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WPCentral Podcast

Join site editor Daniel Rubino, Windows Phone developer Jay Bennett and all around computer whiz Rafael Rivera for another exciting podcast. This week we have some surprise Samsung news, Nokia and their exclusive app controversy and more. Plus we take your questions.

Listen in or watch the HD video with the full show notes after the break...

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Siri, the personal assistant found on the iPhone 4S, has been making headlines for Apple today, but for all the wrong reasons. The image above explains what's going on better than any words in this article. Should you happen to ask Siri "what's the best cell phone ever?", you'll be greeted with a surprising response. Not only does Siri choose a device that's not an Apple product, but it chooses the Lumia 900 Windows Phone. 

Siri Best Mobile Lumia 900

This result is produced by taking the mobile phone that's rated the highest by consumers and the cyan AT&T Lumia 900 just so happens to fit the bill. Siri found the above answer by using Wolfram Alpha, which lists the Windows Phone when visitors type in the same query. The launch of the Lumia 900 was met by an extremely high level of satisfaction from customers who purchased the handset, regardless of the issues that appeared.

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WP Central

An unofficial UK National Health Service (NHS) app has been released for Windows Phone. The app, in collaboration with NHS Choices, pulls down information and services for users to interact with. Integration with Microsoft HealthVault (see our review of the official app) is present should the user wish to connect to their account and retrieve / store personal details, local services and more.

Using NHS Choices, NHS services can be searched by name, location or by how close they are to your current GPS location. Within each service card are details including address, directions (opens Maps), contact numbers and website if available. Patient ratings are displayed, which can prove useful when choosing a nearby practice, especially with regards to waiting times and how patients rate resident doctors. As well as ratings, key indicators are displayed with how many patients recommend that service coupled with survey results.

Health A-Z uses content from NHS Choices to display condition symptoms and treatments within the app. A large number of conditions are listed, accompanied by detailed information, symptoms, diagnosis, causes and treatments for that specific condition. Using the app bar, users can locate NHS services that are able to treat the selected condition and compare them within the app. 

WP Central

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WP Central

Online tech superstore Newegg has updated their official Windows Phone app to version 1.1 and added some pretty nice features. One major addition to v1.1 is live tile support.  Newegg "Shell Shocker" deal notifications can now be pushed right to your start screen. The ability to view your order history has also been added, as well as an update to the checkout process.  Version 1.1 also brings some minor bug fixes along with it.

Newegg app updated to v1.1

The official Newegg app sports a handsome, easy to use Metro-style interface and gives you full access to everything they have to offer.  If you are a geek, and you don't know about Newegg, do yourself a favor and check it out pronto!

You can get Newegg's official app here in the Marketplace for free.

QR: Newegg

Thanks for the heads up, Shipwreck!

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WP Central

Windows Phone "Tango" aka CR3 is the OS update everyone wants though very few know why. Indeed it brings only a handful of updates, mostly revolving around MMS options and geolocation icon. The OS update is mostly aimed at the low-end 256MB devices that are now hitting the market though it does give companies a chance to tie in precious firmware updates with the OS.

While the AT&T Lumia 900 sells with 8112 (CR2), everyone is anxiously anticipating 8773 (CR3). That OS update won't actually do much but the accompanying firmware presumably will (read: bug fixes).

WP Central

Having said all of that the Finish Tango ROM (8773 with firmware 12140) popped up on Navifirm this morning and yes, can be downloaded. Does that mean it can be flashed to your AT&T Lumia 900? We wouldn't recommend it as down-grading the ROM to the proper one is not guaranteed. Still, we know many of you are anxious on this end so we'll see what the more ambitious folks have to say if someone dares to flash.

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Omnia M

Perhaps not too surprising, Samsung today has announced the Omnia M, a follow up to the Omnia W and obviously riding the Focus 2's mid-range specs.

The device is a ho-hum 1GHz  CPU with a 4" Super AMOLED screen and a disappointing 4GB of storage on board. It features HSPA at 7.2MBps which is even a low-end data, bypassing the much preferred HSPA+ or HSPA+ DC like on the Lumia 900.

It does have a front-facing camera though and the design, while reminiscent of every other Samsung phone especially the W, still looks svelte and comfortable to use.

Having said that, this is obviously Samsung's "Tango" phone, playing up against Nokia's 610 and the ZTE Tania, meaning most of you will probably want to pass on such a phone and wait for Windows Phone 8.

We're curious though how such low-end devices will sell. In theory, if this phone is offered for next-to-nothing on contract it could be a very desirable phone for those who don't yet have a smartphone. That's an important market and while it doesn't earn headlines, for market share, it's an important demographic to consider.

No word on release though we imagine it will be out in a few weeks. It's planned for Europe and "other regions".

Source: Samsung

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Nokia launches Reading app for Windows Phone

Nokia Reading

Nokia has announced on their blog today that the manufacturer is looking to start rolling out the Nokia Reading app for Windows Phone in a number of launch countries. We previously took a look at Nokia Reading back at Mobile World Congress.

The app, which enables Lumia owners to browse, purchase and read ebooks, will be launching on a country-by-country basis. The first batch of markets that will be able to download and use the app include France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the UK. Remaining countries will follow throughout the remainder of 2012.

As for the catalogue itself, the store will feature numerous localised books as well as major English titles including The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; One Day; and The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes. More will be added to the catalogue over time so fear not if you can't locate a specific book. As well as purchasing ebooks, there are also 'thousands' of international titles freely available for download.

Genre categories coupled with filters including 'top ebooks' and 'new releases' make it more convenient for users to search through the store and available content. It's positive to see Nokia tackling ebooks with its ClearBlack display used on Lumias, not to mention Microsoft's ClearType technology more effectively rendering fonts. Should you enjoy reading at night the app will use a black background with white text instead of black on white - this mode will also be more battery-friendly with AMOLED Lumias.

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Sneak peek: Official WPCentral app v2.2

WPCentral App for Windows Phone

Before you rush to your phone, it's not in the marketplace just yet! However I'm pleased to announce that the official WPCentral app v2.2 has been finalised and was submitted for certification 2 days ago.

So what's new this time around? We've been focusing on three key improvements: user experience, error reporting, and 256mb device compatibility. Most of these changes are a direct result of feedback or suggestions that our amazing community has sent us, so read on to find out exactly what's changed.

 

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WP Central

Microsoft has altered the text displayed when tweeting from Windows Phones. Instead of displaying "via Windows Live", which is what we've become accustomed to with integration on the mobile platform running through the Live ID (soon to be 'Microsoft Account'), any tweets published from a Windows Phone will now display "via Microsoft".

This is another step in the withdrawal of the Live branding in favour of Microsoft and Windows. We've previously looked at how the software giant is rebranding products with the upcoming launch of Windows 8. While information has come to light surrounding previous Windows Live essential services, little has come to light about the new music service as-of-yet. 

via: Metro Powered

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Nokia Lumia 900 exclusively available at Phones 4u

WP Central

The Lumia 900 is now available at UK retailer Phones 4u in black and white. Both versions are reported to be only available at Phones 4u until May 27th when other sources will be able to stock the device. Purchasing either colour today from the retailer will also see a free Nokia Monster Headset, free Nokia Play 360 speaker and free 12 months unlimited WiFi bundled with the Lumia 900.

The Lumia 900 is available from £21/mo (£199 upfront fee) with O2, £31/mo with Vodafone or £33.50/mo (£59 upfront fee) with Orange. Note that delivery for the handset on an O2 deal is set back until 14/05, no reason is supplied. Also, should you have pre-ordered the Lumia 900 before April 16th, you're eligible for free earphones.

After the delays we've witnessed in the states, it's good to see Nokia pumping out stock for high demand.

WP Central

Source: Phones 4u; Thanks, Marco, for the heads up!

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From the Forums: Applications Spotlight

WP Central

It’s time to talk developers and apps again. Over at the Windows Phone Central Forums, we have spotlight forums dedicated to developer discussions on their apps.This week our developers have been putting out the good stuff. Here's just a sampling of what all is being discussed.

TalkBox for Windows Phone is soon to be released and developer gilmanyu is bringing it to us in the forums. What is TalkBox? Check out our review: TalkBox gets teased for Windows Phone This is what gilmanyu has to say about this application.

“TalkBox Voice Messenger, one of the most popular multi-platform messenger apps, is now bringing its signature push to talk feature to Windows Phone.”

If TalkBox is the app for you, then you won’t have much longer to wait.

WayTwoGood is seriously way too good and if you like daily deals this is the app for you. Developer Alkasai made this Windows Phone app and it aggregates all your favorite daily deal websites. If you like deals give WayTwoGood a try.

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WP Central

The Windows Phone team are asking developers for their thoughts on the entire process of creating and updating apps / titles on the platform. A developer survey is available for participants to provide feedback and / or complaints to bring positive changes for the community. 

Questions cover satisfaction, comparing development process with competitor platforms, as well as rating Microsoft services and products available to developers. As well selecting options, participants are able to provide a number of suggestions as to how the team can improve the development process.

So, how satisfied are you?

via: Cliff Simpkins

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Curious about how SkyDrive can make your life more useful? Read our guide to find out.

WP Central

Cloud storage is becoming more and more mainstream, especially among smartphone and tablet owners where local storage is limited. Storing data in the clouds (remotely hosted servers) enables the owner to access data from any supported location. DropBox is probably the best known example of cloud storage for PC users with native clients available for both Windows and Mac.

Microsoft has its own cloud storage solution, but how does SkyDrive compare to competitors? We'll take a quick glance at some features of Microsoft's product against Dropbox, Apple's iCloud and Google Drive. Microsoft has also published a chart of their own, which offers a more in-depth comparison.

 

  SkyDrive DropBox iCloud Drive
Free Storage 7GB* 2.5GB 5GB 5GB
Price +20GB - $10/yr
+50GB - $25/yr
+100GB - $50/yr
50GB - $99/yr
100GB - $199/yr
10GB - $20/yr
20GB - $40/yr
50GB - $100/yr
25GB - $2.49/mo
100GB - $4.99/mo
~16TB available
Platforms iOS, Mac, PC, WP Droid, iOS, Mac, PC, WP iOS, Mac Droid, Mac, PC

*25GB is available for existing users.

According to the table above, SkyDrive is a more attractive option compared to competitors, but what about Windows Phone? Microsoft has developed its own cloud storage solution that was formed with the Live umbrella of products, and its fully integrated into Windows Phone with a complimentary app to go with. But where exactly is this integration?

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WP Central

When Miniclip’s latest Xbox Live game Monster Island debuted four weeks ago, we were at once pleased and dismayed. On the one hand, Monster Island is easily the best Angry Birds-style game on Windows Phone. It packs an absolute ton of creative and well-designed levels – 252, with more promised in future updates. It even boasts multiple types of bombs, enhancing the puzzle complexity. But on the other hand, it also launched with an Achievement specifically for buying three dollars’ worth of in-game coins as PDLC. This raised the cost of earning Monster Island’s full 200 GamerScore from $2.99 to $5.99. Not cool on the developers’ part, and the game should never have made it through certification that way.

WPCentral broached the issue with Microsoft, who removed Monster Island from the Marketplace just two days after release.

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Microsoft demos new Bing Search, now with more social

<a data-cke-saved-href='http://video.msn.com/?vid=e0aaf4ff-24c7-42a0-875f-40917489ea1b&mkt=en-us&src=SLPl:embed::uuids' href='http://video.msn.com/?vid=e0aaf4ff-24c7-42a0-875f-40917489ea1b&mkt=en-us&src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Search with friends'>Video: Search with friends</a>

Microsoft is getting ready to overhaul Bing again and we like where it's going. The new Bing Search will integrate heavily with Facebook (leaving us non-users on the side) allowing you to quickly ping your friends, family and colleagues for tips, advice or to share your finds on the web with them directly.

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fRadio Controlled

Two weeks ago we mentioned how Pandora altered their APIs resulting in all the unofficial Pandora apps for Windows Phone not working. At the time we mentioned that devs should be able to fix the issue with an update to their apps.

Although it's taking a little longer than expected, we're streaming Pandora just fine on Radio Controlled (beta) and we expect the same for the other apps eventually too. The developer of Radio Controlled, Greg Wenograd, let us know about this latest fix:

"This one was a difficult and involved update.  I have a feeling this update will be less impacted by Pandora changes.  If they change anything it will be sooner rather than later and I should be able to get any kinks worked out....If all goes well I will be submitting the final version tomorrow"

So stand by Pandora users as your fix should be coming soon. You can grab Radio Controlled here in the Marketplace and wait for the new, working update to appear in the next few days.

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WP Central

Ready. Set. Code. The Nokia developer challenge, which we previously covered not-so-long-ago, will be kicking off this weekend. The 13-city hackathon will run through May and June, enabling developers (and teams) to come together to develop apps for Windows Phone. 

The Code Warriors are expected to be one of the pushes Nokia and Microsoft will make in their plans to bring big brand developers / apps to the platform. With Nokia forming partnerships with big-brand developers and companies to bring over official apps, this hackathon is a perfect way to get the community involved as well.

Event schedule:

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Nokia Lumia 610 and 900 set to launch in Australia

WP Central

Nokia has been sending out invitations to the media for an event today, which will put the Lumia 900 and 610 on show at an undisclosed location in Sydney. Australia already have the 800 and 710, which will be joined by the flagship and budget Windows Phones to provide consumers more choice.

As the media event is on May 17th, speculations of a late June launch for both the Lumia 900 and 610 have already been published. A burning question will be if the Lumia 900 will be the 4G LTE or international version supporting just HSPDA+ DC.  The 900 sports a 1.4Ghz chip, 4.3 AMOLED display and a 8MP rear shooter with a 1MP front-facing camera. The low-end Lumia 610 features an 800Mhz processor with 256MB RAM, 5MP camera and a 3.2 LCD display.

Of course, Mobicity has already been taking pre-orders for the Lumia 900 for a few months now.

via: Techin5

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Nokia Marketplace Rebrand

We've heard through the tip line during the last few days that the latest Tango ROM updates for Lumia devices features a slightly new Marketplace.

In short, the 'Nokia Collection' is being renamed to 'Nokia Market' on all Lumia phones, a move that we applaud ("Collection" never really fit). The move is accompanied  by a icon change for the Marketplace as the traditional bag is flattened for a more Metro look but also features a big 'n' logo emblazoned on the side.

The new logo can be seen in an unboxing video for the Lumia 610 in Vietnam at about the 3:25 mark

Certainly this is an unprecedented move by Nokia obviously done with the blessing of Microsoft. It also shows how deep the Nokia-Microsoft partnership can go with Nokia slowly but surely exerting control over the OS and user experience with the focus on Lumia and less on "Windows Phone". Even with all the advertising here in the US for the 710 and 900 the words "Microsoft" and "Windows Phone" are never mentioned, which is probably a good thing for now.

Users of the AT&T Lumia 900 should probably expect their Marketplace to be updated with a future software update which will most likely include Tango.

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WP Central

Microsoft has desires for the much-rumoured certified Facebook Phone to be built on Windows Phone foundations, according to sources familiar with company plans. The social network has been tied to Android when it came to their own device being discussed, much like what Amazon has done with the Kindle Fire. Of course we should take this with a massive truck load of salt, but it's an interesting topic of discussion.

Why would Microsoft want Facebook to use their mobile platform over Android? According to the source, Microsoft has already integrated services into Facebook, but the added traffic to Bing and other products could be huge with the size of the Facebook user base. The company is also deeply interested in penetrating the mobile market to offer a NFC-powered payment product for consumers with supported Windows Phones, something which the Lumia 610 features. They want to be the physical version of PayPal before Google advances with Wallet.

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QR Coder

Here's a funny problem we all have with smartphones regardless of OS choice: how to quickly share websites and inks between phones.

Sure, you can email, text or type out the address but it's a waste of email on both ends and if it's a long sub-link for an article, typing it out is a pain  This problem also bothered Faisal Iqbal so he decided to do something about it and thus QR Coder was born.

Faisal created a Java Script that you save as a favorite on your Windows Phone. While on the web page you want to share, you simply go to the favorites and select QR Coder. That Java Script will then dynamically generate a QR code based on the site you're viewing and display as an overlay on the screen. Your fellow pal can use their Android, iPhone, Symbian or Windows Phone to scan it and they now instantly have the link on their phone.

Brilliant.

It's actually really easy to setup too, literally 30 seconds. Go to Faisal's site and watch his video on how to get it going on your phone. Feel free to share it with your non-Windows Phone users for maximum convenience.

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Grow for Windows Phone

We covered the fish-feeding game Grow which came out about two weeks ago for Windows Phone and brought the great artwork and fun from Epic Pixel. The game has quickly racked up some outstanding reviews from new users and indeed, it is quite enjoyable.

One big complaint though that many had no trial quite the bummer for a $1.99 game. Sure, Epic Pixel is a reputable studio with multi-platform offerings but people want to try-before-they-buy, it's one of the main advantages of Windows Phone. While version 1.0 lacked this to many people's dismay, version 1.1 now has a trial-option leaving you little reason to not go grab this casual arcade game.

You can read our initial impressions of the game here or you can take those fish a spin for yourself. So go try it and holla if you like it. Pick it up here in the Marketplace.

QR: Grow

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The Daily Beast gets official for Windows Phone

The Daily Beast for Windows Phone

For those of you who like Tina Brown (and now Newsweek) in mobile form, you'll want to check out the official The Daily Beast app based off of the popular news/opinion site www.thedailybeast.com. From the app description:

The Daily Beast for Windows Phone

"The Daily Beast app is the quickest way to get breaking news from across the Web on your phone. The Daily Beast offers instant summaries of the Web's must-read stories, plus original news reporting, opinion, and photos."

The app itself is laid out very nicely with high contrast and bold graphics, smooth loading and nice transitions. Though it features an ad in the articles themselves (near the bottom) it's not too intrusive.

It also has nice integration with the Windows Phone "sharing" options  including the Social option (Twitter, Facebook, Live, etc.) and a swanky Live Tile that flips to show the latest headline.

Overall, a nice free app and great to see another official app on the Windows Phone. If it sounds good, go pick it up here in the Marketplace.

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WP Central

HTC Locations, the GPS app from the manufacturer, has now got a price tag for the app's navigation services. After introducing offline turn-by-turn navigation to combat Nokia's offering with Lumia Windows Phones, it was seen as a smart move by consumers. Unfortunately, now it seems the manufacturer either has other ideas or simply can't afford to keep the "free" label.

When running the app, users will be greeted with an option to purchase a license for maps, which enable turn-by-turn navigation. The U.S. pricing is $4.99 for 30 days, $19.99 for a year, and $29.99 unlimited. All of North America will cost you $9.99 for the month, $39.99 for 365 days, and $49.99 unlimited. Europe will set you back €49.99 and €39.99 for Eastern Europe.

WP Central

Question being, what do you guys think of this move? 

Source: WinphoneBG; via: WMPU

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Nokia and the Windows Phone team have taken the "Dare to Live" challenge to Edinburgh and Glasgow as the next step on their UK tour. Like what we witnessed in London with the challenge being held at the Shepherds Bush Westfield shopping centre, the public are challenged by the team at common smartphone tasks. Should the participant win they pocket £20 there and then, but should they lose then a daring activity awaits.

In London there was height frightening tightrope walking, but Scottish losers of the Dare to Live challenge in Glasgow get to take part in a bungee launch.

WP Central

Have you dared to challenge Windows Phone? Check out more photos on the Windows Phone Facebook page.

Source: Facebook (Nokia)

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