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In case WhatsApp and Kik aren't enough, there's also PingMe headed our way to Windows Phone. Though no ETA is given, on the PingMe page, wihich prominently shows the iPhone, Android and Blackberry, we get a nice little "coming soon" for Windows Phone. Sure, we're not the first, but it's actually kind of nice to see Windows Phone listed on new services, it's almost if companies are finally taking note of the platform, ya know?

Anyways, here are some of the features of PingMe:

  • Free
  • Cross platform
  • Real-time message receipts
  • Group chat
  • News feed (from friends)
  • Geo-location
  • Push notifications

We'll keep an eye out for any news with this one, but it should be a nice addition to our IM offerings. Thanks, Amir, for the heads up!

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AT&T bound Samsung Focus S clears FCC

Although there isn't too much information about the phone (nor too much we don't already know about it), the FCC just gave the Samsung Focus S aka SGH-i937 a big thumbs up for passing its tests.

What does this mean? Well, just that once AT&T clears it for their network, have enough in stock and we're praying, actually have an advertising campaign, they can actually sell the darn thing. AT&T says this will be out "in the fall" and thanks to Belfiore, we all know when that actually starts--so a few weeks to save your pennies?

Source: FCC, via Engadget; Thanks, John M., for the tip!

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California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington have all jumped on the Department of Justice's bandwagon to prevent the acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T. Echoing the concerns expressed in the DOJ's lawsuit about the deal killing compettion, New York Attorney General, Eric T. Schneidermen explained in a statement how his state would be affected: "This proposed merger would stifle competition in markets that are crucial to New York's consumers and businesses, while reducing access to low-cost options and the newest broadband-based technologies."

AT&T responded to the news of the new plaintiffs in a statement of their own:

It is not unusual for state attorneys general to participate in DOJ merger review proceedings or court filings. At the same time, we appreciate that 11 state attorneys general and hundreds of other local, state and federal officials are publicly supportive of our merger. We will continue to seek an expedited hearing on the DOJ’s complaint. On a parallel path, we have been and remain interested in a solution that addresses the DOJ’s issues with the T-Mobile merger.

We remain confident that we’ll reach a successful conclusion and look forward to delivering the merger benefits of additional wireless network capacity to improve customer service, expanded LTE deployment to 55 million more Americans, $8 billion in additional investment, and a commitment to bring 5,000 wireless call center jobs back to the United States.

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The rash of Xbox Live game updates continues, with Windows Phone-exclusive strategy title Beards & Beaks (review) receiving a nice little update today. It’s good to see the game being supported on top of its post-release DLC.

Beards & Beaks version 1.1 release notes:

  • We’re listening to our users- the biggest issue reported is people not understanding how to swipe the map. The fix: we added a finger icon, indicating [where to] swipe [in order to scroll the map]
  • Added support to always show tutorials when restarting
  • Minor bug fixes associated with edge cases
  • Preparation for Mango title update

If you enjoy the game’s look inside the battle between gnomes and crows, be sure to read our interview with Adam Isgreen of Microsoft Game Studios.

Speaking of Mango updates, Parachute Panic (review) from FDG Entertainment has now been properly Mango-fied. The recent update (which is only visible to Mango users) adds fast resuming support and increases the frame rate to 60 FPS. That should ease the doomed parachutists’ lives a bit.

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Windows Phone FaceBook page changed for Mango

Windows Phone has updated their FaceBook page for the arrival of Mango, inviting folks to "Meet 7.5."  The revamped page features a video tour of Mango by Beth Goza, Senior Manager of Windows Phone Marketing.  The tour captures key concepts of WP7, such as People, Communications, Apps, and Internet.  It goes over the basics of the Start screen, Live Tiles, social network integration, gaming, and the newly-empowered Bing.  Nothing Earth-shattering here, but it's a nice introduction for those unfamiliar with Windows Phone and the upcoming Mango enhancements. 

Check it out.

Source: @WindowsPhone

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Garmin Streetpilot goes Mango

Garmin Streetpilot (here's our review) was updated today and now is Mango-ized. While some of the changes are obvious, others are not.

The pre-Mango version is version 7.2 with the Mango version being 7.3. There is a decent amount of design changes put into place but the only noticeable feature change is the addition of a Contacts Tile on the "Where to?" page that opens up your Windows Phone contact list.

Streetpilot does have a little more zip to it and the fast-resume feature of Mango. The settings are identical but also experienced a slight make-over. Should we discover more changes, we'll update the post. And should you run across any, feel free to share in the comments section.

There is a free trial version of Streetpilot available with the full version running $34.99. You can find Garmin's Streetpilot here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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Mixtapes - App Spotlight

Keeping with the music theme of the day, Mixtapes is a free music app for your Windows Phone that is powered by 8tracks. We mentioned the official 8tracks Windows Phone app earlier (Mango app) and just to cover all the bases, 8tracks is a music site where members can up upload their own music mixes to share with others.

Mixtapes is a Windows Phone 7 app that taps into the 8tracks music mix collection much in the same way as 8tracks does. You can log into your 8tracks account from Mixtapes and the app's layout highlights pages for new mixes, hot mixes, and popular mixes.

You have the ability to filter mixes by tags but there is no genre or artist search or the ability to play music in the background as you'll find on the 8tracks app. You still have the wide range of music that 8tracks offers just in a more basic, scaled down package.

If you're a music fan, Mixtapes is worth looking into. It's a free, ad supported app and you can find Mixtapes here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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Supermusic jumping on the Mango train

It seems as if it was yesterday when Supermusic and Free Music Downloader hit the Windows Phone Marketplace. We have now been told by the developer that a Mango update for Supermusic has been submitted to Microsoft for certification and should be available in the coming days.

The music download app allows you to download music files from a wide variety of free music sites. You can create playlists from the downloaded tunes and the Mango update adds background music play and downloads into the mix.

The list of apps being updated continues to grow and based on Joe Belifiore's earlier tweet, Fall can't get here quick enough. There is a free trial available for Supermusic and the full version will run you $1.29. You can download it here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Free Music Downloader, the free ad-supported version of Supermusic, is expected to be updated to Mango sometime next week. You can find it here at the Marketplace.

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Today President Barack Obama signed a bill into law that is being touted as the biggest reform to patent law since 1952.  The America Invents Act changes the way the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office hands out patents from a convoluted, drawn-out process of researching who the inventor of a technology was to a first-to-file approach.  This will shift the burden from the PTO to the inventors, greatly reducing the time it takes to get an idea patented.  The America Invents Act also augments the process of challenging patents that have already been granted, and allows the PTO to patent-related fees.   Speaking of the importance of the bill to both innovation and the floundering economy, Obama had this to say:

“Somewhere in that stack of applications could be the next technological breakthrough, the next miracle drug.  We should be making it easier and faster to turn new ideas into jobs.”

Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of intellectual property and licensing, said in a blog post that the AIA:“will ensure that innovators in our troubled economy can benefit from a predictable and rational patent system, with new tools to eliminate patents that should not have issued and to speed the processing of patents that should be issued."  He went on to say that "a fair, balanced and effective patent system is indispensable to promoting R&D investment, job creation, and economic growth.”

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Our favorite weather app Weather Live (previous coverage), is about to hit the big v3.0 today. This new version is for the Mango peeps out there, bringing some excellent new functionality to the Metro themed weather program. New features include:

  • Multiple locations with secondary tiles (in paid version).
  • Display location, next forecast (today or tomorrow) and alerts in the back tiles.
  • Background Agent to automatically update locations when you are on the go (in paid version).

As you can see in the video hands on above, the new tiles add some excellent options to the mix and with fast-app resuming and improved Mango scrolling, the app is better than ever. Expect version 3.0 to appear today or tomorrow. You can pick up Weather Live here in the Marketplace (both paid and unlimited trial).

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Sat Rad Player gets Mango-ized

Sat Rad Player is one of the latest apps to become Mango-ready in its new version 3.0.  Besides a patch that fixes a bug where the app pauses when the phone first locks, the update features some exciting new functionality.  Firstly, you can now use Bluetooth devices to to listen to your favorite satellite radio stations on your phone.  The other big addition to Sat Rad Player is the ability to run it in the background on Mango devices.  That way, you can rock out with your Cocktail Flow out.

Special instructions given for running the app in the background are provided by the developers:

Press the volume control on the phone to bring up the mini-player (aka UVC) that allows you to stop/start playing, and change channels. The mini-player can be accessed from anywhere on the phone through the volume controls (even if the phone is locked). TO ENABLE THIS FEATURE make sure the 'plays under lock screen' option is checked off in the settings menu.

There is a fully functional, ad-supported trial version, as well as a paid version.

The Sat Rad Team also reminds you that your current US-based Sirius/XM subscription must include the internet play option for the app to work. Grab it here. (Thanks for the tip, Frank!)

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In Istanbul, Turkey at Qualcomm Inovation 2011, Qualcomm released information about upcoming Snapdragon architecture Krait , which will feature full support for Windows 8. Leading the way in the smartphone market (and dominating Windows Phone 7), Cristiano Amon, vice president of product development at QCT (Qualcomm CMDA TECHNOLGIES), said the following about Windows Phone 8:

"When we go to the Windows Phone 8, we can with the fact that we again work with them [Microsoft] and our work position speed look forward to probably be the first to market with a Windows Phone 8 platform."

While we're aware that Microsoft wishes to bring their ecosystem closer together, this is promising news that hardware manufacturers and chip brains are working harder at bringing the next-gen tech to Windows Phone.

Source: NordicHardware

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For those looking for a sweet deal, you may want to to take a look at Amazon Wireless. They're running their special sale again where upon purchase of certain phones, you can get a $50 Gift Card, good towards accessories or anything else.

Seeing as the Verizon HTC Trophy (review) is going for $0.01 (2 year new contract), if you throw in this gift card, you're actually making $50 which ain't half bad. Don't forget, you can also unofficially throw on the final version of Mango on this phone right now, making this a killer combo. Head here to Amazon Wireless for more info.

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Although Microsoft has said the 15th was not "Mango day" (whatever that was suppose to mean), they continue to publish updates to their Xbox LIVE catalog. Yesterday was Rocket Riot and today we have Rise of Glory (review), the World War I era bi-plane fighter game. Ironically, this was the very game Microsoft used to demonstrate Mango muti-tasking back in February at Mobile World Congress, so it's only fitting we see it come out ahead of the pack.

The new version of course supports fast resume, meaning if you accidentally or purposefully hit the Windows key mid game, going back in you'll be greeted with a pause screen, where you can Continue, Calibrate, Extit to Menu or Exit Game. On top of that, you now get the 60 FPS boost and on this game...totally rocks. Maybe it's just because we haven't played it in awhile, but the propeller movement is exceptionally detailed.

Anyways, it's nice to see Microsoft continue to update their catalog. Our own Paul Acevedo has reached out to the devs of Rise of Glory to see if there are any other fixes or new features and we will update this post if we hear back. Grab the update here.

Thanks, Ken and @BinaerJongleur, for the heads up!

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Joe Belfiore on the start of Fall

September 15th has come and gone with no noticeable movement on a Mango release. Last night, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore tweeted confirmation that it was just another rumor and they've (Microsoft) been saying "Fall". Even though there were several indicators pointing towards the 15th that something was suppose to happen, if it did, it wasn't publicly witnessed.

Belfiore has since tweeted a link to a website (Apples 4 the teacher) that shows when Fall starts (September 23rd). Take it for what it's worth. It could mean a release date, it could mean the release won't happen before the 23rd, or it could be Belfiore driving us all nuts.

The only thing we know for certain is that Mango is really nice, it exists and it will get to everyone eventually. We still are seeing indicators that make us believe Mango's release (in some shape form or fashion) is close and if we have to wait until the 23rd or there after, that's not too long of a wait.

In the meantime, we'll keep an eye out for more bread crumbs from Joe, Brandon and all the other sources and tips we run across and pass it on to you guys to digest. September 23rd is seven days away and we'll know soon enough if it has any meaning beyond the calendar beginning of Fall and a reminder of all those leaves we'll have to rake up in the coming weeks.

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Belfiore crushes dreams: 9/15 isn't Mango day

Update: See our follow up to this story with some new information.

Microsoft's Joe Belfiore just chimed in on Twitter noting that today isn't Mango day.  Still, we can't help but think of all the odd coincidences today--official Foursquare app, Flixster, Rocket Riot, Taiwan getting an update, Microsoft calling for devs to update their asap, the last day of BUILD '11 in California and more that something wasn't suppose to happen around this time.

However, Joe knows what Joe knows so we have to take him at his word. So our chances for a Mango release or announcement today are not good. But maybe...

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Microsoft are kicking off a good number of marketing campaigns. One being the Me video series following Windows Phone users, which we saw fallowing Eagle Rock Yacht Club, a non-profit dodge ball league and community. We've now just seen published on the Windows Phone blog a new written series that follows individuals and how Windows Phone affects their life.

Kali Jones, hair stylist, answered some questions with in-depth explanations covering how Windows Phone has changed her life, both on a personal and professional note. One of the highlights about the platform that attracted Kali to purchase her HTC HD7 was the simplicity of the Metro UI. Here's a quick snippet of the article:

For one thing, I’m not going to miss a contact, whether they choose to email, call or text me. My clients will book their appointments through texting, and then I remind them about their appointments with a text. For the Las Vegas clients, one week before I go down there I blast out texts. I think they like that, because people can’t pick up the phone at work, or maybe they’re a cocktail waitress and they can text me back at 1 or 2 a.m. and it’s fine—I don’t sleep next to my phone. And it’s easy to track what happens to the emails and texts, whether they went through or got a reply. 

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Some good news if you are in Germany and are on O2 and or Telekom. Actually, O2 seems to be getting the better deal.

In a tweet asked by Chris (@Fizi_zubi) to the carrier, O2 responded with (translated) "Mango is planned for mid September, so it won't be too long. Specific dates are not yet known.". Of course, mid-September is what we've been hearing about for awhile now, so it's a little unclear if they meant generally or specifically for O2--then again, O2 UK seems like they're just about ready to release Mango. But it's at least on their radar (and hey, they even know what it is!).

Next up is Telekom, which also knows about Mango. They're suggesting mid-October, which is not nearly as nice as O2's statement. However, it's a bit unclear if O2 and Telekom are talking about software updates to existing phones or new hardware.

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Ballmer disappointed, but optimistic about WP7

We all know that Windows Phone has hit some stumbling blocks in its first year of release, so it's no surprise that Microsoft would be disappointed with how it's gone so far.  Still, when Steve Ballmer says it, it's a little unnerving.  “We haven’t sold quite as many as I would have liked in the first year,” he stated at yesterday's financial analyst meeting.

The good news is that he followed up with some words of optimism:

“I’m not saying I love where we are but I am very optimistic on where we can be,” Ballmer said. “We’ve just got to kick this thing to the next level.”

And it wasn't just canned words trying to raise spirits, but words with reasoning behind them.  While acknowledging the lackluster sales of WP7, he also noted that Microsoft had created “a very strong third ecosystem” behind Android and Apple.  He also noted that the partnership with Nokia would be a boost to the brand because they are a "dedicated hardware partner that is all-in on Windows Phones," and thus will help make the push, unlike other manufacturers who have the hands in multiple operating systems.  Nokia is set to deliver their first Windows handsets as early as Q4 of this year, but certainly in Q1 of 2012.

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BBC Radio Player app chimes onto the Marketplace

Good news UK users (and for anyone else who can gain access)! Igneous Software has released a BBC Radio app that features 6 Music, 5 Live, Radio 1 Extra, Asian Network, World Service, BBC Ulster, BBC Wales and BBC Scotland as well as the main stations. Highlighted features include: 

  • Choose from all BBC Radio stations
  • Now and next programme guide
  • Full integration with music + video hub
  • Playback continues under lock screen
  • Ability to block GSM-based streaming
  • Buffering confirmed with audible “pips”
  • Comprehensive programme caching
  • Dynamic server management

BBC Radio Player is a well polished app and the streaming over both WiFi and 3G is smooth and reliable. You can download the app from the Marketplace for £0.99 ($1.29) - four standalone apps are available for BBC Radio 1, 2, 3 and 4 but these stations are included in BB Radio Player itself.

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BandWidth gets major overhaul with v3.0 [Mango]

We covered BandWidth back in January when it was v2.0. Written by XDA member microhaxo, the free app is a great little utility--sharp, to the point and it does its job well of nailing your upload and download speeds via 3G or WiFi. Allowing you to pick the server, file transfer size and more, the app has always been a staple in our tool belt for phone testing.

Version 3.0 is completely re-written and now Mango enabled, making it even more a must-have in our book:

  • Automatic server selection based on location (over 600 severs world wide).
  • Options to choose which file size you want for the server. (changes upload file size too!)
  • Option to pick how far out distance wise you want to load servers from (default 400 miles).
  • Ability to share your results on Twitter and Facebook! (text output at this point).
  • Option to turn off gps if not wanted (loads original static list)

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O2 working on final tests for Mango

On the opposite side of the world from Telstra and Vodafone AU, we have O2 in the UK. The mobile operator has recently announced that they've entered into the final testing phase and that Windows Phone Mango will be released "very soon". Two days have since past so O2 could well be waiting for the green light too.

Source: @O2, thanks F for the tip!

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Microsoft shows off Tango Video Calling

We've already seen one demo of Tango, the video calling feature on certain Windows Phone Mango devices. Now Microsoft has decided to showcase the feature in a short video.

Aaron Woodman, Director of the Windows Phone group, demos Tango and assures everyone that Microsoft is working hard to get Mango to the consumers. He's using the HTC Titan that sports a 4/7"screen. While Tango looks interesting, so does the Titan.  Is it me or does the Titan almost look too small to have a such a large screen?

source: windowsteamblog  Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

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TouchDevelop updated to v2.2

TouchDevelop (previously known as TouchStudio when released) is a script generation app that allows users to create and run scripts that perform a wide variety of functions. The app has just been updated to version 2.2 and brings the following to the table:

  • Tutorial mode that guides you while you create your very first script
  • Code editor improvements: Swipe horizontally between actions in action editor, and vertically between statements in calculator; add new statements directly from calculator by tapping under the current expression
  • Events! Instead of writing infinite loops, you can now write actions that get invoked when certain external events are triggered

You can download TouchDevelop for free from the Marketplace.

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Flixster gets Mango-ized in v1.6

Movie app Flixster, which offers access to showtimes, movie trailers and Rotten Tomatoes reviews, has made the leap to Mango in its newest version 1.6. 

The biggest improvement is the ability to create multiple live tiles for favorite movies and theaters.  Movies that get pinned to the start screen flip between the movie poster and the Rotten Tomatoes score, along with a tomato or "splat" icon.  Version 1.6 also includes Bing mobile search integration and fast app switching.

You must have Mango installed on your device for this update.  If you do, you can get Flixster here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

Thanks to Travis S. for the tip!

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