Articles

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Wal-mart deal alert on the Lumia 710

Wal-Mart Nokia Lumia 4G

The Nokia Lumia 710 has only been available for a few days and we are seeing some really good Wal-mart deals on the newest T-Mobile Windows Phone. You can find it free from Wal-mart.com (with qualifying data plan and two year contract) and one of our readers in Hawaii spotted the Lumia 710 in stores for $18.88. Either offer is a really good deal on a very good Windows Phone.

Now if we can just get Wal-mart (and others) to get the sales displays right.  The local Wal-mart in Hawaii lists the Nokia Lumia 4G as running Windows Mobile 7.5 and that the phone syncs with MS Outlook. Luckily the company's online advertisement displays the correct information and even refers to Windows Phone 7.5 as Mango.

I guess you could call that progress...

Mahalo to Marcus for the tip and photo!

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Video Teaser: EA Games for Nokia Windows Phone

EA Mobile Games has released a video teaser highlighting eleven (if my count is right) gaming titles that will be heading to the Nokia Windows Phones. We first heard about the exclusive partnership during Nokia World and again during the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show.

The titles spotted in the minute long video include:

  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour
  • Monopoly
  • Spy Mouse
  • Yahtzee
  • The Game of Life
  • Spy Mouse
  • Vampire Rush
  • Mirrors Edge
  • SIMS Medieval
  • Parking Mania
  • 2 Real Racing
  • Picnic Wars.

The video doesn't show much of each title but just enough to spark your interest. Nokia is due to have over twenty titles for an exclusive period available for their Lumia Windows Phones. It will be interesting to see what the remaining titles will be.

source: YouTube; Thanks, pedenske, for the tip!

Update: Additional upcoming titles from EA Games include:

  • FIFA 12
  • Madden 12
  • NBA Jam
  • Dead Space
  • Bejeweled 2
  • Connect 4
  • Risk
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Bop It!

We've got an all out discussion on these titles over in the forums that you can find here.

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Spider Jack

The Xbox Live updates continue to flood in. Multiple EA Mobile games have been updated since the new year began, including The Sims 3 and Tetris. Now we can add Spider Jack to the list. Of course, Spider Jack actually comes from original Russian developer MaxNick, but EA is still the publisher.

Spider Jack version 1.1 release notes

  • Made a small change to the Achievement icon

Nothing to write home about there, but we do have some good news. The next Spider Jack update will contain 50 new levels for players to swing through! The developers hope to release it in February.

Spider Jack is all about getting the titular arachnid to his food. To do this, you attach the spider’s thread to a knob. He’ll then swing around, collecting anything he touches. You’ll also need to cut the rope, err, thread in order to drop Jack onto items. Obstacles like electric gates and teleportation portals add to the challenge. The short levels and simple controls are perfect for mobile play. We’ll have a full review soon.

Spider Jack costs $2.99 and there is a free trial. Climb over here on the Marketplace to get it.

QR: Spider Jack

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Lumia 710 and 800 coming to TMN Portugal

Lumia Portugal TMN

The Lumia 710 and 800 have been infiltrating a number of countries, and now Portugal is set to receive Nokia's first family of Windows Phones. The carrier that they'll be coming to is TMN, but it's not stated when the handsets will be available. For now, you can register your interest (as is the case when carriers announce upcoming hardware). Good news nonetheless!

Source: TMN, via: PocketPT, thanks Luis for the heads up!

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Sneak Peek: Square sharing app for Windows Phone

Square App

Sharing is cool. We all love to share things, whether it be what we're currently up to on Twitter, or by publishing photos to Facebook from our Windows Phone, it walks hand-in-hand with being intrigued by what our friends are up to. Square, by Lawrence Gripper (the developer behind the BBC News Mobile app), Chris Sienkiewicz and Dave Crawford, is a new solution to contact and image sharing between platforms using QR codes. It's a fairly simple concept, but ingeniously executed.

Square will enable the user to grab an image from the Pictures Hub (providing choice of camera roll, SkyDrive or Facebook albums) and share it to another device with a generic QR code scanner. Not only that, but contacts on the Windows Phone can also be shared to another device with a scanner (and support for vCards). If you're one who detests carrying around business cards as much as I, Square also sports a contact card option for yourself (basically choosing "you" from your contact list to import your details), which can be pinned to the home screen for quick access and turns your contact information into a handy QR code (in vCard format).

Of course, the app wouldn't be complete without a scanner. Square comes kitted out with the tools to scan QR codes and import images and contacts. It all works flawlessly, and the UI (although there's not much depth) is simply gorgeous. When will we see Square on the Marketplace? In the next couple of weeks. To see the app in action, head on past the break for a quick demonstration.

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Xbox Live: Let's Golf 2 update comes in one over par

Let's Golf 2

In our Let’s Golf 2 review, we praised the game’s smooth 3D graphics and wealth of content. Unfortunately, it suffered from two broken Achievements, and nobody likes those. Gameloft had a great chance to fix them with this week’s title update. Did they succeed?

Let’s Golf 2 version 1.3 update (listed as version 1.2 in-game)

  • ‘Junior Golfer’ Achievement now attainable on fresh installs

Let’s look at that. The ‘Junior Golfer’ Achievement is for finishing your first mission in Career Mode – i.e. completing a single event. It can now be obtained, but existing players will need to reinstall the game and lose all of their progress. Anyone who hasn’t unlocked ‘Wise One’ for maxing out a character will probably want to hold off on the reinstall. If only the developers had considered everyone who already bought the game when instituting the fix…

Even worse, the ‘Secret Code Achievement remains unobtainable. In the iOS version, players have to enter a special code in the name entry screen in order to unlock the ninth character. The Windows Phone version has no name entry screen, so the Achievement is just a big, baffling error on the part of the developers and Microsoft certification team.

Let’s Golf 2 is a fantastic golf game mired only by Achievement problems. The version 1.3 update (skipping versions 1.1 and 1.2 even though it contains only a single minor fix) is a step in the right direction, but it fails to make everything right. Perhaps Gameloft will issue another update (version 1.6?) in the future.

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4th & Mayor

We love ourselves some 4th & Mayor, the wildly popular Foursquare app for Windows Phone which has outpaced the official app. We're now happy to announce that version 3.1 is live in the Marketplace. What are the biggest changes? Only the ones you have been asking for the most:

  • The back of the app tile is now a Live Tile leaderboard
  • Toast notifications when friends check-in near to you

That right there are some cool features for such a great app. We're busy taking it through its paces right now, so we'll let you go download it here in the Marketplace for free. Oh and since it is free, if you ever feel like buying the developer, Jeff Wilcox, a beer for his efforts, you can do that very easily by clicking this link.

There's much more too though with version 3.1 with the full changelog after the break...

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WPCentral Applications Spotlight Forums for developers

WP Central

We've had our Spotlight forum for quite awhile now where developers can post their newly published apps and games for our community to enjoy, for others to post a review or make comments directly to devs. This is a great place for developers to get some attention and some feedback for their hard work. We did however make a mistake when making these forums: we underestimated their popularity.

Previously, we had them as sub forums under Marketplace Applications and Marketplace Games. We are proud to say we are correcting this mistake today.

Forums

We now have a Developers Spotlight Forums this will give these areas more viability. With threads started by only developers, this will give our devs an even better place to showcase their new applications and games. If you're wondering what this is all about, here are some examples added to these forums just this week.

Applications Spotlight:

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Retail Insider app

Microsoft's Ben Rudolph tweeted to let Windows Phone retailers that there's a new app designed just for them.  Retail Insider offers vendors news, tips, info about the Windows Phone products they sell.  It also alerts them to promotions, contests and learning content exclusively for retail sellers.  The app fully integrates with Facebook, Twitter and email.  Key Features include:

  • Multiple Live tiles you can pin to your Start Screen that show the latest content updates
  • A device library with demo suggestions and selling tips
  • A curated list of the best Windows Phone apps with links to Marketplace
  • Easy sharing of app content via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail
  • An aggregated stream of updates from Microsoft’s social media channels for retail sellers
  • One-click access to customer demo videos that help you show your customers the best features of Windows Phone
  • Built-in Windows Phone FAQ and quick links to step-by-step how-to’s

You can download for free here.

QR: Retail Insider

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We covered an app a week ago that filled in a big hole in the Windows Phone OS, specifically you can't save Bing searches to the People Hub. This inability is quite inconvenient as it means you have to manually copy information to your contacts, which if you have a few restaurants to add, can take some time.

Add to Contacts

Now, Add to Contacts, a different and in many ways a better app,  is available from the developer of "I'm a WP7!" meaning you expect quality from the design and implementation. Very Metro-influenced, the app is fast and has great options including the ability to save photos where available.

"With Add to Contacts, the entire process is automated for you, including retrieving an image for your Contact if it’s available!

PRIMARY USE: Go to Bing Search, get local or Local Scout results, go to the apps tab, then tap 'Add to Contacts'!

SECONDARY USE: Search for local results from within the app itself and add them directly to your contacts!

The app provides integrated Local and Nearby search, with the ability so save your most recent search, but the real power comes from tapping Add to Contacts right from your search result profile!"

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Folders

We've covered "Folders" before, the app from Windows Phone hacker which allows you to add folders to the Start screen. The first release involved using an editor on your desktop to make the folders and was a bit tedious.

Now, a new branch of development has occurred and it has become infinitely more useful in our opinion. Starting today, you can load a XAP file (and an optional secondary one) and just create folders on-the-go without the need for a desktop. The task is simple: create and name a folder, add apps by using a Marketplace-lookup or System apps (e.g. Zune) then pin to the Start screen.

The trick does not require interop access meaning anyone with a developer unlocked device can do this and due to its simplicity, we have to give a big thumbs up to this homebrew tool. Read more at Windows Phone Hacker where you can download the XAP files right now.

Thanks, Maximilian, for the tip!

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Nokia Lumia 900 to arrive on March 18?

Lumia 900 to hit shelves March 18?

Since Nokia unveiled the Lumia 900 (Ace) at CES on Monday, people have been salivating and waiting eagerly to hear when it would be available to the masses.  Sadly, the only tidbit anyone got was that it would hit shelves in the next few months.  Thanks to Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott, who hosted an episode of TWiT together, we may now know that the exact date will be March 18.  The two techies discussed the latest issue of Nokia's developers news letter, in which a March release on AT&T was listed.  Although no source was given, Thurrott added that it would in fact be March 18.

The Lumia 900 was a hit at CES, and we were more than pleased with our first look at it.  Even if the March 18 release date turns out to be inaccurate, its still exciting to know that the Ace is coming fairly soon. 

Source: Windows Weekly (TWiT); Via: Engadget

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Windows Phone User Group London meeting - Jan 31st

Windows Phone User Group

If you happen to be in the UK and near London on January 31st then this might just interest you. The Windows Phone User Group (an independent group dedicated to helping developers interested in the Windows Phone platform) are having another monthly meeting just next to Liverpool Street station.

This month they have Alan Mendelvich of AdDuplex providing a guide to monetizing apps on the Windows Phone platform, as well as demonstrations, socializing and beer. This all sounds excellent to me so I've decided to join this month's meeting as well, if you want to come along an say hi, you can register for free at the source link.

Source: Windows Phone User Group

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Nokia Lumia 800 coming to Vodafone Ireland

Lumia 800 Ireland

Good news for our Irish brothers, Vodafone IE is looking to bring the Lumia 800 to Ireland. Nokia's flagship Windows Phone has received positive attention from both the bloggersphere and owners across Europe, which will make the handset a welcomed addition to the Irish arsenal. No word yet on pricing or availability, but we would hazard a guess that it'll be competitive and be in line with what we've seen in the UK.

Source: Vodafone, thanks Liam for the tip!

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Nokia holding event for South Africa

Tiles of joy

If you needed anymore proof that South Africa isn't just being tossed aside when it comes to the Nokia Lumia/future devices, then we have great news for you. We have just received word from an anonymous tipster that Nokia is holding an event in Midrand near the end of this month. Although the invite doesn't outright say that this is a launch party or unveiling event, it's probably quite safe to assume that it is.

And here is the invite:

Invite

Besides the obvious positives of Nokia launching their Windows Phone 7 devices in South Africa, there is another aspect that you may not have considered. Blackberry and Android may be all the rage over here at the moment but before that Nokia was a really big player in SA.

I remember a time when almost every person I knew either had a Nokia or was attempting to get one. What this means is that when they start selling their new phones people will not be buying Windows Phone, they will be buying a Nokia, because they trust the brand. So this skips the step of people avoiding WP7 because of their feelings on Windows Mobile, and allows them to experience the amazing everyday with no bias.

EDIT: This is a private event.

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We've heard Nokia talk about augmented reality being a big differentiator for them in terms of Windows Phone and technology and now we're getting our first glimpse of that endevour.

City Lens seems a lot like LGs Metro Scanner and ScanSearch whereby you hold it up and it shows you things around you. In fact, City Lens even does the "hold it flat to show a map" trick that LG uses too. Still, we bet with Nokia's mapping history and deeper interest in Windows Phone, City Lens will be a much more rewarding experience.

No word on release as it is still in beta, but hopefully we'll see it with the 900's release.

Source: The Nokia Blog

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TITAN II

We managed to sit down with HTC to go over their new flagship Windows Phone, the TITAN II landing soon on AT&T. The 4G LTE device sure caught a lot of us off-guard specifically due to the inclusion of a massive 16MP camera. The meeting was very productive as not only did we get to play with the phone more (always an exciting "geek moment") but we found out some other relevant information that we hope you folks will find interesting:

WP Central

  • The TITAN II is not replacing the TITAN. The plan is to sell both phones in the same market with the TITAN II augmenting AT&T's offerings to customers with different price points and features. In other words, the TITAN II is the high-end, premium version for customers who want that feature set. The TITAN will be a lower-priced offering for those who are okay with HSPA+, etc. It's an interesting and we think smart move for both HTC and AT&T.
  • As we mentioned in the video test, the TITAN II features a secondary processor for the camera--we're a little fuzzy on the exact details but it explains why shooting at 16MP feels no different than shooting at 8MP, with zero lag
  • We passed on the info about the SRS stutter bug as well as the microphone/sound issue that quite a few of you have reported. That info should get to their engineers for further investigation.
  • No word on those docks for the Radar and Titan, in fact, it's probably best to forget those
  • On HTC using but not always announcing Gorilla Glass--in short, they want some wiggle room in case of during production they switch to an alternative scratch-resistant screen due to cost or supply issues. What you need to know is that basically all high-end HTC phones have Gorilla Glass or its equivalent on board.
  • The HTC TITAN II is an AT&T exclusive. No word on world-wide release though we can expect some announcements at Mobile World Congress (MWC) next month in Barcelona--as HTC considers that to be one of their big events. Perhaps an international version of the TITAN II will be announced or something similar.
  • The push for 4G LTE devices is driven a lot by AT&T wanting to get people off of their overloaded 3G network, so devices like the TITAN II and Lumia 900 are highly welcomed by the carrier
  • Like Nokia, HTC doesn't seem keen on 32GB memory devices. Everyone is pushing for the cloud.
  • The HTC TITAN is selling very well world-wide and they're very happy with its performance

And what about our second experience with the TITAN II? If HTC and AT&T are aiming for this to be a premium version of the TITAN we think they did a pretty good job as the new changes really give the device a more classy feel to it. The curved glass near the bottom is a really excellent engineering feat and the Super LCD on the TITAN II is even better than the TITAN I (better contrast, brighter). We're pretty excited about getting our hands on this as our daily driver--that LTE is quite the blast to use, especially when web browsing.

More pics after the break...

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HTC TITAN II 720P video test from CES 2012

Howdy folks, as we get ready to leave CES 2012 in Vegas, we still have a few more nuggets for you. In the above video, you'll see three samples from the 16MP TITAN II camera from HTC. Shot in 720P and testing two of the filters, we were pretty happy with the results, but we'll let you decide.

Of course, this is unfinished software/hardware so there may be slight changes and optimizations before the phone is released, so don't consider this the final test of the TITAN II. We really like HTC's custom filters of which there we many to choose from (we show just two in the video).

One curious thing we found out: the TITAN II has a dedicated processor for the camera, which is why shooting a 16MP pic feels just as fast as shooting an 8MP on the original TITAN. That's some pretty cool tech, if you ask us. Make sure to also check out our 16MP photo samples from the TITIAN II right here!

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AppFlow now supports all available international markets

AppFlow International Update

AppFlow, a popular third-party Marketplace browser, has been updated to support all 36 international markets, which enables users to find apps in foreign Marketplaces regardless of the region you're located in. Lists within the app were specific to the U.S. market alone, so this is a welcomed update for us non-U.S. residents. The Marketplace that the app will use as preference can be altered in the "Info" tab, allowing on-the-fly switching.

AppFlow International Setting

As well as the above, lists in the app (that aren't themed - eg. "Best Mango Apps") will now be relevant for that particular region, and the ratings/reviews will reflect what is provided on that given Marketplace. App descriptions are also displayed in the region's language.

You can download AppFlow from the Marketplace for free. For more information surrounding the update, check out the press release found at the source linked below.

Source: Distinction

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Final tally on the Smoked by a Windows Phone challenge

The final tally is in on Ben Rudolph's "Smoked by a Windows Phone" challenge with the Windows Phone walking away with a record of 30-3-1. With a winning percentage of 88% Ben was able to demonstrate that Windows Phones are faster than most of the smartphones on the market.

The phones that showed up to face the challenge included the iPhone 4s, Galaxy Nexus, Droid Bionic, Droid Charge, Palm Pre Plus and various Blackberry devices. The three phones that beat the Windows Phone were an iPhone 4s, Galaxy Nexus and Droid Bionic.

The good news is that even the losers walked away a winner with many receiving free Windows Phones. All in all, a good showing that demonstrate that Windows Phones connects people to the stuff they care about faster and easier than other smartphones.

source: windowsteamblog

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Nokia Lumia 900 wins awards at CES 2012

Lumia 900 CES2012 Awards

CES 2012 has been pretty huge for Nokia, and Windows Phone as a whole. The event saw the announcement of the Lumia 900, which will be the flagship of the U.S. push against competitor platforms. Reviews and feedback from press and attendees has been generally positive as a whole.

Not only that, but to really show off how good the device is Nokia has earned awards from multiple sources for being the best product at the event. So what has the Windows Phone won? 

  • CNet's "Best of CES" smartphone.
  • Popular Mechanics editor's choice award for CES.
  • Popular Science "Product of the Future".
  • LAPTOP magazine's "Best of CES" finalists.

Not bad, eh? The reception has built up on top of the 800, which also wasn't shy of a positive review.

Lumia 900 CES awards

Source: Nokia Conversations

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CES 2012: Lumia 900 at Pepcom

Our very own Ashley Esqueda was out and about at the Pepcom event for CES 2012, and gets a tour of the highly anticipated Nokia Lumia 900 - it's a very beautiful phone, and she gets a sneak peek at the awesome Windows Phone device.

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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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