace for apps has been retired from Zune Desktop, we imagine some of you think otherwise.

Luckily, Windows Phone guru Den Delimarsky has you covered. He figured out exactly what the change was that Microsoft pushed on to us all yesterday. More importantly, he also figured out to block that change so you can get back the Marketplace for those apps.

Unfortunately the change is a little tricky. Evidently the "update" comes from a simple modification in the configuration.xml that is sent from Microsoft every time you launch Zune Desktop. All you need to do is switch a "disabled" setting to "enabled" but the tough part is you have to intercept that .xml file.

Configuration

That's where you'll need a mini-server (or something analogous). Basically you redirect your Zune Desktop to a local server where you can have it fetch your modified .xml file and boom, you're in business. Now of course, this is only works so long as you stay with version 4.8. If you update the Desktop client (and Microsoft is sure to push one eventually) you can probably kiss this trick goodbye.

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WP Central

Pandora have unceremoniously altered their undocumented APi (written up for Windows Phone users by Justin Angel) allowing outside access to their service, rendering unofficial 3rd party apps like MetroRadio, Radio Controlled and WPFandora temporarily useless.

The developer of MetroRadio, Mustafa Taleb, notified us of the situation noting:

"The user can no longer login using the 3rd party applications. Message from Pandora's servers:"org.apache.xmlrpc.XmlRpcException: 000.000.000.000|0|INCOMPATIBLE_VERSION|Pandora does not support your client version."

Possible reason: They changed their encryption keys.

I am currently working on a fix and it should take me no longer than 2 days to update the app, and 5 to publish it."

That's certainly a bummer especially for us who have the MetroRadio Pro app. The good news is devs should be able to once again fix this issue and push out an update. Needless to say, it's a pain and would be easier if (a) Pandora just let 3rd party apps use their service or (b) they had an official app for Windows Phone.

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NBA Game Time Lite adds League Pass support

NBA Game Time Lite for Windows Phone

Just in time for the playoffs, NBA Game Time Lite has been updated to add support for your NBA League Pass that will allow you to watch games live from your Windows Phone.

Should you not have a League Pass, NBA Game Time Lite will still bring you all the scores, highlights, schedules and standings for the 2011-2012 NBA Season. The app is nicely laid out with scores and schedules of today's games greeting you as you launch the app. Swiping to the right of the today's games listing, you can view video highlights, standings, and the "more" page that has settings, league pass sign in, links to the NBA store and more.

NBA Game Time Lite

From list of today's games, tap on a game and you'll be able to check out the game's box score, play by play details, team stats, player stats, and a game preview. If the game is available through the League Pass, you'll have a button bar at the bottom of the box score page to launch the video.  Plus the game will be highlighed on the today's game page.

There is also game alerts available through the alert button control at the bottom of the individual game screens and you can surf the calendar by tapping the little calendar button at the bottom of NBA Game Time Lite's main page.

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WP Central

Microsoft is set to unveil a sneaky preview of its upcoming service at this year's E3 that will replace Zune, according to unknown sources familiar with company plans. The new service, code named Woodstock, will add a few more nails to the Zune coffin and continue Microsoft's move from the Zune brand to either the Windows or Xbox umbrella. The sources also revealed that the service replacing Zune will support multiple platforms, including: Windows 8, Xbox, Android, and iOS. No word on what's planned for Windows Phone.

Much like the current music streaming service, Woodstock will feature browser playback. As well as not requiring any browser plugins, it is reported that the plan is to integrate the service into Facebook, enabling friends to build group playlists and share music. Similar matching functionality, much like iTunes Match, is also being tested that will allow users to identify existing music tracks on the service. It is expected to launch later in 2012. Unfortunately, no details surrounding pricing has arisen yet, but we'd expect it to compete with other services available on the market.

Source: The Verge; thanks everyone who tipped us!

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Grow sees a price drop

The other day we made mention of the upcoming Windows Phone game, Grow. Grow is an fish-eat-fish game that offers 78 levels of play that crosses seven environments. The game is due to launch on April 27th for $2.99.

We were recently informed by Epic Pixel, Grow's developer, that the Windows Phone game will now be offered for $1.99. A price that matches the cost of the full version over on the Android Marketplace.

After reading the comments on the press release, we decided the right thing to do is to lower the price of Grow to $1.99 to match the full price on the Android Market.

It's nice to see Windows Phone developers take consumer input into account and make adjustments to keep things equitable. Once Grow hits the Marketplace, we'll take a look at the game and share our impressions of things.

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Xbox 360 Impressions: Bloodforge

Bloodforge

As part of WPCentral’s ongoing Xbox 360 coverage, we’ll sometimes discuss console titles of interest to our readers. We previous reported on the Arcade Next promotion: a series of five Xbox Live Arcade games coming to Xbox 360 in April and May. Trials Evolution was last week’s XBLA release, and now Bloodforge, the second Arcade Next title has launched today.

Bloodforge is an Xbox 360-exclusive hack-and-slash title from UK developer Climax Studios. The story takes place in a cold, unnamed Scandinavian location, probably somewhere in the 8th to 11th century. It revolves around Crom, a warrior who has left behind his raiding days to settle down with a family. When an evil god causes Crom to lose his family, the warrior sets out on a single-minded quest for revenge. Along the way he is aided by a crow goddess and others who seek to shift the balance of godly power.

Head past the break for our full impressions.

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WP Central

Scientists from the University of Southampton took to the clouds, and beyond, with a Lumia 800. The Windows Phone (attached to a balloon) flew into the stratosphere as a tool to help create balloon flight trajectory prediction software that can then be used to guide future missions, such as weather balloons.

The ASTRA project (Atmospheric Science Through Robotic Aircraft) investigates new technologies that can be used to make low cost parameter observations of the atmosphere. Stephen Johnston and András Sóbester from the ASTRA project chose the Nokia Lumia 800 for the ASTRA 10 series of flights.

"We knew the Lumia was very robust. With other phones we’ve had to include an extra battery and a heater. We didn’t need to do that with the Lumia – it was the best. It still had data connectivity at 8km above the earth, it’s definitely got a good aerial in there."

A suitable device is required to be light enough to ascend to heights of 32km above the earth, robust enough to survive in temperatures of -70C with atmospheric pressure a thousand times lower than on the ground, and be able to use GPS (and beam the data to the ground teams), log data by recording measurements taken by connected instruments, as well as snapping a few photos. The Lumia 800 really is a sturdy ol' chap!

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Instagram alternative EyeEm hits the Marketplace

EyeEm for Windows Phone

EyeEm is a photo-sharing app, much like Instagram, for your Windows Phone. However, unlike Instagram EyeEm is available for the iPhone, Android devices, through a web portal and on Windows Phone. This gives EyeEm a potentially larger user base than Instagram which means you can find more users with similar photographic interests.

EyeEm allows you apply ten photo filters (or none if you prefer) to existing photos in your Pictures Hub or to photos just captured by your Windows Phone camera. Filters range from sepia to magic to strawberry. From there you can share your images on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Tumblr.

EyeEm

Along with capturing, editing and sharing your photos EyeEm lets you browse photos from other EyeEm users. There is a search engine to search for photos or photographers by keyword, an Albums page that highlights random and "liked" photographic subjects (fashion, retro, etc.), and a Popular page that shares... well... the popular images on EyeEm.

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Dysentary

The Windows Phone Marketplace differs by region, with some games and apps available in one area but not another. This is typically due to translation costs or licensing issues - hence why Who Wants to be a Millionaire? is not available in the US.

Up until now, the reverse has been true for Gameloft’s The Oregon Trail. It launched in the US in November 2010 but was not available in outside markets. Thankfully, the game has just expanded to other territories as well. We can’t confirm each individual Marketplace, but it’s definitely available in the UK. That means our British friends (including WPCentral’s own lovably patriotic Rich Edmonds) can finally learn about the challenges that early American settlers faced as they braved the Oregon Trail.

The Oregon Trail

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Assassin's Creed Duplicate

Some of our readers have a duplicate listing for Assassin’s Creed: Altaïr's Chronicles in the Marketplace. Here is the game’s proper Marketplace page, and here is the duplicate. Sharp-eyed readers will detect some differences between the listings. The text formatting on the duplicate page is actually much better than the proper one’s; the game is simply titled Assassin’s Creed with no subtitle; the publisher is Gameloft SA instead of Gameloft; the OS requirement is Windows 7.5; the file size is 10 MB greater; and finally, the version number is 1.2 instead of 1.1.

That last clue may be the explanation for the duplicate’s appearance. In rare cases, a game update may briefly have its own separate listing, possibly for testing purposes. The same thing happened with I Dig It’s long-delayed title update last year. An updated (and purchasable) version appeared separately from the main game, and then disappeared when the main game’s actual update went live. It’s likely that Assassin’s Creed is due for a version 1.2 update (with Mango support) now as well.

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WP Central

UK mobile phone retailer Phones 4u has sent out a press statement confirming the Lumia 900 UK delay due to 'overwhelming demand' in the U.S. The "exclusive to Phones 4u" white Lumia 900, along with the black version, have had their availability date pushed back from April 27th to May 14th.

As an apology to those who ordered either Windows Phone on (or before) April 16th, the retailer is bundling a pair of Nokia Purity in-ear headphones with the Lumia 900 (in addition to the free Nokia Play 360 wireless speaker) at no extra cost. As mentioned above, stock is expected to be ready to ship by May 14th.

Check out the full press release below.

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WP Central

During the Q2 2012 Apple conference call, CEO Tim Cook was questioned whether there's a possibility of the iPad and Macbook Air converging into one product, much like what Microsoft is doing with Windows 8 and their "three screen vision". Cook answered with a resounding "no", and went on to explain that he believes combining the experience of both the tablet and PC is a 'forced convergence'.

As well as commenting on why he believes this isn't a particularly good idea with regards to the user experience, Cook compared the PC and tablet combination in upcoming Windows 8 much like a "combined toaster and refrigerator". Microsoft has been actively aiming for a unified user experience when it comes to their next major OS release, as well as pulling the Xbox console and Windows Phone closer together. 

The Apple and Microsoft ecosystems are fairly different and this type of comparison (or dig - however you wish to take such comments) is interesting. Apple ensures that each device performs best at what it does, while Microsoft is set to ensure that devices can do more than what the user would usually expect. A Windows 8 tablet running applications in desktop mode is a good example. We'll of course have to see how the average consumer reacts to the changes in Windows 8. 

Source: iMore

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WP Central

The Lumia 610, 710, 800 and 900 were all set to launch in the Philippines, but the Windows Phones have had their entry into the country delayed due to supporting carriers. According to Electronic Pulp, all four Lumia devices will not be arriving anytime soon, which is a massive blow for both Nokia and Windows Phone with the Philippines being a rather important market to tackle.

We previously covered the Nokia launch party of the Lumia 710 and 800, but it seems as though things have gone downhill for the manufacturer since, with no immediate plan to provide the 610 and 900 with the same treatment. The carrier Globe Telecom is set to stock the Lumia 800, while Smart Communications picked up the remaining three Windows Phones. Nokia has reportedly given up exclusive rights to sell the handsets in the Philippines.

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Xbox Live Extras and Netflix

Two popular apps have just been updated: Xbox Live Extras (version 7.3) and Netflix (version 2.1). Both updates appear to be under the hood, i.e. no new features or noticeable changes. Netflix just received a more significant update two weeks ago, and the release notes for that update still appear, unmodified, on the app’s Marketplace page. It’s likely that after rolling out version 2.0, the development team discovered one or more bugs that needed fixing.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft about the Xbox Live Extras update and will report back if they provide any details. If you guys discover any changes in these two apps in the meantime, please let us know in the comments below.

Both Xbox Live Extras and Netflix are free apps, though Netflix obviously requires a subscription to use. Xbox Live Extras is a fairly important tool for gamers, so make sure to get it here if you haven’t already. Netflix subscribers can get the app here on the Marketplace.

Thanks to everyone who tipped us on both app updates!

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Magenta Lumia 900

We've reported in the past that AT&T was rumored to be getting a magenta (red, fuchsia, pink etc) Nokia Lumia 900 on Sunday, May 13th right in time for Mother's Day.

Since that report we've had a sighting in a Microsoft Store (since removed) and Nokia's Facebook page (also since removed).

The image above clearly shows once and for all that a magenta Lumia 900 does indeed exist. What's more, those in Finland will evidently have the honors of  being one of the first regions to get their hands on it.

Gigantti Ad

The retail site Gigantti has the phone listed with the SKU NOKLUMIA900MA with a release slated for an unspecified day in, you guessed it, May.

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Zombies on the Phone

Remember that Xbox Live Deal of the Week poll from last month? Microsoft allowed users to vote on whether ZOMB1ES on teh ph0ne, Earthworm Jim, Doodle God, or Deer Hunter would go on sale this month. Doodle God and Deer Hunter have already permanently dropped to 99 cents, which left only Zombies or Earthworm Jim to go on sale. Zombies on the Phone (as I’ll now type it) won the poll anyway, and so it’s now the current Deal of the Week for $1.99.

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The winners is...

All good things must come to an end and so does the Windows Phone Challenge at Microsoft Stores in the US as April 12 was designated to be the last day (Evidently the contest is still going on in many stores)

Although the Smoked by Windows Phone Challenge will remain forever controversial, there is little doubt it made waves and got the OS noticed (hey, any publicity is good publicity). Guess we didn't figure Microsoft were tallying up every single win (and loss) though perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise. Here are the results:

  • Won - 40,522
  • Lost - 462

We're assuming that these numbers are just for the US at the various Microsoft Stores and don't include the expanded contest in places like Italy, Malaysia and Brazil (to name a few). Even Nokia picked up and ran with it in London.

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WP Central

The Lumia 900 has been available for over a couple of weeks now. Reports are that it is selling well. What we want to know is what color Lumia 900 do you have? The numbers are going up and everyone has their favorite choice.

Forum member baseballbert has an opinion on the Cyan Lumia 900.

"Cyan, blue is the best color in the Crayola box. Already had a white iPhone and several black phones, it was time to go outside the lines with something new. Plus, its 1970's Batman Blue, I mean honestly, does it get better than that?"

Forum member NicholasCL has an idea. This is what he had to say.

"I like the white but the cyan is a little too close to powder blue for my taste...I'll stick with my matte black but why don't we have phones that change colors yet? In the 80's I had t-shirts and Hotwheels that changed color I want a phone that will change. Think about the Nokia Chameleon, the only phone that changes to match your mood or your outfit. I'd buy one."

Now that's a fun idea, but you won't find that in our poll. We only added the colors we already had and Magenta just in case. Forum member nokia4life had this to say about the White Lumia 900.

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WP Central,

In a surprising move, Microsoft announced today on the Windows Phone blog that in the near future starting today you, won't be able to purchase or browse apps using the Zune Desktop software. (If you launch Zune Desktop, you'll be notified of the changes). In addition, you'll need Windows Phone 7.5+ to access and purchase new apps in the Marketplace, basically forcing users who are still on NoDo to finally update.

The Zune Desktop move seems odd until Microsoft explains that the overwhelming majority of users browse and purchase apps right on their phone or at the very least, use the Web Marketplace. So trying to focus their engineering efforts where it matters, Microsoft has decided to concentrate their efforts on those two areas and to forsake the Zune Desktop client.

Of course, we've also heard a lot of rumblings that come Windows 8 (and Windows Phone 8), Zune Desktop as we know will be completely gone. Instead, purchasing Windows 8 apps and music will be handled more natively by the OS itself and plugging in your phone will be more akin to the Active Sync experience back in the Windows Mobile heyday.

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WP Central

The "Your App Here" marketing campaign is a venture by both Microsoft and Nokia that aims to help Windows Phone developers establish a foothold in the online media world with free advertising / promotion for selected apps.

We've previously covered the campaign at entry intervals, and it seems April 30th marks the closing date for the last known campaign in June. Microsoft has sent out a reminder email to developers that contains the following:

"Windows Phone & Nokia are looking for innovative new apps targeted for Windows Phone 7.5 to showcase in our promotional ad campaign. This opportunity is open to all developers with newly published Windows Phone apps relevant to the U.S. Marketplace. [...]  Tell us about your app today; the last submission deadline is April 30th."

Should you desire to get your app featured on the last campaign, be sure to get your app submission in by April 30th. Check out some photos below of the marketing in action (click for larger versions) for a handful of apps by Techark Solutions.

WP Central

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Lumia 900

The Nokia Lumia 900 has previously been announced to be heading to the UK shores next month, with Clove UK expecting to stock and ship the handset by May 16th. The Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U have also jumped on the Lumia 900 train with pre-order and registration pages being published for interested customers to keep up-to-date. We've now seen reports that point to a delay with the Windows Phone hitting shelves.

According to V3, a UK technology news website, Nokia has officially confirmed that the availability date for the Lumia 900 at Phones4U has been pushed back from April 27th to May 14th, due to 'overwhelming demand' in the US on AT&T. We've covered a few times how the handset has gone out of stock, and the white Lumia 900 remains to be particularly rare.

"The overwhelming demand for the Lumia 900 in the US with AT&T has, unfortunately, had a small knock-on effect on product availability in the UK. The Lumia 900 is now expected to be available from Phones4U around the 14th May."

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Buddy platform goes free until August [Developers]

Buddy logo

In September of last year we wrote about the startup created by two ex-Microsofties called Buddy.

Buddy is a cloud platform that has support for all the major mobile Operating Systems (and HTML5), and makes it really easy to integrate web services into your app. With a few lines of code you could add a high score list, or get push notifications and Live-Tile updates out to all of your users, and that is just the basic stuff. There is support for a wide range of other usage scenarios which you can checkout in their documentation.

Here is the basic flow that they provide for a global high-score list:

Highscores

Up until now there were different price tiers based on your usage, starting at a free account which provided enough API transactions for most small apps. But to celebrate reaching 5000 signed-up developers, the service is now totally free until August!

Check out the newsletter below:

Buddy Announces 5000 Developers
... and a pre-v1.0 launch gift!

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