Articles

Thinking of You

For all of those with a significant other and two Windows Phones, you'll want to check out Thinking of You by Quinn Damerell. Damerell is also the developer of the super popular Reddit app, Baconit, which just received a fantastic update.

Thinking of You is a secure personal messaging app the allows you keep in contact with your latest beau. The service which is free, works by connecting two Windows Phones via a personalized PIN. The service then pushes messages between two devices by connecting to a server for Toast and Push notifications.

It's cute, quaint, secure and free. The service doesn't maintain the messages on the server and get this, if you "break the connection" i.e. you get dumped, the app will automatically erase the messages on both devices. That's good news for those worried about their SMS messages coming back to haunt them later.

Thinking of You

The app is fairly limited with just text being able to be sent (no photos, no location information) and you can only have one-secure connection at a time (sorry, swingers). It works well and there's even a prefab "Thinking of you!" message to quickly send to your loved one without all that effort making is a niche but well-done app.

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Best Buy

The low-cost Nokia Lumia 710 on prepaid

We haven't followed the whole pre-paid plan scene as much as we probably should here at Windows Phone Central. Blame it on our contract-centric culture but for a lot of folks, prepaid plans are brilliant--low cost and no commitment with a contract is a great idea for many (especially if you're holding off for Windows Phone 8 this fall).

Best Buy who's no stranger to the mobile phone biz is now offering the Nokia Lumia 710 (see review) for $299. That's actually $50 more than what T-Mobile sells it for ($249.99) but you do get the brick-n-mortar presentation and perhaps a few impulse buys. 

WP Central

Either way, it's good to see Windows Phone joining the popular Android devices on prepaid plans, especially the 710 which is a fantastic starter-phone. For those on AT&T, however, there's no such luck despite the carrier having the largest Windows Phone selection around.

Thanks, @cagmanthing/Manny, for the photo

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Foursquare

The official Foursquare app still focuses on Check-ins

A few interesting tidbits about the official Foursquare app for Windows Phone that you may be interested in on this lazy Sunday. Even though we swear by 4th & Mayor, some of you like the unique design of the Foursquare app even if it's a tad slow by comparison.

Today the app has an update to version 2.11 which is certainly fairly minor but still important. The first one is that it now runs on devices with 256MB of RAM aka "Tango phones" like the Lumia 610. While less than 2% of the apps of the Marketplace are non-Tango optimized they tend to be some big titles (mostly Xbox LIVE games), so it's nice to get that nod. 

The second update is the more vague "bug fixes" which will hopefully address some issues some of you may have had recently.

Perhaps the bigger news (and non-surprising) is the official Foursquare app has not been update to the new "5.0" system like Android and iOS. Those apps were completely rebuilt and re-coded from the ground up with Check-ins losing their primary status for the service. That's right, most users evidently weren't even using Foursquare for check-ins but rather recommendations of nearby locations.

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Xbox Live Arcade Games: Windows Phone Central's favorites from E3 2012

With so many Xbox Live Arcade games on display at E3 this year, it’s tough narrowing down just which ones are our favorites. We’ve already treated you to footage and interviews of Skulls of the Shogun and Ascend: New Gods, both of which are also coming to Windows Phone with connectivity features. Now it’s time to share a few XBLA games that don’t currently have mobile ports in the works but should definitely be on any console gamer’s radar. We spoke with the developers of all three titles: Double Dragon: Neon, Retro City Rampage, and Pid and came away extremely impressed.

Head past the break for more gameplay footage and our full Double Dragon: Neon producer interview!

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For Windows Phone gamers, the most exciting moment of Microsoft’s E3 2012 press conference was the announcement of Ascend: New Gods, an upcoming XBLA and Windows Phone title from Signal Studios. Boasting impressively detailed graphics and a smattering of graphic violence, it certainly caught our eyes. Later on during the Expo we had the pleasure of speaking with lead designer Ian Scott as we played the Xbox Live Arcade version of the game. Even better, he went on to detail Ascend’s cross-platform connectivity.

Head past the break for more Ascend hands-on gameplay footage and Windows Phone connectivity details!

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WP Central

Today, Microsoft threw the doors open to their Freehold, NJ store marking yet another feather in the growing chain's cap. While we're always excited to see another Store open up, especially on the East coast, what makes this opening just a tad hilarious is the curious Apple employees who evidently showed up.

As it is well known, Microsoft has been opening their stores wherever Apple has theirs (including our own location) and perhaps setting up for some interesting drama. In this case, reader Trav sent us the above photo of the brave Apple employees who were checking the competition.

Hey, we don't begrudge Apple and we more than welcome them to the fold even if for just a visit. 

Thanks, Trav, for the tip

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Nokia Lumia ESPN App updated, routine maintenance?

There were a few tips in the Inbox this morning that the Nokia ESPN app was updated overnight. Sure enough, when we turned on our Lumia 900 the update notification was sitting there waiting to be acknowledged.

Beyond that, there's not much more to say. The update takes the ESPN app to version 2.2 and appears to be a maintenance styled update. The Nokia ESPN app does seem to have a little more pep in its step after the update.

Then again, was UEFA Euro 2012 always in the list on the Sports Page?

Seeing that there's not much out there on the update, we thought we'd share a new video ad that Nokia is running on their Youtube Channel highlighting both the ESPN app and the Lumia 900. If anyone notices anything new with the update, please sound off in the comments.

If you haven't downloaded the Nokia ESPN app, simply go the Marketplace on your Lumia Windows Phone and go to the Nokia Collection.

Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

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WP Central

Microsoft has finally answered the call and opened up a Cafe Press store for Windows Phone stuff. Tee shirts, coffee mugs, a Thermos, glasses, you name it the Windows Phone Gear store has it.

You can head over to the site http://www.cafepress.com/windowsphone now and start ordering yourself or loved ones wares splashed with the "I Heart Windows Phone" logo. Oddly enough, it's the old logos with the non-Mango looking icons.

The prices are not exactly cheap being Cafe Press but hey, if you want to look the part you have to pay up, we suppose. 

Thanks, Rodney, for the tip!

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WP Central

Battling the Kraken

The mobile Xbox Live lineup is getting better and better lately. This week we got Battleship, the first Live game with true online multiplayer, and next week’s game… Wait for it… Final Fantasy I from Square Enix! Why Microsoft chose not to demo the game at E3, we’ll never know.

Final Fantasy will be the first traditional RPG in the Windows Phone lineup. A direct port of the iPhone game which was a port of the PSP game which was a remake of the original Famicom version – it’s like seven degrees of Kevin Bacon but with black mages and imps. Players will assemble a party of four warriors from a pool of iconic classes and then set out to save the world from the dastardly Elemental Fiends. Overworld and underworld navigation utilizes a funky-looking virtual pad for movement while the battles are more tap-focused. Numerous hours of role-playing goodness will ensue.

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One of the biggest highlights of E3 2012 for us has been playing Skulls of the Shogun on Windows Phone and Xbox Live Arcade and meeting two of its creators at 17-BIT. Skulls is an amazingly beautiful and accessible turn-based strategy game in development for XBLA, Windows 8, and Windows Phone. Yesterday we posted our Windows Phone impressions; today we follow up with an interview and in-depth demonstration of the XBLA game in action. (The color shifting in the interview video is due to fancy overhead lights on the show floor.)

Head past the break for more Skulls of the Shogun details and gameplay footage!

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Turbo Camera for Windows Phone

Some time ago we reviewed the Windows Phone camera app Turbo Camera. It's an app that brings a rather fun burst mode to your Windows Phone camera that can capture images at a rate as high as thirty frames per second. Since our review, the app has climbed to the top twenty apps in the Marketplace and is currently the number one camera app in the Marketplace. Turbo Camera is available in twenty-nine Marketplace countries and is doing rather well in each.

Turbo Camera

Along with its popularity and success, Turbo Camera has also seen a few updates improving performance and bringing new features to the table. The latest update, version 1.7, adds the following features to Turbo Camera.

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From the Forums: Games Spotlight

WP Central

With all the new games coming out at E3 we are getting a good look at the future of games on Windows Phone. That’s great for the future but what about now. Where can we go to learn about games available today? We have the answer to that question in our forum.

Many developers are making their game content available for us to enjoy, review and offer feedback on. It’s all happening right here in our Games Spotlight area. Our developers want us to help them create the best game possible. They are posting information on these games in this area hoping we will download them and do just that.

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Microsoft Booth E3 2012

Microsoft's booth at E3 was massive

Now that we're home from the fray of E3 2012 and seeing as we now have working internet (shakes fist), we figured we would show you some of our photos from Microsoft's presence at the giant gaming and entertainment conference.

Needless to say, Microsoft had one of the largest and most busy sections at of the whole conference. For instance had you wanted to try the Halo 4 demo you would have had to wait 2.5 hours in line just to get a shot. Yowza.

 

Microsoft Booth E3 2012

Life size replica of the Halo Warthog

And yes as you can see after the break in our photo gallery, Windows Phone was there too. No, it didn't dominate but it was certainly there and people were playing with the Xbox LIVE games and seemed to enjoy the experience. Mobile in general at E3 is still a very tiny percentage of the conference, regardless of platform. But every year it grows a bit more and so far, the majority of those games are on iOS.

Here's hoping to Windows Phone 8 and E3 2013!

Check out our complete photo gallery after the break. (Maybe later we'll post some non-Microsoft shots as there were some very cool displays)

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Nokia's giving away a few Purity Headsets

Nokia Purity HD and Stereo Headsets

Nokia is having another giveaway contest over on Facebook. This time they are giving away three Nokia Purity Stereo headsets (in-ear) and three Nokia Purity HD Stereo headsets (over ear).

Entering for your chance is about as easy as it gets. Just head over to this Facebook page, tap the enter button, fill in the blanks and your done.  When you submit your entry, you can choose the style and color of headsets you prefer.

Closing date for entries is June 14, 2012 at 16:00BST (British Summer Time). If my time conversions are correct, that would be 11am EST on the 14th. Winners will be contacted by June 28, 2012 by email. Good luck everyone!

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One thing we can all agree on is the need for more mobile Xbox Live games that let us shoot things. Thankfully Glu Mobile is on the case. The noted freemium publisher will follow up Gun Bros on Windows Phone with a more realistic shooting game: Contract Killer. We had the pleasure of demoing it at E3 2012 today and came away impressed.

Contract Killer places players in control of a mafia sniper. From the map screen hub you’ll choose from a variety of missions or visit the shop. The actual missions come to life via detailed 3D graphics. Aiming at your unknowing targets is as simple as swiping the screen in the desired direction. Once you have them lined up, fire and ruin your enemies’ day!

Contract Killer

Each mission costs a certain amount of energy to take on. Energy restores over time, but you can also purchase snacks with Microsoft Points and get right back in the action. As with Glu Mobile’s other freemium titles, the PDLC is completely optional and simply a way to get through the game quicker while showing your support for the developers. Programmers gotta eat!

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Who says you can’t find mobile games at E3? A few days ago, Windows Phone Central met with Mike DeLaet and Jason Enriquez of Glu Mobile to discuss their upcoming mobile Xbox Live games. The first title they demonstrated for us is Gun Bros, which we revealed in April.

Gun Bros is a top-down twin-stick shooter somewhat reminiscent of arcade classic Smash TV. Players choose from one of two titular brahs, outfit them with an arsenal of high-tech weapons and armor, and then fly to one of several planets and start filling hostile aliens full of equally hostile ordinance. Don’t worry; the aliens are actually big jerks and they totally have it coming.

By completing missions you’ll earn both XP and Xplodium, a rare mineral. XP leads to leveling up, opening access to better equipment. Xplodium can be processed and used to purchase said equipment and items. Of course, Gun Bros is a freemium title and players can purchase even shinier guns and things with Microsoft Points. You won’t have to purchase credits to enjoy the game though.

Gun Bros has passed certification and should launch very soon. We highly recommend trying the PC version for free right now using Google’s Chrome browser – after a few minutes you’ll see why we’re dying to play it more on the go.

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India to see Lumia 900, Lumia 610 and Pureview in Q3

Nokia India announced today at the Nokia Strategy Summit in Chennai that its Lumia 900 and Lumia 610 handsets will be coming to India sometime in Q3 of this year. The pair of Lumias will fulfill the desires of both those looking for a high-end powerhouse phone, in the Lumia 900, and those in the market for something more economical, the toned-down 610. Both phones run Windows Phone Refresh (aka Tango), but are much different in the hardware department. While the 4.3-inch Lumia 900 packs a 1.4 GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 8 mega-pixel and 16GB of storage, the 610 has a 3.7-inch LCD, 800MHz processor, 256MB RAM, 8GB of storage and a 5MP camera. Neither a concrete arrival date, nor pricing, were revealed for either device.

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Windows Phone Photo Panorama Round-up

Windows Phone Central Panorama Roundup

With the recent release of Microsoft's Photosynth to the Windows Phone Marketplace, there's really no excuse for anyone not to capture decent panoramic images. Photosynth joins a nice collection of in-house panorama apps and a decent third party app. But how do these panorama tools measure up against one another?

We took our handy-dandy tripod out to see if one shined brighter than the other. There's really not a bad panorama app in the lot but a few lined up a little better than others.

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With Mayhem, Windows Phone users can make a custom remote control for virtually anything

Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group has a little project going on that allows you to connect your Windows Phone to various services through a wide range of devices that includes your Windows Phone.  The basic operation of the Mayhem project is creating and connecting a trigger reaction to a desired reaction.

For example, with Mayhem you can turn your Windows Phone into a remote control (using the Mayhem Remote app) for your computer to control a PowerPoint presentation or to control the playback controls for a  video. Mayhem enables you to connect everything to everything else from the comfort of your Windows Phone, computer, Kinect, or even an Xbox controller.

Mayhem is open source, provided through the Outcurved Foundation, to allow developers and users to expand its capabilities. There's even a contest to see what creative add-ons can be developed for a chance to wing $3,000. You can find all the details on the Mayhem Contest here (submissions must be made by midnight PST on June 30th) at the Mayhem contest page.

The applications for Mayhem are endless and really opens up the potential of your Windows Phone. You can learn more about Mayhem and download the Mayhem Windows application here at the Mayhem Website. The Mayhem Remote for your Windows Phone can be snatched up here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. It's all free and full of potential.

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Reminder: gMaps Pro free on Friday

gMaps Pro for Windows Phone

While gMaps Pro vanished from the Marketplace a few weeks ago, it's back but with a slight snag. After dealing with copyright issues and re-branding/updating things, the app was restored to the Windows Phone Marketplace as a new submission. This basically means that if you had previously purchased gMaps Pro, you won't be eligible for any future updates without re-purchasing the app.

To ease the pain of the situation and to celebrate the Marketplace reaching 100,000 apps Alexey Strakh, gMaps Pro's developer, will be offering gMaps Pro (regularly $1.99) as a free app for tomorrow (Friday, June 8th) only.

We have to tip our hat to Alexey for trying to make the best of a not-so-good situation. For those who purchased gMaps Pro before it was removed, nows your chance to get the current version.  This will enable you to stay current with all the updates as they become available without the need to re-purchase the app. Everyone else... you get a heck of a deal on a nice mapping app.

You can find gMaps Pro here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. We aren't sure when the pricing change will kick in so if you don't see it right away on Friday, check back later.

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Dark Knight Rises Nokia Lumia 710 cases surface

Dark Knight Rises Lumia 710 Covers

There's already a strong Nokia Lumia connection with the upcoming Dark Knight Rises movie with the limited edition Lumia 900 (and Lumia 800) Windows Phone. It now appears that the Lumia 710 is getting into the action.

These Xpress-on covers surfaced at a local T-Mobile Store and are being handed out with new purchases (while supplies last). The Dark Knight Rises logo resembles one of the tattoo images we ran across a few months ago.

Not sure if this is a regional promotion, a store exclusive, or a case where someone had a surplus of covers and got creative. If you've seen the Dark Knight Rises Xpress-on Covers in your area, feel free to sound off in the comments. Should we learn more on these Batman Lumia 710 covers, we'll pass it on.

Thanks, Brandon, for the tip and pics!

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Windows Phone App Hub

For those developers with App Hub accounts can now register (unlocked) a Windows Phone to their App Hub account even if it was unlocked by another account. For those not familiar, a registered Windows Phone basically allows developers to side load apps that are in the works to their Windows Phone for testing.  This gives developers a lot more flexibility such as borrowing/sharing various Windows Phones for compatibility testing.

App Hub Registration Fix

Additionally, the registration of the device expires annually and used to require re-registration from the original account. Now, all developers need to do is re-register the Windows Phone from an active App Hub account.  For more information on starting an App Hub Account, you can find all the details here at the App Hub Website.

Source: App Hub Forum

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Twitter

The official Twitter app has been updated to version 1.4, but we're not entirely sure what's changed or if anything has been added. From what we can gather, Live Tiles and notifications are still a no-no, there's no sight of the new Twitter logo, but we've received reports of backend adjustments as speed and reliability have been improved.

The versions have appeared to increase from 1.2.4331.15424 to 1.2.4525.19177, so your guess is as good as ours when it comes to what exactly if going on. Do let us know in the comments should you notice anything in the new version.

You can download the official Twitter app from the Marketplace for free.

Thanks to everyone for tipping us!

QR: Twitter

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Nokia Lumia 900 chosen by Woodcraft Rangers

While the Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone was the fleet phone of choice for Bridgestone Australia, the Nokia Lumia 900 has been tapped as the phone for the Woodcraft Rangers. What is a Woodcraft Ranger you ask?

Woodcraft Rangers is a Los Angeles, California based non-profit organization that provides educational and enrichment programs to over 16,500 youths from in-need neighborhoods. Founded in 1922, the Woodcraft Rangers provides after school programs for children in kindergarten through high school.

Why the Lumia 900? The organization was looking for an option to re-purpose their Blackberry servers in order to save money and needed an efficient, easy to use option that could integrate with existing IT infrastructure. David Lara, IT Administrator for Woodcraft Rangers stated,

"Additionally, our site coordinators like the big, bright Live Tiles, the Lumia's large screen and we liked the seamless integration to our Office Suite."

The sturdy construction of the Lumia 900 also stood out to Lara. Ultimately the organization opted for the Cyan Lumia 900 for its ninety employees. According to Lara the Cyan color was preferred over the black because the cyan stood out more, making the phone easier to find.

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NASCAR Live making the turn on the Marketplace

NASCAR Live for Windows Phone

If you follow NASCAR, check out NASCAR Live over in the Windows Phone Marketplace. The lays out everything NASCAR rather nicely on your Windows Phone with pages for News, Races, Rankings, Videos, and a page with links to NASCAR, Driver and Truck (team) Tweets.

NASCAR Live

Additional features for NASCAR Live include:

  • Live race details for both NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide tours
  • Ability to create a secondary tile for any race
  • Detail list of upcoming races
  • Detailed driver information.

Completed races will display the final positions for the drivers. The only thing I can think is missing is a map of each track that NASCAR races on and maybe live broadcasts (that may be asking for too much though). Otherwise, NASCAR Live is a fairly comprehensive application for your Windows Phone.

NASCAR Live is a free, ad-supported app that you can find here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

via: wmpoweruser

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