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WP Central

Nokia's Beta Labs has just made public City Lens, an augmented reality experience for users to find local points of interest. Much like Local Scout, but more realistic, City Lens provides a more user friendly overview of what establishments are located in the vicinity. Instead of guessing which building is which (should signage not be effective enough), Nokia Lens slaps a label on each to help you out.

Landmarks, restaurants, hotels, shops and more are listed in camera, list or maps view. This adds more options for the user, which will be handy should you not wish to wave your handset around at that exact moment and look like a tourist recording a video. Your location is loaded, much like any other app with similar functionality, and this can then be shared with social networks. Favourites can also be saved for more convenient access - pretty neat. 

Nokia Beta Labs is interested in receiving feedback on this experience, so be sure to download Nokia City Lens from your Lumia Windows Phone. City Lens isn't listed in the Nokia Collection so you'll need to open the link from your Lumia Windows Phone or scan the QR Code below.

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Verious adding Windows Phone to their lineup

Verious Inc is a leader in connecting developers with components and services for mobile app developer and they have a strong presence with iOS and Android development. Today the company has added Windows Phone development to their lineup giving developers even more tools at their disposal.

What's this mean? Hundreds of pre-built mobile app components, open source projects, HTML5 components and SDKs are now available to Windows Phone developers. It opens up the pool of resources developers have to tap into.  Verious has reportedly worked closely with Microsoft to identify the most valuable components to help accelerate mobile app development.

As described by Anil Pereira, founder and CEO of Verious,

"From Metro-styled icons to charting controls and mapping tools, we’ve worked with Microsoft to compile the world’s most comprehensive catalogue of pre-built components, open source libraries and SDKs for Windows Phone development. Now mobile app developers can leverage these resources to get their apps to market faster—just as they do for other leading smartphone platforms.”

Seeing that Verious already has a presence with iOS and Android development, the addition of Windows Phone to Verious's catalog may see more cross platform apps hit the Marketplace.

You can catch the full press release after the break and find out more on Verious here at their website.

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WP Central

In what looks to be another nice win under the belt of the Lumia 900, Nokia took away the top prize in DisplayMate's shootout of displays for tablets and smartphones.

The test involves shinning light on to the displays with various levels and then putting the screenshots onto their "Master Photo Grid" for direct comparison. For a more nuanced description, we refer to you DisplayMate:

"We photographed 4 Tablets and 5 Smartphones inside an Integrating Hemisphere using a powerful light source that uniformly illuminates the displays from all directions from 0 lux (Absolute Darkness) up through 40,000 lux (Indirect Sunlight), which is very bright. Direct Sunlight at noon is a blinding 100,000 lux."

We're just going to go ahead and defer to them on the science part.

The results have the Lumia 900 at the top with the Galaxy S just edging out the iPhone 4S for number two. There's no doubt that what contributed to the win for Nokia was their ClearBlack polarizng screen technology, which filters out the bad waves of sunlight, helping reduce glare and keeping the AMOLED colors super vibrant (some may say too vibrant.

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Viber for Windows Phone

Viber has finally pulled the sheet off of its long awaited VOIP and messaging app for Windows Phone (and Blackberry too) today, allowing users to download and try out the service for free on their device.

One major caveat though: there is no VOIP phone calls just yet.

According to the press release, the current version only allows Viber Messaging aka "allowing users to exchange text and high-quality photo messages and share locations with other Viber users."  Have no fear though, that VOIP service for making free phone calls is on the way:  "Viber’s signature HD-quality free voice calling, will be released as soon as it meets Viber’s quality standards."

Viber

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WP DevCon 2012

Back in January, we brought you the news of the first independent Windows Phone developer conference not sponsored by Microsoft called WP DevCon occurring October 22-24th in Burlingame, CA.

The listing and descriptions of the classes being offered during the conference hav been released and interestingly enough, there's a whole class on Windows Phone Apollo development. Seeing as the classes are in late October, perhaps we shouldn't be shocked that Windows Phone 8 will be discussed at length during such an event. But what makes it interesting is some of the details revealed.

The session is being led by Paras Wadehra, Principal Software Engineer at Good Technology and ex-Senior Software Engineer at Microsoft:

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ARMED! goes multiplatform

Sickhead Games’ ARMED! stands out as one of the most impressive indie games in the Windows Phone lineup – in fact, it even outdoes just about every Xbox Live title in graphics, UI, and multiplayer features. Even the title is extra exciting, with not only capital letters, but also an exclamation point! Why Microsoft hasn’t picked up ARMED! for Xbox Live status remains a mystery, but Sickhead continues to support their title, both with updates and plans to expand to other platforms as well.

Head past the break for the full scoop!

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Lumia 900

The Lumia 900 is on its way to Norwegian retailer Elkjøp and is set for a June 1st launch. Priced at 4,290 kr, the flagship Nokia Windows Phone was previously seen on a terminal at the retailer where orders of each colour where spotted. This availability date is some time behind the expected shipping dates for UK retailers, which is probably a knock-on effect of the "overwhelming demand" of the Lumia 900 in the states.

The Lumia 900 is available to pre-order in black, blue and white, with financing options should they be required. Will you be picking yours up?

Source: Elkjøp (blue - white, black); thanks, the_Enlightened, for the tip!

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WP Central

Arturo Toledo, a Senior User Experience Designer for the Windows Phone Design Studio who chose to leave Microsoft last month, has announced plans to finish the Windows Phone Design Series.  Toleda is set to turn the series into a free e-book.

More good news is Toledo plans to stay involved in Metro for the future, I guess we can't get rid of superb talent that easily?

The 31 “Weeks” of Windows Phone Metro Design series focuses on providing developers (and enthusiasts who are just starting on the Windows Phone development path) with resources to ensure app UIs follow suit and create a fluid Metro experience for consumers. One thing we here at WPCentral understand is that our readers (and the community as a whole) favours a complete Metro experience.

Should this series finally become available in free e-book format, it'll be the bible for Windows Phone developers. Exciting times ahead. For now we'll leave you with our no-so-famous Metro meme.

WP Central

Source: ux.artu.tv

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Samsung Focus 2 hands-on

Samsung Focus 2

First out of the gate from CTIA 2012 in New Orleans is the Samsung Focus 2. The follow-up to the (wait for it ...) Samsung Focus brings a 4-inch Super AMOLED display with a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, 8GB of internal storage and it's rocking a 1.4 GHz processor. And as was confirmed by the official specs earlier today, it's got a 1750 mAh battery. 

The Focus 2 actually is a tad heavier than its predecessor, but it's in a slightly smaller form factor. It feels decent enough in the hand. It's definitely got a plastic feel to it, which you'd expect from a Samsung phone. But, indeed, for an entry-level device, you're not going to be ashamed to pull this one out of your pocket. And it's always nice to see a dedicated camera button on the side of a phone.

Other items of note: It'll be available May 20 for $49.99 on contract ($19.99 on upgrade). We've got more pics and hands-on video after the break.

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WP Central

Readers alerted us to the disappearance of Pinsation, a third-party Windows Phone Pinterest app, from the Marketplace. While it has almost become the norm for apps to mysteriously vanish from public view without explanation, it was odd to see such a well received app disappear when apps with familiar functionality remain.

We contacted the developer of Pinsation, Daniel Gary, for any details surrounding the disappearance and were told something that sounded awfully similar to issues we've covered previously. According to Gary, Pinterest has locked down their API to prevent access from third-party apps on any platform other than iOS.

There problem occurs when you try to login to the service using Facebook or Twitter. In short, you'll receive and authentication error telling that there was an issue logging you in. The app spits you back to browsing the Pinterest site but you are unable to do so logged into an account (we imagine authenticated accounts, done by invite only, may still work).

Gary also mentioned that developers are working together to try and find a solution to this issue. For the time being you may encounter problems when attempting to use Pinterest apps on Windows Phone (or other platforms).

We'll keep you guys up-to-date with any further information we receive / find out.

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The Stormtrooper!

For those of you waiting to get the glossy-white Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T on Amazon Wireless, especially for that low price of $49.99 on a new contract ($19.99 if you're upgrading), then you'll be happy to see it's now listed on their site.

Of course that's the good news, the bad news is the phone is already listed as backordered. We're not sure if that's due it being just listed and stock hasn't arrived or it has really sold that fast, so you may want to start pressing F5 a few times to see it updates.

WP Central

The glossy-white Lumia 900 (which we've lovingly dubbed 'the Stormtrooper') has quickly become the favorite choice for many out there only rivaled by the Cyan color for being so recognizable. Perhaps put some money aside and gift one to a family?

Check our unboxing video to check out this hot Windows Phone.

Source: Amazon Wireless

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AT&T Samsung Focus 2 specs surface

Samsung Focus 2

Early today AT&T announced the latest 4G LTE Windows Phone to their line-up, the Samsung Focus 2. There wasn't much on specs available with the announcement but the Focus 2 is now up on Samsung.com with a full specs list.

The entry level Windows Phone measures 4.79 x 2.47 x .43 inches and weighs only 4.3 ounces. Comparatively, this is a smidgen smaller, thicker and heavier than the original Focus (4.84x2.56x.39 inches and 4.1 ounces).

The Focus 2 has a 4" Super AMOLED screen, 5 megapixel rear camera, VGA front, 8 gigabytes of storage, and a 1.4ghz processor. Everything is powered by a 1750mah battery.  On paper, the Focus 2 makes for a nice entry level Windows Phone.

The Focus 2 will be available in glossy white and will run $49.99 after contractual discounts. Look for it at AT&T on May 20, 2012 and you can sign up for email notifications over at AT&T's Focus 2 site.

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Want to get a whole new Live ID and start fresh with Microsoft? Here's how to transfer your account.

Change Live ID

Microsoft's Live ID (soon to be renamed "Microsoft Account") is the key to all things from Redmond these days. Whether it’s your Xbox 360, SkyDrive, Live Mail, Zune Pass, App Hub account, Messenger or Windows Phone, your Live ID is at the heart.

The question is what if you want to change your Live ID?

Here we don't mean switching just on the phone, which unfortunately requires a hard-reset (and no, we don't have a work around for that, sorry). Instead, we're talking about what if you have an old Hotmail.com email account and you want a new Live.com one instead? Maybe you're not happy with your current user name or like us, you have used your Hotmail account since 2002 as a glorified spam experiment.

We'll walk you through the process of getting a new Live ID and making sure all your other services back-propagate to reflect the change keeping all of your services intact.

Read on after the break for our guide...

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AT&T Samsung Focus 2 Windows Phone first photos

Focus versus Focus 2

Although the Samsung Focus 2 coming on AT&T is not the most exciting phone out there for our more hardcore users, the device is certainly a looker with the glossy white and curved edges.

Microsoft's Ben Rudolph got his hands on the device about a week ago and gives it a thumbs up, noting that the 4G LTE and sharp 5MP camera make the device a good choice for many people. With a leaner design, typing is suppose to be nicer with no "hotspots" for hand-cramping and the 4" Super AMOLED screen should hold up nicely for most users these days, especially at a nicely priced $49.99.

In turn, he's thrown up a couple of photos of the new Focus 2 which shows off a nice design and we can even compare it to the original Focus.  Head to the Windows Phone Blog to see more pics.

Focus 2

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Samsung Focus 2 from AT&T

AT&T has announced yet another 4G LTE Windows Phone, the Samsung Focus 2 which looks exactly like the SGH-i667 "Mandel" we saw this weekend.. The Focus 2 will be available May 20th in pure white for $49.99 after contractual discounts.  The Focus 2 will run $399.99 off contract.

Spec wise, the Focus 2 sports a 4" Super AMOLED screen, 5 megapixel camera with 720p video capabilities, front facing VGA camera and is 4g LTE compatible. The Focus 2 measures only .43 inches thick and weighs in at 4.3 ounces.

The Samsung Focus 2 joins the HTC Titan II and Nokia Lumia 900 on AT&T's 4G LTE Windows Phone lineup and presents customers with an economical entry point for the Windows Phone experience.

You can catch the full press release on the Samsung Focus 2 after the break.

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Games

According to a Brazilian Nokia blog, Microsoft has reportedly added over 300 games to the regional Marketplace boosting it from just over 90 games the other day. Most thoughts will now be: "wait, what?" and rightfully so. It would appear as though the Brazil Marketplace is restricted by tighter certification regulations than other markets. This requires a clear guide to be published on each title that is available on the Marketplace detailing censorship (much like PEGI) and approval by the Ministry of Justice.

Google with their Android Play market reportedly gets around this by hosting the content in the US and having it only accessible via web (and paid in US dollars).

We'd like to chime in with a quick search performed by us reveals that some of these newly added titles don't sport visible ratings -- The Impossible Game being a good example, though it's good to see more content being added for markets to download and enjoy. There's nothing worse than owning a smartphone, yet not being able to access the catalogue of content.

With the new additions, the Brazilian Windows Phone Marketplace now boasts over 7,000 titles which is a start.

Source: TouchNokia (translation); thanks Little Angry for the tip!

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WP Central

We've reported in the past that Samsung was sitting on the sidelines during the summer with Windows Phone, concentrating on their new Galaxy SIII release for Android (which so far has garnered negative impressions). Devices like the Mandel (SGH-i667) are believed to have been canceled or put on hold till Microsoft is ready to update their OS.

That's not to say Samsung doesn't have a strategy, one that takes aim right at Nokia. According to the site SmartHouse who spoke with a Samsung senior executive, Samsung will be introducing at least four devices that span the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 spectrum come this fall. None of the proposed devices should be shocking as Samsung is one again sticking to what it knows:

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There's a new Windows Phone game on the horizon and the developer is looking to recruit Beta Testers. Rum Run is a strategy game where you sail the high seas trading goods from village to village. You try to make as much profit from buying and selling rum, goods and food. Use your profits to upgrade ships and increase your fleet.

Rum Run reminds me a lot of the old Windows Mobile game Tradewinds which was a very nice game to pass the time with.  It will be interesting to see if the developers can match Tradewinds entertainment value.  Based on the trailer, it looks like Rum Run is on the right course.

Rum Run for Windows Phone

Rum Run has made it to the third round in Microsoft's Imagine Cup and Turtle Games, Rum Run's developers, are looking for beta testers to help ironed out any bugs that are in the game. If you're interested, just shoot Rum Run Games and email at info@rumrungame.com with your Live ID and why you want to join the beta test team.

You can find more information on Rum Run and Turtle Games here at rumrungame.com

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WP Central

It's time for our weekly Windows Phone news summary, where we round-up all the stories that are worth reading should you be in a position of missing some headlines on the site. Before we kick off with the summary itself, we've had some insightful gaming discussion on our Windows Phone forum covering titles that have been published into our spotlight.

With all the issues surrounding the Lumia 900 since launch, we've asked the community what problems have been experienced through usage. To close off the WPCentral introduction, we've also announced the winners of our Lumia 900 Dicota Hard Shell Case competition. Head on past the break for the full run through of this week's Windows Phone news.

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WP Central

Nokia: "We have identified the issue and will be addressed through a future SW update."

While we haven't heard any official details, Nokia support via Twitter is reporting that they have identified the purple-hue problem that is occurring on some Lumia 900s. The screen irregularity is very obvious and easy to induce: simply disable automatic brightness and turn the screen down to "low" in Settings. Doing so on some devices will cause the grays to look purple throughout the OS.

We reported on this and other minor issues for the Lumia 900 a few days ago and even polled to see what percentage of you are affected. The information and poll were passed onto Nokia engineers along with our defective glossy-white Lumia 900 (we received a perfect replacement in return). Curiously, only about 10% are having the problem which is still quite high but we actually expected the number to be higher.

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Nokia Lumia 610 now for sale in Malaysia for RM699

Lumia 610 now available in Malaysia

The Nokia Lumia 610 has hit the shelves in Malaysia at Nokia stores and other retailers. The 610 comes in four different colors and is averaging RM699 ($229).  The budget-friendly handset sports Windows Phone 7.5 Tango (build 8773), which is designed to run on devices with less RAM.

Inside you will find:

  • 3.7" screen
  • 800MHz CPU
  • 256MB of RAM
  • 8GB internal storage
  • 5-megapixel rear camera

Don't be fooled by the hardware.  The Lumia 610 is an impressive phone that offers the same style and quality of it's higher-end siblings. The Lumia 710 and 800 went on sale in the region back in February and the 610 looks to ride upon that success.

Source: Soyacincau; Thanks for the tip, Anil!

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Pirated version of Guitar Hero Mobile?

Guitar Hero Mobile ($6.99), an Xbox Live title, was released over on the Windows Phone Marketplace back in October 2010. Guitar Hero Mobile ($2.99), a non-Xbox Live title, hit the Marketplace a few days ago.

Microsoft recently announced an increased effort to maintain Marketplace quality which included looking closer at copyrighted material. Is this a discounted version of Guitar Hero Mobile or a pirated copy that slipped in under the Marketplace radar? 

Our first impression is that the $2.99 is a pirated copy. First, the Marketplace description for the non-Xbox Live version comes up in Chinese where the Xbox Live version is not. Then you have the developer listed as Glu Games Inc. and it is the only title under Glu Games Inc.

Glu is the developer of the Xbox Live version but is listed as Glu. Glu also has other titles on the Marketplace listed in similar fashion.

Lastly, the Xbox Live version has a trial version, the non-Xbox Live version does not. It doesn't make sense for one to have a trial and the other not to if they were coming from the same source.

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A few weeks ago we broke the news that Executive Caddie, the premier and highly rated golfing assistance app for Windows Phone, was getting a makeover and an upgrade for the Nokia Collection. That means that if you own a Lumia 610, 700, 800 or the big 900 you're entitled to a custom version of the app made for your phone for free.

WP Central

At the time we reported on those "exclusive" features for Executive Caddie +:

  • Tournament scoring
  • Real-time leaderboards
  • Group heckling with toast notifications
  • Additional social features
  • Themes to match the Lumias, including Cyan, Magenta, White and Nokia Blue

But the biggy was an augmented reality tool called Golfscope described as

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Snotify

It's been awhile since we've seen some solid homebrew pop out from developers so it's with great interest for us to find Snotify version 1.0 floating around.

Billed as an "application that silences notification sounds based on a schedule" the concept should be very familiar to anyone who used the fabulous Windows Mobile app PhoneAlarm or PhoneWeaver. Anyone else just have a technology flashback?

In short, the app allows you to schedule your email and test/IM notification sounds so they won't disturb you in the middle of the night. For instance, you could have email on "silent" from 10pm to 6am or have SMS only with sound--your choice.

The free tool made by JMD Software needs to be "sideloaded" on to a fully interop unlocked phone meaning a lot of folks including developers won't be able to use it. That's a bummer but it's still a fascinating contribution to the homebrew scene.

Of course we know what many of you are thinking and even more of you will comment on -- why didn't Microsoft just include this in the OS? It's a good question as we'd kill to have this built into our Lumia 900 or Titan II, but alas even we have to sit this one out as our phones aren't capable of being fully unlocked just yet.

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