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WP Central

We previously took a look at 4Chan Reader when it entered into the Marketplace, which was surprising with the previous submission review trouble other apps of that nature encountered. The app, which would normally set you back just $0.99 (£0.79), has been made available for free until the end of February.

The reasoning behind the temporary change in price? The developer of 4Chan Reader has recently pushed out an update that contained not only bug fixes and improvements, but a massive UI overhaul. Please remember that this app is not safe for work, home, or anywhere in public. You can download 4Chan Reader from the Marketplace.

Thanks Axel for the tip!

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WP Central

Microsoft has been pouring resources into the SkyDrive service with a recent update that introduced a fresh batch of features and functionality. While 25GB is offered for absolutely nothing (and is more than enough for most users), the software giant is looking to introduce paid upgrade plans according to a report by the Brazilian site Gemind

The prices for storage upgrades that allow up to a cumulative total of 125GB (25GB standard + an extra 100GB) available cloud storage space, are set to look like the following:

  • +20GB for $11/yr
  • +50GB for $27/yr
  • +100GB for $54/yr

Not only that but there's evidence of native clients for both Windows and Mac (see below), which will please many for more convenient access to their stored files.

WP Central

The news of a Mac client will definitely impress users as iCloud upgrades can prove costly. In fact, Microsoft could really work wonders with SkyDrive on Apple's platform with the iOS app and now for the desktop OS. It's not known when this rollout will cover the rest of the world.

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WP Central

With the outlook on Zune (as a service) being fairly bleak, it's somewhat positive to hear rumours of Microsoft engaging with the record labels regarding a potential new music service - or an upgrade to the existing. While the Zune Pass service as a whole is pretty feature rich with download and offline playback functionality, it hasn't been actively adopted as the software giant had hoped, which is largely due to the company not pushing the service out hard enough and market competition.

Windows Phone, Windows and the Xbox console all sport Zune access to a certain extent, but with Windows 8 just around the corner, plans for better multi-platform integration and a more useful (yet user-friendly) service would please many. According to the report over at CNET, HTC and Nokia are in talks with the software giant to partner in the deal. It's not known what the new service would bring to the table, but one would suspect a move towards the likes of Spotify, and possibly place the new music service under the Xbox LIVE branding.

It would be interesting to see an iTunes Match-like feature introduced where subscribers could upload their entire music collection, then stream it over the air to a Live ID associated PC, Xbox and Windows Phone. Microsoft is looking to have the new music service up and running this coming summer. Would you like to see anything altered/introduced? Let us know in the comments.

Source: CNET

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Smoked by Windows Phone goes to Hong Kong

Smoked

Looks like the Smoked by Windows Phone phenom is spreading to the Far East. Starting yesterday and continuing through the weekend, over in Hong Kong the Windows Phone team is taking challenges to their OS--from iPhones to Android phones, all are fair game. From Simon at We Love Windows Phone:

"The “Smoked by Windows Phone” Hong Kong version (「挑戰」, a local Hong Kong slang meaning challenging each other) was organized by Microsoft HK starting from yesterday (Friday in Hong Kong) to Sunday. The event yesterday was held for 2 hours and for the remaining two days it would be held for 4 hours each day. Challengers using iOS, Android or Blackberry devices are all welcomed to join the challenge. There are more than 5 challenge tasks that people can randomly choose from to compete with Windows Phone (details of tasks would be shown after the series of event is finished by our site in order to increase the excitement for contestants)...If the challenger wins, they can get HK$1000 (~US$130) in cash as a reward; while if they lose, they get a specially designed Windows Phone tee!"

So far it's going well as yesterday that had 11 challenges and 0 losses, which ain't too shabby. For more photos and details, head to We Love Windows Phone!

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TELUS launching Nokia Lumia 800 in early March

WP Central

TELUS has been listing the Lumia 800 as "coming soon" since mid January so it only makes sense that we start hearing about it launching soon. Rogers already has the Lumia 710 which went on sale last week but Nokia's other Windows Phone needs to get into some hands and hopefully soon.

Mobile Syrup is reporting that launch events are now being scheduled (see above) and employees are being trained on Windows Phone--meaning a release is immenent. Some dates tossed around include March 9th or at least during that week.

That gives you folks just a few weeks to start saving for that phone, which hopefully won't be priced too high.

Source: Mobile Syrup; Thanks, Jesse B., for the heads up

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Bing Search updates for Windows Phone detailed

WP Central

The Bing UK team has published an interesting article on the official blog, detailing two new features coming to the search engine integration featured in Windows Phone. 

Bing Vision on Windows Phone already enables the user to detect product information scanning QR codes and Microsoft Tags with the camera, but now Bing Vision supports barcodes on CDs, DVDs and book covers. As well as picking up information on the product, the service will provide local availability and cost comparison for convenient shopping/price checking on the go. This feature goes live as of today (see above photo).

The second announcement covers the ability for users to take a photo of a newspaper (or magazine) article and Bing Vision will fetch the digital version, if available. Offering global access to users this feature, which is set to launch in March and will simply be added functionality to Bing Vision, will provide access to over 3,000 publications worldwide. Pretty neat, eh?

Source: Bing UK Blog

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Nokia is offering Hungarian Lumia Windows Phone owners a worthy freebie. Should you remember SurfCube 3D, the web browser with a virtual 3D cube transition effect, and reside in Hungary then you'll be able to snatch up a Nokia branded version of the app for nothing at all. 

Check out the video above for an Easter egg found within. Should you be eligible for the free version of the app (usually $1.99 or ad-supported), head on over to the Marketplace to download SurfCube 3D for Nokia (requires a Hungarian Live ID), which is available until April 15th. Updates will cease after this date has passed.

Via: wp7.huthanks, Tamás, for the heads up!

QR: SurfCube for Nokia Lumia

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WP Central

Gartner has released Q4 2011 data for worldwide smartphone sales to consumers, which shows some interesting signs for the Windows Phone platform. The dip in both number of units sold and marketshare is more-than-likely due to the drop of Windows Mobile. The push by Nokia has had some positive effect regarding the brand of both the manufacturer and the mobile platform, but numbers are still yet to reflect any solid progress.

As of Q4 2011 Microsoft was sat behind Samsung's Bada and the pesky 2%. With Nokia and Windows Phone "Tango" to target the emerging markets as a Symbian replacement, and upcoming "Apollo" to introduce a massive OS overhaul, by the end of 2012 Gartner predicts the platform to hit 8.6% marketshare. The analyst firm also believes these numbers to reflect Windows Phone sales only.

We may be in the second year of its life, but Microsoft's platform is still relatively young. The promotion and brand awareness campaigns that Nokia are running may require more time to take affect. The good news is the outlook for 2012 with the two OS updates (as well as new handsets). Bring on MWC.

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The New Zealand Herald releases Windows Phone app

NZ Herald

The NZ Herald, popular newspaper in New Zealand, has released an app for Windows Phone, providing frequent readers on the mobile platform with more convenient access to articles. Though it should be noted that to read full news stories IE is required. Some highlighted features:

  • View all your favourite sections of the Herald - National, World, Business, Sport, Technology, Video, Entertainment, Motoring, Lifestyle, Travel and Opinion.
  • Swipe between sections, tap on a headline to preview and read the full story if you want more.
  • Easily share stories with your social networks.
  • View the latest photo galleries and video in full screen.

Hopefully we'll see more integration, with support for full articles, offline reading, etc. in future updates. It's good to see more official support for Windows Phone nonetheless. You can download NZ Herald from the Marketplace for free. 

Source: NZ Herald

QR: NZ Herald

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Mobile Nations Fitness Month continues...

Mobile Nations Fitness Month Week 3

The Mobile Nations Fitness month continues!

If you're joining us while we're already in progress, it's never too late and you can go read all about Mobile Nations Fitness Month in our first WPCentral Forums installment. Here's where week two leaves off and week three begins. This is where we're setting reasonable, attainable goals. This is where we're starting our pattern for pure win. This is where we're engaging the awesome!

We've started another discussion group in the WPCentral Forums to start week 3 where you can find week three's goals as well as our latest weekly prize winner!.

Remember we will randomly select one reader who chimes in on their fitness adventure weekly to win a WPCentral Accessory Store gift card. At the end of the month, we'll draw one lucky winner to take home a Xbox 360 and Kinect!

There is a special edition of Zen and Tech that has plenty of tips to stay motivated with your fitness goals but if you need more inspiration, hit the break to see the iMore and Crackberry motivational videos. Please understand we are not responsible for the trauma that might result in viewing these videos. It may be advisable to remove children and small pets from the room before viewing.

Good luck with it and let us know in the forums how it's going.

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WPCentral Nokia Lumia 710 Giveaway

WPCentral's giving away a Lumia 710

We're giving away a T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 710! All you need to do is snap a photo with your Windows Phone, post it in this WPCentral Forums discussion and we'll select the best photo out of the bunch to take home the Lumia 710.

Sounds easy right?

Here's the fine print. Only one entry per reader and the photo must be taken by a Windows Phone camera (we'll stretch it to any smartphone camera). The photo theme - Black and White.  You can submit a photo of people, places or things but it needs to be presented in black and white (grayscale to some). You can use apps such as Thumba or Fhotoroom to convert the picture to black and white or use desktop software (e.g. Photoshop) to take care of things. Image size? Keep it around 5x7 at 72 dpi.

You have until February 24, 2012 until 5:00pm CST to submit your photos. Give us a few days to judge everything and one lucky contestant will win the Lumia 710 and one runner up will walk away with a $75 gift certificate to the WPCentral Store.

Good luck everyone!

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President's Day

In celebration of President's Day you can shop all weekend and save 15% on all your Windows Phone accessories in the WPCentral Store. To get your 15% discount, be sure to use the coupon code pres12 during checkout.

This offer is not valid with any other coupon and expires at Midnight PST Monday 2/20/2012. Don't forget about our Fast Free Shipping on US orders of $50.00 and higher!

Enjoy the Presidential Savings! Start your Shopping Now!

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Indonesia

We mentioned that Indonesia was slated to receive the Lumia 710 and 800 sometime in February and it looks like that day is today February 17trh. We have some photos from one of the launch events, presumably Jakarta, and it looks to be quite a blast.

IndonesiaIndonesia

And in the image below is a shot of some of the 800 coders on hand for Nokia Developer Day which was run in conjunction with Microsoft. The goal: 800 devs for 800 new apps. Now that's a way to kick start development in Indonesia.

Coding day

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Palringo Beta

For those of you who go back to the Windows Mobile days, you'll remember an instant messaging service called Palringo (www.palringo.com). The program was its own IM service, which allowed things like voice-clips to be instantly sent along with photos and files. In addition, it was also a multi-client meaning it could support and connect (by proxy) to other IM services such as AIM, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, ICQ and more. Finally, it had support for custom Groups which were basically permanent chat rooms that one could create and invite people to, in addition to supporting iOS, Android, Symbian and Mac/PC desktops.

We reported a few months ago that Palringo was finally going to support Windows Phone, heck we even showed some early screenshots. Now, v0.5 Beta is live in the Marketplace free to use for all. Of course that beta tag means it is still in development, so all won't be perfect, but we've been using it for the last day and half with little to no issues.

Palringo

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WPCentral 137: Wilcox, Tango x2 and crapps

WPCentral Podcast

We're back this week with a special guest, Microsoft's Jeff Wilcox. Listen in or watch the HD video after the break!

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State of the Mobile Nations Survey

The tablet wars are heating up! Apple is getting set to announce the iPad 3 next month. BlackBerry is going to release a major PlayBook OS update any day. The Kindle Fire is hot as is the Transformer Prime in a sea of Android tablets. And Windows 8 tablets are getting ready to enter the battle.

With so much going on we wanted to take a moment and find out where you weigh in on the tablet wars. We have five quick questions (and one bonus) that will take you less than a minute. Hit the link below.

Take the Survey!

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WP Central

If you've been watching the world of Windows Phone and Microsoft you'll know that last year Microsoft bought Skype in what was it's single biggest acquisition to date (and all for a quaint $8.5 billion).

Well despite being approved by the FTC and EU courts at this point, Cisco has decided it will start legal proceedings challenging the deal on the basis that it may in fact be damaging to the competition.

Now before we all cry "foul" and question why Cisco have only just decided to make it's voice heard it's important for me to stress that Cisco are not opposed to the deal itself. Instead they are calling for the EU commission to impose standards on Microsoft to ensure that there is inter-operability between all video conferencing services.

It's hard to argue with Cisco here and when you consider that Skype now has over 650 million worldwide users, it's easy to see that Cisco realises Microsoft stands to control the video conferencing market. What is instead being suggested is that such VOIP and Video calling systems should be the same kind of experience as one would get when making any normal voice phone call.

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Have an idea for a Windows Phone app? Tell AppDreamr.

AppDreamr

The site AppDreamr has a great idea in mind for consumers and developers: submit your app ideas, including any screenshots or features you want and let the community vote on it. Then a developer will see which app "dreams" are the most popular and will basically call "dibs" on it bringing the idea to life. From Arian Kulp, the site's creator:

"This isn't just a way to suggest that apps on other platforms are ported, but to be able to pitch a great idea for a new app.  The main audience is for the end-users to dream up the app features and screen mockups, and discuss them.  The expectation is that devs will see the highest-voted app ideas and will want to produce them (less of an unknown if it will succeed).  I envision a community of passionate users dreaming up great concepts, and developers getting popular by implementing them."

It's really a great idea as users get the apps they want and devs can find work and new concepts to start off from. Plus, as pointed out, devs will have more confidence in the app being successful if folks are demanding and voting on the idea.

So devs and thinkers, head over to http://www.appdreamr.com/ to get started.

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Win a white Lumia 800 on Nokia's Facebook page

Nokia's giving away a white Lumia 800

Think you're fast?  Then head over to Nokia's Facebook page for a chance to win a Lumia 800...a WHITE one!  As soon as you get there, you will have 60 seconds to catch the white tile by clicking on it.  Your score will be displayed and you will be prompted to enter your information for a chance to win.  If you really want a challenge, give hyperspeed a try.  You'll need to log into your Facebook account to enter the contest.

Source: Nokia (Facebook); Via: GoWindowsGo; Thanks to Sam for the tip!

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From the WPCentral Forums...

WP Central

Well they went and did it. That's right AT&T doubled their upgrade fee and we're none to happy about it. "AT&T To Double Upgrade Fee (From February 12th 2012)" was our hottest thread in the forums this week. If it's all too confusing to you, jump in the forums and join the discussion even if you just need to vent a little. It has also been speculated that AT&T had this same pricing before. Forum member ninjaap says "I've been with AT&T for a long time and I'm positive the upgrade fee used to be $35 then at some point it dropped to $18. Now it's back up to $38. Oh well. If you ask, sometimes the CS rep will credit you the fee." Is this increase really that big of a deal? Join us in the forums for the discussion.

Forum member baseballbert wants to know if he should get the Nokia 900 or wait for an Apollo Nokia phone? Bert is one of our more colorful members and he is also one of our favorite thread starters. He seams to have a way with starting threads that draw a crowd and this thread is right in line with that. If your considering getting a Nokia Lumia 900 when it is released on AT&T, this is the thread for you.

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Nokia Lumia 800 Bundled at Microsoft Retail Stores

We made mention of the Nokia Lumia 800 becoming available at Microsoft Retail Stores starting February 14th a while back. We are now hearing the phone is indeed on store shelves and available in black and magenta.  The Lumia 800 is being sold optimized for the AT&T network.

For the time being the Lumia 800 is being bundled with the Nokia Play 360 Bluetooth Speaker, Nokia Purity HD headphones and a Luna Bluetooth headset. Out the door price is $899 (plus local taxes).  While the price may seem high, you do get a lot in the bundle.

In talking to a retail associate from the Atlanta Store, there is no telling if the Lumia 800 will be offered outside the bundle or not.  Unfortunately the Lumia is only available in store. Head on over to Microsoft's store listing page to see if there's a retail store within driving distance.

Thanks, Jesse, for tipping us on this!

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HSPL

Today's a big day as DFT have released their HSPL RSPL tool version 3 for Windows Phone. Previous versions allowed access to GSM editons of Generation 1 HTC devices which is why they're able to run those custom ROMs that we've reported on previously. This latest version of the HSPL RSPL tool released today now enables support for two CDMA phones: the Verizon Trophy and Sprint Arrive (7 Pro). From the changelog:

  • Added support for 'SCHU1000' and 'PD291200' MIDs
  • Removed OTA update inside RSPL and HSPL, this allows to keep HSPL after
  • HTC OTA Zune update.
  • Added warning screen about 4.XX and 5.XX
  • But still NO support for 4.XX and 5.XX
  • Support for CDMA devices: GoldC and SparkW (Edit: Gold_C is the codename for the Sprint Arrive and Spark_W for the Verizon Trophy)
  • Wizard UI: only WWE support remains

This tool is the first needed to unlock the bootloader allowing the loading of custom ROMs onto the device. That means "ROM chefs" can now begin the cooking and testing of custom builds, eventually getting to the point where a stable version can be released to the public.

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Gooroov

Although we're fans of Zune (or LastFM) on our Windows Phone, on occasion we get the request for a Google Music (music.google.com/) client. While we're not holding our breath for an official app from Google anytime soon, there's no reason why devs can't do it on their own.

For those who don't know, Google allows you to upload your entire music library to the cloud and gives you the ability to stream anywhere. It's not actually a bad idea as it allows you to backup your collection, free up hard disk space and easily download it again when needed. The service is free for your first 20,000 songs which should get your started (though uploading 20K songs may take some time). [Side note: We're really hoping Microsoft takes SkyDrive + Zune in this direction for Windows Phone 8 and the desktop OS].

Gooroovster

Today, Gooroovster is now available on the Windows Phone Marketplace. The app goes for $3.99 which is on the high side but there is of course a free trial. The app has been in private beta for weeks though and initial feedback for the app has been very high, making this seemingly a great solution for those with Google Music as their primary music resource. (Beta testers will be getting one final update very soon to match the released version--kudos to the dev for that).

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Lumia 610 Indonesia Certification

We've touched on the Lumia 610 (or 601 as it was referred to) previously, which is set to be announced at the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2012 and will be powered by Windows Phone "Tango". LiveSide has received confirmation that the Nokia handset has passed through certification in Indonesia (as shown above).

Although not much detail is displayed, we do know that this device does indeed exist, which will make MWC fairly exciting with the unveiling of Microsoft's next Windows Phone update "Tango". As well as featuring the usual Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, the Lumia 610 will support GSM 900/1800 and WCDMA 2100 bands.

Source: LiveSide

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WPCentral Reinstaller Contest

booya

When working on the Reinstaller review I was a little surprised how many app's I've purchased since Windows Phone hit the market back in 2010. For those not familiar, Reinstaller compiles a list of all the app's associated with your Windows Live ID and then helps walk you through the installation process.

I knew I had a healthy number of apps but still I couldn't help but say "good grief" when the final tally hit 678. Other numbers shake out with Rich Edmonds having 199 apps and Dan Rubino tops the charts with 1,078! Granted we go through apps at a faster pace due to the nature of our work but we started to think how many apps you guys and gals have. One thought led to another and a giveaway was born.

We'll give whomever has the largest list of apps a $50 gift certificate to the WPCentral Accessory Store. Just download Reinstaller, go through the steps to create your app list, take a screen shot or photograph of your Windows Phone showing the number of apps and post it in this WPCentral Forums discussion.

Let's keep it honest so don't go out this afternoon and download a few thousand free apps to your phone. We'll cut things off this Sunday, February 19, 2012 and put up a braggin' rights post on the 20th.

I'll be really curious if anyone tops Dan's number.

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