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WP Central

We just got word from a reader that a Microsoft Store is officially "coming soon" to the Florida Mall in Orlando, FL. This news makes the unofficial list of opening Microsoft Stores, which we previously published, look more likely to become reality. We expect the store that's currently behind the colourful set of tiles to open some time later this year to join the one that's also going up in Boston.

According to the Mall map, and if we're reading it correctly in relation to the image that was sent in to us, the Microsoft Store is set to open slap bang next to an existing Apple Store.

WP Central

Thanks, Michael, for sending in the photo!

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Well, well, well. Would you look at that? An extremely attractive upcoming title from Ubisoft was unveiled yesterday with a handful of trailers being released on the web. The above introduction trailer gives us a tease at the foundations of Watch Dogs without revealing much at all (be sure to look at the gameplay video for more details).

But this is Windows Phone Central, so we have to tie in Windows Phone somewhere regarding this console and PC title, right? Correct, check out the above trailer and be sure to pay close attention at 2:14 onwards. You'll witness the camera pan out revealing what appears to be a Windows Phone. Take a look at our still image below for a clearer view of the time in the system tray and "more apps" arrow.

WP Central

While not major news, and the smartphone used in the game video demonstration sports a grid layout of app icons, it's a little something to wrap up an eventful Microsoft appearance at E3.

Thanks to Mark, Xavier and Ronny for the tips!

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Xbox Entertainment E3 demonstration [Video]

If the information and videos in our E3 2012 Summary weren't enough to quench your thirst for content surrounding Xbox Entertainment, fear not as we've got the above video for you giving a run through of what will be possible with Xbox, Windows and Windows Phone.

Our own Mateo wrote up a great editorial on how Microsoft is bringing all the platforms together with "3 screens, 1 voice", which is well worth checking out if you're interested in making the most of your Microsoft ecosystem.

We'll certainly be looking forward to the fall when all these great announcements come together. Xbox Music, Video, TV, Sports, Internet Explorer, SmartGlass, and more. The best part is Windows Phone will be right there in the mist of the integration.

Source: YouTube

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One thing about Microsoft that we actually like but some of you bemoan: they cater to everyone and every platform, sometimes even Android. Today Microsoft is unveiling  on{X} (pronounced on-ex) for Android devices and presumably no one else just yet.

The app is essence runs prefab scripts on the phone, using things like the gyroscope/accelerometer, GPS location or just plain old time-alarms. In other words, you can have the phone remind you to call someone when you're leaving the office (alarm + GPS) or start your music when you when running,  which we suppose can add a dramatic tune if you're beeing chased by some bad guys.

Windows Phone actually has a something similar already which is called TouchDevelop. It's not nearly as powerful but it is certainly fun to play with.

WP Central

The on{X} system is both an app and web-based client which you use to configure ready-made templates which are then synced to the phone. It seems easy enough to use and once again it goes to show you how powerful smart devices can actually be when all of those sensors are utilized. 

Okay, so why Android first? It's actually a funny and well known reason: Android has a "less strict security model" (translation: you can hack it and violate user privacy very easily), in turn Microsoft sees Android as a decent, mass test bed for experimental apps since they can cut corners on security.

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WP Central

This is a massive spell of Déjà vu, folks. With what happened last time, we'll recommend taking this story with a whole mine of salt.

It seems Orange in Switzerland is potentially going through the same issue as O2 Germany last month by confirming that a Lumia 900 32GB version is actually on the way.

O2 Germany previously stated on Twitter that they would be stocking the 32GB version and it was also listed on the website. They then subsequently smashed all hope and dreams by following-up with a "Sorry guys, typo error" announcement. With that in mind, let's not get too excited about what's happening over at Orange, for now anyway.

A reader of the French community MonWindowsPhone got in touch with Orange Switzerland to query if they know of said Lumia 900 version, the response was a confirmation. Now, we're not ones to continuously approach every rumour with skepticism, but this is all down on a reader contacting a carrier representative.

Plus, we've got a response from Nokia UK stating they have no knowledge of a Lumia 900 sporting 32GBs of storage. We'll continue to sit on the fence for now, but that's not to say we can't see Nokia launching a 32GB version in the future, especially with Windows Phone "Apollo" on the way.

via: MonWindowsPhone; thanks, Max, for the heads up!

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E3 2012 - The dazzling cars of Forza Horizon

Forza Horizon

One of the Xbox 360 games revealed during Microsoft’s press conference yesterday is Forza Horizon, the latest entry in the popular Forza Motorsport racing game series. After releasing four simulation-oriented installments from Turn 10 Studios, Playground Games is in charge of this more accessible spin-off. We don’t know much about the gameplay other than it will be open-road based instead of focusing on closed tracks like previous games. The change in direction could be just what the Forza series needs – until the fifth numbered game comes along for the next Xbox console (as some of us predict).

To celebrate Forza Horizon’s announcement, Microsoft is showing off two very beautiful sports cars here at E3. Head past the break for more lovely photographs.

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Windows Phone Marketplace hits 100,000 apps!

WP Central

According to data published by AllAboutWindowsPhone, using their in-house Marketplace tracking system, the Windows Phone Marketplace now boasts a healthy catalogue of apps / games. 100,000 to be almost precise. It has taken just 20 months to accumulate the total, which is four months quicker than Android, but slightly behind iOS at 16 months. Data shows that approximately 300 apps are being added to the Marketplace on a daily basis.

The chart below takes us through the submission numbers per-month since Windows Phone officially launched back in October 2010. What's clear to see is the substantial increase in 2012 compared to numbers from 2011. Of course, out of the 100,000 available apps, there are a number (estimated at around 10,000) that aren't available to consumers, due to Microsoft and / or the developer pulling content. But it's not always about quantity, right?

WP Central

AAWP have noted in their report that UK and US data show a stable 12% of apps being of some quality - taking into account apps and games that are frequently downloaded and rated numerous (more than five) times. It's relatively difficult to judge how many available apps are useful to consumers and are not spam, but the report does suggest that Windows Phone is no different to competitor platforms. In the end, there'll always be crap in the Marketplace. 

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Zune and Xbox websites announce arrival of Xbox Music

Zune making way for XBox Music

Coming off a big presentation yesterday at E3 2012, Microsoft has updated both the Zune and XBox websites to introduce Xbox Music. Xbox Music will replace Zune as the Microsoft-branded music service. The Zune page comes in the form of a simple FAQ and offers very little information other than the fact that XBox Music will bring new ways to and share across Xbox, Windows and Windows Phone. The FAQ also ensures current Zune Pass subscribers that they will continue to have access to their subscriptions through the new service.

Over on Xbox's site, you will find a snazzy video that offers a quick glimpse of what's to come, a ubiquitous music service that works across platforms. In the video, a woman listening on a tablet, only to plunk down on the couch and bring her playlist up on her Xbox, clearly depicting the newly-touted Xbox Smartglass, announced yesterday at E3. There are also shots of social media features, like seeing what  friends are listening to, and discovering new music through Smart DJ.

All in all, if you have been using Zune, there isn't too much that is new here, with the exception of Xbox Smartglass, but it's a fun little pep rally of sorts.

Source: Microsoft

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WP Central

While the developers of the popular Windows Phone word game Wordament have been busy adding new language support and building a Windows 8 Xbox Live-enabled version, the team have managed to get an update packaged for Windows Phone that should be hitting the Marketplace very soon. So what's new in Wordament version 1.1?

By popular request from players, the system tray (the status bar at the top of your Windows Phone screen) will now be displayed after it was previously removed when the game was Live enabled. In the official blog post detailing these improvements, there's a humorous explanation that the developers received numerous reports from users who missed classes, trains, etc. because they couldn't see the time while hooked on the addictive gameplay. The time, battery and signal indicators, and more will now be accessible.

As well as the system tray reintroduction, the team will also be adding an option in-game to change the orange brand-driven background to a more neutral colour for those who detest the mashup of red and yellow. The choice will be colourful rainbows or monochrome madness, both looking pretty sweet in the Metro UI influenced title.

WP Central

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Nokia Maps updated to version 2.0

WP Central

Nokia has released an update for the Maps app found on Lumia Windows Phones. The app, which was previously updated to version 1.3 back in March, is now much more socially integrated with the backend of Nokia Maps, using Nokia accounts. Users can add photos, reviews and descriptions of locations, which will subsequently be available to other users on devices or at maps.nokia.com

Everyone has a favourite place in mind so Nokia has added synchronisation for user favourites across the service. Any locations listed as a favourite on Windows Phone will be present on the web, as well as the mobile version available on competitor handsets. Locations, categories and destinations can also be pinned to the home screen on a Lumia Windows Phone for more convenient access.

You can download Nokia Maps from the Nokia Collection on a Lumia Windows Phone or if you're reading this article from your Lumia Windows Phone, just tap on this link to go to the Marketplace listing.

Source: Nokia; Thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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Summing up the Microsoft E3 Presentation

WP Central

Phew! It's been a hectic morning / afternoon / evening for those who tuned into Microsoft's E3 media briefing presentation, which showcased Halo 4, Xbox SmartGlass, Nike+, Internet Explorer for Xbox, and more. Should you find yourself being in the dark and didn't manage to catch the broadcast that was streamed a few hours ago, fear not as we have you covered from the floor.

So what was announced? From top games to new sport media sources, there's a lot planned for Xbox this year and beyond. Head on past the break with a coffee and supply of biscuits.

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WP Central

Xbox SmartGlass is Microsoft’s strategic move against Apple’s Airplay system (and preemptively against Google TV); it’s an evolution for your Windows Phone, Windows Desktop and Windows 8 Tablets. Why is it the evolution? Because Microsoft’s ecosystem is growing and they are focusing on inter-connectivity with all of their devices (and even those outside of their branding).  No phone left behind, no tablet ignored, no Desktop chained down. Windows 8 is bringing a fresh look and giving users a better feeling experience while they use these devices. 

Microsoft is effectively making their move to make your involvement a complete one with any of their devices. It’s a smart move because Windows 8 may be challenging for some people to learn and get used to. SmartGlass will give people the confidence in Windows 8, that it will not be another Vista, it is changing for the better. It's a straight up consumer feature.

Here’s the breakdown on how each device will pair with Xbox SmartGlass:

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gMaps Pro returns to the Marketplace (Updated)

gMaps Pro for Windows Phone

A few weeks ago, at Google's request, gMaps Pro was pulled from the Windows Phone Marketplace due to a copyright infringement request.

According to the developer Alexey Strakh, gMaps Pro was originally to be hidden from the open Marketplace while the app was re-branded. For some reason (Alexey notes a problem with Microsoft)  the app wasn't hidden and eventually pulled. Gmaps was flagged for violating Google's trademarks, something we reported on earlier as other apps had the same problem.

The skinny of it all is that gMaps Pro v1.23 is now available on the Marketplace but upgrades from previous versions are not possible without paying for the updated version. Because it was pulled or deleted from the Marketplace, v1.23 is considered a new app creation and updates to the old versions not possible.

gMaps Pro

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WP Central

Slacker Radio has announced plans to arrive on the Xbox 360. The service, which is already available on Windows Phone (see our review), will bring  music and content to Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers. The free radio app will be made available on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace and will pack Kinect features for gestures and voice commands to be supported.

Over 200 music stations are included in the lineup, with the likes of ESPN and ABC News headlining the selection. Each station can be personalised, ensuring a unique and relevant experience is possible for each user. The catalogue of not only music, but comedy, news and sport content makes Slacker Radio a varied experience with a reportedly 10x larger selection than Pandora.

Check out the press release after the break.

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WP Central

Today, in conjunction with the plethora of E3 announcements, Microsoft has revealed the final plans for the June 20th Dev Summit happening in San Francisco. 

The event initially spanned a couple of days but is now down to one and while details are unannounced, Microsoft teased that this will be a "a sneak peek of of the future of Windows Phone". That can of course only mean one thing, Windows Phone 8 aka Apollo will be revealed, at least in part.

In speaking with some publishers here today, we can expect some demonstrations of some new games for the new OS as well as details for developers. Windows Phone 8 is thought to be introducing 4 display resolutions, dual-core support, native access for gaming, integrated Skype, NFC and other more "high end" features in addition to a new base layer for the OS. Make no mistake, this is a new OS not just an update.

The big questions on everyone's minds revolve around device updates and how much of a "break from the old" developers should expect. No word if this summit will answer all of those questions but at least we'll get a "sneak peek" of what's to come.

Of course, myself and Rafael Rivera will be there to cover the event, providing perspective of what the new changes mean in layman terms. So stay tuned.

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7Dialer celebrates recent update by going on sale

7Dialer for Windows Phone

JDBPocketware, developers of the Windows Phone app Handyscan and SkyManager, have been hard at work improving another one of their apps. To celebrate their hard work on 7Dialer, they're putting the app on sale.

7Dialer is is a utility dialer that allows you to use the dial pad to pull a listing of your contacts that correspond with the letters dialed. On top of that, there is a tabbed page that you can use to pin frequently called contacts.

7Dialer

Additional features with 7Dialer include:

  • Copy and Paste numbers or contact details
  • Automatic contacts syncing
  • Options to call, SMS or email
  • "Call Later" reminders
  • Custom backgrounds for dialer
  • Dial pad sounds
  • Live Tile support
  • Call timers

The dialpad sounds range from the traditional tap sounds to a lightsaber. In just tinkering with 7Dialer, it comes across as a nice alternative to the traditional Windows Phone dialer.

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WP Central

Microsoft held a fairly eventful press presentation at this year's E3, which saw the company unveil new services related to their best selling game console - the Xbox 360. More on these new services later, for now let's get through Xbox SmartGlass. As we previously covered, Xbox SmartGlass will connect the gaming console to other devices, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone as well as competitor platforms (Android and iOS). Think of the Xbox Companion app, but on steroids.

Apps developed for all supported platforms will enable users to control their Xbox 360 and interact with services on the big screen. Microsoft is attempting to transform the bog-standard home television into a Smart TV with the power and connectivity to pull down rich media content from the Internet. As mentioned above, SmartGlass will work with other Windows platforms, but will also be available for iPhone / iPad and Android devices. 

Example: should you happen to be watching a movie while on the go and would like to continue where you left off on the big screen, SmartGlass will enable you to resume the video on the Xbox 360. Gaming will also be taken to a new level with integrated through SmartGlass. A short demonstration was provided in the presentation with the upcoming title Halo 4. Halo Waypoint will come into play by offering lore information on in-game elements, as well as turning the mobile device into a companion device with match requests from friends being accepted on the handset, and then synchronised while in-game on the Xbox.

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WP Central

Attention all Windows Phone users! Liquid Daffodil, the developer brand behind the likes of glƏƏk!, ...I'm a WP7, among other popular apps, has made all apps available for free through June 7th. Starting today, you'll be able to make a saving of $6.96 (£5.36) should you download every app on offer. Why has this deal been applied? ...I’m a WP7! has been awarded 'Best Free App' in the 2012 WP App List Awards, as well as coming 2nd in 'App of the Year'.

A quick recap on what apps are now available for free from the developer:

As illustrated by the image above, this deal will end on June 7th at 7am (PST). Find the QR codes below (in order of appearance above).

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Microsoft Xbox E3 Liveblog!

WP Central

We're here in Los Angeles for Microsoft's big Xbox announcements. Stay tuned as we report the morning's events and you can join in and share your thoughts.

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WP Central

WPDang has reported that the Lumia 900 is set to be released in China on June 16th, which will please those who skipped past the 800c launch to see when the manufacturer was looking to release its more advance brother. The flagship Nokia Windows Phone will be priced to match the iPhone, which is currently around 4,988 CNY (about $780).

While the Windows Phone has been unofficially available since its launch in the U.S., this version will be stripped of certain services and functionality (Xbox LIVE, etc.) Priced at 4,688 CNY (about $730), the fairly expensive Lumia 900 packs a 4.3" display, 8MP rear shooter (with FF camera), 512MB RAM and 16GB storage.

Source: WPDang; via: WPSauce

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Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II

I feel obligated to offer this from the onset: The HTC Titan II and Nokia Lumia 900 are both excellent Windows Phones. There's really not a bad choice between the two. One may suit your tastes better than the other but that doesn't make the one not chosen a bad Windows Phone. Having gotten that out of the way, when the two phones hit the market I found the Titan II more appealing. The larger screen and better camera gave the phone an edge over the Lumia 900. Both screens are high quality but for me, the Titan II appeared more natural and it was easier to view outdoors.

But that initial preference was based on hardware alone. After a few months on the market, a feature beyond the nuts and bolts of these two Windows Phones began to take shape making things a little more difficult to choose between the two. That feature is manufacture support.

Shortly after the Lumia 900 release Nokia set an example of product-support that should be the model for others to follow. There was a bug that dropped data connectivity on a few devices and instead of white washing things, Nokia recognized the problem and distributed a fix within a week of the Lumia 900's release. On top of quickly responding to the problem, Nokia compensated customers for their trouble with a $100 credit.

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WP Central

Welcome to this week's Windows Phone Summary of the Week, which is a special edition should you reside in the UK as this weekend is dedicated to celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. But alas, Windows Phone. Before we crack into the summary itself, we've been taking a look at the best independent games for your smartphone. Speaking of software, our official app celebrated its first Birthday by being offered for nothing at all for a 24-hour period.

Our community forum has witnessed activity with threads regarding the Lumia 900 and its battery life. Should you be experiencing any issues, or would like to engage with other Windows Phone enthusiasts, we recommend you check out our growing community. Lastly E3 is taking place through the next number of days, and Windows Phone Central will be at the front of the action to bring you the latest news about gaming on Windows Phone as well as the Xbox and Windows 8 platforms. Now, let's crack on with the summary after the short break.

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Digital Power

If you're on the cutting edge of Windows Phone hacking and homebrew then you probably have a fully unlocked device with a custom ROM running "Tango" 8773. If so, then you may want to take a look at this latest creation from Zealson over at XDA.

The simple XAP file will launch a mini-app to allow you to change the battery meter to a custom version. The meters have four options available: default, horizontal, vertical and circular with the latter three having a percentage number for a semi-accurate reading of your remaining battery life.

We say semi-accurate as the percentage doesn't get down to the 1% range and instead looks to be at 10% increments. Such a limitation is due to the API though who knows what magic these devs can whip up, so there may be hope for 1% changes too.

Of course as we mentioned at the beginning, only fully-unlocked ROMs can install this and luckily the Titan and Radar are now in that camp too

Source: XDA Forums

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