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Zombies Night Out by EvoFX studio is getting ready for release but before they do, the first-person zombie shoot'em up needs your help. That's right, you can get some early beta action going and see what the next big game for Windows Phone may be.

As posted in our forums, you can email the company to be a part of test driving the new game which is previewed above. The first person shooter powered by the EvoFX engine looks to be buttery smooth and lots of fun at this early stage (official release seems to be around April).

  • Beta is free and won't ever lock or stop working
  • Your name will be included in the credits
  • No NDA--tell everyone, make videos

We're not one to tell you what to do with your free time, but why would you not want to participate in this? If it sounds good, head to our forums to learn the details.

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Tweet it, son!

We really don't have any idea who Flo Rida is nor how popular they may be but it's still nice to see some Windows Phone product placement.

Eagle-eyed reader Benjamin C. caught the Nokia Lumia 710 being briefly shown around the one-minute mark in the video. You can clearly see the Nokia branding as the user hammers out a Tweet using the official Twitter app for Windows Phone.  Sure, it's not a game changer but we suppose these little nuggets of pop-culture visibility help the image of Windows Phone.

Update: Evidently, Flo Rida is very popular and we're very lame for not knowing that. Whatevs, punk rock for life!

Video after the break, if you dare.

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Camera

Good news for your shutterbugs out there, Aviary (Aviary.com), a photo-editing startup company will be releasing an SDK within the next two months for Windows Phone. The company specializes in image enhancements and providing effects for on-board photo editing on mobile phones. The system is already available on iOS, Android and web applications, so Windows Phone seems like the next logical step.

The company's decision was partially driven by Nokia's focus on photography, especially their use of Carl-Zeiss lenses. According to Paul Murphy, a vice president at Aviary, “At a hardware level they’ve just done everything right".

Aviary

Interestingly, Paul Murphy is also an ex-Microsoftie and used to work under current Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, so we imagine having some of those connections played a roll too. The SDK will be free to anyone for all Windows Phones but will be first "showcased" on Nokia to show the potential of their software. While the SDK is free, the company brings in revenue by offering more premium features at a cost to developers. Finally, the company has close to 400 partners which they hope to leverage in getting more Windows Phone photo apps created.

Good news all around and we look forward to seeing Aviary tech in future software packages from devs.

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Baconit

We're pretty sure that Baconit is the best Reddit.com app on the Windows Phone Marketplace today. Developed by Quinn Damerell, the app is constantly in development with beta tests and updates coming nearly every two weeks. In fact, since its release in late December the app has been updated three times, including today's release which brings it to version 1.6:

“The Narwhal Bacons at Midnight”

  • Better images on live tiles
  • Edit / delete posts and comments
  • Speed increases of up to 2-3x
  • Tons of performance / UI tweaks

There's a lot more too which you can read here (opens Word Web app). The app is of course free and ad-free, which is remarkable for such a gorgeous and highly functional app. So if you want to show Damerell some thanks, you can grab the "donation version" for $1.99 here in the Marketplace. You don't get any new features (yet) but you do get the satisfaction of helping a dev out and perhaps giving him a little encouragement.

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Mobile Nations Fitness Month continues with Week Two

Mobile Nations Fitness Month Continues

The quest to get thinner, stronger, faster, and healthier with WPCentral and Mobile Nations continues!

We’ve survived the first week. We’ve set our goals and whether we achieved them or are still working on them, we’re feeling better and doing better because of it. And we’re getting tons of great feedback. This might just be the year where mobile and lifestyle fully come together and finally start making the impact we’ve all been waiting for. It’s gone from being a token arm band case to being an entire ecosystem of highly specialized companion apps and accessories.

We recorded a special edition of ZEN and TECH with CrackBerry.com’ Kevin Michaluk, where we answered a lot of questions, cleared up some big misconceptions, and went over a lot of dos and don’ts to get things going.  Also Kevin produced the single greatest (or most terrifying) fitness video in the history of YouTube. Watch his Sexy and you know it workout (do so at your own risk).

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PrimeTube

We know there's never enough YouTube players out there to satisfy you folks, especially with MetroTube going way recently. A new app is around the corner though called PrimeTube developed by Applyf and we have some early info on it:

  • Full control over your YouTube account: manage subscriptions, playlists favorites etc.
  • Search and play videos
  • Sort and filter
  • Comment and reply to comments, like/dislike and favorite videos, add to playlists etc.
  • Pin playlists, favorites, authors and videos
  • Pinned items feature live tile functionality

Overall it's not too shabby and with that strong Metro design, should appeal to a lot of you who watch a lot of vids on the go. No word on ETA but we hear it's not too far. We'll have more as the app gets closer to release.

PrimeTube

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History of the unique Nokia Lumia colouring

WP Central

Nokia Conversations has published an article that walks us through how the colours came to be for the N9 and Lumia 800/900 handsets. Tiina Aarras works at Nokia as a materials designer and is responsible for the intense colour choices we have with Nokia Windows Phones. The average consumer wouldn't believe there to be much thought behind the process, but Aarras explains how complicated it was to get it 'just right'.

"There are hundreds of colours to choose from, but it’s not just about picking a colour. The start of this project was dominated by working on which colours work with the right materials and finishes. These products are about what you hold in your hand, and what you see on the screen. It was about taking away everything that is not needed, and leaving you with the best."

Everything came together for the handsets with the use of premium plastic (for enhanced antenna performance), since more colours were available compared to the choice with metal. Aarras and the team worked with 100 colours to narrow them down to just four, which are what we see today - black, magenta, cyan and white. Being inspired by the CMYK group (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black), Aarras ensured that the idea of purity shown in the end result. Would be interesting to see a yellow version too?

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GroupMe looking for Windows Phone users in NY on 2/16

GroupMe is looking for WP7 users in NY

Queue "Eye Of The Tiger," as it looks like group-texting app GroupMe is looking to make a comeback to Windows Phone.  The developers have put out a call across the Twittersphere for Windows Phone users in New York to do some testing on the evening of February 16.  GroupMe first cropped up in the Marketplace in July, and a month later, it was announced that it had been bought out by Skype (pronounced: Microsoft).  There was very little action post-announcement, until a major update was announced in December.  However, since then, GroupMe has been MIA from the Marketplace. 

There are no details on what is on the horizon for February 16, but if you want to be a guinea pig for GroupMe, you can sign up directly here, or via the source link.

Source: GroupMe (via Twitter); Thanks for the tip, Travis!

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Rocket Riot

One of our favorite Xbox LIVE games for Windows Phone, Rocket Riot, has received quite a major update a few days ago with version 1.4. We've reached out to the devs at Code Glu for a specific changelog but they're off having croissants or something, so we're winging it:

  • New icon - The old Rocket guys are gone and instead we have...rockets. Makes sense.
  • Two ringtones - We love when devs do this and Rocket Riot certainly has one of the most addicting (borderline annoying) theme songs in history. We're not actually crazy enough to use these to spare our sanity, but we're pretty excited that they're on board
  • Pin campaign to your homescreen - quick access to your campaign, perfect!
  • Rated E10+ (Everyone 10+) - part of that mobile ESRB thing we covered earlier

Overall this is a superb update. It gives users a few new options and breathes life into a game you may have put aside for awhile, so kudos to Code Glue for improvements! Read our full review of Rocket Riot and grab it in the Marketplace for $4.99 with trial.

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Devices

Developer András Velvárt has posted some interesting date regarding which devices are using his popular alternative browser SurfCube (which just had an update). While we don't see many mystery devices on the list (nice to see the Lumia 900 though) we do get an idea of device breakdown and popularity.

The Nokia Lumia 800, arguably one of the most promoted Windows Phones yet is really gaining traction. In fact, it's number one with nearly 14% of usage on SurfCube. That's compared to the HTC HD7 at 11.7% and the Samsung Focus with 9.3% which is astonishing because as you can figure out, those devices have been out much longer than Nokia's offering.

There should be little doubt that Nokia's ad campaigns and ability to launch in many smaller markets is really paying off. Of course, there is some wiggle room here too. For comparison, in the app "I'm a WP7!" we can see the Lumia 800 at 6% which is half that of the Focus and HD7--still, even those numbers are impressive as it Nokia is clearly starting to eat up the Windows Phone market.

Pick up SurfCube v4.2 here in the Marketplace and "I'm a WP7!" here.

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WP Central

The Nokia Lumia 710 (our review) is now available for purchase from both Three and Vodafone in the UK, with contract prices starting from just £20. Should you wish to buy the handset outright, Three is offering this option for £199 - not a bad price for a Windows Phone Mango handset.

The Lumia 710 packs a 1.4 Ghz processor, 3.7" screen, 5MP camera, 8GB storage, and -of course- comes loaded with the exclusive Nokia Lumia app bundle. Both networks also offer the Lumia 800, should you require some extra umph.

Source: Three, Vodafone

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8750Although many of us are yearning for Windows Phone 8107 to grace our devices, Microsoft is still pushing forward with regular builds of the OS, adding new features along the way.

The latest build now seen is 8750 and those hacker cats at Dark Forces Team (DFT) out East have managed to get their hands on it, even loading it on an HTC Schubert/Mozart. OS 8750 is by the far the highest builds we've seen of Windows Phone yet. [Note: 8750 isn't a final build but most likely internal and interim for Microsoft]

Unfortunately, no details yet have come forth as to the changes but we're betting there will be quite a few under-the-hood modifications. DFT are looking to push this out soon and we're sure some ROMs at XDA will appear shortly thereafter. Stay tuned...

Source: DFT; Thanks, mwang!

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Developer Workshops AU NZ

Nokia has teamed up with Microsoft to offer more support for local developers in both Australia and New Zealand with a series of Training Workshops that will provide an insight to those who are interested in building apps for the platform. The event is free of charge and prizes (Lumia handsets) will be available in an App Challenge.

The event schedule:

Be sure to get in there quickly and register should you wish to attend.

Source: Nokia Developer Events, via: WPDownUnder

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Nerde Bu Otobüs released for Windows Phone

WP Central

Nerde Bu Otobüs (Turkish for "Where is my bus") is an Istanbul travel app that enables the user to keep track of transport routes across the city (using data provided by İETT - İstanbul Electric Tram and Funicular Company), much like the Dublin BusFinder app we covered last week. Some highlighted features:

  • Covers every bus route in the city.
  • Displays stops on individual routes
  • Displays routes on Bing Maps.
  • Estimated times of arrival are shown per-stop.

A must-have app (which is already available on iOS and Android) developed by university students for anyone who resides in (or is visiting) Istanbul. The app itself is in Turkish. You can download Nerde Bu Otobüs from the Marketplace for free.

QR: Nerde Bu Otobüs

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Domino's App

Good news Domino's Pizza lovers, the fine establishment has released a Windows Phone app (for the UK & Ireland) that conveniently allows users to order their favourite pizzas from the comfort of their handset. The Domino's iOS app is as aesthetically pleasing as they come, so our expectations are high with what can be achieved visually with the Metro UI. We have not been failed, as (can be seen above) the app is very good looking.

Should you be after drinks, sides, desserts, deals, or just the 13" beasts themselves, the Domino's Pizza app allows one to achieve this with style:

  • A Full Menu
  • Store Locator
  • All Meal Deals available
  • Ability to Customise Your Pizza with extra toppings or special requests
  • Payment via credit card, cash or on collection

The next version is already in the works that will introduce voucher usage, so we expect to see an update soon. You can download Domino's Pizza from the Marketplace for free, enjoy!

Thanks Carl for the tip!

QR: Domino's Pizza

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Please sir, can you spare an app?

While we have a nice selection of apps on the Marketplace, we can certainly always use some more. And not just random apps but specific ones for certain services. The question is how do we let devs know?

One way is to simply vote. And now you can. Using the third-party service UserVoice, anyone can create a site that allows people to solicit feedback from customers and that's exactly what Scott Dorman, a Microsoft MVP, has done with Windows Phone Marketplace Requests. Folks can go there, type in an app and others can vote, it's really that simple.

Of course what does that mean? Well, it certainly is a way to gauge interest in apps but since this is not a Microsoft site and has no affiliation with the Windows Phone Marketplace, there's nothing really binding here. Furthermore, while many of us would like a Hulu app for Windows Phone, third-party devs can't access proprietary services, so requesting one here may not be the best way to get their attention.

Certainly feedback is good but in the end, there's only one thing that will bring more apps and services to Windows Phone: marketshare. When Microsoft's OS starts picking up steam, devs and companies will notice and respond accordingly. Until then, feel free to vote away.

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910 case?

Although Nokia likes to deny that there is a Lumia 910, the supposed European counterpart to the "exclusive" AT&T Lumia 900, we have our doubts. For one, it's pretty easy for Nokia to get around an "exclusive" device if they simply make it another model number and change some aspects e.g. adding a 12MP camera.

Either way, a vendor is advertising a "protective decal skin sticker" for the Lumia 900 and 910 on Amazon.com, noting that it's a precision cut protective decal.

Proof that a 910 exists? Far from it. But combined with that earlier listing on a Dutch site and we're starting to see quite a few "910" references out there in the wild.  We'll see what Nokia brings to the table in a few weeks in Barcelona though, but we're betting a 910 is getting more and more likely.

Source: Amazon.com; Thanks, Matt, for the heads up

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Free Dell VoIP Windows Phone app coming for Canadians

Dell Voice

For those Windows Phone owners who reside in Canada and are frustrated with considerably high mobile phone bills accumulated from voice calls, Dell may have a solution for you soon. Partnering with Fongo to launch Dell Voice, a voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) service, mobile users will be able to make free calls over WiFi (or the 3G network) anywhere in Canada. A free phone number is included to accept incoming calls, and the service also includes free voicemail, Caller ID and call waiting.

The only downside is that users will exhibit advertising while using the app, and a $25 fee is charged should a user wish to transfer their phone number to the Dell Voice service. David Gair, Dell Canada's marketing director for small and medium business, states that a Windows Phone app will be developed to go alongside solutions for iOS, Android, BlackBerry (launching this coming March), and the PC. It's interesting to see the manufacturer head down this route (and to support Windows Phone), perhaps we could see them come back with another device?

Source: MSN.ca, via: iMore, thanks Mark for the tip!

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Microsoft Store Lumia 900 pre-order offer withdrawn

WP Central

Last week Microsoft was offering customers the chance to pre-order the AT&T Lumia 900 4G Windows Phone for a $25 up-front fee. The Verge has reported today that the software giant has retracted this offer, so those who are eagerly awaiting the handset will no longer be able to act now. A Microsoft spokesperson has stated that those who are interested "should stay tuned to the Microsoft Store Facebook Page".

Microsoft has offered no reason for the withdrawal, but sources have told The Verge that Nokia has plans to announce a price and launch date 'shortly', though it's not known if this has any relation to the offer closure. The rumoured date and pricing of the Lumia 900 were set at March 18th for $99.

Source: The Verge, thanks Brian for the tip!

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Lumia 710 suffering from end call prevention bug

Lumia 710

Nokia has announced that they are aware of a bug with the Lumia 710, where a user disconnects from a call but the screen continues to report the call as being connected. Not only is this a visual irritant, it led users to believe that they were being additionally charged for the delayed call ending.

Owners took to the Nokia support forum to cry out for assistance on the issue. This is not the first problem Nokia Windows Phone owners have come across, with the 800 being plagued by battery life issues. Official Nokia Support representative 'Unwired' published the following statement:

"Nokia is continuing to analyze this software issue and is close to a fix. The fix will be made available via Zune as soon as possible. It is difficult to say when. One other important fact about this issue is that the phone modem is responding to the call disconnect signal from the touch display, the call is taken down as it should. The issue is that the user interface displays the call disconnect button but is should not. Consequently consumer are not being excessively billed for a call that seems to be staying up."

Good news for owners of the handset that a fix is well on its way, and that no additional charges will be applied to your bill, but until the update is released a reboot will be required to rid the pesky call screen.

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Trapster for Windows Phone Beta release

Trapster for Windows Phone

Trapster was a popular Windows Mobile application that relied on a social network to identify speed traps. The reports would then populate a map for mobile and desktop access. While we don't endorse speeding, we did find Trapster to be a handy app to alert you of speed traps and avoid unwanted tickets.

The developer has been working on a Windows Phone version of Trapster for some time and is now looking for Beta Testers. To add to the incentive of becoming a Trapster Beta Tester, anyone sending in feedback on the app will become eligible to win a $500 gift card.

If interested, you can find the Beta Tester sign up form here and skip on past the break to read the fine print from Trapster on the gift card contest.  Safe driving everyone!

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TextTwist 2

When TextTwist 2 launched less than a month ago, Achievement hunters were thrilled. After all, anagram games are super cheatable thanks to Scrabble helper sites. But alas! The game was glitched, and one mode (Daily Word) didn’t work at all. Thankfully Game House takes their Xbox Live titles seriously, and we already have a patch to fix things.

TextTwist 2 version 1.1 release notes:

  • Daily Word mode can now be played daily after the first round is completed (days are measured in UTC time).
  • Achievements based on completing multiple rounds of games modes (‘Apprentice,’ ‘Journeyman,’ and ‘Grand Master’) can now be unlocked.
  • The ‘Lightning Bolt’ Achievement, for completing a Lightning round with no hints, is now achievable.

The update does what it says, alright. I loaded the game up after patching, and grabbed ‘Lightning Bolt’ and some of the multi-round Achievements. Gotta love it when a developer moves so quickly to fix a game’s problems.

A word of advice: if you plan to complete the requisite 30 rounds of Daily Word by playing with the phone’s clock, make sure to set the clock back as far as possible before launching the updated game. That way, you can hit 30 days on or around the present date instead of waiting for the Achievement to unlock on some future date (a common side effect of playing with the clock). Or you could just be patient.

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WP Central

The white version of the Lumia 800 is available for pre-order on Fnac.pt, unlocked for €549, and will be released on February 23rd. Nokia's latest colour features a glossy finish and packs a punch when it comes to resisting scratches/dents with a polycarbonate unibody that has been dyed all the way through.

While the pricing for the mid-level handset is pretty steep, it's a unique choice for anyone still waiting to upgrade from their current device.

Source: Fnac.ptthanks, Joao, for the tip!

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Collapse stacks up as the Xbox Live Deal of the Week

Collapse!

The Xbox Live Deal of the Week has been updating rather late these days. In fact, it’s only just turned up. Collapse! from GameHouse is now on sale.

 Collapse! is a simple puzzle game in which players slide blocks up and down to make colored matches. The sprawling Adventure mode offers plenty of twists on the standard gameplay, plus a simple character customization system. For better or worse, Collapse! also has the easiest Achievements of any Xbox Live game, mobile or otherwise. You can seriously get them all in 20 minutes or so. Check out our full review for more details.

Collapse! is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Pick it up here on the Marketplace.

QR: Collapse!

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WP Central

Nokia has announced plans to slash a further 4,000 jobs by closing down plants in Hungary, Mexico and homeland Finland. The cuts come to light as the handset manufacturer begins to shift production to Asia. As we mentioned with the previous 3,500 positions being hung up to dry, these plants have been under review since.

The cuts include 2,300 in Komarom, Hungary, 700 in Reynosa, Mexico, and 1,000 in Salo, Finland. The Finnish handset maker has had to take drastic measures to cut down costs and reach saving targets, and Salo (the oldest production facility - 1979) has not been spared from this round of job cuts.

Riku Aalto, chairman of the Finnish Metalworkers' Union, has stated that the company will look at possibly providing 12 months of training for new jobs to the fired workers, following its model of the Bochum closure in Germany, in 2008.

Source: Bloomberg

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