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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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AT&T on time with Mango?

Yes, you read that title correctly.

There are those who remain skeptical about AT&T and the upcoming update that looms over the community on Windows Phone. Hopefully the above conversation could possibly shed light on lessons being learned from NoDo problems - here's one of our experiences with updating.

While the representative couldn't provide our reader with confirmation if Mango would be rolled out by the end of September, he was told that it could be within the next week.  We'll cross our toes and fingers that the rep is correct.

Thanks Joe for the image and tip!

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HTC Titan available already?

Here's a tip that might spark some interest in the HTC Titan fans in the house. MyTrendyPhone.com, a European electronics website, has the HTC Titan (Black) listed for 646.10 Euros (about $870 US).

While the price tag will make you pause, what makes you pause even further is that the website is showing the Titan in stock and ready to ship. As I'm writing this post, if I place my order within the next 4 hours and 40 some odd minutes, the Titan will be dispatched today.

With the HTC Titan, everything we have heard pointed to a release in early October. Is it too far of a stretch to believe that someone already has the Titan in stock now? If you happen to take the plunge and add the Titan to your cart, let us know how it goes.

Thanks goes out to elversson for the tip!

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Nokia names Henry Tirri as new CTO

Today Nokia announced that Henry Tirri will be their new CTO, effective immediately.  Tirri will work out of Sunnyvale, CA and will report directly to CEO Stephen Elop, setting the Finnish company's technical roadmap.  Speaking of the decision, Elop said of the once head of the Nokia Research Center: "During his time at Nokia, Henry has provided Nokia technical leadership and challenged us to explore forward-looking technologies.  In his new role, Henry will have the opportunity to make a greater impact and set the course for Nokia and our role in the mobile industry."

Tirri goes on to replace Richard Green, who you may remember took a leave of absence back in June for "personal reasons."  It was widely thought that Green's leave was actually prompted by his strong disagreement with Nokia's decision to scrap Symbian in favor of Windows Phone.  According to Nokia, Green is departing to go to the United States full-time to "pursue new opportunities."

Source: Business & Leadership; Via: PocketNow

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A new start up called Buddy launched today with two ex-Microsoft employees at the helm. Why is this of interest to you? Because this is a cross-platform cloud service for mobile app developers, with push notification and live tile support for Windows Phone developers in a PaaS (Platform as a Service) offering.

The service starts at a cost of $4.95, which includes 100MB worth of hosting space with 10,000 API transactions. For more information about the service and what's on offer for your apps, head on over to the Buddy website and read up on the press release (link to website and press release found after the break). 

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Trine's Hangman quietly gets updated

The popular Windows Phone word game Trine's Hangman was recently updated to version 1.12.0. The update fixes a few bugs, improves performance and merges the high score page and sharing page to give the game more of a metro feel.

An invalid word was removed and the game versions recieved a name change. The free, lite version is now "Trine's Hangman" and the full, paid version is now "Trine's Hangman Pro". The developer felt that since the lite version, while ad supported, is no longer limited in functionality the name change was in order.

A Mango update is also in the works that will bring the fast resume feature into play, live tiles with information about your current position in the game's leader board, one-on-one multiplayer mode, and a deep-link tile that will go straight to the game screen.

If you haven't tried Trine's Hangman yet and are looking for a very good word game for your Windows Phone, it is definitely worth a try. You can find Trine's Hangman here (opens Zune) and Trine's Hangman Pro (running $1.99) here at the Marketplace.

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Orange France ready to roll out Mango

While a leaked Orange memo made the 15th of September "Mango Day", we later realised that this had been pushed back a few more weeks. Here we are at the end of September and the France-based carrier has announced that testing of the update has completed and they will be rolling out Mango in a week or two.

Orange now joins SFR who are also awaiting the green light to roll out the update.

Source: @pressorange, via: MonWindowsPhone

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Dell Venue Pro and the Mango update

Dell has finally released some information about the upcoming Windows Phone Mango update and their Venue Pro. In a nut shell all unlocked handsets (in supported countries) will be updated when the roll-out begins and those with T-Mobile and Cincinnati Bell SIM-locked units will also be supported.

There's no word on AT&T SIM-locked while plans are still being finalised, hopefully more details will be released sooner rather than later. Keep tight everyone.

Source: Dell, via: @DellUK

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AdDuplex developer interview series [Developers]

Much like our own developer interviews, AdDuplex have begun their own series but will focus mainly on monetisation and marketing. Earning revenue on Windows Phone has always been head of many debates and forms the most used excuse by developers on competing platforms. To kick-start the series of interviews, they have been joined by René Schulte of Pictures Lab and Helium Voice.

Here's a cheeky snippet of the interview:

"Yes, for some apps. In particular long running or often executed apps (like games) benefit from the ad supported model, esp. if an impression based ad network is used, where you get paid out for every minute (?) of impression.

I think other apps which aren't used that often work better with the usual trial / paid model. Pictures Lab is an example for this. BTW, a good trial mode is very important. Many users don't even consider to download an app if it hasn't a trial mode."

We recommend developers who are starting out to keep an eye out for future consultations. Be sure to read up on advice and experience that established developers provide in their answers.

Source: AdDuplex

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O2 Germany ready to roll out Mango too

As with many carriers jumping on the "I'm ready!" train, O2 DE has said on the interwebs that they are indeed ready to push the Mango update to customers. They're now awaiting Microsoft's green light. While Deutsche Telekom is able to provide an actual handset roadmap and status per manufacturer, O2 has unfortunately not provided any further detail as to when.

Source: @o2de, via: WP7App.de

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Expect Mango in a few days says LG-Netherlands

LG has released some exciting information on Twitter to a fellow user who queried as to when Windows Phone users in the Netherlands can expect to see the Mango update. The tweet below states that LG is looking to see Mango rolled out in the country in the next few days.

"Beste, Mango voor Windows phone 7 verwachten we binnen enkele dagen, Groet"

If you'd rather get a new device for Mango, remember that the massive screen-featuring HTC Titan is set to be available in the Netherlands by early October.

Source: @LG_WEBCARE_NL, thanks Rick for the heads up!

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There has been some confusion surrounding a tweet posted by one of the social moderators who run the @ThreeUK Twitter account. The tweet in question (shown in the above shot) is a support answer to another Twitter user and should not be mistaken for Three UK not supporting Windows Phone as there is a massive typo at play here. See the below follow up tweet:

"That was a typo - There has NOT been any decision made about ranging windows 7 phones."

Unfortunately, Three UK still haven't got any Mango devices lined up for launch on the network - a real bummer for myself if this holds true since my contract is soon to run out and I wouldn't mind a free Mango handset upgrade (who wouldn't?). We'll keep an eye out on the coming soon section of the Three website in hope that they throw up a surprise to go next to the wide range of Blackberry and Android handsets.

As far as we're aware Three will be shipping the Mango update and they do support the platform as of now, just no news on any upcoming hardware. For the shorter version of this article: move along, nothing to see here.

Source: @ThreeUK, thanks Ro for the tip!

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Earlier this week, we reported on Doodle Jump (see review) getting an v1.1 update for Xbox LIVE on Windows Phone. Surprisingly, the update was non-Mango specific and instead seemed to be for long awaited bug fixes/enhancements (we're working on the changelog, sit tight--rumor has it the busted UFO achievement is now obtainable).

Now it looks like the devs had a two-pronged approach: bug fixes/enhancements for everyone now and a separate Mango-only update for the rest. Seems like a smart way from dividing your audience. So far the only thing we noticed is fast-app switching i.e. multi-tasking, but we'll see what else we can find. You can download v1.2 now in the Marketplace right here. Thanks, Julian W., for the heads up!

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Xbox Live: Zombies!!! Mango update unleashed

Babaroga’s Zombies!!! (review) is a very cool survival horror-themed board game for Xbox Live.  The only thing I didn’t like about it was a nasty Broken Achievement that almost nobody could get. I’ve got good news and bad news then for my fellow Zombies!!! owners. The good news: an update that fixes the ‘Was it Worth it?’ Achievement is finally available. The bad news? It’s a Mango-only update.

Here are the full release notes for the first Zombies!!! Mango update:

  • Added Fast-App-Switching support
  • Fixed bugs that have been reported since the initial release
  • Reduced difficulty of “some” achievements :-)

While some Xbox Live titles have seen increasd frame rates with their Mango updates, the graphics in Zombies!!! remain the same. It looked great to begin with. More importantly, Babaroga listened to their fans and reduced the frustration of that infamous Achievement.

When WPCentral interviewed Babaroga over the summer, they promised asynchronous (turn-based, over the internet) multiplayer and paid downloadable content in a Mango update. Those features are still coming to Zombies!!!, but they’re not ready just yet. We’ll keep you posted on the next update’s progress.

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For those of you on Deutsche Telekom, some of you will be pleased to know that they will start their Mango update process--for HTC phones--beginning next week. Samsung users, however, will have to wait a bit longer--presumably their software is still undergoing testing. From their Twitter account (Bing translated):

"Telekom customers receive 7.5 update for Windows phone from next week. At first HTC, later Samsung."

So a mix of good/news bad news, but at least you have a heads up from your telekom. So you and Telstra users: sit tight.

Source: @DeutscheTelekom

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Unofficial Lync app for Windows Phone on the way

While we're still waiting on Lync to arrive with Mango, hopefully within the next two weeks, we've also found out that Damaka, a mobile unified communications company in Texas, is planning to bring Xync to the platform. Xync is their answer for mobile Lync across a number of platforms including Android, iOS and Symbian.

Matt Landis recently interviewed Ramesh Chaturvedi from Damaka and received the following answer to one of the questions:

Definitely Windows Phone will be targeted. Remember our history with Windows Mobile? We made video on WM6.1 back in 2006 and Windows is important to us. We definitely will target Windows Phone. Up until now the lack of Windows Phone camera API has been the hold up. The camera API should be available to us this month and then we will start work.

Interesting stuff, it will be great to see what Microsoft brings with its offering. We did see a demo at TechEd 2011 in New Zealand of Lync for Windows Phone by Microsoft and found out they were looking to bring the client to other platforms too. Check out the full interview over at Matt's blog (link below).

Source: Matt Landis, via: WPSauce

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Probably one of the more understated performance improvements in Mango is the ability for devs to create games past the 30FPS mark, hitting 60FPS instead. And while it's far from revolutionary in the mobile space, the amount of realism and smoothness the change offers is quite impressive.

So far we've seen numerous Xbox LIVE games get this update, which also brings fast-app resume but we haven't seen too much in the way of indie games. Today, Pinkball League: The Juggler (see review), pretty much the only pinball game on Windows Phone, hit v1.4 which brings this faster refresh rate to the table. The Juggler has always been exceptionally smooth on gameplay, often looking unusual compared other games. Now with 30FPS+ increase, the gameplay is even better (not to mention the overhaul it received in v1.3). Grab v1.4 here in the Marketplace for a trial.

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While we were just gazing at that HTC commercial for the TITAN in their "Reveal" series, we came across another one, but now for the Radar. In fact, this is the same on played during the London presentation--but now all hi-def like. Even cooler? It's posted by the director himself, Roman Ruetten via 1stAveMachine studio.

We're not sure why but we like this version even more--something about it seems quite epic. And now that we know it's going to T-Mobile with 4G on board, it certainly seems to fit the part. Also the music reminds us of Kill Bill.

Watch the "making of" here, for you video nerds.

Source: Vimeo; Thanks, Danny, for the tip!

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Confirmed: HTC Radar 4G coming to T-Mobile!

Look at that, just a few hours after we posted about the Radar 4G existing and then speculating that it was destined for T-Mobile, pics of that device come forward. And we were right.

There's not too much else to know: it's a 3.8" screen device with a metal unibody design, 5MP rear camera and a 1.3MP front-facing one for video. While the Euro version is just 3G, those in the U.S. will be getting 4G as seen in the shot above. No word on release date or pricing, but obviously this thing is close--TmoNews is hearing "October/early November". This is the only confirmed Mango device for T-Mobile so far, but perhaps there is room for a Titan as well?

See more pics at TmoNews.

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Not that we thought Microsoft was lying, nor doubted the earlier report that Telstra had already approved the Mango update, but it's still nice to see a carrier with this much transparency. Yes, for our friends down under, your beloved Telstra will begin rolling out Mango updates within the next two weeks.

Not much else to say on the matter, we suppose, just that Mango is afoot. That and it looks like Microsoft is attempting a near-simultaneous global roll out. Impressive if it happens.

Source: @Telsta_news; Thanks, Damien D., for the tip!

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HTC working on a Beats Windows Phone

The HTC and Beats Audio partnership has already produced the HTC Sensation XE, an android phone with Beats Audio. We are now learning that a Beats Audio Windows Phone is in the works.

To quickly get a Beats Audio phone on the market HTC took the HTC Sensation, added Beats Audio software, a high-end set of headphones (complete with the Beats trademark red cord), added a few cosmetic changes and added the XE suffix.

Could HTC do something similar with the HTC Radar or Titan? Or are we in store for a few more Windows Phones from HTC later this year?

source: slashgear

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Back in June when "Mango" was first making its rounds, one of the first things we noted with regret was the inability to sideload pretty much all homebrew apps created up to that point. What would happen is you would try to load the app and be greated with "Error 0×81030120". Reason? It's technical but "Mango won’t officially support the deployment of custom applications with the ID_CAP_INTEROPSERVICES capability flag".

Bummer.

Even more of a bummer for the proposed ChevronWP7 Labs, which would be limited to sideloading only apps that don't modify the registry--that is, apps that can't customize the OS at any level.

The good news though, as reported by ChevronWP7 member Rafael Rivera, is there is a way around this. XDA member“Heathcliff74” discovered that if your MaxUnsignedApp value is 300 or higher, you can remove the limitation and sideload the app. This gives devs an easy workaround for re-enabling Homebrew apps (it's been speculated that this "trick" was for MS employees and OEM partners).

Rivera goes on to state "The suitable pairing for this hack is, of course, ChevronWP7 Labs". That's of course, some great news for all of us.

Source: XDA; via Within Windows

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