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Tania

In a press release "teaser" from ZTE, the company has announced that they will be...err...announcing eight new phones at Mobile World Congress next week. While no specifics were given, of course, we know that a few of those eight devices will be Windows Phones while the rest will be Android.

More specifically the company will be touting multi-core, LTE and 4G radios on said devices though multi-core is reserved for Android (Windows Phone won't get support till Windows Phone 8).

Clearly ZTE is on track to deliver what they promised in January including an aggressive push into the US market as well as Europe. The company appears to be trying to follow in the footsteps of HTC by breaking past their East Asia enclaves and go far and wide in the market.  This is something we hope their successful at as we were generally impressed with their first Windows Phone, the Tania, back at CES 2012.

Read the full presser after the break...

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Windows Phone Marketplace

With all the litigation going on involving the smartphone industry, something good might have come from one Courtroom. The California Attorney General has struck a deal with Microsoft, Apple, Google, HP, RIM and Amazon that will have new privacy policies put in place.

In a nutshell the agreement will:

  • Require any software that uses personal information to provide a privacy policy that can be viewed in the store before any app is downloaded.
  • There will also be a requirement to provide links to the relevant documents in an obvious and consistent location.
  • Each app store will provide a simple way for users to report developers that violate the rules.
  • Each platform is committed to educating developers about their obligations to respect consumer privacy and to disclose what private information they collect, how it is used and how it is shared.

As far as enforcement is concerned, violators can be prosecuted under California's Unfair Competition and False Advertising laws. Not sure how far of a reach such enforcement will have but it's a start.

Source: California Attorney General Via: Engadget

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And the Windows Phone Party winners are...

Microsoft's Windows Phone Party at 2012 MWC

Earlier today we got word that we could invite ten readers to Microsoft's Windows Phone Party that the company is holding at the 2012 Mobile World Congress. Readers who were interested in attending (and could find their way to Barcelona) only had to comment on the post to have a shot at winning one of the tickets to the party.

While we would have liked to have given everyone a ticket, we could only choose ten. Here are the winners, picked at random.

  • xdomingo
  • Pablo Alarcon
  • Existentialism
  • Gmotagi
  • briadupuis
  • Reinout_
  • preriz
  • juanyfante
  • NewWindowsPhoner
  • r womack

We are in the process of sending the winners an email (need to get the requested information back to us as soon as possible) and we will get all the details on the where/when for the party and were to claim your ticket.

Congrats to everyone and enjoy the party. If you see Joe Belfiore, say hey for me!

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NRL Season 2012 for Windows Phone released

WP Central

Interested in rugby for both Australia and New Zealand? Enjoy the NRL (National Rugby League)? You're going to want to purchase NRL Season 2012 for Windows Phone for your app arsenal. The developers of the AFL Season 2012 app has continued the their efforts to bring fixtures, ladders, news, results, and more to rugby fans. 

Here's an fairly detailed list of available features:

  • View Upcoming Matches for Nominated Team(s).
  • View Embedded Live Scores + Ladders
  • View Fixtures by Round or by Team.
  • Covers 2012 Regular Season, Finals + SOO
  • Pin your team logo to your live tile.
  • UX (Headers) is themed to your nominated team colors
  • View Team page with info, links and upcoming matches.
  • Browse Latest RSS News Feeds from Major Sites
  • Browse Team + Match specific Twitter feeds
  • Comprehensive Venue details with Maps + Navigation
  • View Venue and Team Guides
  • View Additional Scores/Player/Team Stats Online
  • Auto Updates Fixtures as changes are made
  • Hide Live Scores Settings

As is the case with the AFL app, NRL Season 2012 will preload images and content to minimise data usage for those on tight restricted contracts. The app will also convert times to match your location.

You can download NRL Season 2012 from the Marketplace for $1.99, with a free trial available.

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Splinter Cell Conviction

Splinter Cell: Conviction was announced back around the Windows Phone launch over a year ago. At last, Gameloft’s mobile port of the popular Ubisoft franchise has made it to Xbox Live.

This version of Splinter Cell tells the story of series lead Sam Fisher’s investigation into the death of his daughter. Gorgeous console-quality cutscenes narrated by Sam’s pal Victor Coste bookend each level. Conviction is actually a port of the popular Xbox 360 game (minus the multiplayer) and feels very much like a console title.

Being a phone game, it uses a virtual stick for the controls. They’re a tad clunky (much like Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles, also from Gameloft) but the difficulty is forgiving enough that it doesn’t harm the experience. If you’ve been wanting a meatier Live title (complete with shooting and sneaking), look no further. Still not convinced? Check out our video preview.

Splinter Cell: Conviction costs $4.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace.

Thanks Saket for the tip!

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Facebook App

The official Facebook app has been updated to version 2.4, following reports that events were no longer accessible with the main menu entry being removed in 2.3. To be able read up on upcoming events requires the user to hit the "..." menu and filter out the news feed. Just a heads up for those who miss this feature being easily accessible.

Head on over to the Marketplace to download Facebook.

Thanks to those who sent tips in!

QR: Facebook

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Orbital

Splinter Cell: Conviction may not be showing up on the Marketplace just yet, but the Xbox Live Deal of the Week has at least gone live. Orbital from BiteForge and Microsoft Studios is now on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99.

Orbital is all about shooting orbs into other orbs, destroying them and causing chain reactions. It’s got 3 modes of play, each of which changes the rules and aiming around a bit. The neon graphics are pretty enough. As I stated in our review, I really wanted to like Orbital, but it just never clicked for me. The aiming needs work, the game is unforgiving, and there’s no metagame tying it together. But a lot of people enjoy the game anyway, so you may want to give it a shot too.

Orbital is on sale for $1.99 for one week only. Shoot on over here to the Marketplace to get it.

QR: Orbital

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Lumia 900

Reuters has recently confirmed both the Lumia 610, which is a low-budget Windows Phone set to be unveiled next week at Mobile World Congress 2012, and a version of the Lumia 900 that is available beyond U.S. shores. This confirms the earlier rumour from PocketNow stating both handsets would be announced at MWC.

We'll of course be on the floor at the upcoming mobile event for the latest so be sure to keep an eye on our website or app for Nokia and Windows Phone coverage.

Source: Reuters

 

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Wanna go to a Windows Phone Party?

2012 Mobile World Congress

By chance will you be in Barcelona on the 27th of February? If so, do you want to go to a Windows Phone party at the 2012 Mobile World Congress?

We've snagged ten invites to the Windows Phone Party (big thanks to Microsoft) and are offering our readers an opportunity to mingle with the Windows Phone big wigs at Microsoft. You'll also be able to rub elbows with our own Dan Rubino!

Sound interesting? If so, leave a comment below by 8:00pm CST today (the 22nd) and we'll pick ten lucky winners. You'll need to be a registered WPCentral reader (so we can get your email address).

Keep in mind that this is for the tickets only. You'll have to find your way to Barcelona on your own.

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Nokia had set up shop in the Metro station at the Barcelona University, but the manufacturer decided to take its promotion campaign into the campus grounds of the Madrid University. Bringing in a DJ and pumping out a loud beat or two, the campus laid host to Nokia's bash over the weekend.

There were a variety of creative activities for students to get involved in, including: dancing, sewing, and more. The day turned night and evening enjoyment took over with an array of waving glow sticks. Overall, it was an opportunity not only for Nokia, but for students to engage with (and express) their creativity.

Source: YouTube (Nokia Italy), via: Unleash the Phones; thanks, Clinton, for the heads up!

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Blue Tomato

If you've been following the saga of Sonic's Jewels 7 (SJ7), you'll remember that the popular Sega Master System and Game Gear emulator was due for a nice sound update. That update actually did hit the Marketplace but only for a few hours before it was pulled due to a copyright claim by Sega.

Our own Rafael Rivera worked with the developer to sort through the claim, which revolved around the use of Sonic the Hedgehog and the dev was quoted as saying it will return. The condition of returning though would be to shed all of Sega's copyrights--images and names--in order for it to presumably pass the Marketplace certification. We spoke of this on the last podcast where the name "Blue Tomato" was tossed out as the new name.

Blue Tomato

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Time for some more Nokia videos that keep pushing the Lumia 800 world wide. It truly is amazing the reach Nokia has with market penetration. This week we have some new videos promoting "Little Amazings in Cape Town" South Africa and a new ad for the Australian market.

The Cape Town ad is one of those happy-go-lucky ones showing people doing some cute and fun things, fitting in with that "Amazing Everyday" campaign. Part of it shows the Nokia setup in a mall and passerbys having a good time. Adorable.

The next video is pretty generic but still nice to see, especially since it really shows off the Windows Phone OS features to the public, something which we think we can all agree is one of the strongest selling points. All we know is that we can't wait to see what Nokia brings to the US in a few weeks, we're ready to be wowed.

via: Unleash the Phones and @longzheng

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Bullet Asylum desktop theme

Windows 7 users (i.e. most people with a computer) who also play Windows Phone games can enjoy an abundance of desktop themes based on WP7 games. Last week we showed you the Chickens Can’t Fly theme, which is certainly good for a few laughs. Now a Bullet Asylum theme joins the fray.

Like Chickens Can’t Fly before it, the Bullet Asylum theme includes includes wallpapers, sounds, and colors based on UberGeekGames’ Must Have title. To be honest, the backgrounds don’t remind me of the game all that much. Do you see any trippy explosions in the pics above? I didn’t think so. But they do capture a nice sci-fi vibe, at any rate.

You can find the Bullet Asylum Windows 7 theme pack here at the Windows download page. As for Bullet Asylum the game, it costs $2.99 from the Marketplace.

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YouTube

We're not ready to put on our conspiracy hats just yet, but HTC YouTube app is missing again from the Marketplace.

We should point out that their apps often go "missing" (in quotes) from the HTC app section, only to be found if you can dig up an old link or you hit the "More from HTC" area in the app description. That's not going on here though as when you do hit the link to the Marketplace, you get the old "This application is not available for your device. Press here for more info". [Note: You have to hit that link on your HTC phone for it to ever work--it'll never show up in the web Marketplace or Zune Desktop]

This could be because of several reasons: HTC is updating the app and this one was "pulled" temporarily--odd but yeah, HTC does that sometimes, temporary glitch in the Marketplace, etc. It's probably not because of YouTube demanding HTC pull the app or because whatever reason LazyTube/MetroTube cited for ceasing development. In fact, the "official" YouTube app from Microsoft (love it or hate it) is still available.

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This week's "Must Have Game" is Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction. We wrote about this game way back in June 2011 and it was even announced before Windows Phone 7 launched, making this one of the longest "in gestation" games we have seen yet. We wrote back then:

"Another Gameloft title, Conviction was announced prior to the Windows Phone launch and then disappeared off the radar. This title provides a surprisingly faithful rendition of the Splinter Cell series, with great 3D graphics and stealth game play. The Mark and Kill allows players to select multiple targets and perform instant kills on them. This is definitely a game to look forward to, but don’t be surprised if it costs $6.99 at launch."

Now the game is just $4.99 and finally will hit our phones early tomorrow morning. So is it worth it?

Yeah, actually it's pretty darn good. It's great to have this type of game finally our our phones instead of the traditional casual arcade games that we've had as of late. This is a much slower paced, cinematic style game where you take your time...murdering people. We're all for that (don't judge us!) and what we've played so far we like. The controls are pretty intuitive, the graphics are pretty snappy and it's quite a bit of fun.

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@BenThePCGuy is giving away Windows Phones

@BenThePCGuy is giving away Lumia 710

Ben Rudolph, famous for his Smoked by Windows Phone promotions is at it again.  He's giving away a Nokia Lumia 710 today. Who know's based on the photo he may giving away more than one once the dust settles.

To enter just tweet @BenThePCGuy with the hash tag #windowsphone why you want a Windows Phone. Ben will pick the best story to win.

The catch, the contest ends today at 5:00pm PST. Sorry for the short notice but Ben is building a reputation for spontaneity.

source: @BenThePCGuy; Thanks, damthman, for the tip!

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NXP puts entire catalog in Windows Phone app

NXP's entire catalog now available on WP

NXP Semiconductors has just released an app in the Marketplace that allows engineers to browse and buy more than 10,000 products parts from NXP‘s High Performance Mixed Signal and Standard Products portfolio.  The Dutch manufacturer, who has also created apps for Android and iOS, is the first semiconductor company to make their products available via a Windows Phone application.

"We're very pleased to welcome Windows Phone users to our mobile app community. The feedback to our mobile apps for iPhone and Android has been tremendous, and we are delighted to take the lead once again in introducing our complete product catalog on a leading mobile OS, Windows Phone -- enabling customers to make selections and purchases anytime, anywhere. However you prefer to review technical information -- whether it's via mobile apps, datasheets, white papers, design guides, online forums, newsletters, social media networks, webinars or videos -- NXP is committed to helping you quickly find exactly what you need," said Sander Arts, vice president of marketing and communications, NXP Semiconductors.

Features of the NXP Windows Application:

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Doodle Invasion

Windows Phone gamers should already be familiar with Russian developer MaxNick’s Xbox Live title, Spider Jack. What you might not know is that MaxNick has also published several indie games for the platform, the latest of which is Doodle Invasion.

In Doodle Invasion, alien invaders are attacking one of our beaches. Players must stop each wave of invaders by firing missiles at the alien mothership. You also have to keep aliens off the beach, which involves drawing lines to bounce the aliens into your boats. As the game goes on, new types of weapons and alien threats spring up, always accompanied by a friendly tutorial message.

Doodle Invasion has quite a unique play style – juggling the need to attack the mothership, keep the aliens off the beach, and optional tasks like protecting a windsurfer will keep you on your toes. The Parachute Panic-like art style is super cute, too.

Doodle Invasion

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Nokia Lumia 719 passes Bluetooth certification

Nokia Lumia 719 passes BT Certification

We've seen the Nokia Lumia 610 pass through Indonesia certification and now Nokia Windows Phone has appeared on the radar. The Nokia Lumia 719 recently passed certification through the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.

Details on the Lumia 719? The product detail lists the Windows Phone heading to Asia, North America and South America. The Lumia 719 is described as,

The Nokia 719 is a versatile, well-designed smartphone offering users easy and seamless to make the most of every moment, every day.

Bluetooth SIG shows the 719 having a 5 MP auto-focus camera with HD video recording to capture and a 3.7” Clear Black display.  We can only guess that the remainder of the specs are similar to the Lumia 710.

Where the 719 is destined is anyone's guess at this point. Could it be an AT&T version of the 710? An unlocked, budget oriented version of the 710? Hopefully more will come to light on the 719 next week at the 2012 Mobile World Congress. We'll be there and will try to shed some light on things.

Source: Bluetooth SIG via: Liveside

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Windows Phone sales poised to overtake Symbian in UK

Marketshare

In a happy yet somewhat odd metric of success, Windows Phone sales are on the verge of passing those of Symbian, at least in the UK. The data comes by way of Kantar Worldpanel Comtech who collected data from 15,000 users including which device they are using and if they bought a new one.

The story of who's at top is a familiar one with Android with 36.9 percent and the iPhone at 28.5 percent for installed-base stats. But the site Electric Pig points out, the monthly sales figures are a little more revealing with Symbian crashing from 15% a year ago to 2.8% in January 2012--not at all surprising with Nokia all but abandoning the platform. But Microsoft's Windows Phone has bounced from 0.4 percent to 2.2 percent year-on-year with a current adoption rate which will bypass Symbian's figures in the next month.

Of course passing a nearly dead OS is perhaps not the best thing to celebrate and clearly Windows Phone is miles behind iOS and Android in terms of market share. But trends are important and it seems clear now that Nokia is having a big impact on Windows Phone sales in the UK (Comtech's scores don't break down by OEM, just OS but we think it's a safe assumption).

It will be even more interesting to see Kantar Worldpanel Comtech's numbers in the coming  months to see if the +0.15% per month increase for Windows Phone has increased with Nokia's recent marketing blitz there--those January numbers were just the beginning of that push for the UK.

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Grooveshark

Although we've heard this before from companies and things can change rapidly, at least according to one community manager at Grooveshark, that company won't be making a dedicated Windows Phone app despite already having ones for Android, iPhone (jailbroken), Blackberry and even webOS. In an email back and forth between a customer and Jessica, a community manager at the company the info was revealed:

Anonymous : "I was wondering if, in the near future, you would develop an application for users of Windows Phone 7. You are on all other platforms except ours."

Grooveshark response (Jessica - Community Manager) : "Hey E *****, Thanks for Taking the time to write us. Unfortunately, Grooveshark is not planning on Developing for Windows Phone 7. We're very sorry for the inconvenience and confusion. Please let us know if You have Any further Top questions. "

Of course, reps can be wrong for companies (although Grooveshark is very small, so less likely) and they could change their minds at any point. Still, we're none to happy with that response. Even though we have a working HTML5 version of their site now, having a dedicated app would certainly be more preferential. Hopefully they'll change their minds in the future.

via: MonWindowsPhone

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Bazaar

We've mentioned Bazaar before--it's the first serious attempt at a homebrew Marketplace for Windows Phone, a place where developers can centralize and easily distribute their work for end users, allowing people to keep up on updates and learn about new apps. That's important as browsing our forums, XDA or just watching our front page, while helpful, can cause you to miss things.

Previously though, Bazaar was restricted to custom ROMs as an addon app for Windows Phone. While extremely useful and impressive, this limited its influence. Today though that all changes with the release of the Bazaar Desktop client.

If you have a developer or Chevron unlocked phone, you'll definitely want this. The app is quite impressive allowing you to browse, as far as we can tell, all the homebrew apps that are out there. You have concise app descriptions including if it will work on your device (lots are restricted to Gen 1 devices, for instance) and screenshots to see what the app looks like.

Bazaar

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From the Forums: The Off Topic area

WP Central

That's right people we have an Off Topic Forums and you should check it out. This is the area of our site where we kick back, share and relax. In our Off Topic forums we have mini-adventures like in this thread: Ban the post above you! Game! If you want to take a shot at me, come get some, just remember it's all for fun. We also take time to share our personal lives, like this example from forums member Se1fcr3ation who is bored at work this week and needs help staying awake (we are helping him by posting up some good YouTube music videos). Forums member baseballbert is keeping us up to date on his daughter's life. He is a proud poppa and wants us to know "My daughter had her first real meal!!!"--now that some great news to share. It's all about community and friendship in the off topic area of our forums--it's where we share our lives and adventures.

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Unity Logo

Unity Technologies, the company behind the Unity gaming engine, previously announced they would be 'skipping' Windows Phone 7.x due to a closed environment being present, much like Epic Games with Unreal. For those who have games built using said engines this was a fairly confusing situation, especially since Microsoft is actively pushing the mobile platform as a gaming platform.

Current gaming development is aided by both Silverlight and XNA. Cue Press Play, developer of the Xbox LIVE games Tentacles (our review) and Max & the Magic Marker (our review), who have announced in a Facebook post that they will be releasing their Unity 3D porting toolkit to the community as open source. This move will enable developers who have built games using the Unity engine to bring across their titles to the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Check out the post in full detail below. Good news for both game studios and consumers alike, bravo Press Play. Let us hope that we see some exciting titles brought over to fill up the catalogue of games.

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