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We previously covered the leaked Orange memo that pinned the 15th of September as the roll-out day, but we are all ware of this day passing by. Now, Microsoft has finally released some more detail on the actual window for release. Eric Hautala published the following over at the Windows Phone Developer blog:

For months, we and dozens of our partner companies have been laying the groundwork for the Windows Phone 7.5 update—and making solid progress. As a result, we now expect to start rolling it out in the next week or two. At that time, we’ll also refresh the Where’s My Phone Update? table to reflect the worldwide roll out status.

This ties in with Joe Belfiore's tweet last week that reminded everyone of "the fall" being aimed at for the green button to be pressed. So, there we have it, keep an eye out on this space for the announcement within the next two weeks. 

Source: Windows Phone Dev blog  Thanks goes out to everyone (too many to name) who tipped us on this!

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TransparentTXT - Mango App Spotlight

Ever walk into a light pole or mail box while walking and texting on your Windows Phone? TransparentTXT is a Windows Phone Mango app that hopes to take some of the hazards out of texting while walking.

Described as the solution for the text-walker, TransparentTXT activates your Windows Phone camera and throws a SMS overlay on top of your camera view. This way you can typed while having a view of what your about to walk into.

The on-screen display includes your keyboard, text fields and character count. You can also manage text and keyboard transparency in the settings. We agree with the developers warning that this app is not designed to allow you to text while driving and the recommendation that it is best to stop walking and then text. But, some like to keep moving and TransparentTXT might help steer you clear of light poles, mail boxes, small children or any other obstacle you may encounter while out walking.

There is a free trial available for TransparentTXT with the full version running $2.49. You can find both here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace. Remember you'll need to be running Mango on your Windows Phone to use TransparentTXT.

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Tiki Towers receives Mango update

Following suit with other apps and games getting Mango updated, Tiki Towers has joined the fruit train. The update will bring fast-app switching and 60fps to the table, not like the game was slow to begin with. We'll be sure to attempt to obtain the change log to see if anything else was added in.

Check out our review of Tiki towers and download the game from the Marketplace.

Thanks @BinaerJongleur for the tip!

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Here's a pleasant surprise, gMaps Pro (see earlier coverage) developer Alexey Strakh has managed a first for Windows Phone: Google Latitude.

Yup, starting with v111.0, users can now login to their Google Latitude account, see themselves and others on the map or as a list. It seems to work pretty well from our few minutes playing around--heck it even pulls down your avatar photo. Friends appear as green generic icons, tapping them brings up their info, location last check time, coordinates and ability to get directions to them. Other notable additions to v1.11.0:

  • Localization for English, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Русский, Беларускi languages
  • New weather layer

We've called gMaps Pro the best Google Maps app on Windows Phone and today's update reasserts that with these new features. There is also a free gMaps in the Marketplace, but note that it lacks these advanced and much coveted options. There's a free trial of gMaps Pro and it can bought for a fair $1.99. Grab it here in the Marketplace if interested.

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We love stats and today we have some from 'I'm a WP7' which were sent to us directly from the developer, Scott Peterson. Going through the list of makes, models and code names is always a challenge. This morning we have three devices that caught out eye (besides the already known Nokia 703 and 800).

  • HTC Ultimate - first we've ever heard of this device. Ironically, there was a fan-designed Android device back in early 2010 going by the same name--guess HTC liked the idea. Before we jump to conclusions though, this could be just a carrier branded version of the Titan e.g. think AT&T.
  • Radar 4G - So far only Samsung with the Focus S on AT&T gets the nod for first Windows Phone with "4G" (yes, in quotes). But if true, this will show that HTC has something up their sleeves. Our bet? We're looking at a Sprint or Verizon phone, with more confidence in the former carrier.
  • Samsung Haden - Searching for Haden returns the 'Hayden' aka Samsung l870, but that's too old to be relevant. However, it is a portrait slider device ala Venue Pro and Samsung does have an i677 in the works, which traditionally are front-qwerty phones. Maybe we're reading too much into that, but it's fun to guess.

(Note: The Eternity X310e is just the Titan)

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The app ...I'm a WP7 is one of those quite impressive offerings that many over look (though not too many as it's constantly #3 is the top free social apps). The program has just been updated to v3.1 making it the second Mango update to the given in the week. While v2.5 was quite an overhaul, we were pleased to see where 3.x has started to go and how it continues to improve. New features in v3.1 are the following:

  • Multiple Live Tiles
  • Hub Start screen
  • Member forums
  • Easter Eggs (hint: there's a ringtone)
  • Badge integration
  • User statistics
  • Twitter status integration
  • Save favorites
  • Bug fixes and performance enhancements

The forums are an interesting twist that are actually kind of fun (and a great way to anonymously discuss Windows Phone news) and the new layout and options are much welcomed. Plus with the fast-app resume and live tiles, you get a little more pizazz going on. We've also managed to learn about some new features coming very soon: 

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Microsoft's gears are still grinding away with Mango this fall, pushing out USB updates, new Mango apps and even launching the Marketplace in more regions, something that many desperately  want. It's the latter here that is most interesting as Sweden looks to be the lucky country today get Zune Marketplace access.

Reader Bruno H. has sent in these images along with his story about how very recently this all went live:

"Yesterday when i opened Zune on my pc, suddenly there was a new option in Zune that I had never seen before.

It was the Marketplace that had opened. I could rent movies (for points) and purchase and download WP7 Apps (for money). I bought an app I had on trial (Sally's Salon) to try the functionality. The Purchase went through but Sally on my WP7 device (Samsung Omnia 7) never got updated. Could be that I need Mango to get the purchases to download through Zune?"

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Developers for Nokia's Symbian system have to make a decision in the future: will they or won't they support Windows Phone apps development? The question is a tricky one as going from Symbian QT to the languages for Windows Phone is not so easy nor direct.

To aide in that, Microsoft has created a whole package of tools, white papers and even a roadshow to help devs come on over. For those who remember, Microsoft did a similar program with Android and iOS a few months back, so this is just a continuation of a theme to lure in new devs by making the transition a bit easer.

The new tools are the following:

Read more at the Windows Phone Dev Blog here.

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For those of you who are loving Fuse (see early video review), you'll be pleased to know that v1.1 is now live in the Marketplace, bringing with it a ton of new features and fixes:

Features

  • better performance
  • no limitation for number of feed in a group
  • in-app YouTube player
  • transform flash YouTube player in browser by a preview of the video and a link to watch it
  • lock screen rotation feature

Localization

  • German added
  • Spanish added

And the list of "improvements" is pretty huge as well, so big we're leaving it till after the break. The bigger news is that expect in the next week or so the Mango version of the app to finally land on our devices. New features will include Live Tile, Multi Live Tile, and fast app resume, which sounds pretty killer to us. Pick up Fuse, with a trial, in the Marketplace here.

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It’s been a long time coming, but Windows Phone gamers can finally get their Implode! on. IUGO’s physics-based puzzle game has just hit the Marketplace.

Take one part iBlast Moki (placing bombs) and another part Angry Birds (knocking stuff down) and you’ve got Implode! Each of the game’s whopping 150 levels is presented as a drawing on a chalkboard, creating a unique and nostalgic look. As if all of those puzzles weren’t enough, players can even design their own levels – there are even Achievements for it.

Speaking of which, the Achievement for earning an A+ in every single level should take quite a while. I doubt anyone will be getting all 200 GamerScore from this one in 20 minutes (*cough* Collapse! *cough*).

Implode! costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. You’ll find it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

Also, don't forget that Deer Hunter 3D is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week. It's on sale for $2.99, down from $4.99.

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No cut-rate tower defense games on sale this week! The new Xbox Live Deal of the Week is Deer Hunter 3D from Glu Mobile. It’s going on sale for $2.99, the price it should have been all along (it’s 99 cents on iPhone after all).

Deer Hunter 3D is all about killing defenseless animals, presumably to later utilize their carcasses in Pagan rituals. Err, I mean to make deer jerky! But you know, hunting games are actually pretty fun if you give them a chance (here's our review). It’s got great graphics for a phone game and a wide variety of missions and weapons to choose from.

Glu Mobile's hunting game is kind of buggy though, with one glitched Achievement – “All Year Round” – which requires players to play for 365 days (missions). Perhaps a Mango update will roll around and fix it, who knows. In the meantime, there are far too many virtual deer for the environment to sustain them all. Gamers need to kill them, or else they’ll die.

Deer Hunter 3D will be on sale for $2.99 for one week only. You can find it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Telus Mobility Mango Ready?

We've heard rumors that Vodaphone Australia will start rolling out Mango tomorrow and it looks as if the Canadian wireless provider Telus may be ready to roll out Mango to one of its two Windows Phones as well. Telus offers the HTC Surround and LG Optimus 7 and if you go to the Optimus 7's support page, to the the How-to section and check under "update your smartphone" things get interesting.

As you can see in the screen shot above, the page notes that "As of September 2011, a new software version is available for the LG Optimus 7". Scroll down to item number 5 and you see that if you are running OS 7.10.7720.68 you won't need to perform the update.

The page then goes into the steps to complete the update and the obligatory cautionary warnings. When you look at the same page for the HTC Surround, the update information is still referencing 7392 as the current OS version for that Windows Phone.

Telus couldn't make it easy on us and include a day with the month and year. But is this yet another sign that we're close? Fall is only three days away.

Thanks goes out to Brendon for the tip!

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Even though AT&T still has a major hurdles to overcome in their move to buy T-Mobile (Justice Department litigation, customer opposition, litigation from States, etc.) they are still doing their best to pitch this acquisition in a positive light. The latest comes in the form of a leaked internal T-Mobile memo that outlines proper responses to customer questions on the acquisition.

The memo addresses what happens, if the purchase goes through, with T-Mobile customers rate plans and it goes something like this.

Scripted question: "Will my service or bill change due to the AT&T announcement?"

Scripted Answer: "No. While AT&T and T-Mobile have agreed to an acquisition, it will not be finalized for an estimated 12 months. Until that time, T-Mobile customers will not see any significant changes to their current T-Mobile experience as a result of the pending transaction."

The scripted reply continues to say, "If the acquisition is approved AT&T will honor the terms of each T-Mobile customer's contract. T-Mobile customers will be able to keep their rate plans. They will be able to do so for as long as they want to, even when their terms end and the service continues on a month-to-month basis."

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Joe Marini, Windows Phone principle manager at Microsoft, was in the social media spotlight with three tweets that caught the eye of not only his followers, but news sites and readers all around. Geekwire reports that a Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed the news this morning that Marini had left the company he'd joined in 2003, but failed to elaborate on the reasons why.

The first tweet of three in question Joe published was detailing that he was was using a Nokia Windows Phone handset. A fellow Twitter user asked him what he'd rate the device out of 10 and Joe answered with the second tweet, scoring the mysterious handset an 8 and praising the solid feel, good camera, responsive UI, and nice little touches on the body construction. The last tweet posted by Joe was stating what he'd like to see improved, namely the screen size. 

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With WP 7.5 Mango devices already rolling out around the world, like in Japan, Russia and France, it was only a matter of time before developers would be able to submit an update to their apps to work with the latest version of Windows Phone. As announced by Todd Brix on the official Windows Phone Developer Blog, you may now submit your applications to the Windows Phone Mango marketplace. For developers that are submitting updates to their existing apps that run on WP 7.0 the normal caveats apply; existing users with 7.0 devices will not receive the new functionality that comes with Mango-compatible version of your app, but they will be able to continue using the app as it is.

Unfortunately, as we've already known, this is going to be an annoyance for many of our hard-working developers who will want to update their existing apps to WP 7.5, and still update their apps for WP 7.0 users as well. Thankfully, by the end of October, that problem should be all but vanquished. The app submission process will be getting a nice change to provide developers with a dual-update path on their existing apps, meaning that they'll not be limited to adding features only for Mango device owners, but will now have a way to keep supporting their existing 7.0 users.

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This is an interesting report about the continuing rise of interest in Windows Phone. It's amusing to remember the skepticism earlier this year before and after the release of NoDo, yet the platform is still growing at a steady pace and Microsoft has big plans to include the platform with Windows 8 and Xbox to create a unified ecosystem.

Connected Intelligence has reported that Android is the most preferred OS among current smartphone owners and those who intend to purchase a new handset within the next 6 months. 44% of these owners and potential smartphone owners are considering Windows Phone as a credible option.

Check out the press release after the break. 

via: wmpu

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Vodafone group to roll Mango out tomorrow

Nearly a week ago we saw Vodafone Australia announce that they've completed testing of the Mango update and are awaiting Microsoft's green light to roll it out to customers. We now have a report over at Windows Smartphones in Germany that puts September 21st (that's tomorrow) as the planned roll-out day for the Vodafone Group, according to a credible source.

It's almost the fall that Joe Belfiore so graciously reminded us is the time of Mango, so will we see the update heading to Vodafone customers within the next few days? Hopefully so. 

Source: Windows Smartphones (Bing Translate), thanks Matthias for the tip!

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SSH Client released [Mango]

Some really functional apps are appearing for Mango, which is superb news. SSH Client is no different, providing server administrators and geeks the tools to connect via SSH (Secure Shell) to installations. While this is something easily achieved via terminal, it's a feature that I'm sure many would love to see come to Windows Phone.

The app itself supports an on-screen keyboard, private key support, terminal font and the ability to save connections for future use. A paid version is on the way which will include Telnet support, Url parsing, more configurable settings, portrait mode, live tiles for pinning connections, backlog support, customisable click-areas on screen for quick commands, support for common commands including Ctrl, Alt, Esc, Tab, Cursor keys and much more. You can download SSH Client over at the Marketplace.

Thanks for the heads up Tommi!

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Looks like some Xbox LIVE titles are still getting updated for the NoDo and Mango crowd.

The first up is the big hit Tentatcles which was bumped to v1.1 and is now Mangoized with fast-app resume and presumably 60 FPS (hard to tell since the game is not so fast to begin with).  We're also going to bet this includes some of those fixes we reported on earlier. The update can be found here with this Zune link.

The other Xbox LIVE game would be Doodle Jump, which also is bumped to v1.1 but surprsingly it's a NoDo version with some bug fixes (we're working on a exact changlog).  Too bad about the lack of Mango, but we bet the majority of you NoDo users are happy with the update. Doodle Jump can be found here in the Marketplace.

We'll try to get more info on what exactly these updates brought to the table. Stay tuned. Thanks, Cyrus1989, for the tip

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HTC phones to use less metal, more plastic

In an unexpected series of events, news today has HTC reducing the number of smartphones with metal chassis from 60% to 30% in 2012 with a plastic becoming more widely used. The result of the rumors resulted in a 2.1% drop in stock for the smartphone chassis manufacturing company Catcher.

HTC is one of Catcher's largest clients and such a move by HTC could result in a 15-20% reduction in revenues for the chassis builder. No official word from either HTC or Catcher as to why HTC would drop metal from the mix.

Less metal would mean lighter phones and maybe less interference with the phone's reception. There are some rather sturdy plastics out there but if this move to plastic holds true, do you think HTC's build quality will suffer? Does it matter what is used to build the frames as long as it will hold up to the daily grind?

source: Digitimes via: wmpu

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Yes, in the first for an Xbox LIVE game, Parachute Panic also picked up a double-sided Live Tile with that latest Mango update. Now that we received the complete changelog from the company, we were able to verfify that indeed, it shows your highest score achieved on one side, the regular icon on the other.

Sure, it's not the biggest deal in the world, but between the ringtone that they gave us and this, FDG has kind of outdone themselves. In fact, we think all Xbox LIVE games should do this. Here's the rest of the changelog, most of which we already knew:

  • Live Tile support (shows the current highscore in the Tile)
  • Fast App Switching
  • 60fps
  • Exclusive Ringtone for our WP7 fans
  • Tons of bugs and minor issues fixed
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The developers of the Windows Phone weather app, Photoweather, have a new weather app in the works for Windows Phone Mango. At this point, we aren't sure if this will be an update to Photoweather or a stand alone app. The app is close to being submitted for certification and while there are a few bugs present, we thought we'd offer you a preview of Photoweather Live.

For those not familiar, Photoweather is a basic weather app for your Windows Phone. Photoweather not only offers you the current conditions and forecast for your selected city but also photos of local attractions. Photoweather Live will bring Mango features into the mix but as well as giving things a bit of a face lift. Instead of having all the information displayed on one page, you now have the same information spread out across three pages.

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For those developers who will be attending the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011 (website), happening from October 3-6 in Anaheim, CA, you'll want to grab the official app for that event.

"With MySPC mobile you can browse or search for conference session information, view event maps, build your personal event schedule, fill in session evaluations and more. MySPC mobile automatically syncs your personal schedule with the conference website so you can view or build it in either place..

MySPC mobile will also work offline, so if you are stuck without a data connection or WiFi you can still see your schedule or find sessions to attend"

Sounds pretty killer to us, so why wouldn't you grab this? The app is NoDo ready, so anyone can use this. Pick it up here in the Marketplace.

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Nokia World is akin to Microsoft's BUILD or MIX events--think developers, rallying the troops, showing off the next big thing from the company. This year, Nokia World is happening in London in October and clearly all eyes will be on Nokia to see what they have up their sleeves. With their stock not performing to well and the obvious lag between Symbian and new Windows Phones, everyone is expecting Nokia to show off their first Mango device next month at this event.

The guest speaker list for said show has just been revealed and sure enough, we get a who's who from Microsoft and the Windows Phone team who will be there, presumably to not only show us Nokia's new phone but what Nokia has done with the OS and services--which is really the big story, after all.

So who will be there? Joe Belfiore, who oversees Windows Phone Program Management, Albert Shum, Director of Mobile Experience Design at Microsoft and Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s Bing and MSN head for the first day keynotes. On day two, Brandon Watson, Senior Director of Windows Phone 7 development and Matthew Bencke, General Manager of Developer and Marketplace will be on hand for some talks. And finally Achim Berg, Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketing chief will be part of a roundtable panel discussion with Nokia CEO Stephen Elop with Vodafone and Orange on day three.

Sounds like an exciting month as we're sure Nokia and Microsoft will unveil what they've been doing for the last eight months.

via WinRumors

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This morning there was a bit of a false alarm as a private beta link for WhatsApp made its way around the 'nets. The app is clearly close to being released and for all intents and purposes, is done.

Someone managed to rip the XAP from the private Marketplace (you can rip free apps using a number of Windows programs) and we went ahead and sideloaded it to see what all the fuss was about. So quick take:

  • For Mango only (fully integrates with your Contacts DB)
  • Very fast, smooth UI with fast app resume
  • Push Notifications
  • Minimalist almost sparse UI
  • Very few features or bells and whistles
  • You can message, share location and send images
  • No landscape support (at least in this version, perhaps this will change upon final release)
  • Green checks seem to indicate sent/received status--not as rich as Kik's system though

The app in our opinion is exactly like Kik Messenger but a little more boring. It feels like they rushed it through a bit, which would not be surprising. However, it is fast and smooth, meaning a lot of folks will like its "to the point" design. We just hope it gets landscape support on release as that'd be pretty nasty for messaging on our Focus. Check out the video to see it in action.

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