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Windows Phone Summary of the Week: January 16 - 22, 2012

Summary for the Week

Welcome to your weekly roundup of Windows Phone news from WPCentral. We're slightly on the late side unfortunately due to time restraints and the lack of energy (not even a pack of Red Bull and countless coffees could beef up the energy bar). Kicking us off is episode 135 of the WPCentral podcast, where we have Rene Ritchie from our sister website iMore joining Dan and Jay.

The official WPCentral app has reached version 2.0, with 2.1 well on its way. A massive thanks to Jay for the incredible development that continues to splat bugs and introduce new features. Dave from the forums takes a minute to remind readers of the WPCentral Meta forum where suggestions can be posted and site announcements can be read. If that wasn't enough community action for you, why not dive into CES 2012 discussions? If development is more your thing, then we can cater for your needs with our newer developer section.

Be sure to head on past the break for the full weekly summary.

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From the Windows Phone Central Forums

WP Central

This week in the forums we are talking about the 8107 OS update. Microsoft started rolling out their 8107 update to unlocked phones, the Lumia 710 in Spain got it, the HTC Ultimate (aka TITAN) got it, even the Venue Pro got it. Did you get it? Jump in the forums and let us know. You can pick up all the important information about what's in the update from our main page: New Windows Phone OS update rolling out. Addresses disappearing keyboard and more.

There are other updates this week as well like the Lumia 800: "Lumia 800 'battery fix' update" but there are some issues. Join us in the forums to discuss the situation: Nokia Lumia 800 Battery Update Starts Today.

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Rich Elop Shipped Numbers

Bloomberg has compiled an average estimation of 22 analysts for just how many Lumia Windows Phones the Finnish manufacturer has shipped. According to the compiled data, the estimated figure is 1.3 million. The projections range from 2 million to a single analyst predicting under the 1 million marker - 800 thousand.

Lee Simpson, a London-based analyst at Jefferies International, had the following to say on the estimations.

"There weren’t a lot of the hero handsets out there -- HTC were struggling, RIM didn’t have a show-me device, Sony Ericsson and Motorola weren’t really stepping into the mix, so there was probably enough space for Nokia to be able to point to fourth- quarter numbers they were happy with."

This fits in with what Morgan Stanley had in their chart for the 37 million Nokia handsets being shipped in 2012 prediction. If investors regain confidence in the company, and analysts continue to calculate impressive figures for the platform, we could hopefully see some positive marketing come from the headlines that will be pumped out.

Source: Bloomberg, via: Business Week

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Windows Phone Office Makeover Competition

Are you working from home and still sport a CRT monitor with a keyboard that was manufactured in the 90s? Well this competition could be for you. The Windows Phone team are offering a chance for a lucky winner to receive a home office makeover, with celebrity designer and media personality Courtney Cachet. 

The prize will include:

  • A home office makeover consultation with Courtney Cachet.
  • A package from Microsoft - including a new Windows Phone, a Windows PC, and Microsoft Office.
  • Home office décor and accessories from popular online retailer hayneedle.com.

Entering the competition is simple (should you live in the U.S. of course - not eligible for everyone else) just send a tweet to both @WindowsPhone and @CACHETLIFESTYLE on the social network, that includes a picture or description of your home office and why it needs a makeover. Be sure to include the hashtag #WindowsPhoneWorks.

Check out the video after the break where we see Cachet handing out free Windows Phones to the public after a quick demonstration on features available, as well as a quick run through of the competition. For more information and the fine print, check out the official blog post over on the Windows Phone team blog.

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Your Shape 2012

We've covered Your Shape: Fitness Evolved and its companion app before but for those who don't remember, Your Shape is a Xbox 360 Kinect title that helps you exercise and get fit. The corresponding companion app allowed you to track your progress, see your rankings, get Your Shape news, etc and it was a pretty nifty thing to have.

With the new year, UBI Soft released Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 for Kinect. That game is a big overhaul of the 2011 version with a new UI, many more exercises and just overall a much better experience (we picked up ours for $29 on Amazon.com, which was a steal). So it's nice to see that the companion app too received a makeover and we really like the changes:

  • Brand new design and accessibility improved.
  • Guest mode for players without a Uplay account.
  • Live Tile to display your current level and calories burned.
  • You will now be able to interact into the application: create, join and abandon current competitions

Your Shape 2012

Nice changes indeed. The ability to create goals is quite useful and the Live Tile with calorie counter is a a great way to stay motivated. Look, we're not going to get all preachy about health, but if you have a Kinect you owe yourself to get this game (or any other Kinect fitness title) and really use your Xbox 360 to help better yourself as well as have fun. Having this Windows Phone tie-in makes it that much cooler and we hope we see more instances like this in 2012 (except for you, Dance Central 2--get back in the corner).

Pick up Your Shape here in the Marketplace for free. Check the official trailer for Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012 after the break...

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acceleromter

A good developer will add this option to their app: disable accelerometer. We've seen it in some Twitter apps and even our own WPCentral app has a "lock portrait view" option. Still, there are times when you want to do this globally because perhaps you can't sleep and want to use your phone while lying on your side in bed--hey, it's your world!

In that case, Windows Phone Hacker has provided a neat homebrew tool that disables the accelerometer on a global but temporary basis--great for those odd moments when you just don't want the phone rotating your apps.

That's the good news. The bad news is this is only for interop-unlocked Samsung and LG devices, meaning if you're on HTC or Nokia, you're left in the cold. Plus, you'll have to reboot your phone in order to gain back the accelerometer functionality, suggesting this isn't as elegant as we'd like it (but that's not the fault of WPH, who did what they could).

For those of you interested, you can grab the app here at Windows Phone Hacker to side load. Remember, only Gen 1 Samsung and LG devices can use this app. Finally, check our all the other homebrew Windows Phone apps here: wpcentral.com/tags/homebrew Thanks, Carlos, for the tip!

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HeyWire free texting app now on Windows Phone

HeyWire is now available for Windows Phone

HeyWire (see website) is a cross-platform app that enables users to text each other for free from the US and 45 other countries.  It sends SMS over any internet connection from iOS, Android, "dumb phones," and now, Windows Phone. 

"We are very excited to provide the only free texting app in the Microsoft Marketplace -- a platform that Gartner predicts will capture the number two smartphone spot by 2015," said HeyWire founder and CEO Meredith Flynn-Ripley. "This was an important service for our company to bring to consumers, which continues HeyWire's mission to facilitate free global communications amongst groups of friends. Now, WP7 users can send and receive text messages with friends on multiple devices, quickly and easily."

HeyWire not only lets you connect across mobile platforms, but Twitter as well.  It has a simple, straight-forward user interface and can be downloaded for free here. Thanks, Amir, for the tip!

QR: HeyWire

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Lumia Subway Adverts

This is really something. Following what we've witnessed in the UK, Sweden is witnessing some Nokia Lumia redecorating on the subway, in newspapers and on advertisement screens. Attention all Swedes - incoming "The Amazing Everyday" campaign to accompany today's launch of the Lumia 800 in that country.

We've also learned that the Lumia 800 can be had for SEK 194,50/USD 29 (for six months and 239 for the remaining 18 on a 24 months subscription plan) on Tele 2. You can pick that up here.

Check out the video after the break for a quick capture of a Lumia advertisement. 

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Scam

We saw this before with a fake Spotify app that was being sold on the Windows Phone Marketplace and now we're seeing it again. Scam artist Manikandan S is selling for $1.99 (with no trial) "Chrome" which he flat out claims "is same as a google chrome web browser":

"Keep Chrome Browser handy on your device, especially for those unavoidable times you are on a slow crowded network, away from Wi-Fi. This app is same as a google chrome web browser. It has most stylish search button. Facebook, Google, Yahoo! -with Chrome Browser, all your favorite sites work great on your windows phone."

Clearly, this is not the same and both violates Google's copyright and is false advertising. Rather, it's just IE9 with a not-so-fancy wrapper around it. What's worse is the plethora of negative reviews which we could only take as an indication of numerous purchases.

Hopefully Microsoft will respond by yanking this app ASAP like the fake Spotify, but in the meantime, consider this a warning.

Source: Windows Phone Marketplace; Thanks, q21701, for the tip!

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Ofcom

While we all want Windows Phone and Nokia to advertise the hell out of those new phones, we suppose there is such thing as going too far. At least that's what The UK's Ofcom (Office of Communication) had to say about some recent promotion by Channel 5, 5* and 5 USA and Nokia. Ofcom, is the office of regulatory controls for broadcasting in the UK, analogous to the FCC here in the US and they have some far reaching power.

The complaint stems from the use of "advertisement separators‟ or "break flashes (1/2 second in length) which juxtaposed the Channel 5 logo with Nokia Lumia but gave no clear indication of the relationship implied e.g. sponsorship. As it turns out, these "break flashes" are rarely used for advertising and Channel 5 decided to leave off “Channel Sponsor Nokia Lumia” from the flashes as the consumer would not have time to read them (remember, 1/2 second flash here).

Channel 5 defends their actions by saying in isolation, such flashes could be seen as violating Rule 9.19 of the code which states such sponsorship must be obvious but in context, with the rest of the Channel 5-Nokia ads running at the beginning and end of the show, the consumer would "get the connection".

Well, long story short, Ofcom found Channel 5 in breach of Rule 9.19 anyways:

"While recognising Channel 5‟s arguments, in particular that the channel sponsorship relationship would over a relatively short time be apparent to viewers from the longer idents, it is nevertheless the case that all sponsorship credits must comply with Rule 9.19.

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Nokia 900

Some great new for those of you not on AT&T yearning for the Nokia Lumia 900--looks like June, 2012 is your month. That's the month that retail re-seller Carphone Warehouse is expected to start selling the phone to regular folks around Europe. (AT&T users in the States are still expecting a March release).

What makes this astonishing is this is the first official confirmation that indeed, the Lumia 900 with it's 4.3" screen is coming elsewhere besides AT&T here in the States. While we have heard of rumors, some indirect confirmations, etc. now we're seeing that not only will this phone be released world-wide but that a mid-year time-frame is expected.

Carphone Warehouse

No other information is teased on the site but they do have the full specs and everything looks like on the up and up. So start saving now. We can also expect much more detail next month at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Source: Carphone Warehouse; Thanks, Mark E., for the tip!

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CarbonWP Twitter

This is almost becoming a television soap script. CarbonWP is an intriguing Twitter client (popular on webOS) that's currently in the process of being made available on the Marketplace. There have been a number of issues in the recent past with submissions and the approval process, but the app has now been denied for the fourth time. Announcing on Twitter (as can be seen above) the developers are losing interest - and we can't blame them.

But hope is not all lost. Some of those who are looking forward to seeing the Twitter client arrive on Windows Phone got in touch with a few members of the WP team and now Brandon Watson (and co.) are looking into what's going wrong with CarbonWP. Here's hoping we'll see this app on the Marketplace soon.

Source: Twitter (@CarbonWP); thanks, Mark, for the heads up!

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Zip Line smoked by a Windows Phone

While Ben the PC Guy was busy smoking the competition at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show with his Windows Phone, Jimmy Lee over at Nokia Innovation was tackling a challenge of his own.

The challenge was to take a photo, upload it to Facebook and tag a friend with a Nokia Lumia 710. Simple task, right? Toss in that you have to do all this while riding a zip line down a mountain and finish the tasks before you reach the bottom and it gets interesting. The tasks were completed with time to spare.

The challenge not only demonstrates the speed of Windows Phone and the Lumia but also the ease in which you can accomplish tasks. I guess if you ever find yourself racing down a mountain on a zip line, you know you have plenty of time to snap a few shots and post them to Facebook.

Source: YouTube; Thanks, ballroomdru, for the tip!

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Xbox Live: PES 2011 drops off the Marketplace

PES 2011 pulled

It’s been a while since an Xbox Live game has been pulled from the Marketplace. Last year, Fast & Furious: Adrenaline, Star Wars Cantina, and Star Wars: Battle for Hoth all got pulled at once. Besides that, the beleaguered Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst was taken down for good, and Twin Blades got temporarily pulled. Now we can add another game to the delisted list: Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 (aka PES 2011) from Konami.

As with the previous pulled games, no warning was given before PES 2011 got yanked. Some have speculated its removal is due to PES 2012’s impending release. It is true that once PES 2012 comes out, nobody will want to buy the previous version. But is there any harm in allowing 2011 to collect virtual dust alongside its successor? After all, once a game has been pulled, people who already purchased that game can no longer redownload it. Removing a game every time its sequel comes around isn’t very fair to customers.

We’ve contacted Konami and Microsoft for comment and will update if they’re able to shed some light on the subject.

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Nokia Lumia 710 gets price drop in India

Lumia 710

As if the Nokia Lumia 710 wasn't already cheap enough, the phone has received a nice price cut of about 3300 Rs to 15699. Available through Flipkart.com now, the 3.7" device with a ClearBlack LCD a 1.4GHz CPU is quickly becoming the most affordable smartphone on the market.

Of course, we could wonder if the price drop is because Nokia wants to be more competitive or perhaps the 710 is not selling as well--hard to say at this point. But for those interested in a new smartphone, it seems a great deal.

Source: Flipkart; Thanks, Mohib, for the tip!

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Nokia ROMs

We like the idea of white phones only because they stand out in a sea of black-slabs these days. Between our (mostly) white Lumia 710 and all-white Radar 4g, we think the color variation adds some pizzazz and choices to the second gen Windows Phone lineup. So it's with great excitement that we're seeing more and more evidence that Nokia is making a white Lumia 800.

Evidence first came forth a few days ago at XDA where a screenshot (see below) from fshqbizfs. Evidently, he was using an app that browses Nokia firmware and came across some interesting findings. From that screenshot we see listings for a white v2 Lumia 800 coming to Portugal and Switzerland.

Nokia firmware

And we now have the above screenshot from reader VoodooKing (top picture) who was searching for Nokia ROMs on their server to corroborate those entries. As you can see, there are the same listings for Portugal and Switzerland, giving a little more credence to the earlier screenshot from XDA.

White N9

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Wordfeud coming to Windows Phone on February 1st

Wordfeud App

We previously touched on Wordfeud close to the end of 2011 with an email reply from the development team who stated a Windows Phone version of the cross-platform multiplayer word game is on the way. Now we can see the app in action on a Nokia Lumia 800 in the above photo. 

In the post over on the Wordfeud blog the team state that they're looking at a February 1st release. Good news for those who are awaiting this title.

Source: Wordfeud, thanks Rob for the heads up!

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Metrogram?

Last weekend we broke the news of an unofficial Instagram client coming to the Windows Phone Marketplace and it was to be called Metrogram. Developed by Bil Simser (@bsimser), the app would give users access to viewing and sharing Instagram photos. Simser was also working on trying to get permission from the Instagram folks to actually allow Windows Phone users to submit photos--if that permission was granted, he would have a client with a few weeks to enable that feature.

Now, we got word that a Metrogram app has indeed landed in the Marketplace but this is not by Simser but rather by Nazer Aminou, the same guy behind WP Shortcut Tiles. Still, it's an interesting app but no, don't expect any ability to take pics with your phone and submit them to the Instagram network--indeed, all you can do is browse their network and login into your account. It's not bad per se, but obviously quite limited and not the full-featured Instagram client that Windows Phone users want.

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4th & Mayor v3.2 now with menu support & QR checkin

4th & Mayor v3.2

We like app updates, especially when they come so quickly after previous app updates. Jeff Wilcox is on a rampage with his Foursquare app 4th & Mayor which is just going live in the Marketplace with v3.2.  We just had an update to this a few days ago and now v3.2 adds even more features. One of those is "Menu support" for local restaurants in your area, a new addition introduced by Foursquare on January 18th. It's so new, Windows Phone is the first second mobile OS to support it (Android users beat us, ever so slightly).

  • Powered by Foursquare and Single Platform, many places now have a menu available - you’ll find it right under the mayor information when looking at a place
  • Available in major US cities, over 13 million menu items at 250,00 restaurants - with more on the way!

In addition, you can now scan in at some venues by using a QR code. Evidently, some establishments are using QR codes at the front which you can scan to do the checkin, giving users yet another method for racking up those points:

4th & Mayor v3.2

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IMDb v1.3

Updates for the official IMDb app are few and far between, heck we're just hitting v1.3 now, but at least it's a significant improvement. The popular movie and film database has been out since day one on Windows Phone, but it's missed a lot of the cool new Mango things, including a Live Tile. Version 1.3, which just went up today, fixes this along with other reported issues:

  • Bug Fixes
  • Search integration via App Connect
  • Social sharing of Movies and People
  • Live Tile support

Not too shabby and it feels a bit zippier too. We still find ourselves swiping when we should be tapping and vice versa on occasion, but the ability to share on social networks, the Bing 'App Connect' feature and Live Tile go a long way. Speaking of, we're still waiting for our Live Tile to update so we're not entirely too sure what it does nor looks like, but we're sure to see in the next hour or so.

Pick up the official IMDb app here in the Marketplace for free. Thanks, Nicholas M., for the tip!

QR: IMDb

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WPDownUnder's "Wheres my Update?" page for Americans

WPBU US

WPDownUnder recently created a "Where's my Update?" page of their own for Australia in light of the Windows Phone team blog post, which outlined communication alterations being made in the way Windows Phone owners are kept up-to-date with the status of updates. The official "Where's my Update?" is also believed to be on its way out (with more devices being added to the platform). Now the team has created a web page for U.S. visitors.

Should you be interested in checking the status of updates on U.S. carriers, head on over to "Where's my Freakin' Update?".

Source: WPDownUnder; Thanks, Sheeds, for the tip!

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A recap video has been published on the Windows Phone YouTube channel (as can be seen above), which could be considered as a recap of the recap of the challenge that Ben Rudolph (Ben the PC Guy) was offering to those who wielded competitor handsets. Putting $100 on the line, Rudolph went around challenging CES 2012 attendees who were up for attempting to best Windows Phone on a selected task.

The video runs through many of the challenges Ben faced, whether it be posting pictures to social networks, or searching nearby restaurants. While Windows Phone won the majority of the battles, there were a few that were taken by competitor handsets. In the end, our beloved platform achieved the following:

  • 30 win
  • 3 loss
  • 1 draw
  • 88% win

Those who lost had to suck it up and admit they were smoked by a Windows Phone.  All was not lost though, as a consolation prize, the losers were given a Windows Phone.  In the end, not many were laughing at the Windows Phone platform.

Source: YouTube

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SuperTube?

Good news for those of you who didn't bother to buy YouTube Pro--your SuperTube app just transitioned to the updated look and feel of the new app. That's right, if you go and re-download "SuperTube" it will turn into YouTube Pro on your device--same app, same icon, etc.

That's a pretty good deal for those of you who didn't want to layout the extra $0.99 for the "new" app. Of course, if you did pay the $0.99 then you're a bit out of luck as you now have two versions of the app. (We're in the latter camp).

You can download SuperTube right here in the Marketplace to get the new updated version.

Thanks to eveyrone who sent this in!

QR: SuperTube

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OccassionalGamer Million Downloads

More good news for Elbert Perez and OccassionalGamer. Collectively, Perez's Windows Phone games has passed the millionth download mark. As of January 14, 2012 OccassionalGamer titles have recorded 1,002,760 downloads. Not too shabby.

The titles leading the download parade include Armored Drive at 224,875 downloads and Impossible Shoota at 156,267 downloads.

OccassionalGamer Downloads

There's little doubt of Perez's success with Windows Phone game development. From the number of downloads to the revenue they generate, OccassionalGamer is definitely one of Windows Phone's success stories.  

You can catch our roundup of OccassionalGamer titles here.

Source: OccassionalGamer

 

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