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WP Central

Although one would think the Lumia 610 goes far enough to compete with low-end Android devices for emerging markets, according to Niklas Savander, executive vice-president at Nokia, covering Brand, Marketing, Sales, Supply Chain, Customer Care and Information Technology, they still need to go lower:

"We are competing with Android, Android is in many markets at the €100 price already, so that would suggest that if we are at €189 with the Lumia 610 we still have work to do when it comes to creating a lower-end first-time user smartphone."

That's certainly a tall order as the Lumia 610 already ditches things like gyroscope (compass?), ClearBlack, some RAM, CPU speed and more. Other areas where Nokia could reduce costs though would be to newer-but-low-cost SOC chipsets, even cheaper screens and overall leveraging of existing production lines.

When we heard Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, speak at the Mobile World Congress last week, he mentioned how the sub-$100 smartphone will come next year, so clearly even Google has their eyes set on that milestone too. The question is will Nokia have to reduce features or will production of smartphone parts become cheaper to reach that point? More likely a combo of both.

Source: Pocket-Lint

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Windows Phone Game Review: Jewel God

Jewel God for Windows Phone

"Bejeweled on steroids" is an easy way to describe the Windows Phone game Jewel God. If you like the Bejeweled-styled games but are looking for something with more of a quicker pace to it, then Jewel God should be right up your alley.

The concept of Jewel God is very similar to Bejeweled in that you are searching for combinations of three or more of the same jewels but the pace is fast. Some may say frantic. Jewel God is a entertaining, addictive game for your Windows Phone that will definitely keep you on your toes.

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As we mentioned last week, Japanese developer Cave’s new shoot-em-up DoDonPachi Maximum comes to Xbox Live this Wednesday. To help promote it, Cave has opened up the game's official site. It's packed with new screens, details, and even a soundtrack sampler video.

As the teaser video hinted, Maximum is supposed to be a virtual reality simulator within the DoDonPachi universe. We had already anticipated that it would be a best-of remix of classic series stages and enemies – and indeed this version is based on DoDonPachi Blissful Death and DoDonPachi Resurrection, both of which debuted in arcades before transitioning to iOS. The music from those games has been remixed by WaSi303 and sounds great.

DoDonPachi Maximum

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Weekly Summary

Welcome to your Windows Phone weekly summary! Should you have somehow been absent for the past week, fear not as we've combined this daily news recap with the stories that appeared from MWC (Mobile World Congress) 2012. So strap in, hold on tight and keep your brew at hand as this is going to be a long one!

Here at Mobile Nations (the umbrella of all our sister mobile news sites) we value our readers and any feedback provided. Should you be an active contributor at one of our communities, you'll want to take part in a survey we've got running that will enable us to further improve the on-site experience. It has also been Mobile Nations fitness Month where all mobile news sites have been tasked with showing just how smartphones (and technology in general) can help shake the Christmas pies and that unwanted bingo. Be sure to take a quick gander at our cross-community roundup. As well as the roundup, we've announced winners of our fitness month challenge (with the grand prize being a shiny new Xbox 360 and Kinect).

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Marketplace Deals makes bargain hunting easy

Marketplace Deals

We’ve covered the WP7applist app before – it’s an excellent way to browse apps, find price drops, etc. Our friend Luigi Violin – who runs WP7applist – has another Windows Phone app that should appeal to bargain hunters out there. It’s called Marketplace Deals, and it’s free.

Marketplace Deals, as the name implies, lists games and apps that have dropped in price or gone free. Each deal category is sorted by date, so you can easily find the day’s new deals. It even labels expired deals. Categories include Popular deals, Apps Gone Free, Top Rated sale apps, Xbox Live sales, and all Deals. Tapping on an individual app or game takes you straight to its Marketplace page for download.

The Marketplace Deals app is just about everything you could want in a deal-finding app. Still, an update is just around the corner that will add the following features:

  • Live tile(s?) support
  • Option to hide expired deals from the lists
  • Share deals via social networks and/or email

Luigi loves user feedback and will be happy to include any good suggestions you send his way – just follow the app’s Contact Us link and drop him an email.

Marketplace Deals is free and supported by advertisements at the bottom of the screen. You can grab it here on the Marketplace. WP7applist is also free, and located right here.

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DS Market

Developed by dotcmpt over at XDA, the Deepshining Marketplace was an extension of the Deepshining custom ROMs for older HTC devices like the HD7. The Marketplace took advantage of the ability to install XAP files over Internet Explore, a trick developed by the Dark Forces Team. By hosting Homebrew XAP files on his own server, dotcompt was able to deliver XAP files via his Marketplace to folks using his custom ROMs.

Now he's released the XAP for his custom, homebrew Marketplace for others to use. This means of course that you could install it on any dev unlocked phone--but be warned, installing XAPs over IE won't work making this little more than a browsing tool (with some swanky wallpapers and site links). Having said that, others who have custom ROMs by other chefs could now install this thereby taking advantage of dotcompt's nice work.

In that sense, this news is clearly for the niche user out there but it's still a great move in the right direction. The DS Marketplace is smooth and elegantly made so it deserves a little more attention from those with custom ROMs out there.

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WP Central

Remember that insane Symbian cameraphone that was unveiled at this year's MWC, which blew some of us away? Looks like the PureView camera technology that provided the Nokia 808 with a 41MP shooter has been confirmed to be heading to a Windows Phone near you (check out some of our hands-on coverage to witness what this will mean for consumers).

Nokia's Jo Harlow validated the speculation that the manufacturer would be brining this technology to the Lumia Windows Phone family in an interview with Finnish newspaper Aamulehti. When queried about when we should expect to see such a device, Harlow replied with (rough translation): "I can’t say precisely when, but it will not take very long." Windows Phone Apollo (when we're more than likely to see PureView on Microsoft's platform) just got that little bit sweeter, no? 

This is sure to rock the socks off of both our George and Dan if all goes ahead. Say cheese!

Source: Aamulehti, via: e's phoneblog; thanks damthman for the tip!

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WP Central

Vodafone Australia has the Lumia 800 available (only in black unfortunately) on contracts starting at just $29 /mo (cheapest plan includes a $10 /mo handset fee). The Windows Phone, which was reportedly hitting Australia in all four colours - black, white, cyan and magenta. 

While a strong choice of colour is not present at Vodafone AU, the Lumia 800 is a superb Windows Phone that has received positive reviews across the board. Should you be interested in cyan though, Optus is sporting this choice on their product list and at a more attractive price of just $19 /mo.

Source: Vodafone, Optusthanks to the anonymous tipster!

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WP Central

The Nokia Lumia 710 is on offer at Vodafone UK for £150, accompanied by a 6-month Zune Pass. The Windows Phone was made available on both Vodafone and Three earlier last month for £199 (though Vodafone reportedly dropped the price to £150 soon after). The Lumia 710 packs a 1.4 Ghz processor, 3.7" screen, 5MP camera, 8GB storage and sports a handful of pre-loaded Nokia apps.

Hurry up should the offer intrigue you as it ends on March 31st. Ignore the 3/5 rating as this was left by a single Android-orientated reviewer who complained about the lack of storage for music lovers (Zune Pass / Nokia Music anyone?).

Source: Vodafone UK, thanks Vicky for the heads up!

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Doodle Jump Xbox 360

Doodle Jump was quite a hit when it landed on Windows Phone last summer. Casual audiences loved the intuitive tilt controls, simple gameplay, and endearing artwork, and some hardcore players dug the heinously difficult Xbox Live Achievements. Kinect owners will be pleased to learn that Doodle Jump is coming to Xbox 360 this year too. Will it translate to motion controls as well as last year’s Fruit Ninja Kinect?

Kotaku has posted an exclusive video (non-embeddable unfortunately) of Xbox 360 Doodle Jump in action. It provides the first concrete details of how Doodle Jump will work on XBLA. First off, it requires the Kinect to play. Gamers will control the Doodler’s hops by stepping left and right. Pointing your arms fires at enemies, while flapping works Doodler’s Icarus wings. While you'll be moving around a lot, this game looks less strenuous than Fruit Ninja Kinect.

Interestingly, the developers at Lima Sky and Smoking Gun Interactive didn’t just paste in motion controls and call it a day. Whereas the original Doodle Jump’s levels are random and completely endless, the 360 version now has non-random levels with a beginning and end. A meter at the right side of the screen shows the Doodler’s progress as he climbs the level. The video also reveals new platforms, hazards (such as landmines), and backgrounds. These additions make the Kinect game look more like a sequel than a port; I’m definitely excited for it.

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Sony?

Take this with a heaping cup of salt, but Tweakers.net is reporting from multiple sources that Sony is planning on joining the Windows Phone camp late in 2012.

Of course there are hurdles in the way such as Sony and that whole Playstation thing, but Sony is like any other massive corporation and its departments operate independently of each other, so we wouldn't actually cite that as a reason not to. Heck, we know that back in 2010 Sony-Ericcson seemed just fine with the whole notion even going so far as to make a few prototypes for early development. Obviously if SE had no problem with the Xbox system we don't see why Sony (sans Ericsson) would either.

Still, there's no hard evidence here for this just past experience so we'll just have to keep an ear out. Should Sony though decide to make some Windows Phones, especially with waiting for WP8 that could be a very good thing for customers.

Source: Tweakers.net;Sony render by Brian (Follow Brian here on Twitter and see his work with the LG Fantasy and Nokia 900.) Thanks, Jentse H., for the heads up!

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The Dark Knight?

While we just learnt the base price of the Nokia Lumia 900 on Rogers it also now appears there will be a Batman "The Dark Knight" tie in as well. If you head over to their promo page, you'll see them advertising the ability to register to be notified when the pre-order is available--nothing unique there (though good tip if you're interested). But near the bottom of the ad there's a curious addition:

"When you pre-order a Lumia 900, Nokia and Rogers have a surprise for you. Hint: there's a hero rising out of the darkness."

No word on if that involves movies passes or maybe the big granddaddy of it all: a Dark Knight edition of the Lumia 900. Sound crazy? We steer you to the Dark Knight Lumia 800 that had a super limited run (so limited we don't even know where to have gotten one). We're sure more will come out eventually on this "surprise" so stay tuned.

Source: Rogers; Thanks, buggyglint, for the link!

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ACC

Great news if you're on a Nokia Windows Phone and happen to like sports, specifically basketball this time of year with March Madness afoot. Nokia has evidently teamed up with the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) group to make an official app for their phones. The app snuck onto the Marketplace on the 28th and we just found it accidently. As you'd expect from Nokia, the app is top notch and well polished:

ACC

"The ACC Sports App is the official mobile source for the Atlantic Coast Conference sports on your Windows Phone. Watch Live ACC Network coverage of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament on your Windows Phone for FREE from March 8th-11th. Get other basketball and football game details such as play-by-play, schedules, standings, stats and more from your favorite ACC team. Don't miss any of the action with interactive scoreboards, ACC news feeds and schedules. The ACC Sports App also includes the latest insider video coverage including the daily video updates and highlights of all conference basketball and football games!"

Like we said, it's a nice app and we no reason why you would not get this if you're into those teams. Pick it up here in the Marketplace for free (only via your Nokia phone as the web Marketplace won't show it).

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256? Ok.

With the upcoming "Tango" update to Windows Phone, OEMs will have the ability to make phones with just 256 MB of RAM, shaving off a few precious dollars from their bottom line. Of course in doing so, about 5% of the apps currently on the Marketplace (including ours) won't work unless the developer re-works aspects to make it more efficient on memory usage. Such phones include the Nokia Lumia 610 and possibly the ZTE Orbit. Those devices display a similar notification in their "About" section too:

Lumia 610

Of course there are instances where developers may not want to adjust their app--either they don't want to compromise performance/esthetics or they use periodicTask or a ResourceIntensiveTask. In that case, developers can actually opt-out of making their app compatible and instead a message will appear alerting users that this app won't work on their phone.

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Nokia Lumia 900 gets priced at Rogers

Lumia 900 priced at Rogers

When the Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone goes global in a few months, Rogers Canada is likely going to be the 900's first stop.  While the when of the Lumia 900 landing in Canada is still a little blurry, the pricing appears to be coming into focus.

One of our stealthy readers was able to grab a shot of the inventory screen for the Roger's Lumia 900 that indicates the pricing to be $499.99.  Unfortunately, no date for release can be seen.

The Lumia is marked as discountable but that is something that Roger's will determine based on vendor agreements and other factors. More than likely the $499.99 will drop a bit once contractual discounts kick in. How low the contractual price will be is anyone's guess.  

Hopefully, this is also a good indication of what AT&T's pricing might be.

Thanks to our stealthy reader for the tip and the pic!

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Chromatic updated, adds an online tournament

Chromatic for Windows Phone gets updated

Chromatic is a fast paced, 2D shooter game for your Windows Phone. In a nutshell, you defend against wave upon wave of enemy ships.  As you progress through the game, you unlock a wide variety of weapon types that will help you defend against the armada. We liked the game in our review and found it to be an entertaining, addictive game for your Windows Phone.

Chromatic was updated today to version 2.0. Along with a few performance tweaks, the update adds an online tournament mode to the game.

Chromatic Online Play

In the online tournament you play against other Chromatic players to see who can score the highest within a two minute round. Every competes with the same weapons types, which appear to be selected at random. At the end of each round, your scores are tallied and a ranking summary is displayed. You'll have sixty seconds in between rounds to catch your breath.

The tournament or Play Online mode of Chromatic is a nice touch. I like the randomness of the weapons. It levels the playing field and adds a bit of challenge to the match.

Chromatic comes in two versions. There is an free, ad supported version of Chromatic that you can find here at the Marketplace. Chromatic Pro is an ad free version that will run you $.99 that you can find here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

After the break, catch a demo video from the developer showing the online tournament in action.  And feel free to join in on the discussion about the new tournament mode here in the WPCentral Forums.

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WP Central

NetMarketShare has published marketshare data for the month for February and we've got some positive news for those who have missed the above image somehow. According to the data provided, Windows Phone is still on the rise - and it's a fairly steady climb from 0.29% up to 0.41%. 

While this is still fairly small when compared to the continued growth of both Android and iOS, it's good news that Nokia is having an impact on brand awareness. With the announcement (and public preview release) of Windows 8, which sports Metro UI elements, we can only expect the situation to improve for Microsoft's mobile platform.

Source: NetMarketShare, via: StreetInsider, thanks Mustafa for the tip!

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It's been awhie since we've talked about Ask Ziggy, the Siri-like app from developer Shai Leib. Powered by Nuance for voice-search and some backend tweaks to customize how things work, the app is a great example of developer ingenuity.

Since the app went viral, Leib has gone back to the drawing board and reworked a lot of the app in response to user feedback. For instance in the new version expected in a few days, it's much more Metro influenced with the SMS chat bubble. But more importantly, the feature list has greatly expanded to include using your geo-location ability to pinpoint weather/time/search requests. You can even set reminders (it will create a Live Tile and alarm), call people, pull up calendar information for any day upon request and much more. (You can see some more screenshots here)

Ask Ziggy

The app should be hitting the Marketplace in a few days and it is still free as far as we know. This is also just the beginning as Leib has much more planned for new and unique features. For now, you can watch out video though to get an idea of what's coming and you can download the old verison here in the Marketplace.

We'll keep you posted when version 2.0 goes live probably next week, so stay tuned.

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Sonic 4 Episode II XBLA

Now that SEGA has revealed Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II to the world via a gameplay footage trailer, they’ve releasing more and more information and assets for the game. But these details are spread out all over the place online, and who has time to find them all? I do, of course!

First up, the Sonic 4 website has been updated to provide story, character, and background info about the new game. The official Episode II story:

"The fierce battle from Episode I was only an overture…

What was Dr. Eggman searching for in the Lost Labyrinth?

What was Mad Gear built for?

They were all a mere puzzle piece of a grandiose project schemed by Dr. Eggman.

As Little Planet, where “Sonic CD” took place, approaches Sonic’s world once again, Dr. Eggman’s whole scheme will be revealed!"

I love how it ties both Episode I (which had no in-game story) and Sonic CD into Episode II’s events (which Ken Balough mentioned in our interview last year). The site also reveals what happened to Metal Sonic after his defeat in Sonic CD, details about several of Episode II’s new robotic enemies, and descriptions of two of the game’s expected four zones, Sylvania Castle and White Park Zone.

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Smoked!

AndroidCentral's Phil Nickinson feels the burn

What we thought may be a one-off contest has seemingly turned into a viral campaign by Microsoft. The "Smoked by Windows Phone" contest was started back in CES in January and has since gone to the road with tours and most recently showed up at Mobile World Congress in 2012 and Hong Kong.

Now Microsoft is looking to the expand the coverage and even pushing it to TV--that's right, soon we'll all be able to see Microsoft "picking a fight" with Android and iOS broadcast everywhere. In an interview with Bloomberg, Aaron Woodman, director of Windows Phone revealed as much:

“It doesn’t feel like we’re really pushing apart from the competition,” Woodman said. “We need to go pick a fight.

We’ll do TV spots, the question is where. Microsoft is patient and willing to use deep pockets, but we’re also respectful of shareholder value so we want to pick appropriate countries and spend levels.”

Hopefully we won't be waiting too long as we think this is an effective strategy and would certainly like to see more.

Source: Bloomberg; Thanks, Stephen M., for the heads up

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Lumia 610

Good news for those of you in the UK, tech site Mobile Fun is reporting that they have the dates for your new Nokia phones, the Lumia 900 and the Lumia 610, representing both the high and low ends of Nokia's new beachhead strategy.

The 900 featuring a 4.3" screen and front facing camera will reportedly land on April 9th--a date that's not too far off and seemingly in line with recent rumors.

Likewise, the Lumia 610 will is rumored to be available June 11th when it will launch with Windows Phone "Tango" to better support low-end specs such as 256 MB of RAM. That makes sense as it'll give developers a few months to re-structure their apps to meet those new low memory requirements as well as time for Microsoft/Nokia to finish any last minute touches to the OS.

By June, Windows Phone users should have quite the array of Nokia devices to choose from.

Source: MobileFun; Thanks, hipporama, for the heads up

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WP Central

The Canadian carrier TELUS has an interesting deal currently active for the Lumia 800 Windows Phone, which is priced at $49.99 (dropped from $249) when purchased accompanied by a $50 (three year term) plan. The Nokia handset is present in black, cyan and magenta.

The device has been anticipated by those who have been awaiting for the carrier to launch the Windows Phone, but should a contract not be up your street, a no term option is available for $529.99.

Source: TELUS, thanks Ryles for the tip!

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Mobile Nations Fitness Month Winners!

Mobile Nations Fitness Month

First, WPCentral and Mobile Nations would like to thank everyone who participated in the February Fitness Month event. We set out to show how your Windows Phone could help with your fitness goals and discovered some nice apps along the way. The WPCentral Forums discussion was full of comments on everyone's efforts to get and stay fit.

While fitness was the focus, there were a few incentives along the way. Three winners won gift certificates to the WPCentral Store as the month of February rolled along. Late last night, we randomly drew for our Grand Prize winner and two runner-up prize winners from all the comments posted in the Fitness Month discussions.

Our Grand Prize winner, who walks away with an Xbox 360 and Kinect, is onix7cv!

Our Nokia Luna Bluetooth Headset runner-up winner is willied and vincentw56 is the other runner-up winner who will receive a gift certificate to the WPCentral Store!

While February Fitness Month has drawn to a close, the challenge now becomes to keep up the fitness efforts. Good luck with it and again, thanks for participating in the Mobile Nations Fitness Month!

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WP Central

The brains over at the XDA Developers community forum have been playing around with a leaked Vodafone branded Lumia 800 ROM, which MobileTechWorld has been testing against bug reports and what previous software updates addressed. 1600.2487.8107.12070 is set to be the next step from the previous major firmware release (1600.2483.8106.11500) for the Lumia 800 that addressed battery and WiFi connectivity issues.

The following is a compilation of all known fixes / improvements in 12070:

  • Battery drain issue has been fixed
  • Lack of audio Bass when listening through headsets has been addressed 
  • Auto-white balance issue with the camera has been fixed
  • Hardware buttons backlights are now always illuminated at all available screen brightness levels
  • Diagnostics app has been updated to prevent users from receiving misleading technical readouts about their device

MobileTechWorld has noted that we should expect to see this update to be rolled out soon. We've reached out to Nokia for more details. Should you be an owner of the Lumia 800, fear not as it would appear the manufacturer is working hard to fix all user-reported problems.

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