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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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The ZTE Tania is an interesting Windows Phone. It only features 4GB of storage (the lowest of any with only 2.9GB available), a 5MP camera and yet has a really decent 4.3" screen. To top it off, we really like the design of it, especially with the chrome accent. Of all the entry-level Windows Phones we played with today, the ZTE Tania kind of surprised us.

ZTE Tania

Even the back had a nice, designer look to it, which makes us wish ZTE would just step up the specs here for the States and Europe. Throw in 16GB storage, an 8MP camera with a front-facing counterpart and ZTE could be making some waves here. Make it 32GB, AMOLED and 4G and we're talking head turner. Let us just say, we're interested in this phone and company.

ZTE Tania

ZTE Tania

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Acer Allegro shows up at CES 2012

Look at that, the Acer Allegro, an admittedly low-spec'd device is here at CES 2012 in Las Vegas. Microsoft is showing off the phone with numerous laptops on the show floor.

Acer Allegro

While the 1GHz device with a 3.6" screen doesn't inspire "oohs and aahs" it ain't half bad either for developing markets. With a 5MP camera and 8GB of storage, it should satisfy a lot of new users to the smartphone world. Either way, it was finally nice to see one in person.

Allegro

camera

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pandora

Do you use MetroRadio and/or RadioControlled for your Pandora interaction on Windows Phone? Then you may (or may not) have noticed that those apps have stopped working...again.

Reason? Simple, really. These apps use undocumented APIs to access the Pandora service. Pandora, for whatever reason, changes them on occasion breaking app functionality. Are they doing it on purpose to disrupt these apps? Who knows, maybe or maybe not. What we do know is that it means you'll have to wait till both developers update their apps to fix it and from what we've heard, both devs are hard at work on fixing it.

Until then, MetroRadio is "hidden" from the Marketplace and RadioControlled has submitted their fix (and "future proofed" it against this type of situation occurs again).  Stay tuned though, we'll give you a tour of the new working Radio Controlled soon enough.

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Carly and the gang over at T-Mobile are running a new ad focusing on T-Mobile TV and the wireless carriers 4G network. You will also be introduced to America's first Nokia 4G phone, the Lumia 710.

The T-Mobile TV app comes pre-loaded on the Nokia Lumia 710 (and probably every other smartphone T-Mobile carries) and will be available tomorrow at T-Mobile.com, authorized retail stores and Target, Costco, and Wal-Mart stores nationwide.  With contractual discounts, you're looking at just under fifty bucks for Nokia's first U.S. Windows Phone.

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Xbox Live titles to land in February

Xbox Live Titles

Microsoft is giving a preview of five new Xbox Live games today at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show. No specifics on pricing or in which order these games will be released and some of these titles we've heard mention of before.  They all look really nice and as we learn more about these titles we'll definitely pass it along.

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As we mentioned earlier, Microsoft's Ben Rudolph (known as Ben the PC Guy) is on-site at CES, looking for inferior phone users willing to accept his speed test challenge. The test in question, from what we hear, involves both Ben and a challenger performing a selected common scenario -- like taking a picture and pushing it to Twitter as fast as possible --, network and fat fingers permitting. (They get a warm up session in an attempt to even the playing ground.) Whoever finishes that scenario first takes the bacon.

Judging by the results thus far, Windows Phone is smoking the competition. You can keep an eye on the steady stream of losers by following @BenThePCGuy or watching tweets tagged with #smokedbywindowsphone.

(Edit: Turns out pushing to Twitter is only one of a few scenarios you can pick from. I genericized the post to reflect this.)

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Lumia 800

Yesterday, it was revealed that the Nokia Lumia 800 will be sold here in the US through Microsoft's growing chain of stores as well as online. Since there are no plans for any US carriers to sell the 800, buying it unlocked through Microsoft is really the only way consumers here can grab that phone.

The big question everyone has was what GSM bands would this feature? We just met with Microsoft and Nokia and figured we'd ask. Turns out, it will be optimized for AT&T, which depending on your current carrier (and loyalty) is good or bad news. Here are the bands it will support:

  • WCDMA/HSPA+: 850/1900/2100
  • GSM/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900

No details on exact release dates but we're probably looking at just a few weeks at both Microsoft Stores and their online market. It should be a pretty good score though for those who want the smaller Lumia as the 900 can be quite large for small hands.

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Ben Rudolph betting $100 that Windows Phone is faster

Remember Brandon Watson's charitable challenge to known technology enthusiasts last year to see if they'd like Windows Phone? We're back with a similar offer, but this time it's aimed at the general public and $100 is on the table. Should you be using an iPhone, Android handset, Blackberry, etc. then you're eligible for the speed test against a Windows Phone. Ben Rudolph (Ben the PC Guy) is at CES 2012, and is on the hunt for challengers who believe their smartphone can best Microsoft's platform.

Should he be beaten, the victor will pocket $100. Should Rudolph reign champion, all you need to do is admit that your phone was smoked by a Windows Phone.  There also may be a nice consolation prize in the mix as well.  Be sure to follow Rudolph on Twitter and keep an eye on Microsoft/Windows Phone Facebook pages to see where he'll be hosting the challenges. Oh, and be sure to follow the hashtag #smokedbywindowsphone on Twitter too.

Source: Windows Phone Blog, thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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Verizon Trophy getting firmware update for radio

Trophy gets firmware update

Verizon is getting ready to roll out a firmware update for their HTC Trophy.  The rollout upgrades the radio to provide "improved data connectivity in certain scenarios when Connection Setup application is installed."  Little other detail is provided, nor a date in which the update will be made available.  The instructions simply note that users will receive a notification on their handsets.  You can see the update details here and keep an eye on the source link to see if further information gets added. 

Source: Verizon; Thanks for tip, Dave!

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Mobile Nations + TCPJ Special: CES 2012 Kickoff

Mobile Nations

Mobile Nations teams up with The Cell Phone Junkie to talk CES 2012 -- all the pre-show news from BlackBerry, Android, iPhone and iPad, and Windows Phone including Playbook OS 2.0, 18 new Android devices -- today! -- Apple's non-presence, and the Titan 2 and Nokia Lumia 900. Listen in!

Hosts

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T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 710

Just a quick reminder that the Nokia Lumia 710 becomes available for order tomorrow from T-Mobile.com, authorized retail stores and from Target, Wal-Mart and Costco locations.

The Lumia 710 is a compact Windows Phone that sports a 3.7" screen, 8gb of storage and a 5mp camera. Our first impressions of the first Nokia Windows Phone to hit the U.S. Market was good. We've tinkered with it for a few days, the Windows Phone still makes a nice impression and look for a full review on the site shortly.

The Lumia 710 will run you $49.99 after the customary two year contractual discounts.  The phone will be available in an all black model and a white faced version.

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Lumia 710 going to Rogers and 800 heading to Telus

Lumia Canada Rogers Telus

Dear fellow Canadians, here's some exciting news for those of you who feel left out of the Windows Phone party. Nokia is bringing the Lumia 710 and 800 to Canada (as Nokia CEO Stephen Elop explains in the CES interview), which are to be exclusively available on Rogers and Telus respectively. The 710 is set to be on Rogers in February, but no word on availability of the 800 with Telus as of yet. 

The only thing left for us to read through is an official press release. Good times ahead anyway. Be sure to check out the Nokia Momentum Map for more details on expansion plans.

Source: MobileSyrup, thanks Spencer for the tip!

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2012 CES: Day One Recap

WP Central at the 2012 CES

There's little doubt that day one of the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show was big for Windows Phones. I think we all were took by surprise by AT&T's announcement during their Developer's Summit and while Nokia's afternoon press event was expected, we were still very impressed with what was presented. The day ended with Microsoft giving their last CES Keynote address that reflected on the past and gave us a glimpse into the future. Here's the down and dirty highlights from day one of the 2012 CES.

AT&T 4G LTE: AT&T announced they will be offering the first 4G LTE Windows Phones in the coming months. Often described throughout the presentation as "blazingly fast", AT&T's CEO Ralph de la Vega stated that the new network will "take AT&T's Windows Phones to a new level."

HTC Titan II: Riding on the heels of AT&T's 4G LTE announcement, HTC's CEO Peter Chou introduced the world to the HTC Titan II. The Titan II will be one of AT&T's first 4G LTE Windows Phones and sport a 4.7" Super LCD screen, 16mp camera rear camera, 1.3mp front facing camera, and 1.5Ghz Snapdragon S2 processor.

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WP Central

File this under "awesome use of a web page". Nokia has published up a very colourful map showing all the countries Lumia has so far invaded, as well as where it plans to go in the future.

In terms of information, the map tells us that the UK is unlikely to see the Lumia 900 any time soon (in fact the 800 is the only listed device), whereas the rest of Europe will find release dates for the 800 and/or the 710. For those of you living in the states, you'll see that the 710 is released tomorrow, with both the Lumia 800 and 900 to follow in the coming months.

But it's not all pretty colours and release dates. If you click on each country you'll see related media, reviews and tweets - including the footage from the Nokia Lumia Live event with Deadmau5 in London.

All in all, it's a page well worth a few minutes of your time to bring a bit of colour to your life.

Source: Nokia Lumia Momentum map; Thanks, TheWeeBear, for the tip!

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Implode! is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week

Implode! Lead

Let’s face it, most of us don’t own enough physics puzzle games on Windows Phone. Luckily, people with this gripping problem will soon have an easy fix. Starting this Wednesday, Implode! from IUGO will be the Xbox Live Deal of the Week.

Implode! takes place in a classroom setting with every puzzle drawn on a chalkboard. The subject on offer: 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 a number of challenging conditions like wind, low gravity, and neighboring buildings that mustn’t be harmed. As our review indicates, Implode!’s puzzles get quite tough sometimes, but it remains fun throughout.

Implode! will be on sale for $1.99 (down from $2.99) for one week only. Pick it up here in the Marketplace - once the sale goes live.

QR: Implode!

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Bug Village

WPCentral revealed that month that Bug Village would be the first freemium Xbox Live game. Then we took it a step further and revealed the full details of the game’s microtransaction system in our interview with Glu Mobile. The time for previews now comes to an end, as Bug Village officially arrives this Wednesday.

Bug Village is a city-building game. The object is to build the biggest and best village with the help of your faithful insect army. Building things costs resources, of which there are two types: acorns and coins. While players can obtain acorns through normal gameplay, coins will cost real-world money.

Bug Village has another goal on top of just building: to unlock Achievements! There are 200 GamerScore worth of Achievements, and you won’t even need to purchase PDLC in order earn them. It’ll just take a bit more time.

Bug Village launches Wednesday, January 11. As a freemium game, it costs nothing to download and play – you’ll just have the option of buying DLC. We’ll let you know as soon as it hits the Marketplace.

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