Articles

Linked in Conspiracy?

Here's a weird little story but we're worried it may get legs so we want to nip in the rear before it spreads.

Some are peeking at those official LinkedIn app screenshots and noticing a lot of oddities. Indeed, on the Start Screen the icons near the top for the time, WiFi and cell signal look tiny, the fonts are a bit smaller over all and the IE logo looks different too. You can see it above compared to our phone.

So what does this mean? Some are wondering if these might be accidental Windows Phone 8 captures instead of normal screenshots from a Windows Phone 7 device--you know, higher resolution and stuff. If anyone were to have access to Windows Phone 8 dev tools, a major Microsoft partner like LinkedIn would be up there so in that sense, it's interesting to entertain the idea.

But to be honest with that missing direction arrow near the top, the oddly sized telephony icons and the now-centered Tiles, we're more likely to believe this is just a bad composition made in Photoshop. More than likely these were mockups used for internal presentations and demonstrations rather than a Windows Phone 8 conspiracy or accident.

In other words, nothing to see here folks. But keep those eagle-eyes out as you may never know.

Thanks, ClubDirtHill and Jose P., for the tip

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WP Central

It's another Sunday, which means it's another summary of the week time here at WPCentral. In this recap of the past 6 days, we harvest all the stories you may have missed that are worth reading up on. So make a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy the ride. As always, before we crack on with the summary itself we'll run through some WPCentral-related headlines. First up is a guide by our Daniel Rubino, which walks us through how we can get a new Live ID and keep all Windows Phone app / game purchases. Neat!

WPCentral member SpeedTouch hosted a Windows Phone meetup in St Louis and was a relatively good success. Faisal Iqbal got fed up of a problem many smartphone users find themselves hitting where sharing websites can prove to be quite an issue. He developed a small Javascript bookmark that can be loaded on you Windows Phone when browsing a website. This will then load a QR code that another smartphone can scan to open up that exact webpage. Ingenious.

Have you just purchased a shiny new smartphone running Microsoft's OS? Are you wandering how the company's cloud storage service SkyDrive integrates into the platform? We've got you covered with our introduction to SkyDrive guide. Episode 142 of the WPCentral Podcast is now live on website where we discuss Samsung, Nokia and more. On our community forum, we've introduced a new user group for residential developers to make use of their experience on our boards. Alas, that's enough of us, let's get into this summary.

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We're seeing a large upsurge recently with more official apps appearing in the Windows Phone Marketplace. This is starting to mirror last June when Microsoft unleashed a torrent of official apps for the fledgling mobile OS and it looks like a similar pattern is starting to build.

Now LinkedIn and Time Magazine each have official apps to their name and we decided to take both for a tour on our trusty Titan II.

Time and LinkedIn

LinkedIn, like Facebook, is native to the Windows Phone OS allowing you to post updates and track updates from your colleagues via the People Hub. The official app augments that with a gorgeous Metro inspired design and allows more in depth functionality, including management of messages, search for new potential contacts, sending out invites, managing groups. What's more it also has a moderately configurable Live Tile and push notifications. Overall, a solid offering.

Likewise, Time Magazine has an official app to its name as well. The app is also top quality with fast loading, nicely laid out text, smooth transitions, social sharing, video streaming of stories and photo galleries. That app has a Live Tile (latest image) and push notifications presumably for "breaking" stories.

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WP Central

The popular and positively reviewed Nextgen Reader has recently been updated to version 3.0 with a number of improvements (support for Windows Phone "Tango"). The RSS app, fully supporting Google Reader, now sports faster startup time and the recently released update squashes a number of known bugs.

A tutorial is presented to the user once launching the app for the first time. This guide walks the user through a number of features and functionality present in Nextgen Reader. As well as the tutorial, this version of Nextgen Reader also features a new subscriptions view.

What else is new in version 3?

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Forums Announcement: Developer User Group

WP Central

Here at WPCentral we appreciate developers as you folks are the future of Windows Phone--your hard work will define the future of the OS and we want you to succeed. With that in our thoughts, we are looking for ways to help so we are now offering a Developer User Group with added benefits.

We already have our Developer Spotlight area with Games Spotlight and Applications Spotlight forum. These areas are dedicated to putting the focus on Applications and Games submitted by developers.

We also have our Beta Test forum for developers to garner feedback from users about their upcoming title. Our army of testers love to take your apps to the brink of destruction in an attempt to help you make the best Windows Phone apps possible.

That’s not all that we have dedicated to developers. We also have our Software development and hacking areas which are open to the public for feedback and are a great place for those who are curious about application development to post questions.

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Mirror's Edge

Our friends at Xbox360Achievements.org often discover Achievements lists for games before release, and sometimes even before a game’s announcement. Actually, much of the credit goes to French gamer Zebrasqual, who one site called ‘the best Windows Phone gamer in the world.’ Mr. Squal (as I like to call him) makes it his business not just to have the most mobile Xbox Live Achievements of anybody; he’s also great at finding Achievement lists and making them public.

The latest batch of Achievement lists ousted by Zebra and Xbox360Achievements.org include: Battleship and Mirror’s Edge from Electronic Arts and Fling from Miniclip. The two EA games are expected to be timed Nokia exclusives, so don’t let’s get excited about them just yet, non-Nokia owners.

Head past the break for previews of each upcoming Xbox Live game!

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Manga Reader for Windows Phone is now free

WP Central

Manga Reader, a popular Japanese comic reading app for Windows Phone, has recently turned free - as in completely free with no advertising. Users are able to browse comics from multiple sources and download multiple chapters / titles. It's a full-featured client with favourites, orientation lock for reading in bed and zoom functionality, to name but a few features.

Some feature highlights of Manga Reader:

  • Multiple sources of manga series
  • Search titles on multiple sources
  • Set multiple chapters and title for download
  • Pause and resume download
  • Streaming of manga to read
  • Single or continuous viewer is available
  • Pinch and Pan to zoom
  • Double touches for quick zoom
  • Lock Screen feature to read in bed
  • Add manga to favourites and manage it
  • Library of manga for downloaded chapters
  • Recent list of viewed manga
  • Latest update from server as reference for manga update
  • Custom background of the application
  • Sort chapters in settings

WP Central

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Droplitz Delight

Screenshots from Droplitz Delight coming to Windows Phone on May 23

Last month, WPCentral broke the news of three new Game House titles coming to Xbox Live: Droplitz Delight, Sally’s Spa, and Tiki Towers 2. We’re now delighted to reveal the official release date and exclusive first screenshots of Droplitz Delight on Windows Phone. It’s coming Wednesday, May 23 for just 99 cents!

Droplitz Delight is the mobile-exclusive sequel to XBLA and Steam puzzler Droplitz. In each level, players are tasked with guiding the adorable liquid droplitz from the top of the screen to the bottom. You’ll have to quickly rotate a bunch of tiles in order to create a safe path for the little liquids, and then do it all again after the old path disappears.

Droplitz Delight

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SoundHound

The music ID app SoundHound finally got an update to version 1.5. The app, which is similar to the Bing music ID built into Mango, simply identifies songs detected playing around you, helping you pick out music from TV, movies or at the DMV.

The latest update brings a feature we've been wanting badly: LiveLyrics.

This is the new "thang" with music ID apps lately as it not only detects the song but displays the lyrics in Karaoke format as the music is playing. Pretty cool stuff though it's only moderately impressive in real life. There's even a little "sync" icon in the bottom left corner in case your lyrics start running away from you.

The bad news? LiveLyrics is US and Canada only. Yeah, we're getting ready for your comments to this post. But there is geotagging for song IDs which is...odd, but we'll take it.

We could debate which is better: Shazam, Bing Music or SoundHound but all three tend to do a good job for figuring out music. Right now SoundHound has the upper hand with LiveLyrics.

Incidentally, Shazam has this too--on Android and iOS. There it's called LyricPlay but the company has shown little love for its Windows Phone client, not even having the price right for it's "Encore" app. Yeah, they're lame.

So here's to SoundHound for at least remembering we exist. Well, at least those of us in North America.

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Gun Bros

Gun Bros

WPCentral was pleased to bring our readers the first announcement of Gun Bros and Contract Killer, two upcoming Xbox Live games from Glu Mobile. Not only do both games look pretty fun (especially Gun Bros), but they won’t break the bank. That’s because they’re freemium titles, meaning the games themselves cost nothing. Players can opt to spend real money (in the form of Microsoft Points) to purchase items, but PDLC is not required to complete either title.

We have it on good authority that one of these two games (probably Contract Killer) will launch within the next month or two, with the other soon to follow. In the meantime, let’s check out their Xbox Live Achievements! Glu has kindly provided us with the exclusive debut of Gun Bros’ Achievement list. Head past the break to see what it will take to complete Gun Bros and Contract Killer.

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SuperTube returns!

YouTube Pro in disguise as SuperTube for Windows Phone

We reported last week that with Microsoft's new Marketplace policy enforcement, trademark complaints will be acted upon more quickly than before. As a result, all things Google are being pulled due to their use of terms like "YouTube", "Google", etc.

One of those apps was YouTube Pro made by Fast Code.

YouTube Pro was actually a re-launch of SuperTube, one of the original third party YouTube apps and one of the first to do HD and HQ video playback on Windows Phone. YouTube Pro superseded SuperTube, though Fast Code kept both up to date (each had a "pay" version in addition to free).

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While details are scarce, we're getting a lot of reports that the official SkyDrive app for Windows Phone received an update tonight.

Indeed, the app has a version 2.1 stamp on it now, shortly after going to version 2.0 just two weeks ago. We can't see any new features (no batch uploads, etc.) but presumably there are some under the hood fixes on board.

We're not sure if it's new or not but uploading photos directly via this app does preserve photo integrity, which is good news for those with 8 or 16MP cameras. We tried both our Titan II and Lumia 900 and both photos were completely untouched, meaning we're using this as our default photo upload service (more on that tomorrow).

Anyway, if you find any other changes, hit us up in comments as it's late here and our perusing skills are waning by the moment.

Pick up version 2.1 here in the Marketplace. Thanks, everyone, for the tips

QR: SkyDrive

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Visual Voicemail headed to non-LTE phones?

We ran across something interesting this afternoon where Romit Mehta over at Techie-Buzz noticed a Visual Voicemail prompt appear on his Nokia Lumia 800. Keep in mind that Visual Voicemail is supposed to be limited to AT&T's 4G LTE phones.

After entering the password, sure enough the Visual Voicemail page appeared on the Lumia 800's call screen. While it seemed promising, the voicemail page was stuck syncing new voicemail messages with no real functionality.

We tried this out on a Samsung Focus, Samsung Focus S and an HTC Titan and could not replicate Mehta's results. It could be a case where AT&T is testing the waters in select markets to offer Visual Voice Mail to non-LTE phones.  Then there's always the possibility a technician over at AT&T hit the wrong switch.

We really like Visual Voicemail and wouldn't complain a bit if AT&T did throw the switch and let non-4G LTE Windows Phones have this feature. Let us know below in the comments if you've seen Visual Voicemail pop up on your non-4G LTE Windows Phone.

Source: Techie Buzz; Thanks, Romit, for the tip!

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Windows Phone Tango

A lot of hay has been made over Windows Phone "Tango" aka CR3/build 8773 of Microsoft's mobile OS. The update contains a lot of minor things and is mostly focused on compatibility with 256MB devices for emerging markets and low-cost Windows Phones.

Nokia is hard at work with updating their ROMs for all Lumia phones and in fact if you use Navifirm to check, the Lumia 710 and 800 are getting heavily populated with new Tango updates, presumably being readied for roll-out in June.

We grabbed one of those ROM, OS 8773 with firmware 12120 from Mexican carrier Telcel to see what it has on board. Presumably, these changes you see in the above video will also be on the Lumia 800 and 900 ROMs as well, so consider this a sneak peek. Here is what's new:

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WPCentral Podcast

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

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

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

Siri Best Mobile Lumia 900

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

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WP Central

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

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

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

WP Central

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WP Central

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

Newegg app updated to v1.1

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

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

QR: Newegg

Thanks for the heads up, Shipwreck!

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WP Central

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

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

WP Central

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

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Omnia M

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Samsung

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Nokia launches Reading app for Windows Phone

Nokia Reading

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

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

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

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

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Sneak peek: Official WPCentral app v2.2

WPCentral App for Windows Phone

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

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

 

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WP Central

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

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

via: Metro Powered

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Nokia Lumia 900 exclusively available at Phones 4u

WP Central

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

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

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

WP Central

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

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From the Forums: Applications Spotlight

WP Central

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

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

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

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

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

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