Articles

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Site Announcement: WPCentral app v2.1 now available

WP Central

It's been just over a week since we released WPCentral v2.0 into the world, pushing up the total number of app downloads to over 30,000. Honestly myself and everyone involved have been absolutely blown away by the incredible feedback we've received on the site, via e-mail and of course in marketplace reviews. We couldn't be more thrilled that you guys are enjoying the new app and I wanted to say thank you one more time for the continued investment our community shows.

With that said, v2.0 is already being replaced, proving that if you want to find any mistakes in your code, just release it to the public to test in their masses!

You'll be able to download it from the marketplace right now here, but I know you're keen to know what's changed so here we go:

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We mentioned Sonic's Jewels (SJ7) the other day as coming to Windows Phone. The SEGA Game Gear and Master System emulator has been submitted to the Windows Phone Marketplace and should be made available to all in the next few days. Coming with a free trial, the emulator will ultimately fetch for $1.29 which we find to a great price for this well designed app.

Sonic Jewels

We've playing with it for a few days now and while there is currently no sound (the devs are hoping to get that working in the future) we found the emulation and presentation top notch. The app is fluid, intuitive to use and has built in Skydrive support for importation of your ROM collection. With the ability for three saved-states per game, pinnable Live Tiles for each game and the excellent progress indicators, we're very impressed with the effort here.

We'll keep you posted when Sonic's Jewels goes live in the Marketplace in the next few days. Until then, enjoy our video tour.

Update: This app is now known as Blue Tomato.

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WhatsApp

Last night we reported that WhatsApp hit v1.6 with a bunch of small fixes and new features. However, many of you noted right away something wasn't right--specifically you can't open up received images or videos sent by other WhatsApp users.

That's a pretty big drawback. So what's the deal? WPCentral reader Robby Light contacted the devs and they responded:

"The submission for 1.6 came from a "tainted" build machine and was not linked correctly.  This makes us fail to download media.  We regret the error and have sent an update to Microsoft.

Regards,
Andrew"

So there you go. We've seen this error from other apps before where an improper build was submitted to the Marketplace and we've even seen the submission process break an app (i.e. Supertube's video uploading). Hopefully a v1.7 "quick fix" will be pushed out ASAP and you'll get all those missing photos.

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Lumia 710 and 800 coming to Czech Republic February 1

Lumia 710 and 800 coming to Czech Republic

Just a couple days after the Lumia 900 showed up for sale on a Czech site, it looks like the its brethren Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 are headed that way too.  Computerworld.cz is reporting that the two Nokias are coming to the Czech Republic on February 1.  They will be available on all of the country's carriers (O2, T-mobile and Vodafone), along with the Electroworld retail chain and Alza.cz e-shop.  Word is that the 710 will fetch about 7,990 CZK and the 800 an estimated 12 490 CZK. 

The two handsets will come with the Nokia Collection, Nokia's own app marketplace, as well as a twist: a choice of search engines.  Users will be able to select the factory-installed Bing search or opt for Czech search engine, Seznam.cz. 

"Seznam.cz is a Czech company focused on the Czech market. We are glad that we got the opportunity to offer our users the Czech search. In cooperation with the Czech representation of Nokia, we modified the home page as searching and displaying results specifically for phones Lumia, to the best possible user experience, "says Ivan Mikula, product manager for mobile services Seznam.cz. (Please forgive the Google Translate)

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Security Toolkit

Security Toolkit (our review) is an app that enables the user to turn their Windows Phone into a mobile security system. From motion sensor capabilities to an intrusion alarm, Security Toolkit certainly is a neat app to play with. The app has recently been updated to 1.6. A brief list of a hundful of improvements implemented in the latest version:

  • WebCam Viewer - view a PC (live) connected webcam over local WIFI (auto discovered Cam Broadcaster is available as a separate app.)
  • Voice Recorder - voice recorder with silence detection and skip, start/stop/pause/resume recording using phone camera button, remote listen/record from PC console via local WIFI
  • Image quality improved for Cam Broadcaster

You can download Security Toolkit from the Marketplace for $3.99.

QR: Security Toolkit

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We're always a fan of augmented reality apps even if we don't have a specific use for them. Augmented Colors by SimzzDev fits in that category as we're not designers or artists by any stretch. Still, that didn't prevent us from recognizing just how cool this is.

In short, the app uses your Windows Phone camera to dynamically label colors in the world by using their RGB values and HTML color codes (e.g. #FF0000 for red). When you find a color you like, you simply tap the on-screen color bar to "lock it" in. The app then hops to the share screen where you can post that color code to Twitter/Facebook/Live, email/SMS or pin-to-start for saving for later. You can even create solid wallpapers for your Lock screen based off the color for some added function.

Augmented Colors

We could see painters and graphic designers making great use of this app or even if you're just repainting a room and you're looking for that exact color for the paint store. The app works exceptionably well for what it is meant to do and for $0.99, we think it's a bargain. There's also a free-trial where you can test out the AR part (you just can't share results), so no reason to not give it a spin.

Pick up Augmented Colors here in the Marketplace.

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O2 Blog Header

The O2 UK blog has featured the Nokia Lumia 800 in an article that recommends top smartphones for different consumer needs and desires. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the "must have for anyone who wants the latest and greatest", but it's the Lumia 800 that interests us with being recommended as the perfect option for those what want something different.

"As good as all of the above devices are, they're all part of the established order of smartphone devices and platforms. If you yearn for something a little different, the Nokia Lumia 800 will be like a breath of fresh air.

First up there's the phone’s unique design, which adopts an unusual all-in-on polycarbonate shell that's as durable as it is striking to look at. What really makes the Lumia 800 feel fresh is its Windows Phone Mango operating system, which presents a heavily stylised but ultra-intuitive interface and peerless compatibility with Microsoft Office and Xbox Live."

Not a bad description, eh? Nice to see O2 actually recognise the beauty of not only Nokia's hardware, but Microsoft's mobile OS. If you'd like to note something else that's relatively interesting - the O2 UK blog header features Windows Phones (see above image).

Source: O2 UK Blog, thanks serenityangel for the tip!

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Nokia Lumia 800 heading to Australia

Nokia Lumia 800 to Australia

On the heals of the Samsung Omnia W heading to our friends Down Under, news is circulating the Nokia Lumia 800 is heading to the Australian market. The Nokia Windows Phone will be offered through Telstra, Optus and Vodaphone and should be available sometime in March.  Pricing information is not available at this time.

In addition to the Lumia 800, Australia should expect the Lumia 710 to become available sometime after March and there are hints that the Lumia 900 will be headed to Australia as well.

via: wpdownunder source: AFR; Thanks, Scott and Jack, for the tip!

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WhatsApp updated to v1.6 with new features, fixes

WhatsappEveryone's favorite chat app, WhatsApp, has received what seems like its monthly update--gotta love their commitment. Version 1.6 just hit the Marketplace with a nice changelog of minor new features and a bunch of fixes that must have been introduced in v1.5 from December:

  • Unread message count in chats pivot
  • Improve behavior when receiving photos on EDGE networks
  • Able to add unrecognized users to device contacts
  • Able to forward messages
  • Update status in UI when successfully setting your own status
  • When creating a group, able to remove users from initial list of invitees
  • Confirmation prompt when inviting a user to a group
  • Fix sort order in group chat invite screen
  • Workaround for "no text" problem caused by Advanced Configuration tool
  • es-ES localization

Not bad but nothing too crazy either. But those minor additions go a long way for users who rely on this everyday, so its always good to see. You can pick up WhatsApp for free in the Marketplace here. Thanks, Israel I., for the tip!

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HTC releases new car cradle for Titan

Titan dock

For those of you like us with an HTC Titan, you may want take a look at the new car cradle from HTC themselves. The device looks sturdy enough with a ball joint and horizontal mounting. You can even charge it via the built in power adapter:

"The HTC Titan Car Upgrade Kit lets you attach and mount your HTC Titan to your car windscreen for easy viewing whilst driving. Keep your device charged and ready to go. The built in power socket lets you connect a car charger whilst driving to keep your HTC Titan powered and ready for when you arrive at your destination. This advanced car cradle features the function of inserting the device auto launches the car panel and Bluetooth."

Not too shabby but what really intrigues us is how it "auto launches the car panel and Bluetooth". Launching Bluetooth is one thing and very useful but what's that "car panel"? Unless we're missing something, it could be a new OEM app from HTC for driving, featuring larger buttons similar to the "HTC Sense" days of Windows Mobile. Just a guess.

Pick it up at the HTC Accessory store for £49.99 which is a hefty $79 in US dollars. If you want cheaper and something that works with the Titan, we're rocking the Clingo now and liking it.

Thanks, William J., for the tip!

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Google

And after ripping on Google for the last two posts, we decided it would be fun and ironic to mention that Google is now allowing multiple calendars to sync to your Windows Phone:

"We launched a few new features on Google Sync for our Windows Phone (7.5+) users. Multiple Calendars is a feature that lets you select which of your Google Calendars are synced to your device. Just navigate to m.google.com/sync on your phone’s browser and configure the calendars you would like to see. From that page, you can also configure which addresses you send mail as if you have custom addresses in Gmail. We’ve also improved search to look beyond the conversations that are stored locally on your device so that you are able to find more of your conversations, faster."

We've playing around with it for the last half hour and despite numerous syncs, we have yet to see our newly created calendar pushed to our phone. File that under "how the hell do you navigate Google Calendar" and/or "it's still rolling out". Your choice.  Let us know in comments if you got it to work.

Either way, it's nice to see Google still paying attention to Windows Phone, even if they still call it Windows Mobile on occasion. Hey, even our "Search server" function seems to be working again!

Source: Gmail (Google+)

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WP Central
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Google is watching every step you take

With the recent news of Google "streamlining" their privacy policies (Translation: data collected from their various Google services will now be pooled together for better advertising), there has been a bit of a backlash. Scratch that, outside of the bubble that is AndroidCentral, many are calling it the "end of do no evil". Why, just check this Bing News search for "Google" and "Privacy" to see what we mean.

So with that as a background, hearing this song parody from Tampa Bay's Q105 radio made us certainly chuckle. Maybe now is a good time to switch from Google to Live Mail? Speaking of, anyone remember Microsoft's 'Gmail Man' satire?

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Switch from Gmail to Hotmail in three steps

WP Central

The Windows Live team have published an article on the official blog that'll help readers who are possibly considering to switch from Gmail to Hotmail for email and other cloud services. Should you be on the fence about leaving Google, and wish to take up Microsoft to host your e-life, there are only three simple steps you're required to take to achieve this goal.

1. Create a Hotmail account. A Hotmail/Live ID is required (name@hotmail.com/name@live.com) to use the web service, but there is no domain restriction. When signing up for an account (should you not already possess one) you are allowed to use your own personal domain for email.

2. Import your old messages from Gmail. Should you not wish to use an email client to do the job, a service such as TrueSwitch will work wonders moving across from Gmail.

3. Connect your Gmail account. You have now successfully set up your Hotmail account, but one more optional step is available. You can have Hotmail actively retrieve any future messages that you receive on your Gmail account by carrying out the following:

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Microsoft pubCenter expands to cover 7 new countries

Microsoft pubCenter

Microsoft has announced seven new countries that will be added to the 'supported' list for the pubCenter and Microsoft Advertising service, which will enable Windows Phone developers in said countries to begin earning revenue from in-app advertising. The software giant previously expanded pubCenter (from being restricted solely to the U.S.) to cover Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the UK.

The advertising service now also supports: Denmark, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Mexico, Sweden, and Switzerland. Be sure to check out other networks that can be used on the platform. Xeno Bits, developer behind Belote WorldTour, recently compared a handful of options taking into account support, payouts and ease-of-use.

Source: Microsoft Advertising, via: WPSauce

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Ffffound

We covered the app Ffffound by our own RogueCode a few weeks ago. The app pulls down user created pop-art from the site of the same name, Ffffound.com, but in a really svelte manner--great transitions, minimalist design and the ability to save to your device for use as wallpaper or sharing with others.

The app was recently updated to fix issues with saving and some device memory problems, letting it work fully as it should. It's a nifty little app that even has a Live Tile that shows the latest image, giving your Start screen a little pizzazz.

Ffffound

For $0.99 the app was a great deal, in our opinion, but now for the next week you can pick it up for free--no strings attached. That's a great offer for a very well deigned app, so might as well take advantage while you can.

Check out the video review after the break and grab the app here in the Marketplace.

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WP Central

Right at the top of the WPCentral forums is our Windows Phone 7 OS Discussion area. This Forum is our complete WP7 discussion forum where we help people with all types of Windows Phone issues. This forum is where we praise Windows Phone and we even complain about it a little. If you're looking for help with your Windows Phone you might find what you're looking for in this area. You can start by checking out the stickies at the top of the forum--we have topics like "WP7 -the NOT so Obvious" which was created by Se1fcr3ation, one of our hard working forum members. We also have a Windows Phone 7.5 frequently asked questions thread, filled with answers to all the questions we see being asked time and time again.

There are other great threads all about the Windows Phone such as this discussion about the design: Don't you think the WP UI overuses/underuses space too often? We need your input and that thread includes a poll, so be sure to place your vote.

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Nokia Lumia Windows Phone launch party in Korea [Video]

Nokia hasn't failed when it comes to hosting some awesome events and parties, neither has HTC for that matter. We looked at the Lumia launch event in Copenhagen, Denmark earlier today that was held at a football stadium, and now we have the Korean Lumia 710 launch party (December 30th), which looks pretty darn awesome.

There appears to be a lot of drink, food, live music performances and prizes - we wish we could have attended. Oh and if you're interested in the tune, it's "Believe" by Elite Force and Meat Katie.

Source: YouTube, thanks Ellis for the heads up!

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Fragger makes it to the Windows Phone Marketplace

Fragger for Windows Phone

Better late than never, right?

The new Windows Phone Xbox Live game Fragger has finally made it on to the Marketplace. The Angry Birds like game includes 310 levels that span ten different worlds. Instead of tossing birds at your enemies, you toss grenades.

You will need to figure out angle, throwing power and make some creative bounce shots with your grenade to take out your enemy targets. The fewer grenades, the higher the score.  We're downloading the game as we type and will get a review up shortly on this latest Xbox Live title.

Fragger will run you $2.99 with a free trial version available. Fragger can be found here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

QR: Fragger

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Nokia 4th Quarter 2011 Report

Nokia has released its fourth quarter financial report for 2011. While the good news is that the company is reporting the shipment of over 1 million Windows Phones, the bad news is that Nokia has experienced the third straight quarterly loss.

Nokia's revenue dropped 21% from last year and profit dropped from €884 million (about $1.1 billion U.S) to €954 (about $1.25 billion U.S.) loss. While Nokia is pleased as punch about shipping over a million Windows Phones, overall smartphone revenue dropped 38% and overall smartphone shipments dropped 8%.

On the positive, Nokia reported an infusion of €180 million ($250 million U.S.) from Microsoft in the form of platform support payments. The strategic agreement with Microsoft covers both platform support from Microsoft and minimum software royalty payments from Nokia to Microsoft. The life of this strategic agreement is expected to measure in billions of US Dollars.

Overall, Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop was pleased with the performance of their mobile phones business citing the release of the Windows Phone Lumia series (Lumia 710 and 800), introducing the series to consumers in Europe, Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

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Nokia has already proven to consumers that they've still got the magic to produce some incredible marketing efforts, like Deadmau5 in London, the Haunted House in Berlin, and flash mobs in India. Now we have Copenhagen in Denmark witnessing a football stadium (PARKEN) lay host to the Finnish manufacturer for a Lumia launch presentation.

As one can see in the video above, this wasn't just any presentation. Throw in fireworks, Master Chief (from the Halo video game series), a Ferrari, F.C. København, some music, and you have a spectacular event. The clip montage is only a few minutes long but we're sure it was more than mesmerising in person. Wonder if Nokia aims to continue to smash marketing expenditure records?

Source: YouTubethanks, Markus, for the tip!

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Windows Phone 30 to Launch challenge [Developers]

30tolaunch

Starting January 31, Microsoft's Windows Phone 30 to Launch challenge will see developers building creative and beautiful apps in just 30 days. Four winners of the competition will receive an awesome entertainment package prize sporting a 3D HDTV and Kinect.

Unfortunately, before you get all excited and prepare your best app ideas, this competition is open for U.S. residents only. The challenge will begin on January 31st when the official rules will be published. Head on over to the 30 to Launch website to sign up and be sure to check out app development events.

Source: 30 to Launch

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WP Central

Two new Windows Phones have appeared in the app WPBench, used for testing device speed and performance. The first is the Nokia Lumia 930, seemingly a variant of the Lumia 900 with perhaps updated specs or for different radio technology i.e. CDMA. This could also be similar to the Lumia "910" which some sites have reported as being a 900 but with a 12MP camera instead of 8MP.

Likewise, the other device is from LG, who we have not heard much from lately in the last six months. That device is the LG W930, which is certainly coincidental to the Lumia 930 designation. Not much is known about that device nor what it could be packing in terms of specifications.

WPBench collects data from those testing their phone's speed and performance. Data is encrypted on both the device and server side and in theory, should be resistant to tampering. Likewise, "I'm a WP7!" pulls user data from Windows.Phone.Info.DeviceExtendedProperties and is not easily manipulated (though certainly not impossible).

Still, until we can corroborate this information, file it under rumor. Pick up WPBench here in the Marketplace.

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Your App Here Advertising Campaign

We previously covered the Windows Phone team preparing to launch a new advertising campaign for developers on the platform, titled "Your App Here". The team has partnered with Nokia to bring a more effective offer. Developers can submit their apps and should they be selected the apps will be showcased in Windows Phone and Nokia advertisement campaigns. These include banner ads, placement in Windows Phone Marketplace, public relations press outreach events, social activities, and more.

There were three listed campaigns (up until February), but the submission dates have since past. Fear not as more dates have been published on the website (campaign:submission close date):

  • March Campaign: January 31
  • April Campaign: February 29
  • May Campaign: March 31
  • June Campaign: April 30

Head on over to the advertising campaign website to enter your apps for approval (U.S. AppHub accounts/apps only; You just need an AppHub account and an app for the US market). Selections are based on the following criteria:

  • Newly published Windows 7.5 apps developed for the US Market
  • Originality & Innovation
  • Consumer Friendliness
  • Implementation of Key Windows Phone Features such as Live Tiles, Fast Apps Switching or App Connect

Source: YourAppHere, thanks TheWeeBear for the heads up!

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