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Microsoft and LG reach Android licensing deal

MS and LG agree to Android deal

Korean tech manufacturer LG is the latest company to reach an Android licensing deal with Microsoft.  The agreement is similar to those signed with HTC, Samsung and others, but unlike them, also includes Google's Chrome OS.  Microsoft has benefited greatly from licensing deals.  One estimate had them making three times more off HTC's Android sales alone than their own Windows Phone 7. 

Microsoft attorney, Horacio Gutierrez, praised the "mutually beneficial agreement," noting that MS now licenses Android to 70% of all Android phones sold in the U.S.:

“We are pleased to have built upon our longstanding relationship with LG to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Together with our 10 previous agreements with Android and Chrome OS device manufacturers, including HTC, Samsung and Acer, this agreement with LG means that more than 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the U.S. are now receiving coverage under Microsoft’s patent portfolio,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property Group at Microsoft. “We are proud of the continued success of our program in resolving the IP issues surrounding Android and Chrome OS.”

LG's Ken Hong sounded equally upbeat, saying that the deal allowed both companies to get back to what they do best, putting out products for consumers:

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Lumia 900 introductory video

Nokia has added an introductory video on the Nokia Lumia 900 over at their YouTube site. The ninety-plus second video touches on all aspects of the new Windows Phone heading to AT&T. From the polycarbonate uni-body to the 4G LTE network, the Lumia 900 is definitely a head turner.

You can find more on the Nokia Lumia 900 over at Nokia's website and check out all our coverage on the 900 through this link.

source: Youtube

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Mobile Nations + TCPJ Special: CES 2012 wrap up

Mobile Nations + TCPJ Special: CES 2012 wrap up

Mobile Nations editors Kevin Michaluk, Phil Nickinson, Rene Ritchie, Daniel Rubino, Derek Kessler, Simon Sage and Jared DiPane join Mickey and Joey of The Cell Phone Junkie to wrap-up the biggest events of the 2012 CES. Listen in!

Hosts

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Sprint users petition for WP7 after exec's comments

Sprint Logo

Sprint customers have taken to the streets, er, the internet, and created an online petition to show that they want some new Windows phones.  The move comes after Sprint Vice President of Product Realization David Owens expressed his lack of enthusiasm for WP7.  Owens said that the HTC Arrive, Sprint's only WP7 device, sold poorly because Microsoft has done a poor job of promoting their mobile OS.  While this may have been true early on, Sprint certainly made no effort on their part either.  In fact, they went so far as to make the Arrive the poster child for their trade-in program.

The online petition explains the frustration that Sprint users feel as they see other carriers, most-notably AT&T, getting some fantastic devices, like the HTC Titan II and Nokia's Lumia 900 (Ace).  This is counter to what David Owens described, citing customer complaints and returns based on unpleasant user experiences. Sprint's own website shows, however, shows very high marks in customer reviews and was also in the top ten most highly-rated phones on Amazon.

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Clove UK offering 40-day trial on Lumia 800

Clove's new LoveMeKeepMe promo

Clove is so confident you'll love the Nokia Lumia 800 that they are now offering a 40-day money back guarantee.  The new LoveMeKeepMe promo lets anyone who buys a Lumia 800 between now and February 29 send back their fully boxed, like new phone for a full refund.  To take advantage of this offer, simply buy a Lumia 800 through Clove, then register it within ten days of purchase.  You then have 30 days to love it and keep it, or to send it back. 

Check out the flyer or go to the link above for full details.

Source: Clove UK

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Nokia Lumia 710 ad hits the airways

The Nokia Lumia 710 became available only yesterday at T-Mobile and we've already seen it spotlighted in one T-Mobile commercial and now it's taking center stage in yet another television ad. The thirty second spot focuses on how the Windows Phone can keep you connected to amazing everyday.  From keeping in touch with friends to finding a good ice cream parlor.

The ad does a nice job of catching your attention and shining a little attention on the latest Windows Phone. We've received tips from readers who caught this ad throughout the night and it appears that Nokia has hit the ground running to let everyone know they are back in town.

source: Youtube; Thanks to everyone who tipped us on this!

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Sprint not too enthusiastic on Windows Phones

Sprint

Waiting for Sprint to introduce a new Windows Phone? I wouldn't expect anything too soon.

Sprint's Vice President of Product Realization David Owens let it be known that while the wireless carrier is bulking up its LTE lineup it will be with Android devices for now. Sprint may take another chance at Windows Phone in the August-September time frame.

"We have a Windows device in our lineup, but honestly, it hasn't done well enough for us to jump back into the fire. We told Microsoft: You guys have to go build the enthusiasm for the product."

Owens also stated the the number one reason the HTC Arrive, Sprint's only Windows Phone, was returned was the user experience. Sprint's Director of Product Development Lois Fagan added,

"We want to participate in the market, but we can't build that brand by ourself. We're cautiously optimistic, but [Windows Phone] just hasn't taken off."

The news shouldn't be much of a shocker. While the Arrive has been on Sprint for some time, Sprint has done very little to promote the Windows Phone platform.  Android devices, on the other hand seem to be centerpiece of their ad campaigns. Can anyone remember any Windows Phone commercials from Sprint?

While Microsoft and the hardware manufacturers should do their part in promoting Windows Phone devices, but Sprint needs to step up to the plate as well. 

source: pcmag; Thanks, Brianna, for the tip!

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Yesterday we covered the $100 challenge happening here at CES 2012. Basically, you can challenge Ben "the PC Guy" Rudolph from Microsoft to a speed test with your current phone versus his HTC TITAN. The task involves any "everyday" type of action that regular users may attempt and has resulted in quite a lot of media coverage due to its ingenuity.

Smoked!

Now Microsoft has put up the fruit of their labor by showcasing all the challenges from yesterday in a great montage. Needless to say, it is quite inspiring and humorous to watch.

We met up with Ben yesterday and watched a few of these challenges. Everyone was certainly having fun and the fanboyism was no where to be seen--just good, honest competition with everyone being a fair sport. We asked Ben if this would be a regular event but it looks like it might not be--the longer this is out there, the more people can game the system (including potentially scripts and custom ROM advantages, which takes the "regular user" dynamic out of the equation).

Ben Rudolph's shirt. Punk yeah!

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HTC TITAN versus the Samsung Galaxy Note CES 2012

A lot of our readers are split on the TITAN/TITAN II's massive 4.7" screen--some think it's just too big of a device, while others are much more partial. We're in the latter camp and don't think 4.7" is too big at all. And evidently neither does Samsung, who have put out the Galaxy Note, an Android powered device with a massive 5.3" Super AMOLED HD screen.

HTC TITAN vs Galaxy Note

No doubt this is a different category of device and surprisingly, feedback on the device so far as been positive. We quickly compared the size difference between it and the TITAN and it's an interesting juxtaposition, to say the least. It kind of makes us wonder: What would Windows Phone look like on such a device? People seemed enthusiastic last year about a Windows Phone tablet, so this might be your closest chance.

Would you buy one? Should Samsung even attempt it to counter the TITAN/TITAN II or should we let Android have all the fun? Lets us know in comments and check out how the Android fans are reacting at Android Central.

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Zendesk help desk software launches WP7 app

Zendesk for WP7 now available

Cloud-based help desk provider Zendesk has released a version of their mobile app for WP7, complete with live tiles and Mango support.  Zendesk is a service that allows companies to host, log and track support tickets, be it for IT, customer service, or internal business.  With the mobile app, support representatives easily view and modify their tickets, as well as respond to them.  Simply download the app and log in to your account.  The full feature list is as follows:

  • Access all your support ticket views
  • View and update comments, CCs, tags, and ticket fields
  • Apply predefined responses, or macros, to tickets with frequently asked questions
  • View all support ticket events and notifications
  • Pin ticket views and specific tickets to the start screen as Live Tiles for easy access
  • Easily bookmark a ticket for future reference
  • Search support tickets
  • Upload and view attachments on tickets
  • Take a photo and attach it to a ticket

If you use Zendesk already you can get the mobile app for free here.  Not a user yet?  Sign up for a 30-day trial.

QR: Zendesk

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South Africa getting Nokia devices!

Yes, South Africa is a real place.

Many people are of the opinion that Nokia is Microsoft's trump card. The game changer. And it really is looking more and more likely that Nokia is going to give Windows Phone 7 the momentum it needs to get further than the hands of tech bloggers and developers.

We recently covered Nokias plans to take over the world, and now we have report of the Lumia 800 and 710 both launching in South Africa in Q1 2012 and just after that respectively. Yep, you heard that right. The same country that can't manage to tell the different between Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7 (Vodacom's terrible advertising campaign for the Omnia 7 - not the one below). So why is this a big deal? Well, because up until now South Africa has only had three devices; the Samsung Omnia 7, the HTC Trophy and the HTC Mozart.

As a resident of South Africa I had actually almost given up hope for WP7 here when just recently one of the service providers sold the last of their Omnia 7 stock:

Photo of a pamphlet, sorry about the quality!

For reference R1699 is about $208.

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Windows Phone 2011 Retrospective Infographic

2011 Retrospective Infographic

This is an interesting infographic posted over on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, which shows data that was accumulated in 2011. While it's aimed at developers, we thought everyone would like to take a peak at how far we've come together. Be sure to click on the infographic to enlarge the size, which can be found after the break.

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LG E906 Jil Sander phone takes to the catwalk at CES '12

We've been reporting on the LG Jil Sander "fashion phone" for sometime now, especially with the hefty price drop of recent. The phone is not a Gen2 device but more like a Gen 1.5 but it does offer 16GB of storage for a decent cost.

LG Jil Sander

The phone, like others, is here on display at CES 2012 and we finally got our tired grubby hands on it. Truth be told, we're kind of glad we passed on that impulse buy a few weeks ago. While the screen is actually quite vibrant, the rest of the device is a "whole lotta plastic" and it's quite thick to boot. It's interesting to have all physical keys on the front and the blue custom Accent color is nice but we just don't think it's enough to overcome some of its other pitfalls.

LG Jil Sander

Having said that, it is going for quite cheap off contract and that 16GB of storage may make it a worthwhile purchase for some.

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Bug Village Title

Now that Bug Village has launched, we can finally examine the freemium game’s PDLC in detail. The vast majority of the game’s PDLC is associated with coins, though players can also buy acorns if they prefer not to wait for the in-game harvesting process. Everyone receives 10 free coins upon starting the game. Unfortunately, the tutorial strong-arms you into using one or two coins unless you’re content to leave the game running while the first house and piles are built. Thus most players will end up with 8 coins to spend once the tutorial ends.

Coins are good for two things: speeding up tasks and buying premium items. See, tasks like building houses and farming resources take time to complete. The times start at 15 minutes and stretch into the hours from there; thankfully players are usually given a choice of three different lengths of time when harvesting items. The longer you harvest, the more Acorns and XP you’ll earn. But if you’d like to skip out on the waiting and instantly complete a building or task, it will cost one more coins, depending on the time involved.

As for premium items, they include buildings, decorations, food, piles, and flowers. All of these things look different from the non-premium versions, and some offer greater benefits. For instance, premium buildings produce extra insects compared to regular buildings, which would have to be upgraded in order to achieve the same effect. Premium decorations are purely aesthetic, though they do contribute toward the Achievement for placing 50 decorations. Premium piles and flowers produce greater rewards than low-end versions, but are surpassed by high end flowers and acorns. Premium piles and flowers have much lower level requirements though, so they may be worth buying early on in the game (especially the Wonder Crocus).

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Windows simple

Yesterday, we saw the first commercial with the Lumia 710 for T-Mobile making the rounds. Today, the 710 (see our review) actually goes on sale in various locations and T-Mobile seems to be pushing the "Windows simple" tagline which we really like.

Will it be enough? Well, we don't really view it like that as we this as a Nokia described, a beachhead, to attack various price points and demographics. In that sense, we're exited about the 710 and hope it does well on T-Mobile.

The "Windows simple" ad line though is interesting only because it seemingly runs contradictory to what people expect from Windows. Hopefully it will get customer's attention.

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If there was one phone that really piqued the interest of our Western readers, it would be the Toshiba-Fujitsu IS12T. Coming in bright pink, yellow and blue, the phone is completely unique mostly due to its specs: 32GB of storage, 13MP camera, water/dust proof and a 4" screen.

IS12T

So we were quite excited to see a few of them on display here at CES as it was our first and perhaps only time to be able to take it for a spin. The phone is certainly interesting but those tiny front buttons are a little difficult at times to just "look and feel", though we suppose they may be better than all-capacitive for some of you. It is very plastic-y and feels quite nice in the hand, though the screen itself is a bit under whelming (it is similar to the HTC Arrive's in terms of contrast).

IS12T

Definitely a great phone for  those in Japan but we'll still take a Nokia any day if given the choice.

IS12T

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Exclusive Nokia phones coming to each U.S. carrier?

Nokia coming to every major carrier?

Chris Weber, Nokia's president of North America, told FierceWireless in an interview that they are working to gain ground in the U.S. market by becoming the most carrier-friendly manufacturer in town.  With this in mind, he said that they are trying to bring exclusive Windows Phone devices, content and experiences to each carrier. 

"The most important thing we can do in the U.S. market is bring exclusive devices and opportunities to each of the carriers," he said. "Doing that exclusivity and giving them something unique allows us to get great carrier support."

T-Mobile is set to get the Lumia 710 and the stunning Lumia 900 is en route to AT&T under the moniker Ace.  Nokia is working with T-Mobile specifically to lure in first time smartphone buyers, while the main focus with AT&T is to get current users on other platforms to make the move over.  However, when asked about Verizon, who currently only carries the Gen-1 HTC Trophy, Weber was rather mum, stating only that "they're a very important partner for [Nokia]."  He made no mention of Sprint, who seems to have nearly abandoned Windows Phone all together after a half-hearted affair with the wonderful HTC Arrive.

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Exclusive: The complete Windows Phone emoji list

We have the complete list!

Back in November, Windows Phone team blogger Michael Stroh teased users with some cheat sheets to many of the emoticons or emoji (Japanese) built right into the Windows Phone platform. He didn't share them all, though. Not content with waiting around for more blog posts, we decided to dig through the operating system, not stopping until we found the rare and beautiful emoji. And found them we did.
 

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Nokia predicted to ship 37 million Windows Phones in 2012

WP Central

Morgan Stanley, a global financial services firm, has predicted that Nokia will be shipping 37 million Windows Phones in 2012. Not only that, but they expect the number to almost double in 2013 to 64 million. This is depending on how aggressive Microsoft, Nokia and AT&T market the Lumia 900. If Europe is anything to go by, we're sure Nokia will be pushing extremely hard with the software giant and U.S. carrier close behind. With a rumoured $200 million budget available between them, we should look forward to some interesting promotions and events being set up.

As Steve Ballmer mentioned at CES, they've got a long way to go, but the road is looking positive should a strong push be effective.

Source: AllThingsD

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Square Off Wallpaper

Square Off is a fine twin-stick shooter from Australian indie developer Gnomic Studios. Just see our review if you don’t believe me (then again, I wrote that, too). Since their game’s release, Gnomic has shown the game a lot of support with multiple updates and the release of a free, ad-supported version. In fact, just recently they published a new update for paid and free versions alike.

Square Off version 1.5 release notes:

  • Choose any colour for your Square Avenger!
  • Downloadable ring-tones and wallpapers (the free version has 1 of each, the paid version has 4 ring-tones and 3 wallpapers)
  • Option to disable in-game vibration
  • Messages from the Developers
  • Stability and bug fixes

What’s more, the paid version is on sale for only $1 until the end of January. A perfect time to snag it and get those extra ringtones! Gnomic was also kind enough to provide a Square Off lockscreen wallpaper for our readers, which you can see to the right.

Square Off (paid) is on sale for $1 for a limited time only. Get it here on the Marketplace. The ad-supported FREE version can be found here.

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2012 CES: Day Two Recap

WPCentral at CES

With day one of CES 2012 packing the Windows Phone punch that we were all hoping for, with the Lumia 900 being announced, AT&T backing the platform, the HTC Titan II surprising technology minds, as well as Steve Ballmer skating around the convention to get to multiple sessions. It was an eventful day to say the least. Day two, on the other hand, was relatively laid back with WPCentral setting up some insightful interviews with the big names behind Nokia and Microsoft. We also took a look at some new Mango handsets that weren't seeing much spotlight coverage.

Interview with Belfiore and Shields: We took Microsoft's Joe Belfiore and Nokia's Kevin Shields hostage for half an hour while we interrogated them about the platform and what plans the two companies have for 2012. Check out the interview for some insightful and enlightening responses. 

Lumia 710 & 800 heading to Canada: Stephen Elop announced in an interview with Nokia Conversations that the 710 and 800 will be coming to his homeland, Canada. We've received numerous complaints from Canadians who feel left out when it comes to Windows Phones, so this is great news for those who wish to get their hands on the latest family from Nokia.

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Orange FR offering 5 free apps with Lumia 800 purchase

Orange Five Free Apps

The French mobile network Orange is offering to purchase five apps from the Marketplace for new Nokia Lumia 800 buyers. When downloading the first five apps, instead of using an attached credit card, the Windows Phone owner can choose "Orange bill" as the payment option and the carrier will not charge these five apps to the next bill. The beauty of this offer is Orange will allow any app that costs up to €14.99, so in theory you could get €75 worth of apps for free. Not bad!

The offer is for new purchasers of the Lumia 800 (available in black and magenta), and will be running from January 12 to February 8, 2012.

Source: Professeur Thibault (translation)

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Bugs!

Bug Village – the first freemium Xbox Live game (smartphone or otherwise) – is now available. What’s a freemium game? That means everyone gets the full game for free. But the developers at Glu Mobile also offer some premium content (PDLC) for dedicated players to buy. The PDLC here (Coins) allows you to build special structures and/or speed up the time it takes your bug minions to complete tasks. It’s completely optional and you can earn the full 200 GamerScore without spending a dime, so no worries!

Bug Village screens

Bug Village is also the first city-building game on Windows Phone. As mentioned, you’ll be recruiting an army of hard-working insects and expanding your village as you see fit. With detailed 3D graphics and the aforementioned Achievements, Bug Village is a game every Windows Phone owner should try. See our developer interview for more details.

Aspiring entomologists/architects can find Bug Village here on the Marketplace.

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Implode!

Ready for a deal? Implode! - the Xbox Live Deal of the Week, has officially gone on sale for $1.99. Not a bad price for such a lengthy game!

Implode! takes place in a classroom setting with each puzzle drawn on a chalkboard. The goal: blowing up buildings as efficiently as possible. Over the course of 150 levels, you’ll get to use a variety of different explosives and face many challenging conditions such as wind, low gravity, and neighboring buildings that mustn’t be harmed. I hate those buildings! Don't they know you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette? Anyway, as our review indicates, Implode!’s puzzles get quite tough sometimes, but it remains fun throughout.

Implode! is on sale for $1.99 (down from $2.99) for one week only. Pick it up here in the Marketplace and let the explosions commence.

QR: Implode!

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WPCentral interview with Microsoft & Nokia at CES '12

WPCentral was lucky enough today to sit down with Nokia's senior vice president, Windows Phone program management Kevin Shields and Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone program management.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the focus was on Nokia, the Lumia 900, re-entering the US market and anything else would could think to ask. Having said that, sorry folks, no new feature announcements were revealed about the Windows Phone OS as both gentlemen outsmarted our attempts. (We're betting on Mobile World Congress next month for more info on "Tango").

Belfiore and Shields

The interview, all 25 minutes of it, can be seen above and we think it is quite interesting, especially as we ask about what are Microsoft's and Nokia's biggest challenges in the US, how did the Lumia 900 come to be (including the design process), what should we expect from the LTE experience and more.  Clearly Microsoft is expecting Windows 8 to add another "jolt" to Windows Phone in 2012 and we couldn't agree more.

In addition, we had some more hands-on time with the Lumia 900 and folks, we're really excited about this beauty as it is quite the Windows Phone. More on that later this week in our podcast.

A big thanks to Microsoft and Nokia for extending the opportunity for this interview and iMore's Rene Ritchie for assistance.

Edit: The last few minutes got cut off, so we have a new version coming up in a little bit.

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