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Mobile Nations Podcast: Mobile World Congress Day 1

Mobile Nations Special: MWC 2012 Day minus one

Phil, Dan, Alex, and Simon talk Mobile World Congress day one, including Nokia on both Windows Phone and Symbian (biggest. Camera. Phone. Ever.), Galaxy Note 10.1, the return of the Padphone, Huawei, and yet another plethora of Android devices. Listen in! (And send food!)

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Carphone Warehouse Lumia 900

The European Lumia 900, which was announced at MWC earlier today (or yesterday for those GMT and beyond), is now available for interest registration at the Carphone Warehouse. The Lumia 900 is also going to be stocked at other retailers including Unlocked Mobiles, and sports a 4.3" AMOLED (with ClearBlack technology) display, 16GB storage, 8MP camera (with FF), 512MB RAM and a 1.4Ghz chip.

No word on the pricing as of yet, but we suspect it'll be competitive and will look to be around the £450 mark. According to the registration page, they are looking at a June 2012 launch.

Source: Carphone Warehousethanks, Richard, for the tip!

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Save My Spot! gets updated, drops ads

Save My Spot: Look Ma' No Ads!

Save My Spot! is a decent app for your Windows Phone (here's our review) to help you remember and get back to various spots in your life. Be it a favorite restaurant or where you saw that special something something for your wife, Save My Spot! will record the GPS coordinates for the spot as well as tons of descriptive elements to get you back there.

Save My Spot! was recently updated to version 1.1 to add functionality to manage categories in the settings and to remove the banner ads. The latter is a welcome fix in that Save My Spot! may have been the only paid app that had ad banners. Kudos for the developer to stepping up and taking corrective action on this oversight.

The developer tells us that there is more in store for Save My Spot! with future updates (maybe a trial version?). Save My Spot! is running $.99, is now ad-free and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

QR: Save My Spot

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runtastic App Lead

It's Fitness Month here at WPCentral and Mobile Nations, as you all already know, so we thought we'd take a look at some health-related apps for your Windows Phone that can be used to keep on top of those pesky New Year resolutions you may have made for 2012. I've personally been using runtastic for Windows Phone, a fitness tracking app / service that's also available for Blackberry, iOS and Android. So, just how can this app help keep owners fit?

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WP Central

Earlier today we called attention to new changes being brought about with the release of Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1, the release supporting 'Tango' in all it's low-end/budget glory.

We also mentioned in that article that only 5% of apps wouldn't run in the new hardware configuration, which is down to the amount of memory they utilise whilst active. However looking over this msdn page we wanted to make it crystal clear to our community that in fact there is a limitation for our new friend the Lumia 610: it won't run Background Tasks.

Specifically, generic background tasks are not supported for devices with 256MB of memory. A perfect example would be the background task used to update the live tile and cache in our own app. These types of tasks are known to developers as Periodic tasks and Resource Intensive tasks (if you want to understand the difference I recommend reading this overview). The potentially good news is that some types of background task, such as the background Audio agent which is used for playing music or podcasts after the app has been de-activated, look to be supported still.

A question therefore which I put to our readers, is this the first sign of platform fragmentation? Can we still state that "you get the same great Windows Phone experience on any handset"? Or is this a reasonable omission for the sweeter price spot?

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State of the Mobile Nations Survey

We love our communities! Each of our individual sites -- Android Central, CrackBerry.com, iMore, WPCentral and webOSNation -- has its own incredibly passionate and knowledgeable community of forum users. Each has its own strong identity and we never want to compromise that. Which is why we went with Mobile Nations as our community network brand. It allows us to continue to respect the culture of our individual communities while continuing to push all of the sites forward and making it more welcoming for users who switch between platforms to find their way into another Mobile Nations site. All combined, we truly are the United Nations of Mobile!

Help Us Improve Our Forums: We want to continue to make our communities even stronger. We've put together ten quick questions that will help guide us on that mission. Whether you visit the forums often or just casually lurk, we want want to hear from you. The survey will only take a minute or two, tops. Thanks for participating!

Take the Survey!

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ZTE Orbit

Although overshadowed a bit by Nokia today, ZTE who earlier released the Tania has also put out the Orbit which was announced early this morning. The Orbit is yet another low-cost phone presumably for emerging markets and East Asia though the company has expressed interest in coming to the US and Europe as well.

The Orbit features a new Qualcomm processor to Windows Phone: the Qualcomm MSM7227A-1 which is described as a "low cost, low voltage" CPU for sub-$150 devices. In addition, here are the other specs just released:

  • EDGE 900/1800/1900
  • HSDPA 900/2100, DPA 7.2Mbps
  • RAM 256MB, User 4GB
  • 4-inch, WVGA (800x480), 65K colour, TFT, capacitive
  • 5MP AF/flash camera
  • GPS, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 2.1 + A2DP
  • Accelerator, compass, proximity light
  • DLNA, NFC, FOTA, HD Voice, Dual Mic, FM Radio

Interestingly the press release from ZTE notes that it has 512MB of RAM but we confirmed that this is a 256MB device as seen in our pics below. The phone has the same nice feel as the Tania including a slick chrome finish. The screen is a little washed for our liking but we're a bit spoiled with Nokia ClearBlack, Samsung Super AMOLED+ and HTC's S-LCD.

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Reminder: Only a few days left in Fitness Month

March is just a few days away and that will signal the close of Mobile Nations' Fitness Month. Over the past few weeks all the Mobile Nations sites have focused on the fitness and health uses for your smartphones.  

We've seen inspirational videos from Crackberry Kevin and the iMore staff.  We couldn't let the month pass by without offering our own video on the subject.  Oh and shooting a video from a treadmill is tougher than it looks.  It doesn't take many takes before you get short of breath.

We've covered a wide variety of fitness and health apps for your Windows Phone as well as sharing our fitness experiences over in the WPCentral forums. Three readers have already walked away with gift certificates to the WPCentral Store and in a few days we'll select our grand prize winner and two runners up.

Just remember for your chance to win the grand prize (Xbox 360 and Kinect) or one of the runner up prizes (Nokia Luna BT headset or $50 gift card to the WPCentral Store) all you need to do is comment on one of the two Fitness Month discussions (Week 1 &2 and Week 3&4).

We will announce the winners sometime on Friday, March 2, 2012. 

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Nokia Lumia 610

Call it low-end but don't call it cheap. That's how we feel about the Nokia Lumia 610 which in our opinion is a buttery smooth and elegant little number (see our hands on), despite being a bit neutered to keep costs down.

One area though Nokia is not skimping on is the use of Corning's Gorilla Glass which according to the device specs is on board. Sure, it may not have ClearBlack screen technology (it's a straight TFT instead) but that Gorilla Glass is a good thing to keep some light scratches away as you throw this in your pants or purse. Some other notable specs:

  • Quad band: GSM 1800, 1900, 850, 900; data 1900, 2100, 850, 900
  • HSPA - But no "+" on board so it's limited to 7.2Mbps
  • 2 Microphones
  • No compass
  • Talk time: 10.5 hours
  • 120g/4.2 ounces
  • 1300mAh battery

Not a bad little number and we think Nokia can do well with this phone, especially in those emerging markets. The build quality on this device is better than most mid-range offerings available today, which says something about Nokia and their ability.

Source: Developer Nokia

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Hands on with Nokia Transport and Reading [Video]

Nokia Transport & Reading

Besides all of the new phone goodness today, Nokia also showed off a few new apps heading down the pike for their Windows Phone users. One of those is Nokia Transport, an app dedicated to public transportation including bus and train schedules for more than 500 cities--something us urban folk desperately need. The app nails down your position and shows you the nearest stops and schedules around you, allowing you to save and even pin to your Start screen a route of you choices. That Live Tile can then flip around showing you the next train or bus always keeping you in the loop.

Nokia Reading is an eBook app that also supports audio books. It turns out it runs through Nokia's store where you can browse for new books, including a lot of free ones, save and basically use it as solid eReader. The selection of books looks decent enough but we'll have to see more when it is closer to launch.

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Hands with the White Nokia Lumia 900 [Video]

White Lumia 900

Of all the big news that came out today, one little nugget that slipped by was the announcement of the all-white Lumia 900. "Leaked" accidentally a few weeks ago by Nokia themselves on their Facebook page, the glossy white beast had been expected to launch here at Mobile World Congress and sure enough it has shown up here on the floor.

The phone is what you expect it to be: a big ol' white whale of a phone, similar to the Lumia 800 but obviously more grand. Now the White Lumia 900 will launch internationally in a few weeks to join its Cyan, Black and Magenta siblings. AT&T is currently only offering the Cyan and Black versions but we're told Nokia has given AT&T the choice for the white version, but it is up to them to offer another SKU for the device.

In practical terms that means don't expect a white AT&T Lumia 900 but should the glossy version sell well and gain momentum the option is certainly there for them. Likewise with Magenta which could see a roll out on AT&T with a "refresh" of the phone later in the year.

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WP Central

Carbon version 1.2 is now live on the Marketplace after being submitted twelve days prior. We covered what's new in this update previously, which includes video preview (on the timeline) and a new quote screen gesture (tap on a tweet with two fingers). As well as improvements made to the app (speed, performance, etc.), the team has also introduced a trial mode that wasn't present in v1.1 - this trial has limited functionality but sports no advertising.

What else has been patched in version 1.2? Check out the bug fixes and changes below:

  • Read It Later bug that failed to save links to Read It Later service
  • Timeline context menu bug
  • Camera share bug that did not select pictures from Pictures hub
  • Broken image upload
  • List Timelines on Quickline Bug where it didn’t load older Tweets when tapping on “More”
  • Minor changes & bug fixes with Live Tiles
  • Default Image service changed to Twitpic instead of Twitter(to be reverted back soon)
  • Quickline bug that did not load all of the lists
  • General cache, and storage fixes/enhancements
  • Smoother Timeline scrolling experience and faster image fetching

You can download Carbon (and the trial) from the Marketplace for $1.99.

Via: CarbonWP

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Rogers expands LTE Network

Rogers expands LTE Network

On the heels of Nokia announcing that the Lumia 900 Windows Phone would be headed to Rogers, the Canadian wireless provider announced a bit of news themselves. Rogers launched their LTE Network to St. John's being the first to provide LTE speeds to Newfoundland.

John Boynton, Rogers Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer stated,

"We are proud to be the first carrier to bring our LTE network to St. John's. With Rogers LTE wireless network coverage, customers have access to speeds similar to broadband connections, making it easier for people to use their mobile devices to download apps, stream HD videos and music or play on-line games, with virtually no delays or buffering."

Rogers was the first to launch an LTE Network in Canada last summer in Ottawa followed closely by Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver last fall. LTE expansion doesn't stop with St. Johns. Rogers plans to double its LTE coverage later this year expanding to more than twenty five cities including Atlantic Canada and Halifax.

LTE Network expansion and the Lumia 900. Sounds like good times are in store for Rogers' customers.  You can catch the full presser after the break.

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WP Central

Now that we know the European Lumia 900 is on its way to Europe (and beyond), will you be getting your paws on one? Unlocked Mobiles, a UK retailer specialising in unlocked mobile phones, has published a Lumia 900 product page with the price tag of £445.98. They expect to stock the SIM-free handset and have it available for delivery by May 21st.

The Lumia 900 sports a 4.3" AMOLED display (with ClearBlack technology), 512MB RAM, 1.4Ghz chip, 8MP camera (with FF), and 16GB storage. The handset will -of course- support the usual GSM Quad band 850/900/1800/1900 3G & HSDPA.

Source: Unlocked Mobiles

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Windows Phone Updates

Paul Thurrott has revisited his Windows Phone review, specifically the part that covers the update process. Now we're all more than aware of how awful previous Windows Phone updates have been (just take a look at NoDo) for some consumers, depending on what carrier their with, but it seems as though this isn't set to change anytime soon. Carriers will be able to block updates as they see fit (unsure as for the motive to do so) and leave users high and dry without the latest version.

Thurrott previously explained that carriers could "veto" an update, which would then be automatically offered to consumers the next time a software update is released. It seems that Joe Belfiore (who provided Thurrott with said details) was incorrect, due to the fact that carriers appear to have the ability to block updates galore. As an example: both 7740 and 8107 still haven't been delivered to some consumers.

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23 New Windows Phone 7 markets plus emulator update

World expansion

Joe Belfiore has just announced via the Windows Phone Developer Blog that the Windows Phone Marketplace is being enabled in 23 new regions. This won't be effective immediately, but in the coming months the Marketplace will be available to publishers and consumers in the following regions:

Bahrain
Bulgaria
China
Costa Rica
Croatia
Estonia
Iceland
Iraq
Israel
Kazakhstan
Latvia
Lithuania
Qatar
Romania
Saudi Arabia
Slovakia
Slovenia
Thailand
Turkey
UAE
Ukraine
Venezuela
Vietnam

This is part of a bigger move by Microsoft to get Windows Phone into "high growth" markets, and is accompanied by the official announcement of the low-cost Nokia Lumia 610 device.

He also goes on to say how much this actually effects publishers:

In terms of actual potential app customers, the addition of new price points and customers in China and the other new markets represents a near 60% increase in the total addressable market for Windows Phone. I told you it was a big step!

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Quick tour of Skype beta for Windows Phone [Video]

Skype!

As you all know by now, the Skype beta for Windows Phone is now out in the Marketplace. We just gave Rafael a call and was happily shocked at how good it sounded.

The app is pretty simple with your contacts and history and barely any user settings. You can make voice calls, chat or even video calls as expected and all calls are free over WiFi. In addition you can use the dialpad to call out any numbers should you have Skype out minutes.

Though long in the waiting, it looks to be a solid release even if it still has the "beta" label. Pick up Skype here in the Marketplace for free.

QR: Skype

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ZTE Orbit to be unveiled at MWC

WP Central

So we're already had the predicted Lumia 610 and European 900 announced at MWC, but what about handsets from other manufacturers? We've had the Microsoft team work hard lowering the requirements for smartphones to run the OS, but still provide a butter smooth experience, and ZTE look set to announce a budget Windows Phone shortly - the ZTE Orbit.

The handset is set to sport similar specifications to the Lumia 610 by Nokia, and will also be launching in Q2 this year. We'll be keeping all eyes and ears prepped for anything surrounding the Orbit, while you can check out our latest MWC 2012 coverage.

Source: Windows Phone Team Blog, thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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Pure View

We've played with the Lumia 610 and now it's time for Symbian. But only because the Pure View 808 sports a whopping 41MP camera sensor allowing unprecedented photo taking (not to mention killer audio quality). Allowing you to save in 5, 8 or 38MP photos, it's really quite a technological feat that brought cheers from the crowd when announced.

No doubt, the phone is a bit chunky but what do you expect? To be honest, it's not that bad and we actually like the feel of it in our hands (the thin 2/3 of the body helps in holding it).

Pure View

While this isn't a Windows Phone, you can bet Nokia and Microsoft are itching to get this on a Lumia, something we'll be waiting for this fall.

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Hands on with the Nokia Lumia 610 [Video]

Nokia Lumia 610

We just got our grubby, tired hands on the Lumia 610. Truth be told, the 610 is a gorgeous phone that feels great in the hand. With "only" a 1GHz 800 MHz CPU, 256MB of RAM and 8GB of storage, the "low end" device sure retains that Nokia quality.

The phone is expected in Q2 for emerging and developing markets.

Nokia Lumia 610

Nokia Lumia 610

Nokia Lumia 610

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Introducing the Nokia Lumia 610 Windows Phone

It's official now. Nokia has introduced the company's fourth Lumia Windows Phone, the Lumia 610. The Lumia 610 will be Nokia's most affordable Windows Phone targeted to our younger audience.

The 610 will sport a 3.7" LCD display, 256mb RAM, 8GB of storage, and a 5mp rear camera. It will be available in white, cyan, magenta, and black. The Lumia 610 measures 119 x 62 x 12mm and weighs in at 131.5 grams.  It is also slated to run Windows Phone Mango.  Expect the Lumia 610 to hit markets sometime during the second quarter of 2012 at a pricing point of 189 Euros.

Oh..Nokia already has the Lumia 610's product page up and you can find it here at Nokia Europe.

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WP Central

Nokia just blew our minds with the Pure View announcement. A Symbian powered device, the 808 features an astonishing 41MP sensor allowing photos to be taken in 5MP, 8MP and 38MP variants.

WP Central

Photos can also be saved in special formats to allow easy sharing over social networks, email, etc. which will be important due to their potential size. The 808 is expected in May for an estimated 450 Euros.

WP Central

Of course the big news is Nokia obviously plans to eventually bring this kind of tech our way to Windows Phone. But the OS will need to support that and we bet it won't happen till Apollo this Fall. But you can bet that will be a killer Windows Phone. Kudos to Nokia for the technological leap here.

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Nokia Lumia 900 to go global

Nokia Lumia 900 goes global

While the Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone will launch in a few weeks in the U.S. on AT&T, shortly thereafter the 900 will hit global markets.  The International Lumia will not bear the "910" designation that was rumored earlier.  It will remain the Lumia 900 but an international model supporting dhcpa instead of the hspa+/LTE bands the AT&T version will handle.

The Lumia 900 will first hit Rogers of Canada in April and spread globally from there. Look for the Lumia 900 to hit European markets sometime in the second quarter.  While there wasn't a pricing point mentioned for the Rogers's release of the Lumia 900, look for the European release to run about 480 Euros.

It would appear that Nokia is still hitting on all cylinders with its partnership with Microsoft and Windows Phones. With the global release of the Lumia 900 and the pending release of the Lumia 610, Nokia will offer a full range of Windows Phones globally. Not too shabby.

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Skype Windows Phone app hits Beta!

Skype Beta for Windows Phone

We've heard rumors about a Windows Phone Skype app and now a Beta version of the Skype App has hit the Windows Phone Marketplace. The app will allow you to:

  • Make and receive voice/video calls and instant messages to anyone else using Skype, whether on a Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Mac, PC or television.
  • Use your Skype account for free at home, at work, or on-the-go (WiFi connection or mobile data plan required).

There is a disclaimer pointing out that this is a pre-release product and you may come across occasional bugs and issues. You can find the Skype Windows Phone here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

QR: Skype

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