Articles

Tweet it! is good for the soul

We haven't covered the popular Twitter app Tweet It! in quite some time so now feels about right. Tweet It! won our praise months ago for breaking the tradition of super-Metro Twitter apps that are out in force on the Marketplace. Featuring a unique UI, "Street mode" for walking, orientation lock, shake-to-refresh and more, the app is full of interesting surprises and stands apart from the crowd.

Tweet it! v3

Because it's the developers birthday, the app has gone from its normal $1.99 to free for the next 48 hours. Call us crazy, but that's a pretty good deal even if not sure if you'll like it (but we think you will).

Since our coverage, the app has had a major revision in version 3.0.The changes are welcomed including excellent scrolling capability and fast loading (try the "Post Tweet" tile). But don't take our word for it. Go download it now, take it for a spin and let us know your thoughts.

Pick up Tweet it! for free here in the Windows Phone Marketplace, you won't regret it. And happy birthday, Khamidov Timur!

Check out our video review of v2.0 and QR tag after the break...

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Quickly create ringtones on Windows Phone from YouTube

YouRang

Early this morning we reported on the mini song "Metro" by Matt Oglesby created on nothing but free Windows Phones apps. The tune has a chill yet vibrant feel to it and as a few of you noticed in comments, it would make a solid ringtone on your device.

While there are browser plugins that will easily rip YouTube audio and convert it to an MP3, there is a much easier way to do it directly on Windows Phone. The free app YouRang by Red Pegasus Media allows you to search YouTube, bring up the video in a small window and then by using pre-selected arrows, you can edit the section you want for a ringtone on your phone.

The app is free, beautiful and super simple to use. It maintains the full audio quality, volume and lets you "max out" the length of the ringtone according to Microsoft's specifications. In short, there's no reason not to get it even if you just want "Metro" for your ringer (just search for 'Metro' - Track Created...).

Pick up YouRang for free here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. [Edit: For those outside certain regions, stay tuned. The developer has submitted an update for other regions and it should be available soon]

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Looks like the Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T is starting to get that second bounce in advertising. Today on Extra (pop news entertainment show), host Mario Lopez and Microsoft's Margaret Arakawa were talking up the svelte flagship Windows Phone.

During the 60-second segment Mario and Margaret demonstrated the photo app and Facebook tagging/upload capability which we're thinking is always a strong selling point of the OS (especially with that massive social networking being front and center in the news this week). Mario also talks up being organized and how easy it is with Windows Phone.

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WP Central

As well as the success in China, in the states Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility, had the following to say about Windows Phone and its future with Microsoft's upcoming dekstop OS release, Windows 8.

"I am really pleased with what I am seeing out of Microsoft and Nokia coming out with their first product. The operating system works really well. It is simple, it is easy to use, it is intuitive. The reception to the Lumia launch has actually exceeded our expectations. So we think there is a very good chance that Microsoft will have a very good OS that will be right in there with iOS and Android.

When they come out with Windows 8 in the fourth quarter, I think it will actually add to the value that that OS brings to the marketplace, in that that will be the first time that you can truly have a similar experience on your PC, on your tablet, and on your smartphone from soft Microsoft. From what I have seen and the previews that I have been given, I think it is going to be exceptionally good. I am very upbeat in what they are bringing to the market."

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WP Central

All eyes were on Microsoft's rather important launch of Windows Phone in China earlier this year. Nokia followed up with the Lumia 800c, released on China Telecom. According to Michel van der Bel, COO of Greater China Region at Microsoft, the company has achieved 7% marketshare in the country, overtaking the iPhone (sitting at just 6%).

Before you think "well 7% isn't something to get excited about", remember that the platform has only officially been available for just under two months. Windows Phone has captured 7% of the Chinese smartphone market in just 60 days, and the campaign has only just begun. This kind of growth is a struggling goal for the platform in other markets, so it's positive to see Chinese consumers choosing the Windows Phone experience. Plus, it's always a great headline when Windows Phone beats the popular iPhone.

With manufacturers also on-board and attacking supported countries, Windows Phone should look to repeat the success story currently being written in China, especially with Nokia powering through marketing budgets. There's still much more to do in China though, as van der Bel went on to admit the company understands the difficult task ahead and has deployed a 2,500 head strong team in its R&D department to focus on the Asian market.

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Professor Green spotted using the ZTE Tania in London

Professor Green, an established English rapper, has been spotted in London wielding a ZTE Tania. Check out the video above (note: it contains strong language) to see the artist use Windows Phone to locate a coffee house, and his team use the same device to record some of the live concert on-stage. Even DJ IQ takes the Tania for a quick spin with some humorous viewing.

It's good to see ZTE making an effort in the UK as we've yet to see any official event to launch a Windows Phone from the manufacturer. The ZTE Tania is available from Clove UK for just £175 (dropped again from £199).

Source: YouTube; thanks Leon for the heads up!

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Security Toolkit for Windows Phone

Microsoft recently held a Windows Phone developers contest in Italy, "Appload and Win", where developers were challenged to create an app and upload it to the Marketplace for a chance at €20,100 in prizes.

Venetasoft walked away with first prize of €3500 for their Windows Phone app Security Toolkit. It's a rather neat Windows Phone app that turns your Windows Phone into a security station with alarms and audio/video recorders. You can even turn your Windows Phone into a security camera by streaming videos to your PC using the companion desktop app.

In celebration of winning the Appload and Win contest, Venetasoft is sharing the joy. All of their apps (that you can find here) will be offered for free for one week. This includes the Security Toolkit, Intrusion Alarm, TurboCameraWebCam Viewer and more.

Venetasoft has just thrown the switch to offer the apps for free. The changes should be seen on the Marketplace within the next 48 hours.

Thanks, Lorenzin, for the tip!

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Australia getting Lumia 610 and Lumia 900 in June

Last week, we told you about an upcoming media event that would be held in Australia today. At today's gathering, it was confirmed that the Nokia Lumia 610 and Lumia 900 will be coming to Australia next month, though no firm dates were revealed. The Lumia 900 will available on Optus in mid-to-late June for a $0 upfront $59 on a 2-year contract or for $699 unlocked and contract-free. Sadly, it looks as though Australia will not see the 4G LTE Lumia 900, as it is limited to AT&T in the U.S. and Rogers in Canada. The Australian 900 will, however, have HSDPA+, which should be faster than typical 3G. The 900 sports a 1.4Ghz chip, 4.3 AMOLED display and a 8MP rear camera with a 1MP front-facing camera.

As for the Lumia 610, it will be offered exclusively through Boost Mobile until July, when it will become available on Vodaphone. It is expected to fetch $329 on Boost Mobile and possibly cheaper once it hits Vodaphone. In another disappointing turn, the Aussie Lumia 610 will be without NFC, a feature that is evidently exclusive to the Orange France iteration.  The economic Lumia 610 features an 800Mhz processor with 256MB RAM, 5MP camera and a 3.2 LCD display.

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WP Central

This is a reminder of the upcoming Windows Phone Bar Camp, a developer event hosted by the WPUG guys. It's happening on May 19th, at the Vibe Bar on Brick Lane. A number of platform developers are set to present their apps to the audience, and the event will prove to be a superb way to meet other Windows Phone enthusiasts.

Kicking off at 9am, there will be a light lunch provided, with tea and coffee. The bar will also be open for drinks of course. So be sure to pop on down by registering your place on EventBrite. Jay would appreciate the attendance while presenting his experiences developing for the platform as well as how we can help promote your app(s), and I will be there to discuss / arrange future Windows Phone Central coverage for your app(s).

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WP Central

The AdDuplex team have announced on their blog today a new referral feature, which Windows Phone developers can now take advantage of. The advertising service is available for all developers on the platform and offers a more effective way to promote apps, while making use of any in-app advertisement positions. 

We previously interviewed Alan Mendelevich, who heads up the network, and we were also fortunate enough to meet him at a previous WPUG meetup. Should you be interested in the presentation Mendelevich provided, we covered the slides used. Back to the newly announced referral feature. To say "thank you" to those who bring other developers to the network, AdDuplex now offers a small impression bonus when referring a friend.

WP Central

As one can see from the above chart, the referrer receives 5% of the impressions served by apps developed by this user for the next 6 months. To incentivise the referral to actually sign-up using the link, they will also receive 5% more impressions, as opposed to using a normal link. Refer a number of people and you'll begin to see a substantial increase of impressions, which should help with promoting your Windows Phone app(s).

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WP Central

The Windows Phone UK team are set to host a memorable evening in London at the end of the month. The into Live Session is a planned music event, which will feature artist performances including the popular Noisettes. The evening is expected to be a fairly packed house at the Proud in Camden.

There will also be a number of surprises to be explored. Room-to-room Skype chats, the Nokia Amazing Collective room and getting dared by Windows Phone to name but a few. If that wasn't enough, the team will be supplying two free drinks on the night to attendees. If you remember Pepper, the live music social networking app / service, the team have partnered with Windows Phone UK to host a "Battle of the Bands" contest, where you get to decide which of the four available artists will kick-start the evening. Simply head to the YouTube playlist and "like" any one video. 

The event will take place at Proud, Camden on 30th May. You can sign up for free entry at EventBrite (limited number of tickets available). Windows Phone Central will, as usual and as you'd expect by now, be showing our faces to cover the event should you not be able to attend it. If you do so happen to come along, be sure to keep an eye on my Twitter (@RichEdmonds) for info of our exact location on the night.

Source: Windows Phone UK, Into Live Session (Facebook)

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WP Central

Ah, Facebook. We don't really get nor use it very often but we recognize that we're in the minority on that one. We also have those friends who meticulously and methodically check their status, friend count, "Likes" and what have you numerous times a day.

For those people, we humbly direct you towards Friend Tracker, the new app from Rudy Huyn (TVShow, MyEncyclopedia, Fuse, etc.). The app is simple enough: it looks through your contacts who are synced with Facebook and/or Live and keeps track of who's there, who's not and showing you a graph of the number of friends and activity.

According to the app's "How it works" section, Windows Phone checks this about once a day. But if you really want "real time" you can have the app login to your account and pull down the info on a much more frequent basis, like every 30 minutes or so.

It's a nifty little addition and completely free. Plus like all of Huyn's apps, really elegant. Here are some of the other features:

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There's no shortage of those with creativity in the Windows Phone universe but here's one that will surely blow you away.

Musical talent Matt Oglesby stitched together this 'Metro' song using nothing but his Nokia Lumia 800 and some free music apps found on the Marketplace. The result? After two hard days he cobbled together what you see and hear above. Color us impressed.

Head to Matt's site to get the full skinny on how he mixed everything. Let's see if anyone else can match him and maybe we can get a Metro Holiday album started. For those curious, here is what he used for Windows Phone apps found in the Marketplace:

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Microsoft's Jeff Fong

One of the main reasons so many of us like Windows Phone is because the UI design is not only unique but equally mesmerizing. From Windows Media Center to Zune HD to Windows Phone, the Metro UI lineage is as clear as the subway signs it's based on.

The popular and influential business magazine Fast Company has named the Design Lead for Windows Phone, Jeff Fong, #81 in their 100 Most Creative People in Business for 2012. Not only is that a heck of an honor it's a telltale sign of the continued influence Metro is having on the mainstream, something that we'll see a lot more of when Windows 8 drops this fall. From the Fast Company entry for Fong:

"Airports may be frustrating, but give them this: "The signage is so clean, pure, and direct, it helps you navigate a very complicated environment," Jeff Fong says. "I wondered, Can we apply that same approach to designing our user interface?" His team culled photos from London's Heathrow and designed the smartphone's software--with its animated, colored tiles, and straightforward imagery--based on the signs' typography and simplicity."

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Nokia Lumia 710 now available on Mobilicity

WP Central

Canada has sort of been slow on getting into Windows Phone not due of course to the consumers but rather carrier reluctance. While the Lumia 900 is available on Rogers there hasn't been too much love for Nokia on Mobilicity until today.

The Lumia 710 (also on WIND), one of our favorite Windows Phones, is now available for $249.99 which seems to be a fairly good deal to us (though we'll let you weigh in in comments).

WP Central

The Lumia 710 (see our review) features a 3.7" ClearBlack LCD screen, 5MP camera and physical front keys making it quite the unique bird amongst Windows Phones these days. It also features 8GB of storage, a zippy 1.4GHz CPU and a moderate 1300mAh battery.

While many think the 710 is not as fancy as the 800 or 900 (a fair point) it still has amazing ergonomics, great audio and is quite stylish with swappable back covers. In short, we often use it over the just as solid HTC Radar.

Read the full presser after the break or head to Mobilicity to check it out.

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WP Central

China is a big, vast country ripe for the smartphone market with its growing economy and access to new technology. So it's with keen interest that we focus on how well Windows Phone performs there over the next few months.

According to some leaked internal roadmaps for China Telecom, the nation's 3rd largest carrier, Windows Phone is a big hit with the folks who oversee operations. Reportedly they are planning on getting the Nokia Lumia 719c as well as the Samsung Minuet sometime this summer, augmenting the Lumia 610c and 800c which are already on sale.

WP Central

For those who don't remember, the Lumia 719c is a device that so far has not yet been announced and bares a slight resemblance to the Lumia 710. Instead of physical keys though the 719c has capacitive buttons and what looks to be the same 3.7" screen and 5MP camera. Likewise, the Samsung Minuet is thought to be a variant of the recently announced Omnia M line, making both of these devices low to mid range offerings.

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WP Central

We've heard from a few folks that their $100 credit for their Lumia 900 has not been applied to their AT&T account and now we may have an answer. While rare, there seems to be a reason that WinSource has stumbled upon.

In essence, if you bought the phone at full price and didn't use an upgrade (or new activation) then the credit won't be applied to your account. The reason being Nokia doesn't "know" that you bought and activated the phone on your account. While odd it sort of makes sense because for all they know, you bought the phone and sold it on eBay or sent it overseas.

The problem seems to be easily resolved by simply calling AT&T and double checking. In this instance AT&T verified the phone was on the account and applied the $100 credit which was a nice gesture.

The $100 credit was offered by Nokia (via AT&T) to those who purchased their Lumia 900s before April 21st due to a connectivity issues with a small number of devices.

Anyone else having problems getting the credit applied to their account?

Source: WinSource

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WP Central

While we're expecting Windows Phone 8 to be available later this year, Israeli technology website Techit has reported that Nokia are planning to release "Apollo" smartphones before 2012 is up, and the next major update for Windows Phone is slated for a June rollout. The website is citing a Nokia representative, who is also quoted to have mentioned full Hebrew support in the next version of Microsoft's mobile operating system.

As well as the release of Nokia hardware, and the support for Hebrew, the Nokia rep also reaffirmed June as the month for Windows Phone 8, but we should take these quotes with a grain of salt. The burning question on consumer minds is whether or not their current hardware will be upgradable to the next version of the OS. Unfortunately, we're still unable to confirm either way, but we expect concrete information to be released soon enough.

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WP Central

Own a Lumia 900 and have a spare 15 minutes? Why not fill out a Nielsen web survey for Lumia 900 Windows Phone customers, which could pocket you a $200 Amazon gift card. The 4G Windows Phone has been taking the states by storm, surpassing all expectations and selling faster than Nokia could produce which led to a number of delays, not just within the U.S. but around the world too.

Have you been happy with your Nokia Windows Phone, or have all the problems taken their toll? Be sure to check the survey out, but note that Facebook connectivity is required.

Source: Nielsen (Lumia 900 survey), via: @TheRomit; thanks @aharpaz for the heads up!

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Pronto Forms for Windows Phone

TrueContext Mobile has announced that its ProntoForms (website) mobile business service now supports Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. The app, which is now available on the Marketplace, enables business employees to do away with paperwork and use smartphones to fill out forms while on the move and not in the office. Major platforms are already supported, including Android, BlackBerry, iOS and webOS.

TrueContext’s CEO Alvaro Pombo had the following to comment on the platform launch:

"ProntoForms from AT&T is one of our most popular mobile applications for businesses," said VP of advanced mobility solutions at AT&T, Chris Hill. The easy to use, yet highly scalable functionality of the application has been of interest to many different types of companies, from one person in operations using it for construction project cost estimates to large enterprises using it for facility management inspections, merchandising audits and insurance adjustments."

Text and numeric inputs include the following:

  • Drop downs and data source lookups
  • Signature Capture
  • Barcode Scanning
  • Photo Capture
  • Date/Time Selection & Stamps
  • Geostamps
  • Calculations
  • YouTube Video links

 

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Nokia TV

It would appear that the Nokia TV app has been released in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Finland's Windows Phone Marketplace that is.

Based on earlier information the Nokia TV app will tie into local television channels, have the ability to stream shows over wifi or data connection, and videos can be downloaded to the device for offline viewing.

Nokia TV

Not having any hands on with the app, we'll defer to any of our reader's who have had a chance to download and try Nokia TV. It is our understanding the app isn't listed in the Nokia Collection just yet. You'll need to search by keyword, scroll down the list of New Apps or you could try this link to the Marketplace.  Again, Nokia TV is only available in Finland is available everywhere but features only Finnish TV.

After the break, check out a video walkthrough of Nokia TV that one of our readers tipped us on.  Sound off in the comments if you've tried Nokia TV and let us know what you think.

Via: Plaffo; Thanks, Dario and Danil, for the tips!

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WP Central

Industry research firm Gartner just released its latest data on mobile phone sales for the first quarter of 2012. There are some interesting points to be pulled out of this report that I wanted to address.

Samsung dominates Android. Gartner’s data says that Korea-based Samsung shipped over 40% of all Android handsets last quarter. So that still leaves 60% of the market to other vendors, right? Yes, but according to Gartner none of these other vendors make up more than 10% of Android volume. None.

In terms of handset brands, Samsung is also now the #1 phone maker in the world, ahead of Nokia.

Nokia may have the #2 position in the market, but we need to remember that most of Nokia’s volume is based on the dying Symbian OS. Very little is based on its Windows-powered future at this point. So, considering that we’re looking at the death of the dumphone over the next few years, let’s look at smartphone vendors and volumes.

Samsung is the #1 player, having shipped 38 million smartphones. Most of these are Android powered, with a smaller number of Bada OS phones. Here’s how smartphone market share looks, by vendor, based on the Gartner data:

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RainbowMod custom ROM for Lumia 710 now available

WP Central

It was only yesterday that we covered the availability of Metro^7, a custom ROM for the Lumia 710. Now we're pleased to announce another custom ROM has been published on the XDA forums - RainbowMod. This custom mod, by XDA Forum member lucifer3006, is based on Windows Phone "Tango" and is available in Spanish, French, Hungarian, Swedish, Czech, German, English US, Italian, Polish, Russian, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Portuguese (Portugal & Brazil), and Danish.

So what's featured in RainbowMod?

  • Full Unlock from UltraShot
  • Removed OEM applications (Nokia Drive, Maps, etc.)
  • Search key remapping
  • QuickLaunch menu for quick switching the state of WiFi, 3G, Flight mode, Power save, etc.
  • Ability to access file system via WiFi/USB
  • Integrated Live ID, DppImplant no longer needed, but the new key can also be banned
  • Orientation locker
  • Added many color themes
  • Easy installation xap from a browser or file manager
  • Added Google and Yandex search engines
  • xb0xmod cert for cab-updates
  • Cab-updatable
  • Lots of minor changes
  • Updatability via Zune (not guaranteed)

RainbowMod ROM

Check out the video below for a quick glance at the ROM.

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ScoreMobile FC for Windows Phone

ScoreMobile is a popular sports app for your Windows Phone that pulls in scores, stats, standings and videos from the entire sports world. ScoreMobile FC is another sports app from Score Media that focuses on the various international football (soccer to our U.S. readers) leagues.

Key features of ScoreMobile FC include:

  • Free customizable push alerts (including goals and key incidents)
  • Daily video “vodcasts” featuring special guests
  • Sync tournament fixtures to your calendar
  • Up-to-the-second live scores
  • Live blogs or text commentary for EVERY game
  • Comprehensive list of match times, tables and statistics
  • The latest Euro 2012 news, previews and post-match analysis in video format
  • “Bet Now” feature, allowing UK-based users to place real-time bets via licensed betting and gaming provider William Hill

The football leagues covered includes UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, Argentine Primera Division, French Ligue 1 and many more. You can even get coverage on the 2012 Olympic soccer matches.

ScoreMobile FC

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WP Central

To celebrate the 500,000 download milestone being reached for all published apps, the glƏƏk! developers have decided to unleash a number of special codes that can be used to unlock the full version of their Twitter client. This move is targeting those who are unable to pay for apps, which may be due to age requirements, carrier restrictions, or other factors preventing Windows Phone owners enjoying the full experience of glƏƏk!.

The team have decided to make it easy for users to own glƏƏk! for free, using special unlock codes (hashtags) that unlock the full version leaving the users able to purchase the app in the future (much like a donation) should they choose to do so when a different circumstance occurs. Today's unlock hashtag is "#wpcentralrocks", with future codes being posted on the @gleekthis Twitter account.

glƏƏk! hashtag entry

How does one enter the published codes?

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