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Lumia 900 on offer at Amazon Wireless from just $10

WP Central

Amazon Wireless has some pretty enticing deals, much like Amazon itself, but the online retailer is now offering the black AT&T Lumia 900 4G Windows Phone for just $9.99 when upgrading, or $39.99 when adding a new line. The Nokia smartphone, which boasts a 5-star rating on Amazon Wireless from 342 customers, is the culprit behind the delays that have occurred in Europe due to high demand in the states.

Powered by a 1.4 single-core chip, and featuring 16GB storage, an 8MP rear-shooter (with FF), 4.3" AMOLED display with ClearBlack technology, and 512MB RAM, the Lumia 900 is definitely no slouch. Will you be picking yours up?

Source: Amazon Wireless; thanks parthp90 for the heads up!

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WP Central

What? "Birdsong is still alive" you say? It seems the team at Red Badger have been busy pumping life into the old girl, who has been dormant since she was updated to Mango. We last spoke of Birdsong, the then-popular Windows Phone Twitter client, when the team announced that intern Joe Stanton would be tasked with bringing the app back up to speed with the competition. So what's new in upcoming 1.7?

The team has introduced a new trends feature, which is now accessible from the main app bar and provides convenient access to Twitter trending data for users. The feature calculates your location and displays nearest trending topics with the option to view what's trending in a specific city, nationwide, or on a global scale. 

Search functionality has been revamped and is now more intuitive with the main search view retrieving saved searches automatically. Upon executing a search via Birdsong, the app now searches both tweets and accounts simultaneously. The app makes use of the Twitter API for searching, so any saved searches created / manipulated on the app will be reflected on the website and other apps that make use of the same functionality.

As well as a search revamp and trending topics, Birdsong now supports both photos tweeted using Twitter's in-house hosting service and gzip. Previously, any image hosted with Twitter would show it as a link which could not be selected, but now all photos are loaded correctly depending on user settings. For gzip support, this solves the login issue many experience when attempting to connect their Twitter account to the app on first launch.

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Odd Nokia Lumia 900 ad shows new Live Tile behavior

WP Central

We're not to sure what to make of this ad for the Nokia Lumia 900 showing up on some sites but it caught one of our reader's attention and indeed, it is intriguing.

The ad is simple enough. It shows the 'beautifully different' Lumia 900 in glossy-white with a 4G icon (this is for the international version, not AT&T) spinning around, displaying various features.

Accident or something more?

But what is different relates to the Live Tiles:

  1. Contacts - The tiles flip and it says "Meet up with Sarah"
  2. Photo Hub - Flips and splits into two tiles, one with the latest photo, the other with a count

Anyone who has used Windows Phone, any version, knows very well that the Live Tiles do neither of those things. Yet there they are flipping around like they belong there are a new ad.

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WP Central

On Sunday we posted a method by which you can get a free Avatar prop featuring Windows Phone--either a Longboard, foam finger or tee-shirt. All you had to do was sign up for the Windows Phone Insider newsletter and you were sent a redeem code.

Then late Sunday/early Monday we started to get word that the offer had suddenly ended, even before most of you were able to try and get one. Now, Microsoft's KC Lemson has posted why on the Windows Phone Blog.

In short, some jerk managed to sweep up all the remaining redeem codes, locking out future users. What's worse, they're selling them on eBay for $10 a pop.

eBay scam

The good news is Microsoft will do right and extend free I <3 Windows Phone shirt avatar props to those users who received a rejection email, meaning not only will you get something, you'll get a more rare item.

No word though if they'll open this up for others who missed the original offer. From the sound of it, it was a successful program. Let's hope they do it again.

Source: Windows Phone Blog; Thanks, FalconX, for the eBay link

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SAPER

Although we like playing video games with bombs on our Windows Phone, we have to remember in the real world, bombs and mines are a real problem for war-torn territories.

Evidently a few students at the Military University of Technology in Warsaw have decided to do something about it so they created SAPER. What is SAPER? The name means “minesweeper” in Polish and is also an acronym for “Sensor Amplified Perception For Explosives Recognition.” Yes, that's right,  it uses the magnetometer in Windows Phone to detect bombs, specifically  the magnetic field around an forty different types of explosive material from 30 cm (11.8 inches) away.

In short, you launch the app and let it calibrate in the area you intend to scan. Then waving the phone around it compares the recorded magnetic disturbance signature with other signatures in the database via a cloud-based connection, giving a probable threat cause and even a potential ID of the type of explosive. It even uses Bing Maps to then mark the area for future extraction.

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WP Central

Since Windows Phone users can't spend a lot of time customizing their OS (instead we live our lives), there's much focus on the lock-screen. We know we change ours every few days (we use Ffffound for inspiration).

Today, Microsoft has announced a partnership with London based graphic designer Levi Freeman and as a result, they've released eight "officially sanctioned" wallpapers to spiffy up your Windows Phone.

WP Central

The eight images are nature focused so they may not appeal to everyone (we're more into abstract art here). Still, the designs are nice and they're meant to look perfect on your phone. What's more, the images all have a corresponding QR code for easy download (see, not even Microsoft uses Tag). Plus Microsoft notes that they hope more of these collaborations will happen with Levi, meaning we can probably expect different themes in the future--we like that idea. Levi also plans to release desktop versions too.

There's some interesting tidbits about the inspiration for each image and details about Freeman at his site, so hop on over to grab those images and learn a little bit about their origins.

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Selling well?

File this under "vague but encouraging". T-Mobile's CEO Philipp Humm gave an interview with the Seattle Times where he talked about the transitions that company is going through including their future plans.

Humm was asked about Microsoft and Windows Phone in particular and while no firm numbers or details were given, the message was at least positive:

Q: T-Mobile made a commitment to push Windows Phone this year. How is that working out?

A: I think we have a very good relationship with Microsoft, and we discovered that, in particular, for customers who are new to smartphones, they really enjoy the simplicity of the Microsoft [user interface], so they like the design and the ease of it.

Q: Are Windows phones selling as well as you hoped?

A: We are so far quite pleased and I think Microsoft, if you talk to them, [is] quite pleased with T-Mobile.

Indeed, T-Mobile has been the 2nd most important carrier in the US for Windows Phone. They launched with the popular HD7, had the Dell Venue Pro and recently exclusively acquired the HTC Radar (review) and Nokia Lumia 710 (review). While those latter two phones won't woo those who want a high-end, large screen device, both phones have exceptionally high user satisfaction ratings (and they're amongst our favorite devices here at Windows Phone Central).

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WP Central

Those who participated in the Lumia 900 feedback study that saw Nokia publish a survey and offer $50 Amazon gift cards as an incentive have reported that they've begun receiving said rewards. Should you have completed the required number of surveys and are eligible for the gift card reward, you will be contacted soon enough. 

WP Central

Our George Ponder has confirmed this acknowledgement and has also been alerted to his $50 gift card redemption code.

Let us know in the comments when you receive yours. What will you be using the card for? You can also join in the discussion on our Windows Phone forum.

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WP Central

ZTE is slowly growing to be an important partner with Microsoft and Windows Phone as they're one of the largest OEMs in the world (that you never heard of). Their "Tania" has been around for some time now but it surprisingly hasn't launched yet in China, which received its big Windows Phone push last month with Nokia and HTC leading the way.

Now it looks like the device will finally be out within days though no specific carrier has been announced. According to Wei Xiaodong, ZTE sales director, the phone will be released by the end of this month and will get a CPU bump from 1GHz to 1.4Ghz--a trend we're seeing with the more premium Windows Phones like the 710 and Focus 2. Everything else will stay the same though: 4.3" screen, 4GB storage, 512MB RAM and a 5MP camera. Of course the OS is expected to be "Tango" for the Chinese localization.

We played with the Tania back at CES and actually like the little guy. While perhaps not amazing by certain standards, for a premium Windows Phone it's actually well done. ZTE has also announced plans to make a push here in the United States and it will be curious to see how that pans out.

See our hands-on video on the ZTE Tania from CES 2012 here.

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WP Central

Nokia and Microsoft have teamed up with Pizza Hut Australia to give away five Lumia 800s and $100 vouchers (for Pizza Hut). How does one enter with a chance to win? Simply head over to their Facebook page and fill out a short form detailing why you believe you should win one of the available prizes.

Do hurry if you're thinking of entering as the competition ends on May 25th. You can download the Pizza Hut app from the Marketplace for free (country restricted). Check out the app in a video demonstration below.

Source: Facebook (Pizza Hut), via: WPDownUnder

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Skype for Windows Phone

Do you want to know why Skype is the way it is? We go into detail as to how the network works & why it's not so great on Windows Phone--yet.

Soon after Skype for Windows Phone beta came out (and went gold months thereafter), users were dismayed to discover the app didn’t work, well, like Skype. That is, it couldn’t run in the background to receive phone calls or IMs from friends and family.  Circulating reports suggested that perhaps “push notifications were too slow” or that the problem was a result of “[…] how Skype works and how the Windows Phone OS works.”

The real reason? Well, it’s complicated

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NumberTap update on the way, what's changed so far?

WP Central

The TBODA team have been busy working on improving NumberTap, a free mathematical brain workout Windows Phone title. We previously looked at NumberTap when it was released back in August 2011. Since then it has come on leaps and bounds with a number of versions introducing the following features:

  • Badges (achievements)
  • Bonus questions for double points
  • Time bonus for answering all the questions in a round before the timer expires
  • Added more question types (divides and some with brackets)
  • Added functionality to share a players score to social networks

NumberTap App

As well as being more feature rich with the above, NumberTap was patched a few times to squash any reported bugs. Should you give the app a try? Definitely. Not only is it free, it's a lot of fun and is of same quality as Phonealytics by Luke Lowrey. A leaderboard is also present with badges and score multipliers, which add depth to the game with multiplayer elements.

Version 1.7 has been submitted and should be available soon.

You can download NumberTap from the Marketplace for free.

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Nokia Lumia 610 now in stock at Clove UK

WP Central

The Lumia 610 has now been confirmed to be in stock at UK mobile retailer Clove. The company is offering the all-black version for £180 (including VAT), which was previously unveiled to be heading for the UK shores last week. The low-end device sports 8GB internal memory, a 3.7 inch display, 5 megapixel camera, and the Nokia Collection of OEM apps including Maps, Drive, Transport, Music and more.

If you're more interested in the cyan version, Clove have revealed that they expect to stock this version this week. Will you be picking one up, or is the Lumia 710 on your list?

Source: Clove UK (Lumia 610); thanks Richard for the heads up!

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Official The Register app available for Windows Phone

WP Central

An official app for The Register has been released for Windows Phone this past week. The online publication is a reputable technology resource with millions of readers, and Windows Phone owners will be pleased to know that a seamless experience is now available while on the go.

Latest articles are pulled down with comments displayed for each article. Users can add their own opinion on the article, or share the article with integrated social networks. Favourite feeds can be configured in the settings, for a maximum of three subjects. This creates a more personalised experience with relevant stories being targeted for viewing with three panes dedicated to the chosen topics. All feeds can be viewed regardless of what's selected in the settings, thus it's not a limitation.

The Register App

It's a basic and simple app, but the interface is great and fluid throughout. Unfortunately, there's no option to change font sizes and screen orientation is locked at portrait, but we expect future updates to be rolled out addressing said issues with new feature implementations.

You can download The Register from the Marketplace for free.

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WP Central

Welcome to this week's Windows Phone summary of the week, where we round up all the news and headlines that are worth checking out should you have missed a few days of our feed. Before we kick off the summary, our app has been updated to version 2.2 (with 2.3 in the works) and introduces a number of new features and functionality. Our Paul Acevedo took a look at five must-have games any new Windows Phone owner should have in their collection.

As well as gaming, our George Ponder takes a deeper look at how SkyDrive can make your life easier with cloud storage and integration. Mobilicity has paired up with Windows Phone Central to give away a shiny new Lumia 710 in a photo contest. Do you believe your shots could win? Closing date is May 24th. That wraps up our introduction, now let's head into the summary.

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Lumia 900 Featured

The Lumia 900 has been featured as "The Networker" in the latest issue of to Entrepreneur Magazine, a publication covering small businesses, startups and the like. As one can see with the above photo, the Lumia 900 is praised for its design, SkyDrive integration, LTE speeds, collection of Microsoft apps, and how it "looks like a toy".

Unfortunately, no mention of Nokia OEM apps is present, nor how the Windows Phone has won numerous awards. Still, it's great to see the Lumia 900 (and Windows Phone for that matter) rated up there with the iPhone, Motorola Droid 4 and Samsung Galaxy Note in a respectable magazine.

Check out a closer shot of the page after the break. Thanks Teddy for sending the photos in!

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Samsung is back in...white...with the Focus 2 on AT&T. What do I think of it after a few hours? Let's find out.

Samsung Focus 2

For many of us, the original Samsung Focus (review) was our first foray into the Windows Phone world. And truth be told, it was an excellent experience. With it's 4" Super AMOLED screen, slick design, light body and decent (for the time) camera, the Samsung Focus set the precedent. Recent numbers also reflect that status with upwards of 90% of AT&Ts first generation Windows Phone being the Focus.

Today, AT&T and Samsung have released the Focus 2, a moderate update to the original design (check out today's unboxing video). Eschewing glossy black for the new hip white, dropping in a faster 1.4GHz CPU and adding 4G LTE are the most notable changes. Adding a more rounded design with some updated sensors and cameras are the more under-the-hood type differences.

So how does it stack up in the first few hours I've been toying with it? For $50 on contract or $399 off, the Focus 2 is a nimble little guy that has certainly caught my attention.

The feel of the device is really good in the hands albeit a touch slippery. The roundness of the device, while slick, makes it a joy to hold and at 4" for the screen size, it's a more natural fit. The chrome accent adds a touch of class and while the device is very plastic, it doesn't feel cheap. The buttons have an interesting layout with the volume keys to the left, power and camera to the right. While odd, it does make it less confusing than the Lumia 900's where they are all lumped together on the same side. Travel of the keys is good and they're tactile with no rattle.

The Super AMOLED screen is really brilliant but obviously not as good as the Lumia 900's. Still, it holds its own and it's great to look at while not getting to grimy.

Audio quality is moderate with very little distortion when maxed out. It's a touch tinny but not by much.

The camera is surprisingly good even at 5MP, in fact forgetting the loss of resolution, it's as good if not better than the Nokia Lumia 900's. While it doesn't really contain any advanced settings e.g. no anti-shake or panorama, photos are well detailed and pleasing to the eye. We do however recommend turning up sharpness and contrast a smidge more to make the most of it.

Any extras worth reporting on? No, not really. There are the advanced GPS settings (GLONASS) and Samsung's "extra settings" present but other than that it has the same wallpapers as other Samsung Windows Phones and their regular cheesy ringtones.

Overall though, we're impressed and like the Focus 2 a ton. It feels great in the hand, is fun to use and makes a solid addition to AT&T's lineup. I'm going to have little problem adding it to my repertoire of Windows Phones.

Check after the break for a few more pics of the device and a couple camera samples (compared to the Lumia 900)...

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Our first impressions of the new Samsung Focus 2 from AT&T

Samsung Focus 2 from AT&T

AT&T has yet another Windows Phone on their store shelves today. It is the Samsung Focus 2, a 4" Super AMOLED screened white Windows Phone.

And it's not too shabby.

We picked one up this morning at our local AT&T store and the Focus 2 makes a nice first impression. Measuring 4.79" x 2.47" x .43" and weighing in at 4.3 ounces, the Focus 2 is very comparable in size with its older brother the Samsung Focus (4.84” x 2.56” x 0.39” and 4.1 ounces).

The Focus 2 fits comfortably in the hand and has a compact feel, especially after using the HTC Titan II for the past month. Screen quality is as you would expect from a Super AMOLED screen, rich saturation and contrast. I'm partial to a larger screen but the 4" screen on the Focus 2 looks nice. I still have reservations on having a white Windows Phone but we'll see how well things hold up over the next few days.

The Focus 2 is powered by a 1750mah battery and moves along rather nicely with the 1.4ghz processor. The Focus 2 is fitted with 8gb of memory, a 5mp rear camera, VGA front facing camera, and is 4G LTE compatible. Now before you moan and groan about the Focus 2 only having 8gb of storage, remember this is an entry level Windows Phone. Plus with SkyDrive gaining momentum, you have a solid off-device storage option.

Overall, the AT&T Samsung Focus 2 makes a nice first impression. We're going to take the Focus 2 out for a test drive over the next few days and will get a full review up on the site shortly. With the Focus 2 running $49.99 under contract, we'll also see how the Focus 2 compares to the Nokia Lumia 900 (as well as the Lumia 710) to see how these two sub-$100 Windows Phones match up.

Stay tuned, there's more to come and after the break, check out our unboxing video...

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Windows Phone Fan

The team behind the We Love Windows Phone website over in Hong Kong have kicked off their Windows Phone fan giveaway. The LED fans -- when in operation -- display a short presentation stating "Windows Phone" "Simply Faster" (see above photos). Stock is limited, but this competition is open to international platform fans.

Check out the quick demonstration below of the product in action.

All that's required is a short form to be filled out, which includes the question "What would you like to see as the next Windows Phone souvenir to attract the public?" The application period ends on May 23rd, and note that entrants will bear the cost of international shipping. Head on over the We Love Windows Phone's website for the form and further details. 

Source: We Love Windows Phone (Bing translation)

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WP Central

You've asked for it and now you'll get it.  In the continued push by Nokia and Microsoft of the outstanding Lumia line of Windows Phone, new Xbox Avatar props have been created. What's more, they're free.

The props were noticed by the site Xbox Avatar Gear and come in three flavors:

  • Nokia Windows Phone Longboard
  • Windows Phone #1 foam finger
  • I <3 Windows Phone shirt

So how do you get one? Simple, you just sign up for the Windows Phone Insider Newsletter. That's it.  Once you do so, you'll receive an email with your Redeem Code which you can then enter at Xbox.com. We did it and managed to grab a Longboard which is pretty snazzy.

WP Central

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AT&T Titan II gets a price drop to $150 on contract

Titan II

We just got back from our local AT&T store and we noticed that the HTC Titan II (see review) has gone from it's $199 pricing point ($550 off contract) to $149.99 ($500 off-contract).

The pricing coincides with today's release of the Samsung Focus 2 (of which we'll have an un-boxing video coming up soon). With the price drop of the Titan II, AT&T has given a little more consistency to their Windows Phone 4G LTE lineup:

  • Focus 2 - $49.99
  • Lumia 900 - $99.99
  • Titan II - $149.99

We also noticed an HTC Android phone received a similar price drop, so this looks like just a normal re-calibration of the market. The HTC Titan II, featuring a fantastic 16MP camera and a massive 4.7" screen is still "king" of specs on Windows Phone, though it's clearly being over-shadowed by the more "sexy" Nokia Lumia 900.

Still, at just $50 more than the Lumia 900, the Titan II is now much more competitively priced and for some, this will make more sense for those looking for a new Windows Phone 7.5 device.

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Parnell on SNL

Many of you should now be familiar with Chris Parnell if you're outside the US. The funny man is widely known for his work on perpetual sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live and has recently been the voice of Nokia's Lumia 900 campaign. Personally, we dig him a lot as he's got a great voice and presence.

Last night on the season finale of SNL, Parnell (who left the show years ago) teamed back up with Andy Samberg for a sequel to their song "Lazy Sunday". The video can be seen on Hulu (if you're in the US) and it's certainly well worth the watch, especially on this gorgeous weekend.

What makes last night's performance funny (at least for us phone geeks) was the screen capture teased for the video's premier. Verizon brazenly sponsored the show last night and it was borderline spammed all over their Facebook page and Tweets, often featuring cheesy 4G LTE "video interviews" of terrible quality.

As you can see in the image above, that's Parnell speaking on a glossy-white Lumia 900 (as he should be) and the image is of course posted by, Verizon. While certainly an inadvertent coincidence, it does ring a bit funny since the carrier is so lukewarm to Windows Phone. Of course no one will get the joke except for us but that's okay.

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Final Fantasy iOS

Just a week ago, we looked at a number of Xbox Live games whose Achievements were discovered by avid French gamer Zebrasqual: Mirror’s Edge, Battleship, and Fling. I daresay Mr. Squal’s sleuthing rivals my own, as he has uncovered two more future games’ Achievement lists. Both titles will surely appeal to console gamers: Final Fantasy and Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition.

Head past the break for full details on both upcoming games.

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WP Central

The UK loyalty card scheme Nectar has released an official app for Windows Phone, which is now available on the Marketplace. A number of brands are supported, including Sainsbury's, BP and Homebase, that all enable customers to collect points on purchases. Racked points can then be spent on special offers or products from the likes of easyJet, Argos, Philips, and more.

  • Bonus point offers available
  • Easy access to Nectar account balances
  • Collect points when you shop online with hundreds of brands via Nectar eShops
  • Store Locator – check out all the places you can collect and spend your points
  • Register Nectar cards via the app

Stores are displayed on an interactive map, with account balance and offers readily available. It's a superb looking app, taking Metro guides into account.

WP Central

You can download the official Nectar app from the Marketplace for free. Thanks Paul for the tip!

WP Central

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