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DoDonPachi Hibachi

DoDonPachi Maximum may be the hardest mobile Xbox Live title to date – it’s certainly right up there with Doodle Jump and Gravity Guy, at any rate. Most gamers won’t be able to get even 100 GamerScore of Achievements from Cave’s latest shoot-em-up, to say nothing of the two secret Achievements. The method of unlocking those two Achievements has remained clouded in mystery… Until now.

You see, Japanese gamers are known for being the most highly-skilled shmup players. One such gamer, ele2424, was the first to earn DoDonPachi Maximum’s secret Achievements, and he has kindly chosen to share them with us now.

  • INFERNAL HERALD - 2GS
    Destroyed ]-[I/34<#!.
  • DEFEATED - 3GS
    Cleared all stages on all ranks.

The description for ‘Infernal Herald’ may be confusing. It’s actually for beating Hibachi, the traditional secret DoDonPachi boss. To reach the robotic bee, you’ll need to take down the regular boss of Stage 5-E, the hardest version of the fifth stage. Only then does Hibachi appear. Meeting and beating him will be no easy task – I personally can’t handle Stage 5-A, let alone the harder variants!

As for ’Defeated,’ players just have to beat all 15 stage variants. Again, very far from easy. As a small blessing, the extra goals of No Miss, Destroy 100%, and No Bomb don’t apply. You’ll still need to do 2 out of 3 of those things for most stages (excluding level 5) since that’s what unlocks the hard versions in the first place. But at least they don’t expect you to beat the last level without dying five times!

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Kinectimals

Most of us were pleased as punch when Kinect exclusive Kinectimals made the trip to Windows Phone – see my review, for instance. Then it got ported to iPhone for some reason, sending some nasty mixed signals about Microsoft’s faith in their own mobile platform. That aside, we can at least be glad that Kinectimals on Windows Phone received a nice little update last week.

Kinectimals version 1.1 release notes:

  • Fast app switching
  • Enhanced/interactive game tile:
  • Pin on your start screen to always know your how your cub is doing.
  • LIVE tile will tell you if your cub is hungry, happy, thirsty or needs a bath.
  • Additional in-game language support (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Brazil Portuguese)

It’s good to see Fast App Switching support at last – Kinectimals launched at a time when some users didn’t have Mango yet, so they wouldn’t have been able to play it before upgrading. And more languages means the game can be sold in more markets – a smart move.

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WP Central

There has been some interest shown for a Draw Something app to be made for Windows Phone. There are already apps available for both iOS and Android, allowing friends (and random people) to compete against one another by drawing illustrations and guessing correctly. A thread over at GetSatisfaction has over 800 people wanting the app brought to Microsoft's platform.

Joseph, an official representative from OMGPOP (developers of the title), has stated "if there's a high demand for it", then they'll definitely look to develop an app for Windows Phone.

Be sure to head on over to the thread at GetSatisfaction to show your interest should you desire Draw Something for Windows Phone. You can also get in touch with OMGPOP directly.

Source: GetSatisfaction; thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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WP Central

Castle Telecom, a popular Dutch online retailer, has the Lumia 800 in every colour (black, cyan, magenta, white) and for a very reasonable price. While Telenet in Belgium has the same device for just €1 (with contracts), Castle Telecom has gone one step further and is giving the 800 away for free, when purchased with a 1-year minimum plan.

Contracts available are slightly lighter on the pocket too, with the cheapest starting from just €17 /mo, all are with Vodafone.

Source: Castle Telecom; thanks Ronald-Jan for the heads up!

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WP Central

Microsoft has been terribly quiet in Australia and we've had our readers continuously voicing their concerns / complaints in articles regarding the lack of advertising (or promotion) for Windows Phone. Cue Nokia. The manufacturer has been effectively pushing the platform and their Lumia range of handsets in Australia.

We have got the "Little Amazings" video series (much like "The Amazing Everyday") and Lumia Live launch events, carriers offering attractive special offers, giant Windows Phones being erected, and we've now also got newspaper advertisements. The MX newspaper, a popular free Melbourne print, has a full page advert featuring the Lumia 710 on Optus (see above).

Just why are things so slow (excluding the efforts by Nokia)? We're not too sure as demand has shown to be there with Optus recently selling out their entire black Lumia 800 stock. Plan for Microsoft: promote - you've certainly got the money, so please make Windows Phone sunny.  

Source: 1800PocketPC

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WP Central

Microsoft China has been sending out invitations (see above) to the media for their upcoming Windows Phone "Tango" launch event. The launch event, set to be held in Beijing on March 21st, will mark the introduction of the emerging markets version of the mobile OS.

HTC has already launched the HTC Triumph (TITAN MK I), which reportedly runs the latest version of Tango. This also slots in nicely with Stephen Elop's announcement that the first batch of Nokia Windows Phones will be available in China on March 28th, not to mention the upcoming China Telecom CDMA "Lumia 800c" also uses a later version of Tango with newer firmware.

The Marketplace is still closed but developers can submit apps through AppHub. We expect it to be available to consumers soon after the official launch from Microsoft. What's next? The burning question as to when will "Mango" users receive all the improvements found in "Tango"?

Source: LiveSide

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ICQ for Windows Phone finally arrives

ICQ now on Windows Phone

Back in November, Mail.ru Group, the new owners of ICQ, announced that they would be developing a client app for Windows Phone.  In addition to its namesake, ICQ interfaces with many popular chat platforms, including Facebook chat, GChat and AIM.  Users can conveniently sign in to all of them at once using just their mobile number and receive push notifications.  ICQ also allows for automatic adding of contacts right from the Address Book and retains a history of conversations.

ICQ can be downloaded for free here.

QR: ICQ

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Pip Andersen, a free runner / stunt performer from the U.K, has been featured in an impressive promotional video with the Lumia 900. Pulling off daunting stunts, wall climbing, and showing off some Windows Phone features (photo sharing and visual translation), Andersen really does take the Lumia 900 to the extreme.

How will you push the limits with your Windows Phone?

Source: YouTube; thanks Tony for the heads up!

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StarCraft II wallpapers for Windows Phone

WP Central

1800PocketPC has compiled a number of StarCraft II wallpapers for Windows Phone owners to apply to their lock screens. Should you be a fan of the strategic title, you'll love the small collection of 800x480 images that are ready to go.

This pack joins the array of other wallpapers that have been made available in the past year. Head on over to 1800PocketPC to download them.

Source: 1800PocketPC

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Optus Lumia 800 Windows Phone stock sold out

WP Central

Australian carrier Optus appears to have sold out of Lumia 800s, according to a report by WPDownUnder. The black version of the Windows Phone has vanished from the website, after launching just two weeks ago. While the cyan version remains listed, it's interesting how Optus completely removed the product listing in favour of a "SOLD OUT" label - much like what O2 UK did.

After a short discussion with a member of the support team through the live chat, WPDownUnder was able to confirm that the Lumia 800 black has sold out, but no information is available as to whether this is due to high demand or low initial stock numbers. We would like to believe this is the case of the former as Optus still lists the product as available on their Business website.

Either way, this is positive news for the platform with signs of a strong start showing in Australia. Unfortunately, no details were shared with regards to when the carrier expects to introduce more stock.

Source: WPDownUnder

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Belgium carrier Telenet offering the Lumia 800 for €1

WP Central

The Belgium carrier Telenet has the Lumia 800 Windows Phone priced at just €1 when purchased with the attached €45 /mo contract. While the plan is relatively expensive, to be able to pick up this Nokia handset for just one Euro is pretty darn attractive. As a recap, the handset sports a 1.4Ghz processor, 8MP camera (with Carl Zeiss optics), 16GB storage, and a 3.7" AMOLED screen with Clear Black technology

Be sure to check out our Lumia 800 review should you require more information about the device.

Source: Telenet; thanks Wim for the tip!

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WP Central

Join Daniel Rubino, Jay Bennett, Rafael Rivera and special guest, Nokia's Justin Angel today for an all new WPCentral Podcast, live at 5pm EST in streaming video.

Justin Angel, who has contributed a lot to the Windows Phone ecosystem before he was hired by Nokia, will be discussing Tango and 256 MB development best practices, as well as taking our questions and yours. (See his site here and follow him on Twitter: @JustinAngel)

Hang out in our chat room to join the conversation right here on the site!

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TextPlus

In an interesting article over at GigaOm, the developers of the popular app textPlus (site) discuss why they decided to invest in Windows Phone instead of RIM's BlackBerry for their service, recognizing what we appears to be a growing trend in the market, that Windows Phone is the de facto third-way.

For those who don't know, textPlus is another free SMS app that uses a generated and assigned number to allow you to text anyone, anywhere (in the US and Canada) for free in addition from app-to-app. In the future, free VOIP calls will also be brought over to Windows Phone (it's available now on iOS and Android). The app was released a few days ago to the Windows Phone Marketplace for free and truth be told, while a bit slow it's done quite well.

The question GigaOm had for the developers was why did they go with Windows Phone before a BlackBerry client? The answer was simple, it's a beautiful and elegant OS. Scott Lahman, CEO and founder of TextPlus:

“The second we saw the OS and (Nokia) Lumia devices, we knew we wanted to support it. It’s a beautiful OS with a fresh take on what a phone OS can look like and that’s motivation for us to innovate. The OS brings elements that would be buried vertically to the top and you can see all your conversations, communities and contacts lists very easily. And you can pin specific conversations to the home screen. It’s elegant, easy to use, and it puts all of the elements at your fingertips.”

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IonBallEX

Wow, somebody at Microsoft is on the ball this week. Not only has Gerbil Physics appeared on the Marketplace ahead of schedule, but so has the new Xbox Live Deal of the Week. Said deal happens to be IonBallEX from IronSun Studios. It’s on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

IonBallEX is an Arkanoid-style game in which players use a paddle and ball to break bunches of bricks. This game is more interesting than many of its brethren (especially 3D Brick Breaker Revolution, ugh) thanks to its gothic steampunk setting, a wide variety of block types and power-ups, lots of enemies and bosses to fight, and an addictive upgrade system. Check out our full review for more details.

IonBallEX is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Get it here on the Marketplace and start knocking some balls around.

Thanks to Tyler1701 for the tip. Kid’s got the heart of a champion!

QR: IonBallEX

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Lumia 710

As we're always on the hunt here for great deals, it's nice to find this one from New Zealand Telecom. They're evidently offering a $0 down package on either the Nokia Lumia 710 or the Lumia 800.

Deal

The fine print states that you need to sign up for "Talk & Text Anytime or Smartphone $60 plan or higher for 24 months" for the Lumia 710 deal or an $80 plan for the more pricey Lumia 800.

If that sounds like something for you or a companion, head to their site to get more details.

Source: New Zealand Telecom; Thanks, @fraserzhu, for the heads up!

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WP Central

Windows Phone 7's Upgrade to WP8 Apollo is Now Unclear. That's what forums member 3lackdeath thinks after reading an article from tom's Guide. In this article Terry Myerson, the Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone is quoted dancing around the question.

Forums member blehblehbleh has posted the full transcription including audio for us. We can't draw any conclusions from his comments as he is clearly trying to not answer the question. That is enough to get us thinking there might be some truth to the whole "Will Windows Phone 7.5 devices be upgraded to Windows 8" issue.

Will we see Windows 8 on our current Windows Phone devices? Will generation 1 phones be left out of the upgrade process, only letting Generation 2 devices to get it? Why hasn't Microsoft come out and made a statement? It seams easy enough to us to just say yes or no. Is there more involved: Could the upgrade of your device rest on your carrier to decide or is it that some devices simply can't run Windows Phone 8 without ruining the user experience?

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Lync 2010 app updated for Windows Phone

Lync 2010

It's been awhile since we've seen any movement on the Lync front for Windows Phone, so it's nice to see the app get a small update to version 4.1.

The popular enterprise messaging and conference app for the Lync service had been a much anticipated release for Windows Phone and it finally came last December.

Unfortunately, there is no changelog published to detail what, if anything, is new (although more language support is a good bet). If you notice anything different, comment below for the rest of us!

Pick up Lync 2010 for Windows Phone here in the Marketplace. Thanks, Eduardo V., for the heads up

QR: Lync

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WP Central

No official word on any Lumia 900 release yet for AT&T (though there are mints floating around), but that hasn't stopped some new rumors from springing up. This one comes from a poster at the Verge forums who claims to work for AT&T. The latest date? Sunday, April 8th aka Easter:

"I'm an assistant manager with an att store in California. We are gearing up for the Nokia lumia launch and were going all out. cant say much more but its tentative for April 8 as far as I understand. I And other sales reps are having mandatory trainings on the Nokia 900 soon and that usually means its launching shortly after. You don't have to believe me but just giving you a heads up. I think early reports said April 18th so its a little earlier than that. Cant wait! we got the demo in last week and I've been very impressed with the phone. Its a sexy b---. As far as colors go we are only getting black and cyan. the white one will come when the phone performs well, like we did with the sky rocket "

Interestingly, we also have a comment from Jess82 responding to our post who says nearly the same thing:

"I work for att and were training for the 900. I've been told its April 8th."

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Gerbil Physics photo

WPCentral broke the news that Pencel Games’ Gerbil Physics would be coming to Xbox Live this week a little early. So it’s only fair that we should also reveal that the game has hit the Marketplace a few hours ahead of time as well. That’s right, you can get Gerbil Physics right now.

Gerbil Physics is a physics-based puzzle game that’s overflowing with cute and dripping with adorable. Each level presents stacks of adorable, well drawn gerbils which players must then knock over with well-placed bombs. The Windows Phone version includes 72 levels (three times as many levels as the original Xbox 360 game), lots of new animations, music, and some entertaining story sequences, too.

Gerbil Physics

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WP Central

Both AT&T and Nokia are still preparing to launch the much anticipated Lumia 900 LTE Windows Phone, which is rumoured to be delayed until April 22nd. The release date is surely drawing closer as Lumia 900 promotion material is featured in AT&T stores, including the above Nokia Lumia mints found at the AT&T store in the Arizona Mills mall.

No official date has been provided, so it looks like we'll have to sit tight and hold off on rumours that are flying by.

Thanks Brandon for sending in the photo!

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LG releases Photo Exhibition for Windows Phone

WP Central

LG has released another app for their Windows Phone OEM store collection titled Photo Exhibition. As the name suggests, the app is a photo editing tool that enables the user to create humorous effects, add filters / frames, and more. Clipart and effects can be applied to any photo that is imported from the library.

Photo Exhibition also sports Facebook sharing, so friends will be able to see your handy work. Of course, should you not have an LG Windows Phone, there are a handful of decent photo manipulation apps available for all, including Pictures Lab.

Via: Plaffo (translation)

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WP Central

Applyf are pleased to announce that the much anticipated YouTube client PrimeTube is now available on the Marketplace. We previously took the app for a spin in a preview of the client and immediately noticed the heavy Metro focus. So what's great about PrimeTube? Features include:

  • Search for videos; filter and sort results.
  • Like/Dislike videos, read and reply to comments.
  • Pin videos, playlists and authors (featuring live tile support) for instant access.
  • Share videos via social networks, email and SMS.
  • Create playlists and manage your subscriptions.
  • Complete music + video hub integration.
  • Multi-region support.
  • Supports Fast-App Switching.

Applyf states that the app adheres to the YouTube ToS and will be updated when API changes are published. The next version is already in the works, which will see video recording / direct uploading support, upload queue management (with background transfers and notifications), list of live events, as well as a number of minor bug fixes in the subscriptions section.

PrimeTube App

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Windows Phone User Group London meeting - March 21st

WP Central

The Windows Phone User Group (WPUG) are having another meeting in merry ol' London next Wednesday (March 21st), which will see developers getting together to share experiences, knowledge and achieve slight intoxication. If you're in and around the area on the day, be sure to register for the event and head on down to The Vibe Bar on Brick Lane (it's a sweet little venue in the midst of restaurants and pubs).

There are a number of WPUG regulars lined up for the presentations, including Slodge (MVVM), Pauliom (porting apps between iOS and WP7), Dominique and Dean (MonoGame and XNA). If you'd like to showcase your app at the event, get in contact with the team via communication channels or on Twitter. We will -of course- be heading on down, so be sure to say hello (we're relatively approachable before pint number 27).

Source: EventBrite (WPUG)

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Twin Blades R.I.P.

Press Start Studio’s Xbox Live hack-and-slash game Twin Blades has had a rough time of things. Last year it was pulled from the Marketplace over concerns about its violent content, only to return four months later with the zombie blood replaced by harmless green goo.  But even then, the game proved to be incompatible with the Windows Phone Mango update, which wasn’t rectified for another three months.

Fast-forward to March of this year, and Twin Blades is once again gone from the Marketplace. Not only that, but the Xbox 360 indie and iOS versions, as well as Press Start’s other Windows Phone title, Butterfly, are also gone. As usual, they all disappeared without warning.

We contacted Microsoft about the delistings and received this response:

Due to unforeseen circumstances both Microsoft and the developer are unable to make these games available in the Mobile Marketplace going forward.  We have appreciated the opportunity to share these games with our customers.”

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Nokia's WP7 devices coming to China March 28

Just days after a Chinese Lumia 800 surfaced sporting an updated version of Tango, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop told media outlets that the first Chinese Nokia Windows Phone devices will launch on March 28.  Elop did not confirm what model that first device would be, but it is expected to be the Lumia 800, which has been in testing for some time.  Other Lumia phones, will follow sometime in April and beyond.  Word has it those models will include the 710, 900, 610, and as one Weibo user discovered, possibly even the 719:

Nokia's 719 and 800 coming to China?


Nokia is looking to capitalize on what was a good chunk of business for their Symbian operating system.  They were beaten to the Windows Phone punch by HTC, who just launched in China, but it looks like they will give HTC a run for their money with a wide offering of devices.

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