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Nokia Lumia 900 set for March 18th and only $99 [Updated]

Nokia Lumia 900

We have heard rumors of a March 18th launch for the AT&T Nokia Lumia 900 but now we are seeing rumors on pricing for Nokia's latest Windows Phone. BGR is reporting that they have received a portion of AT&T's 2012 roadmap which shows the Lumia 900 hitting the shelves on March 18th. The roadmap also indicates the Lumia 900 will cost a meager $99 after contractual discounts.

The March 18th date does fit with AT&T's previous releases that hit on either the first of third Sunday of the month.  The $99 price tag is a little surprising but a nice one if the rumor holds true.  Sporting a 4.3" AMOLED Clearblack touchscreen, 8mp Camera, 1mp front camera, 16gb of storage, and 4G LTE networking the Lumia 900 is an appealing Windows Phone in its own right. Add a $99 price tag to it and it may be too hard to resist with the Samsung Focus S and HTC Titan going for $199.

Update: Confirmed by Paul Thurrott "Yes, that $99 price is in fact correct for the Lumia 900 based on the docs I saw."

source: BGR

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Win a Nokia Lumia 710 Windows Phone

Lumia 710

Windows Phone UK is giving away four Lumia 710s to lucky winners.  The winners will be among the first to own the Windows Phone handset in the country. The Nokia Windows Phone is set to launch in February, with multiple sources pointing to the 1st

How can you get your paws on one? Simple, should you be familiar with "into by Windows Phone". All that's required is for you to earn 25 points to unlock access required to enter the draw and you're almost done. To earn points you have a number of options available, including social media. Once you have enough points, simply upload a photo of yourself wearing your brightest, most colourful clothes. This competition is open to the UK only.

Source: Windows Phone UK, Into by WP Facebook

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Free Xbox Live game Shuffle Party played a million times

Shuffle Party

Ever wonder how well the free Xbox Live games for Windows Phone do in the wild? Babaroga has provided us with some analytics for Shuffle Party, their shuffleboard/bowling game. Shuffle Party has been played over a million times so far, with an average of 20 minutes per play. Not too shabby!

Babaroga is actually responsible for three of the four free, ad-supported Xbox Live titles so far: Minesweeper, Sudoku, and Shuffle Party. The fourth such game, Breeze, came from Null City Software. All four games were produced by Kirby Leung at Microsoft. In similar territory, the most recent free Xbox Live title, Bug Village was ported by Babaroga for Glu Mobile. Rather than advertisements, it relies on PDLC for revenue.

Did you somehow miss out on Shuffle Party? Check out our review, and then grab the game here from the Marketplace.

QR: Shuffle Party

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WP Central

Remember how the Marketplace didn’t update until about 9:30 AM PST last week? We may be in for a repeat, as neither the new Xbox Live game, Fragger, nor the Deal of the Week have gone live yet.

Fragger, in case you’re wondering, is an Angry Birds-style game in which players toss grenades at enemies. It comes from Miniclip, the makers of Gravity Guy and will cost $2.99. As for the Deal of the Week, it's definitelty Burn the Rope for $1.99.

Keep checking back and we’ll let you know as soon as Fragger and the Deal of the Week go live. Why the delay? It doesn’t seem to be snowing at the Microsoft HQ, but it’s still a nice day to sleep in.

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WP Central

O2 has come under fire as reports are coming through of the network sharing mobile numbers with websites when browsing the web via 3G. Whenever you connect to a website from a mobile device you provide information detailing what model the phone is as well as the web browser. This data enables that website to be displayed more effectively for your handset (taking into account different screen resolutions as an example).

It seems O2 is going one step further by providing actual phone numbers in with this data, which would unacceptable as malicious websites could use this information to contact the user, and it would be a breach of the Data Protection Act. Check out the below capture of an O2 number being sent with the header data.

O2 Web Numbers

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Smoked by Windows Phone challenge hitting the road?

Remember the Smoked by Windows Phone event at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show? Well it appears that Microsoft may be taking the same challenge on the road. Two videos have surfaces that have "Brian from Windows" bringing the challenge to carrier retail stores.

Brian challenges the retail store representatives to see who can take a photo and upload it to Facebook the fastest. If the store rep's phone beats the Windows Phone, they get a gift card and if they lose, the rep has to admit they were smoked by a Windows Phone. In both instances, the Windows Phone clearly beats the competition and from the looks of it, the store reps are somewhat surprised.

It is nice to see the challenge move beyond the 2012 CES.  We aren't sure if the Smoked by Windows Phone challenge will hit nationwide or if this was just a local attempt to demonstrate the speed of Windows Phones.  But wouldn't it be nice to see the challenge hit more retail stores?  Hit the break to see the other Windows Phone challenge video.

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Nokia Lumia 710 available in the UK on February 1st

Nokia 710 UK

We've already covered the Lumia 710 landing on British shores soon enough, but according to the Nokia Lumia Momentum Map (for world domination), we should be looking at a date of February 1st. Three UK is one carrier who has made public their plan to stock the 710, and have the status set at "coming soon". 

Sporting a 3.7" display, 5MP camera and 8GB storage, the 710 is the baby of the Lumia family with the 800 and 900 the "beefed up" brothers. Although the specifications don't match the high end handsets, it does sport a 1.4Ghz chip that will ensure your Windows Phone experience is top notch.

Should you be looking forward to the 710 (review) and reside in the UK then the wait is almost over for you to snap on your favourite back plates and rock out with the Lumia Windows Phone. We expect other major UK carriers to jump on board with Three to provide further choice for customers.

Source: Nokia Lumia Momentum Map

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Nokia Lumia Windows Phone production in photos

WP Central

Nokia has published a number of photos in an album on their Facebook account. The album ("Nokia Lumia Production") allows the viewer to see how the Lumia family of Windows Phones are produced before heading out to owners across the world. 

The workers who make all this magic happen were also in the spotlight at Nokia World 2011 with a live feed being broadcasted to the audience. Check out some more shots from the album after the break.

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900 in the Czech Republic

Adding more fuel to the fire that a Lumia 900 is going international sooner than later, the phone is now listed on the site Obchod S Mobily found in the Czech Republic. While no date is given for release there is a price which amounts to be about $760--certainly not cheap, although who knows if that will be the final sale price or is just a placeholder. As the website Techin5 points out, some of the detailed Lumia 900 specs are a bit off but Obchod S Mobily are most likely not confusing it with the Lumia 800, as that phone already has a landing-page there. It's also worth noting that only an 8MP camera is listed and not the rumored (but unconfirmed) 12MP variant that some sites are reporting.

Regardless, between Carphone Warehouse, SG Best and now this Czech site, we're very confident that Nokia's flagship phone should be hitting other countries within the next few months. While Carphone Warehouse had a June date, it could be sooner than that and hopefully Nokia will reveal more at Mobile World Congress.

Source: Obchod S Mobily; via Techin5

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Sweden begins airing colorful Nokia Lumia 800 ad

Nice to see the Nokia Lumia 800 getting some air-time, especially up in Sweden who just official launched the device, well, yesterday actually.

The above ad is from Swedish carrier Halebop, which we're told is owned by Telia (the largest carrier in Sweden). We've also been informed that, roughly speaking what is being said in the commercial is  "Dark and cold outside? Then I think it's time for a surprise, a mobile that is also social".

Certainly using the Lumia 800's colors against the black and white snow gives a great contrast and is quite eye catching.

Source: Wingadget SE

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Sony or fake?

Seems like people want Sony to make a Windows Phone even if they don't seem keen on the idea. Take these latest images being reported tonight at XDA Developers (main site) which purport to show a device that looks like an Xperia Arc S running Windows Phone 7.

Although we'll say "anything is possible" and clearly Sony was working on Windows Phone back in 2010 (e.g. "Julie" prototype), we're doubtful that this is legit. Reasons? Well obviously it is missing the three keys near the bottom: Back, Windows and Search which have been on every single Windows Phone since day one and are a hardware requirement. Sure, that "arc" near the bottom could double as those (they're buttons on Android) but we find it odd that Sony would get rid of such a defining feature, let alone modify it to such a degree by removing those icons.

Sony or fake?

Going further, we don't see evidence for a side camera button. Now in fairness, these aren't the best shots and perhaps the button is there and just really flush, but it's one more thing we see that makes us question the validity of these images.

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Rogers Canada pushing 8107 to Samsung Focus

We've received several tips this afternoon reporting that the 8107 Windows Phone update is being pushed out to the Samsung Focus by Rogers Canada.

OS 8107 addresses the disappearing keyboard issue as well as other security fixes and patches. It has slowly trickled out to various carriers and even the unlocked Dell Venue Pro recently received the update.  If you've updated your Roger's Samsung Focus, let us know what you think.

Thanks goes out to everyone else who tipped us on this!

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SG Best Lumia 900

Singapore's SG Best, an online retailer, is listing the Nokia Lumia 900 as "coming soon", following the Carphone Warehouse posting (which was subsequently removed). This is further confirmation that the 900 will be coming to those who reside outside the U.S., which shouldn't come as a surprise - it makes sense that Nokia will have three Windows Phones to cater for three audiences.

The listing is not by accident neither as the specifications and display image all fit in line with the device. Although no date has been provided (the Carphone Warehouse stated June as the month for availability), SG Best at least reinstates hope of the handset traveling across the world.

Source: SG Best, via: Techin5; thanks Jubbing for the tip!

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TITAN unleashed

We've been waiting on our unlocked, international HTC TITAN to get the notification for the 8107 OS update which fixes the disappearing keyboard (and a half dozen other items) and today is that day. Reader Israel I. alerted us to his TITAN getting the update so we just plugged ours in and bam, 8107 is ready to be installed.

8107 TITAN Changelog

While this means little for AT&T users (no, this does not mean you're getting 8107. as that's AT&T's decision) it's a good sign for many of us who use HTC's flagship phone in its pristine and unlocked state. The 8107 patch seems like the final refinement of the Mango update from this summer and we look forward to other Windows Phones joining the crowd.

Still no word on any US carriers deploying 8107, but we'll keep an eye out.

Update: And no, no new firmware was loaded. Same builds as from the December update.

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Sonic's Jewels

Game emulators are always popular and so long as they don't offer the ROMs on board, they seem to be okay in the Windows Phone Marketplace. So it's with great excitement that we're anticipating the first SEGA Gamegear-Master emulator to land within a few days for your purchase.

The emulator, seen above in below in some screenshots, will cost $1.29 and there will be a trial for you to take for a spin. Named Sonic's Jewels, the emulator seems to be a spin off of the popular homebrew app Wario's Jewels 7 (WJ7) and features URL importation for games as well as Skydrive integration. In addition, game saves and even GameGenie codes are supported meaning this should be a fairly solid emulator, assuming the frame-rate and controls are good.

Sonic's Jewels

We'll see about getting an early hands on. In the meantime, start looking for some games you may want to play as over 500 are supported.

Source: Facebook

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GasBuddy for Windows Phone gets updated

GasBuddy for Windows Phone

The Windows Phone app GasBuddy has been updated to version 2.0. GasBuddy helps find the best gas prices in your location and allows you to report gas prices for others to take advantage of.

The updated version brings:

  • Directions provided by BING Maps
  • Easier gas price posting
  • An auto completion feature for searches
  • User awards/achievements
  • Improved GPS performance

The update also includes the customary bug fixes/performance improvements.

GasBuddy Screens

GasBuddy has a free membership option that allows you report local gas prices. In doing so, you earn points that can be redeemed for chances to win free gas. If you don't want to sign up for a membership, you can still use the Windows Phone app to find the best gas prices in your area. You can search for gas prices by city, state, zip code or just tap the gas pump icon to pull up prices based on your current location.

We've only tinkered with GasBuddy for a short time but it looks like an easy way to help save gasoline costs.  GasBuddy currently covers the U.S. and Canadian markets and is a free, ad-supported app that you can grab here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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Microsoft nixes MIX 2012

MIX 12 Cancelled

Microsoft has announced that there will not be a MIX Developer conference this year. Instead, Microsoft will merge the spring conference for web developers and designers into the company's next major developer's conference that will come about in the coming year.

A combination of factors led to this decision. Microsoft believes that the notion that the web community of developers is separate and distinct from the community of developers no longer exists. Instead, web discussion should be a part of any development discussion. There was also feedback from the developers voicing confusion over which event to attend.

Posting on the Microsoft Blog Tim O'Brien, Microsoft's General Manager - Developer and Platform Evangelism, states:

"As we look ahead to 2012 and beyond, the goal is to ensure that global Microsoft developer events are of the caliber that many of you experienced at BUILD last September, in addition to the thousands of online and local developer events we host around the world to support communities and connect directly with developers."

There were no specifics on the when and where of Microsoft's new developer event. While MIX began as a web oriented developer conference, it did seem to expand into other areas.  MIX 11 was heavily concentrated with Windows Phone development issues.  All of which leaves us with the question, is cancelling MIX and creating a larger more inclusive developer event a good thing or bad?

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Microsoft Points rumor

Here’s a rumor that many gamers probably hope will come true: Microsoft may be doing away with the Microsoft Points virtual currency system. According to Inside Mobile Apps, who cites an inside source, the change will take place by the end of the year.

Microsoft Points have been around since the Xbox 360 launched in 2005. MS Points were originally used to buy Xbox Live Arcade games and downloadable content for Xbox 360 games, though their use has expanded to include purchases for Games for Windows Live (PC), Zune media, and DLC for a handful of Windows Phone games (Beards & Beaks, Gravity Guy, and Bug Village). 400 Microsoft Points equals five US dollars, though the exchange rate varies in other regions.

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Free XBOX's with the Nokia Lumia 800 in South Africa

Free xbox

The official date for the Lumia 800 release in South Africa was set for the 7th of February, but Simon Dingle has just tweeted out the image above.

If you struggle to read white on red, then here's the breakdown: The Nokia Lumia 800 will see it's first promotion on the 26'th January starting at 8AM. The first 200 people to purchase will get a free XBOX (presumably a 360). Seems like a pretty good deal, although obviously there is no pricing mentioned.

So what is the significance of the 26'th? That's the morning after the Nokia Lumia 800 launch event held at the Vodacom Dome, which is tomorrow.

Stay frosty, and lookout for our report from the launch tomorrow!

Source: Simon Dingle

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Samsung Omnia W headed Down Under

Samsung Omnia W on Telstra

Australia is getting their first second generation Windows Phone, the Samsung Omnia W. The Windows Phone will launch on Telstra and will run $528 AU out of contract. You can snatch the Omnia W for $0 upfront on a $59 Freedom Connect Plan.

The Omnia W is essentially the Focus Flash that is being offered here in the States by AT&T. It sports a 3.7" Super AMOLED screen, 8gb of storage, a 1.4ghz processor and 5mp rear/VGA front cameras. While considered an entry or baseline Windows Phone, the Omnia W/Focus Flash is a solid performer. I have to agree with Wpdownunder's assessment that the Omnia W is a Windows Phone Pocket Rocket.

source: wpdownunder; Thanks, Sheeds, for the tip!

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8 Must-have tools for Windows Phone developers

Silverlight Spy

Here's something developers both new and experienced can all enjoy together. Doug Rathbone, writer of Diary of a Ninja has posted a very useful list of tools Windows Phone developers can use to make life that little bit simpler.

I'll let the full list do most of the talking as Doug has done an excellent job of summarising each of these tools and exactly why you should consider using them, but suffice to say there are several here that I hadn't heard of before. I'm particularly keen to try out SilverLight Spy, a Firebug-like tool for tweaking and adjusting your app's GUI on the fly.

Have you used these tools? Are there any you swear by that don't appear on this list? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Diary of a Ninja; via @WPUG

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Extras!

We know a lot of you folks enjoy your "I'm a WP7!". The free Windows Phone enthusiast app has had constant updates not for bug fixes but for new features nearly every few weeks. The developer, Liquid Daffodil has done a knock out job with the program by developing one of the most unique and dedicated communities around (well, except for our forums, ahem!). He's done all of this, remarkably, for free as that app doesn't even have ads in it--just straight gorgeous content.

Extras

Now, he's released a companion app called appropriately "I'm a WP7 Extras!" which brings a lot of advanced features that many users have been demanding. Of course, there is a price for those "premium" items which is $2.99. While some may balk at such a price, many users are more than pleased as the app sits with 5 out of 5 stars in the Marketplace right now. So, what do you get for the cost of a cup of coffee?

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DoDonPachi Maximum officially coming to Xbox Live

DoDonPachi Maximum title

Way back in July, WPCentral first reported that Japanese developer Cave would be developing a Windows Phone exclusive shoot-em-up game. But we only knew the genre, not the name of the game or much else. At last, Cave has officially announced DoDonPachi Maximum for Windows Phone.

DoDonPachi is Cave’s most popular shmup series. It’s your basic vertically-scrolling bullet hell shooter, packed with intense gameplay and large, impressive bosses. Strangely, the only American release has been the excellent iPhone version, DoDonPachi Resurrection. The Xbox 360 version of DoDonPachi Resurrection did come out in Europe though, and it’s mercifully region free, so it will play on US consoles.

While the DoDonPachi Maximum teaser website has gone live, it’s still scant in the way of details. We do know it will be an Xbox Live game with tough-as-nails Achievements. If the iOS version is any indication, expect a $6.99 price. Some folks will never be happy paying more than a handful of pennies for a phone game, and I doubt they will care for Maximum. But shmup fans are used to paying $50+ to import Cave’s games, making the phone versions a steal by comparison.

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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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